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A857 between Galson and the Port of Ness

According to a local tradition, the stretch of road (A857) from Galson to the Port of Ness at the tip of Lewis, is said to be haunted. The tale runs that a carrier from Ness was returning from Stornoway many years ago, and had to pass a large stone slab near the village of Galson, which marked the grave of a pedlar who had been murdered at the spot. As he led his horse past the stone, he felt a presence and turned to see an apparition of a man in old fashioned clothes. He tried to run but felt a firm cold hand on his shoulder, and was compelled to the sit at the stone slab and listen, while the ghost of the pedlar recounted the gory details of his murder. The unfortunate carrier was finally released from the phantom pedlar's unwanted attentions, when the sun rose above the horizon, causing the apparition to melt away. There is no trace of a stone slab in the area now, it may have been removed when the road was widened.

When we visited the area we managed to track down a local man who recounted that his brother had been scared half to death on the same stretch of road. He had been riding home on his bike from Ness when he noticed a figure stood barring his path in the road. As he approached and realised that the figure was not going to move out of the way, he slowed down, whereupon the figure vanished leaving him badly shaken. When he returned home he told his family what had happened, and our local informant remembers him being as white as a sheet.

Although evidence for the road being haunted is anecdotal, it is interesting to find an old tale that has its reflections in a more recent sighting. Of course the early story could have been the result of a concocted excuse from the carrier, who, having spent all night in an ale house, had to explain to his wife where he had been!

Directions: The A857 runs from Stornoway to the Port of Nis (Ness). The traditional tale mentions the area of road just outside the village of Galson, which is where the modern sighting took place.

Image Copyright: 
Daniel Parkinson
Ian Topham

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