Benbecula – The Mountain of the Ford in the Outer Hebrides

The island of Benbecula gaines its name from the Gaelic Beinn na Faoghla, meaning ‘Mountain of the Ford’. The island’s solitary hill, Rueval, is a stepping stone between North and South Uist, which are connected by a series of causeways. Before the causeways were built, travelling between the islands would have meant traversing dangerous stretches of tidal sands.

The island is considerably flat and the west coast boasts beautiful beaches, backed by machair. There are many points of archeological interest on the island, including the ruins of the 14th century Borve Castle, several standing stones, the remains of two chambered cairns, several duns and some remains of a monestary at Balivanich.

Benbecula’s main town is Balivanich (or Baile a’ Mhanaich in Gaelic), meaning ‘town of monks’, which is situated on the northwest of the island. The name refers back to the 6th century when a monastery stood in the area. In WWII an airfield was established and it continues to be used today by the military as part of their Missile Testing Range, as well as by commercial airlines, which provide daily flights to Glasgow, Stornoway and Barra. The town also has a military base and hospital.

1 week camper van road-trip with Hebridean Campervan Holidays 


  • The Outer Hebrides Guide Book Third Edition by Charles Tait
  • Explore: The Outer Hebrides 2016-2017

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Benbecula – The Mountain of the Ford in the Outer Hebrides

by Uncover Travel time to read: 1 min
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