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Lewis and Harris

Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom Scotland Scottish Islands Outer Hebrides Lewis and Harris

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Introduction

island of Lewis, Hebrides

island of Lewis, Hebrides

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Lewis and Harris is the most northerly island of the Outer Hebrides, extending to 841 square miles (over 2,000 square kilometres). It is the largest island in Scotland. The island is separated from the mainland, 24 miles (39 kilometres) to the east, by the Minch - a very rough ferry crossing if you take that route to the islands.

Despite being part of the same island, Lewis (which forms the larger part of the island, to the north) and Harris (in the south) are separated by a natural barrier of mountains and moorland. The physical and cultural differences have resulted in the two effectively being regarded as separate islands.

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Geography

The west coast is by far the more suited to accommodation, the east being very rough and not very fertile. During the Highland Clearances people were driven out of the west to make way for their absentee landlords (lairds) to make money from sheep. Some went to the east coast, others emigrated - particularly to Australia and Canada.

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Towns

Lewis

  • Stornoway is certainly a real town on the east coast with a ferry link to Ullapool.
  • Breasclete
  • Carloway
  • Coll
  • Laxdale
  • Leurbost
  • Sandwick
  • Shawbost
  • Tolsta
  • Uig - Some ancient chessmen were found in a dune here after a storm. They are now in a museum in Edinburgh.
  • Valtos - wonderful bay with splendid dunes on the west coast.

Harris

  • Tarbert - ferry port for Uig (Skye) and Lochmaddy (North Uist)
  • Leverburgh - once planned to be the centre of a major fish+ enterprise under Lord Leverhulme but the project scarcely outlived him.
  • Rodel - fine church.

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Sights and Activities

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Weather

Be warned - these islands get far more than their share of heavy rain. It never gets really warm here, nor is it very cold in winter. Better pack warm clothes and raingear though at all times.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max6.7 °C6.8 °C7.9 °C9.6 °C12.1 °C14.4 °C15.5 °C15.7 °C13.9 °C11.9 °C8.6 °C7.4 °C
Avg Min1.7 °C1.4 °C2.3 °C3.3 °C5.9 °C8.3 °C9.9 °C9.8 °C8.4 °C6.4 °C3.1 °C2.3 °C
Rainfall122 mm85 mm105 mm65 mm61 mm63 mm73 mm84 mm116 mm138 mm133 mm128 mm
Rain Days23.918.323.319.217.416.919.519.722.924.524.225.2

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Getting There

By Plane

Stornoway Airport has few flights connecting it with Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Benbecula.

By Bus

Inverness to Ullapool.

By Boat

Car ferries

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Heb Hostel25 Kenneth St StornowayHostel-

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This is version 11. Last edited at 22:11 on Jun 7, 13 by Sander. 1 article links to this page.

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