Difference between revisions of "North Uist"
Latest revision as of 19:19, 26 December 2012
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, yet 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 large built up settlements, 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. Ferries arrive at Lochmaddy, 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.
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. Gaelic, however, is still commonly spoken as well as English, and place-names and other signs are now usually by default in the Gaelic. A more sympathetic approach to the island's culture and language from the Scottish Government indicate that 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.
 Get in
 By boatCaledonian MacBrayne  operate a number of routes to the Outer Hebrides:
All of the above ferries convey foot passengers and vehicles. Both Berneray and South Uist have road and bus connections to North Uist via causeways.
 By air
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. On route south to Benbecula the causeway first links to Grimsay, a small island worth exploration for its rugged coast and inlets, fishing harbour, and a number of archaeological sites.
 By bus
Buses link North Uist with Berneray, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay. 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.
 Get around
 By car
Cars will need to be transported by CalMac ferry or hired from one of the companies on Benbecula. With the exception of the causeways and part of the Carinish (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.
 By bus
There are reasonable bus services during the day Mon - Sat, but little in the evening and no buses on a Sunday .
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In Lochmaddy, Leave your vehicle in the parking space just before the road turns left to the Uist Outdoor Centre. Take the track next to the house on the right which leads towards the sea on the right. Continue following the track past the high fences. It leads you to the small suspension bridge, and over the bridge, take the track down to the right towards the sea and you will reach the stone-built chamber. This is well worth a visit and you may be able to spot otters in the vicinity if you are patient.
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The information office, near to the harbour, will provide information on bed and breakfast and camping as well as hotels. Mainland tourist information centres will also book ahead for you.
 Bed and Breakfasts
Some can be found on the tourist board website , but many are no longer listed due to the changes and "hassle".
 Self Catering
Renting a house for a week or more is a popular option. Such places are generally let from Saturday to Saturday. Some of these can be found on the tourist board website .
 Get out