Monday, January 2, 2017

Shieling on the Moor

Sometimes you luck out, and end up being blessed with magnificent weather during a hike that you've planned to do for a year. That happened to me last August while wandering across the moorland of southwest Lewis. It was the perfect hiking weather; sunny skies, not too hot, and just enough wind to keep the midges away. One of the surprises of that walk on that picture-perfect day was a beautiful solitary shieling I came across near Loch na Craobhaig.

The OS map does not name this place; the only hint of its existence a little square on the map at NB 0657 2103. I had not planned on visiting this particular spot, but while looking at the beehive cell ruins at Fidigidh Iochdrach I noticed a bump on the horizon a few hundred metres to the southeast. I am so glad I decided to walk over to see it; for out in the middle of nowhere, under a azure sky dotted with billowy clouds, stood a beautiful, solitary shieling, that appeared to be an ancient beehive cell modified into a rectangular shelter.

The interior still retained much of the beehive's circular wall-space, including a dozen nooks for storing cheese and milk.

I was stunned by the beauty of this spot, with its amazing view over the sparkling blue waters of Loch na Craobhaig to the distant Harris hills. It would be amazing to have seen this place when it was in use 150 years ago.

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