Scotland 2016 – Day 8

Wind. That is the thing I will remember most about today. Not just a gentle breeze, but a blow-you-over wind. The other thing I will remember is that I didn’t fall in love with the Uists like I did with Skye. Not that they aren’t pretty islands. They are. Just not AS breathtakingly beautiful as Skye. Perhaps if the weather had been better the last couple of days I would feel differently. At least it didn’t rain ALL day today.

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Early morning at Lochmaddy Harbour

I went for a walk in the village before breakfast (when there were a few peeks of blue sky) and then headed south for the day. On my way to the island of Benbecula, I stopped at the Pobull Fhìnn standing stones and Trinity Temple. The standing stones are on a hillside overlooking Loch Langass. They are not large and the trail to get up close to them was a bit muddy. But still neat to see. Next up was Trinity Temple, the ruins of a medieval monastery and college. (There are tons of sheep everywhere, and they just wander in the pastures and on the roads. Lots of sheep also means lots of sheep… umm… “droppings”. Everywhere. The path to Trinity Temple went right through a sheep pasture. I’ve become quite adept at hopping and jumping around the droppings, but it’s not always easy!) The ruins are about a half mile from the parking area on a hill in the middle of a field/sheep pasture. You can wander around the site and the adjacent graveyard. There are lochs in every direction, as there are pretty much everywhere on these islands.

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Pobull Fhinn – North Uist

By this time, it had started to rain a little, but that didn’t keep me from driving across the causeway to the tiny island of Baleshare to visit the beach. There were whitecaps on the Atlantic, and the waves were rolling in right up to the rocks. The next land heading west is Atlantic Canada. I managed to snap a couple of pictures without getting completely blown away! I made a quick stop at Kallin Harbour in Grimsay before crossing to the Isle of Benbecula, which was a quick 5 miles across before coming to South Uist. The west coast of South Uist is one long (nearly 20 mile long) beach. The rain kept me away on the drive south, but I was determined to see the beach on my way back. I stopped at the Lochboisdale Cafe for a toasted ham and cheese ciabatta and another Irn Bru (it grows on you!).

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Garrynamonie Beach

The final island on today’s tour was Eriskay, to the south of South Uist. On my way, I passed a brown sign with a picnic table symbol pointing toward the ocean. I decided since it wasn’t raining right then, I might as well check out the beach at Garrynamonie. I put on my flip flops, determined to put my feet in the water.  It was cold (and not the prettiest beach), but not freezing cold. Mission accomplished! Eriskay is another small island connected by a causeway to South Uist. I took a quick drive around the island and then headed back to North Uist. My final stop on the way back was at the Howmore Churches. Howmore is a tiny village whose claim to fame is the large Church of Scotland which operates presently, but also the remains of an older church and four chapels in a field nearby. The chapels are largely in ruin, but very picturesque with the gravestones surrounding them.

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Howmore Churches

Then it was back to the hotel for dinner. I’ve never had langoustines, but I decided tonight was the night to try them. I ordered the appetizer portion and a half pint of cider. They taste similar to lobster, but look more like prawns. It involved a lot of work for little reward. Also, I don’t like seeing eyeballs in my food. But at least I tried something new! When I was in town yesterday, I saw a sign for an evening concert tonight, “Songs and Music of the Hebrides” in nearby Carinish, so I spent about an hour enjoying some local music and dancing at the village hall, mostly by teenagers and young adults. I was still hungry after the concert, so a tarte tatin with ice cream in the hotel bar finished off the night!