Grimsay is about 2 miles long by a mile wide and the road that runs all the way around is about a 5 mile circuit. So you can turn left at our gate and arrive back from the other direction in quite a short time, depending on your mode of travel. It’s a very quiet road and there are no steep hills, so you can easily walk or cycle if you prefer to leave your car behind.
A wildlife haven
Taking it gently and quietly, you’ll be amazed a
t the variety of birds that you may see around the island. Look out for short-eared owls, hen-harriers, buzzards, kestrels, peregrines and merlins. You may even see eagles at a distance, perhaps over our local hill, Eaval. There are plenty of small birds, too – we particularly enjoy the antics of the stonechat.
There’s just a chance that you may see an otter on Grimsay, perhaps between Kallin and Baymore.
A fabulous picnic
Kallin Shellfish is a great place to visit just before lunch. The ‘factory shop’ has a good selection of fresh cooked local shellfish, so you can make a real picnic treat of lobster, crab, prawns – whatever has been caught. They also sell Hebridean oatcakes and other local produce, or you can buy fresh crusty bread at our local bakery – a couple of miles south of us on Benbecula.
Traditional boat building
On the circular road, a little beyond the harbour entrance, you’ll find the delightful boathouse and museum, where traditional Grimsay craft are maintained and restored. There are some interesting stories and exhibits in the tiny museum and a few traditional boats outside that you can inspect. It only ta
kes a few minutes to visit, but it’s easy to fall into conversation with friendly locals and spend more time than you planned – one of the delights of this laid back corner of the Outer Hebrides.
The entire island population is around 170, so it may seem to you that Grimsay is just one village, but there are several settlements that you might regard as separate villages.
After leaving our own cluster of houses at Ardnastruban (headland of the cockles), you arrive after about a mile at Kenary (Ceannaridh) where a few houses stand around a pleasant sea inlet. A further mile brings you to Kallin (Ceallan), where the beautifully restored corrugated iron school building (now a private residence) bears witness to the importance of this village.
Beyond Kallin, Baymore is a large grouping of homes, alongside the original, safe natural fishing harbour. From Baymore, another half a mile or so brings you to Baile Glas (place of the stream or meadow). There are just a few steps from there along the ‘main’ road to return to Ardnastruban.