Scotland 2016 – Day 11

I’ll start right off with the best part of the day: Mangersta, on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis. Probably the best experience I’ve had in Scotland yet. I drove up through the rain and clouds and stopped first at the Callanish Standing Stones, thought to be about 4,000 years old. There are actually 3 sets of stones, with one set being the most popular. Since it is Sunday, the visitor center was closed, but you can just walk right up to the stones. Neat to see in a “been there, done that” kind of way.

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Then I started down the coast and stopped at Bosta Beach on Great Bernera and Ardroil Beach/Uig Sands. There is only one road going down the coast from there, and it comes to an end about 6 miles south near Brenish. Mangersta was on my must-do list, but I couldn’t really remember why. I assumed it was just another beach. Boy, was I wrong (in a good way)! Thankfully, I had put directions in my itinerary which said to park at the end of the road in the village and walk across the machair. It was clear from the start that the beach was well below the grass I was walking across. But all of a sudden, I could see the sea stacks come into view and the grass just sort of ended at the top of a high cliff (no railings or danger signs here!). The view was incredible, with huge waves crashing on the rocky beach below, and cliffs and sea stacks towering over the ocean. I continued to walk up to the top of one of the high cliffs and the views just got better and better. No picture can possibly do it justice. Once I had walked as far as I could in both directions, I decided rather than turn around, I would keep going to the end of the road. I pulled over a little further south at a sign that said “shore access” and was able to stand on another beach and marvel at the sheer size of the waves. The only thing I can possibly compare it to is the coast of Oregon, and even then, it was a completely different experience.

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In other news, I really am ready to go home. Like, today. Especially after tonight’s horrible hotel experience. Stornoway is a bigger town, and I was hoping for a more modern, bigger hotel than what I’ve had since I got here. (I have nothing against small, inn-like hotels, but I prefer a Hilton or Marriott any day). When I arrived at the hotel I had booked, my room had two twin beds. I can be pretty flexible (well, sometimes anyway… 🙂 ), but I am not sleeping in a twin bed on vacation. So I politely asked for a larger room. None available. The woman ended up calling one of their sister hotels, where I now have a tiny room with a double bed and a view of the industrial park. I dislike it so much, I actually thought tonight about trying to go standby on tomorrow’s ferry back to the mainland. But I don’t want to miss the rest of the Isle of Lewis, so I’ll be a trouper and stick it out…