Writing about 80 years later, in 140–150 AD, Ptolemy, drawing on the earlier naval expeditions of Agricola, also distinguished between the Ebudes, of which he writes there were only five (and thus possibly meaning the Inner Hebrides) and Dumna. (eds) (2002), Ballin Smith, Beverley; Taylor, Simon; Williams, Gareth (eds) (2007), Hanson, William S. "The Roman Presence: Brief Interludes", in Edwards, Kevin J. [110] Nonetheless emigration and military service became the choice of many[111] and the archipelago's populations continued to dwindle throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries. The average annual rainfall in Lewis is 1,100 millimetres (43 in) and sunshine hours range from 1,100 to 1,200 per year. The graph below illustrates the net migration and natural change estimated for the population between June 2009 and June 2019. Following the 2011 Census, National Records of Scotland (NRS) produced revised population estimates for 2002 to 2010. [88][92][Note 4] This transition did little to relieve the islands of internecine strife although by the early 14th century the MacDonald Lords of the Isles, based on Islay, were in theory these chiefs' feudal superiors and managed to exert some control. (Opens in a new window or downloads a file). The tiny Beasts of Holm off the east coast of Lewis were the site of the sinking of HMS Iolaire during the first few hours of 1919,[141] one of the worst maritime disasters in United Kingdom waters during the 20th century. [119][122], From the passing of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 to 1975 Lewis formed part of the county of Ross and Cromarty and the rest of the archipelago, including Harris, was part of Inverness-shire. A considerable number of islandmen "came out" in support of the Jacobite Earl of Mar in the "15" although the response to the 1745 rising was muted. The areas with the lowest density of speakers are Stornoway (44%), Braigh (41%), Melbost (41%), and Balivanich (37%). The Arnish yard has had a chequered history but has been a significant employer in both the oil and renewables industries. His skald Bjorn Cripplehand recorded that in Lewis "fire played high in the heaven" as "flame spouted from the houses" and that in the Uists "the king dyed his sword red in blood". Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Lewis" Volume II, Part II, Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of North Uist" Volume II, Part II, Crone, B.A. Many of the smaller islands in the Outer Hebrides are uninhabited, and most of the population lives on Lewis and Harris. Some are not geologically part of the Outer Hebrides, but are administratively and in most cases culturally, part of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. About the Outer Hebrides. Christianity has deep roots in the Western Isles, but owing mainly to the different allegiances of the clans in the past, the people in the northern islands (Lewis, Harris, North Uist) have historically been predominantly Presbyterian, and those of the southern islands (Benbecula, South Uist, Barra) predominantly Roman Catholic. Overall, the area is relatively reliant on primary industries and the public sector, and fishing and fish farming in particular are vulnerable to environmental impacts, changing market pressures, and European legislation. [32] The St Kilda wren is a subspecies of wren whose range is confined to the islands whose name it bears. Some Facts and Figures. These are amongst the oldest rocks in Europe, having been formed in the Precambrian period up to three billion years ago. [89], Following the ill-fated 1263 expedition of Haakon IV of Norway, the Outer Hebrides along with the Isle of Man, were yielded to the Kingdom of Scotland a result of the 1266 Treaty of Perth. [31], The bumblebee Bombus jonellus var. In 2019 the average age of residents in the Outer Hebrides was over seven years older than in Scotland (49.5 to 42 years). 11–13, Gammeltoft, Peder "Scandinavian Naming-Systems in the Hebrides: A Way of Understanding how the Scandinavians were in Contact with Gaels and Picts?" Figure 3: Outer Hebrides Population recorded by the Census (1901-2011) Demographically, the population of the Outer Hebrides is ageing. It is not clear from the text which of MacKenzie's five books quoted in the bibliography spanning the years 1903–52 the quote is taken from. [8][57][58], The Outer Hebrides have a cool temperate climate that is remarkably mild and steady for such a northerly latitude, due to the influence of the North Atlantic Current. km ) and considerably lower than the Scottish average (70 people per sq. The sandstone at Broad Bay was once thought to be Torridonian or Old Red Sandstone. Figure 1 below plots the estimated population of the Outer Hebrides over the last ten years (2009-2019). 125–35, "The quiet revolution". But in the sphere of economics their policy apparently was of little service to the community. The fire gushed out of the houses". [78], In Scotland, the Celtic Iron Age way of life, often troubled but never extinguished by Rome, re-asserted itself when the legions abandoned any permanent occupation in 211 AD. The Scottish independence referendum has led some islanders to call for a debate on the constitutional position of the Western Isles, linked with similar initiatives in Orkney and Shetland. Far and wide the people were driven to flight. Religion, music and sport are important aspects of local culture, and there are numerous designated conservation areas to protect the natural environment. [45] On Barra Head, for example, Historic Scotland have identified eighty-three archaeological sites on the island, the majority being of a pre-medieval date. The Outer Hebrides registered only 1% growth of its 15-29 year-old population between 2001-2011, and its young population is expected to decrease a staggering 38% between 2012 and 2037. (Eds) (2003), McKirdy, Alan Gordon, John & Crofts, Roger (2007), This page was last edited on 8 November 2020, at 10:25. [72] Pliny probably took his information from Pytheas of Massilia who visited Britain sometime between 322 and 285 BC. Looking back further from 1901 to 2011 the population of the Outer Hebrides has declined by 40% (46,000 in 1901).  The population change from 1901 to 2011  is illustrated in figure 3 below. The Roman presence in Scotland was little more than a series of brief interludes within a longer continuum of indigenous development. The Outer Hebrides, located off the west coast of mainland Scotland, comprise 119 islands, but most of them are inhabited. [148] The Lewis Pipe Band was founded in 1904 and the Lewis and Harris Piping Society in 1977. During the same period Scottish island populations as a whole grew by 4% to 103,702. [25][26], There has been considerable controversy over hedgehogs on the Uists. [102] A new era of Hebridean involvement in the affairs of the wider world was about to commence. Many of this last group belong to the Free Church of Scotland, known for its strict observance of the Sabbath. [68][69][70], The earliest written references that have survived relating to the islands were made by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, where he states that there are 30 Hebudes, and makes a separate reference to Dumna, which Watson (1926) concludes is unequivocally the Outer Hebrides. The Western Isles, including Stornoway, are defined by Highlands and Islands Enterprise as an economically "Fragile Area" and they have an estimated trade deficit of some £163.4 million. There are about 100 islands, which covers a total area of 1,181 square miles. There are also small Episcopalian congregations in Lewis and Harris and the Outer Hebrides are part of the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles in both the Episcopalian and Catholic traditions. The. MacMahon, Peter and Walker, Helen (18 May 2007) "Winds of change sweep Scots town halls". Magh Domhna means "the plain of Domhna (or Domon)", but the precise meaning of the text is not clear. The other independent-run councils are Shetland and Orkney. Retrieved 20 October 2012. [12], Much of the western coastline of the islands is machair, a fertile low-lying dune pastureland. The estimated decrease in the population of the Outer Hebrides from 2018-2019 can be attributed to  low net migration (more in-migration than out-migration) which was estimated to be 50 but is mainly due to  negative ‘natural change’. [7] It incorporates Lewis in the north and Harris in the south, both of which are frequently referred to as individual islands, although they are connected by land. They were pirates, extracting tribute from the coasts of Ireland and one of their kings was Indech mac Dé Domnand (i.e. The islands form an archipelago whose major islands are Lewis and Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, and Barra. [130][131], Most areas were between 60-74% Gaelic speaking and the areas with the highest density of over 80% are Scalpay near Harris, Newtonferry and Kildonan, whilst Daliburgh, Linshader, Eriskay, Brue, Boisdale, West Harris, Ardveenish, Soval, Ness, and Bragar all have more than 75%. Grimsay in the Outer Hebrides now has superfast broadband, and there's hope it will help business and the population. [107] The pre-clearance population of the island had been almost 5,000, although by 1841 it had fallen to 3,870 and was only 2,349 by 1931. [33], The islands' total population was 26,502 at the 2001 census, and the 2011 figure was 27,684. In 1540 James V himself conducted a royal tour, forcing the clan chiefs to accompany him. [113] Millennia of continuous occupation notwithstanding, many of the remoter islands were abandoned — Mingulay in 1912, Hirta in 1930, and Ceann Iar in 1942 among them. The island became completely uninhabited by 1980 with the automation of the lighthouse. [84][85] In the Western Isles Ketill Flatnose was the dominant figure of the mid 9th century, by which time he had amassed a substantial island realm and made a variety of alliances with other Norse leaders. 152–158, See for example Maclean (1977) Chapter 10: "Arcady Despoiled" pp. The Seaforths ..., besides establishing orderly Government in the island.. had done a great deal to rescue the people from the slough of ignorance and incivility in which they found themselves immersed. Barra's airport is claimed to be the only one in the world to have scheduled flights landing on a beach. [108][109], For those who remained new economic opportunities emerged through the export of cattle, commercial fishing and tourism. [97] The House of Stuart's attempts to control the Outer Hebrides were then at first desultory and little more than punitive expeditions. News Environment Outer Hebrides battle to reverse steep population decline When Mary Anne MacLeod left the Isle of Lewis in 1930 to start a new life … For example, hundreds left North Uist for Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The transitional relationships between Norse and Gaelic-speaking rulers are complex. [53] These rocks are largely igneous in origin, mixed with metamorphosed marble, quartzite and mica schist and intruded by later basaltic dykes and granite magma. The history of the Outer Hebrides begins with the melting of the ice-sheets and the arrival of Mesolithic Man. ... population. [129] Nonetheless, by 1971 most areas were still more than 75% Gaelic speaking – with the exception of Stornoway, Benbecula and South Uist at 50-74%. This includes the Uists themselves and the islands linked to them by causeways and bridges. Over the same period, Orkney saw an increase of 6.4%, Shetland an increase of 0.5%, while Scotland overall saw an increase of 4.4%. [139], Annie Jane, a three-masted immigrant ship out of Liverpool bound for Montreal, Canada, struck rocks off the West Beach of Vatersay during a storm on Tuesday 28 September 1853. "[60] There are gales one day in six at the Butt of Lewis and small fish are blown onto the grass on top of 190 metre (620 ft) high cliffs at Barra Head during winter storms. The historian W. C. MacKenzie was moved to write:[101]. Sea transport is crucial and a variety of ferry services operate between the islands and to mainland Scotland. km ) is lower than that for the Highlands and Islands (12 people per sq. Thousands of northern gannets nest here, and by special arrangement some of their young, known as gugas are harvested annually by the men of Ness. [135], There are scheduled flights from Stornoway, Benbecula and Barra airports both inter-island and to the mainland. [9] North and South Uist and Lewis, in particular, have landscapes with a high percentage of fresh water and a maze and complexity of loch shapes. [151][152], Archipelago and council area off the west coast of mainland Scotland, "Na h-Eileanan an Iar" redirects here. Bus na Comhairle (meaning "Bus of the Council") is the council-owned local bus company of the Western Isles of Scotland. [112] In July 1906 grazing land on Vatersay was raided by landless men from Barra and its isles. [83], Viking raids began on Scottish shores towards the end of the 8th century AD and the Hebrides came under Norse control and settlement during the ensuing decades, especially following the success of Harald Fairhair at the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872. 1: T he Outer Hebrides retains and attracts people to ensure a sustainable population. It is worn all around the world, but it is woven across a string of islands in the Atlantic. From Old Norse, Ballin Smith, B. and Banks, I. As figure 4 illustrates, the greatest decline by age group has occurred in the 30-44 year category (from representing 18.8% of the population in 2009 to 15.9% in 2019). [14] The Uists and their immediate outliers have a combined area of 745.4 square kilometres (288 sq mi). Thus over the period 2001 to 2011 the Outer Hebrides experienced a population increase of 4.5%, the 18th highest in Scotland, while 4 Council areas experienced a decline. More than 35 such islands have been identified in the Outer Hebrides alone. The oldest site found so far for these hunter-dweller ancestors is near Northton in the south of Harris, which has been dated to 9000 years ago, and no … [116] Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the local authority, employs 2,000 people, making it the largest employer in the Outer Hebrides. The 15 inhabited islands have a total population of 26,830[4] and there are more than 50 substantial uninhabited islands. On 4 May 1746, the "Young Pretender" Charles Edward Stuart hid on Eilean Liubhaird with some of his men for four days whilst Royal Navy vessels patrolled the Minch. [15] Barra is 58.75 square kilometres (23 sq mi) in extent and has a rugged interior, surrounded by machair and extensive beaches.[16][17]. There are also more than 7,500 freshwater lochs in the Outer Hebrides, about 24% of the total for the whole of Scotland. [117] See also the "Innse Gall area plan 2010"[118] and the Comhairle's "Factfile – Economy". The only large town in the Outer Hebrides is Stornoway (Steòrnabhagh) with approximately 6,953 people in the Stornoway settlement Laxdale (Lacasdal), Sandwick (Sanndabhaig) and Newmarket. The longest days in Outer Hebrides are in June, with an average of 18 hours of daylight per day.December has the shortest days with an average of 6.6 hours of daylight per day.. The archipelago is exposed to wind and tide, and lighthouses are sited as an aid to navigation at locations from Barra Head in the south to the Butt of Lewis in the north. [87] Thompson (1968) provides a more literal translation: "Fire played in the fig-trees of Liodhus; it mounted up to heaven. [8], The largest islands are deeply indented by arms of the sea such as Loch Ròg, Loch Seaforth and Loch nam Madadh. There are various important prehistoric structures, many of which pre-date the first written references to the islands by Roman and Greek authors. [142], At the time of the 2001 Census, 42% of the population identified themselves as being affiliated with the Church of Scotland, with 13% Roman Catholic and 28% with other Christian churches. Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis is the administrative capital of the Western Isles. [59] Winds are a key feature of the climate and even in summer there are almost constant breezes. Bill Lawson has been specialising in the Family and Social History in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland for over 40 years, and is widely recognised as an authority in the area. [Note 5] This made the Western Isles the Scottish council area with the smallest percentage of non-religious in the population. The "Mingulay Boat Song", although evocative of island life, was written after the abandonment of the island in 1938[47] and Taransay hosted the BBC television series Castaway 2000. [62][63] The Callanish Stones, dating from about 2900 BC, are the finest example of a stone circle in Scotland, the 13 primary monoliths of between one and five metres high creating a circle about 13 metres (43 ft) in diameter. For the parliamentary constituencies, see, Murray (1973) notes that "Western Isles" has tended to mean "Outer Hebrides" since the creation of the. [Note 1] The islands are geographically coextensive with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, one of the 32 unitary council areas of Scotland. Scheduled ferry services between the Outer Hebrides and the Scottish Mainland and Inner Hebrides operate on the following routes: Other ferries operate between some of the islands. The remains of 350 men, women and children were buried in the dunes behind the beach and a small cairn and monument marks the site.[140]. 2: The Outer Hebrides has sustainable economic growth and all our people have access to appropriate employment opportunities. 4% of the respondents did not answer this census question and the total for all other religions combined is 1 per cent. The colonists tried again in 1605 with the same result but a third attempt in 1607 was more successful, and in due course Stornoway became a Burgh of Barony. [72], In Irish mythology the islands were the home of the Fomorians, described as "huge and ugly" and "ship men of the sea". The company serves the Broadbay area of Lewis with 7 buses - 6 Optare Solos and 1 ADL Enviro 200. They form part of the archipelago of the Hebrides, separated from the Scottish mainland and from the Inner Hebrides by the waters of the Minch, the Little Minch, and the Sea of the Hebrides. This idea is often repeated but no firm evidence of this derivation has emerged. Loch Langavat on Lewis is 11 kilometres (7 mi) long, and has several large islands in its midst, including Eilean Mòr. The national scenic areas are defined so as to identify areas of exceptional scenery and to ensure its protection from inappropriate development,[18] and are considered to represent the type of scenic beauty "popularly associated with Scotland and for which it is renowned". The largest island of the Outer Hebrides is Lewis and Harris, and the other large islands are North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, and Barra.Several smaller islands surround the main islands, and about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of the main chain is the St. Kilda island group.

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