Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Isle of Benbecula, Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles), is one of the Outer Hebrides. It is the most northerly island of the distinctive Southern Outer Hebrides and is certainly the flattest. Flying over it on the B.E.A. Hebridean route, you might think that there was almost more fresh water in the form of inland lochs and lochans than land itself on this not very large island. Looking down on such an “openwork shawl” of an island from a height of 2,000 ft, you wonder how the land contains the water; but it does, and most successfully, as you perceive when you land at the airport that was established there during the Second World War.
It is now possible to motor (or walk or ride, for that matter) from the tip of North Uist by way of Benbecula to Pollachar at the extreme South of South Uist. Thence the traveller can go by ferry to Eriskay or by boat to the Barra islands. Nowadays the only wide break in the “Long Island” (the popular name for the Outer Hebrides) is between Harris and North Uist.
Benbecula has its quiet appeal for the visitor, especially the unambitious angler who just likes moving from small loch to small loch in search of eager, sporting brown trout and for occasional sea-trout. Almost as fiat as Tiree in all the Hebrides, it lacks the verdant appeal of that island, but makes up for it by the vividness of its cloud effects and the changing colours of its scene.
The population of Benbecula, living as it does on an island linking the strongly Protestant and largely Free Kirk Northern Hebrides and the indigenously Catholic Southern Outer Isles, is equally divided between Protestants and Catholics. In the old days the Catholics, on Sundays and holy days, had to ford the crossing to South Uist for their Mass. Today they have a church of their own on the island. As is usual in the Hebrides and Western Highlands, the relationship between those of the two faiths is excellent, and a model to the rest of us. Perhaps the possession of the Gaelic tongue in common helps in their friendly relationship — at any rate, it is excellent.
Some of the most authentic Gaelic songs, poems, and traditional tales have come from the island and have been preserved there.
Nearby islands: Isle of Barra, Flodday, Isle of Harris, Isle of North Uist, Isle of Skye, Isle of South Uist
Have you decided to visit or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a bed and breakfast (a B&B or b and b)
- a guesthouse
- a hotel (or motel)
- a self-catering establishment, or
- other accommodation