Benbecula (/bɛnˈbɛkjʊlə/ (listen); Scottish Gaelic: Beinn nam Fadhla[6] or Beinn na Faoghla)[7][8] is an island of the Outer Hebrides in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Scotland. In the 2011 census, it had a resident population of 1,283 with a sizable percentage of Roman Catholics. It is in a zone administered by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar or the Western Isles Council. The island is about 12 kilometres (7 miles) from west to east and a similar distance from north to south. It lies between the islands of North Uist and South Uist and is connected to both by road causeways. Benbecula's main settlement and administrative centre is Balivanich (Scottish Gaelic: Baile a' Mhanaich, meaning "Town of the Monk").

Scottish Gaelic nameBeinn nam Fadhla
Pronunciation[peɲəˈvɤːlˠ̪ə] (listen)
Meaning of namehill of the fords
Benbecula is located in Outer Hebrides
Isle of Benbecula shown within the Outer Hebrides
OS grid referenceNF807525
Coordinates57.446°N 7.320°W / 57.446; -7.320
Physical geography
Island groupUist and Barra
Area8,203 ha (31+58 sq mi)
Area rank16[1]
Highest elevationRuabhal, 124 m (407 ft)[2]
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Council areaNa h-Eileanan Siar
Population rank11[1]
Population density15.9/km2 (41/sq mi)[3][4]
Largest settlementBalivanich[2]

In 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie was caught in a storm and forced to land on Benbecula. The population of Benbecula were sympathetic to the Jacobite cause, and smuggled him off the island to safety, as the song has it: "over the sea to Skye".

In 2006, local residents took control of parts of the island in a community buy-out. The previous landowners, a sporting syndicate, sold their 372-square-kilometre (92,000-acre) estate, which included Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay for £4.5 million to a community-owned organisation known as Stòras Uibhist, which now manages the land in perpetuity.

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