South Uist in the Outer Hebrides
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What is Life Really Like?

Title: What is Life Really Like?
Posted by: Thomas Fenton on 16-06-2017

Discussion: Hi All,

Work has afforded me the once in a lifetime opportunity to relocate to the Uists. My wife and I have been visiting the Highlands for the last decade and love the lifestyle, isolation and scenery but have never been further than the inner Hebrides.

We both grew up in rural Lincolnshire, which is about as close as England can get, but have since moved to more populated areas for work. We hate it!

Everyone I speak to seems to speak very highly of life out on the islands but I was wondering if anyone would share their experiences? And potentially answer a few questions Google can't answer for me!

1). How long is the flight to Glasgow / Inverness ? And do they run regular enough to actually allow you to get interconnecting flights out of Glasgow? (We like to travel the world quite a bit and would hate to lose this)

2). Is the community spirit still high? We'd be miles from our families and wanting to fit in and find some new friends!

3). What is the internet speed like? My wife will be doing consultancy work from home that would require a decent connection. Whilst I'm not expecting the 60MB fibre speeds I get here what can I expect? With the isolation as well we'd be even more reliant on the internet for a great many things!

4). Are their often power cuts?

5). How harsh are the winters really?

6). What is the provision for car breakdowns? Is it a wait for the AA from the mainland?

7). Is there a gym on the islands?

Any other information you could provide would be greatly appreciated!

Replies to this post

Posted by: Jane Hopkins on 05-03-2018

Hi Thomas,
strange you didn't get any replies yet! I will happily answer your questions having lived on North Uist for 12 long years.
1; The flight to Glasgow is approx 45 mins and no does not always connect as the planes go off at the slightest sign of wind or fog. Don't think there is an Inverness connection anymore.
2; Community spirit is high - provided you are a local born and bred. The locals are friendly (to start) but as soon as they realise you're staying the tides turn. They are very cliquey and selective as to who is allowed into their tight circles. They know more about you than you do yourself and what they don't know, they make up! Trust no-one!
3; Internet speeds were appalling and expensive by Hebnet who were just awful, but I believe they now have fibre?
4; Yes power cuts are frequent!
5; Winters are harsh consisting of almost constant high winds and rain which is horizontal. The Summers can be the same. Nice Summer days come with midges. Bonus is long daylight hours in summer and stunning night skies!!!
6; There are firms providing breakdown recovery on the island though not very skilled.
7; Yes there is a gym in Lochmaddy but it's seasonal and not up to much really, depends what you're looking for.

I wouldn't recommend moving there, holidays are fine, the scenery is beautiful but you'll never, ever be accepted by the not-so-friendly locals. That can't be said for all mind, there are some genuinely nice souls living there, but if the tides do turn don't expect one single person to back you up. They stick together like glue being cousins of cousins of cousins of cousins........ Good Luck!

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