PUBS may be few and far between, nightclubs even rarer.

Jobs may not be quite as dynamic as in the city centres. Life may be a bit less fast.

And yet, say researchers who looked into numbers of young people opting to lay down roots in Uist, that appears to be part of its charm.

“Social life on Uist is so much better than in Glasgow,” one returner told them. “In Glasgow we just went to the local pub, here we end up going to ceilidhs and community events, and get involved in helping out in these activities.”

Researchers say young families praised the quality of education, out of school clubs and sports opportunities – from athletics to kickboxing. For children who want to learn Highland dancing, the bagpipes and the fiddle, there’s expert tuition on the doorstep.

“There’s a strong sense of community that appeals to a lot of people,” says Thomas Fisher, one of the report researchers who came to Uist with wife Julie 14 years ago. Their children, Seathan, ten and Chiara, eight, are Uist born and bred.

“People want quality of life, they’re fed up being career driven. Plus there’s a change in perception. People used to think they had to get off the island, now they see Uist as a place they don’t have to leave.”

However researchers admit they can’t say why the Uist birth rate is thriving, while registered births in Lewis and Barra have declined by 15 per cent over the past decade.

The research adds: “The overall challenge for Uist is now to enable even more young people to stay, return or settle on the islands. While many are setting up their own business, jobs are clearly a critical factor.”