Eriskay is a big hill, framed by white sandy beaches, turquoise seas and vividly coloured shells: purple, orange, yellow, blue. Sifting through the palette is an afternoon’s work. The kids decorated a sand citadel with them and stuffed them in my jacket pockets. Only semi-wild white horses and 140 people live on Eriskay but there’s a school, a pub (which was shut) and a brilliant shop.
What We Liked
The shop has everything you need to survive – a wee cafe selling hot drinks, cakes (in the summer), Harris Tweed bags, cards, piggy banks, even groceries. Plus, you could heat pies in its microwave, request a sandwich, or chat to Catriona (the owner) who can tell you everything you need to know about the islands.
Camping At The Beach
Opposite the Barra ferry terminal (a pier with a toilet block), there’s a gorgeous white sandy beach. We wild camped up hill from the shore, sheltered by machair. The kids sketched the beach, cycled across wet sand and built a moated city from sand and shells. We were lucky. It was dry. If it’s wet, windy and bleak, you could shelter in the toilet block and take the first ferry back to Barra.
A causeway of road and rocks dangles Eriskay from South Uist. It’s really flat, not too busy and a good spot for kids to get used to cycling on the road. South Uist looked fairly flat and good for cycling, but it was 5 miles to the nearest cafe so we had to give up.
How We Got There
A ferry crosses between Barra and Eriskay about four times a day. You can see seals (and maybe dolphins) from the boat. There isn’t a cafe but it’s warm inside; there’s a toilet; room for cars and bikes and a very friendly, hard-working crew. The boat sails from Ardmhor, a few miles from Castlebay. A mini-bus can drop you at the terminal and collect you (if you tell the driver when you’re coming back). You might be able to spot otters from the pier while you’re waiting. We didn’t see any but did spot a seal that looked like an otter. The journey takes about 40 minutes.
We’d go for longer, visit Rosin’s Deserted Village and cycle across South Uist. The ferry ride back from Lochbisdale (South Uist) to Mallaig is gorgeous. On a clear day, you can see Skye, Canna, Rhum and Eigg.