advertisement

351km (218 miles) NW of Glasgow; 90km (56 miles) NW of Mallaig; 396km (246 miles) NW of Edinburgh; 55km (34 miles) S of Stornoway

Harris, south of Lewis but really part of the same island, has a different geography. North Harris is full of mountains, dominated by the Clisham, which at 789m (2,600 ft.) is the highest peak in the Outer Hebrides. Harris may not have as many ancient relics as Lewis, but most visitors agree that the mountains, beaches, and scenic vistas make up for it. The beaches in the west are good for strolling, swimming (if you're hardy), or camping; the bays in the east are ideal for fishing and sailing.

The locals, some 3,000 in all, are called Hearach, and they're different from the people of Lewis, even speaking with a different accent. If you arrive in Lewis, you can drive to Harris on a single-lane road that connects the two areas. As you go along the rugged terrain, you might meet another car, in which case use one of the "passing places." No matter what, drive slowly because sheep might suddenly scamper in front of your wheels. The distance from Stornoway, the capital of Lewis, to Tarbert, the capital of Harris, is 55km (34 miles).

Many visitors prefer to take the ferry from the little port of Uig on the Isle of Skye; it heads for Harris Monday through Saturday, and transports both cars and passengers. Even in the busiest season, Harris isn't overrun. From Harris you can also make connections to Lochmaddy on North Uist.

Harris has long been known for its hand-weaving and tweed. Although that industry has now passed to Stornoway, you can still buy Harris tweed jackets in Harris. In summer, you see them displayed on the walls of roadside sheds, selling for very good prices.

The island is bisected by two long sea lochs that meet at Tarbert, the single-street main village. Whatever you need in the way of supplies, you should pick up here -- otherwise you'll be out of luck. If you're touring by car, also fill up with petrol (gas) here. Ask at the tourist center about the island bus tours conducted in summer. For an adventure, take the car ferry, which runs regularly across the sound, to the little fishing community of Scalpay, an offshore island.