The Island Calendar

The Island Calendar: #01 Lewis Mackenzie from Isle of Harris Distillery on Vimeo.

Life in the Isle of Harris is deeply rooted in the natural world, and our island community enjoys a special connection to the land and seas which surround us.

From stunning sunrises and sunsets to auroras and unpolluted starry skies, through to the wildlife and fauna with whom we share our environment, this can be a truly blessed place to call home.

As such, the turn of the seasons are acutely felt here in the Outer Hebrides, whether it’s the influx of migratory birds marking the arrival of spring or the bloom of machair flowers heralding the approach of summer.


Those who tend their crofts or set their creels around our shores perhaps feel this connection the most, as the natural rhythms of each passing month, and the ebb and flow of tides, dictate much of their working lives.

Our distillery too, experiences this tie to the cycle of time, particularly in the making of Isle of Harris Gin with its inclusion of local Sugar Kelp seaweed as the key defining ingredient.

As a wild botanical, we’re dedicated to using its freely given gifts to our spirit-making in a sustainable manner. So, we ensure that it is always harvested in a way that minimises any impact on the marine environment.

We entrust this job to a local diver Lewis Mackenzie, with his deep knowledge of the natural world. Lewis understands the life-cycle of this singular seaweed and the creatures which depend upon it for habitat.


He works mindfully, only ever gathering by hand, and in a manner which allows the hidden forests he cultivates to thrive, each picked frond carefully cut in such a way as to allow regrowth and recovery.

We hope you enjoy this short video about his work at this time of year, and we’d like to deepen your connection with island life by sharing more films like this as the months roll on and the seasons change.

There is much to be revealed, tradition and language, people and place, history and heritage, each moment told through the words and stories of local men and women proud to call themselves a Hearach. 

We hope you’ll join us as we mark the days and dates of the island calendar, making more new journeys into the heart of the Isle of Harris.

Thanks to Lewis Mackenzie /
Music by Iain Morrison /
Filmed by Kenny Stewart /

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