Finding Strand: Loch Skiport

Loch Skiport (page 36)

Loch Skiport, Paul Strand, Tir a' Mhurain 1962

Loch Skiport, Paul Strand, Tir a' Mhurain 1962

In this image a silver loch snakes between dark rocky promontories, and a single croft shelters under an overhanging bluff. The latter provides an unusual depiction of abrupt verticalityin the Uist landscape.

Loch Skiport (Sgioport) runs 2 miles west from the east coast of South Uist and today joins Loch Bi via a narrow channel across the middle of the island. Potentially there were a large number of locations for this image along the indented coast, but I was beginning to rumble Strand's modus operandi (i.e. "minimal walking from one's car"), and I was hopeful that I would spot the house and bluff somewhere close to the B890 after it had joined the south shore of the loch after crossing the rising ground from Loch Druidibeag.

I first tried the left branch lane, past the sign for the fish farm which has now replaced what is marked as 'sheepfold' at grid reference 823391 and, as I drew in to the untidy yard, I spotted a roofless croft with the correct profile atop a low rise, and what was clearly the rear of the bluff. Got it!

The croft is derelict, but the stones are stabilised and it is pleasantly surrounded by flag iris. The bluff has more dense conifer growth these days.

It is possible to follow a rough footpath a few hundred yards east along the low cliff along the lochside which gives a good view of the industrial development and croft behind, but further progress is blocked. It was clear that Strand's location lay further east along that coast, so I returned to my car.

Driving back to the B890 and turning left takes one to a small car park followed by a deep pool in the road on the approach to Rubha Mor at grid reference 829386. So, park where a sign indicates, and continue on foot along the road past the pool and through a defile, down a zigzag track as far as a damaged wall and a wide grassy ledge against a crumbling wooden jetty. Strand's location is close to that wall, looking north west beyond the low spur of rock jutting out from Aird Harragaigh on the far side of the loch.

Loch Skiport ©Mark Farrington

Fortunately much of the fish farm development and pier is hidden from this location and, other than the lost roof, little has changed in the view. A lovely quiet spot: a fish eagle circled below me.


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