Even during the holidays there is still work to be done on the croft with sheep needing moved and, of course, this means there is the chance to get out on the hill and enjoy the views and a good walk in the fresh air. Lewis may not seem like the ideal winter holiday destination but it can often be even more spectacular in winter than in summer.
This year I took a few photos while out chasing sheep in the period between Christmas and New Year and, even, on New Year's Day itself and I hope that the visitors to Dollag's Cottage web site might enjoy some of them. With some I've been playing with some high dynamic range photo processing which attempts to deal with very high contrast images. Some people love this processing, while others hate it. Hopefully you will like it and enjoy the photos it produces.
The image at the top of the page was taken late on New Year's Day and you can see that the processing manages to capture both the colours in the moorland and also the sky even in the relatively low light conditions of the late afternoon.
The image below shows your host at Dollag's Cottage, Dollanna, working with her sheep and moving them up the hill at Beinn na Cloich just a short distance from the cottage. The low winter sun was putting on a wonderful display behind the clouds sending shafts of light shooting across the sky. The white line in the image is the con trail from a passing aircraft which was probably on its way to America
Dollag's Cottage @ 7 South Shawbost
Some of the sheep on the neighbouring grazings took exception to the work that was going on and popped up for a quick look just to make sure that everything was to their satisfaction. This one ended up standing up against the sky carefully monitoring the progress:
Once the sheep were moved up the hill they were again free to graze in peace and we were free to enjoy the views and the sunset as we took a walk to the top of Beinn na Cloich to enjoy one of the last evenings of 2013:
The nearby hotel at Borve can provide good meals and we headed up there one lunchtime to have a good feed and took rather a long time over lunch. On the way home the sun was starting to set as we reached Barvas and so it seemed like a good chance to snap another sunset photo:
The 1st January 2014 saw us out on the hill and moor again mostly for the walk but also looking for some sheep just to make sure they were where they should have been. On the way out over Beinn Thorsiadair there is a ruined shieling. These old buildings are where local famlies used to spend the summer often grazing their cattle on the pastures but these days most are in a bad state of repair, though they do make a good spot for the walker to make tea or eat lunch. The sunset on the first day of the new year wasn't especially impressive but even so it, and the hills of Uig and Harris behind, made for a good photo opportunity:
And, of course, Dollanna was able to take in the view from the office where she works every day:
After all the walking on the hill and the working at the sheep there was also plenty of time to head to the Callanish Visitors Centre for some lunch and then a quick run up to look at the standing stones. The stone circle at Callanish is most impressive and is on the "must see" list of almost every visitor and although there are plenty of photos on the Dollag's Cottage web site of the stones a few more will not go amiss though, having stood for 4000 years, they are unlikely to have changed much as the year turned over from 2013 to 2014: