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Howmore youth hostel.jpg
Howmore youth hostel
Howmore is located in Outer Hebrides
Howmore shown within the Outer Hebrides
Language Scottish Gaelic
OS grid reference NF765362
Civil parish
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district HS8
Dialling code 01878
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
57°18′07″N 7°22′19″W / 57.302°N 7.372°W / 57.302; -7.372Coordinates: 57°18′07″N 7°22′19″W / 57.302°N 7.372°W / 57.302; -7.372

Howmore (Scottish Gaelic: Togh Mòr / Tobha Mor[1]) lies on the island of South Uist to the southwest of Loch Druidibeg. The mountain of Haarsal rises to 139 m (456 ft) to the east and immediately south is the smaller settlement of Howbeg. Howmore is also within the parish of South Uist.[2]


The area is largely flat but is dominated by the mountain Beinn Mhòr. A rewarding day's hillwalking can be had on Beinn Mhor and Hecla [606 m (1,988 ft)] - South Uist's highest hills. Loch Druidibeg Nature Reserve, 3 km (1.9 mi) to the north, is an important site for breeding greylag geese and a sanctuary for the corncrake, now, within Britain, almost unique to the Western Isles. Howmore is situated alongside the A865.[3] The ruins of Flora MacDonald's birthplace can be found near Milton, 11 km (6.8 mi) south of Howmore, marked with a commemorative cairn.

On the southern slopes of Beinn Mhor is the wooded area of Allt Volagir, one of the few areas of natural woodland left in the Hebrides.


Howmore ruins

The village is perhaps best known for its remarkable collection of ruined churches and chapels. The most striking remains are of the Teampull Mor, the "Large Church" or St Mary's, of which only part of the east gable remains. This church probably dates back to the 13th century and it was used as the parish church.

The islands were all wooded once until the arrival of the Vikings who are traditionally blamed for clearing the trees (though this fact is disputed).



At the time of the Reformation, Howmore turned to Protestantism, though 95% of the population of South Uist remained Roman Catholic. Howmore Church, built in 1858, is therefore rather unusual; doubly so as it is one of the few churches in Scotland with a central Communion table. The church is white-harled and used as a landmark by fishermen off the west coast.


Howmore is also home to one of Scotland's best collections of thatched buildings. The youth hostel is operated by Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust. It is located in a white-painted thatched building of remarkable charm: and with stunning views to the east across ruined churches towards the peak of Hecla.



  1. ^ "Overview of Howmore". Scottish Places. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Details of Howmore". Scottish Places. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "A865/South Uist". Sabre. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 

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