The Magnificent Seven
There is a myriad of things to do on Harris, and our guests typically have very diverse holidays. But here we list what — according to a deeply informal survey of our guests — are the Seven most popular activities both on the Estate and around Harris.
- Bag a Salmon. Even those who have not tried fly fishing should take the time to try this out on our fisheries on the Laxdale River. We can give some tuition, and there is nothing quite like the excitement when, after casting for some time, your line suddenly goes taut and it is ‘game on’ between you and the salmon. And even if nothing is nipping, we do not get many complaints from anyone about spending a few hours on or beside a loch surrounded by the stark hills of West Harris. As the saying goes, ‘if fishing is a religion, fly fishing is high church.’ If you are a novice or aspiring angler, and want to partake, we have a special ‘Have A Go’ offering fully explained on our fishing page.
- Experience Luskentyre Sands. The beach of Luskentyre is often cited as being one of the most beautiful in Britain, and even in the face of very stiff competition from the many glorious beaches of Harris, we have to say, Luskentyre is special. The massive sweep of the sands, the views over the sound of Taransay, the looming sand dunes, make this a wonderful place to walk, picnic and ponder.
- Walk to a Temple. One of the great classic coastal walks is at Northton, where beneath the looming Tow Head you can wander across machair grasslands rich in birdlife, and then follow a coastal path out to the ruins of a 16th century chapel. The chapel itself was built o the ruins of an ancient pictish fortress, and it is easy to see why previous inhabitants chose such a stirring strategic location, which has views out to the headland, the aptly named — for anyone in an an under-powered boat — Cape Difficulty. And after you walk back, it would be derelict not to stop in at the Temple Cafe for lunch or afternoon tea.
- Pick some vegetables. Guests say it is an epiphany, eating food of such freshness and taste, devoid of the deadening hand of a long supply chain. We advise guests to connect with our ‘Veg-maestro’, Fiona Toor, who will be able to give you some direction on what is being harvested during your stay. Plus you get to see our wonderful Round Garden, and experience its central echo.
- Visit St Kilda. During the summer months, many make this pilgrimage, which is just 50 miles west from Harris. Leverburgh is the quickest jump-off point to sail with Kilda Cruises to this UNESCO world Heritage site. While a rough crossing may sort out the Sea Dogs from the Landlubbers, everyone seems mesmerised when reaching this extraordinary destination. St Kilda is essentially the tip of a mountain in the Atlantic, and it seems to be the Land that Time Forgot, with its flocks of wheeling sea birds, craggy spires, wry Viking goats, and poignant remains of its last inhabitants, who were evacuated in 1932.
- Explore Taransay. It is one of the special aspects of visiting the estate that we can sometimes offer guests a trip over to the island of Taransay.
This is a truly special island, covering about 3,500 acres of rugged pristine wilderness, and you will get your fix of beaches, mountains, ancient ruins, and sightings of deer, seals and birdlife during your visit. We are frequently across in summer months, but crossings can be less frequent in other times of the year. So please indicate your interest when you book, and we will do our best to get you over during your stay. Some guests have requested to be marooned on Taransay, but we make return to Harris mandatory at the end of the day
- Zilch. You could put on the Sou’wester and have that stroll, but then again, the fire is blazing, the tea is brewing, and your book is very good. So you could decide to do some ‘coccooning’ and chill, while soaking up the view. After all, you are on holiday.