Interested in an EV road trip? With the best photo spots? During my 5 months EV road trip through Europe I worked out some itineraries which could also work for you. This time I am going to introduce the Outer Hebrides island of LEWIS & HARRIS!
To see the exact position of a photo spot, you can click on the travel blog entry which is linked to every spot. This will open the travel journal which is combined with an interactive map.
The whole 5 month trip you can find here, at least what we travelled so far (it is in real time with live tracking):
This article is a must for anyone looking for the best photo spots in Lewis and/or Harris.
The Outer Hebrides island was part of our 143 days EV road trip.
Find out where to find rapid electric vehicle chargers when driving in Lewis and Harris so you don't get range anxiety while enjoying the beauty of the island.
There aren't many electric vehicle chargers on the island and some may not work - so better be prepared and organized about when and where to charge! I will give you some advice on this.
If you don't like reading or want to get inspired before reading - you can watch here the video with the highlights:
Charging places IN LEWIS & HARRIS
Charging your electric vehicle is not always easy in the Outer Hebrides. There are only two rapid charging stations (50kW), one in Lewis (Stornoway) and one in Harris (Tarbert). At Stornoway we faced hour-long queues, especially when a ferry arrived. We have often decided that it makes more sense to charge on a slower 22kW charger but use the charging time to eat or do something else.
In Tarbert it was a bit easier. When we were on the island (July 2023) charging was still free, but we were already seeing a new charging point that was about to go live. And once that's online, it won't be free anymore.
There are a few 22kW chargers across the island. If you drive a lot, I would recommend planning your charging stops accordingly.
Some are located next to the village cafe and I think it's only fair to contribute to the community by enjoying a cup of coffee or tea or even by having lunch there while charging.
For example, we did that at the Uig community center which is great when you want to go to the Mangersta Stacks.
And in Breaclete, which is very convenient to visit Great Bernera with your electric vehicle.
If you want to see North Lewis there is a charging station near Eoropie Beach which is great for visiting the beach but also Butt of Lewis, Port Stoth etc. However, nothing to do at this charging station, it is located on school grounds (albeit open to the public), so waiting for the car to charge at 22kW is no fun.
Luckily our Fiat 500e only takes 2 to 2.5 hours (on the fastest charge setting) from empty to 100% and we usually stop when it's at 40% and we know we won't have a rapid charger. In 1 to 1.5 hours we're done with a full charge and usually combine this with a packed lunch (picnic tables are all over the island).
But I know some cars don't pick up the juice that quickly and I've heard of some Zoe drivers taking two hours to charge 20% at those charge points - that sucks!
In Harris there is a 22 kW charger down South in Leverburgh, next to the ferry terminal.
But to be fair - the distances in Harris are so short and sooner or later you will be back in Tarbert with two 22kW chargers and one rapid charger, which will suffice.
One piece of urgent advice: check the ChargePlaceScotland app regularly to make sure the charging point you are trying to charge to is working! They seem to go out of service on a regular basis and it's no fun being stuck in a remote location with no e-juice and no alternative charging point!
Don't forget your CPS RFID card, the old charging stations don't accept charging via app (if you have mobile phone reception anyway...).
See the location of the two RAPID EV chargers (50 kW) here:
Another tip, if you are catching the ferry from Tabert to Uig on the Isle of Skye on the way back, make sure you fully charge your car in Tabert - the charging
situation in Skye is dire, when we were there there was NONE RAPID CHARGER at all and only one 22kW charger with one socket in Portree.
The nearest charging points are all near the Skye Bridge as you exit the island.
All other EV chargers are out of order and we have met some EV drivers who have cancelled their stay in Skye and turned around due to the poor charging situation.
Skye got a really bad reputation for that, and while people usually love Skye, mass tourism, inflated prices and the lack of working charging points seem to be changing that at the moment.
It almost seems like a method of trying to get rid of EV drivers. Is this a way to reduce overtourism?!?
So charge to 100% in Tarbert or you won't be able to drive through Skye to get home!!!
PHOTOGRAPHING IN HARRIS
CONNECTInG TO HARRIS
>>>>> click on the travel blog entry to see the exact location on a map plus photos <<<<<
Don't worry, I'll give you some specific photo spots later.
But before I do that, I want to tell you something: Harris isn't a place where you can just zip from one Instagram photo spot to the next. Harris wants to be conquered, discovered, experienced.
I highly recommend: turn on your camera, ready to shoot, and drive around. The distances are short enough for that.
Take 1 or better 2 days to simply experience the island. Train your eye to see the little things. In Harris, it's easy to stop near something of interest you've seen.
I promise - once you've focused on seeing the typical but maybe small things of Harris, you'll want to stop every 5 minutes for another photo!
For example, there are old and rusty red phone boxes (but they still work and some even accept cards, although you think they're going to collapse at any moment!).
There are fascinating derelict buildings that still have furniture inside.
Little lochs, endless single track roads, picture perfect cottages, rusty and abandoned food trucks... the list is endless.
I'll show you what I mean with some of my favourite spots here (just click on the blog entry to find a map with the exact position where the photo was taken):
BEST PHOTO SPOTS IN HARRIS
1. NORTHTON SALT FLATS
First things first: bring your wellies! The salt flats are, of course, swampland and to get a good vantage point you have to jump from one small 'islet' to the next - or wade through several inches of mud!
There is a small parking lot at the beginning of the salt flats. From there, walk up the road for a few minutes and then down the hill. It takes some time to find a nice spot to stand to have the view of the peak in the background and nice leading lines through the water.
Be careful and use a stick to check if the mud is supporting you or not - you would get stuck in places.
2. NORTHTON TEMPLE
To get the most out of this place, I recommend going there at sunrise. Later in the day there will be a lot of people, no more parking - and the light will be directed towards you!
At the end of the street (where parking is limited to a few places) you will see a gate. Open this gate and walk about 30 minutes to the "Temple" - an old roofless medieval church. (As always, click the travel blog link that has a map so you can see the exact location.)
The bay just in front of the church offers the best photo opportunities.
3. LUSKENTYRE SANDS
Here I have good news for you: This photo spot is super easy to reach because it is directly from the parking lot.
But still very rewarding - for me even better than down at Luskentyre Beach itself!
Sunset or sunrise - just make sure you don't get there at full high tide because you want to see that little sandy strand in the middle which makes a perfect composition.
4. LUSKENTYRE BEACH
BSunset or sunrise is best.
During the day, at least in summer, it is very crowded.
There is a car park next to the beach, but there is some walking involved as the beach is several miles long and you want to shoot from the South (parking is in the North) to get a nice view of the mountains in the background.
Stockinish is located in Harris' "wild east".
The harbour of Stockinish is somehow very photogenic and seems like a place straight out of a fairy tale.
6. SCALPAY BRIDGE
This bridge is rather modern (dating from 1997), but the way it stretches from one point of the Atlantic to the next (aka the Isle of Scalpay) is impressive.
If you are coming from Tarbert and heading towards Scalpay there is a small road just before the bridge. The best photos of the bridge can be taken from down there.
Right next to it is a lovely abandoned house with a red roof.
In Rodel is the finest medieval building in Harris, St. Clement's Church.
Park your car and just walk 10-15 minutes up the hill for the best view of the church!
PHOTOGRAPHING IN LEWIS
In addition to great seascape photography opportunities, Lewis is also home to many interesting historical sites. Which are no less photogenic...!
1. DUN CARLOWAY BROCH
Dun Carloway Broch is the best preserved broch in Scotland, parts of the old wall still reach 9 metres high. You can still go inside and even climb stairs.
There is a car park below the broch. Entry is free.
From the car park to the broch it is only a 5 minutes walk uphill (not steep).
2. SHAWBOST NORSE MILL AND KILN
From the small car park, a well made path leads after 10 minutes walking to two thatched stone buildings set into a small river valley. Lewis was once home to as many as 200 small horizontal wheel mills. What is variously know as Shawbost Mill or the Mill of the Blacksmiths remained active until the 1930s.
3. ARNOL BLACKHOUSE
This is a rare opportunity to get some insights into the past of the island life.
This traditional, fully furnished thatched house once sheltered a family and its animals under the same roof.
The best photo you get from behind the house.
4. ST COLUMBA'S CHURCH
St Columba’s Church is one of the most important archaeological sites on the Isle of Lewis. It was the main church during the medieval period and it is a burial place for the MacLeod chiefs and the Mackenzies who controlled the island in later years.
A part was roofed again recently to protect some ancient grave stones.
The best is the setting: it's just next to the Atlantic.
5. CALLANISH STONES
Probably the highlight of Lewis for most people - the Callanish Stones. They are one of Scotland's finest and best preserved Neolithic monuments. The cruciform stone setting was built 5,000 years ago, making it older than Stonehenge.
What I liked the most is that unlike Stonehenge you can still walk freely between the stones.
PLEASE - do not ruin this by writing or engraving something, pushing or pulling the stones, leaving litter or doing anything else that may damage the site. You might spoil this unique experience for many people who come after you - they will just fence it in...
Gearrannan was a crofting settlement containing a cluster of so called blackhouses. For centuries, these primitive one-room homes were shared by both humans and their livestock—the norm for farmers at the time—and separated by only a half wall divider.
The village was inhabited until the early 70s and then abandoned. Luckily in 2001 they restored the houses and opened an open air museum.
SEASCAPE PHOTO SPOTS
1. DÙN ÈISTEAN
At Dùn Èistean there is a sea stack with a ruined Clan Morrison stronghold and Iron Age fortifications.
What makes this place so special is the bridge that connects the sea stack to the mainland!
It's a little scary to cross as the metal grating reveals a view of the wild Atlantic many meters below your feet...
Dun Eistean's location is unforgettable, with wonderful views along the coast and north to the Butt of Lewis.
Dun Eistean is accessible at all times. Parking is available after a bumpy ride on a dirt road with lots of potholes. After that it is a 5 minute walk.
You might prefer to park somewhere on the main road and avoid the rough ride. It'sthen a 15-20 minute walk.
2. EOROPIE BEACH
Eoropie Beach is a beach with endless and very high sand dunes. If you're there in the morning, you might have the whole beach to yourself!
Try to capture the beautiful dune landscape with the wild sea in the background.
There is a parking lot nearby, but to get to the beach you have to walk through the dunes - which takes about 15 minutes.
3. PORT STOTH
If you like a more minimalist long exposure style, you've come to the right place!
Grab your tripod and capture the sea forming an almost perfect circle in the small bay. The lonely building on top of the cliffs is just the icing on the cake for the perfect composition!
There is parking right next to the bay – at least for a few cars.
BTW - Port Stoth is pronounced Stow!!!
4. BUTT OF LEWIS
This location is really pure drama. The sea has worked here like a sculptor and shaped the landscape fabulously.
It is mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records as the windiest place in the UK.
The Butt of Lewis has cliffs up to 80 feet high and is the location of a 121 ft high lighthouse.
Usually the sea is very rough (thanks to the strong winds), so forget about long exposure. But try to capture the wild sea with 1/10s to soften the waves a bit!
There is ample parking and it is only a 10 minute walk to a cliff behind the lighthouse which has the most dramatic views.
5. MANGERSTA STACKS
On the west coast of Lewis you can see one of the finest sea stacks on the British coast - the Mangersta Stacks!
It is best seen from the cliffs a little south.
Be careful when parking your car on the side of the road and don't block passing places!
From the road it's a 10 minute boggy walk to the edge of the cliffs.
6. STAC A' PHRIS
This magnificent natural sea arch, Stac a' Phris, is more or less as close to Iceland as you can get from Scotland.
To get there you need to park somewhere in Shawbost and head southwest along the coastal path.
Use the blog post to see the exact location of the stack.
But a serious warning: this is a dangerous place, especially when it's windy!
To take good photos, you have to climb over rocks and stand at the very edge of sheer cliffs.
DO NOT even attempt it if it is very windy, you feel unwell or are afraid of heights. No photo is worth the risk.
7. BOSTA BEACH
Bosta Beach is very interesting for several reasons.
First of all, of course, there is the great view of the bay and the beach itself with some islands in the background.
But then there is the Iron Age house that was buried under the sand and was only brought to light by a heavy storm.
It's a perfect background for your landscape photo!
And on top of that - if you walk down to the beach you can find an art installation, a tide bell that rings at high tide. Great stuff for long exposure photography!
There is parking at the top of the bay and it is only a 5 minute walk down to the beach. Another 5 minutes will take you to the viewpoint above the Iron Age house, from where you can overlook the entire beach.
8. GARRY BEACH
Garry Beach is ideal for discovering sea stacks.
The timing has to be perfect: at high tide you can't reach the sea stacks and at low tide the sea is far out and doesn't reach the sea stacks.
Another good vantage point is from the top of the cliffs (for the high tide moments for example).
There is parking just 5 minutes walk from the beach.
Shielings were simple huts where the women and children took the animals and lived for the summer months.
Some are still used by local families as weekend retreats and peat-cutting bases.
But most are abandoned and in decay, together with the colourful exterior, the storm and rain produced an almost surreal and spooky ambiance. Very Lewis style.
The easiest reachable shielings can be seen along the A858.
Please use the blog link below which includes a map to view the exact location.
10. NESS POST OFFICE
Closed at the moment, but at the time of writing this, the building was for sale. So who knows if it will be another post office in the future or just an Airbnb...
But when I was there (July 2023) it was photo-perfect, the old Ness Post Office. The colours and the phone booth are so unique!
11. KINLOCH FISHING HUT
Along the A859, just south of Kinloch, you can discover this beautiful fisherman's hut.
There are a few good photo opportunities - from the top of the hill, a little further down or even right next to the hut with the colourful roof and small boats.
This hut has been used as a filming location several times and I'm not surprised, one can clearly see why.
12. THE ABANDONED HOUSE OF AIRIDH A' BHURAICH
There are quite a few abandoned houses in Lewis that one could make an entire photo project with them.
The most famous is probably that at Airidh a' Bhruaich.
Until recently there was even a shed with a red roof behind it - but this had collapsed.
Some furniture and the bathroom can still be seen inside.
But getting in is a bit difficult, be careful, the floorboards are broken in many places.
This was (in my opinion) a "best of" from Lewis and Harris.
What I found most striking was the difference between the two. Despite sharing a landmass, they are so different in atmosphere and appearance!
There is so much to explore. Don't rush if you visit the island, we spent two weeks and didn't see enough, it's definitely on my bucket list to return soon!
I hope you liked my summary of the best photo spots in Lewis and Harris.
And don't forget to watch the video!
Thank you for reading!
More of my vegan EV adventures you can read here: