Friday, October 10, 2014

Deserted Stiomrabhagh

A great walk on Lewis is a visit to Stiomrabhagh. To get there drive south from Stornaway, and at Baile Ailein turn east on the B8060. Follow the B8060 towards Leumrabhagh, then just before you reach Leumrabhagh turn right on the road to Orasaigh. After about a mile you will see a reader-board high up on the right side of the road that marks the start of the walk to Stiomrabhagh. 

Stiomrabhagh lies a mile to the west and there is no real path. When I visited I made it a longer, and more scenic walk, by driving to the end of the road and then following the coast to the south. The village stands on a beautiful bit of high ground at the head of a small bay called Tob Stiomrabhagh. On its west side is a narrow inlet that looks almost man-made, which leads to a sheltered inland loch called Lodan Stiomrabhagh, the pool of Stiomrabhagh (second photo).

Before you visit Stiomrabhagh be sure to read the Islands book Trust booklet Life on the Edge: Growing up in Steimreway: The Story of Chirsty Maggie Carmichael by Bob Chambers. It will tell you how the village was occupied until around 1850, when the people were cleared to Leumrabhagh. Then, some 70 years later, four families raided the land. That was in 1922, but by 1939 only two families remained. Shortly after that the village was abandoned. For more info on Stiomrabhagh see this Pairc Historical Society article.

The view north over Lodan Stiomrabhagh

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