The Outer Hebrides are redolent with history and atmosphere, in addition to their abundance of rugged beauty and wildlife. Below, I briefly mention the principal ones which comprise the archipelago - click on the island name for a link to one of the best (in my opinion) websites that relates to each. For more websites, go to the island name in the menu on the left.
South Uist: Eriskay's nearest neighbour which is linked by causeway. Known as the Long Island, it has a fascinating history and background, dating back to ancient times. Lochboisdale is the port for the large car ferry which comes from Oban. To see the Uists properly, North & South, you must break off the main B856 road and turn into the townships which branch off to the East & West. There are innumerable lochs with brown trout, and a copy of John Kennedy's "70 Lochs in Uist" is a must for anyone remotely interested in angling.
Benbecula: Balivanich on Benbecula is the Southern Isles adminstrative site for the Western Isles council, the main offices of which are in Stornoway. The main secondary school for the Uists is at Liniclate, with a cafeteria and public access to its swimming pool. During holiday times, events like art, drama, kayaking, swimming and various other pursuits for youngsters are available through the school, to anyone interested.
Barra: Barra is a thriving and lively place, steeped in musical and cultural tradition. The ferry from Oban comes into Castlebay, where stands Kismul Castle, home of the Chiefs of Clan MacNeil. Barra's airport is known as the world's cleanest, since the tide comes in and washes it twice daily.
Vatersay: A stunningly beautiful small island connected by causeway to Barra, and home of those Hebridean icons, the Vatersay Boys, purveyors of "...music that would raise the dead to dancing ...."
Mingulay: Now uninhabited, but with a fascinating history and some of the tallest cliffs in Britain, outside Saint Kilda. Trips are available from Barra to see this haunting island, remote even by Hebridean standards.
North Uist: The main port is Lochmaddy, with an excellent ferry service from Uig on the isle of Skye. There is a popular diving & outdoor centre, and with plenty of lochs and sea inlets, plenty of scope for watersports. The west side of the island is particularly attractive, with large machair lands, beaches and sand dunes. Be sure to visit the award winning Tigh Chearsabhagh museum & Art Centre during your stay.
Berneray: A small island connected to North Uist by causeway, but with a vibrant & hospitable community, many of whom became friends of Prince Charles after he'd spent some time there. The Prince subsequently featured in a TV documentary about his time on Berneray, in which Selina Scott interviewed him on his crofting interlude, and the sense of wellbeing and contentment he experienced while living on the island.
Harris: Rugged and rocky on the one hand, with some of the world's most stunning golden beaches on the other. Best known for it's trademarked Harris Tweed, this is a place you could explore indefinitely and still be fascinated, deer & golden eagles can be seen if you're energetic and adventurous enough to venture to their habitats.
Lewis: Lewis is the largest of the Outer Isles, with the biggest population and the islands' adminstrative capital, the port of Stornoway. Served by ferries from Ullapool and flights from both Glasgow and Inverness, it is easily acessable from the mainland. There are many points of interest for visitors, with probably the most famous being Callanish's standing stones.
Saint Kilda: Uninhabited since 1930, Saint Kilda is an unimaginably remote set of rocky outcrops out in the Atlantic and the story of the people who used to live there is utterly fascinating. Britain's tallest cliffs are there and the inhabitants grew up as experts in scaling them, because they derived much of their food from harvesting eggs and chicks from the millions of nests to be found amongst the shelves and crevices. Nowadays, it is a major seabird sanctuary under the Natural Trust for Scotland, and a World Heritage site.
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