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The Outer Hebrides of Scotland

Jul 12, 2008
Not too far off the west coast of Scotland can be found the interesting group of over 200 islands known as the Outer Hebrides. To the locals they are known as 'na h-Eileanan Siar' as the language spoken by the majority is Gaelic. While there are over two hundred islands only a very small percentage is actually populated. The main islands are, from south to north, Barra, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, Isle of Harris and the Isle of Lewis. For a number of years now the islands have become a popular vacation destination and the income is now crucial to the local economy.

Further out, and separated by the Minch, from the Isle of Skye, in the Inner Hebrides, the islands look out across the Atlantic ocean. The Atlantic has played a major role in the development of the islands, it has provided the fish for the menfolk to catch but it's main role has been in the shaping of the spectacular coastline.

It would sometimes seem that there are archaeological discoveries made every year in the Outer Hebrides. While this is something of an exaggeration it is pretty close to the truth as the islands are dotted with numerous examples of ancient homesteads, ruins, burial chambers, stone age monuments and iron age forts and houses. The most famous site is the incredible stone circle, or standing stones, of Calanais on the Isle of Lewis (also know and the Callanish Standing Stones).

The Outer Hebrides are also home to some rather unique flora and fauna which, in many cases, is extremely rare and in some endangered. One of the most interesting types of ground found in the Outer Hebrides is that which is called machair. Machair is a patch of coastal ground just in from a beach which is continually dusted with fine shell sand which is nutrient rich. During the spring and summer months the machair is awash with bountiful and colorful wild flowers and, sadly, large numbers of rabbits.

The countryside of the Outer Hebrides is world renowned. While many consider the interior of the Isle of Lewis just to be boring moorland others see a unique and important habitat and others enjoy the excellent fishing in the many lochs and lochans dotted all over the island. However the finest scenery has to be along the coastal areas of both east and west.

The beaches of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland are amongst the finest to be found in the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. They are to be found all along the west coast (the east coast is mainly rocky inlets) with the vast majority found along the south west coasts of Lewis and Harris and along the west coast of South Uist.

All across the Outer Hebrides are superb places to enjoy a wide variety of sports. While golf, fishing and hunting remain as popular as ever newer sports are becoming increasingly important. Surfing and other sea & wind related sports such as wind surfing and wind carting have recently become extremely popular. However, when you visit you will notice just how popular cycling vacations are here.

Visiting the Outer Hebrides has never been easier. Not so long ago it took many hours to reach the islands but it is now possible to fly to the islands or travel via a roll on roll off ferry which run regularly from a number of ports along the west coast of Scotland. Accommodation in the area is amongst the finest you are likely to have experienced. The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are world renowned for their hospitality. Accommodation ranges from first class hotels, superb bed and breakfast guest houses and lodges to excellent self catering properties. With most accommodation available online booking a vacation could not be easier.
About the Author
Looking for Harris Self Catering Accommodation or bed and breakfast isle of harris? Take a look at http://www.enjoyhebrides.com/
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