The Callanish (or Calanais) Stones of Lewis are some of the most famous standing stones in Scotland. They date back to 2000-1500 BC and rate only second to Stonehege in their importance. There are about 50 stones altogether, with 13 stones of 8-13 feet in height surrounding the central monolith which is 16 feet high and weighs approximately 5.5 tons. At Callanish there is a visitors' centre that provides detailed information. The centre is open all summer, except for Sundays and for limited days during the winter. The stone site itself is always able to be visited. The Callanish centre has a cafe and also, there is an alternative Blackhouse tearoom close to the northern edge of the site which is open during the summer months.
Travel time from Carnish is about 30 minutes.
ARNOL BLACK HOUSE (About 60 minutes from Carnish)
This is one of the old croft dwellings which were built without so much as a window or even a chimney: the smoke from the open peat fire went directly through the thatched roof. Inside its double stone walls, filled with earth for insulation, lived both the family and their animals. Admission charge. Open Monday - Saturday (closes for lunch between 1pm and 2pm). Closed on Sundays.
WHALEBONE ARCH (About 50 minutes from Carnish)
Formed by the jawbone of an 85-foot long blue whale that came ashore in 1920 with the harpoon still attached. Visible from the road in the village of Bragar.
SOUTH BRAGAR DUN (About 55 minutes from Carnish)
After you have passed the whalebone arch in Bragar, continue south along the road. Shortly you will see the dun in a loch 80 metres east of the road. It can be accessed on foot by a causeway.
SHAWBOST FOLK MUSEUM (About 45 minutes from Carnish)
Situated in an old church, it began as a school project in the 1970s and was never dismantled. It houses various artefacts from days gone by including farming tools, kitchen implements, irons, a loom, even a crofter's bedroom and photos of a Norse watermill which was restored. The door is sometimes closed - give it a good push and you will probably find that it's unlocked. If not, find the school caretaker to give you the key. No admission charge, but donations welcomed.
SHAWBOST NORSE MILL AND KILN (About 45 minutes from Carnish)
These two small thatched buildings have been rebuilt to illustrate the process by which barley grain was processed into meal. After being dried in the kiln, the grain was put through the water-driven mill. This type of work went on in Lewis up until the 1940s. Open all year. Nearby Dalbeg beach is very picturesque.
GEARRANNAN BLACK HOUSE VILLAGE (About 40 minutes drive from Carnish)
Take a right turn at either Upper Carloway or Carloway. Drive to the very end of the road, park your car and you will see the village. Well worth a visit. In 1974 the last occupants of the black houses were moved to new accommodation nearby and the village was declared an Outstanding Conservation Area. Later the Gearrannan Trust was established to bring life back into the black houses. Today, the first house is the visitor centre with exhibition, shop and cafe. Tel: 01851 643416 Toilets available.
One of the other houses has been restored so that visitors can experience how it would have been to live there in 1955. If you walk down towards the bay, you will see a waymarked walk heading up the hillside to the right. This takes you over to the lovely beach of Dalmore and then on to Dalbeg. The very start of the walk passes by 2 of the old blackhouses which have been left as ruins.
CARLOWAY BROCH (About 40 minutes drive from Carnish)
An Iron Age round fortification some nine metres high in places. It's a short climb up the craggy hillside to the remains of the dry stone tower with its double walls and tiny entrance. As you enter the broch, look for the cavity on the right. It is thought that this was a guard cell where someone would have sat ready to pounce on any unwanted visitors. Once inside the broch itself, you can investigate some of the other cavities and see the staircase and ledge. You get a good view of the surrounding hills and the of the sea. The small visitor centre (open April to September, 10am to 5pm) includes a cleverly constructed exhibition recreating life in the interior of the broch - pass behind the curtain on the left when you enter the centre and be transported back in time. There is also a small shop featuring a new guide book, souvenirs and locally produced crafts. Admission is free, but donations for its maintenance are welcome.. .