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  • Johnnie

Magical exclusivity (North Uist)

Updated: Feb 21

A visit to North Uist in high summer is always such a treat! As our ferry disembarked from Uig, we left behind the tourist hordes on Skye and then sailed west across the minch towards Lochmaddy in fine seas. Gannets, dolphins and porpoise joined us throughout the crossing, but no whale sightings this time. We had excellent views of the entire Outer Hebridean chain of islands, with the hills of Harris dominating the the northwest skyline. After an hour and a half we entered Lochmaddy harbour, guarded by the hills of Li a Tuath and Li a Dias on our left. We felt the warm sunshine on our faces as we breathed the purest of fresh air. It's good to be back in our Hebridean home.

A few years ago Julie and I were lucky enough to visit Aspen, Colorado for a skiing trip. It lived up to its reputation and we could understand why celebrities had bought second homes there. Beautiful, with great skiing and without the crowds associated with many other Colorado ski resorts. I overheard a seasoned American skier explaining to his friends why Aspen was such a desirable and exclusive place -"getting to Aspen, compared to the other ski hills (which are nearer to the city of Denver) is such a pain in the a**", he said.

Fortunately, there will never be a bridge from the Scottish mainland to North Uist and the requirement for a ferry crossing will, rather like Aspen, keep it an exclusive destination. Undiscovered, unforgettable, magical!

The Machair was in full bloom and the lochan's shimmered as we drove to the west coast, to Balranald bird reserve and the cottage. We arrived to find that it was nearly high tide in the bay and the turquoise sea looked magnificent. The pristine, white shell sand beach had its summer fringe of rich green Machair and colourful wild flowers. Magnificent. Time for a swim!!

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