Welcome to Benbecula

Benbecula in Gaelic is Beinn na Faoghla which means Mountain of the Ford. This is a very apt name for the island and it's solitary hill, Rueval, which is in fact a stepping stone between North and South Uist. The islands are connected by a series of causeways but once upon a time crossing to the Uists would mean fording the dangerous stretches of tidal sands.

Balivanich is also known by it's Gaelic name, Baile a' Mhanaich which means 'town of the monks'. This refers back to the 6th century when there was a monastery here and the ruins of Columba's Church can be found just south of the village. Balivanich is the main administrative centre on the island and here can be found a Post Office, hospital, primary school and several shops and cafes.

Explore Outer Hebrides Guide with Maps. 2015- 2016

Explore Outer Hebrides Guide with Maps. Click to view and download


The hamlet of Lionacleit is the home of the Uists' main secondary school, which also doubles as a community centre containing a swimming pool, cafeteria, sports facilities, a small museum and a library.

Benbecula has a long military history An airfield to the north, built during World War II, became the control centre for the Hebrides rocket range, established during the Cold War and is now Benbecula Airport, An army base was established  here in 1958 and is one of the main employers on the island as it is the headquarters for those who service the South Uist missile testing range. The airport was upgraded during 2001 and early 2002 in preparation for the Eurofighter Typhoon test programme. During the tests in April 2002, the £16 billion aircraft fired an Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile on the Hebrides test range, the first of this type of missile to be fired from a Eurofighter.

Click below for information about:

Isle of Lewis
Isle of Harris

Isle of North Uist
Isle of South Uist
Isle of Barra


Besides the range of popular Western Isles websites, we have composed a range of other website for places of interest, ranging from the Isles of Mull and Iona to  further afield we have produced websites for InvernessHobart in Tasmania and Almaty in Kazakhstan.

Our current gallery exhibitor Pippa Gatty is based on the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland. This beautiful illustrated atlas of the Western Islands was spotted last week by our keen-eyed cataloguer Ramona and is in desperate need of repair. If you'd like to sponsor this volume's restoration and receive a certificate of acknowledgement, either for yourself or as a gift, email quoting catalogue reference Um-9.

The Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society Manchester Literature Festival Mull Western Isles Weather Western Isles Western Isles Photos Scotland
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

I have not been able to find an easy way to access Scarista Beach using Google Maps/Google Earth. I heard it was easy but being that I am terrified of bees and ticks I really prefer not to walk through a machair. Is there a way to get to Scarista beach without walking through a lot of flowers and high grass? ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Thanks for sharing your #BigFitWalk photo from the Western Isles. ... See MoreSee Less

We had a good turn out at our #BigFitWalk on Friday 10th June. We walked along the sea front for a while, then carried on to our local airport and returned the same way. Everyone enjoyed it and we finished off our walk with refreshements back at our Caraidean Uibhist offices. We are planning to make walking a regular feature now. We have attached a photo from our event.

View on Facebook