Southern Isles
The island of Benbecula is sandwiched between the islands of North and South Uist in the Outer Hebrides or Western Isles, some 20 miles due west of Skye. These three Islands, together with Barra and Eriskay, are often referred to as 'the Southern Isles'. They are joined by causeways which divide the Atlantic Ocean, on the west, from the Minch, on the east, providing access to the two ferry ports of Lochmaddy on North Uist and Lochboisdale on South Uist. Regular ferries are operated to Uig on Skye and Oban on the mainland by Caledonian MacBrayne. Benbecula Airport has a daily flight (excluding Sunday) to and from Glasgow as well as an inter-island service, Monday to Friday to Barra, and also to Stornoway, which links with Inverness and Edinburgh.
The Hebrides enjoy a temperate climate, modified by the effect of the Gulf Stream. Winters are mild, often windy and wet, but the temperature rarely falls below freezing, and snow is rare and doesn't usually last long. Spring tends to be colder and very windy, but there can be exceptions! In summer, Benbecula enjoys more hours of sunshine (daylight hours?) than Edinburgh, but while it may be warm, it is never hot ! Beach
Birds Eye View of Balivanich
Benbecula has a population of about 1,000 living in an area of some 12 square miles. The main centre is the village of Balivanich in the north, the administrative capital of the Southern Isles with an Airport, Council Offices, Bank, Post Office, Laundry, a variety of shops, and a Primary School of about 90 pupils.
Swimming pool at Lionacleit
The Secondary School, Sgoil Lionacleit, is a Community School with facilities open to the public: library, swimming pool, games hall, fitness suite, playing fields, museum, cafeteria, etc. with a roll of just under 400 pupils. Both schools recently received very positive reports from Her Majesty's Inspectors of Education.
Adjacent to Sgoil Lionacleit is the Adult Education Centre, Colaisde Bheinn na Faoghla (Lews Castle College Benbecula Campus ).
Benbecula's health-care needs are served by a recently-built hospital in Balivanich with twenty nine acute/long-stay beds, serving the Southern Isles from North Uist to Barra, and a caring GP's practice - The Benbecula Medical Practice- situated only 200 metres from the Manse. The Community Dental Officer has his clinic at Sgoil Lionacleit.
Lobster Boats Highland Cow Relaxing by the Road
Many of the indigenous island population own, and live on, crofts, and are involved in crofting as a secondary occupation, with fishing, fish-farming, service industries (tourist-related , local authority, etc ) building and construction, and the missile range, all providing a variety of employment opportunities.