The Met Office produce average weather info for many weather centres in the UK and so it is possible to get some idea how the Lewis climate compares to the rest of the UK.
Some people are concerned that Lewis weather will be dull and miserable and this is far from the truth – without question Lewis does get an awful lot of weather but this also means that it gets a lot more sun than you might expect. In May, the sunniest month, Stornoway averages 202 hours of sun (that's six and a half hours of sun per day), London averages 170 hours, Edinburgh averages 188 hours and Cardiff averages 190 hours of sun. May is not quite the driest month of the year on Lewis, with 63mm of rainfall, and that honour falls to June when Stornoway averages 62mm of rainfall, London averages 47mm, Edinburgh averages 61mm and Cardiff averages 66mm. Kendal in the Lake District has fewer hours of sun and a lot more rain, nearly double, in an average year than Lewis.
As you might expect of an island in mid-Atlantic temperatures tend to be a little down on more sheltered areas and, what the Met Office figures overlook, Lewis can be a lot more windy on some days than other areas of the UK, in fact some European visitors come in winter specifically to experience the spectacular winter storms and seas coming on to the west coast of the island. The positive side of this is that Lewis weather tends to be quite “fast” and as there are few hills it is rare to get murky dull weather or rain that hangs about for days on end. It is much more common to get all 4 seasons in one day and this can make for wonderful views and photo opportunities as the light changes across the landscape.
Visitors travel to Lewis because it is different to the place where they normally live and when you consider that it is 530 miles from London but only 500 miles from Iceland, about 420 miles from Norway and further north than bits of Alaska you can see why a Lewis adventure is unlikely to result in weather, views, beaches, wildlife, people, culture, plant life or geology just like you get at home. Lewis really is a spectacular holiday destination in every sense and that includes the constantly changing weather.
If you are coming from further south then it is likely that you will notice that Lewis is somewhat cooler, in summer, than your home area. July and August are joint warmest months on the island with an average maximum temperature of 16.1 degrees C while London can expect averages around 23 degrees C, Edinburgh expects 19 degrees C and Cardiff expects an average around 21 degrees C for the months of July and August. This is not to say that Lewis doesn’t get its share of hot days for you to enjoy the many beaches but, as it is a relatively small island, a breeze off the Atlantic can cool things down a little bit and take the edge off the average figure. Of course in winter the sea keeps Lewis relatively mild and average temperatures in December, January and February are very similar indeed for Stornoway, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff.
All those lochs and rivers need to get filled up somehow and the wettest month of the year on Lewis is January with 148mm of rain on average. London has an average of 41mm of rain for January with Edinburgh having 67mm and Cardiff having 121mm. However, Lewis fares really well compared with the west coast of mainland Scotland with Ullapool, for example, having 236mm of rain in January despite being only about 40 miles from Stornoway and Fort William has 248mm of rainfall, on average, for January.
In summary Lewis summer weather tends to be somewhat cooler than the south of the UK and it does have the potential to be rather more windy but in terms of rain then Lewis fares much better than the west coast of mainland Scotland at all times of year with the difference being greatest in the Autumn and Winter months. Compared to a similar holiday destination in England such as the Lake District then Lewis has more hours of sun and much less rain in an average year. In winter, due to the moderating effect of the sea, long periods of frost or deep snow are rare on Lewis.
Below: A January swell coming on to the coast close to the cottage.
Below: A bright October day at a nearby stone circle.
Below: A typical May day at one of the stone circles in the Callanish complex.
Below: torrential rain on a remote moorland loch
Below: Dollanna, your host at Dollag's Cottage, out working at sheep on the moorland in front of the cottage on an April day. Note the light covering of snow on the hill at the extreme right of the image.
Below: Dollanna working at sheep over the New Year period under a wonderful winter sunset.
Below: A shower blowing in on a September day.
Below: Snowy winter sunset taken about a mile from the cottage
Below:The fantastic, changable, light makes Lewis a wonderful place to take photographs. This was taken in July from the hill above Dollag's Cottage and the cottage is actually in the photo right in the centre on the coastline.
Below: Low January light on the shore at Shawbost, just a short walk from the cottage.
Below: Dramatic seas on the nearby coastline after a big January storm
Below: A misty Autumn morning in the far west of Lewis
Below: A wonderful May morning which delivered a lot of weather ranging from warm sunshine and shirtsleeve warmth to heavy hail showers from the big banks of cloud. You can also see traces of snow on the very highest peaks and this fell during the previous night, and was gone by lunchtime.
Below: On Losgaintir (Luskintyre) beach on a July day.
Below: The nightmare of every salmon angler - The Carloway River after a dry Spring and early Summer.
Below: Dollanna on the hill above Dollag's Cottage on a November afternoon. The older generation on the island report that they would often not bring in their harvest until November and the late Autumn period can often produce fantastic weather though the sun is lower and the days are much shorter.
Below: On the beach on a nearby freshwater loch on a November day.
Below: Autumn colours on the moorland.
Below: two photos taken on the same September day within a short distance of each other - in the morning there was bright blue sun and fluffy clouds and in the evening there were heavy rain showers and spectacular rainbows.
Enjoying the sun (Lewis, despite what you might expect, can have a lot more sun than most UK holiday destinations) on Shawbost beach nearby the cottage: