Eriskay (`Eric's Island'), (pictured left, click to enlarge), lies one mile south of South Uist. Eriskay is about three miles long and 1.5 miles wide, and the island is quite hilly, rising to 610 feet, although there is plenty of fertile land. The population of Eriskay is roughly 200 who are in the main Catholic. The island is reached by a vehicle ferry from Ludag on South Uist (Eriskay Car Ferry tel: 01878 720261) and passenger ferry from Ludag on South Uist and Eoligarry on Barra (Sound of Barra Ferry - tel: 01878 720265 between 9.00-13.00 and 01878 720238 after 14.00).
It was on Eriskay that Bonnie Prince Charlie first landed on 23 July 1745, during the Jacobite Rising of 1745-6, but he was disappointed with the lack of support, and quickly left for the mainland.
In 1941 an 8000-ton cargo ship, the S. S. Politician, ran aground in 1941, carrying some 20,000 cases of whisky bound for America. The enterprising locals salvaged some of the cargo, which caused consternation amongst the authorities and a few of the islanders were imprisoned and fined, although it's hard to see what they had actually done wrong. Whiskey Galore!, written by Compton Mackenzie and dramatising the events, was made into an Ealing Comedy in 1948. 'Am Politician' Lounge Bar is the only public house on the island.
Polly: The True Story Behind Whiskey Galore - by Roger Hutchinson
Using eyewitness accounts, historical papers and official documents, this book tells the story of the SS Politician and the circus that surrounded her, from islanders in small skiffs to wartime excise officers and the final solution to the problem of the vessel affectionately known as the "Polly". To read some of the book online just click on the amazon.co.uk link below.
You may also be interested in visiting our Gallery of Eriskay Photographs.
|Back to Outer Hebrides List||Back to Map|