The islands of Scotland are some of the most enchanting places on earth. Even the tiniest of them has its own individual character and charm. Dramatic sunsets, spectacular scenery and a traditional Scottish island welcome are just a few of the things that await you.
The Grey Gull Inn is an ideal base for visiting the Inner Hebrides.
Kennacraig (Islay Ferry) approx 16 miles
Claonaig (Arran Ferry) approx 22 miles
Tayinloan (Gigha Ferry) approx 30 miles
Oban (Mull Ferry) approx 40 miles
Islay can be reached by ferry from Kennacraig, on the Kintyre Peninsula, just half an hour’s drive from the hotel.
Once the headquarters of the Lord of the Isles, Islay is the most southerly of the Hebrides and is known for its rich and colourful landscape that has been shaped by natural forces and human influence spanning thousands of years.
The farmland, woodland and peat land set below the sweeping hills support a wide variety of wildlife including many bird species such as the rare corncrake. Each autumn the island witnesses clouds of geese arriving to winter on the mild pastures, with Loch Gruinart in the north as the island’s main reserve.
Islay is popular with whisky enthusiasts all over the world as it is the only Scottish Island where you will find seven whisky distilleries. Each one has its own process and unique appeal which makes them well worth a visit.
The Isle of Jura, where George Orwell wrote his famous novel “1984”, can be accessed by ferry, run by Argyll & Bute Council, from Port Askaig on Islay.
The small Island of Gigha lies between Islay and Kintyre and can be accessed by ferry from Taylinloan on Kintyre. The island has many fabulous white sandy beaches to the south that visitors can explore by foot or bicycle, which can be hired from the local shop. A visit to the famous Achamore House Gardens will find you wandering through 50 acres of exotic shrubs.
Impressive mountains and lush glens characterise Arran, making it a haven for walkers and climbers from all over the world. Known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, Arran is a condensed version of the best that Scotland has to offer; golf, castles, distilleries, outdoor activities and gourmet food.
Mull, the second largest of the Hebrides, is easily accessible with a regular service from Oban.
The island is an island of peninsulas giving it a long and varied coastline that offers visitors endless days of exploration and discovery. The mountains that stretch across the middle of the island rise to over 900 metres and are particularly popular with hill walkers. Mountain ranges in the south and the east are pierced by glens and waterfalls.
The island’s main town of Tobermory is the setting of the CBeebie’s series, ‘Balamory’.Mull is home to a wide range of wildlife and is one of best places in Europe to see the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and White Tailed Sea Eagle.
Mull also offers a home to the elusive European Otter (Lutra Lutra). Organised Whale and Dolphin watching trips on which Minke Whales and Dolphins among others can be seen, are available on the Island.
A small island situated off the south-west tip of Mull, Iona can be accessed by a regular passenger ferry service from Fionnphort, Mull.
Iona is often referred to as ‘The Cradle of Christianity in Scotland’ as it was here that Columba first landed after being banished from Ireland in 563AD. Once Settled on the island, Columba and his followers built a wooden monastery. This was later replaced with stone when the monastery was turned into a Benedictine Abbey around 1200. Today the abbey has been fully restored. It is owned by Historic Scotland and open to the public.
The highest point of the island is Dun I at 323 ft and commands wonderful panoramic views towards Mull, Staffa and beyond.
For more information and ferry time tables, visit the Caledonian McBrayne website