South Uist or Uibhist A Deas is an island in the Outer Hebrides with population of less than 2,000 but extending over 25 miles from north to south. It is one of the last strongholds of the Gaelic language, and has a long history reflected in the many archaeological remains that can be visited. There are no large towns, and the population is generally spread thinly on the machairs of the western side. But South Uist has a beauty of its own, with ever changing weather, and is a good place for bird and wildlife watching.
Like much of the Highlands and Islands, Uist and its population was neglected and persecuted by its landlords for many years, and fell into long decline. Under new legislation, however, 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. The island is predominatly Catholic and takes a more relaxed view of the Sabbath that its northerly neighbours.
- Caledonian MacBrayne Mallaig to Lochboisdale daily, taking 3.5 hours. Note that the times of the ferry do not connect well with trains from Fort William and Glasgow, but there are buses from Fort William with more convenient times. In winter some feries run from Oban.
Lochboisdale has a new marina which opened in 2015. Charges start at £10 per night. The marina has fuel and facilities for launching boats.
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.
Walking, or cycling.
There are good bus services during the day Mon - Sat, but little in the evening and no buses on a Sunday.
- 1 Loch Druidibeg Nature Reserve. in the north of the island with over 200 species of flowering plant.
- 2 Our Lady of the Isles. a 9 metre high statue (NF 776407) of the virgin and child by Huw Lorimer erected in 1957, the largest religious statue in the British Isles. It faces the Protestant northern islands, and greets entry to the Catholic south.
- 3 Dun Vulan (Dun Mhulan) (half way down the island, (NF 715297) near the track to Bornish or Bornais.). an Iron Age broch and settlement.
- 4 Kildonan Museum, Kildonan. Apil to the end of September. Daily 10:00 - 17:00. with a good display of local history, crafts, and a decent cafe.
- 5 Flora MacDonalds birthplace ((NF 740269) - 3 miles north of Daliburgh). where the woman who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie avoid capture was born.
- Taigh Dubh or blackhouses. the traditional dwelling of the Uist crofter can be seen, and some are now restored, such as at Howmore or Tobha Mor (NF 758364), where there is an important medieval ecclesiastical site.
- 6 Bornish (Bornais) (NF 729302). the site of three settlement mounds from the Late Iron Age.
- Beaches. The wonderful beaches all along the western coast.
- 1 Play Golf at Askernish. A course designed by Old Tom Morris in 1891, and after many years of neglect restored in 2008.
- Walking - hillwalking Ben Mhor, Ben Corodale and Hecla. For keen and experienced hillwalkers there is a good horseshoe walk direct from the hostel at Howmore which leads into the most spectacular and interesting of the South Uist hills. Note - paths are non-existent or indistinct, so take compass, maps and sensible clothing.
- Fly Fishing (angling). salmon 1 Feb - 31 Oct, brown trout 15 Mar – 30 Sep, Mon - Sat only. Excellent Fishing for brown trout, sea trout and salmon on numerous hill lochs. Several lochs have boats for anglers to use. permits from £8 per day.
- Clothes and hardware shop, Lochboisdale (near the pier).
- Uist artists and craftspersons shop, Kildonan Centre, HS8 5RZ (near Kildonan Museum, about 3 miles north of Daliburgh). end Mar to mid-Oct: Mon - Sat 11am to 4.30pm, Sun 1pm to 4pm.
- 2 The Big Garden, Cille Bhrighde (West Kilbride), ☎ . Seasonal fruit and vegetables, hand-spun wools, knitted/crocheted/woven garments and other items.
- Salar Smokehouse, Lochcarnan, HS8 5PD for hand crafted smoked delicacies
- 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
- Lochboisdale Cafe, Post Office, Kenneth Drive, Lochboisdale, HS8 5TJ, ☎ . Coffee and home baking in the post office.
See Hotels below
Bed and Breakfasts
Some can be found on the tourist board website , but many are no longer listed due to the charges and "hassle".
- 2 Brae Lea House, Lochboisdale,HS8 5TH, ☎ . A guest house with ensuite bedrooms about a mile from the ferry.
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.
- 8 Askernish/Aisgernis, HS8 5SY (about 1 mile north of Daliburgh/Dalabrog), ☎ . 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. from £192 (3 nights in November).
- 4 Lochboisdale Hotel (Right next the ferry pier.), ☎ . 10 room traditional hotel which particularly caters for those fishing for the excellent local brown trout (has a rod room). Good bar meals in the evening. from £45.
- Going north the next islands are Benbecula, North Uist, Berneray (all connected by causeway) then take a ferry to Harris and Lewis.
- Going south the next islands are Eriskay (connected by causeway) then take a ferry to Barra.