30 June 2013
The lochs of the Uists are often not large expanses of water, but rather one small pool after another, stretched out indefinitely across the moors – giving the impression of as much water in the landscape as there is land. These lochs are covered in water lilies, great spread out carpets of them with giant white flowers and a golden heart.
Then there is the bog cotton, with a creamy bobbin like torn cotton wool that flits and waves on the end of its thin, dark green stalk. The cotton, split at its ends, points determinedly in the direction of the wind, and these soft creamy balls cover the marshes like sheep’s wool caught in the grass.
Today I am exploring Eriskay, another island connected by a long causeway, and with a sign, “Beware otters crossing”. The weather is wild as I drive, changing from blue to grey in seconds and back again, clouds skitting overhead. Horizontal rain strips the sky, then sunshine breaks through and lights up the yellow of the machair, and splashes white where houses scatter on the hillside.
It is a relaxing day of just looking and recording the wind and the sea, exploring churches and graveyards. At St Michaels’, perched on the hill above the village of Am Baile, the altar celebrates the island’s fishing heritage. Designed by Father Calum MacNeill, the altar is shaped to resemble the prow of a wooden boat.
(The blog Digital Resources page has a bit of information on Eriskay, its role in the film “Whisky Galore” and Eriskay’s relationship to Bonnie Prince Charlie)