9.6 Northton Chapel, Toe Peninsula, South Harris

Northton Chapel faces south across the Sound of Harris looking towards the Uists. It sits on a small headland - Rubh’ an Teampull - at the foot of Ceapabhal hill.

The chapel is in a stunning location and is reached by a 2.5km walk across grassland.

Northton chapel © Alan Sproull

The chapel is late medieval and was built on the site of an Iron Age broch (round stone building) which measured 16.5 metres in diameter. The church was probably built re-using some of the same stones. It has a window in each of the four walls. The wall at the east end has two niches where religious vessels were kept. There are remains of a graveyard surrounding the ruined church.

Nearby, archaeologists have found the remains of the oldest known settlement in the Outer Hebrides which dates back 9,000 years.

Northton chapel © Alan Sproull

What else?

The village of Northton is home to the Seallam Visitor Centre which houses the genealogical research centre for the Western Isles.

 

Getting there

From Eilean Chaluim Chille in Parc return to the A859 which is the main north/south road through Lewis and Harris.

Drive south through the Isle of Harris to the coast. As the road turns east at Taobh Tuath or Northton take a right turn through the village. Head along the road and park at the beach car park.

Go back to the road and walk away from the village to a farm gate. Follow the unmade road which will lead you to the chapel ruins. The walk to the chapel takes about half an hour. You can make the return journey along three white sand beaches.

The ground can be wet and rough under foot so strong waterproof footwear is essential.


 
   
  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.1 St Columba's Church

    This late 14th century church - named after St Columba - was later extended in the 15th and 16th century.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.2 St Moluag's Chapel

    This restored chapel is dedicated to St Moluag or Moluoc. The building is flanked by two small side chapels to the north and south, creating a T-shaped outline.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.3 St. John's Chapel

    Head west from the crofting township of Bragar to find the medieval chapel of Teampull Eoin - St John The Baptist - on a small headland next to the beach.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.4 Uig Peninsula

    It is worth heading to the Uig Peninsula not only for the sites relating to early Christianity but also for the stunning beaches of Uig and Mangarstadh.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.5 Teampall Chaluim Chille, Eilean Chaluim Chille

    The small island of Eilean Chaluim Chille has probably been connected with Christianity since the 7th century. It sits on the eastern extremity of Loch Erisort as it leads out to the Minch.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.6 Northton Chapel

    Northton Chapel faces south across the Sound of Harris looking towards the Uists. It sits on a small headland - Rubh’ an Teampull - at the foot of Ceapabhal hill.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.7 St Clements

    This is the largest medieval church in the Outer Hebrides. Of all the churches in the islands, only Iona is larger. It was built in the 16th century but there is some suggestion that there may have been an older monastery on the site.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.8 Church of the Holy Trinity

    Teampull na Trianaid sits on a mound beside the village of Carinish. There are views west towards the low-lying island of Baleshare. The remains of the Teampull na Trianaid dominate the site.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.9 Chapel of the Virgin Mary

    The ruined medieval chapel sits in a graveyard which is still in use. The chapel was rectangular and would have had a pitched roof. The walls would have been much higher - you can see the top part of the door in the west wall.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.10 Howmore

    The township of Tobha Mor - or Howmore - lies between the main north-south road on South Uist and the beach which forms much of the island’s west side.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.
     

    9.11 Kilbar Church, Barra

    Cill Bharra is the remains of a 12th century church dedicated to St Barr. The site is thought to have been used for Christian worship since the 600s when there was a chapel here dedicated to St Barr - probably the same saint as St Finbarr of Cork.