Updated: Mar 17
Delve into the historic past of our area. Prehistoric standing stones, fighting clans, inspiring Christian history, mystery and myth are all to be found here on the Galson Estate.
Although no one knows for sure, it is likely that these prehistoric ruins are the remains of activity dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age periods (2500BC to 500AD). What may have been a Neolithic chambered cairn seems to have been made into a house in the Iron Age, with a large walled enclosure attached where sheep or cattle would have been kept. The ancient archaeological site overlooks Loch an Dùin which has an Iron Age man-made island in the middle, joined to the shore by a stone-built causeway.
From the parking area at Loch an Dùin, there is a short but boggy walk up hill to Steinacleit, where there are magical views across the Galson Estate and the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Dùn Èistean
On the tiny island of Dùn Èistean you can see the remains of a defended settlement thought to have been built by the Clan Morrison who lived in Ness. The clan would take refuge here during troubled times in Lewis around 500 years ago, when clans fought each other, and the Scottish Crown, for political control.
If you would like to know more about these troubled times, and the lives of the clans, there are interpretation boards telling the story by the footbridge over to Dùn Èistean. Access is via a rough track road from the village of Knockaird, Ness.
3. St Moluag’s
This medieval church is found in Eoropie, and is the best preserved of several small ruined chapels found in Ness. It was restored and re-roofed in 1912 and is still used today by the Scottish Episcopal church. It is thought to have been the MacLeod’s church, and was built sometime between the 1100 and 1300s AD. It has become associated in oral tradition with those who seek to be healed, and today you can leave a prayer message for someone you know who is hurting. The church is full of character and open to the public daily.
4. Clach an Trushal
In the village of Ballantrushal, standing tall at 5.8 metres, is the Clach an Trushal standing stone, one of the tallest standing stones in Scotland. It was possibly once part of a larger stone circle and avenue, dating to the Neolithic period, 4,500 years ago. If you explore the drystone wall adjacent to the stone, you will find other massive stones which may also have been part of the circle.
There are several local legends surrounding the stone. One suggests that it marks the site of a great battle between the MacAulays and the Morrisons whilst another indicates that it was a sea-marker in pre-historic times.
5. Taigh ’an Fiosaich
Standing proud on the edge of a cliff far out on the Skigersta moor are the ruins of a house, ‘Taigh ’an Fiosaich’, and church, ‘Eaglais ‘An Fiosaich’, both built by John Morrison Nicolson in 1905. John was a Baptist minister originally from Ness who had emigrated to America. When he returned with his American wife, he built the church to have services for the locals who were at their shielings for the summer grazing of their cattle.
Although it is quite a trek from Skigersta to reach the site of Taigh ‘an Fiosaich, it is worth the effort. The house is perched on top of a towering cliff with breathtaking views back along the coast to Skigersta and onwards to Tolsta.