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The Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
(/ˈhɛbrɪdiːz/), also known as the Western Isles (Scottish Gaelic: Na h-Eileanan Siar [nə ˈhelanən ˈʃiəɾ] or Na h-Eileanan an Iar [nəˈhelanən əˈɲiəɾ]), Innse Gall ("islands of the strangers") or the Long Isle or the Long Island (Scottish Gaelic: An t-Eilean Fada), is an island chain off the west coast of mainland Scotland.[Note 1] The islands are geographically coextensive with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, one of the 32 unitary council areas of Scotland. They form part of the Hebrides, separated from the Scottish mainland and from the Inner Hebrides
Hebrides
by the waters of the Minch, the Little Minch
Minch
and the Sea of the Hebrides. Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic
is the predominant spoken language, although in a few areas English speakers form a majority. Most of the islands have a bedrock formed from ancient metamorphic rocks and the climate is mild and oceanic. The 15 inhabited islands have a total population of 26,900[3] and there are more than 50 substantial uninhabited islands. From Barra Head
Barra Head
to the Butt of Lewis is roughly 210 kilometres (130 mi). There are various important prehistoric structures, many of which pre-date the first written references to the islands by Roman and Greek authors. The Western Isles
Western Isles
became part of the Norse kingdom of the Suðreyjar, which lasted for over 400 years until sovereignty was transferred to Scotland
Scotland
by the Treaty of Perth in 1266. Control of the islands was then held by clan chiefs, principal of whom were the MacLeods, MacDonalds, Mackenzies and MacNeils. The Highland Clearances of the 19th century had a devastating effect on many communities and it is only in recent years that population levels have ceased to decline. Much of the land is now under local control and commercial activity is based on tourism, crofting, fishing, and weaving. Sea transport is crucial and a variety of ferry services operate between the islands and to mainland Scotland. Modern navigation systems now minimise the dangers but in the past the stormy seas have claimed many ships. Religion, music and sport are important aspects of local culture, and there are numerous designated conservation areas to protect the natural environment.

Contents

1 Geography

1.1 Flora and fauna

2 Population

2.1 Uninhabited islands

3 Geology 4 Climate 5 Prehistory 6 Etymology 7 History

7.1 Norse control 7.2 Scots rule 7.3 British era

8 Economy 9 Politics and local government 10 Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic
language 11 Transport

11.1 Bus na Comhairle 11.2 Shipwrecks

12 Religion, culture and sport 13 See also 14 Notes 15 References 16 Sources 17 External links

Geography[edit]

Nicolson's Leap on the east coast of South Uist. In the background are Beinn Mhòr at left, and Hecla on the right.

Main article: List of Outer Hebrides The islands form an archipelago whose major islands are Lewis
Lewis
and Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, and Barra. Lewis
Lewis
and Harris has an area of 217,898 hectares (841 sq mi)[5] and is the largest island in Scotland
Scotland
and the third largest in the British Isles, after Great Britain and Ireland.[6] It incorporates Lewis
Lewis
in the north and Harris in the south, both of which are frequently referred to as individual islands, although they are connected by land. The island does not have a single name in either English or Gaelic, and is referred to as " Lewis
Lewis
and Harris", " Lewis
Lewis
with Harris", "Harris with Lewis" etc.[7] The largest islands are deeply indented by arms of the sea such as Loch Ròg, Loch Seaforth
Loch Seaforth
and Loch nam Madadh. There are also more than 7,500 freshwater lochs in the Outer Hebrides, about 24% of the total for the whole of Scotland.[8] North and South Uist
South Uist
and Lewis
Lewis
in particular have landscapes with a high percentage of fresh water and a maze and complexity of loch shapes. Harris has fewer large bodies of water but has innumerable small lochans. Loch Langavat
Loch Langavat
on Lewis
Lewis
is 11 kilometres (7 mi) long, and has several large islands in its midst, including Eilean Mòr. Although Loch Suaineabhal has only 25% of Loch Langavat's surface area, it has a mean depth of 33 metres (108 ft) and is the most voluminous on the island.[9] Of Loch Sgadabhagh on North Uist
North Uist
it has been said that "there is probably no other loch in Britain which approaches Loch Scadavay in irregularity and complexity of outline."[10] Loch Bì is South Uist's largest loch and at 8 kilometres (5 mi) long it all but cuts the island in two.[11] Much of the western coastline of the islands is machair, a fertile low-lying dune pastureland.[12] Lewis
Lewis
is comparatively flat, and largely consists of treeless moors of blanket peat. The highest eminence is Mealisval at 574 m (1,883 ft) in the south west. Most of Harris is mountainous, with large areas of exposed rock and Clisham, the archipelago's only Corbett, reaches 799 m (2,621 ft) in height.[2][5] North and South Uist
South Uist
and Benbecula (sometimes collectively referred to as The Uists) have sandy beaches and wide cultivated areas of machair to the west and virtually uninhabited mountainous areas to the east. The highest peak here is Beinn Mhòr at 620 metres (2,034 ft).[13] The Uists
The Uists
and their immediate outliers have a combined area of 74,540 hectares (288 sq mi). This includes the Uists themselves and the islands linked to them by causeways and bridges.[14] Barra
Barra
is 5,875 hectares (23 sq mi) in extent and has a rugged interior, surrounded by machair and extensive beaches.[15][16] Flora and fauna[edit]

The open landscapes of Benbecula

Bàgh Mòr, Grimsay

Much of the archipelago is a protected habitat, including both the islands and the surrounding waters. There are 53 Sites of Special Scientific Interest of which the largest are Loch an Duin, North Uist (15,100 hectares (37,000 acres)) and North Harris (12,700 hectares (31,000 acres)).[17][18] Loch Druidibeg on South Uist
South Uist
is a national nature reserve owned and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage. The reserve covers 1,677 hectares across the whole range of local habitats.[19] Over 200 species of flowering plants have been recorded on the reserve, some of which are nationally scarce.[20] South Uist
South Uist
is considered the best place in the UK for the aquatic plant Slender Naiad, which is a European Protected Species.[21][22] There has been considerable controversy over hedgehogs on the Uists. Hedgehogs are not native to the islands, but were introduced in the 1970s to reduce garden pests. Their spread posed a threat to the eggs of ground nesting wading birds. In 2003 Scottish Natural Heritage undertook culls of hedgehogs in the area, but these were halted in 2007; trapped animals are now relocated to the mainland.[23][24] Nationally important populations of breeding waders are present in the Outer Hebrides, including common redshank, dunlin, lapwing and ringed plover. The islands also provide a habitat for other important species such as corncrake, hen harrier, golden eagle and otter. Offshore, basking shark and various species of whale and dolphin can often be seen,[25] and the remoter islands' seabird populations are of international significance. St Kilda has 60,000 northern gannets, amounting to 24% of the world population; 49,000 breeding pairs of Leach's petrel, up to 90% of the European population; and 136,000 pairs of puffin and 67,000 northern fulmar pairs, about 30% and 13% of the respective UK totals.[26] Mingulay
Mingulay
is an important breeding ground for razorbills, with 9,514 pairs, 6.3% of the European population.[27] The bumblebee Bombus jonellus
Bombus jonellus
var. hebridensis is endemic to the Hebrides
Hebrides
and there are local variants of the dark green fritillary and green-veined white butterflies.[28] The St Kilda wren
St Kilda wren
is a subspecies of wren whose range is confined to the islands whose name it bears.[29] Population[edit]

Lews Castle, Stornoway

Historical population

Year Pop. ±%

1861 36,319 —    

1901 46,172 +27.1%

1951 35,591 −22.9%

1961 32,609 −8.4%

1971 29,891 −8.3%

1981 30,702 +2.7%

1991 29,600 −3.6%

2001 26,502 −10.5%

2011 27,684 +4.5%

[30][31][32]

The islands' total population was 26,502 at the 2001 census, and the 2011 figure was 27,684.[30] During the same period Scottish island populations as a whole grew by 4% to 103,702.[33] The largest settlement in the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
is Stornoway
Stornoway
on Lewis,[34][35] which has a population of about 8,100.[36] In addition to the major North Ford (Oitir Mhòr) and South Ford causeways that connect North Uist
North Uist
to Benbecula
Benbecula
via the northern of the Grimsays, and another causeway from Benbecula
Benbecula
to South Uist, several other islands are linked by smaller causeways or bridges. Great Bernera and Scalpay have bridge connections to Lewis
Lewis
and Harris respectively, with causeways linking Baleshare
Baleshare
and Berneray to North Uist; Eriskay
Eriskay
to South Uist; Flodaigh, Fraoch-Eilean
Fraoch-Eilean
and the southern Grimsay
Grimsay
to Benbecula; and Vatersay
Vatersay
to Barra.[11][37][38] Thus means that all the inhabited islands are now connected to at least one other island by a land transport route.

Geographic distribution of Gaelic speakers in Scotland
Scotland
(2011)

Island Gaelic name 2011 population[30] 2001 population[35] 2011 Gaelic speakers[39]

Lewis
Lewis
and Harris Leòdhas 7004210310000000000♠21,031 7004185000000000000♠18,500 (Lewis)

Parish

Steòrnabhagh 43% (5,492)

Barabhas 64% (2,037)

Ceann a Tuath nan Loch 53% (942)

Ùig 56% (873)

TOTAL 49% (9,344)

Hearadh 7003191600000000000♠1,916 (Harris) 60% (1,212)

South Uist Uibhist a Deas 7003175400000000000♠1,754 7003181800000000000♠1,818 60% (1,888 incl. Benbecula)

North Uist Uibhist a Tuath 7003125400000000000♠1,254 7003127100000000000♠1,271 61% (887)

Benbecula Beinn nam Fadhla 7003130300000000000♠1,303 7003121900000000000♠1,219 60% (1,888 with South Uist)

Barra Barraigh 7003117400000000000♠1,174 7003107800000000000♠1,078 62% (761)

Scalpay Sgalpaigh 7002291000000000000♠291 7002322000000000000♠322

Great Bernera Beàrnaraigh Mòr 7002252000000000000♠252 7002233000000000000♠233

Grimsay
Grimsay
(north) Griomasaigh 7002169000000000000♠169 7002201000000000000♠201

Berneray Beàrnaraigh 7002138000000000000♠138 7002136000000000000♠136

Eriskay Èirisgeigh 7002143000000000000♠143 7002133000000000000♠133

Vatersay Bhatarsaigh 7001900000000000000♠90 7001940000000000000♠94

Baleshare Baile Sear 7001580000000000000♠58 7001490000000000000♠49

Grimsay
Grimsay
(south) Griomasaigh 7001200000000000000♠20 7001190000000000000♠19

Flodaigh Flodaigh 7000700000000000000♠7 7001110000000000000♠11

Fraoch-Eilean Fraoch-Eilean 5000000000000000000♠?[Note 2] 5000000000000000000♠?

TOTAL

7004276840000000000♠27,684 7004265020000000000♠26,502 52% (14,248)

Uninhabited islands[edit]

View of the Barra
Barra
Isles from Heaval. The village of Castlebay
Castlebay
is in the foreground, with Vatersay, and the uninhabited islands of Sandray, Pabbay, Mingulay
Mingulay
and Berneray beyond.

There are more than fifty uninhabited islands greater in size than 40 hectares (99 acres) in the Outer Hebrides, including the Barra
Barra
Isles, Flannan Isles, Monach Islands, the Shiant Isles
Shiant Isles
and the islands of Loch Ròg.[40] In common with the other main island chains of Scotland, many of the more remote islands were abandoned during the 19th and 20th centuries, in some cases after continuous habitation since the prehistoric period. More than 35 such islands have been identified in the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
alone.[41] On Barra
Barra
Head, for example, Historic Scotland
Scotland
have identified eighty-three archaeological sites on the island, the majority being of a pre-medieval date. In the 18th century the population was over fifty, but the last native islanders had left by 1931. The island became completely uninhabited by 1980 with the automation of the lighthouse.[42] Some of the smaller islands continue to contribute to modern culture. The " Mingulay
Mingulay
Boat Song", although evocative of island life, was written after the abandonment of the island in 1938[43] and Taransay hosted the BBC
BBC
television series Castaway 2000. Others have played a part in Scottish history. On 4 May 1746, the "Young Pretender" Charles Edward Stuart hid on Eilean Liubhaird
Eilean Liubhaird
with some of his men for four days whilst Royal Navy
Royal Navy
vessels patrolled the Minch.[44] Smaller isles and skerries and other island groups pepper the North Atlantic surrounding the main islands. Some are not geologically part of the Outer Hebrides, but are administratively and in most cases culturally, part of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. 73 kilometres (45 mi) to the west of Lewis
Lewis
lies St Kilda, now uninhabited except for a small military base.[45] A similar distance to the north of Lewis
Lewis
are North Rona
North Rona
and Sula Sgeir, two small and remote islands. While Rona used to support a small population who grew grain and raised cattle, Sula Sgeir
Sula Sgeir
is an inhospitable rock. Thousands of northern gannets nest here, and by special arrangement some of their young, known as gugas are harvested annually by the men of Ness.[46] The status of Rockall, which is 367 kilometres (228 mi) to the west of North Uist
North Uist
and which the Island of Rockall
Rockall
Act 1972 decreed to be a part of the Western Isles, remains a matter of international dispute.[47][48] Geology[edit]

Geological map of the Hebridean Terrane

Most of the islands have a bedrock formed from Lewisian gneiss. These are amongst the oldest rocks in Europe, having been formed in the Precambrian
Precambrian
period up to three billion years ago. In addition to the Outer Hebrides, they form basement deposits on the Scottish mainland west of the Moine Thrust and on the islands of Coll
Coll
and Tiree.[49] These rocks are largely igneous in origin, mixed with metamorphosed marble, quartzite and mica schist and intruded by later basaltic dykes and granite magma.[50] The gneiss's delicate pink colours are exposed throughout the islands and it is sometimes referred to by geologists as "The Old Boy".[51][Note 3] Granite intrusions are found in the parish of Barvas
Barvas
in west Lewis, and another forms the summit plateau of the mountain Roineabhal in Harris. The granite here is anorthosite, and is similar in composition to rocks found in the mountains of the Moon. There are relatively small outcrops of Triassic
Triassic
sandstone at Broad Bay near Stornoway. The Shiant Isles
Shiant Isles
and St Kilda are formed from much later tertiary basalt and basalt and gabbros respectively. The sandstone at Broad Bay was once thought to be Torridonian
Torridonian
or Old Red Sandstone.[7][53][54] Climate[edit] The Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
have a cool temperate climate that is remarkably mild and steady for such a northerly latitude, due to the influence of the North Atlantic
North Atlantic
Current. The average temperature for the year is 6 °C (44 °F) in January and 14 °C (57 °F) in summer. The average annual rainfall in Lewis
Lewis
is 1,100 millimetres (43 in) and sunshine hours range from 1,100 to 1,200 per year. The summer days are relatively long and May to August is the driest period.[55] Winds are a key feature of the climate and even in summer there are almost constant breezes. According to the writer W. H. Murray if a visitor asks an islander for a weather forecast "he will not, like a mainlander answer dry, wet or sunny, but quote you a figure from the Beaufort Scale."[56] There are gales one day in six at the Butt of Lewis
Butt of Lewis
and small fish are blown onto the grass on top of 190 metre (620 ft) high cliffs at Barra Head
Barra Head
during winter storms.[57] Prehistory[edit]

The Callanish Stones

The Hebrides
Hebrides
were originally settled in the Mesolithic
Mesolithic
era and have a diversity of important prehistoric sites. Eilean Dòmhnuill
Eilean Dòmhnuill
in Loch Olabhat on North Uist
North Uist
was constructed around 3200–2800 BC and may be Scotland's earliest crannog (a type of artificial island).[58][59] The Callanish Stones, dating from about 2900 BC, are the finest example of a stone circle in Scotland, the 13 primary monoliths of between one and five metres high creating a circle about 13 metres (43 ft) in diameter.[60][61][62][63] Cladh Hallan
Cladh Hallan
on South Uist, the only site in the UK where prehistoric mummies have been found, and the impressive ruins of Dun Carloway
Dun Carloway
broch on Lewis
Lewis
both date from the Iron Age.[64][65][66] Etymology[edit]

The "Old Boy" — the gneiss cliffs of Sloc na Bèiste, Barra
Barra
Head, the southernmost point of the Outer Hebrides

Pronunciation

Scots Gaelic: A' Chomhairle

Pronunciation: [ə ˈxõ.ərˠʎə] ( listen)

Scots Gaelic: An t-Eilean Fada

Pronunciation: [əɲ tʰʲelan fat̪ə] ( listen)

Scots Gaelic: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Pronunciation: [ˈkʰõ.ərˠʎə nə ˈɲelan ˈʃiəɾ] ( listen)

Scots Gaelic: guga

Pronunciation: [ˈkukə] ( listen)

Scots Gaelic: Innse Gall

Pronunciation: [ˈĩːʃə ˈkaulˠ̪] ( listen)

Scots Gaelic: Na h-Eileanan A-muigh

Pronunciation: [nə ˈhelanən əˈmuj] ( listen)

Scots Gaelic: Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Pronunciation: [nə ˈhelanən ə ˈɲiəɾ] ( listen)

Scots Gaelic: Na h-Eileanan Siar

Pronunciation: [nə ˈhelanən ˈʃiəɾ] ( listen)

Scots Gaelic: Oitir Mhòr

Pronunciation: [ˈɔʰtʲɪɾʲ ˈvoːɾ] ( listen)

Scots Gaelic: Sloc na Béiste

Pronunciation: [ˈs̪lˠ̪ɔʰk nə ˈpeːʃtʲə] ( listen)

The earliest written references that have survived relating to the islands were made by Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
in his Natural History, where he states that there are 30 Hebudes, and makes a separate reference to Dumna, which Watson (1926) concludes is unequivocally the Outer Hebrides. Writing about 80 years later, in 140–150 AD, Ptolemy, drawing on the earlier naval expeditions of Agricola, also distinguished between the Ebudes, of which he writes there were only five (and thus possibly meaning the Inner Hebrides) and Dumna.[67][68] Dumna is cognate with the Early Celtic dumnos and means the "deep-sea isle".[68] Pliny probably took his information from Pytheas
Pytheas
of Massilia
Massilia
who visited Britain sometime between 322 and 285 BC. It is possible that Ptolemy
Ptolemy
did as well, as Agricola's information about the west coast of Scotland
Scotland
was of poor quality.[67][68] Breeze also suggests that Dumna might be Lewis
Lewis
and Harris, the largest island of the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
although he conflates this single island with the name "Long Island".[67] Watson (1926) states that the meaning of Ptolemy's Eboudai is unknown and that the root may be pre-Celtic.[69] Murray (1966) claims that Ptolemy's Ebudae was originally derived from the Old Norse
Old Norse
Havbredey, meaning "isles on the edge of the sea". This idea is often repeated but no firm evidence of this derivation has emerged.[70] Other early written references include the flight of the Nemed
Nemed
people from Ireland to Domon, which is mentioned in the 12th-century Lebor Gabála Érenn and a 13th-century poem concerning Raghnall mac Gofraidh, then the heir to the throne of Mann and the Isles, who is said to have "broken the gate of Magh Domhna". Magh Domhna means "the plain of Domhna (or Domon)", but the precise meaning of the text is not clear.[68] In Irish mythology
Irish mythology
the islands were the home of the Fomorians, described as "huge and ugly" and "ship men of the sea". They were pirates, extracting tribute from the coasts of Ireland and one of their kings was Indech mac Dé Domnand (i.e. Indech, son of the goddess Domnu, who ruled over the deep seas).[71] In modern Gaelic the islands are sometimes referred to collectively as An t-Eilean Fada (the Long Island)[51] or Na h-Eileanan a-Muigh (the Outer Isles).[72] Innse Gall (islands of the foreigners or strangers) is also heard occasionally, a name that was originally used by mainland Highlanders when the islands were ruled by the Norse.[73] The individual island and place names in the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
have mixed Gaelic and Norse origins. Various Gaelic terms are used repeatedly:[74]

Gaelic root Derived forms Anglicised as Origin and meaning

-aigh

-ay/-ey generally from the Norse øy meaning "island"

beag bheag, bige, bhige, beaga, bheaga beg small

dearg dhearg, deirge, dheirge, deirg, dheirg, dearga, dhearga derg red

dubh dhubh, duibh, dhuibh, duibhe, dhuibhe, dubha, dhubha

black; hidden

glas ghlas, glais, ghlais, glaise, ghlaise, glasa, ghlasa

grey, green

ear

east, eastern

eilean eilein, eileanan

from the Norse eyland meaning "island"

iar

west, western

mòr mhòr, mòire, mhòire , mòra, mhòra, mòir, mhòir more big, great

rubha rubhannan

promontory

sgeir sgeirean skerry skerry; often refers to a rock or rocks that lie submerged at high tide.

There are also several islands called Orasaigh from the Norse Örfirirsey meaning "tidal" or "ebb island".[74] History[edit] In Scotland, the Celtic Iron Age
Iron Age
way of life, often troubled but never extinguished by Rome, re-asserted itself when the legions abandoned any permanent occupation in 211 AD.[75] Hanson (2003) writes: "For many years it has been almost axiomatic in studies of the period that the Roman conquest must have had some major medium or long-term impact on Scotland. On present evidence that cannot be substantiated either in terms of environment, economy, or, indeed, society. The impact appears to have been very limited. The general picture remains one of broad continuity, not of disruption ... The Roman presence in Scotland
Scotland
was little more than a series of brief interludes within a longer continuum of indigenous development."[76] The Romans' direct impact on the Highlands and Islands
Highlands and Islands
was scant and there is no evidence that they ever actually landed in the Outer Hebrides.[77] The later Iron Age
Iron Age
inhabitants of the northern and western Hebrides were probably Pictish, although the historical record is sparse. Hunter (2000) states that in relation to King Bridei I of the Picts
Bridei I of the Picts
in the sixth century AD: "As for Shetland, Orkney, Skye
Skye
and the Western Isles, their inhabitants, most of whom appear to have been Pictish in culture and speech at this time, are likely to have regarded Bridei as a fairly distant presence."[78] The island of Pabbay is the site of the Pabbay Stone, the only extant Pictish symbol stone in the Outer Hebrides. This 6th century stele shows a flower, V-rod and lunar crescent to which has been added a later and somewhat crude cross.[79] Norse control[edit] Main article: History of the Outer Hebrides

Location of the Kingdom of the Isles
Kingdom of the Isles
at the end of the eleventh century

Viking
Viking
raids began on Scottish shores towards the end of the 8th century AD and the Hebrides
Hebrides
came under Norse control and settlement during the ensuing decades, especially following the success of Harald Fairhair at the Battle of Hafrsfjord
Battle of Hafrsfjord
in 872.[80][81] In the Western Isles Ketill Flatnose
Ketill Flatnose
was the dominant figure of the mid 9th century, by which time he had amassed a substantial island realm and made a variety of alliances with other Norse leaders. These princelings nominally owed allegiance to the Norwegian crown, although in practice the latter's control was fairly limited.[82] Norse control of the Hebrides
Hebrides
was formalised in 1098 when Edgar, King of Scotland
Scotland
formally signed the islands over to Magnus III of Norway.[83] The Scottish acceptance of Magnus III as King of the Isles came after the Norwegian king had conquered Orkney, the Hebrides
Hebrides
and the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
in a swift campaign earlier the same year, directed against the local Norwegian leaders of the various islands petty kingdoms. By capturing the islands Magnus imposed a more direct royal control, although at a price. His skald Bjorn Cripplehand recorded that in Lewis
Lewis
"fire played high in the heaven" as "flame spouted from the houses" and that in the Uists "the king dyed his sword red in blood".[83] Thompson (1968) provides a more literal translation: "Fire played in the fig-trees of Liodhus; it mounted up to heaven. Far and wide the people were driven to flight. The fire gushed out of the houses".[84] The Hebrides
Hebrides
were now part of Kingdom of the Isles, whose rulers were themselves vassals of the Kings of Norway. The Kingdom had two parts: the Suðr-eyjar or South Isles encompassing the Hebrides
Hebrides
and the Isle of Man; and the Norðr-eyjar or North Isles of Orkney
Orkney
and Shetland. This situation lasted until the partitioning of the Western Isles
Western Isles
in 1156, at which time the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
remained under Norwegian control while the Inner Hebrides
Hebrides
broke out under Somerled, the Norse-Celtic kinsman of the Manx royal house.[85] Following the ill-fated 1263 expedition of Haakon IV of Norway, the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
along with the Isle of Man, were yielded to the Kingdom of Scotland
Scotland
a result of the 1266 Treaty of Perth.[86] Although their contribution to the islands can still be found in personal and placenames, the archaeological record of the Norse period is very limited. The best known find from this time is the Lewis
Lewis
chessmen, which date from the mid 12th century.[87] Scots rule[edit]

Kisimul Castle, the ancient seat of Clan MacNeil, Castlebay, Barra

As the Norse era drew to a close the Norse-speaking princes were gradually replaced by Gaelic-speaking clan chiefs including the MacLeods of Lewis
Lewis
and Harris, the MacDonalds of the Uists and MacNeil of Barra.[84][88][Note 4] This transition did little to relieve the islands of internecine strife although by the early 14th century the MacDonald Lords of the Isles, based on Islay, were in theory these chiefs' feudal superiors and managed to exert some control.[92] The growing threat that Clan Donald
Clan Donald
posed to the Scottish crown led to the forcible dissolution of the Lordship of the Isles by James IV in 1493, but although the king had the power to subdue the organised military might of the Hebrides, he and his immediate successors lacked the will or ability to provide an alternative form of governance.[93] The House of Stuart's attempts to control the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
were then at first desultory and little more than punitive expeditions. In 1506 the Earl of Huntly besieged and captured Stornoway
Stornoway
Castle using cannon. In 1540 James V himself conducted a royal tour, forcing the clan chiefs to accompany him. There followed a period of peace, but all too soon the clans were at loggerheads again.[94] In 1598 King James VI authorised some "Gentleman Adventurers" from Fife
Fife
to civilise the "most barbarous Isle of Lewis". Initially successful, the colonists were driven out by local forces commanded by Murdoch and Neil MacLeod, who based their forces on Bearasaigh
Bearasaigh
in Loch Ròg. The colonists tried again in 1605 with the same result but a third attempt in 1607 was more successful, and in due course Stornoway became a Burgh of Barony.[95][96] By this time Lewis
Lewis
was held by the Mackenzies of Kintail, (later the Earls of Seaforth), who pursued a more enlightened approach, investing in fishing in particular. The historian W. C. MacKenzie was moved to write:[97]

At the end of the 17th century, the picture we have of Lewis
Lewis
that of a people pursuing their avocation in peace, but not in plenty. The Seaforths ..., besides establishing orderly Government in the island.. had done a great deal to rescue the people from the slough of ignorance and incivility in which they found themselves immersed. But in the sphere of economics their policy apparently was of little service to the community.

The Seaforth's royalist inclinations led to Lewis
Lewis
becoming garrisoned during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Wars of the Three Kingdoms
by Cromwell's troops, who destroyed the old castle in Stornoway
Stornoway
and in 1645 Lewismen fought on the royalist side at the Battle of Auldearn.[98] A new era of Hebridean involvement in the affairs of the wider world was about to commence. British era[edit]

Abandoned school house, Mingulay

With the implementation of the Treaty of Union
Treaty of Union
in 1707 the Hebrides became part of the new Kingdom of Great Britain, but the clan's loyalties to a distant monarch were not strong. A considerable number of islandmen "came out" in support of the Jacobite Earl of Mar
Earl of Mar
in the "15" although the response to the 1745 rising was muted.[98] Nonetheless the aftermath of the decisive Battle of Culloden, which effectively ended Jacobite hopes of a Stuart restoration, was widely felt. The British government's strategy was to estrange the clan chiefs from their kinsmen and turn their descendants into English-speaking landlords whose main concern was the revenues their estates brought rather than the welfare of those who lived on them. This may have brought peace to the islands, but in the following century it came at a terrible price. The Highland Clearances
Highland Clearances
of the 19th century destroyed communities throughout the Highlands and Islands
Highlands and Islands
as the human populations were evicted and replaced with sheep farms.[99] For example, Colonel Gordon of Cluny, owner of Barra, South Uist
South Uist
and Benbecula
Benbecula
evicted thousands of islanders using trickery and cruelty and even offered to sell Barra to the government as a penal colony.[100] Islands such as Fuaigh Mòr were completely cleared of their populations and even today the subject is recalled with bitterness and resentment in some areas.[101] The position was exacerbated by the failure of the islands' kelp industry, which thrived from the 18th century until the end of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
in 1815[102] and large scale emigration became endemic. For example, hundreds left North Uist
North Uist
for Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.[103] The pre-clearance population of the island had been almost 5,000, although by 1841 it had fallen to 3,870 and was only 2,349 by 1931.[104][105] For those who remained new economic opportunities emerged through the export of cattle, commercial fishing and tourism. During the summer season in the 1860s and 1870s five thousand inhabitants of Lewis
Lewis
could be found in Wick on the mainland of Scotland, employed on the fishing boats and at the quaysides.[106] Nonetheless emigration and military service became the choice of many[107] and the archipelago's populations continued to dwindle throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries. By 2001 the population of North Uist
North Uist
was only 1,271.[35][105] The work of the Napier Commission and the Congested Districts Board, and the passing of the Crofting
Crofting
Act of 1886 helped, but social unrest continued.[108] In July 1906 grazing land on Vatersay
Vatersay
was raided by landless men from Barra
Barra
and its isles. Lady Gordon Cathcart took legal action against the "raiders" but the visiting judge took the view that she had neglected her duties as a landowner and that "long indifference to the necessities of the cottars had gone far to drive them to exasperation".[109] Millennia of continuous occupation notwithstanding, many of the remoter islands were abandoned — Mingulay
Mingulay
in 1912, Hirta
Hirta
in 1930, and Ceann Iar
Ceann Iar
in 1942 among them. This process involved a transition from these places being perceived as relatively self-sufficient agricultural economies[110] to a view becoming held by both island residents and outsiders alike that they lacked the essential services of a modern industrial economy.[111] There were gradual economic improvements, among the most visible of which was the replacement of the traditional thatched blackhouse with accommodation of a more modern design. The creation of the Highlands and Islands Development Board and the discovery of substantial deposits of North Sea oil
North Sea oil
in 1965, the establishment of a unitary local authority for the islands in 1975 and more recently the renewables sector have all contributed to a degree of economic stability in recent decades. The Arnish yard
Arnish yard
has had a chequered history but has been a significant employer in both the oil and renewables industries.[112] Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the local authority, employs 2,000 people, making it the largest employer in the Outer Hebrides.[113] See also the "Innse Gall area plan 2010"[114] and the Comhairle's "Factfile – Economy".[115] Economy[edit]

Stornoway
Stornoway
Harbour

Modern commercial activities centre on tourism, crofting, fishing, and weaving including the manufacture of Harris tweed. Some of the larger islands have development trusts that support the local economy and, in striking contrast to the 19th and 20th century domination by absentee landlords, more than two thirds of the Western Isles
Western Isles
population now lives on community-owned estates.[116][117] However the economic position of the islands remains relatively precarious. The Western Isles, including Stornoway, are defined by Highlands and Islands Enterprise as an economically "Fragile Area" and they have an estimated trade deficit of some £163.4 million. Overall, the area is relatively reliant on primary industries and the public sector, and fishing and fish farming in particular are vulnerable to environmental impacts, changing market pressures, and European legislation.[115] There is some optimism about the possibility of future developments in, for example, renewable energy generation, tourism, and education, and after declines in the 20th century the population has stabilised since 2003, although it is ageing.[115][118] Politics and local government[edit] Main article: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Sir Edward Scott Secondary School, Tarbert, Isle of Harris

From the passing of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889
Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889
to 1975 Lewis
Lewis
formed part of the county of Ross and Cromarty
Ross and Cromarty
and the rest of the archipelago, including Harris, was part of Inverness-shire.[119] The Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
became a unitary council area in 1975, although in most of the rest of Scotland
Scotland
similar unitary councils were not established until 1996.[120][121] Since then, the islands have formed one of the 32 unitary council areas that now cover the whole country, with the council officially known by its Gaelic name, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar under the terms of the Local Government (Gaelic Names) (Scotland) Act 1997. The council has its base in Stornoway
Stornoway
on Lewis and is often known locally simply as "the Comhairle" or a' Chomhairle.[122] The Comhairle is one of only three Councils in Scotland
Scotland
with a majority of elected members who are independents. The other independent-run councils are Shetland
Shetland
and Orkney. Moray
Moray
is run by a Conservative/Independent coalition.[123][124] The name for the British Parliament constituency covering this area is Na h-Eileanan an Iar, the seat being held by Angus MacNeil MP since 2005, while the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
constituency for the area is Na h-Eileanan an Iar, the incumbent being Alasdair Allan MSP. The Scottish independence referendum
Scottish independence referendum
has led some islanders to call for a debate on the constitutional position of the Western Isles, linked with similar initiatives in Orkney
Orkney
and Shetland. Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic
language[edit] The Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
have historically been a very strong Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) speaking area. Both the 1901 and 1921 census reported that all parishes were over 75% Gaelic speaking, including areas of high population density such as Stornoway. However, the Education (Scotland) Act 1872 mandated English-only education, and is now recognised as having dealt a major blow to the language. People still living can recall being beaten for speaking Gaelic in school.[125] Nonetheless, by 1971 most areas were still more than 75% Gaelic speaking – with the exception of Stornoway, Benbecula
Benbecula
and South Uist
South Uist
at 50-74%.[126] In the 2001 census, each island overall was over 50% Gaelic speaking – South Uist
South Uist
(71%), Harris (69%), Barra
Barra
(68%), North Uist
North Uist
(67%), Lewis
Lewis
(56%) and Benbecula
Benbecula
(56%). With 59.3% of Gaelic speakers or a total of 15,723 speakers, this made the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
the most strongly coherent Gaelic speaking area in Scotland.[126][127] Most areas were between 60-74% Gaelic speaking and the areas with the highest density of over 80% are Scalpay near Harris, Newtonferry
Newtonferry
and Kildonan, whilst Daliburgh, Linshader, Eriskay, Brue, Boisdale, West Harris, Ardveenish, Soval, Ness, and Bragar
Bragar
all have more than 75%. The areas with the lowest density of speakers are Stornoway
Stornoway
(44%), Braigh (41%), Melbost
Melbost
(41%), and Balivanich
Balivanich
(37%).[126] The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act was enacted by the Scottish Parliament in 2005 to provide continuing support for the language.[128] However, by 2011 the overall percentage of Gaelic speakers in the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
had fallen to 52%.[129] Transport[edit]

Caledonian MacBrayne
Caledonian MacBrayne
ferry MV Hebrides
Hebrides
leaving Lochmaddy, North Uist en route for Skye

Scheduled ferry services between the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
and the Scottish Mainland and Inner Hebrides
Hebrides
operate on the following routes:

Oban
Oban
to Castlebay
Castlebay
on Barra
Barra
and Lochboisdale
Lochboisdale
on South Uist Uig on Skye
Skye
to Tarbert on Harris Uig on Skye
Skye
to Lochmaddy
Lochmaddy
on North Uist Ullapool
Ullapool
to Stornoway
Stornoway
on Lewis Tiree
Tiree
to Castlebay, Barra
Barra
(summer only).

Other ferries operate between some of the islands.[130] National Rail services are available for onward journeys, from stations at Oban, which has direct services to Glasgow. However, parliamentary approval notwithstanding, plans in the 1890s to lay a railway connection to Ullapool
Ullapool
were unable to obtain sufficient funding.[131] There are scheduled flights from Stornoway, Benbecula
Benbecula
and Barra airports both inter-island and to the mainland. Barra's airport is claimed to be the only one in the world to have scheduled flights landing on a beach. At high water the runways are under the sea so flight times vary with the tide.[132][133] Bus na Comhairle[edit] Bus na Comhairle (meaning "Bus of the Council") is the council-owned local bus company of the Western Isles
Western Isles
of Scotland. The company serves Lewis
Lewis
and Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay
Eriskay
and Barra.[citation needed] Shipwrecks[edit]

HMS Iolaire (HMS Iolaire)]]

The archipelago is exposed to wind and tide, and lighthouses are sited as an aid to navigation at locations from Barra Head
Barra Head
in the south to the Butt of Lewis
Butt of Lewis
in the north.[134] There are numerous sites of wrecked ships, and the Flannan Isles
Flannan Isles
are the location of an enduring mystery that occurred in December 1900, when all three lighthouse keepers vanished without trace.[135] Annie Jane, a three-masted immigrant ship out of Liverpool
Liverpool
bound for Montreal, Canada, struck rocks off the West Beach of Vatersay
Vatersay
during a storm on Tuesday 28 September 1853. Within ten minutes the ship began to founder and break up casting 450 people into the raging sea. In spite of the conditions, islanders tried to rescue the passengers and crew. The remains of 350 men, women and children were buried in the dunes behind the beach and a small cairn and monument marks the site.[136] The tiny Beasts of Holm off the east coast of Lewis
Lewis
were the site of the sinking of HMS Iolaire during the first few hours of 1919,[137] one of the worst maritime disasters in United Kingdom waters during the 20th century. Calvay
Calvay
in the Sound of Barra
Barra
provided the inspiration for Compton Mackenzie's novel Whisky Galore after the SS Politician ran aground there with a cargo of single malt in 1941. Religion, culture and sport[edit] Main article: Religion in the Outer Hebrides Christianity
Christianity
has deep roots in the Western Isles, but owing mainly to the different allegiances of the clans in the past, the people in the northern islands (Lewis, Harris, North Uist) have historically been predominantly Presbyterian, and those of the southern islands (Benbecula, South Uist, Barra) predominantly Roman Catholic.[138] At the time of the 2001 Census, 42% of the population identified themselves as being affiliated with the Church of Scotland, with 13% Roman Catholic and 28% with other Christian churches. Many of this last group belong to the Free Church of Scotland, known for its strict observance of the Sabbath.[139] 11% stated that they had no religion.[Note 5] This made the Western Isles
Western Isles
the Scottish council area with the smallest percentage of atheists in the population. There are also small Episcopalian congregations in Lewis and Harris
Lewis and Harris
and the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
are part of the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles in both the Episcopalian and Catholic traditions.[141][142] Gaelic music is popular in the islands and the Lewis
Lewis
and Harris Traditional Music Society plays an active role in promoting the genre.[143] Fèis Bharraigh began in 1981 with the aim of developing the practice and study of the Gaelic language, literature, music, drama and culture on the islands of Barra
Barra
and Vatersay. A two-week festival, it has inspired 43 other feisean throughout Scotland.[144] The Lewis
Lewis
Pipe Band was founded in 1904 and the Lewis
Lewis
and Harris Piping Society in 1977.[143] Outdoor activities including rugby, football, golf, shinty, fishing, riding, canoeing, athletics, and multi-sports are popular in the Western Isles. The Hebridean Challenge is an adventure race run in five daily stages, which takes place along the length of the islands and includes hill and road running, road and mountain biking, short sea swims and demanding sea kayaking sections. There are four main sports centres: Ionad Spors Leodhais in Stornoway, which has a 25 m swimming pool; Harris Sports Centre; Lionacleit Sports Centre on Benbecula; and Castlebay
Castlebay
Sports Centre on Barra. The Western Isles
Western Isles
is a member of the International Island Games Association.[145][146] South Uist
South Uist
is home to the Askernish Golf Course. The oldest links in the Outer Hebrides, it was designed by Old Tom Morris. Although it was in use until the 1930s, its existence was largely forgotten until 2005 and it is now being restored to Morris's original design.[147][148] I Know Where I'm Going!
I Know Where I'm Going!
is a 1945 British drama/romance film set mostly in the Outer Hebrides, depicting local lifestyles and speech. See also[edit]

Hebridean Myths and Legends List of places in the Western Isles List of rulers of the Kingdom of the Isles List of islands of Scotland Ljótólfr Leod List of Category A listed buildings in the Western Isles Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
election, 2012 Virtual Hebrides Constitutional status of Orkney, Shetland
Shetland
and the Western Isles Solar eclipse of 1 May 1185

Notes[edit]

^ Murray (1973) notes that "Western Isles" has tended to mean "Outer Hebrides" since the creation of the Na h-Eileanan an Iar or Western Isles parliamentary constituency in 1918. The phrase can also be used to refer to the Hebrides
Hebrides
in general. Murray also notes that "Gneiss Islands"—a reference to the underlying geology – is another name used to refer to the Outer Hebrides
Hebrides
but that its use is "confined to books".[4] ^ This tidal isle is at (grid reference NF860580) and the evidence of both Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
maps and photographs (e.g. "Houses on Seana Bhaile" Geograph. Retrieved 10 August 2009) indicates a resident population. There is even a name, Seana Bhaile (English: "Old Town") for the main settlement. However, neither the census nor the main reference work (Haswell-Smith 2004) refer to the island. Its population is presumably included in nearby Grimsay
Grimsay
by the census. ^ Lewisian gneiss is sometimes described as the oldest rock found in Europe, but trondhjemite gneiss recently measured at Siurua in Finland has been dated to 3.4–3.5 Ga.[52] ^ The transitional relationships between Norse and Gaelic-speaking rulers are complex. The Gall-Ghàidhels who dominated much of the Irish Sea region and western Scotland
Scotland
at this time were of joint Gaelic and Scandinavian origin. When Somerled
Somerled
wrested the southern Inner Hebrides
Hebrides
from Godred the Black in 1156, this was the beginnings of a break with nominal Norse rule in the Hebrides. Godred remained the ruler of Mann and the Outer Hebrides, but two years later Somerled's invasion of the former caused him to flee to Norway. Norse control was further weakened in the ensuring century, but the Hebrides were not formally ceded by Norway until 1266.[89][90] The transitions from one language to another are also complex. For example, many Scandinavian sources from this period of time typically refer to individuals as having a Scandinavian first name and a Gaelic by-name.[91] ^ The 2001 census statistics used are based on local authority areas but do not specifically identify Free Church or Episcopal adherents. 4% of the respondents did not answer this census question and the total for all other religions combined is 1 per cent.[140]

References[edit]

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Armit, Ian (1998) Scotland's Hidden History. Tempus (in association with Historic Scotland). ISBN 0-7486-6067-4 Ballin Smith, B. and Banks, I. (eds) (2002) In the Shadow of the Brochs, the Iron Age
Iron Age
in Scotland. Stroud. Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-2517-X Ballin Smith, Beverley; Taylor, Simon; Williams, Gareth (eds) (2007) West Over Sea: Studies in Scandinavian Sea-Borne Expansion and Settlement Before 1300. Leiden. Koninklijke Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-15893-1 Benvie, Neil (2004) Scotland's Wildlife. London. Aurum Press. ISBN 1-85410-978-2 Buxton, Ben (1995) Mingulay: An Island and Its People. Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 1-874744-24-6 Downham, Clare (2007) Viking
Viking
Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014. Edinburgh. Dunedin Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-903765-89-0 Gillen, Con (2003) Geology and landscapes of Scotland. Harpenden. Terra Publishing. ISBN 1-903544-09-2 Gregory, Donald (1881) The History of the Western Highlands and Isles of Scotland
Scotland
1493–1625. Edinburgh. Birlinn. 2008 reprint – originally published by Thomas D. Morrison. ISBN 1-904607-57-8 Hanson, William S. "The Roman Presence: Brief Interludes", in Edwards, Kevin J. & Ralston, Ian B.M. (Eds) (2003) Scotland
Scotland
After the Ice Age: Environment, Archaeology and History, 8000 BC – AD 1000. Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press. Haswell-Smith, Hamish. (2004) The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh. Canongate. ISBN 1-84195-454-3 Hunter, James (2000) Last of the Free: A History of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Edinburgh. Mainstream. ISBN 1-84018-376-4 Keay, J. & Keay, J. (1994) Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland. London. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-255082-2 Mac an Tàilleir, Iain (2003). "Ainmean-àite le buidheachas do dh' Iain Mac an Tailleir / Place-names collected by Iain Mac an Tailleir". The Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
/ Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 26 August 2012.  "A'Chleit – Butt of Lewis" (PDF).  "Cabaan – Eyre" (PDF).  "Faddoch – Jura" (PDF).  "Kallin – Ovie" (PDF).  "Pabay – Yoker" (PDF).  McKirdy, Alan Gordon, John & Crofts, Roger (2007) Land of Mountain and Flood: The Geology and Landforms of Scotland. Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 978-1-84158-357-0 Maclean, Charles (1977) Island on the Edge of the World: the Story of St. Kilda. Edinburgh. Canongate. ISBN 0-903937-41-7 Malhotra, R. (1992) Anthropology of Development: Commemoration Volume in Honour of Professor I.P. Singh. New Delhi. Mittal. ISBN 81-7099-328-8 Li, Martin (2005) Adventure Guide to Scotland. Hunter Publishing. Retrieved 19 May 2010. Miers, Mary (2008) The Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide. The Rutland Press. ISBN 978-1-873190-29-6 Murray, Sir John and Pullar, Laurence (1910). Bathymetrical Survey of the Fresh-Water Lochs of Scotland, 1897–1909. National Library of Scotland. Edinburgh: Challenger Office. Retrieved 8 March 2018. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) Murray, W.H. (1966) The Hebrides. London. Heinemann. Murray, W.H. (1973) The Islands of Western Scotland: the Inner and Outer Hebrides. London. Eyre Methuen. ISBN 0-413-30380-2 Ross, David (2005) Scotland
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– History of a Nation. Lomond. ISBN 0-947782-58-3 Rotary Club of Stornoway
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(1995) The Outer Hebrides
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Handbook and Guide. Machynlleth. Kittiwake. ISBN 0-9511003-5-1 Thompson, Francis (1968) Harris and Lewis, Outer Hebrides. Newton Abbot. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-4260-6 Watson, W. J. (1994) The Celtic Place-Names of Scotland. Edinburgh; Birlinn. ISBN 1-84158-323-5. First published 1926.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Outer Hebrides.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Outer Hebrides.

Western Isles
Western Isles
at Curlie (based on DMOZ) Stornoway
Stornoway
Port Authority Comhairle nan Eilean Siar 2001 Census Results for the Outer Hebrides MacTV Reefnet Hebrides.com Photographic website from ex-Eolas Sam Maynard www.visithebrides.com Western Isles
Western Isles
Tourist Board site from Reefnet Virtual Hebrides.com Content from the VH, which went its own way and became Virtual Scotland. hebrides.ca Home of the Quebec-Hebridean Scots who were cleared from Lewis
Lewis
to Quebec 1838–1920s

v t e

Prehistoric Western Isles

Callanish Sites

Callanish 1 Callanish II Callanish III Callanish IV Callanish VIII Callanish X

Other Neolithic Sites

Barpa Langass Carinish Clach an Trushal Eilean Dòmhnuill Fir Bhreige Pobull Fhinn Steinacleit St Kilda

Bronze and Iron Age
Iron Age
Sites

Allasdale Cladh Hallan Dun an Sticir Dun Bharabhat Dun Carloway Dùn Èistean Dun Vulan

v t e

Inhabited islands of the Hebrides

Inner Hebrides

Canna Coll Colonsay Danna Eigg Eilean dà Mhèinn Eilean Shona Eilean Tioram Erraid Gigha Gometra Iona Islay Isle of Ewe Jura Kerrera Lismore Muck Mull Oronsay Raasay Sanday Scalpay Rona Rùm Skye Slate Islands Soay Summer Isles Tiree Ulva

Outer Hebrides

Baleshare Barra Benbecula Berneray Eriskay Flodaigh Fraoch-eilean Great Bernera Grimsay
Grimsay
(North) Grimsay
Grimsay
(South) Lewis
Lewis
and Harris North Uist Scalpay South Uist Vatersay

v t e

Islands of Scotland

Geography

Northern Isles

Shetland

list

Orkney

list

Hebrides

Outer Hebrides

list

Inner Hebrides

list

St Kilda

Other

Islands of the Clyde Islands of the Forth Freshwater Islands Outlying Islands

Prehistory

Prehistoric Orkney

Heart of Neolithic Orkney
Orkney
World Heritage Site: Maeshowe Ness of Brodgar Ring of Brodgar Skara Brae Standing Stones of Stenness

Prehistoric Shetland

Crucible of Iron Age
Iron Age
Shetland: Broch
Broch
of Mousa Jarlshof Old Scatness

Prehistoric Western Isles

Callanish Stones Dun Carloway Rubha an Dùnain Dun Nosebridge

History

Dál Riata

Columba

Kingdom of the Isles

Scandinavian Scotland Rulers of the Kingdom of the Isles Bishop of the Isles

Lordship of the Isles

Treaty of Perth Treaty of Ardtornish-Westminster Finlaggan

Earldom of Orkney

Buckquoy spindle-whorl Udal law

18th and 19th Century

Clearances Jacobite risings Flora MacDonald

Literature

Orkneyinga Saga Description of the Western Isles
Western Isles
of Scotland
Scotland
(Monro) A Description of the Western Isles
Western Isles
of Scotland
Scotland
(Martin) A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland
Scotland
(Johnson) The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides
Hebrides
(Boswell)

Etymology

General

Scottish island names Northern Isles Hebrides Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba

Specific

Arran Gigha Skye St Kilda

Economy

Towns

Kirkwall Lerwick Rothesay Stornoway Stromness

Agencies

Community Energy Scotland Crofters Commission DTA Scotland Highlands and Islands
Highlands and Islands
Enterprise Scottish Islands Federation

Oil industry

Flotta Sullom Voe

Culture

Shetland

Aly Bain Thomas Fraser Peerie Willie Johnson Shetland
Shetland
Amenity Trust Up Helly Aa Vagaland

Orkney

George Mackay Brown Peter Maxwell Davies F. Marian McNeill Kirkwall
Kirkwall
Ba game Orkney
Orkney
Heritage Society St Magnus Festival

Outer Hebrides

Compton Mackenzie Fèis Bharraigh Free Church of Scotland Iain Crichton Smith

Inner Hebrides

Islay
Islay
whisky Runrig Sorley MacLean West Highland Free Press

Politics

Local authorities

Shetland
Shetland
Islands Council Orkney
Orkney
Islands Council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Highland Council Argyll and Bute North Ayrshire

Wildlife

Fauna

Fair Isle wren Orkney
Orkney
vole Shetland
Shetland
wren St Kilda field mouse St Kilda wren

Flora

Arran whitebeams Scottish Primrose Shetland
Shetland
Mouse-ear

Domesticated animals

Cairn Terrier Eriskay
Eriskay
Pony Hebridean Blackface Luing cattle North Ronaldsay sheep Scottie Sheltie Shetland
Shetland
cattle Shetland
Shetland
Goose Shetland
Shetland
pony Shetland
Shetland
sheep Soay sheep Westie

Geology

Shetland

Geopark Shetland

Geology of Orkney

Eday Group Orcadian Basin Yesnaby Sandstone Group

Hebrides

Colonsay
Colonsay
Group Great Estuarine Group Hebridean Terrane Lewisian complex Lorne plateau lavas Moine Supergroup Moine Thrust Belt Rhinns complex Skye Staffa Torridonian

Islands of the Clyde

Highland Boundary Fault

v t e

Council areas of Scotland

Aberdeen Aberdeenshire Angus Argyll and Bute Clackmannanshire Dumfries and Galloway Dundee East Ayrshire East Dunbartonshire East Lothian East Renfrewshire Edinburgh Falkirk Fife Glasgow Highland Inverclyde Midlothian Moray Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) North Ayrshire North Lanarkshire Orkney Perth and Kinross Renfrewshire Scottish Borders Shetland South Ayrshire South Lanarkshire Stirling West Dunbartonshire West Lothian

List by area, population, density

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 131378566 ISNI: 0000 0000 8692 9806 GN

.