THE ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND
There are over 790 islands off the coast of Scotland,
of which about 130 are inhabited and only 62 exceed
3 square miles. The main groups are the Inner and Outer Hebrides to the West and the Orkney and Shetland Islands to the North.
Hebrides is derived from the Norse word Harbradey, which roughly translates as ‘The Islands at the edge of the sea’. The inner group includes ‘Skye’ the 2nd largest of our islands, to the West lies the Outer Hebrides, also known as Eilean Siar or the Western Isles. The chain starts with Lewis and Harris, known together as the Long Island and is the largest of Scotland’s Islands. World renowned for it’s Harris Tweed, the locals are enjoying a resurgence in cottage industries by weaving the famous cloth at home.
To the North of Scotland lie the Orkneys and Shetlands our two most remote island groups. The Orkneys lie 6 miles North of the mainland and consist of about 70 Islands and is a virtual treasure trove of wildlife and history. With a multitude of nature reserves and historical buildings, Orkney offers a unique insight into a Scotland, unpolluted by modern times.
The lonely figure of Fair Isle, lies between the Orkneys and the Shetlands and is most famous for their woollen industry and the traditional design of Fair Isle knitwear.
The Shetlands themselves are Britain’s most Northerly Islands, the furthest North being Unst. The lonely archipelago has a strong Viking heritage. Visit the home of ‘Up Helly Aa’ and discover the strong links to Scandinavia which are still very much alive today.
Whether you spend a day, a week, a month or more on our Islands, each waking day will leave you breathless as you take in some of the most beautiful scenery to be found anywhere and is sure to leave you wanting to come back for more.