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Harris, A Unique Scottish Island

By Andrew Kelly

For hundreds of years sailing to the remote Scottish islands has only been the privilege of the very rich. In the last few decades transportation links have greatly improved. The result of this the islands have been opened up to all budgets and islands such as the Outer Hebrides (or Western Isles) can now be reached via air or sea. One of the most common reasons why folk visit islands, such as the Isle of Harris and the likes, is that, although tourism is a major industry, they are extensively unspoiled. In the article below I introduce the relatively small village of Leverburgh on Harris in the Western Isles of Scotland. Leverburgh is the second largest settlement on the island with Tarbert being the largest.

Most probably the main attraction of the Isle of Harris is the great many spectacular sandy beaches which can be found along the island’s west coast. These beaches have the cleanest waters in the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Beaches such as Nisabost, Luskintyre, Huishnish and Seilabost prove the most popular, however you must not expect to be confronted with masses buckets and spades, wind breaks, sand castles and beach towels because it is more than likely to find yourselves the only people enjoying the astonishing panoramas.

The majority of the finest beaches are located on South Harris and all are only a short distance away from the village of Leverburgh. Leverburgh features a number of accommodation including Grimisdale Guest House, with quality self catering houses and cottages just outside the village and a few crucial amenities such as a general store, Leverburgh is a superb place to base yourself for a touring vacation of the Outer Hebrides.

Spending time in Harris bed and breakfast is a enjoyable experience. The hospitality of Harris is world renowned and every accommodation provider go out of their way to make sure that all visitors have a superb vacation. Hotels are always incredibly clean with fresh bedding and towels and if you need help staff are always highly approachable.

The spectacular landscape of the Outer Hebrides is home to a a wide range of flora and fauna, some of these are incredibly rare or unique species. Although it is rare to see naturally growing trees on the Isle of Harris there are a small number of plantations across the Outer Hebrides. A few small pine forests where planted many years ago and, thankfully the vast majority of recent plantations are of species which grow elsewhere in Scotland more suitable to the unique environment and certainly far more picturesque.

Man’s impact on the Isle of Harris is incredible way back in history the island was completely tree covered. When man first settled on the islands of the Outer Hebrides, many thousands of years ago, they lived along the coast. Surviving by fishing and hunting, and using the trees as fuel, over time they settled inland. In modern times fishing is still an important contributor to the local economy and most inhabitants own a croft (a small holding where they cultivate crops such as potatoes.

Farming the land develops land which is perfect for rare and endangered birds such as the Corncrake. A huge variety of species of flora & fauna, Golden Eagles are spotted frequently and around the village of Leverburgh are countless great areas to indulge in a spot of birdwatching. Each year crowds of twitchers (birdwatchers) arrive in the Outer Hebrides to catch a glimpse of a rare bird. Many tourists choose to stay for some of their time in Leverburgh and then sail on the ferry over to the Uists to visit such places as the RSPB sanctuary.

If you are planning a vacation in Leverburgh please take a look at our listings of bed & breakfast on the Isle of Harris

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Kelly, Andrew "Harris, A Unique Scottish Island." Harris, A Unique Scottish Island. 19 Jan. 2011. 23 Jan 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Kelly, A (2011, January 19). Harris, A Unique Scottish Island. Retrieved January 23, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Kelly, Andrew "Harris, A Unique Scottish Island"

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