|OS grid reference||NF786343|
|Gaelic name||Uibhist a Deas|
|Pronunciation||[ˈɯ.ɪʃtʲ ə tʲes̪] ( listen)|
|Meaning of name||From 'inni-vist', Old Norse for 'dwelling'.|
|Area and summit|
|Area||32,026 hectares (124 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||Beinn Mhòr 620 metres (2,034 ft)|
|Population rank||9 out of 101|
|Island group||Uists & Barra|
|Local Authority||Na h-Eileanan Siar|
Area and population ranks are for all Scottish islands and all inhabited Scottish islands respectively. Population data is from 2001 census.
South Uist (Scottish Gaelic: Uibhist a Deas) is an island of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. In the 2001 census it had a usually resident population of 1,818. There is a nature reserve and a number of sites of archaeological interest, including the only location in Great Britain where prehistoric mummies have been found. The population is about 90% Roman Catholic. The island, in common with the rest of the Hebrides, is one of the last remaining strongholds of the Gaelic language in Scotland. In 2006 South Uist, and neighbouring Benbecula and Eriskay were involved in Scotland's biggest community land buyout to date. In the north west there is a missile testing range. Its inhabitants are known in Gaelic as "Deasaich" (Southerners).
Geography and geology 
The west is machair (fertile low-lying coastal plain) with a continuous sandy beach whilst the east coast is mountainous with the peaks of Beinn Mhòr 620 metres (2,034 ft) and Hecla 606 metres (1,988 ft). The main village on the island is Lochboisdale (Loch Baghasdail), from which ferries sail to Oban on the mainland and to Castlebay (Bàgh a' Chaisteil) on Barra. The island is also linked to Eriskay and Benbecula by causeways. Smaller settlements include Daliburgh (Dalabrog), Howmore (Tobha Mòr) and Ludag.
South Uist has a bedrock of Lewisian Gneiss, high grade regional metamorphism dating back to 2900 million years ago in the Archaean. Some show granulite facies metamorphism, but most are the slightly lower temperature amphibolite facies. These formed part of the Earth’s deep ancient crust, left here when the North Atlantic was formed. These are the oldest rocks in the British Isles today and they have been brought to the surface by tectonic movements. They now bear the scars of the last glaciation which has exposed them.
South Uist was clearly home to a thriving Neolithic community. The island is covered in archaeological sites including chambered tombs, Beaker sites, a Bronze Age hoard, roundhouses, brochs, cairns, ogham inscriptions, Viking settlements, medieval longhouses and post-medieval industry. After the Norse occupation, South Uist was held by the MacDonalds of Clanranald until 1838 when Colonel Gordon of Cluny bought the island and initiated Highland Clearances to make way for sheep farming, supplanting the crofters with farmers from the Borders, who brought Blackface sheep flocks. The population of South Uist fell from a total of 5093 in 1841 to its present level of 2285. As a result there was large scale emigration from the island.
Lochboisdale became a major herring port later in the nineteenth century. The island is one of the last surviving strongholds of the Gaelic language in Scotland and the crofting industries of peat cutting and seaweed gathering are still an important part of everyday life.
Tourism is important to the island's economy and attractions include the Kildonan Museum housing the sixteenth century Clanranald Stone and the ruins of the house where Flora MacDonald was born.
South Uist is home to the Askernish Golf Course. The oldest course in the Outer Hebrides, Askernish was designed by Old Tom Morris, who also worked on the Old Course at St. Andrews. The Askernish course existed intact until the 1930s, but was partly destroyed to make way for a runway, abandoned, and ultimately lost. Its identity remained hidden for many years before its apparent discovery, a claim disputed by many locals. Restoration of the course to Morris' original design was held up by disagreements with local crofters, but after legal challenges were resolved in the courts, the course opened in August 2008.
After a protracted campaign South Uist residents took control of the island on 30 November 2006 in Scotland's biggest community land buyout to date. The previous landowners, a sporting syndicate, sold the assets of the 92,000 acres (372.31 km2) estate for £4.5 million to a Community Company known as Stòras Uibhist which was set up to purchase the land and to manage it in perpetuity. The buyout resulted in most of South Uist, and neighbouring Benbecula, and all of Eriskay coming under community control.
The proposal for community ownership has received the overwhelming support of the people of the islands who look forward to participating in the opportunity to regenerate the local economy, to reverse decline and depopulation, to reduce dependency while remaining aware of the environmental needs, culture and history of the islands. The company name Stòras Uibhist symbolises hope for the future wealth and prosperity of the islands.
Missile testing 
In the north west of the island at (Corporal missile, Britain and America's first guided nuclear weapon. This development went ahead despite significant protests, some locals expressing concern that the Scottish Gaelic language would not survive the influx of English-speaking army personnel. The British Government claimed that there was an 'overriding national interest' in establishing a training range for their newly purchased Corporal, a weapon that was to be at the front line of Cold War defence. The Corporal missile was tested from 1959 to 1963, before giving way to Sergeant and Lance tactical nuclear missiles. The 'rocket range' as it is known locally has also been used to test high altitude research rockets, Skua and Petrel.), a missile testing range was built in 1957-58 to launch the
The range is still owned by the MoD operated by QinetiQ as a testing facility for missile systems such as the surface-to-air Rapier missile and Unmanned Air Vehicles In 2009 the MOD announced that is was considering running down its missile testing ranges in the Western Isles, with potentially serious consequences for the local economy.
Nature reserve 
Loch Druidibeg in the north of the island is a National Nature Reserve owned and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage. The reserve covers 1,677 hectares of machair, bog, freshwater lochs, estuary, heather moorland and hill. Over 200 species of flowering plants have been recorded on the reserve, some of which are nationally scarce. South Uist is considered the best place in the UK for the aquatic plant Slender Naiad (Najas flexilis) which is a European Protected Species.
Nationally important populations of breeding waders are also present, including redshank, dunlin, lapwing and ringed plover. The reserve is also home to greylag geese on the loch and in summer corncrakes on the machair. Otters and hen harriers are also seen.
There has been considerable controversy over hedgehogs on South Uist. The animals are not native to the islands, having been introduced in the 1970s to reduce garden pests. It is claimed they pose a threat to the eggs of ground nesting wading birds on the island. In 2003 the Uist Wader Project - headed by Scottish Natural Heritage - began a cull of hedgehogs in the area. Following a campaign and concerns over animal welfare, this cull was called off in 2007, instead hedgehogs are being captured and translocated to mainland Scotland. 
The SEARCH project (Sheffield Environmental and Archaeological Research Campaign in the Hebrides) on South Uist has been developing a long-term perspective on changes in settlement and house form from the Bronze Age to the 19th century. Organisation within Iron Age roundhouses appears to have been very different from 19th century blackhouses in which the dwelling was shared with stock.
Notable residents 
- Flora MacDonald (1722–1790), born at Milton. Known for her help of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
- Angus McPhee (1916–1997) born at Iochdar. Outsider artist.
- Danny Alexander (1972-) the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament lived at West Geirnish on South Uist for three years as a child.
See also 
- Bun Sruth, a loch in the southeast
- Easaval, a hill in the south
- Iochdar, a hamlet on the west coast
- Ushenish, a headland on the east coast
- 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland
- Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7.
- The Chronicles of Mann. Manx Society. Vol XXII, Retrieved 4 July 2007.
- Germanic Lexicon Project Retrieved 4 July 2007.
- Ordnance Survey
- "Geology of Britain viewer". Maps.bgs.ac.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
- "Assynt Stratigraphy". Es.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
- "National Scenic Areas". SNH. Retrieved 30 Mar 2011.
- South Uist:Archaeology and History of a Hebridean Island. Pearson, Shaples, Symonds. 2004. ISBN 978-0-7524-2905-2
- cybergolf.com re Askernish course. Retrieved 16 June 2007.
- "Crofters deny Old Tom claim". BBC News. 15 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
- Forgan, Duncan (28 July 2007). "Island pins hopes on past links". Edinburgh: The Scotsman.
- Storas Uibhist press release
- David Owen (April 20, 2009). "The Ghost Course". New Yorker.
- "Land buyout reality for islanders". BBC News. 30 November 2006. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
- Stòras Uibhist
- Islanders pay £4.5m to be rid of feudal lairds The Independent newspaper. (1 December 2006) Retrieved 29 July 2007.
- The quiet revolution. (19 January 2007) Broadford. West Highland Free Press.
- QinetiQ: Hebrides Operations[dead link]
- Ross, John (31 July 2009). "In 1930, the last islanders left. Now St Kilda Day celebrates their legacy". Edinburgh: The Scotsman. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- SNH Loch Druidibeg Retrieved 29 July 2007.
- JNCC Slender Naiad report Retrieved 29 July 2007.
- Epping Forest Hedgehog Rescue Retrieved 1 January 2007.
- Ross, John (21 February 2007). "Hedgehogs saved from the syringe as controversial Uist cull called off". Edinburgh: The Scotsman. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- Paul Kelbie (2007-02-20). "Campaign wins reprieve for Uist hedgehogs". The Independent.
- Smith, H., Marshall, P. and Parker Pearson, M. 2001. Reconstructing house activity areas pp 249-270. In Albarella, U (ed) Environmental Archaeology: Meaning and Purpose. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
- BBC - History - The Mummies of Cladh Hallan
- "Alexander hears jobs and cuts fears". (27 Aug 2010) Aberdeen. Press and Journal.
Media related to South Uist at Wikimedia Commons
- South Uist travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Archaeological Aerial Photographs
- southuist.com - Photo galleries, accommodation, news and events
- Accommodation, Events and Property in South Uist, North, Benbecula, Lewis and Harris
- Iochdar.co.uk, a website about outdoor recreation in South Uist
- StorasUibhist.com, the official website of the community-owned South Uist Estate
- Flags of the world - Hebrides
- An Gàrradh Mòr, Historic walled garden at Cille Bhrìghde
- Rocket launches at South Uist
- Corporal missile inaccuracy revealed, The Guardian Sept 6 2003
- Askernish Golf Club
- Google Maps:Rocket launch site
- Am Paipear Community Newspaper
- Local Free Community Newspaper
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Uist, North and South". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.