National Geographic : 1954 Oct
568 John Marshall Sea-sprayed Pastures Feed Black-faced Sheep on an Uninhabited Hebrides Isle Shearing time brings men to the sheep, which live untended the year round on this island between Barra and South Uist. After clipping, fleeces go into the dye pot (opposite), emerging to become Harris tweed. on board ship for transfer to mainland markets. The Department of Agriculture for Scot land helps the crofters improve their houses and other buildings or to erect new ones. But many thick-walled dwellings of the old type still stand in the Uists, their roofs thatched with straw covered by wire or net. This is weighted with heavy stones at the fringes to keep it down in winter gales (page 567). Skirted Prince Escapes to Skye Most of the little fields of oats or barley were being scythed by hand as I walked north on South Uist, and on the loch near Hecla and Beinn Mhor, its highest summits, what looked like the very same wild swans that I had noted on my last visit were nesting with a promising brood of five cygnets. At Milton, less than halfway to Carnan, stands the birthplace of Flora Macdonald. A signpost recently erected by the Clan Donald Society points the way to it. The house in which the rescuer of Prince Charlie was born is now a mere shell open to the winds; within it a newly built cairn bears a descriptive plaque. It was in Flora's company that the Prince, beaten in his battle for the English throne, escaped to the Island of Skye. Attired as Flora's maidservant, he was nearly dis covered because he carried his unaccustomed petticoats so awkwardly. The island of Benbecula is harnessed and unharnessed to North and South Uist as the tide swings to and fro, but at the South Ford at Carnan an important change had taken place. Here a half-mile-long bridge, begun in 1939 and finished in 1941, now lashes "the mountain of the fords" (as Benbecula means in Gaelic) firmly to South Uist. The longer ford to North Uist is still unbridged, but plans are being made to change that.