Saturday, 11 September 2010

Hebridean Holiday - Part 3 - Isle of South Uist

Our introduction to South Uist was wet. It started raining as we crossed the Sound of Barra to Eriskay and it got wetter as we crossed the causeway to South Uist so we just headed straight to Daliburgh and our next self-catering place. We settled into Loch View Chalet and had a lazy afternoon watching the swans, ducks and grebes that live there.

The next day dawned fair, but pretty windy and we decided to do a tour of the Uists. I forgot to take my camera with me that day - so no photographs!

On North Uist we drove up a hill track on the west side of the island where there is a telescope set up so that you can see St Kilda, however it was actually easier to see it with the naked eye and visibility was not good, so all we saw was a grey mound rising up from the sea on the horizon.

Weather the next morning was lovely but we decided to stay close to base. We popped along the road to Lochboisdale and picked up information from the tourist office. Then we took the road through our village that heads across the machair towards the sea. Here there is the remains of an ancient settlement - the Cladh Hallan roundhouses. They were excavated just a few years ago.
The next day we headed up towards the top end of South Uist and tried setting up Len's telescope to see if we could get any better a view of St Kilda, but once again there was a lot of cloud on the horizon and St Kilda was nothing more than a faint grey mound.

We also visited the medieval chapel site at Howmore - somewhere I had visited while on a cycling holiday here some 15 years ago, but it had been horizontal rain that day and I hadn't really appreciated the ruins.

A visit to Kildonan museum was very interesting - it covered all aspects of the history of the island. I was particularly taken by the box beds and the old loom. I had already taken several photographs by the time I saw the sign saying "no photography".....OOPS!

We had picked up a small booklet "Made in the Outer Hebrides" and I very quickly homed in on an venue at the south end of the island - the Hebridean Woolshed.

We headed down there and found the place very easily - a lovely walled garden with a small summerhouse type shed just inside the gate. In this shed there was a mixture of handcraft items and preserves, all made by Denise Bridge. I found her hanging out her washing and we had a lovely conversation about all things wooly, that ended with me buying a couple of small Hebridean fleeces. I shall be using them mostly for feltmaking, but that will have to wait until my right hand is back in full working order. We followed Denise's directions to Eriskay to find her Hebridean flock. Easily found - and quite happy to pose for the camera.

On the way back we stopped at the standing stone at Polachar before heading back to our cottage. Then, unfortunately, it was time to start packing up ready for our departure the next morning.

All in all, a wonderful, relaxing holiday - just what the doctor ordered.

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