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This is crofting land surrounded by the ocean, cliffs and beaches. The flat sandy machairland by the sea fills with flowers (orchids, red clover, buttercups, eyebright, etc.) in the summer and the peat moors are covered in heather and cotton grass. These are rich habitats for birds and other wildlife and the sea provides rich pickings for seabirds, cetaceans and humans. There is magnificent walking and a wealth of places to explore. Some crofters still weave Harris Tweed in sheds by their house and welcome prospective buyers. Most crofters keep a few hens, sheep and,sometimes, cattle. Here are some of the places to visit within just a couple of miles of The Decca.


LighthouseThe Butt of Lewis

This is the most north westerly tip of Britain. It has big craggy cliffs and can be a very wild and windy place. The famous Stevenson lighthouse was built with red bricks to withstand the exceptional weather conditions
This is a great place to watch birds- fulmers on the cliffs and diving gannets. When the sea is calm you can often see dolphins, basking sharks and even whales from near the lighthouse.




Port Stoth

Port Stoth

When they built the lighthouse in 1859-62 there was no road so the materials were landed in this bay. Lighthouse supplies were landed here until about 1960 and unloaded from small boats by crane.
This sheltered beach is good for paddling and swimming. It is also good place to look for seals.



Eoropie beach

This beautiful beach is a ten minute stroll from The Decca. It faces west and is a splendid place for summer sunsets. It is a lovely place for walking, playing and relaxing. The next land is America and, in wilder weather, it can have big exciting waves making it a great place for surfers.

Eoropie beach



The temple of St MoluagThe temple of St Moluag

This little chapel was built in the 12th century andwas a place of pilgrimage for people with mental health problems. People with sores also came to to be healed.
After a period of dereliction, when it was used as an animal shelter, it was restored and the Scottish Episcopal Church now holds monthly services. It is open for visitors though the door can be very stiff.



Dun EasdeanDun Easdean

This island was the stronghold of the Morrison clan. It was excavated in 2000 and 2001 and you can see the remains of houses. It has a strong steel bridge linking for access

Terns nest here on the ground in the summer so watch where you step and try not to disturb them.



Loch StiapabhatLoch Stiapabhat

This is nature reserve is the last fresh water loch on the spring migration route across Britain north to the Arctic, and the first stop south in the winter. It is a very importantrest place for birds from America and other places that have been blown off course.
The Decca is the house in the middle of the picture.




Port of Ness harbour and beach

The most north westerly harbour in the British Isles, this used to be a bustling fishing port. There are still a few locals who fish from this sandy harbour. The beach is beautiful and the sheds visible on the pier are the site chosen by Peter May for the first murder in his Black House trilogy. Finn's aunt's house was just out of the picture- along the coast at Skigersta.

Port of Ness harbour and beach



Skigersta HarbourSkigersta Harbour

Don't miss a visit to see the tiny Skigersta harbour, tucked away and very safe from stormy weather.




The ShielingsThe Shielings

Shielings are little huts where people lived in the summer. The lazy beds were all planted and it was time to dig peat.

Every community has its own areas of peat and little groups of shielings where people lived and worked in the summer.





peat bank



Most of the middle of the island is made up of moorland. It is very boggy and is a great place for peat to develop. It is gradually compressed by the top layers and becomes blacker and more solid.

We dig the peat in the spring with a special tool called a tarasgeir. When it is completely dry, we bring it home and stack it in peat stacks near the house to burn in the winter.




Lazy Beds and Runrigs

Near the coast you will see that a lot of the land has ridges that run down the slopes. They are called lazy beds or runrigs and this is where the crofters grew their crops and vegetables. Until the early 1970s every useable bit of land was cultivated.

The crofters mounded up the soil then carried manure, seaweed and fire ashes and dug them in to make the soil more fertile. Rainwater would run off in the ditches.

lazy beds