Scotland is a majestic place, home to rich history, culture and geography. But not everything Scotland has to offer exists on its mainland; Scotland b
Scotland is a majestic place, home to rich history, culture and geography. But not everything Scotland has to offer exists on its mainland; Scotland boasts more than 700 islands, some of which offer unparalleled sights and activities. Here are just a few of Scotland’s must-visit islands, and the reasons you should consider them for a holiday destination.
Before we get into it, a note on access to these islands. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel to these islands has been limited – and even without a global pandemic, some of the islands are harder to get to than others. With that in mind, make sure to do your own travel research ahead of planning your walking holiday, and you won’t be disappointed!
Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is a breath-taking island just off Scotland’s west coast, boasting hundreds of walks and trails. Skye’s coastline is littered with evidence of its prehistoric past, with belemnite and ammonite fossils common to the shore. Skye also boasts its own Dinosaur Museum, with further fossils and information about life on Skye millions of years prior. Many of Skye’s available walks also take you past a series of brochs, built on the island 2000 years prior.
Orkney is not an island, but rather a collection of them – around 70 islands, with Orkney’s population spread across 20 of them. Orkney’s largest island, often named The Mainland, holds the bulk of the population, and has been inhabited for nearly 9,000 years. The isles are steeped in history, with the Mainland’s “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” a major draw for tourists interested in early history and folklore alike. Part of the “Heart” is a completely preserved Neolithic village called Skara Brae, the best example in Western Europe and a UNESCO Heritage Site to boot.
Isle of Arran
Situated in the Firth of Clyde, the Isle of Arran is described by Scotland’s tourist board as “Scotland in miniature” – an island of less than 5,000 residents, with rolling hills, beautiful coasts, and a thriving cultural community. Arran’s communities stipple its coast, with an access road called “The String” bisecting the island for easy access to the mountains and each shore. Goatfell is an imposing mountain by Arran’s northern shore, and a beautiful destination for a bracing walk.
Isle of Mull
The Isle of Mull is yet another west-coast island, in the Inner Hebrides; it is the UK’s fourth largest island, despite its population of less than 3,000, and home to the annual Highland Games. Mull’s walking routes take in the vastness of the Hebrides’ nature offerings, from dolphin feeding locations to otter habitats, and the hunting grounds of rare bird of prey species from the golden eagle to the hen harrier. Mull is also home to two distilleries, one of which – the Tobermory distillery – is over 220 years old.