Thousand years of inexorable transformation
More than 500 islands and islets make up the Inner and Outer Hebrides but only a few dozen are inhabited. The region had a sudden and dramatic decline in population during the nineteenth century when tenants were evicted by landlords clearing land to establish sheep farming. The western Isles have been inhabited for over six thousand years; when humans arrived to populate and work this land they quickly developed a unique husbandry that was guided by, and ideally suited to the local environmental conditions. This unique blend of geography and human activity through stock husbandry and cultivation gave origin to Machair, one of the rarest ecosystem in Europe and unique to Western Scotland and north-west Ireland.