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Day 3 |
May 27, 2011

Stornoway

By Gordon Corrigan, Military Historian

Co-ordinates at 1500 hrs: 58, 12, 20 N; 06, 23, 13 W
Weather at 1500 hrs: Overcast, drizzle.
Air Temperature at 1530 hrs: 9.6 F/49 C
Pressure at 1530 hrs: 1003Pa
Wind at 1530 hrs: 37/53 kph

The Silver Explorer docked alongside in the port of Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, at 0730 hrs, and after a hearty breakfast, guests disembarked for a morning tour. Our first visit was to the henge at Callanish, a ceremonial avenue leading to a ring of stones calculated at being around 5,000 years old – older than Stonehenge and, unlike Stonehenge, accessible to all. There are numerous theories as to the intended purpose of these rings of stone that are scattered all over the Orkneys and the Hebrides, but the most likely explanation is that they were an early attempt at logarithm tables.

Following a walk round the stones and a chance to enjoy a cup of tea in the visitor centre, we travelled to Dun Carloway where we could examine the remnants of a ‘brioch’ or ‘breoch’, a stone tower dating from around the first century AD and which are found in both Ireland and Scotland. Again, there is much discussion as to the purpose of these structures. Too small to be credible defence works, yet too complex to have been built by a single family, they may have originally been watchtowers, or signaling towers, later perhaps appropriated as a residence for a local chief.

After luncheon on the Silver Explorer, the afternoon was spent at leisure with some guests electing to go to an exhibition of the Lewis Chessmen in the Stornoway museum, while others marveled at the local building style, an exciting blend of the damp and the grey.

Following afternoon tea to the melodious accompaniment of Alfredo, our Recap featured Victoria Salem on the subject of stone circles and Imogen Corrigan on the Lewis Chessmen.

At 1900 hours, guests gathered for the captain’s welcome cocktail party, at which senior officers of the crew were introduced, after which all thoroughly enjoyed the welcome dinner.

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