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A large, low lying isle of peat and Presbyterianism, howling winds, stone circles, fragile machair, insanely beautiful sands, and rugged moors studded with the ruins of old blackhouses and wisps of bog cotton. Our cottage is in a miniscule village called Keose about 15 minutes south of Stornoway. After a three hour sail from Ullapool across the Minch, we arrived at night, though of course it was still light. A Tesco delivery van tailed us all the way to our destination, waiting patiently every time we paused at a lonely passing place to gawp at the landscape. Nothing moves fast here, even the shock intervention of a supermarket. The two Eagle Bay cottages are the kind of stripped back slate and glass affairs you would expect to see on Grand Designs. Indeed, their architect is Stuart Bagshaw, designer of a neighbouring Grand Designs Home of the Year on Harris. They are sophisticated in all the right ways and seriously romantic, from the DVD collection (though with what was going on outside we never turned on the television once) to the chilled champagne and hamper of local produce on arrival.
but the days are so long on Lewis in summer that the dark doesn't arrive until midnight, when it descends as swiftly and completely as if a switch had been flicked. Light can be dark here, and dark light. Such distinctions become meaningless. Walkers often set off into the hills in the Pink Nike Air Force 1 High Top small hours. Lamps must be switched on at lunchtime while a storm briefly blows over. This is the Outer Hebrides after all, a long chain of more than 60 islands strung out into the Atlantic. And Lewis is the most northerly of them.
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of nature at its most dramatic unfolding night after night. I say night, Air Force Black Shoes
l I came to the Outer Hebrides. This is what happens when you have the luxury of a telescope in your living room and a panoramic view Nike Air Force Black And Gold
Once home, the French doors are thrown open and the sauna revved.
Everything is muted, slated and heated, with 180 degree views, lots of exposed curved beams, and a terrace carved into the rock outside. Then, of course, the sauna, which after a day spent being blown around the beaches and cliff tops of Lewis and Harris, is the most welcome of luxuries. The overall effect is of a 21st century hobbit house: rotund, hunkered into its little shire and very cosy. We get lucky with the weather, though every islander I speak to tells me, with the air of sharing a carefully guarded secret, that summers are usually good on Lewis. Some days are so hot, in fact, that we go out without jumpers or jackets (in Scotland!) and eat every meal on the terrace. Each time we stumble upon yet another spectacular beach, from the giant expanse of Uig where the Lewis Chessmen were found to Tolsta with its lyrically named Bridge to Nowhere, the first thing we do is kick off our sandals and head for the sea. Always bracingly cold, true, but no amount of sun can turn the north Atlantic into the Med. After a day's beachcombing we head home via Stornoway to buy fresh fish from the harbour shop that is such Nike Air Force 1 Low Black Black Gum Bottom
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