Baleshare | Neil MacRae

Island intro

At just eight square miles in size, and sitting southwest of North Uist, the tidal island of Baleshare is linked to North Uist by a 350-metre causeway. Baleshare boasts shell-white sandy beaches lined with dunes, surrounded by wildlife-rich machair.

Ask an Islander

Explore the archaeological remains which scatter the island, with excavations and coastal erosion revealing late Bronze Age to late Iron Age settlements.

Baleshare has a rich history and was the first place in the Outer Hebrides to turn kelp collection into an economic activity. This became the mainstay for much of the local community for many years. Kelp was harvested by locals and burned to release the alkaline kelp ash, which was used in the manufacturing of glass, soap and bleach linen.

Baleshare (Gaelic Am Baile Sear) means ‘east township’. A ‘west township’ is rumoured to have been washed away in the 16th century, but stories suggest you could once walk to the now uninhabited Monach Islands at low tide – a distance of about five miles.

Baleshare was the birthplace of the notable John Fergusson, a politician in Nova Scotia, Canada. Born in Baleshare, he served as a minister without portfolio in the province’s Executive Council from 1867 to 1874, and was named sheriff for Cape Breton County in 1875.

Gaelic / Gàidhlig

The Gaelic name for Baleshare is Am Baile Sear.

Want to say ‘thank you’ to someone in Gaelic? That’s ‘tapadh leibh ‘!

Getting Here

Covid-19

In order to keep our island communities safe during the ongoing pandemic, please check the latest guidance from the Scottish Government about travelling to and around the islands. Please note that advice may vary depending on the specific island you are visiting.

You can reach Baleshare via a causeway from North Uist. The W16 bus running from Benbecula to North Uist runs Monday–Saturday and passes the causeway to Baleshare.

Find out more about getting to North Uist.

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Get Your Passport

You can find lots more information about things to see and do on the island, see some amazing island photography and collect your island stamp by downloading our app.

Download the app

App in phone

Download the Scottish Island Passport app to collect your island stamps! The app also provides lots more information on each island including recommendations from locals about things to see and do, info on how to get around, more stunning photos and useful offline maps.

  • Unlock Stamps - Collect them all! Stamp your passport when you visit each island - with an individual stamp designed to represent a unique aspect of island heritage.
  • Experiences - Discover the best experiences each island has to offer – from local boat trips to exciting traditional festivals, there is something for everyone.
  • Maps - Navigate the islands with useful offline maps, handy for areas where internet connectivity is weak.
  • Travel Jounals - Create an in-location travel journal with pictures from your island adventures, to look back on your trip.
  • Favourites - keep track of your most loved islands with the favourites feature. Available to access from your account on both the app and web.