After checking out the Lochmaddy hotel on the east side of North Uist, it was time to check out the Claddach Kirkebost Centre, run by Urachadh Uibhist, on the west side of the island in terms of their Internet access.
So last thursday four of us from Berneray went there for a "works" Christmas meal. This was for some of the self-employed people who work online on and from the island, a sector that is gradually increasing here as fishing and crofting gradually decline. The Christmas lunch itself was okay; the Christmas pudding component was enjoyable.
The centre is quite impressive, being a conversion and extension of an old school. It's a combination of many things. For a start, there is the cafe, with possibly the best views of any cafe in the Uists, being a panoramic scene of sea and islands. Associated with this is the Hebridean Kitchen shop (things like fudge and jam made on the premises), a creche and Gaelic school for really small kids, a business centre and various other facilities. The Wifi? That was free, unencrypted and worked without a problem on Samantha.
The centre also has a PC lab with a number of terminals. Here, Ada Campbell is helping an elderly member of the community undertake some online genealogy research:
The PC lab and Wifi access are becoming increasingly useful for training, and for helping crofters and the like fill in online forms. You should note that, unlike the Lochmaddy Hotel, the centre keeps more to office and school hours. So where is the centre? Head on the circular road that goes around North Uist, and it's at about 9 or 10 o'clock as viewed on the map. From the junction at Clachan Stores head north; the road sign says a mile but it's a good bit further. The centre doesn't have a website yet, though it was established last year that they need one. They can, however, be contacted on email at: firstname.lastname@example.org