As we visit sites such as Tigh a’Bheannaich, The Blessing House, in Uig and the further westerly site of Taigh nan Cailleachan Dubha, The House of Black Old Women, we’re noticing the history of the MOD’s presence in the Lewis landscape.
The abandoned MOD site at Aird Uig, Gallan Head, clearly visible from Tigh a’Bheannaich, was a top secret radar station established 60 years ago as part of NATO’s early warning system for Soviet submarines and aircraft. The Gallan Head Community Trust voted at the end of last month to pursue plans to purchase the land and buildings. The Trust’s proposal includes a whale listening station, which will relay sonar from a hydrophone placed in the sea below.
From listening to submarines, to listening to whales seems like a return to an auditory experience of landscape, which rests poetically alongside a headland known locally as Am Bheannaich, The Blessing Place.