"What is there to do in Uist when the weather is bad?"
This is one of the most common questions we are asked by visitors to Nunton, and assuming that you have already booked your Downpour Tour and Tasting or scheduled a G&T in our Island Life Bar, the answer is… lots!
We’ve had a little Team Downpour brainstorm and would love to share our top tips with you, so pour yourself a drink and let’s plan some rainy days in Uist. Some of our suggestions are only open seasonally, so do check out the links and their facebook pages for up to date opening information.
When the weather is less than cheery, it is a perfect day to take in some art and culture around the islands. Starting in Lochmaddy, call into Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre, which has a dynamic selection of exhibitions and events running throughout the year in its award winning museum and gallery spaces. Write your postcards while you watch the weather from the cafe windows, and make sure you set aside some time to browse the fantastic book selection in the shop which is also home to a post office and local crafts. Check out what events are coming up and if you’re lucky, schedule an art opening, music session or poetry evening into your week.
Whilst you’re in Lochmaddy, drop by the Old Lochmaddy School building which is being developed into a community hub and is currently home to an exhibition on the Natural History of North Uist. Check out their facebook page for opening times.
Heading north to Berneray, you can while away some time at the fantastically stocked Coralbox Gift Shop, call into The Birlinn Yarn Company’s studio for art and woolly wonders, and stop by Berneray Shop and Bistro for fantastic local seafood (and a Downpour G&T or two).
If you’re keen to stretch your legs (or walk your dog) then Langass Woods is a relatively sheltered option on a wet and windy day. This community woodland is a lovely place for a sheltered walk and to experience a different side to Uist’s otherwise exposed landscape. Keep your eyes open and you might even find Hercules the bear. If your waterproofs are up to it then heading out of the woods by the top gate and following the waymarkers across the moors and past the neolithic stone circle will be rewarded with a warm welcome at Langass Lodge, a perfect place to dry off with a meal or a drink by the fire in their cosy bar.
If your appetite for a fire and a drink has been whetted, then call into Westford Inn which makes a glorious place to wait out the worst of the weather and sample the Downpour range by a toasty stove.
Of course, embracing Uist’s moody and changeable weather is always an option too and getting outside is a wonderful way to blow out some cobwebs. There is something undeniably special about a wet and windy beach walk, especially if it ends with a delicious hot roll and drink from one of our outdoor food trailers. Balranald beach and the Dunes Cabin make a fantastic pairing, as does a walk along Valley Strand with something tasty from Wee Cottage Kitchen.
Providing that the weather is simply unideal and not downright dangerous, the adventurous among you might like to get in the water. Uist is full of beautiful places to wild swim, surf, and paddleboard, and you’re wet anyway, you might as well fully commit, right? (Always consult tide charts and weather forecasts before wild swimming, don’t go alone and make sure to ask for local advice on where to swim - safety first!)
Under 5s can be entertained for a while by the softplay at Claddach Kirkebost centre, which also has a great selection of local crafts and produce, and a cafe with beautiful views across to Kirkibost island. There are various other play groups around the islands if you’re here with a little one and looking for something to do on a rainy day.
Check out Wild Things Uist for outdoor and bell tent play sessions (with sheltered options when the weather is truly inhospitable) for a fantastic way to get little ones out and about and enjoying the wonderful Uist landscape.
(image by Clickybox Photography)