Friday, 16 October 2015

South Harris and St Clements

I didn't know how to read the sunrises and sunsets in the Outer Hebrides.  This early morning sky could have meant anything and I wouldn't have been very interested.  I was simply interested in how beautiful it was.

It was Day 4 of what Graham called our Lewis and Harris Safari and we we were headed to South Harris via some desolate but beautiful countryside.

Graham didn't tell me about St Clements Church at Rodel, kept it as a surprise for me.  And a great surprise it was.  It was built in the early 1500s and I've just found a description of it as ‘the grandest medieval building in the Western Isles’.

It was hauntingly empty inside so was hard to imagine as a church.  The absence of furniture and religious artifacts highlighted the rock of the walls and timbers of the roof.  Quite atmospheric with muted light from old and dirty windows.


The building is now de-consecrated but a few bouquets of nearly dead flowers were evidence of a reasonably recent event.  A MacLeod event perhaps?  (The other name of the church is Mausoleum of the MacLeods).


 The beaches on this part of the island were all but deserted, wild and remote.

I imagine living here would not be easy. 


  1. Just a mile or so north of the church was used for filming 2001 Space Odyssey. If you didn't drive back up the east coast then you would have missed it.

  2. I love the photo with the flowers and the narrow window... And I can well imagine someone choosing that as a special place for a ceremony. Not too long a ceremony though, perhaps... (Looks like it might be a wee bit chilly and damp!)

  3. It might not be easy to live there, but it would certainly be a great place for those who want privacy. Lovely area, and i like that church. It reminds me of a rock cave, such as early, persecuted people might have gone into to worship, with few amenities but much fervor.


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