The ’24 hour bug’ which was affecting Karen and Sophie earlier on in the day was now starting to affect me. After a lovely couple of hours on the beach I could see the standing stone from the roadside; away in the distance on the headland.
The lay by with the bench next to it is still there but the sign for the stone has gone.
To be honest I didn’t feel up to walking out to the stone and was going to settle for a long distance view with my binoculars but after some prompting from Karen I decided to go for it!
It is a 10 minute walk to the stone but across the sand dunes it is wearing on the legs. On the way back I took the easier route along the beach. By the time I got to the stone I was knackered but it well worth it.
The stone is about 4 metres tall and 1.5 metres across. The seaward side of the stone is covered in ‘hairy’ green lichen.
Although the stone is well worth a visit in its own right it is the scenery which captivates you. Harris has to be the most beautiful island I have ever been to. Blue sky, turquoise crystal clear water and white sandy deserted beaches – pity the water is so cold!
Both the Macleod stone and the nearby Sgarasta stone are well worth visiting when on Harris. Do it – do it now!!
I have driven past this stone on previous visits to Harris but this was the first time I got to see it up close and personal. There is a sign on the road for parking, with a bench by it. Park here and then make your way across the beach and up the sandy headland...it initally looks closer than it is and with the wind howling around us we were knackered by the time we reached the stone. But it was worth it. The views across to Taransay were amazing and the stone is another of those skinny Hebridean ones which shouldn't still be still be standing after all of these years.
Visited 5th August 2004: We approached this one all wrong. It was entirely my fault as well. We parked on the wrong side of the stream near the picnic area, and had to paddle across where the water was shallow. Then we worked our way up the headland, past some serious sand extraction quarries, up to the top then down towards Clach Mhic Leòid. It was an interesting route, but not ideal for the kids. There was a fence to get over before we got to the stone, and at this point I realised we should have done it all differently (presumably parking near the cattle grid).
The stone is big and macho. The views are splendid, but we weren't blessed with sunshine. There's a weird sort of notch in the top of the stone (like an inverted arrow), and I couldn't help but wonder whether it's an original feature. It could equally be the result of a lightning strike. A 'must see' if you're on Harris, but not as charming as Sgarasta.
Harris is a peculiar place, full of extremes. On the west coast are beaches which surely match the finest on earth, yet on the east and in the north, the landscape is barren and rocky. Stanley Kubrick in filming his masterpiece 2001 A Space Odyssey used the rocky terrain of Harris as a double for Mars. Testament indeed to the out worldly nature of the place.
Across one of the beaches on the west side there is a signpost directing the traveller to a place known as 'The Macleod Stone'. An impressive monolith perched on a hilltop looking out over to Taransay, the island made famous by the BBC's Survivor programme.
To get there is no chore although the beach does seem to stretch forever and apart from sinking in the soft sand and leaping over the odd channel it's a pleasant trip. However, this is Harris, a place renowned for its unpredictable weather. As we reached the stone, the wind started to howl and the rain buffeted down. We took our pics and struggled back to the roadside fighting the elements.