We absolutely loved our brief trip around The Uists.
It had been on my list for a number of years. I’d really enjoyed watching Monty Halls – Beachcomber Cottage. Several seeds were sewn and before long, I owned a Land Rover and I was discussing adventures in her with a young lady online, over a game of Scrabble and a glass of wine. One thing led to another and in 2011 my new girlfriend and I were packing the Landy and on our way to Applecross, in Monty’s footsteps. Then came Monty’s Great Hebridean Escape and before long we were packing the Land Rover with our camping gear, a few cameras and heading north, ferry tickets in hand.
We fell in love with every island we visited, each was unique in its own right. Each was so wild, often so remote and always so beautiful. The sense of community was evident everywhere we went. When I photographed these deserted South Uist crofts, as you do, I wanted to know their stories. They had been homes once for generations and perhaps some will be again one day. For most, the cost of repair, conversion, far outweighed the cost of building afresh. There was one particular croft that had me apply the brakes a little too sharply. It sat on a small bit of raised headland by the shoreline and has these beautiful leading lines of small streams in the foreground.
I spent a number of hours studying it and the landscape from afar. It was such a beautiful spot.
When I returned it was great to share some of these images on Facebook and to receive such wonderful feedback from the local community, both past and present. To start to understand some of that history, to see the buildings as homes and to imagine them with peat smoke drifting from the chimneys. In a place like South Uist, history is all around, many local families remain. It was wonderful to hear from those who owned the land, those who had visited family there as children on their holidays. Their vivid and fun-filled memories patched the roof, repaired the windows and added colour to the facade.
A single photograph can be a wonderful catalyst for bringing such wonderful memories to the surface. It was a privilege to visit these stunning islands and I can’t wait for an opportunity to go back and explore further. I’ve always dreamed of living in a small cottage, not too far from the sea, a simpler life, a slower pace surrounded by such raw and wonderful nature. I’ll ensure the next time I have more time.
Lots of wonderful info on the South Uist website http://www.southuist.com/
Why wait book yourself a ferry! https://www.calmac.co.uk/
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