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The Minch: Map

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Map of the Hebrides, showing the Minch
The Little Minch, view towards Loch na Madadh


The Minch (Scottish Gaelic An Cuan Sgìth, Cuan na Hearadh, An Cuan Leòdhasach), also called The North Minch, is a strait in north-west Scotlandmarker, separating the north-west Highlands, and the northern Inner Hebridesmarker, from Lewismarker and Harrismarker in the Outer Hebridesmarker. It was known as "Skotlandsfjörð" ("Scotland's fjord/firth") in Old Norse.

The Lower Minch (an Cuan Canach), also called The Little Minch, is to the south and separates Skyemarker from the lower Outer Hebrides: North Uistmarker, Benbeculamarker, South Uistmarker, Barramarker etc. It opens into the Sea of the Hebridesmarker. The combination of the Minch, the Sea of the Hebrides, and a stretch reaching Irelandmarker constitutes the Inner Seas of the west coast of Scotland.

The Minch ranges from 20 to 45 miles (30 to 70 km) wide and is approximately 70 miles (110 km) long. It is believed to be the site of the biggest meteorite ever to hit the British Isles. The Lower Minch is about 15 miles (25 km) wide.

The Minch Project is a collaboration of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Highland Councilmarker and the Scottish Natural Heritage which aims to reduce pollution, minimise erosion, minimise litter and promote tourism — in particular wildlife tourism such as dolphin watching — in the Minch. Pollution is a particular concern as the Minch is a busy shipping lane — two and a half million tonnes of shipping pass through the channel each month.

Commercial ferry services across the Minch are operated by Caledonian MacBrayne.

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