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Isle of Harris

North Harris

North Harris, adjoining Lewis, contains Clisham (An Cliseam), the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides at 799 metres (2,621 ft). The area is sparsely populated. Beyond Tarbert, the furthest settlement is Hushinish (Hùisinis) on the west coast. A bridge from the east coast links Harris to the island of Scalpay (Scalpaigh na Hearadh).

In March 2003 the 62,500 acres (253 km2) North Harris Estate was purchased by the North Harris Trust, a development trust, on behalf of the local community.In April 2006 the Trust hosted the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company conference "Community Energy: Leading from the Edge" in Tarbert. In early 2008 the Trust received planning consent for three 86 metre (282 ft) wind turbines to be located at Monan. In 2008 Mike Russell, the Scottish environment minister announced that the North Harris Trust had begun canvassing local opinion about a proposal to create Scotland's third national park in the area.

South Harris

The southern part of Harris is less mountainous, with numerous unspoilt, white sandy beaches on the west coast. Its main settlements are Rodel (Roghadal), known for its medieval kirk of St. Clement (Eaglais Chliamhain), the most elaborate surviving medieval church in the Hebrides after Iona Abbey, and Leverburgh (An Tòb na Hearadh or An t-Òb na Hearadh). A ferry sails from the latter to Berneray (Beàrnaraigh na Hearadh), an island off the coast of North Uist (Uibhist a Tuath), to which it is joined by a causeway.

The road which runs along the east coast of south Harris is known colloquially as the "Golden Road" as it cost so much money to build, when it was built in 1897. It runs from Tarbert to Rodel through the area of Harris known as Bays and through the coastal townships of Lickisto (Liceasto), Geocrab (Geòcrab), Manish (Mànais), Flodabay (Fleòideabhagh), Ardvay (Àird Mhighe), Finsbay (Fionnsbhagh) and Lingerbay (Lingreabhagh).

The beaches of Luskentyre and Scarista are amongst the most spectacular. From the former the island of Taransay, where the BBC Television series Castaway 2000 was recorded, is seen most clearly from Harris. At Scarista the beach is a venue for surfing and kite buggying. Nearby the Harris Golf Club offers well kept greens and views of the hills, but there is no play on Sundays. Scarista is the birthplace of the author Finlay J. MacDonald who wrote about growing up on Harris in the 1930s. His books: Crowdie and Cream, The Corncrake and the Lysander and Crotal and White paint a vivid and humorous picture of Hebridean life.


Tarbert is the main port and capital village of Harris. The name Tarbert comes from the Norse tairbeart meaning "draw-boat". Tarbert is a community of approximately 500 located on a narrow strip of land between Loch Tarbert and West Loch Tarbert. The village has the main ferry terminal, local tourist information and a range of small shops are available, including the Harris Tweed Shop overlooking the main access road to the CalMac ferry terminal and AD Munro's general grocery store on the main street.

The island of Scalpay is located to the of East Loch Tarbert. It was known historically for its fishing industry, though little of it remains. The island was linked to Harris when the Scalpay Bridge was opened in 1997. The bridge connects Scalpay to Kyles on Harris and makes it part of Harris.

Source: Wikipedia


Our Publications

book thumbSt Columba's Ui Church
- otherwise -
Eaglais na h~Aoidhe.
An historical perspective

Colin Scott Mackenzie

Trip Advisor



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