Take the causeway from North Uist to Benbecula and head towards Gramsdale to see the village’s ancient standing stones, or carry on west for another ten minutes and visit the roofless ruins of former nunnery Nunton Chapel. Just a short stroll from here is Nunton House, now a 5-star hostel, where Flora MacDonald helped to disguise Bonnie Prince Charlie as Betty Burke, an Irish maid, before taking him ‘over the sea to Skye’.
From Nunton, carry on along the B892 to Borve Castle. This ruined 14th century tower house was occupied by the MacDonalds of Benbecula until the 17th century, when it was allegedly burnt to the ground by royalists angered by the laird’s Jacobite support. From here, South Uist is just a short drive across the causeway.
The remote crofting village of Howmore lies to the north west of South Uist and is a living testament to the island’s fascinating past, with several charming thatched cottages and the ruins of a medieval church. The Howmore Youth Hostel is housed in a lovely white-walled thatched building and offers remarkable views of the island’s eastern mountains.
Ormacleit Castle lies 5 miles from the village and is an ideal destination for a relaxing bike ride or a long walk. Now in ruins, this 18th century mansion was built by the Chief of Clanranald but was occupied for less than 10 years before his death at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715.
Kildonan Museum, a further 3 miles south in the crofting township of Kildonan, is open from April until October or on appointment in the winter. It showcases the island’s varied history through its extensive collection of rare historical items, including the Clanranald Armorial Stone, a 15th century coat of arms carved from sandstone. Lochboisdale, South Uist’s largest settlement, is just 7 miles from here and is the island’s main connection to the mainland, with ferries regularly leaving for Oban.