Our visit to the Western Isles was lovely, but...

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More than a few surprised eyebrows were raised in the Gazette office by a recent letter from Graeme Knox, West Stirlingshire.

He praises the Outer Hebrides as a holiday destination, but presents a few caveats.

Mr Knox writes: “We have just returned from a lovely 10-day holiday in North Uist and the Long Isle. Everyone made us welcome and the hospitality was, as ever, superb.

“However, in drop dead beautiful Harris, we were saddened by the plethora of ‘Strictly No Parking’, ‘Private No Turning’, ‘No Access to the Beach’ type notices, not to say the fences and parking obstacles that abound in Northton and Scarista.

“While the rest of the Western Isles embrace the spirit and letter of the right to roam, it is depressing to find that a few face the other way. It would take nothing to provide a small car park on the common grazings at Northton or a sign and gate pointing the easiest way to Scarista’s beach.

“The much smaller Berneray on the other side of the sound of Harris is every bit as lovely but much more welcoming. So is North Uist and so is the lovely district of Uig in Lewis.

“Harris is not a prissy part of rural England with its rights of way, obstructive fences and keep out notices. Harris depends on welcoming tourists and most locals excel in that. So please stop the few from spreading this canker before it becomes an ugly scar on the reputation of your otherwise wonderful island.”

We asked Outer Hebrides Tourism for a comment and they said: “We always welcome feedback from visitors to our islands and are delighted that this couple had a lovely


“It is important that local signposting is helpful in directing visitors to all our lovely sights and historic landmarks.

“The more that can be done to improve this, whilst keeping to what is appropriate in the local environment, the better.”

What do you say?

The Gazette sympathises with Mr Knox, but we like to present both sides of an argument.

Do you live in the areas he mentions? Have you put up one of the signs he criticises? You must have had a reason to go to that expense - what was it? Please let us know your thoughts at news@stornowaygazette.co.uk

Pictured - the beautiful sights of Harris were recently marred for one visitor due to ‘unwelcoming’ signs.