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South Uist
Location
South Uist is located in Scotland
South Uist
South Uist shown within Scotland
OS grid reference NF786343
Names
Gaelic name About this sound Uibhist a Deas
Pronunciation [ˈɯ.ɪʃtʲ ə tʲes̪]
Meaning of name From 'inni-vist', Old Norse for 'dwelling'.
Area and summit
Area 32,026 hectares (124 sq mi)
Area rank 9
Highest elevation Beinn Mhòr 620 metres (2,034 ft)
Population
Population (2001) 1,818
Population rank 9 out of 97
Main settlement Lochboisdale
Groupings
Island group Uists & Barra
Local Authority Na h-Eileanan Siar
Flag of Scotland.svg Lymphad3.svg
References [1][2][3][4][5]
If shown, area and population ranks are for all Scottish islands and all inhabited Scottish islands respectively.

South Uist (Scottish Gaelic: Uibhist a Deas) is an island of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. In the 2001 census it had a usually resident population of 1,818. There is a nature reserve and a number of sites of archaeological interest, including the only location in Great Britain where prehistoric mummies have been found. The population is about 90% Roman Catholic. The island, in common with the rest of the Hebrides, is one of the last remaining strongholds of the Gaelic language in Scotland. In 2006 South Uist, and neighbouring Benbecula and Eriskay were involved in Scotland's biggest community land buyout to date. In the north west there is a missile testing range. Its inhabitants are known in Gaelic as "Deasaich" (Southerners).

Contents

Geography and geology

Our Lady of the Isles

The west is machair (fertile low-lying coastal plain) with a continuous sandy beach whilst the east coast is mountainous with the peaks of Beinn Mhòr 620 metres (2,034 ft) and Hecla 606 metres (1,988 ft). The main village on the island is Lochboisdale (Loch Baghasdail), from which ferries sail to Oban on the mainland and to Castlebay (Bàgh a' Chaisteil) on Barra. The island is also linked to Eriskay and Benbecula by causeways. Smaller settlements include Daliburgh (Dalabrog), Howmore (Tobha Mòr) and Ludag.

Economy

Tourism is important to the island's economy and attractions include the Kildonan Museum housing the sixteenth century Clanranald Stone and the ruins of the house where Flora MacDonald was born.

South Uist is home to the Askernish Golf Course. The oldest course in the Outer Hebrides, designed by Old Tom Morris, who also worked on the Old Course at St. Andrews. The course, which existed intact until the 1930s, is now being restored to Morris's original design, although this is being held up by disagreements with local crofters.[6][7] Part of the course was destroyed to make way for a runway, and its identity remained hidden for many years before its apparent discovery, but the claim is disputed by many locals.[8][9][10]

After a protracted campaign South Uist residents took control of the island on 30 November 2006 in Scotland's biggest community land buyout to date. The previous landowners, a sporting syndicate, sold the assets of the 92,000 acres (372.31 km2) estate for £4.5 million[11] to a Community Company known as Stòras Uibhist which was set up to purchase the land and to manage it in perpetuity.[12][13] The buyout resulted in most of South Uist, and neighbouring Benbecula, and all of Eriskay coming under community control.[14]

The proposal for community ownership has received the overwhelming support of the people of the islands who look forward to participating in the opportunity to regenerate the local economy, to reverse decline and depopulation, to reduce dependency while remaining aware of the environmental needs, culture and history of the islands. The company name Stòras Uibhist symbolises hope for the future wealth and prosperity of the islands.

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Missile testing

In the north west of the island at (57°20′N 07°20′W / 57.333°N 7.333°W / 57.333; -7.333), a missile testing range was built in 1957-58 to launch the Corporal missile, Britain and America's first guided nuclear weapon. This development went ahead despite significant protests, some locals expressing concern that the Scottish Gaelic language would not survive the influx of English-speaking army personnel. The British Government claimed that there was an 'overriding national interest' in establishing a training range for their newly purchased Corporal, a weapon that was to be at the front line of Cold War defence. The Corporal missile was tested from 1959 to 1963, before giving way to Sergeant and Lance tactical nuclear missiles. The 'rocket range' as it is known locally has also been used to test high altitude research rockets, Skua and Petrel, which despite their purportedly scientific remit, were operated by the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment in Aldermaston.

The range is still owned by the MoD operated by QinetiQ as testing facility for missile systems such as the surface-to-air Rapier missile and Unmanned Air Vehicles[15] In 2009 the MOD announced that is was considering running down its missile testing ranges in the Western Isles,[16] with potentially serious consequences for the local economy.

Nature reserve

Flowering machair on South Uist

Loch Druidibeg in the north of the island is a National Nature Reserve owned and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage. The reserve covers 1,677 hectares of machair, bog, freshwater lochs, estuary, heather moorland and hill.[17] Over 200 species of flowering plants have been recorded on the reserve, some of which are nationally scarce. South Uist is considered the best place in the UK for the aquatic plant Slender Naiad (Najas flexilis)[18] which is a European Protected Species.

Nationally important populations of breeding waders are also present, including redshank, dunlin, lapwing and ringed plover. The reserve is also home to greylag geese on the loch and in summer corncrakes on the machair. Otters and hen harriers are also seen.

There has been considerable controversy over hedgehogs on South Uist. The animals are not native to the islands, having been introduced in the 1970s to reduce garden pests. They now pose a threat to the eggs of ground nesting wading birds on the reserve. In 2003 Scottish Natural Heritage undertook a cull of hedgehogs in the area.[19][20]

Archaeology

Looking west to Nicolson's Leap. In the background are Beinn Mhór on the left, and Hecla on the right.

The SEARCH project (Sheffield Environmental and Archaeological Research Campaign in the Hebrides) on South Uist has been developing a long-term perspective on changes in settlement and house form from the Bronze Age to the 19th century. Organisation within Iron Age roundhouses appears to have been very different from 19th century blackhouses in which the dwelling was shared with stock.[21]

The archaeological site of Cladh Hallan, the only site in Great Britain where prehistoric mummies have been found, is on South Uist.[22]

Footnotes

  1. ^ 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland
  2. ^ Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 1841954543.  
  3. ^ The Chronicles of Mann. Manx Society. Vol XXII, Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  4. ^ Germanic Lexicon Project Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  5. ^ Ordnance Survey
  6. ^ Storas Uibhist press release
  7. ^ David Owen (April 20, 2009). "The Ghost Course". New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/04/20/090420fa_fact_owen.  
  8. ^ cybergolf.com re Askernish course. Retrieved 16 June 2007.
  9. ^ "Crofters deny Old Tom claim". BBC News. 15 June 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/highlands_and_islands/6753819.stm. Retrieved 2007-06-18.  
  10. ^ Forgan, Duncan (28 July 2007). "Island pins hopes on past links". Edinburgh: The Scotsman.  
  11. ^ "Land buyout reality for islanders". BBC News accessdate=2009-08-10. 30 November 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/6195966.stm. Retrieved 4 January 2010.  
  12. ^ Stòras Uibhist
  13. ^ Islanders pay £4.5m to be rid of feudal lairds The Independent newspaper. (1 December 2006) Retrieved 29 July 2007.
  14. ^ The quiet revolution. (19 January 2007) Broadford. West Highland Free Press.
  15. ^ QinetiQ: Hebrides Operations
  16. ^ Ross, John (31 July 2009). "In 1930, the last islanders left. Now St Kilda Day celebrates their legacy". Edinburgh: The Scotsman. http://news.scotsman.com/inverness/In-1930-the-last-islanders.5511585.jp. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  
  17. ^ SNH Loch Druidibeg Retrieved 29 July 2007.
  18. ^ JNCC Slender Naiad report Retrieved 29 July 2007.
  19. ^ Epping Forest Hedgehog Rescue Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  20. ^ Ross, John (21 February 2007). "Hedgehogs saved from the syringe as controversial Uist cull called off". Edinburgh: The Scotsman. http://news.scotsman.com/hedgehogs/Hedgehogs-saved-from-the-syringe.3348351.jp. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  
  21. ^ Smith, H., Marshall, P. and Parker Pearson, M. 2001. Reconstructing house activity areas pp 249-270. In Albarella, U (ed) Environmental Archaeology: Meaning and Purpose. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  22. ^ BBC - History - The Mummies of Cladh Hallan

External links

Coordinates: 57°16′N 7°19′W / 57.267°N 7.317°W / 57.267; -7.317


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Howmore and surrounding hills
Howmore and surrounding hills
Road to Howmore youth hostel
Road to Howmore youth hostel

South Uist is an island in the Outer Hebrides.

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.

  • Caledonian MacBrayne, [1]. Citylink coaches and trains connect with the ferries in Oban. Details below are for Summer 2006:

Oban to Lochboisdale on South Uist 4 per week, taking 5+ hours.

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 Benbecula, 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 Bus

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

  • Loch Druidibeg Nature Reserve
  • Co-op at Daliburgh HS8 5SS [2], 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

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

  • Howmore Youth Hostel [3] Simple hostel with no advance booking (and no phone)

Bed and Breakfasts

Some can be found on the tourist board website [4], but many are no longer listed due to the charges and "hassle".

  • Brae Lea House, Lochboisdale,HS8 5TH 01878 700497 [5] A guest house with ensuite bedrooms about a mile from the ferry.
  • Bayview, Lochboisdale, 01878 700329. A smaller bed and breakfast overlooking (5 minutes walk) the ferry terminal.
  • 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 [6].

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.

  • Lochboisdale Hotel 01878 700332. [7] Right next the ferry pier. Good bar meals in the evening.
  • Polochar Inn [8] 01878 700215.
  • Borrodale Hotel [9] 01878 700444.
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Simple English

South Uist
Location
OS grid reference:NF786343
Names
Gaelic name: Uibhist-a-Deas
Meaning of name: From 'inni-vist', Old Norse for 'dwelling'.
Area and Summit
Area: 32,026 ha
Area rank (Scottish islands): 9
Highest elevation: Beinn Mhor 620 m
Population
Population (2001): 1,818
Population rank (inhabited Scottish islands): 9 out of 97
Main settlement: Lochboisdale
Groupings
Island Group: Uists & Barra
Local Authority: Na h-Eileanan Siar
References: [1][2][3] [4][5]

South Uist (Scottish Gaelic: Uibhist-a-Deas) is an island of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. In the 2001 census it had a usually resident population of 1,818. There is a nature reserve and a number of sites of archaeological interest, including the only location in Great Britain where prehistoric mummies have been found. The population is about 90% Roman Catholic. The island, in common with the rest of the Hebrides, is one of the last remaining strongholds of the Gaelic language in Scotland. In 2006 South Uist, and neighbouring Benbecula and Eriskay were involved in Scotland's biggest community land buyout to date. In the north west there is a missile testing range.

Other websites

References

  1. 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland
  2. Haswell-Smith, Hamish. (2004) The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh. Canongate.
  3. The Chronicles of Mann. Manx Society. Vol XXII, Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  4. Germanic Lexicon Project Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  5. Ordnance Survey
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