The Inner Hebrides is an archipelago off the west coast of Scotland,to the south east of the Outer Hebrides. They are part of the Hebrides.In classical sources, they are referred to as the Ebudae or the Ebudes.Traditionally, the Inner Hebrides have been subdivided into two groups(northern and southern).
Harris, split historically from Lewis and further divided at LochTarbert, is a small island of many contrasts, offering wonderful walks,and beautiful Luskintyre Beach on its sandy western shores, Rodelboasts the finest Pre-Reformation church in the Western Isles andHarris tweeds are world-famous, Lewis and Harris were the last of theIsles to adopt the Gaelic language.
Legend links St Columba with Colonsay, well away from his nativeIreland.The isle's contrasting landscapes veer from machair to woods,moors to green fields, rocky to sandy shores, bordered by cliffs. Itsfinest beach is dramatic Kiloran Bay and, inland, the woodland gardensof Colonsay House flourish in the warmth of the North Atlantic Drift.
Coll is rockier and wilder than neighbouringTiree. First settled in theStone Age and scattered with ruined cottages, near-treeless Coll ispicturesquely I clad in flower-dotted machair and fringed with silverywhite beaches washed by crystal waters-a bird haven offering refreshingbike rides and walks.
Eigg, surveyed by the towering An Sgurr, has been settled sinceprehistoric times. Erstwhile seat of the lords of the Isles, now ownedby its community, the isle has many historic remains – Iron Age forts,a 6th century church, Viking buna I mounds and a MacDonald burialground, the MacLeods having brutally slaughtered 395 MacDaids in 1577.
This tiny yet well-populated isle is hilly and barren, and home to aspecial breed of pony. It was here that Bonnie Prince Charlie firstlanded on Scottish soil in 1745. Eriskay was also the site of thesinking of the SS Politician, recounted in Compton MacKenzie's novel Whisky Galore.
Benbecula Outer Hebrides
Low-lying and windsweptBenbecula – long a stepping-stone between the Uists – is a tiny isle,two miles by three. Covered by machair in the west and peaty moorlandin the east, Rueval is its only hill. Bonnie Prince Charlie hid on theisland before making his escape to Skye, disguised as Flora MacDonald's maid.
Barra Outer Hebrides
World-famous for its unusualbeach airport, Barra, named after a 6th century saint, is a lovelyisland fringed withgolden beaches and sandy, wild, flower-dottedgrasslands, enclosing a rugged interior. Its main centre is the onceprosperous herring port of Castlebay, site of medieval Kisimul Castle,perched on a rocky outcrop in the bay.