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Outer Hebrides

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Outer Hebrides

Map showing the location of Eilean Siar, the Outer Hebrides/Western IslesThe Outer Hebrides, from the Norse word Harbredey meaning the isles at the edge of the sea, are also known as the Western Isles. There are literally hundreds of islands in this 150 mile-long chain to the west of Scotland. The largest of the islands, known as the Long Island (a term also used for the entire chain of islands), is made up of Lewis, to the north, and Harris, to the south, divided by Lochs Seaforth in the east and Resort in the west. The other main islands are Taransay, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra with the St. Kilda group further west.

Ferries to the Outer Hebrides are available:

  • Ullapool to Stornoway on Lewis (3 hours)
  • Uig on Skye to Tarbert on Harris and Lochmaddy on North Uist (2 hours)
  • Oban to Lochboisdale on South Uist (6 hours) and Castlebay on Barra (5 hours)

As an alternative to the ferry, flights to the Outer Hebrides are available:

  • Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness to Stornoway
  • Glasgow to Benbecula

The Minch is the channel separating the Outer Hebrides from the mainland. The Little Minch lies between Harris and Skye. Off the east coast of Lewis are the Shiant Islands with the Sound of Shiant being the stretch of water between them. This stretch of water is also known as Sruth nam Fear Gorm - the Stream of the Blue Men.

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