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South Uist

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Howmore and surrounding hills
Road to Howmore youth hostel

South Uist or Uibhist A Deas is an island in the Outer Hebrides with population of less than 2,000 but extending over 25 miles from north to south. It is one of the last strongholds of the Gaelic language, and has a long history reflected in the many archaeological remains that can be visited. There are no large towns, and the population is generally spread thinly on the machairs of the western side. But South Uist has a beauty of its own, with ever changing weather, and is a good place for bird and wildlife watching.

Understand

Like much of the Highlands and Islands, Uist and its population was neglected and persecuted by its landlords for many years, and fell into long decline. Under new legislation, however, on 30 November 2006, the Community buyout of the South Uist Estate by Stòras Uibhist was agreed. This will not have any immediate impact for the visitor, but may improve things over the next few years, as already has happened on Gigha and Eigg. The island is predominatly Catholic and takes a more relaxed view of the Sabbath that its northerly neighbours.

Get in

By boat

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 airport is Benbecula.

Causeways

South Uist is linked by causeway to Benbecula to the North and Eriskay to the South.

By Bus

Buses link South Uist with Eriskay, Benbecula, North Uist and Berneray. As part of the Western Isles Overland Route combination of bus and ferry, you can travel to South Uist in under a day from Stornoway or Castlebay on Barra.

Get around

Walking, or cycling.

By Bus

There are good bus services during the day Mon - Sat, but little in the evening and no buses on a Sunday.

See

  • Loch Druidibeg Nature Reserve in the north of the island with over 200 species of flowering plant.
    The ecclesiastical site at Howmore, or Tobha Mor
  • Our Lady of the Isles - a 9 metre high statue (NF 776407) of the virgin and child by Huw Lorimer erected in 1957, the largest religious statue in the British Isles. It faces the Protestant northern islands, and greets entry to the Catholic south.
  • Dun Mhulan (NF 715297) near the track to Bornish or Bornais. half way down the island, an Iron Age broch and settlement.
  • Kildonan Museum, with a good display of local history, crafts, and a decent cafe. Open Apil to the end of September.
  • Flora MacDonalds birthplace. (NF 740269) - 3 miles north of Daliburgh, where the woman who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie avoid capture.
  • Taigh Dubh or blackhouses, the traditional dwelling of the Uist crofter can be seen, and some are now restored, such as at Howmore or Tobha Mor (NF 758364), where there is an important medieval ecclesiastical site.
  • The wonderful beaches all along the western coast.
  • Bornais (NF 729302) the site of three settlement mounds from the Late Iron Age.

Do

  • Play Golf at Askernish.
  • Walking - hillwalking Ben Mhor, Ben Corodale and Hecla. For keen and experienced hillwalkers there is a good horseshoe walk direct from the hostel at Howmore which leads into the most spectacular and interesting of the South Uist hills. Note - paths are non-existent or indistinct, so take compass, maps and sensible clothing.

Buy

  • Co-op at Daliburgh HS8 5SS [3], open Mon-Sat 8.00-20.00, Sun 12:30-18:00.
  • Grocer in Lochboisdale
  • Clothes shop in Lochboisdale
  • Uist artists and craftspersons shop at the Kildonan centre, about 3 miles north of Daliburgh

The Big Garden, Cille Bhrighde (West Kilbride). Hand-spun wools, knitted/crocheted/woven garments and other items. T: +44 1878 700828. W: The Big Garden

Eat

  • Salar Smokehouse, Lochcarnan, HS8 5PD for hand crafted smoked delicacies
  • The Big Garden, Cille Bhrighde (West Kilbride). Organically-grown fresh garden produce, eggs, preserves. Teas, coffees and other refreshments served in the garden (or to take away) on fine days. T: +44 1878 700828. W: The Big Garden

Drink

See Hotels below

Sleep

Hostels

  • Howmore Youth Hostel [4] Simple hostel with no advance booking (and no phone)
  • Uist Bunkhouse [5] Bunkhouse, Daliburgh with cafe, gift shop and artist's studio. Tel 01878 700566

Bed and Breakfasts

Some can be found on the tourist board website [6], but many are no longer listed due to the charges and "hassle".

  • Brae Lea House, Lochboisdale,HS8 5TH 01878 700497 [7] A guest house with ensuite bedrooms about a mile from the ferry.
  • Wireless Cottage, Lochboisdale, 01878 700660. 5-10 minutes walk from the ferry.

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 [8].

8 Askernish/Aisgernis, HS8 5SY. A traditional croft cottage (fully renovated 2006) with wood-burning stove and all the comforts required for up to four people at any time of year. Dogs welcome. Bedrooms - double and twin. Kitchen with breakfast bar; Living room; Bathroom with shower over. Well-maintained and spotless. Located about 1 mile north of Daliburgh/Dalabrog. T: +44 1878 700828. W: South Uist Self Catering.

Hotels

  • Lochboisdale Hotel 01878 700332. [9] Right next the ferry pier. Good bar meals in the evening.
  • Polochar Inn [10] 01878 700215.
  • Borrodale Hotel [11] 01878 700444.
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