The Long Way to Lews Castle

What does a castlephile do when she has a spare couple of hours in Stornoway? Convince her new travelling companions to visit the local castle, of course!

Our target for today was Lews Castle. After consulting the map, it looked like we would have to take the scenic route to get to the castle, which (rather strangely) would take us right through the middle of the local golf course. The golf course was easy enough to find, and with an entrance like this, we thought we were on the right track.

Raon Goilf gate
En route to Lews Castle: The entrance to the Stornoway golf club

The signs for Lews Castle pointed into a forest that bordered the golf course, so we left the safety of the sealed road and hit a dirt track. We couldn’t see any sign of a castle. We weren’t even sure in which direction the town was. Should we turn back before we got lost? (And risk the local golfers laughing at the disoriented tourists?)

Almost on the verge of giving up, we noticed groups of university students appearing from somewhere up the hill. We decided to press on a bit further, although the castle was still nowhere to be seen. We heard whirring in the distance. A car engine spluttered. And then the roof of the castle appeared out of the leaves.

The restoration works at Lews Castle
The restoration works at Lews Castle

Unfortunately, the castle was closed for renovations. And the fence to keep us out of the workzone made it difficult to take a nice photo of what was a very pretty eighteenth century castle.

Lews Castle
Despite the restoration fencing, Lews Castle is very striking
Lews Castle
I thought that this was the best photo I was going to get of Lews Castle!

Admitting defeat, our next challenge was getting back to Stornoway. We could go back the way we had come through the golf course, but taking our chances, we decided to follow the students down a path that we hoped would take us safely back to Stornoway.

Five minutes later, we found ourselves back on Stornoway’s main road … only to look back and see this!

Lews Castle
Finally – the perfect view of Lews Castle from across the bay in Stornoway

What you need to know:

  • Stornoway is the largest town on the island of Lewis and Harris