Lewis (Scottish Gaelic: Leòdhas, pronounced [ʎɔː.əs̪], also Isle of Lewis) is the northern part of Lewis and Harris, the largest island of the Western Isles or Outer Hebrides (an archipelago) of Scotland. The total area of Lewis is 683 square miles (1,770 km2).
Lewis is, in general, the lower lying part of Lewis and Harris, with the other part, Harris, being more mountainous. The flatter, more fertile land means Lewis contains the largest settlement, Stornoway, and three-quarters of the population of the Western Isles. Beyond human habitation, the island's diverse habitats are home to an assortment of flora and fauna, such as the golden eagle, red deer and seals and are recognised in a number of conservation areas.
Lewis is of Presbyterian tradition with a rich history, having once been part of the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. Today, life is very different from elsewhere in Scotland with Sabbath observance, the Gaelic language and peat cutting retaining more importance than elsewhere. Lewis has a rich cultural heritage as can be seen from its myths and legends as well as the local literary and musical traditions.
By Dean Hanley