Lewis is said to have 1,200 lochs, or even 2,000 lochs depending on who you ask. It is also said that Lewis has less than 1% of the UK surface area and 16% of the UK freshwater surface area. All of these figures are hard to understand and it might be easier just to say that Lewis has a lot of lochs. There are some very large lochs such as Langabhat (from the Norse for long loch) and also a very, very many very small lochs often with the Gaelic word (beag) for small in their names. There is even at least one vanishing loch that is sometimes full of water and at other times little more than a small puddle in a black peaty hole. On the Lewis moorland, and especially on the northern part of the island where there are few hills or other features, the lochs are often the most significant landmark and on most of the moor there is a loch every half mile or so to keep the walker on course. The names of the lochs are also interesting with quite a few called, in English, the loch of the mill or the loch of the fort. Close to Dollag's Cottage there is a Loch a'Bhaile which means the village loch, a Loch na Muilne which means the mill loch, a Loch an Duna which means the fort loch and even a loch of the flat stones, a sandy loch and a loch of the sheep. It is easy to see that in days gone past when these lochs got their names they were just as important for navigation as they are to the walker out on the moor in modern times. However, not all of the names are useful in navigation or help with identifying the loch, one such name is the small and big sun lochs where, as far as can be established, it rains just as often as on any other loch on Lewis.
How many can you vist or discover the meaning of the name for during your stay?