The Outer Hebrides is a Different Side of Scotland

A name given to an island chain located on the west coast of Scotland, the Outer Hebrides are a part of the archipelago that consists of isles separated from the mainland. By the latest statistics, 15 islands are known to be inhabited, with a total population of 26,900 people. The weather is described as mild and oceanic, however, bear in mind that the Isles are located in the northern hemisphere, so it would be generally cold. What adventures will await you there, traveler?

A Tad Bit of History

taking picture of Scotland scenery

The Outer Hebrides

are renowned for an outstandingly rich cultural heritage, as well as being a territory that has been the main subject of many conquests and conflicts. While the earliest accounts of foreign presence on the Isles was attributed to the Romans, that is quite debatable since records show that they were on the Scottish mainland rather than the isles themselves.

Scottish shore

In the 8th century

Scottish shores were subjected to constant Viking raids. Eventually, the Hebrides fell under Norse rule for the following decades. The Norse rule became “official” as in the year 1098, the king of Scotland signed the islands to the then, king of Norway, Magnus the Third. The era of the Norwegian rule ended in the early 14th century and was replaced by notable Gaelic clans.

an old document

Several centuries later

after a long rule of the native clans, major economic and political shifts of mainland Scotland and its neighbor England, required the need for a demographic unification. This gave way to the signing of the popular document from 1706, called the “Treaty of Union” between the Kingdom of England (which by that time had already included Ireland and Wells) and the Kingdom of Scotland. Thus, the Kingdom of Great Britain was formed.

Choosing your First Destination

Usually, the best thing to do is to start with the most notable sites. The Isle of Lewis is a wonderful beginning point for all travelers. If you’ve already chosen to fly by plane, you will arrive at Stornoway Airport. Only a couple of kilometers to the west side of the airport is the beautiful city of Stornoway. Once you’re there, you will definitely discover an amazing plethora of sights.

Stornoway the City of Wonders

The Lews castle awaits you! While walking to the site itself, you will be enveloped in an astonishingly beautiful scenery, and once you reach the castle, you will be mesmerized by its presence. Make sure that you check out the Lewis Chessmen – a set of ivory-made chess pieces originating from the 12th century. These and many other interesting artifacts and locations await the visitors of Stornoway.

The harbor of this city brings a whole new meaning to the word “sightseeing”. A tranquil and beautiful nature provides remarkable scenes in both night and day and it is guaranteed to create wonderful trip memories. Other places to visit are the An Lanntair Gallery, Museum nan Elean, Tiumpan Head Lighthouse, and St. Columba’s Chapel. Of course, gift and specialty shops are spread between the different locations, so you can definitely pick something up as a souvenir.

Next Stop – Callanish

It would seem that with every destination you will encounter, will continue taking you back thousands of years back – which is the case with the Callanish Stones. There is a visitor’s centre in the vicinity which will provide you with accommodation and full information on the history of this amazing site. Their age? More than 5000 years old. What is interesting, that the age is about the same as another famous stone circle heritage site – Stonehenge.
flying with umbrella
Numerous houses and broches from the Iron Age have survived the tests of time and are also part of the wonderous landscape of Callanish. Cultural places such as the Bernera museum provide further insight on the native history of the area, and for those who have taken a liking to the nature aspect of the region, a boat journey to the Islands of Adventure will reveal some of the best scenery they’ve ever seen.

Don’t Let the Weather Catch You Off Guard

While the average temperature for the entire year is around 6 degrees Celsius, the climate is usually quite steady. This is due to the fact that the Western Isles are subjected to the influence of the North Atlantic Current. Due to the position of the islands, there are always winds; even in the hottest summer days, there will be a slight breeze that will accompany you on your journey. Make sure you always bring a wind-proof blazer with you!

The Native Dishes and Drinks are Superb

Scottish dishes
Starting off with the Stornoway Black Pudding, meat eaters will be fascinated by this local food. Being on the Isles, you can expect an outstanding variety of Smokehouses which prepare a wonderful array of salmon in uniquely made kilns. Shellfish and Salmon are considered to be among the best dishes on the isles, but people with a sweet tooth will also be satisfied. Local café’s and food shops will have an outstanding selection of home-made jams and cakes!

Don’t miss out the opportunity to try some of the locally made ales and beer. A lot of the local brew brands there have won a number of both regional and national awards for excellence, but there is so much more. A whiskey distillery called Abhainn Dearg creates a remarkable whiskey, based on a closely guarded 400-year-old recipe. Definitely take the opportunity to explore the culinary side of the Isles!

Plan Your Adventure

The Outer Hebrides possess a timeless charm that will make you feel at home. Residents are helpful to visitors and will happily share their knowledge on additional places you should see. While you can plan your entire trip from beginning to end, you don’t have to – set a couple of sites you want to visit and learn from the people there where would be good to go next. Have a wonderful journey!