With the recent demise of both Tigh Dearg (North Uist) and Nunton Steadings (Benbecula), we've lost two of the very small number of places in the Uists where you can go along with your laptop and get online.
Thankfully, and for a change locally, some good news. The new owners of the Lochmaddy Hotel in North Uist have installed broadband, and stuck in a Wifi system, for the use of their customers. By customer, that can be people staying there, or customers at the bar or restaurant.
This hotel is in a good spot - it's like 1 minute walk to the North Uist ferry terminal from where you get the Calmac to Skye. And you can watch various boats, and if using public transport keep an eye on the movements of the buses from there.
So today I did lunch in the hotel (a quite decent Haddock and chips with side salad), and myself and the increasingly famous Samantha (pictured) tested it.
Currently, not all of the hotel is covered by Wifi - you need to go to the reception area (where you can get the password anyway) and find a nearby room. Thankfully there is a very quiet and pleasant lounge room with nice sea views next to reception - and a big table to put your laptop on. Signal strength: high. Along from this is the Anglers lounge, where you can get a signal in some parts of the room. Signal strength: okay.
Actually I'd prefer to go online where I was instead of in the bar area, as it is quieter and more private. I had a pleasant few hours doing online things, testing skype and getting through the mammoth inbox from hell. No problems.
It's a shame that more places in the Uists don't have Wifi but, frankly and literally, that is their loss. I'm directing people (tourists, visitors, business people) to the Lochmaddy hotel from now on, on principle. It's nearly 2009; in a lot of places in the USA, and some (though not enough) in mainland UK, the number of eating places with Wifi exceeds those without. There's a simple reason for that ...
On thursday I'm eating out at another North Uist location. This may have Wifi - it it does, it'll be blogged.