Isle of Lewis

Stunning feature in this months Coast magazine.

It was one of the most intense weeks of our life, starting with my nephew’s wedding in Oxford on the Saturday. My brother invited us to eat as a family on the Friday night so we left Gullane at about 9am, expecting to easily manage a shower and dinner at 7pm; not expecting to drive all the way to Oxford at 30mph. We didn’t get there and actually find the restaurant until 10pm… Oh well, at least we did not all have hangovers for the wedding I suppose, which was something. The wedding was stunning, in Magdalene College – the works: chapel; champagne; meal; ceilidh. Our daughter a bridesmaid, our son did a reading.
We certainly did have a hangover the next day, when we were meant to be driving home. We left it til 12 to try and be legal… Oh dear… Spent Monday and Tuesday recovering and working, then jumped on a plane in Edinburgh at 7am on Wednesday. Nothing, to very dynamic, jet set people I know, but this really was a bit much for me and Doug. By 8am we were in Lewis, and by 9am shooting and styling this breathtaking family home, owned by the most amazing people, Richard and Sally Norman.

They were motivated to build here by their passion for diving. Apparently the underwater landscape on the West coast of Lewis is out of this world. Taking it up as students initially, they went on to holiday in Lewis, for a further 20 years. It has become their second home: any spare time they are not working in London they zoom up here, where they are firmly part of the local community.

Of course, building a house in Lewis when you live in Hertfordshire is not an easy task. They searched for a suitable home for years and ended up buying the site and struggled rather to get the project going: ‘uphill’ is an understatement. Eventually they found the excellent Porteous Architecture and Design and were able to entrust the whole process to them and their chosen main contractor JML Construction, a SIPP specialist, based on the mainland, who also offer a bespoke garden room service all over Scotland.

A fabulous time was had by all, with lobster, crab and langoustines for lunch and lots of hopping on and off boats on glorious white sandy beaches… Magical…

We could hardly tear ourselves away, but knowing that our own chief bridesmaid was preparing a venison stew just up the road meant we had to. Rounding off the day with a joyous reunion dinner and an awe inspiring road trip around the island the next day was unforgettable.

Loch View, Bernera, is available to rent at Lewis Holiday

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