Lewis and Harris

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Lewis and Harris
Lewis and Harris is located in Outer Hebrides
Lewis and Harris
Lewis and Harris
Lewis and Harris shown within the Outer Hebrides
OS grid reference NB240256
Gaelic name Leòdhas is na Hearadh
Norse name Ljóðhús ok Hérað
Meaning of name Old Norse: Ljóðhús = "Poet's House" + Hérað = "a type of administrative district"
Physical geography
Island group Lewis and Harris
Area 217,898 hectares (841 sq mi)[1]
Area rank 1 [2]
Highest elevation Clisham 799 metres (2,621 ft)
Political geography
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Na h-Eileanan Siar
Population 21,031[3]
Population rank 1 [2]
Population density 9.65/km2 (25.0/sq mi)[1][3]
Largest settlement Stornoway
References [4][5][6]
Main articles: Lewis and Harris, Outer Hebrides

Lewis and Harris (Scottish Gaelic: Leòdhas agus na Hearadh) in the Outer Hebrides make up the largest island in Scotland. This is the third largest single island of the British Isles, after Great Britain and Ireland.[7]

Satellite photograph of Lewis and Harris


The northern part of the island is called Lewis, the southern is Harris and both are frequently referred to as if they were separate islands. The boundary between Lewis and Harris is formed by a line with Loch Resort (Reasort) (opposite Scarp) on the west and Loch Seaforth (Shiphoirt) on the east.

The island does not have a common name in either English or Scottish Gaelic and is referred to as 'Lewis and Harris', 'Lewis with Harris', 'Harris with Lewis' etc.[8] Rarely, the collective name of the Long Island (Scottish Gaelic: an t-Eilean Fada) is used,[9] although this is normally applied to the entire Outer Hebrides.[10]

Most of Harris is very hilly, with more than thirty peaks above 1,000 ft (300 m) high and seven mountains, defined as Corbetts.[11] It has an area of 841 square miles (2,178 km2) – slightly under one per cent of the area of Great Britain. It is 24 miles (39 km) from the nearest point of the mainland, from which it is separated by the Minch.

Lewis is comparatively flat, save in the south-east, where Ben More reaches 1,874 ft (571 m), and in the south-west, where Mealasbhal 1,885 ft (575 m) is the highest point.

Until 1975, Lewis belonged to the county of Ross and Cromarty and Harris to Inverness-shire. The entire island group now belongs to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Western Isles Council.

Smaller islands[edit]

Other nearby inhabited islands in the Lewis and Harris group are Beàrnaraigh (Great Bernera) and Sgalpaigh (Scalpay). Tarasaigh (Taransay) and An Sgarp (Scarp) are now-uninhabited islands close to the shore of Harris.


Lewis and Harris is the most populous of the Scottish islands, and had just over 20,500 residents in 2011,[3] a rise of 5.6% from the 2001 census total of 19,918.[12] The civil parish of Stornoway, including the main town of the island itself and various nearby villages, has a population of approximately 12,000.[13]

Transport links[edit]

Stornoway (Steòrnabhagh) has ferry links to Ullapool and air services to Benbecula, Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow-International and Edinburgh. An Tairbeart (Tarbert) is the ferry terminal in Harris with connections to Skye and North Uist.


The island is the ancestral homeland of the Highland Clan MacLeod, with those individuals on Harris being referred to as from the clan MacLeod of Harris or MacLeod of MacLeod, and those on Lewis being referred to as from the clan MacLeod of Lewis.[citation needed]

Lewis is also the ancestral home of Clan Morrison.

The Lewis Man A Novel by Peter May, published by Quercus and shown on WWW.Bookmention.Com is set on Lewis and Harris.


A major industry on the island is the production of Harris tweed fabric, which is handmade on the island; by law only fabric produced in the Outer Hebrides can be called Harris tweed.[14]


  1. ^ a b Haswell-Smith (2004) p. 262
  2. ^ a b Area and population ranks: there are c. 300 islands >20ha in extent and 93 permanently inhabited islands were listed in the 2011 census.
  3. ^ a b c National Records of Scotland (15 August 2013) (pdf) Statistical Bulletin: 2011 Census: First Results on Population and Household Estimates for Scotland - Release 1C (Part Two). "Appendix 2: Population and households on Scotland’s inhabited islands". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  4. ^ Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7. 
  5. ^ Ordnance Survey
  6. ^ Jón A. Hjaltalín; Goudie, G.; Anderson, J. (Ed.) (1893). The Orkneyinga saga (1981 ed.). Edinburgh: Mercat Press. ISBN 0-901824-25-9. 
  7. ^ List of islands in the British Isles
  8. ^ Thompson, Francis (1968). Harris and Lewis, Outer Hebrides. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-4260-6. 
  9. ^ "Lewis-with-Harris". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. Retrieved 22 February 2009. 
  10. ^ Murray, W.H. (1966). The Hebrides. London: Heinemann. p. 2. OCLC 4998389. 
  11. ^ Johnstone et al (1990) pp. 240-43
  12. ^ General Register Office for Scotland (28 November 2003) Scotland's Census 2001 – Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  13. ^ "Scrol". 
  14. ^ "Harris Tweed". 


  • Johnstone, Scott; Brown, Hamish; and Bennet, Donald (1990) The Corbetts and Other Scottish Hills. Edinburgh. Scottish Mountaineering Trust. ISBN 0-907521-29-0

External links[edit]

  • Google map
  • hebrides.ca Home of the Quebec-Hebridean Scots who were cleared from Lewis to Quebec 1838-1920's

Coordinates: 58°15′N 6°40′W / 58.250°N 6.667°W / 58.250; -6.667