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" Outer Hebrides 2019 - 8 - SeannTaigh, the Old House "

 

Date & start time:    Sunday 19th May 2018  ( and other days)  

Location of Start :   The cottage at South Loch Boisdale      ( Map ref: NF 786 175)

Stayed at :                Seann Taigh, South Lochboisdale South Uist, The Hebrides, UK.

Places visited :       The very local area of South Loch Boisdale and North Glendale.

Walk details :           Short walks exploring the surrounding area.

With :                         Ann and our dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                  Fine weather, sometimes overcast with a cool breeze.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.

 

This is the time we find out what sort of accommodation will be ours for the next week.

We booked the holiday on the internet many months ago and despite all the pictures and reports

you never know what the home and the area will really be like until you arrive at your destination.

We arrived at the cottage yesterday evening . . . it had no name on the gate but it looked just as advertised !

A classic Uist Black House, updated within, but still looking authentic on the outside.

The small enclosed garden was great for the dogs, whether they sat quietly or played boisterously.

Inside there was a complete transformation . . . a smart new kitchen . . .

. . . sharing the main room with a spacious lounge and dining area.

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It advertised a second sleeping area (for smaller people !)

The comments in the guest book told us

that the kids that stayed there really loved this attic bedroom,

accessed by the fold away loft ladder.

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Ann and I chose the spacious bedroom at the other end of the cottage.

The bathroom was delightful and the whole place benefited from under floor central heating . . . we were set for the week.

The original small windows were retained . . .
. . . and looked out at small stone sculpture.

From the garden you could see across to the ferry terminal and new marina of Lochboisdale on the north side of the inlet.

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The owner's cottage was a short walk way away across the road

and Katie called over to see us to ensure we had everything we needed.

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It was warm enough for an occasional al fresco 'lunch with a view' . . .provided the breeze had dropped.

A perfect location . . . now please may we have good weather for the rest of the week !

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In the evenings we could settle down with one of the local books from the cottage, many of which had numerous old photos and stories of the area.

This one by Bill Innes had photos from the past that were captured at the start of the change to modern times on the island.

The roads are old but a barn by the road has been fitted with a new fangled tin roof !

This book and several other in the collection would entertain us for days as we started to understand more of Uist's history.

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Outside, the first and most memorable natural sound we noticed was the cuckoo.

Back home we hear them all the time in early summer, but we never see them because the birds are hidden in the trees of our valley.

Here . . . with few trees to sit in . . .
. . . they perch on the next available vantage point.

The Cuckoo here was a delight because this time we could actually see it in all its finery.

Another visitor . . . larger and not so keen on balancing on telegraph wires or electric pylons . . . the Greylag goose

Starlings nested in an adjacent ruin to our cottage.
This crow was eating a shellfish from the beach.

I had a senior moment when I hoped that the black bird with the red legs (left) would be a chough.

The book suggested that a yellow beaked chough would be a rare sighting, an arctic chough.  

Better light, a pair of binoculars and my zoom lens all clearly showed the greenish sheen on its back . . . it was a starling !

During our week here we've had several short local walks from the cottage, so I combine some of the photos here.

Across the way this partially-modernised old house had finally been given up to nature.

Peeling paint on the doors and walls . . .
. . . inside there used to be modern internal partitioning.

There were signs of plumbing, sanitation and an electrical supply but nature has done its best in recent years at reclaiming the house.

The property would be suitable for complete renovation . . . any offers?

Alongside the nearby stream . . . Marsh marigold . . . .
. . . with two amorous green veined white butterflies.

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A short distance down the road, a similar cottage was also available for holiday lettings.

This one had a bright red door but access straight onto the road.

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It seems that in the 1950's and 1960's the government offered 50% grants (approx £500) for people to build new homes to replace these old cottages.

Sadly the "affordable housing" was  a mono culture of bungaloid modern, all looking roughly the same.  Many old homes were left to go to ruins. 

More modern homes have improved in design but the basic square shape still remains the starting point for many.

Tourism may be the saving grace of these old style houses.

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Towards the end of the road here in South Lochboisdale is a small seating area, part of a sequence of  "Roadend Sculpture Projects".

Here the tractor seats represent local agriculture, the site of the structure is next to the old school house and it is located

on the historic village boundaries of South Lochboisdale where I am standing and North Glendale starting beyond Ann and the small bridge.

On the reverse of the structure are two poems by local authors Donald MacDonald and Donald J. MacDonald,

one man from each side of 'the divide'.

They are written both in English . . .
. . . and in their native Gaelic.

The end of the road is a small protected beach, a fine view east to the Minch and a rather nice house.

There has been a local fishing industry within the loch for centuries.

Several small jetties allowed the locals to keep boats.  A more modern enterprise had even attempted fish farming.

Sadly this seems to have fallen into disrepair.

A modern fishing boat . . . the Merlin.

An older boat, the Rona, has seen better days.

A small open boat lies beached and unused behind a stone walled jetty.

As we walk around the rocks there is a colourful patch of colour near the water's edge.

This is Thrift in a salt marsh environment . . .

. . . not far away the same plant in a rocky crevice.

A flash of colour crosses the bay and I have the right lens on for a change.

The bird . . . a fine example of a Curlew

It heads off across the loch this sunny afternoon.

Walking back up to the cottage . . . more ruins of an old house, with the chimney of our cottage in the background.

A bold doorway . . . the thick walls providing structure and protection.

Inside would have been a fireplace, possible an iron range for cooking.

Another property " ripe for development "

considering the success of the restored home that we are enjoying this week.

Ann getting into the mood . . . and the dogs just relaxing . . . after one of our walks.

(A rather staged picture . . . all that's missing is a spinning wheel or some knitting ! )

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Later in the evening

we walk out into the garden to enjoy the dark skies.

 

It is breezy but not cold

Nevertheless the cottage looks warm and cozy.

 

It would seem that tourism could be the key

to restoring and preserving the many artifacts

of the strong local heritage

written about in the books.

 

Local agriculture and fishing here

are certainly not going to do it on their own.

 

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Inside now . . . looking out of the other bedroom window . . . to the west and a setting sun.

The rising tide reflects the subtle hues of a Hebridean sunset as we turn in for the night.

Sunset was after ten o'clock but it stayed light for ages.

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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix Tz60 Compact, or my Panasonic Gx8 mid-range System Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a vision to rebuild.

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Previous walk Outer Hebrides 2019 - 7 - Onward to the Uists

A previous time in the area - Sorry no photos on-line for this area.

Next walk -  Outer Hebrides 2019 - 9 - Eriskay Island