There are a wide range of activities to enjoy on the islands.
The bird watching on the island is spectacular; most particularly for raptors and a very wide range of wading birds, plus a range of infrequent rarities.
Kinloch is perfectly placed between the machair and the high ground on the East. There are some 22 to 24 pairs of Golden Eagles nesting on the Uists, and in addition there are Sea Eagles which can be seen along the Loch Sgioport road beside Loch Druidibeg just outside the house.
In addition the island supports many pairs of Hen Harriers, Peregrines, Merlins, Sparrow Hawks, Buzzards and Short Eared Owls.
In this unique environment the Lapwing is common and the machair supports large flocks of Skylarks, Twite, Corn and Snow Buntings. In addition there is an abundance of wading birds on the West shore. We also see Long Tailed Duck, Eider, American Widgeon, Green Winged Teal and a regular influx of rarities blown off course over the Atlantic.
The winter months can be the best time to see some of these birds, and in foul weather they can even be seen from the car.
I highly recommend Steve Duffield as a guide – www.western-isles-wildlife.co.uk - who will take you out, show you the birds and wildlife and bring you back to the warmth of Kinloch, comfy sofas and homemade scones.
I am not an experienced sea angler myself, but the sea fishing can be very good and I can put you in touch with experienced skippers to discuss your requirements. Species include Pollack, mackerel, skate, saithe etc. Check with www.barrafishingcharters.com, they will organise trips, provide tackle and bait.
Bird shooting will continue to be based on Grogarry Lodge. All shooters will be accompanied by one or both of the 2 full time keepers.
There is a large head of red deer in the hills – stalking is available by arrangement with the head keeper, and unlike bird shooting guests can stay where they please. Kinloch would make the ideal base for this activity.
There is an exceptional links course at Askernish. This course was originally designed by “old Tom Morris” in 1891 who amongst many other claims to fame also designed St Andrews.
Mackenzie & Ebert (golf architects) have now restored the course to its former glory, and in their words “It is not an exaggeration to say that the dune land to the South of the existing course is the perfect terrain over which to route the holes and it is hard to imagine that there has ever been better raw material for the laying out of a course anywhere in the world.”
I have spent occasional nights sleeping out by the lochs; dining on barbecued trout and fishing at last and first light. Subject to the weather, this can be a great experience.
A good friend of mine will take you on a half or full day tour of the island. Kenna is a very experienced guide and will, through her company Crann Tara Tours, give you a unique and often amusing insight into the people and history of the island.
Primarily through the efforts of Sheffield University a number of exciting Sites have been excavated over the last few years.
There are a surprising number of otters on the island. Talk to SNH, or I can try to point you in the right direction - usually involving getting up early in the morning.
The Beach & Swimming
The West coast beaches are strikingly beautiful, with golden sands. Just (very) occasionally the water is warm enough to swim in!
Is becoming increasingly popular on the island. There are local stables with horses for hire, and a wide range of rides can be arranged to suit any level of experience.
A great way of getting round the island. Tommy Macdonald at Howmore is the local expert and can offer a wide range of cycles for hire, sale and can repair. See www.rothan.com
Cockle, Mussels & Winkle Picking
There are extensive beds of cockles, mussels and winkles. Spending an hour or two on the foreshore collecting shellfish for dinner can be an exhilarating experience.
One of the great pleasures of spending time on the island is the continuously changing light. This makes for some great photographic opportunities—do not be misled by my rather parochial efforts in this web site.
An artist's delight. Spectacular vistas combined with an ever-changing light.
To Barra by ferry. Take a short drive down to Eriskay, which is linked to South Uist by a causeway. There you can take a half hour ferry to Barra – enjoying the gannets fishing on the way. Shopping or take a tour round the ruined Castle. A relaxing half or full day trip.
To Lochmaddy, North Uist - by car or bus.
To Balranald, North Uist - RSPB reserve with a ranger service and occasional guided walks.