Balranald Nature Reserve has been an important part of North Uist culture for over 50 years.
The reserve is located on the worked machair of four townships - Hougharry, Tigharry, Balranald and Goular. The biodiversity associated with machair is huge: oystercatchers, redshank, lapwing, snipe, ringed plover and dunlin breed on the reserve in huge numbers, enjoying the invertebrate rich landscape in which to raise their chicks. Terns, nest on the headland through the summer, and their calls add to the cacophony during the breeding season. Wildflowers adorn the fallow crofts, and machair is one of the last remaining wildflower meadows in Britain: a must see.
In winter the reserve is quieter in visitor numbers, but the shoreline is heaving with visiting and overwintering waders. Turnstone sift through piles of seaweed, while sanderling run infront of moving waves. Keep a sharp eye, and ear, out for purple sandpipers: they are well camouflaged on the rocks, but once you see one, more will jump into focus.
The reserve is open all year round, and has a small visitor centre based in a restored blackhouse. Guided walks run from the visitor centre every Tuesday at 10am from Spring into Autumn - April to October.
Isle of North Uist