Local services in Outer Hebrides
The Outer Hebrides has a close-knit community of schools, with many being amongst the most remote in all the UK. Western Isles Council is responsible for four secondary schools across the islands: the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway (around 1,000 students), Sir E Scott School in Tarbert (approx. 187 students), Sgoil Lionacleit in Benbecula (approx. 256 students) and Castlebay in Barra (approx. 52 students). Overall, the area is relatively reliant on primary industries and the public sector, and fishing and fish farming are vulnerable to environmental impacts, changing market pressures, and European legislation. National Rail services are available for onward journeys, from stations at Oban, which has direct services to Glasgow. However, parliamentary approval notwithstanding, plans in the 1890s to lay a railway connection to Ullapool were unable to obtain enough funding. There are scheduled flights from Stornoway, Benbecula and Barra airports both inter-island and to the mainland. Barra's airport is claimed to be the only one in the world to have scheduled flights landing on a beach. At high water the runways are under the sea, so flight times vary with the tide.