Stornoway harbour has a vital future - with growing marinas and the deep-water port - an active present, and a long and sometimes mysterious past.
Now the Stornoway Trust (with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund) is seeking volunteers to help in the archaeological investigation of Aird a Chleirich, also known as Sober Island.
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at archaeology? Why not come and take part in the dig, between May 30 and June 11.
No experience is necessary, just loads of enthusiasm.
Project Archaeologist, Ian McHardy with support from Trust staff will give practical field archaeology training covering metal detection, surveying, excavation and recording techniques.
According to Ian, “This site has potential, its location at the heart of the harbour near major defensive and prehistoric structures suggests that the island has a story to tell…. this project will give volunteers the exciting opportunity to take part in digging into and uncovering this story “.
Sober Island has never been investigated for its potential archaeology but there is the possibility that there are some very interesting remains that could add to the history of the Western Isles.
It sits at the mouth of the inner harbour, opposite the old Stornoway Castle and the site of the Cromwellian Fort. A Neolithic axe was found nearby, and the Neolithic chambered cairn sits above it on Gallows Hill.
More recently, it was used for boat repairs and may have been part of the harbour defences in World War Two.
The two-week investigation will answer if there are structures there, possibly identify their age and purpose and ascertain if a full-scale excavation is warranted.