“The best way without question to explore the many sites and facilities of the Outer Hebrides is to hire a car take a drive and be mesmerized by the scenery and culture of these beautiful islands”
We have compiled a brief description of the islands for visitors who hire our vehicles, so that they can experience the best of the Outer Hebrides. We have also included some recommended places to visit, to stay and to experience. Leaving from their arrival at either Stornoway Airport or Stornoway Ferry Terminal a complete round tour of the Island can be made in a few days, however when you start to notice the landscape, the culture and the unspoilt beauty maybe you should hire a vehicle for a few months!
The Isle of Lewis is the northernmost of the group of Islands. Lewis is steeped in history and culture, and the Gaelic language is still very much alive, maybe more particularly in the rural corners of Lewis. The world famous Callanish Stones are a 30 minute drive from the centre of Stornoway, which is the largest town on the Outer Hebrides. The people of Lewis are by their nature very welcoming and very committed to their homeland. They as a people are known for their homing instincts as many a “Leosach” will always find his way home from wherever he resides and works across the globe.
It is possible to visit every area of Lewis by car in one day, however you would be denying yourself the opportunity to really appreciate the scenery and relevance of such a breathtaking environment.
Uig, on the west side of the island has spectacular scenery and stunning beaches. This is also the location where the Lewis Chessmen were discovered, for further information see, www.isleoflewischessset.co.uk/
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village www.gearrannan.com
Callanish Standing Stones www.callanishvisitorcentre.co.uk
Seatrek (Boat Trips) www.seatrek.co.uk
Harris Tweed Mills. www.harristweedhebrides.co.uk
Braighe House (5 * accommodation) www.braighehouse.co.uk
Although referred to as The Isle of Harris it is actually joined to the Isle of Lewis, but has its own unique distinct sense of culture and “island” feel. ‘Harris has a wide range of landscapes, a mixture of spectacular beaches contrasting with rugged mountain terrain which is compared to the face of the moon. The beach at Luskentyre was voted the best in Britain and one of the top 10 in the world. Travel magazine said Luskentyre, west of Tarbert, had ‘Caribbean-white sand and Maldives-blue sea’. The small quiet “Bays” which historically were strong fishing communities are home to some of the oldest rocks formations in the world, being dated at some three thousand million years old.
Harris is a scarcely populated area full of character, tranquillity, with magnificent scenery and beaches. The people are unassuming, perceptive and very warm. The isle of Harris is the original home of Harris Tweed.
Sea Harris Boat Trips www.seaharris.co.uk
Kilda Cruises Boat Trips www.kildacruises.co.uk
Seallam, Genealogy research centre for the Hebrides www.seallam.com/
Hebrides Art, gallery and coffee shop www.hebridesart.co.uk
Ceol na Mara (4* Accommodation) www.ceolnamara.com/
The Isle of North Uist is in the centre of the group of Islands in the Outer Hebrides.
North Uist is a landscape of fresh and salt water lochs bordered on its western side by miles of sandy beaches, and cultivated crofts. Very popular with walkers, bird watchers, motor homers and cyclists alike. On the west side of the island the road follows the machair, (the fertile coastal grassland bordering the sand dunes), whilst the eastern side is mainly water. This area is a fisherman’s and bird watchers paradise. The island was recently featured in the BBC TV program Monty Halls’ Great Hebridean Escape.
Wildlife and bird watching tours www.western-isles-wildlife.co.uk/
Museum and arts centre www.taigh-chearsabhagh.org/
Outdoor adventures www.uistoutdoorcentre.co.uk/
Hebridean Smoked Salmon www.hebrideansmokehouse.com/
The name of the island means 'Mountain of the Fords' and Benbecula is sandwiched between North and South Uist, now all interconnected by stone causeways. In days gone by these islands were separate and crossing were made over the mudflats only at low tide. The island has some lovely sandy beaches, including a long stretch just below the airport runway. The island's economy is probably somewhat dependent on the airport and military base at Balivanich. Partly as a result of this, Benbecula is home to 1800 people which makes it relatively densely populated.
Arts, crafts and coffee shop www.nuntonsteadings.co.uk/
Benbecula Historical Society www.benbeculahistorysociety.co.uk/
South Uist and Eriskay
South Uist is a stunningly beautiful island of crystal clear waters with white powder beaches to the west and heather uplands dominated by Beinn Mhor to the east. The famous machair in Uist is home to many rare birds and animals. The likes of the Corncrake, Golden Eagles, Red Grouse and Red Deer, are all inhabitants of the stunning machair’s and hillsides. South Uist is also home to what is believed to be one of the oldest Golf Courses on the island, “Askernish”.
The S.S. Politician sank in the Sound of Eriskay in 1941 and its cargo of whisky bottles was 'rescued' by the islanders This true story was later turned into a book by Compton MacKenzie 'Whisky Galore' and a film which was shot mainly on Barra. For more stories, visit Am Politician - Eriskay's only pub.
Askernish Golf Club www.askernishgolfclub.com/
Kildonan Museum www.kildonanmuseum.co.uk/
Cycle hire www.rothan.com/
The Isle of Barra recently came first in a 'Most Beautiful Island' competition. Located south of the Uist Barra is known for its relaxed attitude and its distinctive culture. This small island has beautiful white sand beaches and several fresh water lochs with plenty sea and brown trout. Visiting Barra is a must if you make it to the Outer Hebrides and it is serviced by air and sea, so make the time.
Barra Airport is famous for its beauty - beautiful beaches, machair and hills - and all in a small island. Barra is a special place to visit - especially memorable if you fly in because of the beach landing strip. Washed by the tide twice a day, Traigh Mhor beach is reputed to be the only beach runway in the world to handle scheduled airline services.
Barra Snorkel Safari www.barrasnorkelsafari.co.uk/
Barra Island Adventures www.clearwaterpaddling.com/
Harris Golf Club
"Must be one of the most scenic golf locations in the world"
Fast comfortable day trips to St Kilda. "Unforgettable"
Stornoway Golf Club
A fabulous 18 Hole course situated in Stornoway.
Sea Trips and Boat Hire / Bernera
Fishing On Lewis
Carloway / Shawbost Tweed Mills
Adventure sports (Climbing, Hill Walking, Sailing etc)
Callanish Standing Stones
Performing Arts in Stornoway
Beach at Uig
Kilt Hire, Sales and Accessories
World famous Stornoway Black Pudding
Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust
The Story behind The Film 'Whisky Galore'
Abhainn Dearg Distillery. Uig, Isle of Lewis
Eating out in Stornoway, Digby Chick