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Scarista Beach, Island of Harris, Scotland

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Standing on Scarista beach as you turn to the right you can see more of the Hills of Harris and the Isle of Taransay where the BBC filmed their series “Castaway”. In the photo you can see how clear the waters are. It’s not hard to see why the islands have been designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. Bryher and St Agnes are wild, rocky outposts where you will find remote, secluded beaches with not a soul in sight. It is also the set-off point for Hilbre Island wildlife sanctuary, a paradise for birdwatchers.


All across the Outer Hebrides/Western Isles you will find an enormous number of areas of special interest. It would seem that around every corner there appears an outline of rocks where at some time in the past there was some kind building. In the few miles between Scarista and Leverburgh you’ll find bicycles for hire, an award-winning nature centre, daily boat trips to the uninhabited island of Taransay, and Seallam! Visitor Centre, housing the Western Isles’ genealogy research centre, a shop and tearoom, and offering guided nature walks and lectures on local history. There are sandy beaches to explore, museums to visit, a host of local amenities close by and Stornoway, the island capital, is only a short drive away. Please note: Gladstone House is non smoking and they cannot accept pets. Ruff!

About 15 minutes drive from Tarbert is the small island called the Isle of Scalpay which is joined to the Isle of Harris by a narrow single track bridge. Scalpay once had a population of well over 800 and was an incredibly busy fishing community. Another chore that Island women no longer do is collecting lichen and other plants to make dyes. Chemical dyes have gradually replaced vegetable brews as the necessary plants became scarce and the market demanded brighter hues. Welcome to the past heritage of our islands. A ferry sails from the latter to Berneray ( Be?rnaraigh na Hearadh ), an island off the coast of North Uist ( Uibhist a Tuath ), to which it is joined by a causeway. The Isle of Harris is part of the Virtual Hebrides.

There are a couple of very interesting sites of historical interest , none more so than St. Just walking around the graveyard provides a mass of information but the building itself houses some spectacular masonary including the grave of Alasdair Crotach. A former manse, Scarista House is now a haven for food lovers who seek to explore the magnificent island of Harris. The house enjoys breathtaking views of the Atlantic and is just a short stroll from miles of golden sandy beaches. The town surrounds a beautiful lake with an island in the center and a castle perched on the edge of a mountain plays sentinel to the landscape. The walk around the lake provides gorgeous panorama of the Julian Alps and there are plenty of good restaurants and bed and breakfasts around.

The Outer Hebrides of Scotland are a range of such islands & islets with marvelous countryside and magnificent shores. One of the most gorgeous of regions is Harris. I say “Hebridean” as the Isle of Harris is a small island in the group of islands known to many as either the Outer Hebrides or the Western Isles. The Outer Hebrides are found many miles out to sea off the north west coast of Scotland in the United Kingdom. These parts of the world are so picturesque that many people simply come here to unwind and recharge. And it’s perfect for that. From some of the beach cottages we’ve seen, you could easily open the window and hear the ocean waves meet the shore as they have done for millions of years. Check out Scarista!

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