Photos taken around Dollag's Cottage in 2015
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Last year photos taken around the cottage during the holiday season were posted on the page and visitors liked to get to see them and to get to see "current" photos of the local area so it seemed like a good idea to do the same for the 2015 holiday season. As ever these are just snaps taken while out and about in the area, Dollag's Cottage finds itself in the unfortunate position of not having a full time official photographer, so they may not cover all periods of the year or even some of the places or events you might have been interested in. Many were taken while out walking or fishing so they will tend to favour the more remote parts of the moor with rivers and lochs often the main subject matter.

Over the summer period I was also experimenting with a timelapse camera using it to make timelapse videos of the northern lights and the moorland and hopefully I will soon be in a position to put some of the video onto the site as well so you can get to view the Northern Lights in the Shawbost area.

2015 started windy. With Lewis being 40 miles out into the Atlantic in a very exposed location it gets a lot of wind and in early January there was a truly remarkable storm. This photo of a local beach was taken two days after the storm passed and as you can see the sea still hadn't settled:










Dollag's Cottage @ 7 South Shawbost
Lewis, and the attached Isle of Harris, now have a large number of both native golden and reintroduced sea eagles. Unfortunately the high density of the sea eagle reintroductions would appear to be having a significant impact on the golden eagles but the visitor can now see both types of eagle nearly anywhere on the island. It can be tricky trying to get photos of them with my little point and shoot camera but these are two quick snaps of pairs of eagles I took during September 2014. The eagles were actually rather closer to me than appears in the photos but, of course, by the time I get the camera out of my pocket and get it turned on and get the right setting the eagle is half a mile away:










At the end of the croft associated with the cottage is the sea and the bay at Shawbost and despite the wild January weather there were still lots of wonderful light and photo opportunities along the coast line. These photos were snapped while out working at the sheep so while they are not art they show that even in January there is plenty to see in the area including lots of dramatic seascapes:








The image below shows the freshwater loch which borders the crofts and the village as a January squall comes rushing in to blow things about a bit, dump some hail and then go rushing off out into the Atlantic:










Of course no visit to the area is complete without dropping by to see the standing stones at Callanish and this image was taken in early January and shows the West Row at the main Callanish stone circle:









With the wild storms of January fading memories the days started getting longer and it was no time until serious work at sheep started on the croft and thoughts started to turn to warmer days and, maybe, even a little bit of fishing. May is often said to be one of the best months for brown trout fishing on the island but there is also a small spring run of salmon and a May day on the moor, loch or river can produce some great light and opportunities for a photo:











During May Dollanna had some fishing guests and one of them joined me for a day at some of the more remote lochs on the moor. The fishing was difficult with bright skies and a cool breeze but it was a wonderful day to be out and we all caught something plus got to see eagles and other interesting stuff out on the moor:












It the summer it gets dark for only very short periods when you are this far north and that means long evenings and, by the end of June, no real darkness at all. Of an evening it can be nice to wander up a hill overlooking the cottage to get a good view of the whole of the West Side of the island:














Although Lewis is often considered to be flat there are some modest hills and the country rolls so when walking you often feel like it is anything but flat. However, this does mean that, as for the photos above, there are lots of vantage points from which to take in the views:















With so much wonderful, and remote, countryside it is easy for every visitor to find their way off the beaten track and head to some remote spot. Some of us make a little more effort and try to reach into the most remote and inaccessible country that we have here in the UK and this can mean spectacular drives out remote estate tracks and then long walks over hill and moor:















Sometimes we even get to go fishing after all of that:














Over the season there were a number of fishing guests who came to the cottage and I was lucky enough to manage a few days out with some of them and we had some considerable success at brown trout and sea trout though salmon were very difficult to get this year due to the complete lack of rain after about the middle of July. One guest who had come the whole way from Belgium had never managed to catch a salmon or sea trout before, despite considerable effort and traveling to other areas, so some fishing was arranged for him and to start with we headed for this spectacular location, if you've come all that way then it makes sense to get your first Lewis cast on a very remarkable loch indeed:

















This is our visitor fishing down the side of the loch, this photo was taken from under the huge cliff you can see in the image above, it is amazing how small the angler becomes in this enormous landscape, the angler is that little dot standing in the loch:

















In the end the visitor got his first ever sea trout from a small river and it provided good sport before being released to continue on its journey upstream. Lewis rivers may not be large but they can provide fantastic sport and a very good chance of a fish and the photo below shows the guest playing his first ever sea trout:


















The day brightened up and so it seemed sensible to change location to give a better chance of more fish and it wasn't long before the guest was into yet more sea trout finishing his day with 4 decent fish and a big smile having broken his sea trout duck at last:


















As Dollag's Cottage sits on a working croft there are always sheep to be worked on, and sheep coming and going in the area and this photo of Dollanna, your host at Dollag's Cottage, working her sheep was taken in North Shawbost, the northern part of the village where the cottage is located. Dollag's Cottage itself is in South Shawbost. Some of the visitors to the cottage this Spring enjoyed getting to bottle feed the pet lambs and getting a little insight into life on a working croft:


















Not all sheep are as helpful and cooperative as the ones shown above and these 4 have eluded Dollanna, Bubbles the dog and several others by running onto this rather inaccessible ledge when attempts are made to move them. They have used this ledge trick on 4 occasions now but cottage visitors with some idea as to how we might catch them are more than welcome to make suggestions:

















During the year the new Stornoway car ferry began regular services from Ullapool to the island. The new boat, the Loch Seaforth, seems a much better sea boat than the previous ferry and even in relatively rough seas you can sit on the ferry and not be aware that you are at sea. Guests seem very keen on the upstairs viewing lounge and frequently sit up there with binoculars watching whales, dolphins and a wide range of bird life. This is both the new, on the left, and old ferries on the pier in Stornoway:

















Rainbow close to Dollag's Cottage on the Isle of Lewis
Atlantic storm rushing in to Dalbeg beach, Isle of Lewis
There are quite a few visitors to the island who come to see a wild storm and experience what it is like to be in mid-Atlantic when a big storm and waves approaching 60 feet in height come rushing onto the coast. The sheep on the croft seem to be completely unconcerned by big storms and this photo shows the two rams, Leistair and Spofdaigh, making their way up the croft to get fed on a January morning. Leistair has, as can be seen, a much better turn of speed than Spofdaigh and was something akin to the "Red Rum" of sheep when it came to winning the race to the food bucket:










Sheep on the croft on the Isle of Lewis
Isle of Lewis winter seascape
Isle of Lewis winter seascape
Shawbost loch in a winter squall
West Row at Callanish Stone Circle
Spring salmon fishing on the Isle of Lewis
Trout fishing in spring time on the Isle of Lewis
Shawbost including Dollag's Cottage on the West Side of Lewis
The West Side of the Isle of Lewis
Landscape from Achmore on the Isle of Lewis
Remote track on the Isle of Lewis
View of North Harris hills from the Isle of Lewis
Salmon and sea trout fishing on the Isle of Lewis
Dramatic salmon and sea trout fishing on the Isle of Harris
Fishing for salmon and sea trout in the Hebrides
Dollag's Cottage guest playing his first sea trout
Playing a sea trout on the Isle of Lewis
Working sheep in South Shawbost
Shawbost sheep on a rocky ledge
Stornoway to Ullapool ferry on the pier at Stornoway
This is the Loch Seaforth setting sail from Stornoway:

















Calmac Loch Seaforth ferry setting sail from Stornoway
Over the summer period I set out across the Lewis moorland for some camping. It is very nice indeed to have a lovely warm cottage and a hot shower to come home to but now and again it is also good to spend a night on the moor enjoying some solitude and a few hours away from the home comforts offered by Dollag's Cottage. I set up camp on a little rise overlooking a moorland loch and took these photos of sunset and sunrise from my campsite. Camping sites really don't get any better than this:

















Sunset while camping on remote Lewis moorland
Sunrise while camping on Lewis
In the morning this was the view that greeted me from the loch as I filled my pot with some water to make breakfast and tea:

















Early morning lochside view on the Isle of Lewis
This is another campsite that I occupied for a night in mid-September, and yet another sunset. As I lay in my tent during the night there was a modest display of the Northern Lights so I was able to open the door and lie in bed watching the lights illuminate the sky before nodding off to sleep:

















Sunset while camping on the Isle of Lewis
Once more the nights are starting to shorten and the moor is changing colour but the low light and new colour scheme still make for some lovely views and great walks even on a cool October morning:

















Isle of Lewis salmon river on an October morning
This year Lewis has provided us with something of an "Indian Summer" and although the nights are getting longer we have had some wonderful days with shirtsleeve weather well into October and the salmon angler has been somewhat miffed by the bright sun. In some cases it has been necessary to resort to fishing in the shadow of a very famous bridge, or even to just taking photos, but in other cases, such as the example below on a remote trout loch, there is little or nothing that can be done but to get the stove going and make tea:

















Fishing for salmon in the shadow of a bridge
Hopeless October conditions for salmon fishing in the Hebrides
Making tea on a remote Lewis trout loch
Hopefully you have enjoyed these photos taken during the 2015 season. As ever Dollanna has enjoyed welcoming her guests to the cottage and has enjoyed getting them fishing, directing them to good walks, giving them information on where the see otters, pointing them at good spots to watch the eagle and helping them bottle feed the pet lambs on the croft. Dollanna is looking forward to welcoming her 2016 visitors to the cottage and, hopefully, they will enjoy themselves as much as the 2015 visitors have.

















A comfortable seat up the Gress River on the Isle of Lewis
Sunrise on the Lewis moorland
Stornoway from the shore at Steinis
Lews Castle in Stornoway
North Harris or Amhuinnsuidhe from the south of Lewis
Out among the hills on the Isle of Lewis
An eagle
A group of deer on the Lewis moorland
An early October day on the North Lewis moor
Drinking tea while out walking on the Isle of Lewis