Pabay Mor ( island of the Priest) And a visit to the Calanais Standing Stones.

Yesterday we had a visit to the Calanais Standing stones and Uige beach before we due on our boat the Cuma.

Uig Beach

lies on the south western side of the Isle of Lewis and is one of the largest beach areas.

Uige beach

The beach has places to camp and also has a toilet block.


Uig beach was where the discovery of a Viking Chess set in a small stone chamber at the edge of the Beach. These pieces are now in several museums, including the National Museum for Scotland and the Museum in Stornoway

The Calanais Standing Stones are an extraordinary cross-shaped setting of stones erected 5,000 years ago. They predate England’s famous Stonehenge monument, and were an important place for ritual activity for at least 2,000 years.

Kalie at the Stones.

We don’t know why the standing stones at Calanais were erected, but our best guess is that it was a kind of astronomical observatory.

Patrick Ashmore, who excavated at Calanais in the early 1980s writes: ‘The most attractive explanation… is that every 18.6 years, the moon skims especially low over the southern hills. It seems to dance along them, like a great god visiting the earth. Knowledge and prediction of this heavenly event gave earthly authority to those who watched the skies.’

It was grand to see the Cuma again and see Murdo the skipper and Gary. COVID had been hard on their business like many but we had a great catch up.

The Cuma

We arrived at Minavaig at 1300 after a grand walk to see the Cuma out boat awaiting. After tea and sandwiches we went of for a sail. The weather out of the protection of the Islands was a bit rough so we came back in and decided to go to Papay Mor. We went in close then by inflatable . Then it was a slippery scramble onto the shore.

The wee island has superb beaches and dunes and we had a good walk round passed the old settlements. It’s amazing to think this island was inhabited and cleared for sheep in 1827. We had a few hours on shore saw a few Sea Eagle’s plus various bird life.

It was then back for a great meal on the Cuma . The boat has to Stornaway for hopefully a quick fix. So we head round the Butt of Lewis for Stornaway. Weather a bit damp now but great to back on the Cuma.

About MV Cuma

The MV Cuma was initially constructed for scientific marine research. The hull is of timber and was built by Samuel White of Cockenzie in 1967 to Lloyds+100 A1 specifications. The vessel was converted and upgraded for commercial diving and cruising charter operations and complies with Maritime & Coastguard Agency Code of Practice Regulations. The vessel is 18.5 meters long and is powered by a 200 horsepower Gardner engine, which is renowned for its reliability. Ample 240 Volt power is delivered by a quiet running generator.

Comfortable accommodation is provided for 12 persons in two berth cabins each with hot and cold water. There is also separate crew accommodation. There is a large deck saloon with ample seating and large viewing windows. There are also 3 toilets and two showers. The accommodation is centrally heated throughout.

The galley is equipped with gas cookers, microwave, fridge and deep freeze. There is also a tumble drier provided.

Meals – A variety of cereals and a choice of any cooked breakfast up to a full Scottish. Pack lunches are also supplied. Main meals are provided in the evening.

The wheelhouse is well equipped and the instrumentation includes radar, two GPS navigators, two VHF radios and one DSC controller, Navtex, MF single sideband radio, autopilot and depth sounder. There is a diving compressor feeding the bottle bank on deck. There is also a dive ladder and tender with outboard motor.

The Cuma’s skipper, Murdo Macdonald has a lifetimes knowledge of the Outer Hebrides’ seaboard. Depending on your interests and the weather conditions, Murdo will choose the best route. Cathie is renowned for her excellent cuisine and generous servings. Alcohol is not available on board but there is no problem with bringing your own. If you are getting picked up there is no problem stopping for supplies whilst at Stornoway.

A classic

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Islands, Mountaineering, People, Recomended books and Guides, Well being, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Pabay Mor ( island of the Priest) And a visit to the Calanais Standing Stones.

  1. Martin Briscoe says:

    Have a look on iPlayer at Mermaid Tales, Kate MacLeod went around that area and think she visited there.

    Liked by 1 person

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