Some visitors first become interested in the Isle of Lewis because of the trilogy of books written by author Peter May and based on the island. The three books - The Lewis Man, The Black House and The Chessmen - are set in locations across the island and all are within a short drive of the cottage. Also many of the characters who appear in the books are based on real Lewis people and the observant visitor to Dollag's Cottage will almost certainly spot the home of one of the characters as they come and go from the cottage. Although the books are entirely fictional it might amaze some to discover just how real the characters are, though thankfully murders and large police investigations are almost entirely unknown on the island.
Why not come and visit us at Dollag's Cottage and explore the dramatic, interesting, spectacular and almost totally murder free area in which the Peter May Lewis Trilogy was set?
Recently many people have become interested in the idea of a vanishing or disappearing loch as such a loch features as a major theme in "The Chessmen" where a "bog burst" causes a loch to empty of water revealing a most remarkable find. The loch described in the book is a real loch and is pictured below. As far as anyone knows this particular loch has never had its water vanish, but there are lochs on the island that are sometimes full of water, and at other times are found to be totally empty.
Dollag's Cottage @ 7 South Shawbost
For those who know Lewis well it can be most distracting to read Peter May's books as he has to make certain adjustments to get the landscape to fit with the storyline. When this is happening to a totally fictional landscape it is quite easy to build a mental picture in your mind but when it is happening to a landscape that you know well some of the subtle changes to locations or geography cause the reader to make some mental adjustments. For example our hero drives up the hill to the left of the loch in the photo below, it is however easy to see how these wonderful hills provide the ideal setting for drama and excitement:
The track in the photo below leads to the fictional "Cracabhal Lodge" and the visitor who takes the time to walk the track will be surprised to find that right at its end, about 7 miles from the nearest road, there is a modern bungalow which is used as a fishing and shooting lodge for guests staying on the estate.
Those who have already read the books will remember a frantic night time chase up the valley at a hill called Cracabhal, after which the fictional lodge must be named. The photo below shows the valley and while it is looking nice on this September evening you can imagine how it must be on a wild and dark night.
Moving from the Uig area and right to the other end of the island this photo shows the "Bridge to Nowhere" scene of the race. The bridge quite literally goes to nowhere as there were plans to build a road right around the island but they were never completed and so the road effectively ends with the bridge from where a track carries on around the cliffs of the northern part of Lewis.
And finally, just to use the Peter May theme to show off some more of the island below you can see Suaineabhal and Loch Suaineabhal plus a panorama of the Uig area. Usually any name ending in "bhal" indicates that the feature in question is a hill or mountain as "bhal" or "val" as it would be pronounced in English is Norse for a height. The Norse owned Lewis up until relatively recently and so many of the main landscape features still carry Norse names which have been converted to Gaelic spellings over the years. Suaineabhal features in the Lewis Trilogy on a number of occasions as does the whole Uig area and when you view the panorama below you can't help but be struck by how dramatic the area is. Visitors often head to this area not just to enjoy the hills, lochs and wilderness but also to watch the eagles which are a regular sight with both golden and sea eagles relatively common.