“Beneath the light of candle, I am sitting with my hands on my knees, staring in front of me. And I keep turning over in my mind the thought that I am at the end of the earth, in a place which you do not know and which your whole lives through you will never visit.“
~ Shusaku Endo, ‘Silence’
There’s nothing quite like visiting a remote, windswept place to stir the soul or calm an anxious one. The sheer isolation of these places give them a timeless quality. And if they have an aura of mystique, like the feeling that they could have been once the abode of dragons and hobbits, so much the better.
The Isle of Lewis and Harris is such a place. Located in the Outer Hebrides off northwest Scotland, Lewis and Harris covers an area of 841 square miles (2,178 square km), making it the largest island in Scotland. The northern two-thirds is called the Isle of Lewis, and the southern third, the Isle of Harris although they are commonly frequently to as though they were island islands. Lewis is comparatively flat. The highest peak (Ben More) only reaches 571 m or 1,874 feet. It is home to the Calanais Standing Stones, an extraordinary cross-shaped setting of stones erected 5,000 years ago that predate England’s famous Stonehenge monument. The precise purpose of Calanais is unknown although it is commonly believed to have been used for ritual or observatory activities for at least 2,000 years. Meanwhile, Harris in the south boasts some of the best beaches in Scotland, and is as sparsely inhabited as its northern neighbour.
All photos by John Blair except the last which is taken by Joseph Kirkman.