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Last full day in the Outer Hebrides

Whalebone arch, Dun Carloway, Dalmore Beach, Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Dailbeag Beach and Eilean Fraoich Campsite


View From Hadrian's Wall to the Western Isles on 3Traveller's travel map.

Before we went to our first bigger stop of the day, we detoured a couple of miles down the road to the intriguing Whalebone Arch in Bragar. It was made in 1921 from the jawbone of a washed-up blue whale.

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Our next stop, Dun Carloway, was wonderful. It's the ruin of a Iron Age broch tower, built around 100 AD and one of the best-preserved in Scotland.

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Views of the inner wall and the surrounding scenery, taken from as far up as I could go on the pathway steps between the inner and outer walls:

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We spotted a rabbit on the other side of a nearby wire fence.

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More beautiful scenery, including some further Iron Age evidence:

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We fancied a beach after Dun Carloway so we headed off to Dalmore Beach - one I had heard was especially beautiful. It certainly lived up to our expectations.

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As we walked along the grass from the gate to the beach a peat stream meandered to our left and the gravestones of a cemetery stood proudly on a hill to our right, overlooking the beach. We stopped at the latter for a bit on our way back; it contained some Commonwealth War Graves.

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Four miles down the road was the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, our next destination. These were the last group of blackhouses to be inhabited in the Western Isles; the last inhabitant moved out in 1974. Blackhouses were traditional cottages with roofs of thatch over turf and double drystone walls with earth packed in the middle.

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These blackhouses are now restored. Of the nine blackhouses, one is now a youth hostel, four are self-catering cottages, one a shop and café, one contains a display of information boards about the former inhabitants of the village and their way of life, one is a house museum set in 1955 and I've forgotten the other. The information display and the house museum were fascinating to walk round. Even the garden and museum exterior were interesting; note the pile of peat, the wooden cart and the stones in the outer wall which allowed people to walk on a turf path round the edge of the thatched roof. Dave particularly liked the ropes with weights on them which lay over the thatch to prevent it getting damaged by the strong Hebridean wind.

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The interior was just as good. Highlights for me included the bedroom with a set of two bedboxes which took up one whole side of the wall - enclosed on three sides and a high ceiling with wood, and a long curtain for the front - I thought how much I would love to sleep in one them. Each bed had a ceramic bedwarmer on it.

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I also liked the loom demonstration and the living room with stone bottles and the same design of teabag tin which my family used to have.

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Dailbeag Beach was our last stop. We walked up and down the beach and then round one side of the nearby loch. The loch is apparently covered in flowering white lilies in June and July and sometimes otters can be seen.

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The weather turned once we got back to the campsite. There were already strong winds, but then heavy showers began; these continued into the evening. At one point I managed to get a photo of a rainbow over someone's caravan.

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Posted by 3Traveller 13:20 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged landscapes beaches scotland united_kingdom coast cemetery museum camping explorations british_countryside house_museum dun_carloway_broch

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