What’s in season in the Outer Hebrides for 2016

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Harris Tweed and Mountain Festival, Highland Games and rural shows are some of the the events hoping to attract visitors to the Isles this year.

Tourism businesses are gearing up for a busy season ahead with a number of things to see, do and experience.

VisitScotland’s Islands Manager, Alan Mackenzie, said: “There are many different and varied events that visitors of all ages can enjoy when visiting the Outer Hebrides through the summer months, be it a musical or sporting event, country fair or festival.

“It is always encouraging to hear of new events launching in the Outer Hebrides such as ‘The Heb – Race to the Edge’, as well as seeing the continuation of successful existing events, such as ‘Hebridean Celtic Festival’.”

Among the events taking place in the Outer Hebrides this year are the South Uist & Piping Society Highland Games and Berneray Week, both in July, the Hebridean Celtic Festival takes place on Lewis in July and during this month and August, the Harris Tweed Exhibition takes place.

This is a photographic project about Harris Tweed and the people who make it.

The Harris Mountain Festival in September is a showcase of Harris’s unique landscape, with a programme of speakers and outdoor activities and in October the Royal National Mod, Scotland’s premier Gaelic festival, comes to the Islands

Mr Mackenzie added: “The Outer Hebrides are bursting with things to see and do and places to stay. The islands boast excellent wildlife-watching opportunities, popular outdoor pursuits, fantastic walking choices, beautiful beaches and great visitor attractions.”

This year is Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture, and Design and the Outer Hebrides has very much embraced this.

The pioneering Clo Mor Festival of Harris Tweed takes place from July onwards and aims to celebrate and promote innovation in Harris Tweed on a national and international scale.

The event will shine a spotlight on the world-class designers working with Harris Tweed, whilst at the same time connecting local people and visitors to the achievements of the industry.

Another exhibition, Jim Pattison: Tartan Setts and Patterns Sticks takes place at the An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway, in August and September.

Mr Mackenzie coninued: “This year is all about innovation, architecture and design and we are delighted that the ‘Clo Mor Festival’ will be showcasing the innovation in Harris Tweed on both a national and international stage.

“We are also very much looking forward to welcoming the opening of Lews Castle Museum.

“The refurbishment and restoration of the castle, alongside the development and construction of a new museum and archive, are amongst the most exciting and innovative projects completed in the Outer Hebrides in recent years.”

The Outer Hebrides are also popular with ‘set-jetters’ – people inspired to visit a location after seeing it on film or television.

Most recently, the Shiant Isles, off Lewis, feature in ‘The BFG’ (Big Friendly Giant), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month.

Alan Mackenzie concluded: “Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it creates jobs, sustains communities and provides a shop window for business activity.

“The visitor economy causes a ripple effect that touches every industry, business and community in the region.

Pictured above the hills of Harris will be a draw to visitors in September for the Mountain Festival.