Generally Speaking

The Outer Hebrides – 3 – South Uist

Thursday 11th

Our accomodation on South Uist was a total contrast after the Castlebay Hotel.

Run by Margaret, very much a local girl, but one who had travelled the world in her time. She was a perfect hostess, extremely friendly and informative, she provided the most lovely breakfasts.

For meals on both the evenings of our stay we walked ten minutes along the road to the curiously-named Borrodale Hotel, with lovely views across the fields on our way home.

I loved driving on the beautifully smooth, undulating, single-track roads

For our first day on South Uist we took advice and went to an area which had been planted with woodland by the landowner. Wandering through we found ourselves on a path leading up the hillside close under the imposing bulk of Beinn Mhor.. This turned into another wonderful walk which took us up to a massive wooden bench which had been lashed to a rock – showing that the peaceful sunshine we were enjoying was far from the rule in those parts. We watched what we are almost certain was a Golden Eagle climbing a thrermal overhead, and then took a stile over a deer fence and scrambled through rough peatland to the summit, where we had views to the sea on the east and on the west.

Following us up were an Australian couple, the only people there apart from us, and inevitably we found we had common ground to marvel over. Meeting people is such an important part of the pleasure of these trips. We met them again over coffee at the Heritage Museum with its exibits of the hard life of the Hebridean Crofters, who were summarily moved from the good land when the rich owners decided to clear it for sheep or shooting. Sombre indeed.

Friday 12th

Friday was moving on day again, so we said a very fond goodbye to Margaret and headed north, to a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reserve from which we could look back and see the profile of Beinn Mhor in the distance to the South. Curiously, there was no indication of scale on the fading map in the little car park,

and it seemed a long walk down the road before we even got to where the marker posts led us off across the peatland, up the hillside and around the loch. It was a pleasant walk, sunny and warm enough for us to gradually take off layers, but we hardly saw a single bird.

An additional attraction for me was that I could see from the map that the little road we were on led to the nearest point it was possible to reach to the most iconic of all my memories of my Hebridean sailing trips – Wizard Pool – and I was keen to try to get a nostalgic glimpse of the spot from which we watched the sunset, entirely alone in our anchorage, to the strains of Elizabeth Schwarzkopf singing Strauss’ Four Last Songs. So when the track eventually led us back to the road Lesley hit on the clever wheeze of her walking gently on while I marched back, twenty minutes or so along the road, to pick up the car.

Wizard Pool is just out of sight below the notched hill on the horizon – where we once climbed up to photogragh our boat.

Pressing on to the top of the island we called at the Hebridean Jewellery where we had soup, bought a Celtic silver pendant, and had a close encounter with a corncrake in the car park, one of the rarest of British birds, now almost confined to the Hebridean islands.

Crossing the causeway onto our next island, Benbecula, we found our way to the Borve Guest House, where we were greeted by another lovely hostess, Mary.

Continues in next post…

4 thoughts on “The Outer Hebrides – 3 – South Uist”

  1. Hope you know how much vicarious pleasure (as well as envy) you are creating. Sounds really marvellous and even the weather is smiling. Reading and seeing your photos feels similar to reading poetry – there is another space there behind the words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Elspeth, for this absolutely lovely comment. While I feel I could be doing it better in all sorts of ways, it is extremely encouraging to find that you are appreciating it.
      X James


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