Machair soundwalk

room 4 ECHOES

Commissioned by Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, this soundwalk explores the traditions and ecology of Uist’s machair. A Gaelic word meaning fertile, low-lying grassy plain, machair is one of Europe's rarest yet most species-rich habitats; only occurring on the exposed west-facing shores of Scotland and Ireland, 70% of which is found on Uist. Generations of low-intensity farming have shaped this unique landscape and encouraged wildlife over millennia. Developed in partnership with the local community, this work combines spoken narratives, field recordings, and compositions with archival sound recordings from Edinburgh University’s School of Scottish Studies, that chart over 70-years of oral history.

Contributors: Alisdair MacEachen, Freddie MacDonald, Seoras MacDonald, and Matthew Topsfield.

Production team: Duncan MacLeod (composer), Mairi McFadyen (creative ethnologist), and Sorcha Monk (creative producer).

Cover photo: Liniclate machair, Tara Drummie, 2022.

If you have any questions or feedback about this soundwalk, please email

© 2022 Duncan MacLeod. Unauthorised copying, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting of this soundwalk is strictly prohibited.



The Echoes

Section A: The machair

In this opening section, climate scientist and local resident Matthew Topsfield gives an introductio…

Section 2: Collecting and using seaweed on the machair

As we walk along the coast, we learn about the historical and contemporary uses of seaweed as a natu…

Section 3: Cultivating the land

As we follow the coast round to the left, the water opens out to the North Atlantic. In this section…

Section 4: Cropping & Harvesting on the machair.

Turning left, we follow the track inland through the machair. In this final section, we learn about …

Discover more geolocated content in our apps.


Or start creating tours, treasure hunts, POI maps... Just let your imagination guide you.


Are you a creator?


Privacy & cookie policy / Terms and conditions

© ECHOES. All rights reserved / ECHOES.XYZ Limited is a company registered in England and Wales, Registered office at Merston Common Cottage, Merston, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20 1BE

v2.4.4 © ECHOES. All rights reserved.