Arial view over Stornoway marina towards the town behind

Outer Hebrides

Home of Harris Tweed and a buoyant tourism industry.

About the Outer Hebrides

It is worn all around the world, but it is woven across a string of islands in the Atlantic. Traditional Harris Tweed has become just one example of how the industry of the Outer Hebrides has impacted well beyond their shores.

A buoyant tourism and textiles industry flourishes across this archipelago, from Lewis in the North to Vatersay in the south.

Gaelic and Celtic culture and language bind together this chain of communities off the west coast of Scotland. Fifteen islands are inhabited, with the commercial and cultural hub of Stornoway being home to over 6,000 people.

Employment opportunities have grown with the development of Life Science industries in the region. Leading chemical producer BASF, which produces highly concentrated omega-3 fatty acids for pharmaceutical, clinical and general use, is a major employer on Lewis.

Atlantic rollers crashing along the miles of unspoiled beaches and reef breaks make the Outer Hebrides a world-renowned haven for surfers. On land, ancient relics such as the Calanish Standing Stones, Carloway Broch and Lews Castle also draw visitors by the thousand each year.

Gaelic and Celtic influences are upheld and protected in the region, each treasured as carefully as the stunning, yet fragile, natural environment.

Journey through the Outer Hebrides video.


The new multi-purpose deep water terminal in Stornoway is expected to be operational in 2024 widening access to the growing cruise market for businesses and communities.

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The Outer Hebrides is an amazing place, with a thriving local economy and unique history and heritage. Watch our video for a feel for this spectacular area.

We support businesses and communities across the Islands to develop and grow. If you're looking for support, get in touch to see how we can work with you. 

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Outer Hebrides in numbers




inhabited islands


growth forecast in construction industry by 2028


workers in agriculture, fishing and forestry than Scottish average



Arnish is located four miles from the town of Stornoway in the Isle of Lewis and is home to one of Scotland's key renewable energy manufacturing sites. 

We lease 48ha (119 acres) of land from the Stornoway Trust. Since it took over the lease in 1999, we have invested £23m including installing and upgrading rolling and welding equipment at the fabrication yard. There are currently two tenants at the park, Bakkafrost and Hebridean Seaweed.

The site has been developed as a prime location of the renewable energy sector. It offers excellent opportunities for national and international investments in both the renewable energy and oil and gas sectors. The site provides a range of fully serviced plots with deep water and heavy load quay facilities with great connectivity and sea and air links.

The yard at Arnish is established as an efficient facility for the production of pipes, piles, monopiles and devices for the energy industry. Plans are underway to extend the quay at Arnish, which currently has a water depth of 6.5m, by providing improved facilities for ships over 156m in length that cannot currently berth alongside.

Is Arnish your ideal location?

Get in touch to see how we can help.

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Seaweed processor Hebridean Seaweed, invested in a new factory at Arnish and now employs around 20 people. The company harvests Ascophyllum nodosum – better known as knotted wrack which is completely sustainable and organic. It supplies markets all over the world and demand for its products is increasing. We awarded funding of £359,000 in early 2019 as part of the firm’s £7m expansion.



Who we work with

Find out about some of the projects we've supported across the Outer Hebrides. If you think we could work with you too, please get in touch.

Black Bay Studio

Unique island recording studio develops talent to reach world-wide markets.

An Lanntair

Stornoway arts venue transforms its operations while connecting local makers to global markets.

Langass Lodge

Outer Hebrides hotel, Langass Lodge will stay open after the company secured a £87,597 grant from the Scottish Government’s Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.


The tiny island packing an ultrafast social and economic punch

Our blogs

Have a look at some of our recent blogs for a different perspective on life and the economy in the Outer Hebrides.

HIE Board visits the Outer Hebrides

Alistair Dodds, Chair of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, shared his thoughts from the HIE Board’s recent visit to Lewis and Harris (22-23 April). 

Seachdain na Gàidhlig / World Gaelic Week

Is e Seachdain na Gàidhlig a th’ ann agus tha mi a’ cuimhneachadh air an àite chudromach shòisealta is eaconamach a tha aig Gàidhlig ann an coimhearsnachdan beòthail fulangach.

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