Hebridean Way: Day 8 – Day off at Uig Sands

Distance cycled 0 miles / 0 km
Cumulative distance cycled 201.3 miles / 324.1 km
Islands visited (daily total) Lewis
Total islands visited 10+1 of 10
Average speed n/a mph / n/a kmph
Weather conditions Windy and rainy. Very rainy

Joining 2 days worth of cycling together gave us a fantastic semi-wild camping spot and day off to recover and explore an area of Lewis that’s a good 20 miles away from the official Hebridean Way route. We’d seen a large wood carving near the entrance to the Uig Sands and Ardroil Beach community campsite so we went back to learn a little more about it..

Large wood carving of the King piece from the Uig Chessmen chess set, and explanation board

The very much enlarged wood carving of the king from the Uig Chessmen

This sculpture is based on one of the kings in the collection of walrus ivory chess pieces which were discovered nearby in a sand dune in 1831. According to the information board they’re believed to be of Norse origin, and 82 of the pieces are now in the British Museum, with 11 in the National Museum of Scotland.

Abhainn Dearg (Red River) distillery sign board and 2 whisky barrels

A few miles down the road is the first single-malt whisky distillery on the Outer Hebrides since 1829 – Abhainn Dearg or Red River. We understood they were open with limited spaces for tours, but like most of the businesses on the islands they’re closed on Sundays.

However, in their car park were 2 more Uig Chessmen carvings..

Andrew and Julie pulling silly faces in the style of the 2 Uig Chessmen carved statues

Two more carved Uig Chessmen were guarding the empty car park of the distillery – a knight on the left and a berserker on the right. Berserkers would bite their shields before battle to get themselves into a state of frenzy. Look out!

Another reason for the timing of our day off was the weather forecast we’d been keeping a keen eye on and sure enough, at this point the weather started turning for the worse. We headed back to camp via the sandy beach as the drizzle started and before the wind picked up. From the inside it felt like our little tent took a battering!

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