Last modified: 2019-12-07 by rob raeside
Keywords: hebrides | lewis | barra | gigha | scotland | cross: scandinavian | western isles | lymphad |
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The Hebrides are grouped into the Outer Hebrides or the Western Isles (na
h-Eileanan An-Iar) and the Inner Hebrides (na h-Eileanan A-staigh).
The following islands make up the Outer Hebrides: Lewis (Leòdhas),
Harris (Na Hearadh), North Uist (Uibhist a Tuath), Benbecula
(Beinn na Bhadhla), South Uist (Uibhist a Deas), and Barra
(Barraigh). The following islands make up the Inner Hebrides: Skye (an
t-Eilean Sgitheanach), Rhum (Rùm), Eigg (Eige), Muck
(Eilean nam Muc), Canna (Canaigh), Mull (Muile), Iona
(I), Coll (Colla), Tiree (Tiriodh), Islay (Ile),
Jura (Diùra) and Colonsay (Colbhasa).
Chris Pinette, 23 March 1998
by Pascal Gross
The western isles flag flown outside the council offices in Stornoway is yellow with three black lymphads one in each top corner and one in the bottom middle divided in the centre with a blue &
white striped wavy band.
Neil MacDonald, 27 September 2001
Based on a shield on a
Western Isles government web page I
have drawn what might be the flag (based on the description above).
Pascal Gross, 18 March 2003
I've just seen a news report which
showed the Western Isles Council flag flying. The flag is almost identical to
Pascal's reconstruction, except for the white oar-ports. It's definitely a
banner of the arms, Or, a Fess Wavy Barry Azure and Argent, three Lymphads in
Danny Farquhar, 14 January 2005
According photos from the last two
editions of the Islands Games, the Western Isles use this flag with the pennant
(on the ships) painted red.
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 10 July 2007
A would-be flag for the Outer Hebrides as a whole is presented at
It is clearly derived from the flag of Western Isles Council flag but displays
only one large black lymphad, without the oars, on yellow field. Its origin is
yet to be determined.
Tomislav Todorovic, 7 March 2019
by Chris Pinette
This flag is only illustrated in Alfred Znamierowski, The World Encyclopedia of Flags. It is my understanding that the 'national flag' shown there is based on a misunderstanding of a badge grant to the Western Isles council. The badge with the lymphad was indeed granted by the Scottish heraldic authority. However, an ensign with a badge is a different matter and requires separate authorization.
The following item appeared in Flagscan No. 30, 1993, p. 20:
Roman Klimes in no. 12 of Flaggen, Wappen und Siegel, 1992, ascribes a flag to the Western Isles - the Hebrides. It is a British blue ensign with the badge ... of a sailing ship, black on white, in the fly. It was introduced Sept. 9, 1976. Klimes gives as his source The Lyon Register, No. 51.
Information given by R.M. Urquhart in his book Scottish
Civic Heraldry, London: Heraldry Today, 1979, p. 78, makes
it clear that 9 September 1979 is the date of the grant of
arms and a badge to the Western Isles council. Urquhart quotes
as source the same volume of Lyon's Register as mentioned in
Flagscan. He remarks that the grant of a badge is unusual
in that 'This is the first example of the granting of a badge
to a Scottish Local Authority'. He does not mention the badge
being placed on an ensign.
Jan Oskar Engene, 18 and 21 December 1999
When I wrote to Jos Poels about this Blue Ensign two years
ago he replied: "As far as I know there is no evidence for the
fact that this flag was legally adopted. I remember that I
discussed this with William Crampton. In the documentation of
the Flag Institute there is no trace of the existence of such
David Prothero, 21 December 1999
This flag is used by the Western Isles when they play at the Island Games, or
is, at the very least, used by the International Island Games Association as a
representation of the Western Islands [on their website]. The use of this flag
can be seen at
Shane Markle, 14 July 2006
That's not really an example of the use of a flag, though, more of the use of
a flag graphic to indicate an entity on a web site.
Colin Dobson, 15 July 2006
For whatever it is worth, a photo at a Shetland website shows the Orkney,
Western Isles, and Shetland flags being carried at the Island Games, and it is
the Western Isles Council flag, not the Blue
Ensign being carried for the Western Isles. See
Ned Smith, 15 July 2006
A Great Bernera flag definitely exists and has the authorisation of the Lord
Lyon through an application made by Le Compte Mirrlees, well loved laird of the
island. To view this flag (a saltire on alternate blue and red with Manx legs
and a birlinn) do a search for Bernera islands stamps. The flag appears on these
Angus Macdonald, 28 January 2006
See the smallish thing at the upper right of this image
António Martins-Tuválkin, 30 January 2006
by André Coutanche
Gigha (the middle 'g' is silent - "Ghee-a") is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, lying west of the Kintyre peninsula. On 15 March 2002 it was officially handed over to its inhabitants after a successful campaign by the Gigha Heritage Trust to buy the island. To celebrate the occasion a new flag was flown. It uses the logo of the Gigha Heritage Trust which was designed by Willie McSporran as the result of a competition held in November 2001. The logo was painted by Keith Helm. For more information, see www.gigha.org.
André Coutanche, 27 March 2002