Aug 102013

The second leg of our Outer Hebrides self-drive tour began on Eriskay, and a visit to the Am Politician pub. The name of the pub celebrates the island’s main claim to fame which is the World War 2 shipwreck of the SS Politician and the consequent liberation of its cargo of whisky. The sinking of the SS Politician is immortalised in the novel, and later film, ‘Whisky Galore’.

Welcome to Eriskay

Welcome to Eriskay (Photo credit: Alan Rowley Photos)

After half an hour in the beer garden, again in glorious sunshine, we started the three-hour journey through Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula and North Uist to out hotel for the second leg of our journey.

After filling up with petrol at a fish and chip shop we started our journey. The fish and chip shop on South Uist doubles as a filling station. The route through South Uist took us over moorland and peat bogs, with many small lochs. The only main road through South Uist runs through the centre of the island, with bogs, lochs and mountains on the eastern side, and a continuous beach with machair on the western side. The island is linked to Benbecula and Eriskay by causeways.

Benbecula is a flat island, quite a contrast to the Uists on either side. The island has an airport with regular flights to Glasgow, Stornoway and Barra.

Machinery in the machair

Machinery in the machair (Photo credit: Alan Rowley Photos)

Finally, we arrived on North Uist, our home for the next two nights of our journey. North Uist is connected by causeways to Benbecula via Grimsay, to Berneray, and to Baleshare. With the exception of the south east, the island is very flat, and covered with a patchwork of peat bogs, low hills and lochans, with more than half the land being covered by water.

Our hotel for the next two nights was the Langass Lodge, in the centre of the island. Langass Lodge was a strange place for us to stay, away from the coast, and little to do in the immediate vicinity. There was a signposted walk from the hotel, but we didn’t attempt this as the climb was steep. A car is a necessity if staying at this hotel.

Boathouse from Langass Lodge

Boathouse from Langass Lodge (Photo credit: Alan Rowley Photos)

Our time on North Uist was spent touring the island and photographing the landscape and the wildlife. It was here that I was able to video an otter, the first time I had seen one in the wild. I also managed to photograph a pair of deer, only a couple of minutes drive from our hotel.

Shades of blue

Shades of blue (Photo credit: Alan Rowley Photos)

We visited the RSPB Reserve at Balranald, although we didn’t venture too far from the visitor centre. The machair was in full bloom and I was able to take some nice shots of it, as well as the beautiful sandy beaches down the western side of the island.

Langass Lodge was a lovely, friendly little hotel and the food, both at breakfast and in the evening, was excellent. Our stay was relaxing and set us up nicely for the last leg of our journey to Stornoway and the dramatic scenery of the isles of Lewis and Harris

Outer Hebrides: An introduction | Barra & Vatersay | Harris and Lewis

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