A journey into the abandoned villages of the Outer Hebrides through BBC Alba

The villages and their people have long gone, but their stories live on.

The histories of abandoned villages of the Southern Islands of the Outer Hebrides – and those who called them home – are explored in a new BBC Alba documentary.

Trusadh: Beatha air an Oir looks at six villages across Uist, Barra and Vatersay and delves deep into a landscape once busy with families, but which now stand still and empty.

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Search for residents of six lost Scottish villages gets underway

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Among villages featured in the programme Eorisdale in Vatersay, which was abandoned in the early 1970s when its last elderly resident left.

Once home to eight families and eight crofts, the village sits in a bay on the west coast of Vatersay, around a 30-minute walk over open ground from the main village.

Islander Mary Maclean returns to Eorisdale, where her father lived until 1962 and her uncle stayed on until he was the last resident.

Vatersay is one of the island's visited in a new documentary about deserted villages of the Southern Islands of the Outer Hebrides. PIC: John Lucas/geograph.org.

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Ms Maclean, who visits the ruins of her grandfather's house in the programme, said: “My grandfather didn’t want to leave, even if he had been the last person there.”

Also featured in the show is Meanish, a remote peninsula on the east coast of Benbecula, which is accessible only by boat. It was home to islander Flora MacDonald, who was raised there in the 1920s after her father returned from World War One.

Ms MacDonald returns to the remains of Meanish for the first time since the death of her father in the 1970s. He built the house, pier, barn and also the school after he was threatened with prison if he did not secure education for his family.

She said: “We didn’t have a school so we had to build one. They said they would send my father to prison if he didn’t ensure we were given a proper education. So we got a school. It arrived in corrugated sections and a joiner came from North Uist. It was built in a week.”

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But difficulties in securing a teacher for the out-of-the way classroom meant the family had to move on. Today the foundation stone of the school can still be seen.

Trusadh: Beatha air an Oir is on BBC Alba tonight (August 22) at 9pm and on iPlayer thereafter.

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