Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Public Wifi in North Uist (1/2)

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.

10 comments:

  1. well your laptop looks so cool with all the white wires.

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  2. When did Nunton Steadings go under?!

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  3. "With the recent demise of both Tigh Dearg (North Uist) and Nunton Steadings (Benbecula)" - What! Have both islands sunk beneath the sea, or something?

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  4. Colin: a few weeks ago. They couldn't carry on under the conditions of the new lease. What made it doubly bad was that it was her grandfather who built the place.Really annoying. They had the best cafe and made the best coffee in the Uists, possibly the Hebrides. And the Uists have lost a full media venue (several TV programmes were filmed inside).

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  5. Two watering holes gone in a flash?! Nunton Steadings was excellent. (I have found that the school Library on Benbecula offers free Broadband, as does the Lochmaddy museum).

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  6. Hazelisles: the PC in the Lochmaddy museum is ancient (last decade) to the extent that net access on it is slower than dial-up. Also there's no Wifi there, so it isn't much use for people (and there are many) with their own laptops.It's to the shame and detriment of the Uists that Nunton Steadings is gone. The proprieters put a huge amount of effort in and tried many things. They couldn't have done any more, but they didn't get the support they and the business deserved.

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  7. Silversprite-I totally agree with you, but a lot of "Tourists" read your excellent and descritpive Blog too-they often just need to catch up on emails etc.

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  8. Nunton Steadings was such a great place to escape the wind and rain - and catch up with the world - run by lovely folk - Skoon Art Cafe is still hanging in there - make good coffee too.

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  9. Samantha is beginning to look strangely attractive. I need help.

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  10. I have been trying to find out what Broadband services are available in the Western Isles as I'm looking into moving to the area. However, this has been a very frustrating task. So I have created the web site www.network-hebrides.co.uk to try and gather together whatever information and experiences of service providers that comes my way. Anyone is welcome to provide and use the information on this site. Thanks, Richard.

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