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Western Isles

The Western Isles, or 'Outer Hebrides' is made up of over one hundred small islands, of which Lewis and Harris are the largest. These islands have more Gaelic speakers than anywhere else in Scotland. Stone Age remains reveal that the islands have been inhabited for centuries. Traditionally, islanders subsisted through fishing and crofting. The islands underwent a radical shift in fortunes during the Highland Clearances of the nineteenth century, when many largely absentee landlords removed crofters from their lands to make way for more profitable sheep farming. Traditional fishing and crofting industries are, however, still in existence today, as is weaving of the famous Harris Tweed. The island of Eriskay was the first landing spot for Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745, when he embarked on his ill-fated Jacobite rising. Eriskay's other claim to fame is that it was the island that inspired Compton Mackenzie's famous novel 'Whisky Galore'.