We made it to the Outer Hebrides 🙂 A great sail with plenty of wind we set a cracking pace, and was made all the better for us by the playful pod of dolphins who travelled with us for a good half an hour splashing at the bow and racing the boat – so much fun!
Loch Boisdale is located on the eastern side of South Uist island in the Hebrides. The Harbour facilities are very new with a massive new breakwater and road as well as a marina complex. This area services the Caledonian McBride ferries to South Uist as well as many fishing companies who have salmon and fish farms in the area. Loch Boisdale itself was very disappointing, not sure you could call it a town, more like a ferry dock with some abandoned buildings that used to be a town, there is a pub that looks big enough to hold a crowd but it really is just a landing stage.
We cycled across to the Western side of the island a lovely easy (no hills) 30 minute cycle to the long stretching beaches with a stunning blue ocean.
Our second day (we were stuck here for 4 days due to severe winds making sailing out near impossible and very unpleasant) we climbed the hill opposite the marina, and quite a hill it is! A long way around to get started as you have go around the inlet then across a few fields (boggy low lying fields …. equalling wet feet) and then a really steep climb (at times hands and feet in contact with the ground to climb) to get to the top. A couple of stops to shelter from the rain squalls (huddled behind any rocks we could with the wind being so strong the rain seemed to be coming horizontal), as well as a couple of real heart starting frights as grouses flew out of the heather under our feet when we almost stepped on them. The scene unfolding at the top was simply magnificent, we were able to see for miles out to sea back towards the mainland as well as almost all the way across Uist to the western beaches over the low laying land filled with lakes, lochs and bodies of water. The wind up the top was howling and so very strong, having to lean forward when standing up to make sure we were not blown off.
The other highlight from Loch Boisdale was Phil’s efforts at shore fishing (where he gets chatty with local fishermen and gets thrown the odd free fish from the days catch). He certainly excelled here at LB, the first evening a work boat came in that looked a little odd, like a fish farm barge with some large containers on it – turns out it was a fish washing machine, they were sucking the fish up out of the nets and running them through the machine to clean any sea lice etc off them, well the machine was new and they were yet to find the correct settings as on this day they killed a few fish running them through the machine. Disappointing to them I am sure but certainly lucky for us as we were given a huge side of salmon – sashimi, sushi and salmon steaks for us it was. Two days later when we had eaten our way through the first fillets another boat came in and plonked a fish box full of large salmon on the dock, these had been caught from the nets as part of the process they are required to do to catch and examine a certain number each day as a quality check – again lucky us.