Saturday, October 3, 2015

Uisinis Light - North Uist

Standing on a remote corner of South Uist is little Uisinis light. It was established in 1858 and automated in 1970. The nearest road to the light is at Loch Skiport, some 5 miles away; so to get to Uisinis requires either a long walk, a boat and a short walk, or a helicopter.

Location of Uisinis light
I have not made the long walk from Loch Skiport, though I hope to someday. My visit to Uisinis only required a two-and-a-half mile round-trip walk from Mol a' Tuath (the rocky north beach). Mol a' Tuath is a good anchorage, and is where they landed supplies for the light. There is a small shed there, and an overgrown track leads east to the light.

Mol a' Tuath and the shed
The shed - 1
The shed - 2
I first red about Uisinis in Keith Allardyce's book Scotland's Edge (1998). In it, the author describes a visit to the light with Iain Macleod, one of the attendants:

'...we reached a little shingled beach in a sheltered bay. Above the beach, Iain kept his 1958 Ford Dexter tractor, gleaming in a recent coat of blue paint, in a grand NLB shed.'

The author is then towed to the lighthouse in a trailer pulled by the tractor. That was a long time ago, for the tractor was a sad sight when I saw it in 2013; parked inside the now derelict shed, it was falling apart; bits of blue paint barely visible under a heavy coat of rust.

The 1958 Ford Dexter tractor in 2013
It is a half-hour walk to the lighthouse from the shed. It is a bit of an anti-climax when the tower finally comes into view; as it is only 39 feet high. But being sited atop the cliff it is visible for nearly 20 miles. The keepers houses were dismantled when they automated the light, so there is not much of interest here other than the light itself, and its dramatic position atop the cliff, looking east to Skye over the Sea of the Hebrides.

Some day I hope to visit Uisinis again as part of a three day hike up the east coast of South Uist. I would start at Loch Aineort, and spend the night in Glen Corodale (see the March 14, 2014 post for a visit to Corodale). I'd then head up around Loch Corodale to spend the second night at Uisinis bothy. On the third day I'd swing by Uisinis light on the way out to the road at Loch Skiport. It would be a fantastic walk.

Here are a few photos of Uisinis from a visit made in August of 2015.

1 comment:

  1. Another little known gem. Thanks Mark. Always enjoy your blog