Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Uidhe Bothy - Taransay

It was back in 1992, while perusing the dusty shelves of a second-hand bookshop in Vancouver BC, that I first saw Seton Gordon's book Afoot in Wild Places (1937). The second chapter in the book is on Taransay, and in it was an amazing photo of St Taran's Cross at Uidhe; a 4-foot-tall standing stone with a large cross etched deeply on one side. The photo also showed a roofless, derelict croft house nestled at the base of the hill behind the cross.

I had to see the cross, but back then Taransay was, for me, as out of the way as the moon; I had no idea how I'd ever get there. But six years later, in 1998, I found myself on Harris after a planned trip to St Kilda fell apart. I was desperate to get to some remote islands, and so I managed to get to Taransay (see book 2, chapter 13).

The cross-stone was magnificent, and the derelict croft house behind it now had a roof, and had been fixed up as a bothy. I would later learn that this had been done by the Mountain Bothies Association in 1985. The Castaway TV show would invade Taransay after I visited, and the bothy was locked so that only participants in the show could use it. These days it remains unlocked, and below are some photos I took during visits in 2004 and 2011.

Note: The Mountain Bothies Association does not maintain the bothy. Uisinis on South Uist is the only one they have in the Western Isles (see Sept 18, 2013 post).

St Taran's Cross (2004) - Uidhe bothy in the distance
Uidhe bothy (2011)
Inside the bothy - 1
Inside the bothy - 2
Inside the bothy - 3

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