Island administrative unitary authority area in Scotland, also known as the Outer Hebrides, including the major islands of Lewis-with-Harris, North and South Uist, Benbecula, and Barra.
3,057 sq km/1,180 sq mi
Stornoway on Lewis (administrative headquarters), Castlebay, Lochboisdale, Lochmaddy, Tarbert
open to the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the stormy Minch to the east, the islands are almost treeless and have extensive peat bogs. There are areas of hills and mountains on all the islands. The only fertile land is the sandy Machair on the west coast. The islands are mainly composed of the oldest rock in Britain, the Lewisian gneiss. Lewis is divided from the mainland by the Minch channel. The islands south of Lewis are divided from the Inner Hebrides by the Little Minch and the Sea of the Hebrides; uninhabited islands include St Kilda and Rockall
Callanish monolithic Stone Age circles on Lewis
Harris tweed, tourism
sheep, cattle, fishing
Harris and Lewis are often assumed to be two islands, but are linked by a narrow neck of land.
© RM 2014. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.