Isle of May

  • The Midgie
  • 1 June 2009
Isle of May

I'll Huff and I'll Puff

For an island only 1.5 miles long and 0.6 miles wide, The Isle of May has seen its fair bit of action. Archaeologists suggest that people inhabited the island as far back as 6,000BC and its dank caves were apparently popular with smugglers hiding their booty in the 17th century. The site is also home to Scotland's first operational lighthouse, which was put into action way back in 1636.

In 1956, the island was made a National Nature Reserve and Scottish Natural Heritage are now responsible for safe-guarding and enhancing the islands wildlife. The bird population alone is thought to exceed 100,000 and it is officially the largest breeding ground in the UK for everyone's favourite feathered friend, the Puffin. These stripy-beaked beauties flock to the island in spring when they migrate from their lonely winters in the North Atlantic to breed. By June the young have arrived and are reared underground in burrows until they're big and strong enough to handle the Atlantic in August.

The Isle of May Ferry run daily trips to the island (departure times vary due to tides, so always check in advance). The ferry allows a few hours to explore, before returning home. For a full departure schedule visit Buses to Anstruther depart from St Andrews bus station roughly every 30 minutes. For an accurate timetable visit

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