Bernera offers a peaceful setting amidst superb scenery for your holiday 'away from it all'. Walking, cycling, exploring will be on your doostep and the island has much to offer if you are a nature lover. Bosta beach with its soft white sands is ideal for relaxation.
Bernera is situated in Loch Roag and is linked to Lewis by a bridge, built in 1953, the opening being watched by over 4,000 people. Prior to 1953, the island was linked to the mainland Lewis only by the sea.
Callanish V111 - a megalithic group of four standing stones arranged in a semicircle - faces the strait that divides Great Bernera from the Isle of Lewis just by the bridge. The island is scattered with ancient sacred sites, stone circles, Iron Age inhabitation - all with beautiful natural surroundings.
The name Great Berneray is thought to be of Norse origin: Bern (meaning bear) ey - meaning Island. Indeed many names of villages and settlements in the area are also thought to be Norse
The terrain, with its many valleys and scoured boulders, has occurred in part as a direct result of the glacial action during ice ages, and also by sea erosion. Over many years the sea level has risen affecting settlement and the way the land has been used as well as altering the actual shape of the land.
The Island was owned by former Queen’s Herald Count Robin de la Lanne Mirrlees, who lived on Great Bernera for 47 years, after buying the island before he had even viewed it in 1962. Sadly "The Count" passed away in 2012 - he was a popular laird, keeping rents low and he often gave land for community facilities. A Community Development Trust has recently been set up to explore the possibility of buying the island from "The Count's" executors.
The iron age village first came to light after gales in 1993 exposed it. Found at Bosta on the northern end of Bernera was a network of 9 stone buildings all connected by tunnels. It is the most completely preserved late-Iron Age village ever found in this country. The Iron Age house is also in a most peaceful tranquil setting at the beautiful Bosta beach.
Bernera Lobster Pond was built in the 1860s, two miles north of the village of Circebost and on the east side of Loch Birsay, being the largest of many on both Lewis and Harris. The pond allowed the lobsters to be stored until it was both convenient and/or cost effective to obtain the best prices from the mainland.
Finally, Bernera has its own Norse Mill. Not a replica - this is the real thing and is a real gem. Recently re-roofed by volunteers, it is a nice 20 minute walk from the Community Centre and is a must-see for anyone visiting our lovely island.
So much to see and enjoy on Great Bernera!