The Virgin Mary stands in her garden overlooking the Sound of Barra and this lovely island.  This was the site of the island’s original church before the wonderful Church of St Michael the Archangel was built high on a hill in 1903.


We had left today’s visit until the afternoon, hoping that the mist hanging over this part of the Hebrides would clear and we would see Eriskay at its beautiful best.  It was still hanging around, however, and so we made our first stop St Michael’s Church.  Although we had taken pictures of the exterior last year, we had not gone inside.

The cast iron bell which hangs outside was rescued from the wreck of SMS Derfflinger, sunk at the end of WW1 at Scapa Flow.


The bronze statuette of St Michael is dedicated to Father Calum McClellan, well-loved priest of Eriskay who featured heavily in the BBC programme ‘An Island Parish’ a few years ago and who died in 2012.

DSC_0002Inside, the church is dominated by the altar.  Appropriately for an island with such strong links with the sea, the altar is supported by the bow of a lifeboat from HMS Hermes. While the ship was engaged in exercises off St Kilda, the lifeboat was swept overboard and eventually washed up at Polachar, South Uist.  It was damaged but the bow section was sound enough to be recovered and was installed here at St Michael’s.



View from the gallery

View from the gallery


I particularly liked the coloured window reveals and the plain but polished wooden pews.  It’s certainly a church which leaves a wonderfully peaceful impression.

We drove down to the pier, where we left Bessie and walked up to the pathway leading down to the Prince’s Strand – the beach where Bonnie Prince Charlie first stepped on Scottish soil from a small boat in 1745.  I particularly wanted to find the Sea Bindweed flower which is said to grow only on this particular beach and, as legend romantically has it, grew from a seed lodged in Charlie’s pocket handkerchief which fell as he took it out – no doubt to mop his brow after his dangerous journey.  Before we descended to the beach, this bright little Stonechat flew onto the harbour wall in front of me.


Well… we walked the length and breadth of the beach but could not find the flower.  Perhaps it flowers at a different time or we weren’t looking in the right place.  That was a disappointment but it gives us something to return for another year.  There were all sorts of other flowers there, including this lovely Kidney Vetch which Peter captured with his close-up lens.


We have many other photos of wild flowers and will publish them once we have discovered what they are!

The sun began to make an appearance and far-off children played in the surf.


DSC_0096Driving back towards the causeway linking Eriskay to South Uist, we marvelled again at the simple beauty of Eriskay.

You can just see one of the goalposts on the football pitch – remember, Harry and Guy?




We drove over the causeway…



… near to which the SS Politician had been wrecked on the rocks in 1941 with all that whisky on board, and marvelled again at South Uist in the sunshine.


Polachar Inn

Renovated blackhouse

Renovated blackhouse

We parked Bessie amongst the buttercups and walked down to the 20 mile long strip of white sand that runs along the western side of the island, but the wind was getting up again so left for the campsite and our last evening at Kilbride.