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UIST

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Artwork inspired by the Machair of Uist

One of the most remarkable natural occurrences is the appearance of the summer sand dunes grassland on the Outer Hebrides. From May to late Summer, the white shell sand dunes become a carpet of colour. The flowers appear as a result of careful land management and perfect natural conditions. The crofters rotate their crops meaning that only certain nutrients are taken from the land each year, allowing for wild plants to flourish. Often as you go to the beach, you come across cattle sleepily wandering and grazing on the rich grasses. They in turn fertilise the land. The crofters also use natural crop fertilisers allowing for organic wild growth. These elements all contribute to the Outer Hebrides as home to the beautiful Machair.  

Machair is the word for low, fertile grassy plain but here on Uist it has become the local name for the abundant wild flowers. The flowers differ across each island, Harris and Benbecula and the Uists, which have the most extensive range. In late spring early summer, yellow dominates then this changes into reds, whites and blues. 

The colours of Uist aren’t confined to the Machair though, the big skies are a changing seasonal palette. As easily as the sun rises the sky can bruise and then as quickly are back to brilliant blue, then pink and orange in the late evenings. In the winter the low sun reflects the sky in the watery landscape. Fleeting colours and hues will come and go often succumbing to the familiar Scottish grey haar from the sea.

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