Scottish Islands: The essentials
- Anna Millar
- 6 August 2009
One thing the Islands are certainly not lacking is adventure. Anna Millar discovers some must-dos
Go in search of the fairies
The Isle of Mull’s MacKinnon’s Cave is believed to be the deepest in the Hebrides. A winding path leads towards a waterfall just before the mouth of the Cave and folklore suggests that it offers a passage to the underworld of fairies; the story goes that an old piper who tried to out-do the fairies in a piping competition never returned.
Enjoy a dram Whisky Galore! Style
Inspired by the real events of 1941, when a cargo ship ran aground in the channel between Eriskay and South Uist, Whisky Galore’s gentle, comical story of how the booty on board became appropriated by a group of Scottish islanders has long stood the test of time. Today the area is still best known for Compton Mackenzie’s timeless text, so head to the beautiful island of Eriskay and have a dram in its memory.
Not for nothing is Oban known as the Gateway to the Isles. Boasting the largest port in North West Scotland, it’s the ideal place from which to catch ferries to the Inner Hebridean islands of Mull, Iona, Staffa, Barra, Coll, Colonssay and Tiree, the latter of which is a pretty great shout if you fancy some water play.
Get down with the history
Situated a few miles off the north-east tip of mainland Scotland, there are an abundance of reasons to check out Orkney. History buffs, though, will know it best for the incredible snapshot of the Stone Age that is affords. Recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, visitors can wander round prehistoric villages, ancient tombs, ruined palaces and standing stones
Make like royalty
The Isle of Islay – otherwise known as the Queen of the Hebrides – is a fine drop-in for whisky lovers including as it does eight working whisky distilleries.
Enjoy some memorable adventures on Jura (taken from the Norse meaning ‘Deer Island’). Today 650 deer roam around the island, vastly outnumbering the human population which comes in at just under 200. Covering just 29 miles, it’s easy to take in the whole shebang, pit-stopping at some of the beautiful beaches along the way.