Eriskay is, like Vatersay, connected to a larger island via a new causeway - the one between Eriskay and South Uist being completed in July 2001. This casueway has made the passenger ferry between South Uist and Eoligarry on Barra redundant, and a new car ferry plies between Barra and Eriskay. This is how we arrived, on a day of glorious sunshine and little wind, the hills of Skye and Rum visible far in the east, seabirds on rocky, seaweeded outcrops, the white sand of Eriskay so bright it hurt my eyes.
Eriskay is famous for the wartime wreck of the SS Politician, which ran aground carrying a cargo of whisky bound for America. Unsurprisingly, the islanders liberated the whisky, only being stopped when excisemen combed the island. This episode was fictionalised in the book and film Whisky Galore.
Am Baile, Eriskay:
But Eriskay has a bigger link with history. In 1745, Charles Edward Stuart stepped onto British soil for the first time at a beach near the southern end of the island. It was renamed Coilleag a'Phrionnsa as a result. It is strange to think of so momentous an upheaval starting with the simple act of a man stepping on to an Eriskay beach; where today amongst the seathrift we sunbathe, beachcomb, and listen to the lulling, gentle waves.
Coilleag a'Phrionnsa, Eriskay:
May 1 on the Pacific Crest Trail, 35 Years Ago
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