Plenty to see & do...

Your holiday at Glenview may be as relaxed and unplanned – or as micro-managed – as you please; but here are some ideas.

For keen anglers, Lewis abounds in free trout fishing at any one of a thousand lochs.  Ask locally for tips or pick up the copy of Norman MacLeod’s Trout Fishing on Lewis.

In his introduction, Mr Macleod writes,

‘There are in fact very few lochs on the island which do not hold brown trout. Some are overstocked and contain small trout of only a few ounces; others have fish up to several pounds. In between are the lochs with trout of 8 oz to 1 lb.

‘The Island of Lewis, known to many as “Eilean an Fhraoich” (the isle of heather) could well be called the isle of a thousand lochs. In fact it contains more. There are over seven hundred lochs varying in size from five acres to three and a half square miles, and more than four hundred of lesser size. It is of course impossible for a publication of this nature to cover all of them. It would take one angler fishing one loch per day for six days a week during the season more than six years to fish them all. This is a tremendous amount of fishing water in an island approximately forty miles in length and twenty-six miles wide.

‘The vast majority of brown trout lochs on the island are free to local and visiting anglers alike, but some estate owners reserve waters for themselves and their guests. Before setting out for a day’s fishing enquiries should be made locally.

‘The season opens on 15th March and closes on 6th October. It is very seldom that one can get trout in good condition before the middle of April. The best months for fly fishing are from the end of April until the end of June and again during the first fortnight in September. July and August are just not so good with fly, and bait or spinner may prove more productive.

‘Though Sunday fishing for brown trout is legal in Scotland, it would most certainly be looked upon with disfavor in Lewis and no local angler fishes on that day. It is expected that the visiting angler will respect local custom.

‘It is hoped that all anglers will respect the rights of the owners of the various local estates, that no litter will be left behind by the lochside and that no discarded nylon will be left whether by the waterside or on the moor. Entanglement in lengths of nylon presents a hazard both to birds and to young lambs.’

For more glamorous sport – salmon or sea-trout – it’s worth seeking a permit from the Carloway Angling Association, to fish the village river; or making private inquiry at the Garynahine estate up the road. Affordable pursuit of the silver tourists can also be had on the Cockle Ebb (Fideach Angling Association) or the stately River Creed and its lochs (Stornoway Angling Association.)

Sea-fishing can be enjoyed from many shoreline spots, or someone may take you out in a boat – make inquiries locally or check out the Stornoway Sea Angling Club’s organized trips.

For those of historic bent, Tolsta Chaolais is at the heart of the West Side Historic Trail. That starts, of course, at the world-famous Standing Stones of Callanish – in fact there are a lot of stone-circles in this corner of Lewis – and sweeps on by the Broch at Doune Carloway; the reconstructed black-house village at Garenin (these houses were inhabited as recently as the mid 1970s); the Norse Mill, just before you reach South Shawbost; and the Black House at Arnol, in the care of Historic Scotland. (And keep an eye out for the Whalebone Arch at Bragar – the jaws of the largest blue whale ever grounded, and which was swept ashore in 1920.)

Sturdy walkers with a taste for dramatic seascape and cliff scenery will enjoy the West Side Coastal Trail. It starts at Garenin and ends at Arnol, following for the most part ancient traditional paths and with styles and signage. However, it can readily be left at various points along the way and our frequent island buses can take you back home.

Lewis and Harris abound in beautiful beaches. The nicest in easy reach of Glenview are those at Dalmore, Dalbeag and Shawbost. Dalmore is particular popular with the surfing fraternity, but these waters have a dangerous undertow and are not recommended for the average casual swimmer. The beach at Shawbost is safe and beautiful, and particularly enjoyable for a young family.

Shawbost School besides boasts a swimming-pool, open most evenings to the general public.

Stornoway is only half an hour or so from Tolsta Chaolais and the island capital abounds in shops, amenities, eating-places and entertainment. There’s also a major sports-centre – with a fine swimming-pool – and the An Lanntair Arts Centre is well worth the diversion. Only hotels, a couple of takeaways and a filling-station, though, are open on Sundays.

Tarbert, the capital of Harris, is about fifty minutes’ drive from Glenview; a charming village with intimate shops and the ferry-port for Uig on Skye. Harris can be readily covered, in a circular tour, in a day and we thoroughly recommend the expedition.

The district of Uig, to the south, boasts perhaps the most dramatic scenery on Lewis and is well worth a visit. Apart from the great Uig Sands – where, nearly two centuries ago, a crofter’s cow gloriously unearthed the celebrated Lewis Chessmen – there are splendid beaches at Valtos, Cliff, Reef and Mangersta. (And Auberge at Carinish is one of the best restaurants on the whole island! – but booking is strongly recommended.)

There are frequent  church services in Tolsta Chaolais – usually once a month on Sunday usually 3pm; inquire locally. Congregations of the Free Church and the Church of Scotland regularly worship in Callanish and Carloway, and the whole denominational spectrum is represented in Stornoway, from the Roman Catholic Church to the Salvation Army.

With the advent in recent decades of major supermarkets to Stornoway, very few village shops now survive in rural Lewis. You’ll find a little store and post-office in Callanish and another, still littler, in Shawbost.

The nearest filling-stations, both besides licensed stores selling other goods and newspapers and so on in abundance, are at Leurbost to the south and Barvas to the north. You’ll find the cheapest fuel on Lewis at Gordon’s filling-station in Back – which is a good excuse to explore the delightful beaches on that Broad Bay coastline.

No one wants to cook every night when they’re on holiday. The most convenient and pleasant eating-place for Glenview is the Doune Braes Hotel, not five minutes away on the road to Carloway , with charming staff and restaurant and lounge-bar facilities. (Please say hello to the ducks!) There’s a pleasant  tea-room, too, at the Callanish Stones Visitor Centre and a charming one in the Garenin Black House Village.

Shawbost also boasts snacks and refreshments at The Inn Between and the 40 North delicatessen, in Bragar, sells a delicious selection of home-reared smoked meats, hand-made breads and quiches and tarts and ice cream and all sorts of goodies (as well as a discerning array of wines.)

And, if you make a run all the way to the Butt of Lewis, you’ll find the Borve House Hotel – rebuilt and refurbished – a pleasant place to pull in for a bite. There’s also the pleasant, if eccentric, Café Sonas at Port of Ness.

Fantastic holiday cottage, extremely well equipped and furnished to a very high standard.

Glenview photo gallery 3 star self catering cottage