Feb 2011

Celebrating Scotland’s islands

The Year of Scotland's Islands, which kicks off in April, will be a celebration of the country's 99 inhabited islands with events, exhibitions and activities taking place across the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland.

Featured events throughout the year include the Shetland Folk Festival, the Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival and Scotland's biggest Gaelic festival the Royal National Mod which returns to Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in 2011.

All of the events will help promote the cultures, creativity, landscape and produce of Scotland's islands.

Scotland's islands: facts and figures

  • Scotland has 790 islands, 99 of which are inhabited.
  • According to the 2001 census, Scotland's inhabited islands were home to 99,739 people.
  • Scotland's islands include thirteen Munros (mountains with a height over 3,000 feet or 914.4 metres).
  • The largest island is Lewis & Harris in the Outer Hebrides.
  • The shortest island names are Bu in Orkney and Oa on Islay.
  • George Orwell retreated to the Isle of Jura to write his 1949 masterpiece 1984.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson is supposed to have based Treasure Island upon a map of Unst, the most northerly populated island in Britain.
  • The Shetland Islands have been included in a list of the world's top 10 tourist sites by travel guide Lonely Planet.
  • There are almost 3000 Neolithic sites on Orkney alone, including Skara Brae, the best preserved prehistoric village in Northern Europe.
  • The archipelago of St Kilda in the Atlantic, 64 km west-northwest of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, is one of only 24 global locations to be awarded 'mixed' World Heritage Status for its natural and cultural significance.

Follow keen traveller Kenny Taylor as he travels around the Scottish Isles in 80 monuments

VisitScotland: Plan your trip to the Scottish Islands