Focusing on the ninety-nine islands that have regular trips or means of access for visitors, plus fifty-five other islands which have no regular transport but are still of significant size or interest, the authors have described the best ways to experience each one. Of the islands featured, many are household names – Skye, Lewis, Bute – while some, such as the isolated St Kilda archipelago and the remote Sula Sgeir, will be unknown to all but a hardcore few.
When it comes to things to see and do, the islands of Scotland have it all. Wildlife enthusiasts can watch out for otters, orcas and basking sharks, while birdwatchers in particular are spoilt: look out for the rare corncrake on Islay, sea eagles on Mull, or sight puffins, gannets, storm petrels and many other seabirds on any number of islands – although beware the divebombing bonxies.
Foodies can sample Arran or Westraycheese, the many islands’ world-renowned seafood or learn about the whisky making process and sample a wee dram on a distillery tour.
While the human history may not stretch back in time as far as the geology of these ancient lands, it is rich and varied: visit the 5,000-year-old Neolithic village of Skara Brae on Orkney, or Mackinnon’s Cave on Mull, following in the footsteps of Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. You can even stay in the house on Jurawhere George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Hillwalkers can bag a Munro, walk the wild clifftops or take in the sights, or you could just escape from it all on one of the dozens of beautiful and deserted beaches – before joining the locals for a ceilidh into the wee hours.
Well served by ferries and other transport links, getting around is easy. You could even take the world’s shortest scheduled flight. In Scottish Island Bagging, let Helen and Paul Webster be your guides to these enchanting isles.