Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Lewis War Memorial

Tuesday 20th May 2008

From Broad Bay we went to the Lewis War Memorial. I don’t know how many war memorials I have seen over the years but I have never been moved by one before. It is visible from many parts of the island and dominates Stornoway. In the form of an 85 feet all baronial tower it is a grand piece of architecture. But only as I approached it up the hill did I begin to realise quite how impressive it is. The modern addition of a ring of stones with name plates on them complements the great tower.

The memorial was completed in 1924 but the inside was closed to the general public in 1975 when the state of the iron staircase and the fabric of the stone walls began to make it unsafe. The memorial’s bronze name plaques were cleaned and re-sited externally onto large granite blocks forming a stone circle. These renovations were completed in time for Remembrance Day 2002.

But it is neither the grandness, nor the skill of the creators of the modern adjunct, nor even the extent of the list of names that brought a lump to my throat. It was something indefinable. An overall feeling that here was a memorial that really meant something to those who had built and maintained it. I realise this is grossly unfair to all those other war memorials that are scattered throughout Britain but it just gives a flavour of how I felt this afternoon.

The war memorial stands on the 300 feet high Cnoc-nan Uan and the view from it is extensive.

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