J > From the perspective of the every-day life of islanders, Lochboisdale is not a through-route to the mainland, as so many first-time visitors to Uist assume. It’s at the end of a very long dead-end road ; except not dead yet, but clinging-on-to-life. That’s why, these days, the centre for shopping and services (whether medical or religious) is now at Daliburgh. That’s six miles away – at the junction of the Lochboisdale road with the main north-south route that joins all our islands together, rather than joining us to the mainland.
D > We pulled on boots and coats, and set off for a simple walk along the lane to the hill fence, up the old sheep fank on the side of the hill, and back again. We went out empty-handed – we didn’t even have our phones or cameras ; and certainly no guns. And yet, we came back with a couple of brace of widgeon!
Late afternoon – 3pm at this time of year, and the first still and sunny break for many days. We gather up : coats, boots, Tilly. From Smercleit, north along the western shore of South Uist as far as Boisdale. We turn there, our lengthening shadows straggling homeward behind us.
5th December 2002, 18 years ago today, a day much like today, we arrived at the walled garden with our ginger cats Molly and Meg, Lady – a wire-haired Jack Russel, and mile-high hopes for a more fulfilling life.
J & D > Historically, (well, since the 1920s or ’30s), crofters have collected the seaweed from the shore using a tractor : even to this day, many crofters that continue this practice use a trusty old Massey Ferguson. We don’t have a tractor, because we don’t have enough work for it, and we can’t get the tractor to where we need to offload the seaweed. So we use garden forks and wheelbarrows instead of that prongy attachment thingy, our arms and legs instead of a tractor, and we cart it home to in the trailer, then reversing the operation to get the seaweed onto the compost heaps. Hard work, but it keeps us fit!
J & D > Having had no customers yet (since opening on the 4th of July, five days ago) at the Hebridean Woolshed, and the roads quiet, we took much of the day off for a good walk in the ‘Middle District’ of South Uist.
J & D > The ferry left early in the morning, we were aboard as foot passengers. Due to the social distancing requirements, the capacity of the ferry was limited by the seating layout, rather than area of the vehicle deck, and with about 8 passengers in all the huge ferry was said to be pretty full! The others were truck drivers, and crofters taking cattle to the markets in Oban.