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The name Hebrides comes from the Norse word Havbrødøy- island on the edge of the sea. The Hebridean archipeligo flanks Scotland's north western edge and the island of Lewis and Harris is the largest and most northly of the group. The Decca is in the village of Lionel in the area of Lewis known as Ness- sitting at the extreme north-western tip of Europe. It is 27 miles west and north of Stornway up an excellent road that passes through small villages and wild moorland with constant glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean and fabulous beaches on the way. (Keep your eyes peeled for Golden Eagles as they are regularly sighted along this road.)

From Address:

 Ness is a community of small villages with about 1100 inhabitants. It has a strong cultural and historical identity reflecting the struggle to make a living from this isolated land and the unpredictable sea. Crofting is still a way of life for the comunity (though most families depend on other sources of income- working locally, in Stornoway or taking advantage of the internet to run businesses from home).

The annual Guga Hunt is a continuing practice reflecting the community's past need to be very courageous and inventive in the need for food to survive the winter. It is unique to Ness.

People still cut peat for fuel and the smoke of the peatfires is an evocative presence. Many croft houses have a peat stack in the garden, usually stacked in the traditional Lewis herringbone pattern and the peat banks can be seen along the moorland roads.

Gaelic is still at the base of everything though everyone speaks English. The local school has a Gaelic medium department where all classes are taught in the language. The church still exerts a powerful influence here and it is a quiet and peaceful place on a Sunday- a fact that makes for an uncommercial serenity in a bustling world. Do not expect shops, petrol stations, restaurants or anything to be open on a Sunday- except a few eateries in Stornway and Englebret's petrol station (until 4pm). The Decca will always open its doors to thirsty and hungry travellers on a Sunday when we are at home.

Our home was built as a Decca radio navigation station, part of a network of stations around the coast that worked together to send out a net of radio signals that allowed shipping to navigate safely round the land. This system was in operation until the end of the twentieth century when satellite navigation made it obsolete. The building relfects its industrial past with two original workers' cottages flanking the business part of the old Decca Station. This has since been converted into a spacious house.

The Decca is beside the beautiful exciting sandy beach and spectacular sand dunes of Eoropie. Behind the dunes is the machair which is a delicate ecosytem awash with colourful flowers which fill the air in summer with a glorious sweet perfume. In front of the house is Loch Stiapabhat Loch- a nature reserve and a magnet for ornithologists with regular flurries of excitement as unexpected birds are blown off course and stay to get their bearings and rest. There are cliffs and hidden sandy coves as well as Port Stoth and Port of Ness beaches nearby. This makes for excellent walking country. 

This is an area of huge exciting skies, fantastic light and dramatic landscapes and has attracted artists for many years. (Listen out for the corncrakes nearby in the summer and look out for the greylag geease and huge flocks of Golden Plover, Starlings and Lapwings that surround Decca and the winter arrivals of whooper swans.)

There is excellent surfing nearby and a local provider of tuition and equipment. There is great fishing and excellent walks along the coast from the house on both the eastern and western coasts. The Butt of Lewis lighthouse is a few minutes’ drive (or a half hour walk) and there are many sites of historical and archaeological interest nearby. If you are patient and lucky, it is often possible to see dolphins and whales from the nearby coast.

The Decca sits on its own but has great facilities on either side. On one side is the social club with a bar, ceilidhs and music sessions. On the other  is the Lionel swimming pool and Spornis, a community-owned sports centre, with gym, sauna, sports hall… and two lane ten pin bowling alley! A few miles south  in Cross is the Ness Historical Sociey with fascinating displays and historical records. Ness has several post offices and two general village stores. The local bus to and from Stornoway stops at the door of The Decca.

 

 

"Loved every second! Thanks for all your yummy food, warm hospitality!!" L.D., Colorado, USA. 19.09.15

"Thoroughly enjoyed my stay, 'home' from 'home'." M.J., Macduff. 22.09.15

"You touched our hearts with your food and your music. Thanks for a lovely stay". M.&T., Madrid, Spain. 20.08.15

"Thanks for a lovely relaxing stay. Topped off with an enchanting musical evening". J.G., Leicestershire. 16.07.15

"Loved it. So homely and welcoming and fab food. Thanks!" H.L., North Yorkshire. 06.08.15

"Thank you - great meals and good company!" P.O. & J.M., the Netherlands. 09.08.15

"Lovely house and lovely hosts! We especially enjoyed our evening meals with the music". S.S & S.P., Oslo, Norway. 06.07.15