Industries in the Outer Hebrides

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  • The stock in the Harris Tweed and Knitwear Shop, Tarbert
    Harris Tweed and Knitwear Shop, Tarbert
  • A close up of wool at the Hebridean Woolshed at West Kilbride, South Uist
    A close up of wool at the Hebridean Woolshed at West Kilbride, South Uist
  • Seafood starter of langoustine, home cured gravalax, scallops ceviche, mini crab cake and an oyster shot
    Seafood starter of langoustine, home cured gravalax, scallops ceviche, mini crab cake and an oyster shot
  • A man wildlife watching at Rubha Ardvule, South Uist
    Wildlife watching at Rubha Ardvule, South Uist

The Outer Hebrides grew from a small rural settlement to become an internationally popular tourism destination. Explore the diverse history behind the region’s successful economic growth and learn about the internationally known Harris Tweed.

Weaving of the woolen cloth has been a domestic activity in the Outer Hebrides for many centuries but it was not until the middle of the 19th century when this textile production started on a commercial scale and its success continues until today.

Explore the selection of traditionally handmade woven and award-winning Harris Tweed products ranging from jackets and kilts to handbags and scarves. Why not treat yourself to a new pair of luxurious Harris Tweed shoes or buy a perfect gift for your friend?

Travel to South Uist where crofters revive the ancient tradition of peat cutting and watch them extract it from the many peat banks on the island. Talk to the locals to learn about the special skills required which have been handed down from generation to generation for centuries.

For the fascinating story of the Herring Girls, head to Lewis. Explore Stornoway’s port where the statue of the Herring Girls on South Beach and Perceval Road commemorates the region’s heritage and hear the islanders proudly talking about those brave and jolly workers. The statue is a symbol of the once bustling herring industry which brought prosperity to the region in the late 19th century.

While travelling near Loch a Siar, explore the ruins of the Bunavoneader Old Whaling Station with the Boiling Chimney and learn about the thriving whale industry in the early 20th century. Today the region boasts rich wildlife including great population of whales so why not survey the pristine waters of the Outer Hebrides in search for these giant marine creatures and see them gracefully play in the waters?

Sample the delicious food throughout the isles. From prawns and scallops on Scalpay to lobster and velvet crabs on Berneray and dogfish on Loch Roag, the sea and loch waters of the Outer Hebrides are abundant in shellfish. Fishing has been the most important commercial activity of the region for nearly half a millennium and still provides employment today to a considerable proportion of the population.

Visit this stunning corner of Scotland known for the unique and warm hospitality and find out for yourself why the Outer Hebrides attracts thousands of visitors every year making tourism the most important industry these days. Explore its towns and villages, hear people speak Gaelic, learn about the fascinating history, discover the great historic attractions, roam its incredible nature and absorb the festivals and events' exhilarating atmosphere.

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