the Outer Hebrides...

history and gaelic culture mixed with unrivalled stunning natural beauty...
A place to unwind - an oasis of calm in a chaotic world. 40 miles west of the Scottish Mainland and in an arc of 150 miles from the Butt of Lewis in the north to Barra Head in the south lie a string of islands known as The Outer Hebrides - a haven of beaches, outdoor activities, culture, wildlife and adventure and a great place to unwind. The Islands have a wealth of history combined with an unrivalled natural beauty and natural history. Sharing the same culture, gaeldom, and the same language, Gaelic, to many of the 28,000 population, English is a second language - their tenacity at keeping their traditions and culture alive is admirable in the 21st century. This strength of culture is one of the major draws of The Outer Hebrides and no matter where you go this strong sense of tradition shines through. The Hebridean Celtic Festival in July each year attracts many internationally renowned performers and artists and An Lanntair in Stornoway and Taigh Chearsabhagh in Uist offer similar attractions throughout the year. This culture is born out of thousands of years and ancient civilisations, evidence of such being visible at the standing stones of Calanais, 5,000 years old. But what were they for? Perhaps the visitor centre can help you make up you own mind as there is still no definitive answer.

Gearrannan and Arnol give comparatively recent examples of traditional "blackhouses" a few centuries ago. A trip to St Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not only shows how the local people lived before being finally abandoned in 1930, but also introduces to Soay Sheep and the largest seabird colony in northern Europe. The coastline of the Outer Hebrides has many uses - you can lie on many of the superb beaches, you can land planes on them - Barra being a prime example - use it to observe the local wildlife (especially at the RSPB Balranald Nature Reserve) or use it for adventure and activities especially water sports like sea kayaking or powerkiting. And after a good day's walking or cycling there is nothing better than to enjoy the local food - superb local produce which is perfectly presented to you in the Outer Hebrides Food Trail.