Jean McClure made a dream move to the Outer Hebrides in 2016 and now runs her own business designing and making Harris Tweed bags and accessories. Jean gives us her top tips for things to do on Bernera and Lewis.
Previously from Glasgow, I moved here in May 2016 after finding inspiration from our tour of the Western Isles. I live on Great Bernera with realist artist, Paul Cadden, and our two dogs, Bonnie and Brèagha; a Cocker Spaniel and Border Collie. I now work as a designer and creator of Harris Tweed Bags and Accessories under the name of “Handmade In Bernera”. If you’re visiting Lewis, you can find my bags in Tweedtastic in Stornoway and the Calanais (Callanish) Visitor Centre Gift Shop. In a previous life, I was singer-songwriter, Jean Honeymoon.
Music, Gaelic, Member of Còisir Ghàidhlig Chàrlabhaigh (Carloway Gaelic Choir).
With its soft white sand, turquoise waters, surrounded by rugged landscapes, Bosta Beach (Traigh Bhostadh) on the Island of Great Bernera is a hidden gem and remains unspoiled. Bosta Beach is also home to a family of Highland cows!
Winter when the Milky Way, Shooting Stars and the Aurora Borealis fill the night skies.
There’s lots to do in Great Bernera!
There’s an abundance of wildlife in Bernera – eagles, sea eagles, herons, seals, otters and so much more. I always look forward to the sound of the cuckoo as it means that spring is here. If you’re starting your journey to the Isle of Lewis by ferry, there’s a very good chance you’ll see Dolphins surfing on the Ullapool to Stornoway Ferry’s waves. On a clear and sunny day, flying back home from Glasgow, I spotted a whale as the plane began its decent to Stornoway Airport!
The drive through the winding, spectacular, lunar-like landscapes of Harris is unlike anywhere I’ve seen. I love the fact that it is so alien in appearance that it was filmed as Jupiter in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
On our first day of house viewing, the house we live in now was first on the list. As we approached the driveway, the view of Little Bernera, a little island north of Bernera, was the decider to make an offer even before we set foot over the doorstep.
Little Bernera is accessible only by boat and just this weekend, two years after we moved here, we finally set foot on its shores. Little Bernera is our view every day and it is truly beautiful but we weren’t prepared for how spectacular it turned out to be. It took our breaths away.
Photos: © Jean McClure
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Check out our destination guide to the Outer Hebrides and our listings for the Outer Hebrides including accommodation on Harris and Lewis.
The “Outer Hebrides: The western isles of Scotland, from Lewis to Barra” (Bradt Travel Guides (Regional Guides)) is the only full guide to the Outer Hebrides so definitely worth buying. You can get it from Amazon.
If you want more insider knowledge we have lots more locals and Scotland enthusiasts sharing their advice about what to see in Scotland including: