Machair | Linaclate, Benbecula, Uist

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5 Stations
38:31 min Audio
3.25 km directions_walk favorite 1


Commissioned by Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, this soundwalk explores the traditions and ecology of Uist’s machair. A Gaelic word meaning fertile, low-lying grassy plain, machair is one of Europe’s rarest yet most species-rich habitats; only occurring on the exposed west-facing shores of Scotland and Ireland, 70% of which is found on Uist. Generations of low-intensity farming have shaped this unique landscape and encouraged wildlife over millennia. Developed in partnership with the local community, this work combines spoken narratives, field recordings, and compositions with archival sound recordings from Edinburgh University’s School of Scottish Studies, that chart over 70-years of living tradition.

The route of the soundwalk follows an established path around the machair at Liniclate. Although flat, the ground can be uneven at certain sections. As such, appropriate footwear is recommended.

Walk duration: c.40-minutes
Walk conditions: An easy walk, mostly on flat well-defined paths, with no special difficulties.
Location and transport: The walk is mapped to a section of the Hebridian Way at Liniclate on the island of Benebcula. A car park is available at the Dark Island Hotel (2-minute walk).
Where does the walk start? We recommend folk start the walk on Liniclate beach directly behind the wind turbine (What3Words coordinates


Contributors: Alisdair MacEachen, Freddie MacDonald, Seoras MacDonald, and Matthew Topsfield.

Production team: Duncan MacLeod (composer), Mairi McFadyen (creative ethnologist), and Sorcha Monk (creative producer).

For questions or queries about this soundwalk please email

Duncan MacLeod ©2022. Unauthorised copying, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting of this soundwalk is strictly prohibited.

Cover photo: Soundwalk launch, Tara Drummie, 2022.

Listen to the audio tour now - ideally in full screen view.

Or use the app for listening to the audio walk on site:

Install guidemate app Available in the app & play stores.
Open audio guide (in installed app) More guides available
Start the tour on site! Audio, map & infos - also available offline.

Stations in this audio guide:

The machair: an introduction (11:01 min) • Collecting Seaweed (8:46 min) • Cultivating the machair (5:20 min) • Growing potatoes and cropping on the machair (13:24 min) • End

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