The pristine sandy beaches shimmer under perfectly blue skies and there’s not a soul in sight to spoil the view.

A rowing boat, a little shabby and holding a puddle of dirty water, rests on the machair grass, its peeling turquoise paint echoing the crystal-clear blue of the sea. 

There are fierce red sunsets and golden dawns, crumbling crofts and craggy hills, bikes propped against signposts warning of otters crossing, artfully placed pebbles and We “heart” Uist drawn in the damp sand.

Scan a few of the many thousands of #Uist and #hebrides images on Instagram and it’s easy to believe the sun – when it’s not rising or setting in  – is always a brilliant fiery blaze, that all the houses are brooding shells with no roof, windows or occupants, and bikes fitted with giant panniers are the only mode of transport.  

Soon the Outer Hebridean islands of Uist’s picturesque qualities could be even more in evidence, with the launch of the UK’s first “Insta-friendly” maps designed to help happy snappers find the best spots to snare thumbs-ups, likes, hearts and shares. 

Two limited-edition maps have been developed by CalMac Ferries and Outer Hebrides Tourism to cater for a growing breed of Insta-tourists seeking the perfect shot to add to their social media feeds. 

In perhaps a hint to those who may think the islands’ white sands and turquoise waters are always accompanied by a blisteringly hot sun, The maps have been produced in a waterproof fabric and are said to showcase the best on offer for the photography fan keen on boosting follower numbers.

Besides a traditional island map layout, including grid reference points and the typical “museum” and “place of worship” symbols, are new Insta-friendly symbols pinpointing where to get that killer social media shot. 

The maps have been divided into one chart featuring North Uist, including Berneray, Grimsay and Benbecula, and another highlighting picture-perfect spots in South Uist and Eriskay. 

But while there are some well-known locations – the sweeping sandy bay of Traigh lar in North Uist, Rueval, or the highest point of Benbecula and Grimsay Harbour, where tourists can snap away at colourful fishing boats included on the North Uist map – there are also a few lesser-known and possibly even odd inclusions. 

For the Instagrammer bored with breath-taking beach scenery, there’s a chance to introduce global followers to a giant carving of Hercules – the brown bear that once went missing on North Uist – or Our Lady of the Isles in South Uist, a towering white statue that was erected in the late 1950s by a local priest concerned about the nearby weapons testing range.

And, if they really want to show off their impressive insight into Uist culture, they could share a snap of a cairn that honours Giant Macaskill, the Berneray islander who grew up to be the world’s tallest man. 

Or Rosinish Point in Eriskay which overlooks where the SS Politician sank, taking 28,000 cases of whisky with her.

According to Kirsten Christiann, whose Uist Photography business runs workshops to help visitors polish up their skills, there is no doubt the area offers myriad photo options for visitors armed with the right camera equipment.

“Anyone coming to photograph the wildlife is not going to manage it with a smartphone,” she says. 

“It’s not always sunny,” she adds, instantly crushing the Instagram myth that every Hebridean beach nestles under blue skies.

“But then, we don’t get that much rain because of the wind. Even when the skies are dark and the weather isn’t great, you can still get amazing pictures.”

The wildflowers of the machair, the white sandy bays and the birds of prey, among them the short-eared owl which can be seen during daytime gliding across the moorland, offer the best picture opportunities, she adds. 

At Lochboisdale Hotel in South Uist, owner Calum MacAulay is braced for the flood of Instagram stars tempted to capture the islands for their followers. 
If they could pop over at the end of summer and stay for winter, he’d be even happier.

“It would be fantastic for us to have visitors from October onwards,” he says. 

“We have had photographers visit outside of summer. They have told us the light here at that time of year can’t be beaten.” 

One thing he’s less keen on, however, are Instagram “influencers” looking for a free stay in return for a hashtag mention to their followers. “I don’t think so,” he says. 

While the maps are intended to help photographers find their ideal image, in other areas there have been concerns that picture-hungry tourists could be putting the landscape at risk.

Stacked pyramids of stones have appeared on a number of Unesco-listed beaches on Orkney, at the Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye and on Iona. While enthusiasts say the stones are artistic, nature groups have warned against the practice. 

Others have been criticised for laying out food in an attempt to lure deer, red squirrels and birds of prey for pictures, while some Instagrammers – such as American so-called ‘professional huntress’ visitor Larysa Switlyk created outrage after sharing images of a ram, goat and stag killed on a trip to Islay. 

Freelance landscape and travel photographer Ali Horne warns that a balance is required between encouraging visitors and retaining the uniqueness of beauty spots. 

“There’s a tricky balance between promoting places which don’t have enough visitors and having too many,” he says.

“I now avoid Skye in the summertime because the number of people means it’s too populated, and I’m becoming more conscious of what I am posting on social media,” he adds.

Andrew Macnair, of CalMac Ferries, says the maps are in response to rising demand. “When we developed the idea of the maps, it was with the intention of using them online to help visitors to the island discover all the hidden gems Uist has to offer. 

“However, the enthusiasm that has flooded into the tourism office for the products showed there was a demand to create a physical product.”

The maps cost £20 and proceeds go to help the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).Robert McKinnon, Chief Executive of Outer Hebrides Tourism, adds: “Social media has put the islands on the map, with so many Insta-friendly locations on our doorstep. 

“We look forward to welcoming visitors to Uist and seeing Instagram feeds fill with snapshots of their adventures on the islands.”