North Uist is the next most southerly of the Protestant island of the Outer Hebrides, travelling north from Benbecula, with the 'border' between this and the Catholic islands at the north end of South Uist. It means that the Sabbath is observed seriously here, and visitors should be aware of this, although North Uist is a little more relaxed than the northern islands of Harris and Lewis, where Sabbath observation can be very strict.
North Uistthe of the of , , the and the of South Uistthe Sabbath is observed seriously here, and visitors should be aware of this, although North Uist is a little more relaxed than the islands of Harris and Lewis, where Sabbath observation can be very strict.
Revision as of 08:01, 26 July 2011
North Uist or Uibhist A Tuathis is an island in the Outer Hebrides, north of Benbecula and south of Harris, with a total population of only about 1,200 people, and is about 20 miles from north to south. It is generally flat and covered, especially in the north and east, by a very large number of lochans, or small lakes. It has no built up settlements, generally having a dispersed population scattered mainly over its western side, where the machair provides grazing for crofting. Despite this its history and culture is fascinating, and there are facilities for back-packing, camping and cycling.
North Uist, like the rest of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, has a long history of neglect by its landlords, and suffered from waves of clearances of the native population, as well as suppression of its native Gaelic language and culture. This has now changed and the island is showing signs of a revival in its fortunes. Unlike South Uist this is a predominantly Protestant island and the Sabbath is observed seriously here, and visitors should be aware of this, although North Uist is a little more relaxed than the more northerly islands of Harris and Lewis, where Sabbath observation can be very strict.
Lochmaddy. Hardly a city, but a small settlement with a harbour, a couple of decent hotels, an information office, and one or two simple shops. The arts centre Taigh Chearsabhagh is to be found here.
Caledonian MacBrayne, . Citylink coaches generally connect with the ferries on the mainland.
Uig on Skye to Lochmaddy on North Uist Mon-Sun 1 or 2 per day taking 1 hour 45 minutes. Takes vehicles.
Berneray to Leverburgh on Harris Daily 3-4 per day, taking 1 hour. Berneray is connected to North Uist by a causeway. A small ferry but takes vehicles.
In the Outer Hebrides, there are airports in Stornoway in Lewis, Benbecula and Barra. These airports provide direct flights to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. The nearest to North Uist is Benbecula
North Uist is linked by causeway to Benbecula to the South and Berneray to the North.
Buses link North Uist with Benbecula, and Berneray. As part of the Western Isles Overland Route combination of bus and ferry, you can travel in under a day from Stornoway or Castlebay on Barra.
Cars will need to have been transported by CalMac ferry. With the exception of part of the Carinish or Cairinis to Lochmaddy Road, all roads are single-track with passing places. It's important to learn the etiquette of driving on these roads, as well as taking special care.
There are reasonable bus services during the day Mon - Sat, but little in the evening and no buses on a Sunday.
There are many fine sandy beaches, mainly on the Western shore of North Uist. Traigh Lingeigh is a safe shallow suitable for snorkelling.
Balranald RSPB reserve. Where corncrakes can be heard, if rarely seen. Allow 2 or 3 hours for the circular walk.
Taigh Chearsabhagh in Lochmaddy. This is an excellent art centre with a museum and gallery, a cafe, post office and a shop. Also worth seeing are the outdoor sculptures (ask inside for the guide leaflet).
The coastline around Lochmaddy and the road to Loch Portain is remarkable for the number of little sea lochans.
There are several prehistoric sites worth visiting, including Barpa Langass, a 5000 year old burial chamber, and the nearby Pobull Finn (Finn's People), a stone circle. Both accessible from the Lochmaddy to Carinish Road and the islands lochans often contain interesting remains of duns, or fortified houses.
Walk, cycle; visit the numerous artists studios; enjoy the unspoiled natural landscapes; North Uist is excellent for bird-watching and the coasts abound with sea-life.