South Uist

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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 70% 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).

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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,[6][7] 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.

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