Askernish bus stop (by the main road) is on the main island bus route, with regular bus services connecting Eriskay in the south with Berneray in the north. Using connecting buses you can explore the crofting townships and back roads of Uist. Bus timetable booklets can usually be obtained at the tourist information offices at Lochmaddy and Lochboisdale, the Comhairle (local council) offices in Benbecula, or online.
Bicycles can be hired from Rothan Cycles (01870 620283) at Howmore, who will also deliver and collect if requested to do so.
Exploring South Uist – and beyond
West coast : Dazzling white shell-sand beaches stretching for miles, machair flowers and wildlife, bird-watching, cycling or walking the quiet grassy lanes; family picnics on the machair or amongst the dunes, the unique character of crofting townships, as at Daliburgh – Kilpheder – Boisdale, and similarly Iochdar – Carnan, and indeed elsewhere …
East coast : Beinn Mhor, Hecla and numerous neighbouring and outlying mountains and glens – spectacular hill-walking and wildlife in this ‘wilderness’ area. Woodland walks, spectacular scenery and deserted villages at North Loch Eynort..
Askernish Golf Course : Re-discovered and restored ‘Old Tom Morris’ links course, now attracting world-wide interest. Course (and café – summer only) open to visiting players, and also the public for walking the machair, dunes and access to the beach.
Howmore : Garage and filling station, historic churches, thatched houses (and youth hostel), stunning beach and scenery.
Wildlife sites and walks : Guided wildlife tours with local expert Steve Duffield (Western Isles Wildlife) – highly recommended by previous guests; Loch Druidibeg – a huge nature reserve in spectacular surroundings. Many species that elsewhere are rare or endangered are here relatively plentiful – including sea eagles, golden eagles, otters, greylag geese, pink-footed geese, corncrakes (heard many places in May-June especially at night, but very rarely seen!), basking sharks, and at least eight species of orchid.
Iron-Age Archaeology : The Outer Hebrides is especially rich in Iron Age sites, though few have been properly investigated and fewer still made available to the public. Accessible sites in South Uist include remains of brochs, duns (eg Dùn na Cille, between the B888 and Kilpheder), crannogs, wheel-houses, and most impressive of all the chambered cairns, including that at Loch a’ Bharp, north of the Daliburgh-Lochboisdale road.
Bonnie Prince Charlie : Princes Beach, Eriksay, where Charles Edward Stuart first set foot on Scottish soil; Cille Bhrìghde (at the old walled garden) where he tried to recruit MacDonald of Boisdale to his cause – MacDonald told him to go back to France; Uabh na Phrionnsa where the Prince hid from government forces; Milton, birthplace of Flora MacDonald who helped the Prince escape ‘over the sea to Skye’, and from there back to France.
Game fishing : Some of the best salmon and trout fishing anywhere in the world, from machair lochs and the Howmore river: Permits from Oifis Stòras in Daliburgh 01878 700101. For mountain lochs, tickets can be obtained from Oifis Stòras or the post office in Daliburgh 01878 700300 (or MacGillivray’s shop in Balivanich).
The Big Garden at An Gàrradh Mòr, Cille Bhrìghde : The historic high-walled kitchen garden between Pollachar. and Ludag (01878 700828) email@example.com. Hebridean hoggett lamb, free-range eggs, fresh garden produce, herbs, jams and chutneys.
Kilbride Shellfish, Ludag : Freshly caught shellfish. Tel Angus Campbell (01878 700342)
You can collect shell-fish yourself (but legal and safe only in a month with an R in it – eg January, not June): Razor clams in the Sound of Barra; Cockles at Glendale or the South Ford (S Uist – Benbecula); Mussels and whelks – many rocky shorelines …
Pollachar Inn (food highly recommended) at Poll a Charra (01878 700215)
Orasay Inn (hotel and restaurant) at Loch Carnan, north end of South Uist (pre-booked only for non-residents) (01870 610298)
Stepping Stones café and restaurant at Balivanich, Benbecula through the day. (01870 603377)
Arts & Crafts
Kildonan : Uist Craft Producer’s shop; also café and excellent local museum
Stoneybridge : Uist Crafts Workshop
Iochdar : Hebridean Jewellery – also with excellent general gift shop and café
Cille Bhrìghde (West Kilbride) : The Hebridean Woolshed at the walled garden. Hand-spun wool yarns from black Hebridean sheep, other local sheep and other fibres, hand-knitted and hand-woven garments, spinning workshops. Tel 01878 700828, firstname.lastname@example.org
Weather and Tides
Basic weather forecasts and tide tables can be got at the Tourist Information office in Lochboisdale. On-line sources are:
- XC Weather is the weather forecast most used by islanders
- Askernish Weather Station provides up-to-the minute very local weather data, and basic forecasts
- Tidal and Astronomical information for Lochboisdale
Events, Activities, Entertainment
Ceilidhs, dances and other events at Daliburgh, Kilpheder, Lochboisdale, Stoneybridge, especially from October to Easter. Just ask around!
St Peter’s Traditional Dance Club – Saturday 8pm-10pm, late October to Easter at St Peter’s Hall, Kilpheder. All made very welcome. Contact Lena MacLellan 01878 700253
Ceolas – Summer School (1st week of July) of Gaelic language, music, dance, held in and around Daliburgh during the first week of July
Feis Tir a Mhurrain, Kildonan / Iochdair
Gaelic language summer school for young people, held mid July
Screen Machine – RBS / HiArts mobile cinema, regularly stops at Daliburgh with the latest films. Highly recommended!
Churches and Religious Sites
Roman Catholic churches at Eriskay, Daliburgh, Bornish, Howbeag, Iochdar;
Church of Scotland churches at Daliburgh, Howmore, Griminis (Benbecula)
Free Church of Scotland church at Lochboisdale,
Howmore – Mediaeval chapels and college (ruins); 19th century Church of Scotland church with now rare central communion table.
Roadside shrines at Iochdar, West Gernish, Kilpheder, Carnan, Eriskay and elsewhere
West Gerinish – Our Lady of the Isles, Madonna and Child sculpture (pictured, right) by Hew Lorimer, watching over the islands since the height of the Cold War in the late 1950s.