Making plans for September? If you’ve been searching for something extra special then look no further! Check out Hebtember 2014, a new month-long festival taking place on the beautiful islands in the Outer Hebrides.
From ceilidhs and comedy to Celtic music and arts and crafts, Hebtember’s month-long programme is packed with activities to keep you busy from dusk till dawn.
Enjoy a traditional Celtic night out at one of eight fun-filled ceilidhs, hosted by the Outer Hebrides’ crofting communities, or feel your spirit soaring as you listen to the exquisite voice of home-grown star Julie Fowlis, whose lilting melodies you may recognise from the soundtrack to Disney•Pixar’s Oscar-winning feature film, Brave.
Julie will be performing her enchanting Gaelic songs at venues in Stornoway, Harris and her home island of North Uist in three special concerts. With four highly acclaimed albums under her belt – including Gach Sgeul – Every Story which was released just this year – tickets for Julie’s concerts are bound to be snapped up fast, so book yours now!
Also on the programme, enjoy an evening of comedy with Fred MacAulay, who will be entertaining audiences in Barra, North Uist and Lewis, or visit Uist Wool’s Scotvein spinning mill on Grimsay and see textile exhibits from Snàth, Hebtember’s specially commissioned festival exhibition.
Discover how the artisan spinners at Uist Wool have joined forces with seven makers from across the islands – including designers, kilt makers and artists – to produce Snàth’s specially commissioned textile pieces. Displays include outerwear, accessories and upholstery, all made using premium fabrics which have been spun from local wool and woven in the Outer Hebrides.
September is a great time to visit this idyllic island chain. As well as exciting Hebtember events, there are lots of great attractions to visit throughout the Outer Hebrides. What better way to follow an evening spent listening to Julie Fowlis’s enchanting melodies than with a visit to the atmospheric Calanais Standing Stones? At 5,000 years old these majestic megaliths are older than the pyramids of Giza and were a key inspiration for the standing stone circles in Disney•Pixar’s Brave.
Immerse yourself in the history of island life in the drystone blackhouse at Arnol. Learn about the Outer Hebrides traditional crofting techniques and smell the earthy smoke from the blackhouse’s working peat fire.
The islands’ rugged mountains and sparkling coastline make the Outer Hebrides a perfect playground. Explore some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world by foot, bike, horseback or boat, tackle world-class waves on a surfboard or pack a picnic and take your binoculars for a spot of wildlife watching. Look out for native Eriskay ponies, otters and grey seals, as well as red deer rutting in the autumn months. Autumn is also a great time to spot migrating seabirds travelling south for the winter. Keep your eyes peeled for rare Arctic skuas offshore as well as majestic flocks of geese and whooper swans flying overhead.
During your time on the islands you’ll be treated to some of Scotland’s most delicious fresh produce. Sample peat-smoked salmon, delicious locally-caught seafood and Stornoway’s famous black pudding in restaurants across the islands, tour Abhainn Dearg Distillery in Uig and visit the Hebridean Toffee shop on Barra to take home delicious Scottish tablet.
Travelling to the islands couldn’t be easier. Regular flights link Stornoway, Barra and Benbecula to the mainland whilst ferry journeys take just 1 hour 40 minutes from Uig to Tarbert on Harris, 1 hour 45 minutes from Uig to Lochmaddy on North Uist or 2 hours 45 minutes from Ullapool to Stornoway on Lewis.