"Gaeldom's Last Refuge" Top 5 Page for this destination Western Isles by RhineRoll
Western Isles Travel Guide: 125 reviews and 252 photos
The Western Isles are a very special place. They're also known as the Outer Hebrides, or, in their inhabitants' indigenous language, Eileanan Siar ("Western Isles"). Their other gaelic name, "Innse Gall" -- Isles of the Foreigners" points to a chapter in the archipelago's history as it refers to the Norwegian hold on the isles, manifesting itself in many place names.
The weather plays an important role in the appearance of the Western Isles. Believe me, if you pick a rainy day with low clouds and much reduced visibility, it is hardly imaginable that there'd be a more depressing place on earth. Nothing, absolutely nothing will please the eye. Therefore, make sure you have a good and comfortable accommodation in order to survive one of these days. As for Lewis, it's not such a bad idea to stay in Stornoway, as the Isles' Capital has many more (though still limited) opportunities to beat the clock on a rainy day than any other place in the Western Isles.
As other people here on VT have pointed out, be aware that Lewis/Harris is a deceptively large island. A drive from East to West, e.g. from Stornoway to Uig Sands is 33 miles (about 50 kms) and will take at least 45 minutes by car.
Please be also aware that most of the islanders have very deep religious beliefs and public life pretty much dies down on Sundays because of this. An exception to this are the islands of South Uist and Barra which are Roman Catholic and have a much more relaxed approach to keeping the Sabbath.
When the sun is shining, however, it is hard to escape the magic of the islands, and you'll inevitably fall in love with the place. Much of the Uists and Benbecula are fairly flat, so from slightly elevated sites you get wonderful open views across land and water towards the more mountainous areas of the isles. This creates an incredible feeling of space making you understand why during the last 2 centuries so many of the islanders clung to staying on their homeland, despite shockingly miserable living conditions.
The Machair is an essential ingredient in what makes the Western Isles such a special place. Basically it is a layer of... more travel advice
Gaels tend to be a bit unorganized and sloppy at times. Maybe it is because of this that nowhere around the (accessible)... more travel advice
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Western Isles Travel Guide
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- "Gaeldom's Last Refuge"
- "ISLE OF BUTE"
- "Can the North of the UK be exotic?"
- "The Outer Hebrides"
- "Heaven on Earth"
- "Failte Indeed!"
- "THE OUTER HEBRIDES"
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- Hotels in Western Isles
- Transportation in Western Isles
- Nightlife in Western Isles
- Restaurants in Western Isles
- Shopping in Western Isles
- Warnings and Dangers in Western Isles
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