FAQs

FAQs

How can I find out what events are happening in Scotland's Islands?

Check out the Festivals/Events page on this website, which covers a wide range of events.

How can I get to Scotland's Islands?

Please visit the travel page on this website which will direct you to a wide range of transport links.

Do I need to book accommodation in advance?

A lot of accommodation providers are listed on www.visitscotland.com and there are also a lot of excellent accommodation providers that are not members of VisitScotland - you can find out about them through a general search on the internet. It is advisable to book accommodation in advance, especially if you are travelling during peak holiday periods or to a special event. If you arrive without accommodation, staff in the VisitScotland Visitor Information Centres will be pleased to do their best to help you.

When is the best time to visit Scotland's Islands?

There is year round activity in Scotland's Islands and with our mild climate there is never a bad time to visit. Depending on what you are looking for though, some months of the year are better than others. Weather-wise, you will get the best temperatures between May and September but the winter months are equally beautiful. There is year-round wildlife activity - an incredible variety of birds, whales, seals and dolphins, deer and otter. On the social side June, July and August are the busiest with lots of cultural music festivals, dances and events happening. The Christmas and New Year period is a fun one with dances and firework displays. On the activity side, the surf gets better from September onwards and there are also pursuits like golfing, walking and fishing (especially sea angling) which are available all year round.

How can we find Arts and Crafts products or outlets on the islands?

Please have a look at the weblinks below relating to Arts and Crafts Outlets in Scotland's Islands:

Outer Hebrides:

http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/artsandculture/documents/Made%20in%20the%20Outer%20Hebrides%202010.pdf

Orkney:

http://www.orkneyholidays.com/orklink/crafts.htm

Shetland:

http://www.flavourofshetland.com/crafts

Argyll and Bute:

www.argyll-arts.co.uk

North Ayrshire:

http://www.ayrshire-chamber.org/directory.asp

Highlands and Islands:

http://www.hi-arts.co.uk/Guide/gallery-guide.htm

 

What is the weather like?

The North Atlantic Drift keeps the water temperatures around our islands relatively warm. This year-round current which originates in the Caribbean gives us relatively mild temperatures which means it very rarely goes below freezing in the winter and that we don't experience the uncomfortable heat of some inland locations in the summer. Cool sea breezes characterise our summers and although the winters are mild you can occasionally experience some of the wildest and stormiest gales around.

How can I travel within the Islands?

You can get around the islands by bus, car, bike, boat, yacht, ferry, on foot, or between some of the islands by plane.

Do you have any modern amenities?

A common misconception about Scotland's Islands generally is that we don't have televisions or electricity…! We actually live in a very modern environment. Some of the islands are at the forefront of telecommunications with some very successful businesses relocating here for a better work/life balance, including the peaceful environment, dedicated workforce and great technological facilities. We also have some fantastic events and activities throughout the islands hosting famous musicians and performers from around the world.

So what happens on a Sunday?

All the islands are different but Sunday observance is an important aspect of the Island's culture. On this day people take time to relax in their peaceful surroundings. There are ferries and flights to and from a number of the islands on a Sunday but a lot of shops throughout the islands remain closed.  A number of hotels and some restaurants are open for meals on Sundays and locals and visitors alike are free to enjoy the great outdoors any day of the week.  Local churches welcome visitors to their congregations and you may be able to hear the beautiful sound of Gaelic psalm singing in some areas, depending which island you are visiting.

Where can I hear Gaelic spoken?

A significant number of islanders within the Hebrides are Gaelic-speakers and Gaelic is used throughout the islands and parts of the mainland everyday. For many of the older generation it was their first language and they had to learn to speak English at school. These days in the islands, everyone is fluent in English and it is generally the predominant language but there are still lots of opportunities to hear Gaelic spoken. The numerous feis (Gaelic music festivals) and the local mods (Gaelic competitions) provide a great opportunity to hear Gaelic. For further information about the Gaelic language, please visit - www.gaelic-rings.com

What other languages or dialects are spoken in Scotland's Islands?

In Orkney, the Orcadian language is now more or less extinct but there are still elements of it used through their dialect, which in itself sounds beautifully melodic. For further information, please visit - http://www.orkneycommunities.co.uk/OHS/.

Shetlandic is spoken in Shetland, which is an interesting combination of dialects and languages brought together to form one. This is structured round a Scandinavian base and then heavily influenced by people from different areas who settled in Shetland many, many years ago. There is a soft and mesmerising tone to Shetlandic. For further information, please visit - http://scottish-heirloom.com/scottish-blog/index.php/2011/01/17/shetlandic.

What is a ceilidh?

Traditionally a ceilidh was an informal social gathering in someone's home with story-telling, poetry and Gaelic singing. Now ceilidhs usually refer to dances or musical gatherings which take place in public venues. The dancing usually covers traditional Scottish Highland dances such as 'Strip the Willow', 'The Military Two Step' and the "St. Bernard's Waltz." These dances are great fun and can be for couples or groups. These dances are fairly easy to learn quite quickly!

What is Harris Tweed?

One of the world's most desirable wool textiles in the world, Harris Tweed, is produced in the Outer Hebrides. Harris Tweed, traditionally more often associated with the country lifestyle of shooting, fishing and hunting, it has evolved into a fashionable and modern material which is very popular with fashion designers at the moment. Traditionally the wool was gathered from the sheep and dyed using a number of natural sources found in the islands, such as lichen, which gave the tweed its unmistakable palette. The wool was then cleaned, spun and woven in the islanders by trained weavers and their family. To obtain the prestigious mark of the Harris Tweed orb, the wool must be woven in the Outer Hebrides or else it can not be called 'real' Harris Tweed. Vibrant colours and an interesting array of designs have greatly extended its customer market.

 

Scotland’s Islands - the events, exhibitions and activities happening all year round.

We list every event we hear of, large and small, taking place on the islands of Scotland or taking place elsewhere and relating to Scotland's Islands. They provide a unique opportunity to savour the diversity and excitement of island life. Check our our facebook page for general updates too - http://www.facebook.com/ScotlandsIslands.  


There has never been a better time for you to visit Scotland's Islands, to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and unspoilt beaches, to get close to dramatic wild-life, learn about our heritage, participate in a great range of activities, and enjoy our music, food and drink.


All this on some of our 99 inhabited islands large and small (and many more uninhabited) accessible by sea and air in six regions: Argyll & Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Outer Hebrides and Shetland.

 

 



Sign up for our newsletter