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This Page: Books and Maps

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Maps, guide books and information about the Outer Hebrides

Our recommended reading list

A little light reading before your holiday in the Outer Hebrides could tell you more about locations that you've already decided to visit and reveal some interesting excursions that perhaps even local folk are unaware of.

If you're booking a holiday with us we're happy to supply you directly with our 'top three' at published price (postage free).

Our own brochure, which you can read online, is also a great source of detailed information - on page 22 there's a wide range of links to activities, attractions and organisers - just click this link to view the brochure.

Western Isles guide books and maps available direct when you book a holiday with us.

barra beach airport isle of barra hotels

The Western Isles Guide Book

 Charles Tait £12.95

224 pages, paperback.

Newly updated for 2012, we're expecting delivery of these handy guides from Charles by April 2012.

Very comprehensive, with lots of photos, excerpts from OS maps, notes about history, environment, wildlife and more.

Outer Hebrides Leisure and Tourist Map: Scale 1:200,000 (3.16 miles to the inch) Philip's Red books £4.99

Outer Hebrides Leisure and Tourist Map - One copy is supplied free for every holiday party booked,

Scale 1:200,000 

(3.16 miles to the inch) 

Philip's Red books £4.99.  

Don't be fooled by this map, which initially looks like a poor relation to an OS map.  It's not detailed enough for serious walking, but we think it's brilliant for car touring

There's plenty of road detail and a multitude of points of interest are marked - many of which few local residents would even know about.,

It soon becomes clear that the use of dual English/Gaelic place names where it's appropriate and Gaelic place names where that's how they're signposted is rather useful. 

Monty Halls Outer Hebrides Walks Booklet

Monty Halls Walks Booklet


16 pages, full colour..  

Not a vast amount of paper for the price but it's less than 70p per excellent walk and 70% of its cost supports local conservation projects.  A small price for insider knowledge on a location that you could have passed without even knowing about it.  Good directions, illustrations, photos and information.

A must for anyone who enjoys walking in the islands and there's a walk for each of Barra, Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist and Berneray.  On their Great Hebridean Escape, Monty and Reubs certainly seemed to enjoy the walks and he was responsible for the restoration of some of these trails, which had fallen into disrepair. 

You'll find most of the following at or, better still, take a browse in local shops when you are here and support our economy.  Prices shown are publisher's and you may find the books for less, if you shop around.

The Baltic bookshop in Stornoway normally has an excellent range of both guides, historical and 'souvenir' books. 

Please understand that descriptions are based on my (our web-editor's) personal opinion, so yours may differ - in other words, we recommend that you check out the content for yourself, rather than buying 'blind'.  I picked these titles with the Outer Hebrides uppermost in mind, but some have Inner Hebridean islands in them, as well.

If you find another title that's particularly useful, please let us know and we'll add it here.

Walks Western Isles: Luke Williams: £2.99,  40 pages

The best guide I've found and tried out for the casual walker who wants to get away from the car, but perhaps not yomp over every crocodile infested swamp.  A lot of the 34 walks are within the average person's capability and the directions/line illustrations are easy to follow.

An Eye on the Hebrides: Mairi Hedderwick: £10.99, 128 pages, paperback.

A good fun read with line drawings that capture the essence of the area.  One of my favourites.

The Outer Hebrides: Malcolm MacGregor: £14.99, 112 pages, hardcover.

A mix of history, geography and photography - a good way to identify some striking viewpoints from which to take your own images.

Riddoch on the Outer Hebrides: £12.99, 192 pages, paperback.

I enjoyed this journal of Lesley's trip through the Hebrides.  It's more about the people she met and talked with than the journey (by cycle) itself, so don't expect it to be a guide book or a treatise on Hebridean cycling.

Lewis and Harris: Francis Thompson: £6.99, 112 pages, paperback.  Also a similar companion book, Uists and Barra.

A guide to the islands' heritage, landscape, climate, flora and fauna.  Decent size colour photos and a reasonable amount of detail in the text.  Perhaps you'll find it less comprehensive than the Tait guide, but still a valuable companion. 

Callanish and Other Megalithic Sites of the Outer Hebrides: Gerald Ponting: £5.99, 64 pages, paperback.

From 1974 till 1984, Ponting lived on the Isle of Lewis, near the village of Callanish and he's an acknowledged expert on the standing stones of Callanish. If there can be an expert on a subject for which there is possibly less fact than fiction.  Nobody really knows the truth about the stones, but many people convince themselves they do.

The Loud Halo: Lillian Beckwith (autobiographical - perhaps with a little fiction thrown in) paperback - out of print, but worth hunting for at the charity shop

My all time favourite Hebridean read, which alternates between occasions that were hilarious, happy, sad, fascinating, mysterious and more.  The author describes her days living on a croft - probably in the 1960s, the characters and the way of life at that time.  

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