Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Broken Bridge of North Uist - Lochmaddy

A wander around Lochmaddy is a regular experience on a Hebridean Cruise. In times past we could tie up to the Lochmaddy ferry pier for the night and then go for a walk. But these days they don't much tolerate boats tying up to ferry piers overnight, even when the ferry is not due. So a desirable alternate to Lochmaddy, four miles to the northwest, is Bagh a' Chaise (Cheese Bay). I've no idea why it's called that. Perhaps at low tide, on a hot day, it smells a bit cheesy. There are several 'odoriferous' place names in the islands - 'Stinking Goat Bay' on Great Cumbrae comes to mind.

But getting back to Lochmaddy, I've spent many hours over the years exploring the area around town on foot. But there was one walk I''d never had the time to do, and that is the Sponish Loop. It is a four-mile trek that takes you out to the Sponish Penninsula via a footbridge a half-mile north of town. From there you can visit a neolithic Camera Obscura (more later), before traversing the peninsula west to the highway, which you follow back to town. You can also do the walk the other way around (clockwise).

So last August, finding myself with a few hours to kill in Lochmaddy, I decided I would do the Sponish loop. Fortunately I decided to do the walk in the counterclockwise direction, for when I reached the footbridge it was roped off with signs saying it was broken and to use an alternate route.

The broken bridge

I would have been in a pickle if I'd done the walk in the other direction. I'd of had to backtrack all the way to town. I hope the bridge is fixed next time I'm there, as I would like to take a close-up look at Sponish House and see the nearby neolithic Camera Obscura. What the heck is a neolithic Camera Obscura you say? See this Walkhighlands page for a photo, and this CANMORE page for a description of Sponish House. 

Sponish House and the broken bridge

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