Outer Hebrides

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Western Isles
Na h-Eileanan Siar
Irland Nordirland England Shetland Islands Orkney Islands Na h-Eileanan Siar Moray Aberdeen Dundee Angus Aberdeenshire Highland Dumfries and Galloway Scottish Borders East Lothian Midlothian Edinburgh West Lothian Falkirk Clackmannanshire Fife Perth and Kinross Stirling North Ayrshire East Ayrshire South Ayrshire South Lanarkshire North Lanarkshire East Dunbartonshire Glasgow East Renfrewshire Renfrewshire Inverclyde West Dunbartonshire Argyll and ButeOuter Hebrides
About this picture
Administrative headquarters Stornoway
surface 3,071 km² (7.)
Residents 27,560 (2012) (30.)
ISO 3166-2 GB-ELS
ONS code 00RJ
Website www.cne-siar.gov.uk
The Hebrides (Outer Hebrides in orange)

The Outer Hebrides ( English Outer Hebrides or Western Isles , Scottish Gaelic Na h-Eileanan Siar [ nə ˈhelanən ˈʃiəɾ ], 'The Western Isles') are an island chain belonging to the Hebrides in the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Scotland . They are about 60 kilometers west of the mainland and run in an arc from the Butt of Lewis in the north to Barra Head in the south. The entire chain of islands is 208 kilometers long. The Straits of Little Minch and North Minch separate them from the Inner Hebrides to the southeast .

Under their Scottish Gaelic name Na h-Eileanan Siar , the Outer Hebrides form one of the 32 Council Areas , the local administrative units of Scotland. The capital is Stornoway (Scottish Gaelic Steòrnabhagh ) on the Isle of Lewis .


The Outer Hebrides includes the following inhabited islands (from north to south):

The smaller of the inhabited islands are connected to larger islands via car bridges and road embankments, so that there are three inhabited archipelagos, between which car ferries run several times a day.

The ten largest islands in the Outer Hebrides

Surname Area [in km²] Population (2001) Highest elevation [in m]
Lewis and Harris 2,170.0 18,489 1 799
South Uist 320.3 1,818 620
North Uist 303.1 1,271 347
Benbecula 82.0 1,219 124
Barra 58.8 1,078 383
Great Bernera 21.2 233 87
Taransay 14.8 0 267
Berneray 10.1 136 93
Grimsay 8.3 201 22nd
Eriskay 7.0 133 185
1 of which Harris: 3,061


The people of the Outer Hebrides live mainly from fishing for fish and crabs and as small tenants and sheep farmers. Tourism also plays a role. The extensive peat bogs of Lewis are mined by islanders for their own fuel needs.

Harris tweed is an important industry . Harris Tweed can be made in Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra. The Harris Tweed Authority has its seat contrary to the name in Stornoway in the northern part of the island of Lewis and Harris (Lewis) and not in the southern part of the island Harris.


The following ferry lines serve the islands from outside the Outer Hebrides:

There are also small, nationally connected airports on Barra , Benbecula and Lewis . The Barra Airport has a special feature: its flight plans are based on the tides , as the runway is on the beach.


The islanders mostly speak Scottish Gaelic among themselves . Place and street signs are also partly in Scottish Gaelic.

On the northern, evangelical islands, Sunday is observed as a day of rest , which is why public life is largely idle on this day. There were no ferries to and from the islands on this day until 2009. However, this has now changed, even if the new practice is still controversial. About a quarter of the population belongs to the Free Church of Scotland , which strictly observes the Sabbath, refused all music in services until 2010 and has strict dress codes for going to church. The southern islands of the Outer Hebrides are predominantly Catholics .


The Outer Hebrides are the setting for Simon Beckett's novel Kalte Asche , which takes place on the fictional island "Runa". The capital, Stornoway, and many other actual places and islands, such as St. Kilda, also feature in the novel.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Outer Hebrides  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Outer Hebrides  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Mid-2012 Population ( Memento from November 29, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 1.2 MB)
  2. https://www.calmac.co.uk/ (timetables, prices)
  3. ^ Sunday ferry for Harris opposed by Lord's Day society. In: BBC News . January 19, 2011, accessed April 7, 2020 .
  4. ^ Free church minister resigns over music in services. In: bbc.com. February 16, 2011, accessed April 7, 2020 .

Coordinates: 57 ° 46 ′  N , 7 ° 1 ′  W