VATERSAY AND BARRA
Sitting at the southern end of the Island chain of the Outer Hebrides, Barra and Vatersay offer an exciting mix of contrasting island experiences with something on offer for every. Feel the strong sense of community created by crofters and seafarers who live side by side on these isolated islands.
View the Barra seals at Seal Bay for a stunning snapshot of the islands natural heritage or stroll amongst the wildflowers on the Vatersay machair to truly understand the allure of Outer Hebridean isolation.
ISLE OF HARRIS
The outer Hebridean island of Harris is one that has offered inspiration for generations. With its rich traditions, stunning shifting scenery and strong sense of community. Harris offers a unique introduction to island life on the edge. Visit the village of Tarbert, home to the Harris Tweed Shop and the recently opened Isle of Harris Distillery.
Gaze out across the West Harris sands to the famous uninhabited Castaway island of Taransay and experience a glimpse of the isolation from which the proud self-sufficent communities of the Outer Hebrides were born, or tour the adjoining Isle of Scalpay with its strong seafaring connections to understand more about the symbiosis of islanders and ocean.
ISLE OF LEWIS
The largest of the Outer Hebrides, Lewis offers amazing opportunities to explore all the elements life on the edge in the Atlantic Ocean – with history, heritage, wilderness, wildlife, arts and crafts.
See the ancient Callanish Standing Stones rising from the Lewis landscape to give an imposing outline against the endless island skies and hear the echoes of the past murmuring round these monoliths – an eternal testament to islanders enduring spirit and ingenuity.
Explore the sea caves and stacks at Garry Beach to better understand how the relentless seas have shaped the island environment and the lifestyles of those who live here.
With a suitable weather window, we aim to visit the Island archipelago of St Kilda, lying 41 miles off the west coast of Benbecula. St Kilda is an extreme Atlantic outpost, and one of the few World Heritage sites in existence awarded ‘dual’ status for meeting both the natural and cultural criteria for the classification.
With its clear waters and craggy sea cliffs (including one that ranks as Europe’s highest) it is not surprising that St Kilda is home to the continent’s largest colony of seabirds including gannets and puffins. The islands also support a number of unique species of sheep, field-mice and wrens, making it a fascinating natural island environment unmatched anywhere on earth.
Originally settled by humans between four and five thousand years ago, St Kilda’s distance from the rest of the Outer Hebrides allowed for the development of a unique style of self-sufficient island life, that remained much preserved until the archipelago’s eventual abandonment in 1930.
Investigation of the history of St Kilda helps us to understand a little more about the evolution of island communities and the challenges they face from both society and the elements.
Now owned by the National Trust and classified as a National Nature Reserve by Scottish National Heritage, St Kilda is managed in partnership with the Ministry of Defence who lease land here for an important radar tracking station.