Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Na h-Eileanan Siar|
(The Western Isles)
- % Water
- Total (April 29, 2001)
9 / km²
|Comhairle nan Eilean Siar|
The Outer Hebrides or Western Isles (Scottish Gaelic: Na h-Eileanan Siar), also traditionally known as the Outer Isles, comprise an island chain off the west coast of Scotland. They form part of the Hebrides, separated from the Scottish mainland and from the Inner Hebrides by the stormy stretch of water known as the Minch and the Little Minch . Most communities in the Outer Hebrides use the Scottish Gaelic language.
The islands form one of 32 unitary council regions in Scotland. The Western Isles council is officially known by its Gaelic name Comhairle nan Eilean Siar . The council has its base in Stornoway on Lewis. Before 1975, some of the islands formed part of Inverness-shire and some part of Ross and Cromarty. The Western Isles constitute a Lieutenancy Area.
Main island group
The main islands form an archipelago, which with their smaller surrounding islands are sometimes known poetically as the Long Isle. The major islands include:Lewis and Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra. South of Barra lie the Barra Isles, including Mingulay and Vatersay.
A large number of small islands surround the main islands. They include:
- Baleshare, Berneray, Boreray
- Calvay , Campay
- Eilean Chaluim Chille , Eilean Iubhard , Ensay
- Flaray , Floday , Flodday , Floddaybeg , Floddaymore , Fuday , Fuiay
- Great Bernera, Gighay , Gilsay , Grimsay, Groay
- Hellisay , Hermetray
- Killegray , Kirkibost
- Lingay , Little Bernera
- Opsay , Oronsay , Orosay
- Pabbay near Harris
- Scalpay, Scaravay , Scarp, Scotosay , Sgeotasaigh , Shillay , Soay Beag , Soay Mor , Stromay , Stuley , Sursay
- Tahay , Taransay
- Vacsay , Vallay, Vuia Beg , Vuia Mor
Small islands and island groups pepper the North Atlantic surrounding the main island group:
To the east lie the Shiant Islands, located in the Minch.
To the north lie North Rona and Sula Sgeir, two small and remote islands. Not often included as part of the Outer Hebrides, they nevertheless come under the administration of the Western Isles district.
Scheduled Ferry services between the Outer Hebrides and the Scottish Mainland and Inner Hebrides operate on the following routes:
- Oban to Castlebay on Barra
- Uig on Skye to Tarbert on Harris
- Uig on Skye to Lochmaddy on North Uist
- Ullapool to Stornoway on Lewis
- Tiree to Castlebay, Barra (summer only)
Other ferries operate between some of the islands.
Historical footnote: Many websites of the Outer Hebrides derive content from the original, late-lamented, Eolas Virtual Hebrides, website. This was once the largest rural website in the world.
Sites deriving partly from the original Virtual Hebrides
- Hebrides.com Photographic website from ex-Eolas Sam Maynard
- Global Guide Hebrides Content website from ex-Eolas Scott Hatton
- www.visithebrides.com Western Isles Tourist Board site from Reefnet
- Virtual Hebrides.com Content from the VH which went its own way and became Virtual Scotland.
Other Outer Hebrides websites
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