Gallan Head where Eagles soar
Gallan Head is a high promontory on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles of Scotland, and is the most North-Westerly point of Britain.
It is a piece of land of strange beauty and a powerful spiritual energy, with fantastic views of historical islands and landscape features in a great sweeping arc around it. From its highest point there is a 360 degree view of all the surrounding sea, wildlife, islands and land, and at night – dark, unpolluted skies afford vast astronomical potential.
It is here that we hope, in a few years, to open an observatory, for both wildlife and sea watching and the many phenomena of the heavens, housed in a specially designed building which will add to, rather than detract from the natural landscape. This will be known at the Cetus Project – listening to whales in the sea and watching the constellation Cetus in the night sky. This project has the enthusiastic support of the Stornoway Astronomical Society and John Brown, the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, who has become patron of the project.
Although its known history as a place of surveillance goes back only 100 years or so, it is easy to speculate, once standing on the headland, that this was a stopping-off point for Neolithic and Bronze Age sea travelers, a place where anxious islanders watched out for invading Vikings and kept an eye on the seas during times of war in the ensuing centuries.
Moving things forward: by the summer of 2016 we had begun to clear the landof hazards left by the MOD and to make the old buildings made safe. The land is now once again open to the people of Uig and members of the public who who have not had access to it for 60 years. We wish to welcome everyone to share with us the experience of this beautiful place.
We are working towards the construction of a path to the highest point, this to be accessible by people of all abilities. We believe this will be the first pathway in the Western Isles with full disabled access.
We have opened up the house known as Gallan Beag, which is at the end of the old RAF camp, as a small Visitor Centre, information point and tea-room – so, either before you visit the land, or after, you can come in, have a cup of tea, learn more about our plans for the future, see and purchase art and craft work by local creative people, most of it unique to this outlet and not available elsewhere, Soon we will be installing a hydrophone in Aird Bay, linked to Gallan Beag, so you will be able to sit and listen to the sounds of marine life in the surrounding waters – and if you are lucky, even whales and dolphins.
In November 2016, we appointed a Project Worker to help us plan and progress our many exciting ideas for Gallan Head! Many thanks to The People’s Health Trust who have provided us with two years’ funding for this part-time post.