The flatness, the water, the wind - they were the first impressions of the southern Outer Hebrides. We arrived at Lochmaddy on North Uist and had to drive two islands down to South Uist, pausing to pick up supplies in Benbecula on the way. Single track roads with passing places most of the way, except for the causeways where we met the signs warning of otters crossing (none were seen).Image above from an interesting post about the same area.
From the cottage where we were staying we could see the croft garden with the Atlantic beyond,
the new eco home of the interesting owners and their recent alpine greenhouse project, (seen in different lights - someone quite rightly said that if you don't like the weather in the Outer Hebrides, just wait fifteen minutes and it will change!)
and one morning I opened the bedroom curtains to see this birder couple! (We saw many birders on the ferry, and then from time to time on our explorations. Generally the men had huge equipment (a camera with enormous lens, and a monocular as well as the binoculars), their female companions carried a little camera like mine. I'm sure there must be female birders too - we just did not see any on this trip.
Birds abound in these islands - a birder's paradise. Of course my snapping skills are totally inadequate to catch even a blurred image,
but we did see stonechats, curlews, snipe, lapwings, oystercatchers, dunlin, owls, a raptor too speedy for identification, skylarks, herons, many other sea birds ... and we heard but did not see at least two corncrakes. So many birds feasted on the abundant seaweeds.
The quantity of water delighted me: the ocean around - and in so many colours,
the sea lochs, and the shallow inland lochs full of bog bean, water lily, and other plants, bog itself, and whole fields full of bog lovers such as horsetail and flag iris.
And of course the famous Machair flowers. We were at the beginning of the season: the whites and yellows.
There is just so much to take in on the islands, and each island is subtly different and interesting in its own way.
There were the sheep of course, and so many Soay sheep amongst a diverse selection of other breeds. The wind was so loud when I encountered the lamb above - I stood so close, wearing a jacket which swishes loudly as I move - which had not heard me at all.
The cows - and so many roadside shrines - together in this field near where we were staying, and the derelict buildings and general clutter which gave a distinct character to the working aspects of the area.
And of course the loose chippings!