Out And About

Hona is a base from which to immerse yourself in the extraordinary landscapes and seascapes on the west coast of Lewis. Behind the house is the rugged mountain Mealaisbhal; the walk to the summit is criss-crossed with trails, dotted with trout lochs and home to a rich myriad of unusual wildflowers that are shadowed by eagles (the area boasts the largest population of Golden Eagles in the UK). At the top are spectacular anthropomorphic boulders to perch on and look out towards St KiIda and her archipelago of islands.

There are many magnificent beaches nearby, the most impressive of which are the great arcs of white at Uig Sands (where the 12th century Lewis Chessmen were found). There are also smaller, more intimate bays, Shell Beach is a little jewel which truly lives up to its name, but contrasting with all of these is the wilder, boulder beach at Breanais and the dramatic sea cliffs that bookend Mangersta.

The house also contains some of the working tools for observation. Close focus binoculars for watching insects, birds and catching glimpses of seals, dolphins, basking sharks and whales, all local to the area. Take one of the field lenses with you on a walk to magnify your finds, revealing the architectural structures of tiny marsh plants or the whorls in a whelk shell.

A series of cards detail suggested walks and places to visit during your stay (these relate to a large wall mounted aerial view of the landscape around Mangersta) and include bird-watching locations and what to look out for; the best beach to find auger shells or cowries, and where to find the best boulders. Hona’s bookshelves are stocked with helpful guides to identify wildflowers, coastal finds and geological information, as well as social historical information on the area. After a day of fresh air and exploration you can also buy fresh sea food locally and a well stocked community grocery or visit Uig Sands for a fine dining experience with a view you’ll not forget.