Outer Hebrides

archipelago and council area off the west coast of mainland Scotland

The Outer Hebrides, often called the Western Isles,[4] make up an island chain off the west coast of Scotland. It is also a parliamentary constituency. The northern island is Lewis and Harris. South of Lewis and Harris is a series of islands, such as South Uist, Benbecula and North Uist. The Outer Herides includes a number of even smaller islands.

Outer Hebrides
Gaelic nameaudio speaker iconNa h-Eileanan Siar
Meaning of nameWestern Isles
Outer Hebrides is located in Scotland
Outer Hebrides
Outer Hebrides
Outer Hebrides shown within Scotland
OS grid reference25
Coordinates57°46′N 7°01′W / 57.76°N 7.02°W / 57.76; -7.02
Physical geography
Area3,058 km2 (1,181 sq mi)[1]
Highest elevationClisham 799 m (2,621 ft)[2]
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Council areaComhairle nan Eilean Siar
Population density8 per km2
Largest settlementStornoway

The isles form part of the Hebrides, and are separated from the Scottish mainland and from the Inner Hebrides by the stormy waters of the Minch, the Little Minch and the Sea of the Hebrides.

Formerly the dominant language of the Islands, Scottish Gaelic remains spoken even though it has now been largely supplanted by English in some parts.

Sea transport is crucial and a variety of ferry services operate between the islands and to mainland Britain.

History change

The Western Isles became part of the Suðreyjar kingdom of the Norse, who ruled for over 400 years until sovereignty was transferred to Scotland by the Treaty of Perth in 1266. Control of the islands was then held by clan chiefs.

Geology & geography change

Most of the islands have a bedrock formed from ancient metamorphic rocks and the climate is mild and oceanic. The Gulf Stream runs nearby. The 15 inhabited islands have a total population of about 26,500 and there are more than 50 substantial uninhabited islands.

Flora and fauna change

Much of the archipelago is a protected habitat including both the islands and the surrounding waters. There are 53 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) of which the largest are Loch an Duin, North Uist at 15,100 hectares (37,000 acres) and North Harris, which is 12,700 hectares (31,000 acres) in extent.[5][6]

The open landscapes of Benbecula

Loch Druidibeg on 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.[7]

Other websites change

Historical footnote: Many websites of the Outer Hebrides derive content from the Eolas Virtual Hebrides, website. This was once the largest rural website in the world.[source?] Eolas went bankrupt in 2000 and the Eolas TV company became MacTV. The web design team became Reefnet and the content has largely found a home on GlobalGuide.Org.

Sites deriving partly from the original Virtual Hebrides

Other Outer Hebrides websites

Notes change

  1. "Standard Area Measurements (2016) for Administrative Areas in the United Kingdom". Office for National Statistics. 1 February 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  2. Thompson (1968) p. 14
  3. "Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2016". Office for National Statistics. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  4. Although officially known by the Gaelic name, Na h-Eileanan Siar, this name is not understood in English.
  5. "Western Isles transitional programme strategy" Archived 2011-06-29 at the Wayback Machine Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  6. Rotary Club (1995) p. 10
  7. "Loch Druidibeg National Nature Reserve: where opposites meet". Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (pdf) SNH. Retrieved 29 July 2007.