South Uist – West side
The West Side of South Uist encompasses everything that embodies an Outer Hebridean holiday – from stunning natural surroundings to a rich and diverse island history peopled with colourful characters.
One of the most famous natives must be the Jacobite heroine Flora Macdonald, who bravely spirited Bonne Prince Charlie away over the sea to Skye as he fled following the bloody battle of Culloden. Reputedly born near the tiny hamlet of Milton in 1722, her memory is now marked by a cairn standing near the ruins of an 18th Century settlement which archaeological excavations reveal to have included blackhouses and a corn drying kiln.
Archaeologists have been hard at work all over the West Side of the island, and nowhere more so that in the Machair at Daliburgh, where studies have revealed that 19 of the surrounding sand hills were actually ancient settlements – the oldest of which at Cladh Hallan dates back to the early bronze age.
Another significant site is Teampul Mor at Howmore, where visitors can wander among the ruins of a 13th Century chapel at what was once an important place of island worship.
Howmore itself is also well worth a visit. This little village is home to one of Scotland’s best collections of thatched cottages, providing a truly picturesque welcome to the weary traveller. The Howmore hostel is housed in one of these traditional buildings, while the village is also home to providers of cycle hire for those who prefer to explore under pedal power – own transport really is essential as visitors who attempt to board the buses often parked by the side of the road will be sorely disappointed as these are veteran vehicles restored for display purposes!
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