Day 5 South Uist to North Uist

Posted by: Rob on 27/05/2023
Big hills


64.94 mi
27/05/2023 07:20 BST
10.49 mph
33.43 mph
11813.73 Btu
0.09 hp
Elevation Gain
Elevation Gain:
2631.23 ft
2598.43 ft
Elevation Range
Elevation Range:
160.76 ft
21.65 ft
70 °F
50 °F
255.82 mi
101.34 mi
399.65 mi
255.82 mi
101.34 mi
399.65 mi


I woke up nice and early to pretty grey skies, but no rain! So I packed up and was on the road before half 7.

For much of the morning I had a pretty stiff wind that was mostly helping. I was rattling off the miles, looking forward to getting off South Uist after what felt like days of being stuck on it!

Eventually I crossed a causeway that I assumed was to North Uist, but was actually Benbecula. I spotted a Co-op so decided to stock up on supplies. Now, I think I may have moaned about Co-ops and their lack of staff and any sense of urgency previously. Well, imagine that, but on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere! It was tortuous. I was in there so long, I was even on first name terms with locals in the queue. Of course everybody knows everybody else, so no transaction can be completed without a ridiculously long conversation. Tina in front of me was particular annoying as not only did she discuss her entire like life with the woman on the checkout, she then decided she needed some fags, so Moira had to get up and go to the tobacco counter (which was obviously unstaffed) which took about a year.

I did eventually manage to make my purchases and get on my way. Briefly stopping outside the shop to chat with a couple of Germans who were completely bemused by the whole situation. I just shrugged and said "Co-op for ya" and left.

By this time it had started to drizzle. After 10 minutes it turned into horizontal rain. The wind was now starting to switch to the north more. Great - a headwind blowing freezing rain straight into my face.

This part was a real struggle, but I had no choice but to just grind it out - there was absolutely no shelter anywhere.

Eventually, the rain suddenly stopped and I was just left with wind to contend with.

I was now crossing loads of causeways - I lost count in the end, but finally crossed to North Uist.

As I'd had a tailwind earlier, I realised I could actually make the last ferry of the day to Harris. But I checked online and it was listed as fully booked. I didn't really believe that, but decided not to bother as I could do without the stress of "Will I or won't I get on". Plus I'd have to mingle with loads of other humans which I didn't really want to do as I'd got used to talking to no one other than sheep and the odd German. I was also pretty cooked after battling the elements all day.

I decided I'd camp at Clachan Sands, which is a kind of designated wild camping area. The facilities include a bin and a tap. Actually, those are the only facilities!

Anyway, I had loads of time so stopped at a little coffee / snack hut thing. I'd been looking for somewhere to get a hot drink for about 4 hours by this point! It is a little remote out here!

I had a coffee and some food then carried on to the camping area. I was a bit concerned about the wind and it was a real struggle to get my tent up, but once pitched it was fine. There's one other tent here, but no sign of the occupant. Even though it's about a mile of rough track to get here, that hasn't put off the persistent and invasive species that is the camper van. There are a couple here now and I think I heard another pull up a little while ago.

I have plenty of food, so will have a cook up in a bit. Remarkably, here - the remotest place I've been so far has a 4G signal! Further south there was nothing at all.

Tomorrow I get an early ferry to Harris - the final island!

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mikej on 27/05/2023 21:40:54
I guess when it is sheeting down with rain you have to be grateful that you are getting some sunshine as well. I don't see much evidence that there are many tourists around at the moment? Do we have to respect Spartacus' decision to self identify as a male? What about all the other cats in the neighbourhood saying "I am Spartacus"? Had lunch with Karen at The Whit Hart in Little Waltham today.. V good. " May the sun shine and all the winds be behind you" (old gaelic blessing)
Karen on 27/05/2023 22:18:09
As predicted I had to explain your joke about I am Spartacus to Ben!
Karen on 27/05/2023 19:48:42
The beach looks amazing - the water is so clear. I feel your pain with the Coop - it sounds like our Post Office since the new people took it over. Although it’s more like incompetence and not caring on their part as sometimes there are two of them there just faffing around and ignoring the queue of customers while one bored person spends ages serving each customer extremely slowly. What are haggis flavoured crisps like?! In other news we have been adopted by a cat called Spartacus (who is female, apparently). She lives several streets away but Ben spoke to her owners who said they are on holiday and reckon she can find her way home. She keeps coming in the house and trying to make herself at home. Hope you have a less windy day tomorrow
Rob on 27/05/2023 20:14:37
It looks like Spartacus has decided where she wants to live!

Oh and Haggis flavoured crisps taste pretty much like any other meaty flavoured crisps!
Karen on 27/05/2023 20:43:42
Spartacus has now been collected and taken home by the friend of the owner who is supposed to be looking after her! She was not keen on getting into the basket and we saw another side to her….