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The Hebrides

To the ancient Greeks the Hebrides were Hyperborea ~ a mythical land beyond the North Winds. To the Viking Norsemen these islands were Havbredey, “Isles on the edge of the sea”; curiously, they have always been an other-worldly place… a far-off land of mystery, both exotic and fearsome but often also held to be a land of peace and fulfilment. To the Gaelic Scotii tribe the Hebrides were theirs, “The Coast of the Gaels”, Oirthir Gaidheal, pronounced “Argyll”. In its medieval heyday the Hebrides, and Islay specifically, were the home of the Lords of the Isles – Viking-Gaelic warriors who ruled the west coast and islands of Scotland by sword and by longboat.

Courtesy of http://www.bruichladdich.com

Gaelic is still spoken in the Hebrides and the landscape is one of raw vistas, often treeless and bleak, yet wildflowers abound and seascapes are dazzling. The Outer Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, are one of Scotland’s best kept secrets for active travel, such as walking, hiking, road cycling and mountain biking.

The Outer Hebrides are a 130 mile long string of islands, the most westerly islands off the Scottish mainland include Lewis, Harris, and St Kilda. Each of these places have their own special attraction. Harris, for example, is home to the Callanish stone circle.

There is no better place to experience the combination of pristine scenery, intriguing culture and a way of life which doesn’t seem to have been caught up in the hustle and bustle of the 21st century. Maihar  

The Inner Hebrides are usually divided into the Northern Islands and the Southern Islands. The Isle of Skye, Mull, Islay and Jura can be found in the Southern Inner Hebrides. The Isle of Skye is a popular tourist destination due to its amazing natural beauty and rich history.