June 22, 2024

Unicorns and the Machair

Great day exploring South Uist, including popping in to the local gin distillery.  The gin is quite amazing and as with all the gin we have sampled in the Outer Hebrides quite unique.  Harris gin remains the favorite!  We also came across two unicorns this morning! Yes, the unicorn is the national animal off Scotland so we are always on the lookout for them. We stopped by the supposed birthplace of Flora MacDonald who aided Bonnie Prince Charlie in his escape after the Battle of Culloden. She is from Uist!  It’s fascinating to read about the many places he was moved to and from as he escaped the British.  

The wind was fierce today and we walked long the machair at Rubha Aird na Machrach, an amazingly beautiful beach in Benbecula (well, all the beaches have been utterly amazing!). I will be back in late August and headed to Barra and can’t wait to see the Machair in bloom.

Part of the richness of travel comes from the people we meet and the connections we forge.  At Charlie’s Bistro today I made friends with one of the waitresses, Christina, who will introduce me to people on Barra I can talk to and photograph. This will be a highly personal connection, one you never will get from taking some planned tour.  Spending time in the Outer Hebrides has made the kingdom of the Lords of the Isles become even more of a personal pilgrimage  as I drive down single track roads and  look out over the expanse of the moors and coastline wondering what it must have been like in the 13th and 14th century.  The question we always seem to ask is “why would anyone have thought to settle here on this remote and wild land”?  This is truly a magical place and I am already yearning to come back. Was I here in another lifetime?