In addition to the array of white sandy beaches, Harris offers wonderful opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. Sporting activities for the adventurous include: surfing, kite surfing, kayaking, cycling, mountaineering, rock climbing, fresh water and salt water angling. For those seeking a more restful holiday, experiences of ornithology, photography and wildlife experiences are plentiful. Local information and maps can be found within the cottage.
One of the most stunning coastal walks, from the far end of Northton village, leads past white sandy bays to this ancient ruin. Ransacked by the Vikings in the 800s, the current building dates back to 1528, when it was rebuilt by Alasdair Crotach - the same year Rodel Church was built. Stop on the way back for coffee and home made cakes in the Temple Cafe in the village of Northton.
The Hebrides offers a wide range of Trout and Salmon angling that spans across a large network of lochs and rivers. Every loch has fish in it of some description, whether it be Salmon, Sea Trout, Brown Trout or even the elusive Arctic Char. Also, at certain times of the year, Salmon can be seen shoaling in a nearby estuary.
Safe huge expanses of sand on the quiet beaches make this an ideal destination for families. Remember to pack a kite! Harris Outdoor Adventures organise wind karting, surfing and kayaking for families. Further afield, in Stornoway, Segway Hebrides operates in the Lews Castle grounds. Also in Stornoway is a cinema showing recently released films in the Arts Centre, An Lanntair. The modern Sports Centre in Tarbert has a swimming pool for the occasional rainy day. It also has a sauna/spa and gymnasium.
This beautiful 16th century church can be visited in the village of Rodel. It was built for the Chiefs of the Macleods of Harris. In 1528, Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, 8th Chief, prepared for himself a magnificent wall tomb on the south side of the choir - possibly the finest medieval wall tomb in Scotland, being crowned by an arch and ornated by carvings of biblical design.
The Callanish Stones, one of the most important prehistoric sites in the UK, can be found near the village of Callanish in West Lewis, on the shores of Loch Roag. The Callanish Stones are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stonecircle. They were erected in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. The Visitor centre is home to an exhibition, cafe and gift shop.
The spectacular white sand beaches with turquoise water will take your breath away. The beaches are numerous and it's not unusual to find your own beach. It's no wonder that Luskentyre beach has been repeatedly voted as one of the world's most beautiful beaches.
The St Kilda archipelago lies to the West of Harris. The sea cliffs and stacks are the highest in UK, and provide the bredding grounds for tens of thousands of sea birds. For many reasons, the human population were evacuated, by their own request, over eighty years ago. It became a world Heritage site thirty years ago for its natural and cultural qualities. Day trips, by boat, to St Kilda are available during the summer months.
North Harris provides the opportunity to explore a unique landscape in one of the remotest parts of the UK. Although the hills are not of Munro height, there are plenty of routes to suit all experiences and abilities. Whether it be walking under the impressive Sron Scourst or making the ascent of Sron Ulladale (the largest overhang in Western Europe), North Harris will not disappoint.
Harris is a unique and important place for wildlife and the open landscape provides excellent opportunities for viewing many species of bird, animal and plant. There are good chances of seeing some of Scotland’s most exciting bird species; particularly golden eagles and white tailed eagles. The seas surrounding Harris are particularly rich in marine life. The offshore islands of St Kilda and the Shiants hold globally important colonies of seabirds such as guillemots, razorbill, puffins, fulmars, and gannets. These bird species can often be seen from the Harris coastline on their daily fishing trips from their breeding grounds. Basking sharks and several dolphin and whale species also frequent coastal waters during summer months. Otters are numerous around the shoreline.
Throughout the islands you will find small retail outlets and galleries selling island made jewellery, soap and artwork. Harris Tweed is a traditional luxury textile that is woven on the Island made into a diverse range of products that are on sale in many craft and retail outlets. The recently opened distillery in Tarbert sells Isle of Harris locally produced gin, flavoured with sugar kelp from the Hebridean sea bed. The whisky is work in progress!
From family friendly cafés, with home made cakes and a Hebridean welcome, to restaurants with the freshest local seafood and game, there is something for all tastes. Be sure to sample the local Isle of Harris gin from the new distillery at Tarbert.
With the recent opening of the Hebridean Way cycle route, Harris has become a popular destination for cyclists. The long distance route stretches from Vatersay in the south and ends in Lewis, traversing the length of Harris. There are numerous opportunities for cycling on quiet roads or off road tracks for mountain bikers. Bike hire can be arranged locally.
If mountaineering and kite surfing are not for you, just relax and admire the spectacular sunsets and scenery.