Monday, 12 November 2007

The Outer Hebrides

On my Facebook profile, I put up the question:

When you hear the name "Outer Hebrides", what's the very first thing you think of?

Here are the responses so far. The first italicised batch are from residents of the Outer Hebrides; the second batch are from non-residents:

  • Wet and windy.

  • The bleak beauty at edge of the world.

  • Wind, wind and more wind.

  • Sea, rocks, sandy beaches, bogs, peat, tweed, hills, heather, fishing, sheep, gaelic, machair, ceilidhs, calmac, wind, eagles...

  • The Western Isles.

  • Home!

  • A land of extremes, can be the most beautiful place on earth or God damn awful if the weather turns on you.

  • Somewhere cold, wet, and windy.

  • The best beaches outside of New Zealand - and the lovely sound of Gaelic.

  • The Islands in the North Sea.

  • Greek mythology.

  • I thought it was somewhere more north.

  • Beaches.

  • Midges! (If it's anything like the west coast...).

  • All the amazing beaches and the vast peace and tranquility.

  • Your pictures of the safest road crossing ever.

  • Desperation to be sitting on the machair in Barvas again, looking out to the sea and thinking nothing else matters.

  • Windswept islands with no trees and grey lashing waves.

  • Islands, and ferries.

  • Remoteness! almost off the edge..

  • Wee Frees.

  • Sea.

  • Sweaters and wool.

  • Scotland. Islands. Barren yet strangely beautiful (in places). Great beaches. Unfortunately no distilleries. Cold and rain followed by amazing warm sunshine.

  • Hushinsh (sp?) beach.

  • The Inner Hebrides.

  • The very first thing I think of is some faraway galaxy! But I visited about a year ago and can't wait to go back. So the second thing I think is "calm(ing)."...

  • "The Men from the Ministry" radio series (it was made into popular Finnish version "Knalli ja sateenvarjo" 1979-, new shows made only for the Finnish audience). In it Outer Hebrides was a punishment.

  • Islands.

  • The shipping forecast.

  • Scotland.

  • Gregor Fisher (Outer Hebrides Broadcasting Corporation).


  1. What do I think of when I hear the words "Outer Hebrides"? every single one of the comments,also that I can't quite believe I lived somewhere soooooo stark, bleak and take-your-breath away beautiful for almost 6 years, that there was a good reason why I left, but can't think what it was and that I cannot wait for my visit in the spring

  2. An interesting snapshot - lots of impressions about the weather and landscape but no mention of the people. :S

  3. When I think of the Outer Hebrides, I think of "Rueval". In my suburb in Western Australia, we lived within a 4 street land release and all places were named after locations in the Hebrides - Uist, Benbecula, Rueval, Nunton. We lived on Rueval Court. All other streets in the suburb were French-inspired, so we really stood out - and no one had any idea what it meant, and how to say or spell it.When my husband and I visit Europe next year, visiting the Outer Hebrides is on the top of our list - if possible, we want a photo standing on Rueval hill (of which I believe there are 2?) Plus I've been told since a wee child the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and my love of isolated and barren landscapes (hey, I'm from Western Australia, we have alot of that here) makes me want to see the region too.