‘What is there to do on rainy days?’ - it’s one of the most frequently asked questions in the North Uist Distillery visitor centre at Nunton, so we’ve asked around the team and put together some guides of our top ideas to keep the whole family entertained when the weather is less than ideal.
Our islands are diverse, exciting and ever changing places, and none of these are intended as complete guides, just wee brainstorms from Team Downpour! If we’ve missed anything that you think should be included, drop us a note and we’ll be happy to add it.
Heading south over the causeway from Benbecula, make Lovats Supermarket your first stop - a treasure trove of both local and more unusual products and an ideal place to stock up on lunch and dinner ingredients, or a bottle of Downpour if you missed the distillery on your way through Benbecula!
Next up, call in to Hebridean Jewellery and browse the collection of jewellery handmade right there in the workshop, or stop by the cafe for light refuelling. Continuing south we highly recommend taking a left and visiting Salar Smokehouse in Loch Carnan and adding some delicious smoked fish to your shopping basket. If you’re looking for a sit down meal, then call into Orasay Inn and enjoy a Downpour G&T or two alongside home cooked, local produce.
Back on the main road and heading south, we recommend taking a left driving down the Lochskipport road, rolling down your windows to meet the famously friendly Lochskipport ponies and visiting the dramatic ruins of the old pier at the end of the road, taking care to stop at the parking place and not driving straight down the very steep hill and into the sea (don't ask which team member had a very close shave doing exactly that, we won't tell!)
Call into Cothrom Re-store for handmade recycled and upcycled homewares, secondhand books and games, then stop at Kildonan Museum, which holds over 10,000 items related to the social, domestic and cultural history of South Uist, as well as a craft shop of local produce, a cafe and a ‘feis room’ a learning and performing art space for Gaelic culture including music, drama, art and storytelling. Check out Cnoc Soilleir’s program of events for more Gaelic music and culture, in their brand new centre in Daliburgh. While you're there pop into the Borrodale hotel for a meal and to refuel your G&T tank, should it be running low.
Loch Eynort is a beautiful place for a walk on a wet and wild day, the trees and hills providing shelter from the worst of the weather, and a taste of a less exposed side of the Uist landscape. Loch Druidibeg RSPB Reserve is another lovely place to walk, with patches of woodland to provide shelter and fuel for the imagination.
For the golfers among you who don’t mind a bit of drizzle, or are up for a windier golfing challenge, the iconic course at Askernish Golf Club is open all year around, with activities for kids during the school holidays, and all the equipment you could need available to hire.
Visit Lochboisdale to grab something tasty from Croft and Cuan to warm you up, or settle into the beautifully situated Lochboisdale Hotel for a meal and a drink. If you’re lucky then there might be some live music in the bar to keep you entertained. While you're in Lochboisdale visit Skydancer Coffee down at the harbour for a freshly roasted brew, and call in to Uist Gifts and Info for a wee browse.
Continuing on your journey south, Tigh Na Mara Art and Antiques Gallery at East Kilbride is a great stop for more arts, crafts and curios from the islands, and Polochar Inn will refuel you before heading over the causeway to Eriskay, our most southerly island.
Once you’ve done a slow drive around the island looking for the famous and rare Eriskay ponies, call into Eriskay Community Shop to stock up on supplies. Those of you who read about our Team Day Out last summer will know that we highly recommend Am Politician for a meal, and a trip aboard Uist Sea Tours, which has a fully covered indoor area for rainier outings.
As always, if you’re planning your holiday to Uist our top tip is to bring the best waterproofs you can find, because while rainy days are unavoidable, they don’t need to stop you enjoying the best that our islands have to offer!