A modest grand tour of the Highlands and Islands – Stage 4: Harris to South Uist
Of all the Islands, Harris is probably the most spectacularly beautiful. Stunning white sand beaches on the west coast, beautiful rocky coves on the east and some impressive little mountains in the north. We walk the huge expanse of sands at Luskintyre – they manage to glow even when the weather closes in.
On the east coast, we watch seals and hope to see an otter.
Now we island-hop by taking the Sound of Harris ferry from Leverburgh to Berneray, which is connected to North Uist by a peninsula. We hope to see all kinds of sea life and we do see lots of birds doing their stuff. No porpoises or whales, though!
North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist are connected by causeways and we are heading for the south of South Uist, a drive of about 50 miles. We stop at Balranald RSPB reserve and again marvel at the beauty of the beach.
We pay homage to Flora MacDonald’s birth place and are watched by inquisitive locals.
Right down in the south of South Uist, overlooking the Sound of Barra, we explore beautiful Eriskay.
On our last day in South Uist, we explore Loch Eynort on the rocky east coast. The last time I was there was in 1975 when I led a camping expedition of teenage boys for two weeks of activities and isolation from the outside world. The campsite is very remote and we scramble over rocks and bogs for a long time to find it. Even when I know we are there, I find that heather and sphagnum moss has taken over most of the site, making it hard to recognise. We hope to spot an otter, but this time our luck is out. One big change to the north side of the loch is the planting of large numbers of trees by Archie MacDonald. This has created a new micro climate and increased the biodiversity of the area. It has also created a perfect environment for midges!