In the heart of the Scottish Outer Hebrides lies North Uist, an island filled with gorgeous lochs and historical landmarks.
It’s also a haven for wildlife and has long been a top destination for birdwatchers and all-round nature lovers. The high density of peat bogs attracts a large number of otters and corncrakes, one of Britain’s rarest bird species.
Also, the Monach Islands off the west coast are a breeding area for around 9,000 grey seal pups each year, which is the largest colony in Europe.
Protruding the boggy marshland in the island’s northwestern tip stands one of Scotland’s most photographed monuments, the Scolpaig tower. It was built upon an Iron Age dun in 1830 in order to provide some famine relief during the potato blight, and what’s left of the eerily picturesque structure is well worth seeing.
Evidence of North Uist’s prehistoric past can be found almost anywhere, too. Barpa Langass is an intact Neolithic burial chamber in the south, whilst the mysterious Pobull Fhinn stone circle and Fir Bhreidge standing stones are a must see, too.
The island is also home to the earliest crannog in Scotland, a type of artificial island used as a home in this region for over five millennia.
Once you’ve had your fill of historical learning, be sure to stop off at the main settlement of Lochmaddy. The award-winning arts centre has a wide range of wonderful exhibitions and the town centre has a shop, post office and a café where you can relax after a long day of exploring.
Traigh Iar beach along the north coast offers immaculate white sand and perfect swimming conditions. Also, running parallel to the shoreline is an excellent walking trail known locally as a ‘machair’.
There are frequent crossings every day from the Isle of Skye to Lochmaddy on North Uist’s east coast, as well as less frequent crossings from Tarbert on the mainland.