A 19th Century French writer and journalist once said: “Things change, yet stay the same.” At the time his wife probably rolled her eyes and thought, ‘he’s off again!’

But we know what he meant. But he can’t have been thinking about Uig when he said it. Had he known Uig existed, which is rather unlikely.

The stunning Uig landscape may look permanent but up until about 12,000 years ago was covered in sheets of ice many hundreds of feet thick. The ice melted, rounding off the tops of Mealisval and Teanisbhal; gouging out a huge cleft that became loch Suaineval (the deepest loch in Lewis); dumping millions of tons of gravel in what is the Carnish quarry today and creating a mighty river which flowed through Glen Valtos – Lewis’s Grand Canyon in miniature.

A couple of thousand years hurried past before the first hunter/gatherer peoples arrived by sea and made their encampments around the shores of Uig, living on the rich harvest of fish, shellfish and seabirds that the area provided.

Over the centuries sea levels rose and obliterated almost all trace of them. More changes occurred with the arrival of the first farmers around 5000 years ago. They grew crops and introduced the first sheep to the islands.

They vanished in turn leaving their mysterious monuments in stone in places like Callanish and Barpa Langass in North Uist. Climate change - yes, even then! - saw the weather becoming colder and wetter, trees slowly died out to be replaced by plants like sphagnum moss and by about 1500BC huge blankets of peat bog spread over the whole island. Something to ponder as you drive past the peats neatly cut and stacked by the roadside today.

Over the centuries that followed the first Christians built their chapels as Taigh a’Bheannaich and Baile na Cille.

Rampaging Vikings came and went in their turn leaving us their exquisite jewellery; their chessmen and most of the village place names of Lewis today.

Time rolled on. Preserving some things and destroying others.

By the mid 19th Century the island had become the property of one man: Sir James Matheson. And, being in need of a luxurious hunting lodge (as one so often is) he chose one of the most spectacular sites in Uig to build just such a place.

Over the next hundred years a succession of shooters, stalkers and fishermen came and went leaving behind a bookcase full of sporting memoirs and keeping the taxidermists fully occupied.

The lodge briefly became a hotel in the 70’s then reverted to being a fishing lodge and is now a seamless blend of sporting lodge and modestly luxurious B&B.

Recently with exciting new developments at Gallan Head, the proposed plans for the former Valtos Outdoor Centre overlooking Cliff beach and the proposed building of ‘The St. Kilda Centre’ at Mangersta, change seems to have gathered pace in Uig. Visitor numbers seem to increase year on year yet it never feels busy.

Cliff beach, Uig, Isle of Lewis

Fortunately, however, unlike the first hunter-gatherers of 8,000 years ago they won’t have to forage for their own food. On a stunning location overlooking the ruined village of Erista and the sands of Uig Bay a new restaurant will provide all the fresh local fish and shellfish that anyone could desire.

Designed by Isle of Skye architects Dualchas, the building’s features embody elements both modern and traditional, giving panoramic views of sea and hills whilst blending into the landscape. Construction is under way and by late September it ought to be possible to gaze out over the Atlantic whilst sipping a glass of Prosecco and nibbling on a seared scallop.

So, in one way at least, things do change and yet somehow remain the same.

For further info on places to stay and things to do in Uig: www.visituig.co.uk
St Kilda Centre: www.ionadhiort.org

For restaurant build progress and updates please visit: www.uigsands.co.uk