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The history of the Hebrides is a long and colourful one dating back to the Mesolithic era. Today villages with Norse names lay testimony to a bloody history as Viking invaders laid claim to the islands which became part of the Norse kingdom of the Suðreyjar. It was over 400 years before sovereignty was transferred to Scotland by the Treaty of Perth in 1266. Control of the islands was then held by clan chiefs, principal of whom was the MacLeods, MacDonalds, Mackenzies and MacNeils.
Myths and legends are the ‘gossip’ of many of the places on the islands. Local folklore is usually kept close to home, not something you would learn on a commercial bus tour, but it adds a new dimension to your visit. If you stop a while and chat to villagers their local knowledge adds colour and character to an already spectacular experience, changing what’s enjoyable into a lifetime memory to make you smile.
We have listed some of the more popular historical places you might like to visit, but there are is so much more, with archaeological sites are around almost every bend.
If you truly want to get to grips with the archaeology of the islands then book a private tour with Dave’s Archeological Tours. A resident archaeologist with an in-depth knowledge of island history and some of ‘the off the beaten tracks’ historical sites and stone circles.
Isle of Lewis
- The Brock at Carloway from prehistory
- Gearrannan Black House Village
- Arnol Black House Museum
- The bridge across the Atlantic to Great Bernera
- Port of Ness, the lighthouse and St Moluag’s Church, and much more
- Dùn Èistean, a small island which is the ancestral home of the Lewis Morrisons.
- Clach an Truiseil, translated to English “Stone of Compassion” located in the village of Ballantrushal, is the tallest standing stone in Scotland at 5.8 metres tall.
- Ui Church burial place of the Clan Chief’s of Lewis and part of the Columba trail
- There are many war graves and memorials in villages across Lewis that are of interest to historians.
Isle of Harris
- Harris Tweed Exhibition Drinishader
- Seallam Visitor Centre
- The MacGillivray Centre
- Northton Temple
- St. Clements Church Rodel
- Bunavoneader Whaling Station
- North Harris Eagle Observatory
Causeways join North Uist to Berneray in the north and Benbecula and Grimsay to the south.
Barpa Langass Chambered Cairn
*Pobull Fhinn stone circle. These historical sites are located so close together that you can easily stroll between the two.
*(Fhinn linked to the Gaelic hero Finn MacCool.)
Teampull Trionaid(Trinity Chapel)
The site of the Battle of Cairinis (1601) is close to the Chapel. This being the last battle in Scotland fought entirely with bows and arrows, and swords.
Dun an Sticir
Beinn a’ Charra Standing Stone
Further Information can be found regarding Barra and all the islands on Undiscovered Scotland