Eriskay, Outer Hebrides
The small island of Eriskay is located at the southern tip of South Uist, Outer Hebrides. For many years it was separated from the rest of the Southern Isles but in 2001 Eriskay was joined to South Uist by a new causeway, finally ending the isolation of this remote and beautiful island.
Eriskay is only 2.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, making it ideally suited to exploring on foot. One nice walk runs from the end of the road east of Haun to the ruins of a deserted village at Roisinis. Like other islands in the Uists, Eriskay is roughly divided geographically on a north/south axis. To the east is the higher ground, represented here by the low hills Beinn Screin and Beinn Stack. To the west the ground falls away to machair; sandy grassland and dunes. The soil is poor and ill suited to any form of agriculture, so traditionally the islanders have lived by fishing. Since there was no peat cutting on Eriskay; islanders would make an annual passage to South Uist and there cut enough peat to last the winter.
Eriskay is home to a unique breed of horse rumoured to be descendants of a herd of wild horses that roamed the Highlands in the prehistoric period. The Vikings prized the Eriskay ponies and took them on board their ships when they sailed to Iceland. Robert the Bruce is also said to have ridden an Eriskay palfrey at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
Eriskay is also closely linked to the romantic and ultimately tragic tale of Bonnie Prince Charlie. On 23 July, 1745 the Stuart prince came ashore at Coilleag a Phrionnsa beach, on the west coast of the island, as the first step in his bid for the throne of England and Scotland. Even today his presence lingers, for the story goes that he let fall a few seeds, which eventually took root and flowered, accounting for the blooms of pink sea convolvulus that flourish on the slopes above the beach.
Most visitors love Eriskay. Though small in size, there is just something magical about the island; perhaps some lingering echo of a long and difficult history mixed with a healthy dose of romance and fabulous scenic beauty. It is one of the most beautiful of all the Scottish islands.
The cruise season is from May to September to take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather.
Weather during the cruise season is mild to warm and the days are long. However this is an area where the weather changes rapidly and you can experience a number of seasons in the one day. Cruise Lines often have advice on what clothes to take.
Currency: English Pound, Euro
Language: English with a strong Scottish brogue
Time: UTC/GMT +1 hour
Postcode: HS8 5JL