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Fort of the Skulker Dun an Sticir, North Uist

The flat landscape of North Uist

ON A BLUSTERY blustery summer’s day, we were standing on the shore of Loch an Sticir, a small tidal loch in Uibhist a Tuath: North Uist. In front of us, a stone causeway curved across to a small islet in the loch, then leapfrogged over to the next small island. From there the final causeway, more substantial than the others, curved gracefully over to its destination, the island in the centre of the loch. On the island sit the moss and lichen covered ruins of Dun an Sticir: Fort of the Skulker.

Land and water become strangely jumbled in North Uist’s watery landscape. Predominantly low-lying, and gouged out by glaciers of unimaginable weight, small rocky hillocks, ‘cnocan’ in Gaelic, alternate with waterfilled hollows, ‘lochans’, creating the unusual feature of land-locked islands and islets within sea lochs. It’s a very fine example of what geologists term a ‘cnoc-and-lochan’ landscape.

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issue 60 of the award-winning iScot Magazine featuring an exclusive interview with the SNP's Dr Philippa Whitford