Aird Uig taken from the track up to Forsnabhal
The Isle of Lewis is the topmost island in the Hebridean Archipelago, 73 miles off the North West of Scotland out in the Atlantic Ocean. Uig, also known as Sgìr’ Ùig, is a civil parish and community on the western coast of the island. It is estimated that people have lived in the Outer Hebrides for at least 9,000 years, since shortly after the end of the last Ice Age.
Today Uig is seen as a remote wilderness, known for its stunning beaches, wildlife, sea and landscapes, also the place where the Lewis Chessmen were found. It would be a natural mistake to think that this, one of remotest of places in the UK, however beautiful, was of no significant importance. History has shown that Gallan Head has been of strategic value not only during two world wars, but all of Uig was under Norse rule till 1266.
Whilst the land around Gallan Head has been under (more or less) constant use, the coast has been a highway not only for shipping but for whales, dolphins and basking sharks. To see a wild dolphin play, hear the song of a whale, or spot the fins of a basking shark, these are sights that will stay in the memory forever. This unique, and very special place has yet more to offer. Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles and the loveable Puffins are all common sights. Although the cliff tops are not a place for machair, there is no shortage of wildflowers and ground nesting birds. The fiery summer sunsets and spectacular cloud formations add drama, whilst with no light pollution the dark night skies are ideal for stargazing.
“Our aim is to establish a multi-purpose observatory where visitors can study and enjoy the dark skies, the marine wildlife of Loch Roag, and the remarkable natural and historical environment.”