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Issue 79 - Destination

Scotland Magazine Issue 79
February 2015

 

This article is 2 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Destination

Scottish Hebrides

Scotland Magazine's chosen Destination of the Year for 2015 is the Scottish Hebrides. In each edition this year we will be featuring some of the jewels of this magical 130 mile archipelago of west coast islands which strings its way from Lewis and Harris in the far north to Gigha, and although not strictly incorporated into the Hebrides, as such, the islands of Bute and Arran in the south.

Steeped in history from the Mesolithic age, and subject to a clash of Pictish, Celtic, Gaelic and Norse cultures, these fiercely individual havens of tranquillity are divided into the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the former embracing Islay and Jura and Colonsay, Mull, Skye and the Small Isles; the latter incorporating Benbecula, Barra, Harris and Lewis and the Uists.

Dominated for centuries by the all powerful Lords of the Isles, these enchanted islands set in a silver sea under a big sky continue to capture the imagination of writers, painters and poets alike.

Situated at the junction of the Sound of Arisaig and the Sound of Sleat in the Inner Hebrides, the Small Isles – Canna, Rùm, Muck and Eigg (www.smallisles.wordpress.com) – are a hub for the yachting fraternity over the summer months. For the most part, however, they are accessible by ferry from Arisaig and Mallaig on the Scottish mainland where Caledonian MacBrayne (www.calmac.co.uk) operates regular passenger ferry services throughout the year, although there are no Sunday sailings.

Canna House, Isle of Canna
Canna House with its beautiful garden was latterly the home of the Gaelic writer and scholar John Lorne Campbell who bequathed it to the National Trust for Scotland.
Open during the Summer, Wednesday to Saturday or by appointment.
www.theisleofcanna.com

An Sgur and the Singing Sands at Cleadale, Isle of Eigg
Eigg was successfully purchased by the local community in 1997. An Sgur is the largest pitchstone ridge of its kind in Europe. Picts and Vikings visited here in their Hebridean exploits. To the north are the Singing Sands (Tràigh a' Bhigeil), a quartz beach which creates a squeaking sound when walked upon.
www.isleofeigg.net

Coll and Tiree
For idyllic isolation, these lovely locations with their unspoiled beaches and rich flora and fauna take some beating. There is a celebrated Golf Course at Arinagour on Coll and a celebrated bird sanctuary established by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Where to stay:
www.visitcoll.co.uk.

In October, Tiree features the Tree Wave Classic a world-championship windsurfing event. The Sandaig Island Life Museum (www.hebrideantrust.com; +44(0)1879 220677) and Skerryvore Lighthouse Museum (+44(0)1865 311468) at Hynish (
www.hebrideantrust.com) are well worth
a visit.