National Geographic : 1954 Oct
562 © Donald McLeish Iona Cathedral Crowns a Sacred Isle of British Christianity Beside the Celtic ... The priest-saint Columba arrived on tiny Iona, Inner Hebrides, A.D. 563 (page 559). He made it a Celtic Rome, famed throughout Britain. Later, Vikings plundered the buildings and murdered the priests. Twentieth-century restoration of this 12th-century Norman abbey church helps fulfill St. Columba's prophecy: "But ere the world comes to an end, Iona shall be as it was." ing brilliant fragments of rainbow arched on the gray cloud background, with the promise of swiftly following sun. Most of the islands have comfortable hotels. Only Witches Come from the North The four large islands that make up the southern part of the chain-Barra, South Uist, Benbecula, and North Uist-are separated by shallow channels. Two of these, surrounding Benbecula, can be forded at low tide, and one is now bridged; the others involve ferry rides. Lewis, to the north, is the largest island; its southern district, Harris, gives its name to Harris tweed. According to the Gaelic superstition, it is only witches who come to a house tuaitheal, or from the north. Thus our tour should be made from south to north and begin on Barra. Perhaps it should have started even farther south on lonely Barra Head, with no inhabit ants save those at the lighthouse 683 feet above the sea, a few sheep, and the wildfowl that scream about its desolate cliffs.