This post is part of a paid partnership with West Coast Waters to promote the many ways you can immerse your senses around the Scottish west coast
Back in August I was sat in the ferry queue in Uig in Skye bursting with excitement and anticipation at the prospect of another west coast adventure. The last time I waited in this queue was on a trip to Harris and Lewis, this time I was sailing to North Uist. My excitement levels were ramped up to the max because not only was this my first trip to Uist, it was also a proper holiday which meant I could truly immerse myself in the real-time beauty of the Hebrides without any online distractions or work commitments.
I deleted my social media apps from my phone, ensured my e-mail out of office was switched on and took some deep breaths before fully embracing vacation mode. Before long I was stood out on the deck of the CalMac ferry with the wind whipping my hair and the sea breeze reenergising my soul. On the horizon, Uist and new adventures awaited.
In case you didn't know, Uist is a chain of islands linked by causeways, stretching from Eriskay in the south to Berneray in the north with South Uist, Benbecula, Grimsay and North Uist between them. There are also other smaller islands linked by causeways off of the main islands so if ticking off Scottish islands is your thing this is a good place to start, I managed 9 on this trip!
The following week saw a new chapter of wondrous west coast memories added to my Scotland travel journal and I'm sharing some of my favourite island highlights from Uist in this blog which might be just the inspiration you need for planning your next Scottish adventure.
Immerse yourself in the beaches
If there is a beach nearby, you can be sure I'll visit it! I love being by the sea, padding barefoot through the sand and dipping my toes in the water. In Uist I had countless beaches to choose from and although I couldn't possible visit them all, I did discover a few crackers including -
Immerse yourself in the history
The history of Uist spans many significant chapters including Neolithic, Viking, Christian, Jacobite and the Clearances. The landscape is etched with reminders of bygone eras and there are many historical sites worth adding to your itinerary. With just one week to explore, I only managed to scratch the surface on my visit but it is always good to have an excuse to return to a place.
These are the attractions that I did stop by and that I think are worth seeing for yourself -
Immerse yourself in local crafts
If there is one message that I hope to get across to fellow travellers, it is that shopping local is one of the best things you can do to support the communities you visit. This is particularly true in rural and island destinations where job opportunities can be limited and people's livelihoods often depend on income from tourists. This includes the many creative individuals who live in places like Uist, drawing inspiration from their surroundings.
I love buying handcrafted souvenirs as mementos of my trips and my visit to Uist was no exception. I came home with lots of goodies including artwork, candles and wool. I discovered lots of great wee shops on my island travels and these were some of my favourites -
Immerse yourself in the food & drink
Since the blog has an emphasis on ways to immerse your senses in Uist, it wouldn't be complete without a nod to the local food and drink. Although we were staying in a self-catering cottage we still ate out at least once a day and when we did buy food for cooking at home we mainly shopped in the nearby community store, opting for local produce where possible.
There aren't actually that many options for eating out on many of the islands but these were the places I tried and loved, along with a few local producers I came across -
Other Uist Highlights
Hopefully this blog post has given you some inspiration for visiting Uist and ways to immerse yourself in the scenery, history and culture. I found Uist to be a much quieter option than neighbouring Lewis and Harris, so this might suit those of you keen for a relaxing holiday like I was. Although I visited in summer, many of the places mentioned are open all year so a trip out of season would still be rewarding plus the scenery is stunning all year round.
One thing I haven't mentioned is the many walking and cycling options, simply because this was a lazy holiday for me so active activities weren't on the agenda this time. However my visit has inspired me to follow in the wheels of the many cyclists I came across completing the Hebridean Way. If walking is your thing then I always recommend the WalkHighlands site as a good starting point.
Finally, I just wanted to share a few more of my highlights if you need even more inspiration or persuasion -
A HANDY MAP OF ALL THE LOCATIONS MENTIONED
For even more Scottish west coast inspiration, be sure to check out the
West Coast Waters website
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