Plenty to see & do in the Hebrides

Tolsta Chaolais – it’s pronounced ‘Tall-stah-HOOL-ish – is an old, old place. The name means ‘Tholf’s farm on the narrows’ – he was an enterprising Viking settler some 1,300 years ago – and you’re but minutes from standing stones at Callanish, Breasclete and Garynahine that were already thousands of years old when he bounced ashore waving his axe.

And, all but invisible from the main road – most visitors whizz by to Carloway, or in the other direction to town, not knowing Tolsta Chaolais is there – it’s one of Lewis’s best-kept secrets.

For it’s an extraordinarily beautiful village, cuddled around the freshwater Loch a Bhaile (with its reeds, lilies and tiny islands), nestling in the low township hills and – though with some shoreline on East Loch Roag, and a jetty – sheltered from the worst Atlantic storms.

There’s about forty households in this bright little crofting community – many still the happy homes of families here for generation upon generation – not to mention a little church and the first war memorial ever erected on Lewis. (Lord Leverhulme, soap-magnate and landlord, unveiled it in 1921.)

There’s an abundance of birds and wildlife here. Keep an eye out for shy otters, curious seals, the occasional flight of a great overhead eagle: listen for the lark, the cuckoo, the corncrake…

And the sense besides of a gentler, slower pace of life, as pets and sheep and children roam the quiet, winding village road.

Tolsta Chaolais’s charms will soon be rather famous: the village has been chosen for location-shooting in the new CBeebies children’s drama, ‘Katie Morag’ – based on the delightful stories by Hebridean author Mairi Hedderwick – and shooting of the 26-part series began in May 2013.

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

Glenview photo gallery 3 star self catering cottage