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Nov 21 2014

The Windy Butt of Lewis

I know this sounds like a joke, but there actually is a place called the Butt of Lewis.  Seriously, I’m not kidding you.  What’s even funnier is the fact that it was in the Guinness Book of Records as the windiest place in the UK.  This really is true.  Because it’s Friday and I find this so amusing, I thought it would be a perfect way to end the week.  So, it’s this week’s Foto Friday.

Rudha Robhanais is its gaelic name.  In English, it was originally called Bowling Head, but the name was changed at some point to the Butt of Lewis.  I have no idea when or why that happened.  The original English name seems more fitting since it is located at the top of the island, rather than at the bottom.  Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be half as funny if they hadn’t changed it.

A lot of people drive up, sit in the car, or get out for a few minutes to take some photos before heading off to another part of the island.  When you take the bus though, you have to walk from the drop off point to the lighthouse.  There are some great views and photo opportunities along the way.  If you love rugged coastlines and dramatic scenery, take the time to enjoy this part of Lewis before heading back whether you are travelling by bus or car.

I was blown away, literally as well as metaphorically, by this place.  Yes, it is incredibly windy.  It is certainly the windiest place I have ever been to.  I found it difficult to stay upright as I battled against the wind trying to take photos.  The scenery is spectacular because of the way the waves crash against the cliff.  It happens with such force that, at times, the foam from the sea is carried through the air by the wind.  It looks pretty but surreal.  It looks as if someone is blowing bubbles, but it’s coming from the sea.  I’d never seen that before.

The lighthouse is unusual because it’s made of brick and hasn’t been painted.  OK, so it isn’t the most attractive Iighthouse in the world, but it is different.  Like many others in Scotland, the lighthouse was designed by the ancestors of the famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson.  Was he inspired by his visits to some of the lighthouses?  I’d have a fair bet he was.

On my way there, I met a woman from the US who was on the same bus as me.  We wandered around together, taking photos, trying not to get blown away.  After that, we headed off in search of a cafe.  I figured there had to be a community centre/cafe that provided refreshments to locals and tourists alike.  I’d come across these a few times on my trip around the Outer Hebrides.  Being a tourist attraction, there had to be something.  After walking for a bit, we did come across a cafe, but it was closed.  I couldn’t believe that in the high of season, it was closed.  Surely, we couldn’t have been the only ones looking for a cuppa and some shelter, could we?  Oh, well, it wasn’t to be, so as soon as we could, we got a bus back to Stornoway and sought refuge in one of the cafes there.

Location

As mentioned previously, it is the most northerly point of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.  I took at local bus there from Stornoway, which took about an hour.  My advice would be to make sure you check the times at the bus station before you leave and pick up a timetable while you’re there.

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Have your say

Do you know why the name was changed to the Butt of Lewis?  I couldn’t find out why and would love to know the reason for it.

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

2 comments

  1. Tomasz Kaminski

    Hi Teresa, I checked your other posts and noticed you have been to Poland, my homecountry. I am glad it was on your travel list. Most travelers do not go that far… 🙂

  2. Teresa Keane

    Hi Tomasz. I agree that often people don’t think of going on holiday to Poland. I hope to explore it more soon when I have a couple of weeks off. I’m actually living and working in Poland at the moment, which makes that easier. It’s a beautiful country. Teresa.

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