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Back from North Uist/Berneray

Glasgow, United...
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Back from North Uist/Berneray

Not long back from my trip from North Uist and Berneray and have to say that this was my best ever trip to Outer Hebrides. I picked the week when the weather was at its best, dry and sunny although on some days slightly windy. Even managed to get a little sunburned on the top of my folically challenged head

Day 1 travelling up from East Kilbride to Uig was uneventful. Took my time stopping off to take photos and enjoying the scenery. Took me nearly 9 hours but I was driving fairly slowly

The first highlight of the holiday was at Uig harbour around 5pm. I was photographing a curlew when I noticed out of the corner of my eye some movement amongst the sea weed. It was an otter with a large crab in its mouth. I managed to get some decent photos before it went back into the sea. 5 minutes later it reapperaed with another crab. This time I managed to get a little closer and get even better photos. away it went again and another 5 minutes it was back with another crab. I managed to get within about 20 feet of the otter I could hear it munching away at the crab. It did not care that I managed to get so close

Stayed at the Noth Uist Outdoor centre hostel. There was only 1 other person there so very quiet and peaceful, just what I wanted. Stayed here for 3 nights

Day 2. Went to Balranald RSPB place and had a lovely walk around there taking photos. Got some decent shots of Whooper swans.

About 3/4 of way round there were some cows on the machair. I started to walk around them as I made my way to the gate. They clocked me walking this way and started to follow me cutting off my path to the gate. Now there were about 20 of them. I changed direction to avoid them but they still followed me and would not let me near the gate. Even when I started to speed up my walking they would do the same. managed to get to the gate eventually to finish the walk

Later that day around 6pm at the hostel I was overlooking the loch at the hostel towards 2 crops of land. I saw 2 dogs and a guy on a quad bike the guy was shouting on the dogs but they were not listening. Then I saw what they were chasing 2 deer. The deer reached the end of the first strip of land with the dogs not far behind. they then jumped into the water and started swimming to the other stretch of land. This time I only had my binoculars, no camera but what a wonderful site watching them swim.

Day 3 went to Flodda island for about 2 hours but no sign of any seals

Took a walk on Howmore beach which was lovely in the sunshine and saw only 2 other people

Day 4 made my way to Berneray and did the Udal peninsula walk from www.walkhighlands.co.uk. probably a similar walk that was on the Monty Halls programme. Walked for about 5 hours and did not see a soul, Bliss. One disappointment was the lack of posts marking the route. They were few and far between and several of Monty Halls posts were lying on the ground. Some of the views on this walk were spectacular and I took some great shots.

At the old roundhouse it was a sunny and warm day. However standing there alone I felt a shiver and it seemed to go very cold, spooky

That night at the Berneray Hostel where i stayed for 2 nights, about 8pm I saw an otter walk across the beach. It came towards the hostel across the rocks and sea weed. I watched it for about 10 minutes and took some photos but it was a bit dark to get any decent shots

Day 5 I walked the Berneray circuit. The walk was perfect glorious sunshine no wind and the beaches apart from the fist 200 metres or so where there was lots of sea weed were simply beautiful. Walked for about 4 hours and again saw no one. Went to the seal viewing area and managed to get some decent photos of a few seals

There were 5 others staying at the hostel, some workmen doing work on a nearby building but they worked between 8 and 22.00 so in effect I had the hostel to myself

Day 6 travelled back to East Kilbride. The water was very calm so had a lovely sailing back to Uig

Notth Uist is normally a stunning place to be but with the near perfect weather it made it even more special

Roll on next year

8 replies to this topic
Edinburgh
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1. Re: Back from North Uist/Berneray

I'm assuming you went the week before last as I'm just back from a week - Vatersay to Berneray - and it's been rain/snow/hail/gales... still great though. Stayed a couple of nights in the Berneray hostel too, met the guys you mentioned and had one or two drinks with them... a late night! Got some decent wildlife pics, including an Icelandic (or possibly glaucous) gull, corn bunting and whimbrel. Watched an otter feeding in Vatersay and two eagle sightings (one golden, the other, not sure) but too far away for decent shots.

I'm not that chuffed that you got the great weather and I didn't... ;) ...but otherwise agree entirely with you - fantastic place!

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2. Re: Back from North Uist/Berneray

I had went to Noth and South Uist last year for the 1st week in April and the weather was fairly poor. Very windy and wet although generally between 10.00 and 16.00 it at least stayed dry

I was speaking with the warden at the Berneray hostel and she though that between August 2011 and the week I arrived ther had only been about 12 days when it had not rained at some point.

I really hit the jackpot with the weather.

Apart from I am guessing Buzzards, I was too far away did not see any birds of prey, but the otter sightings and the deer swimming were moments that will live with me a long time

Edinburgh
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3. Re: Back from North Uist/Berneray

Yep, it's a bit of a lottery eh... The swimming deer's a classic sighting, not to mention getting so close to an otter feeding! Not jealous at all... :) We were watching the otter for more than half an hour (in between dives) but couldn't get any closer than 100-odd metres.

Saw quite a number of raptors and the first eagle flew right over my head on Vatersay West beach so id'ing it was easy. Unfortunately, I had my small lens on with slow shutter speed setting for a scenic shot, so only got a blur. The second one was a silhouette with the sun on the 'wrong' side, but good enough to show the huge beak... unquestionably an eagle and I suspect, going purely by the beak size, a sea eagle... but I'll never know for sure. :(

Incidentally, I found Vatersay brilliant for all sorts of wildlife... worth a visit if you haven't been.

Glasgow, United...
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4. Re: Back from North Uist/Berneray

I have attached one of my otter photos,if you wish to click on the link

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33758155@N08/6911659388/in/photostream

Edinburgh
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5. Re: Back from North Uist/Berneray

Nice one mate!

Isle of Man, United...
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6. Re: Back from North Uist/Berneray

I do like looking at other folks photos. Sorry to intrude but I was researching for next year. 2015.

My first trip to N.Uist was only this year but I have booked to go again for a full week.

Thanks again for the picture and sorry for 'eavesdropping!'

Oh. Just posted and realised my Avatur was quite appropriate.

Edited: 15 October 2014, 23:21
glasgow
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7. Re: Back from North Uist/Berneray

Great to get a trip report from beautiful N. Uist! It is only equalled by Mull , IMO, for wildlife sightings.We've had great views throughout the Uists of golden and sea eagles,hen harriers and short eared owls and also, once, a snowy owl which is often spotted.Never had too much success though with otters. Beaches are superb too especially around Lingeigh and Hornish and Berneray's 4mile stretch is incredible.

The Udal walk is excellent and what a beach, but yes, sign posting will probably struggle to survive the winter gales.

glasgow
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8. Re: Back from North Uist/Berneray

Meant to add, we did the Lady Anne wildlife boat trip from Kallin harbour cruising around the fantastic and remote east coast of N.Uist and would thoroughly recommend it.'Resident' sea eagle up close, more red deer than I've seen anywhere feeding on the islets and swimming too, an otter , golden eagles' nest site , red throated diver family and calling,and occasionally dolphins and orcas (but not on our trip!).Absolutely stunning scenery, even in the drizzle.

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