Monday 5 August 2013

We're all going on a Summer holiday...

If you've been wondering why I've not published anything of my own or commented on other people's blogs recently then that's because my family and I were away on our summer holiday.  Of course if you hadn't even noticed that I was gone then that's good too... :-(

We spent 2 weeks in a cottage on South Uist.  For those of you who don't know much Scottish geography, South Uist is one of the Outer Hebrides; an island chain off the north west of the British mainland.  It's fairly remote, though they do have electricity, postmen, shops and so on.  Also, it's one of the last places where Gaelic is still spoken in the home.

Me and the dog on a beach, South Uist, 2013
I did take my model-making "travel box" with me, fully intending to make up a load of card models (mostly furniture &c this time).  However, I just didn't get round to doing anything with it this time.

To try to keep this article at least somewhat focused on a history and military theme, I did take a picture of a ruined iron age wheelhouse (circa 200AD):
Prehistoric wheel house, c. 200AD
Actually, this ruin was rather more impressive in real life than it appears in the photograph.  It's basically a big hollow in the ground with radial stone partitions (like the spokes of a wheel) and a central hearth.  It would have had a mound (of stone and turf?) to cover the building and had a "tunnel" entrance facing away from the prevailing wind.  Quite cosy, I imagine.

Part of the rocket range, purpose unknown
During the Cold War, parts of the northern 10 miles or so of South Uist were used as a rocket test range.  Apparently, some bits are still used for that purpose, though only infrequently, I think.  Anyway, this installation is obviously abandoned.  It could date to any time from 1958 right up to 1990 or even later.  I don't know what it would have been used for, but my guess is that it held some kind of tracking device, either radar or optical.  It would be interesting if anyone else knows what this structure housed.

Castle, South Uist, 2013
We did see a few castles on the island.  This is one of the more impressive ones.

Seals, Eriskay, 2013
Now I'm stretching the gaming/military theme past breaking point, I think!  Above is a picture of some seals on the neighbouring island of Eriskay.  Just after the photo was taken, the mid-sized seal (in the water) landed near the small one (left of picture) and, not to put too fine a point on it, pushed it into the sea.  I'm guessing that this was a bit of sibling rivalry, though the large seal on the right (mum?) didn't intervene.

Normal service will be resumed soon.  In the meantime, I'm feeling very relaxed :-) ...


  1. That's pretty cool place to go on vacation to. Have you tried the sea? :D

    1. Yes, I've always loved the Hebrides. If you find someone else on the beach then you can just pick a different one (even though they might be 2Km away!).

      As for the sea, it's cool too! Some people do swim in it, but not me.

  2. Hopefully your batteries are now topped up and you're ready to go !

  3. Glad you're having a nice vacation. Enjoy.

    1. We did enjoy it very much, thanks. Back to the real world now, though...

  4. Lots of interesting bits of history there then, Glad you enjoyed you can't beat building sandcastles it such a lot of fun.

    1. And I didn't even mention the major Viking settlement. Not that there was much of this to see other than a plaque...

      As for sandcastles, there was no shortage of building material!