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The Hebrides Islands, Scotland's Wild Wonderland
Scotland is known for its bagpipes, kilts, and the Loch ness Monster, yet not many people know of one Scotland most enigmatic treasures, the Hebrides Islands. The Hebrides Island has been an inspiration to artists, scientists, poets and travelers. This is a rural wonderland full of beautiful scenery. A poetic beauty with a very austere character. More than 500 islands and islets make up the inner and outer Hebrides. The islands are surrounded by very rough seas, which make it hard on even the most experienced sailors. Living in the Hebrides can only be described in terms of struggle and survival.
In past centuries Celts and Viking fought over these islands. At the present time, due to austere conditions, the islands have only a few brave inhabitants. In National Geographic Magazine, the photos of this mystical wonderland are breath taking. The majesty of the rocks, mountains and lush meadows just blow you away.
Even the most majestic cathedral couldn’t match the beauty and splendor of Staffa Fingal’s Cave. With an entrance of six stories high, Fingal’s Cave extends 230 feet of awesome beauty, which simply takes your breath away. German composer Karl Klingermann wrote the following in his journal when visiting Fingal’s Cave: “its many pillars making it look like the inside of an immense organ, black and resounding, absolutely without purpose and quite alone, the wide gray sea within and without.”
German composer Mendelssohn was also inspired by Fingal’s Cave. He wrote his Hebrides Overture as a tribute to this place. Historian Larry Todd, when commenting on Mendelssohn's overture, stated the following: “romantic tone painting at its purest.” English painter J.M.W. Turner went to Fingal’s Cave in 1831 and painted this wonder of nature, yet his painting does not begin to tell of the marvelous splendor of Fingal’s Cave.
Due to its austere environment, a small community in Hirta, the largest of the Hebrides islands, which grew barley oats and potatoes, and raised sheep, chose to journey to Australia instead of staying in this island wonderland. By 1930 the remaining 36 residents, who could no longer battle with the elements, chose to petition the government to evacuate them from their homes. They then migrated to the Scotland’s mainland. The Hebrides are now declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The island is now a habitat for birds and other animals, and perhaps a few brave people.
These breathe taking, yet austere islands that have been the inspiration of poets, composers, artists, and scientist has been returned to its original inhabitants, its wildlife. This island still attracts some travelers, who want something out of the ordinary. During England’s industrial revolution the Hebrides Island were like a spiritual refuge for the famous writer and poet, Sir Walter Scott. Sir Walter Scott wrote the following in regards to the Hebrides: “every valley has its battle, and every stream its strong.’ His novels and poems were inspired by these majestic islands.
Scotland is a country that possesses great beauty and mystery, from the enigmatic Loch ness monster to its beautiful traditions of bagpipe music and Highland games. Scotland’s rural wonderland, the Hebrides Island has a forbidding, yet inspiring scenery, which cannot be forgotten, yet due to its rough terrain, will remain vastly uninhabited.