Views in and around Stornoway
Stornoway is the main town of the Western Isles and the capital of Lewis and Harris in Scotland.
The town’s population is around 6,953, making it by far the largest town in the Outer Hebrides, as well as the third largest island town in Scotland after Kirkwall in Orkney and Lerwick in Shetland. The traditional civil parish of Stornoway, which includes various nearby villages, has a combined population of just over 10,000.
Stornoway is an important port and the major town and administrative center of the Outer Hebrides. It is home to The Western Isles Council and a variety of educational, sporting and media establishments. Until relatively recently, observance of the Christian Sabbath (Sunday) has been associated with Hebridean culture. Recent changes mean that Sundays in Lewis now more closely resemble those in most parts of the Southern Isles.
The town was founded by Vikings in the early 9th century, with the Old Norse name Stjórnavágr. The settlement grew up around a sheltered natural harbor and became a hub for people from all over the island, who travelled to Stornoway either by family boat or by horse-drawn coach, for onward travel to and trade with the rest of Scotland and further afield.
At some point in the mid 1500s, the already ancient MacLeod castle in Stornoway ‘fell victim to the cannons of the Duke of Argyle’. By the early 1600s rumbling trade wars came to a head, and all further government attempts to curtail traditional shipping rights were firmly resisted by the islanders, as was an attempt by James VI, King of Scotland, to establish on the island the Scottish trading company known as the Fife Adventurers around 1598. As a result, James VI transferred Lewis to the Mackenzie’s of Seaforth in 1610.
In 1844, The Mackenzie’s sold Stornoway, and the Isle of Lewis as a whole, to Sir James Matheson (and his descendants) who built the present Lews Castle on a hill overlooking the bay of Stornoway. Fragmentary ruins of the old Stornoway Castle had survived in the bay until that time, and can even be seen in Victorian photographs, but Matheson destroyed them in 1882, in order to expand the harbor; a few remains of Stornoway Castle still remain, hidden beneath pier number 1, close to the shore, slightly west of center. By 1863, the town had become a police burgh.
In 1918, Matheson sold the island to William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme. Lord Leverhulme held the island for a short time. His economic plans for the island (together with various business setbacks) overstretched his finances. Faced with failure in Lewis, he gave Stornoway parish to the people of the town. The Stornoway Trust was formed and continues to administer the parish for the people.
During World War II the Stornoway aerodrome was used by the military and the town was the base for anti-submarine planes and a fueling station for other aircraft. The castle was used as a hospital and living quarters for the personnel of 700 Naval Air Squadron. Between 1986 and 1993, the airport was employed as a “NATO Forward Operating Base for Air Defense aircraft protecting the fleet” for six weeks each year.
- Location: Stornoway, Outer Hebrides, Isle of Lewis and Harris, Scotland, United Kingdom
- Date Taken: 2019-08-19
- Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
- Lens: Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-200 mm F/3-5.6 IS
- Exposure Program: Manual
- Image Quality: JPEG
- F-Stop: f/6.3
- Exposure Time: 1/500 sec
- ISO Speed: ISO-320
- Focal Length: 170 mm
- Metering Mode: Center Weighted Average
Thank you very much for taking the time to join me on my travels through Scotland one Photo at a time. I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did.
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