The Outer Hebrides are are unique and diverse chain of islands linked by a traditional way of life and culture that has its roots in crofting and fishing. Each island has its own character, a mysterious combination of landscape, history and culture. These are quiet islands, they do not flaunt their riches and will only reveal their mysteries to those who have the time to stand and stare. Living on the edge of the the mythical kingdom of Tir nan Og - the land of the ever young, the islanders understand the meaning of time.
However you chose to spend your time it will be against a backdrop of rugged hills and rolling moorlands or seascapes with wide horizons.
Here there is always the space, time and tranquility to dream.
Our small croft is the most westerly in the Ardivachar township and lies at the northern end of the South Uist machair - an area of over 5000 hectares of rare coastal grassland. It supports a unique combination of rare breeding birds, wintering and migrating wildfowl and shorebirds, and a diverse flora and insect fauna maintained by a traditional system of cultivation and grazing.
The herb-rich grassland on Ardivachar point is grazed by cattle in the autumn to maintain the biodiversity of the flora and create the perfect habitat for breeding corncrakes, lapwings, redshanks, skylarks and meadow pipits. The inbye fields are used to produce hay and are occasionally lightly grazed in the winter and early spring. This produces the flower rich grassland with the diverse insect fauna required by ground nesting birds. Our strips on the common grazing areas of the Ardivachar and Loch Bee machair are used for winter grazing and growing a mixture of rye and small oats for animal feed. We use no agriculture chemicals and our land and garden is fertilized by seaweed and farmyard manure.
The croft has a large fruit and vegetable garden which produces a surprisingly wide variety of produce. Guests at Croft Garden Cottage are welcome to wander around the vegetable garden and we are pleased to supply fresh, seasonal garden produce to our visitors. You can discover more about the fruit and vegetable garden and catch up on life in the garden in the Croft Garden blog.
History in Stone
There is a wealth history and archaeology hidden in the landscape of the Uists. The remains of Neolithic tombs, Iron Age brochs, Norse farmsteads and Medieval chapels tell the story of more than 6,000 years of human occupation.
Retrace the footsteps of the “Young Pretender” along the Bonnie Prince Charlie Trail from his landing on Eriskay to his escape to Skye with Flora MacDonald.
The Great Outdoors
For the adventurous and romantically inclined there are boat trips to the distant islands of St. Kilda, the Monachs or Mingulay. For the more energetic there are hill walking or sea kayaking expeditions or the more relaxed traditional Scottish pursuits of golf and fly fishing,
The islands are prefect or walking and cycling or some leisurely birdwatching, beachcombing or botanising. The superbe light and landscapes are great favourites with artists and photographers.
The Land of the Ceilidhh
Music, dancing, poetry and story telling are at the heart of the islands' Gaelic culture.
The ceilidh is still at the heart of community life and an experience not to be missed.
The islands continue to inspire new generations of artists, musicians and poets whose work ranges from the traditional to the contemporary.
The literary landscape is equally diverse ranging from Compton Mackenzie’s Whisky Galore to the more contemporary Lewis Trilogy by Peter May
Fresh and Delicious
Discovering and enjoying local food is part of experiencing the richness of island life. Free range eggs, smoked fish, shellfish, home made preserves, Hebridean lamb, Stornoway black pudding, oat cakes and cloutie dumplings are all part of our island food heritage.
At Croft Garden Cottage you can watch the local boats hauling creels on reef as they fish for lobster and brown crab or walk out of the door and wander around the vegetable and herb beds.