I'm thinking about adding a couple of nights in Stormoway to the beginning of our trip next summer, and I'm surprised to find relatively few things "to do". I don't think a trip to St. Kilda will work, so that leaves the several Standing Stones and a few viewpoints, and of course, McNeill's. Am I missing some vast wealth of must dos?
There are some magnificent beaches in Harris (Luskentyre is the most famous one) and excellent coastal scenery there. Great coastal scenery on the west coast of Lewis, too (Uig bay, Mangersta beach), and less visited than Harris.
Best to have your own wheels for all of the above.
I think the point of going to the Hebridean Islands is really just to "be", and enjoy the place at a leisurely pace.
Nature at it's finest.
On my list are the Callanish Stones, Lewis Castle, Black House Village, Dun Calloway Broc, the Iron Age House on Lewis, and a round the island drive on Harris to see the beaches and maybe Rodel church. But I haven’t been yet - this was on my cancelled 2020 and 2021 plan.
Travelmom has pretty much all the sights listed in her reply. But SJ is right that the islands are about 'just being' and the wonderful scenery, peace and tranquility. You will certainly need a car to explore fully, and car spaces on the ferries have been a source of frustration this summer as islanders have struggled to book places on the ferries to get off and back to the islands (e.g. to go to Inverness for a hospital appointment). So either rent a car on Lewis or book well in advance if you want to bring a car on the ferry.
Lewis and Harris don’t have the same number of ‘sites’ as say Orkney but are more about scenery...
Have a look at the Undiscovered Scotland site for information on things to do and see.
My top favourites are the
• Arnol Blackhouse (allow plenty of time and talk to the guides about what it was like to live here.
• Callanais standing stones
• Dun Carloway Broch
• Shawbost Norse mill (find out the small mils which were used to grind cereals)
• St Rhodel Church (some good carving)
• St Moluag’s church - a tiny church and on to Butt of Lewis lighthouse
•Drive up the B895 from Stornoway up the east coast to the end of the road and find ‘the Bridge to Nowhere’,. This was part of a plan to build a road up the east coast By Lord Leverburgh, but plans came to naught.
• drive out to Uig for the views and sandy beaches
• drive round Harris - the west coast has some amazing beaches - Luskentyre is the best - and back up the east coast. This is affectionately referred to as the Golden Road because it cost so much to build. This is windswept and bare rocks and you really do wonder how people managed to eke a living here.
• drive the unclassified road to Rhenigidale, and think about the poor postie who had to walk across the mountains to deliver the mail before the road was built...
Is this enough to fill your time?
Thanks for lots of ideas.
Now the question of is there any chance of making a 1:05 connection in Edinburgh (or worse yet, a 0:30 connection in Glasgow), arriving from the US, assuming Covid is actually behind us by then?
Search on Elsa McTaggart who has been fiddling from Lewis for the past year. You can learn a lot about the Outer Hebrides by reading her Facebook page and hearing her music.
I would say that your plane connections are way too short.
Last time I arrived in Edinburgh, from Toronto, it took 2 and a half hours between walking down the plane steps and finally exiting the airport.
My friend picking me up paid over 22 pounds for parking as she waited for me.
It's a very disorganised airport, unless it's improved in the past two years!!
I don't know about Glasgow, but 30 minutes is too tight at any airport, anywhere!