The islands lying to the west of Scotland’s north coast fall into two groups – the Inner and Outer Hebrides.
The Inner Hebrides
The islands of the Inner Hebrides, each with its own character and community life, fall into distinct groups and are by far the most visited. Mull, second only to Skye in size, is characterised by mountains and moorland with pockets of more pastoral landscape, small towns, settlements and castles to visit. It provides access to holy Iona and the drama of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave. The low-lying islands of Coll, Tiree, Colonsay and Oronsay lie west of Mull, windswept and remote. To the south lie Islay and Jura, one producing some of Scotland’s finest whiskies, the other home to many more red deer than people.
The Outer Hebrides
Lying beyond Skye, the Outer Hebrides are a destination in their own right. They too fall into natural island groups. To the north lie Lewis and Harris, geographically one island, with Lewis, the most densely populated region of the Outer Hebrides, and Harris far more mountainous. From its southern tip, ferries cross to North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay, all linked by causeways. South again, tiny Barra marks the end of the inhabited islands.