Point (an Rudha in Gaelic) is a small peninsula which juts into the Minch on the east side of the Hebridean Isle of Lewis. It is about 11 miles long and is joined to the rest of the island by a narrow isthmus (the Braighe). Point is a place of beautiful scenery, remarkable history, stunning wildlife and vibrant communities. It is currently home to about 2000 people, living in 14 villages; community spirit is strong, Gaelic is spoken by many people in the area and there are strong moves to maintain the area’s cultural heritage.
There is a regular bus service (except Sundays) to Stornoway and Portnaguran from the top of the road (about ¼ mile away) and in addition, buses stop outside the house twice daily.
In spring and summer we love listening to the skylarks singing overhead all day at our cottage and in the evening we listen carefully to hear the thrumming of snipe and Corncrakes calling. The sea and Garrabost Beach are at the bottom of the croft although to reach them requires agility and a bit of scrambling. There are cliff top walks and the beach has otters and a wide variety of wild birds.
There is easier access to the shore at the Dibidale Burn on the west side of the road; go down the road, turn first left and through double gates; follow the track to the end, however when you go through the gate there is still a scramble down to the shore. This area is a seal colony and at low tide, there are lots of seals basking on rocks. It is lovely, and easier, to walk along the cliff top, past Stac Mór Garrabost, looking out for birds and seals.
Bayble beach is two miles away; it has a delightful sandy beach, a pier for fishing, a small harbour for boats and good parking. Great skuas (bonksies) nest on the moorland around Garrabost and lapwing, dunlin, redshank and oyster catchers are just some of the birds that breed locally.
Tiumpanhead Lighthouse is at the far end of Point (about six miles away); the sea is very deep here and it is a good place for spotting whales, dolphins, and porpoises. There are also colonies of fulmar petrels and kittiwakes on the cliffs. En route have a look at Loch an Tiumpan; this is a very good place for seeing migrating birds – as well as a very tame group of mallard ducks! You might like to check out www.thewesternisles.co.uk for more information on local wildlife.
On the shore of Broad Bay, at the east end of the Braighe are the ruins of St Columba’s Church (Eaglais na H-Aoidhe), one of the most important religious site on Lewis. The church was built on the site of a cell occupied by St Catan, who was a Celtic saint in the 7th century. St Columba’s Church was one of the monasteries of the Canons Regular of St Augustine who were established at Scone in 1114 at the request of Alexander 1. The church is the burial site of the MacLeod Clan Chiefs. Urras Eaglais na H-Aoidhe is a group of local people who are working to conserve and preserve this ancient and fascinating building.
To the south-east of the main road through Garrabost there is Dursainean chambered cairn and Clach Ghlas cairn and standing stone. These can be reached by way of a signposted circular walk from Garrabost, near the churches.