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Last updated : Nov 2009
Hebrides -
A number of ferry routes from the mainland serves the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Many islands are also reachable by air. Among the inner islands are Islay which is an important whisky distilling location with six distilleries open to visitors and Jura.

Iona is known as Scotland’s Holy Island and first permanent British Christian site, as well as burial site of many Scottish kings and chiefs. A ferry from Oban serves Mull and the Western Isles. Further from the mainland are Coll and Tiree, small communities in the windswept Atlantic.


The Sound of Sleat and the Inner Sound separate world known Skye from the mainland. There are ferries from Mallaig, while the Skye Bridge crosses from Kyle of Lochalsh. The Bright Water Visitor Centre on the Isle of Skye provides information on the history of the island. The island ‘capital’ is Portree, while attractions include Talisker Distillery, Armadale Castle, and seal-watching boat trips past the Cuillin Mountains.

The Western Isles

Settled for some 5000 years, this chain stretches for 200km or 130 miles from north to south in a gentle arc. The northernmost, and largest island is Lewis and Harris, the former containing the Western Isles’ capital, Stornoway (Steornabhagh). The well-known tweed cloth comes from Harris, at the mountainous southern end.

Across the Sound of Harris is North Uist (Uibhist a Tuath), further to south are Benbecula (Beinn na Faoghua), South Uist (Uibhist a Deas) and Barra, where the ‘airport’ is a sandy beach. Each island has its own character, and all have good beaches. Attractions include the 5000-year-old Calanais Standing Stones on Lewis; Barra’s Kisimul Castle and the Seallam Visitor Centre, Taobh Tuath, Harris. For further information contact the Tourist Board