Ask an islander
We have featured the following islands so far - follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more Island of the Week action!
Image: Sophie Whitehead-Robertson
Being the westernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, Canna is a small island with a big heart! We asked islander Fiona, of Tighard Guesthouse, why Canna is a must-see for everyone:
"Spring is a stunning time of year here. Our mild winters mean the flowers are in bloom earlier and for longer. We're surrounded by bluebell woods and the smell of the ransoms is incredible. The days get longer and the island really comes to life; there's lambs and calves to delight us all! It's magic. It's very hard to put your finger on it, but there is something incredibly special about Canna. It's a wee island with a huge heart!"⠀
"Cafe Canna produces some fantastic dishes using as much locally sourced ingredients as possible. From rabbit stew to massive seafood platters, there is something delicious for everyone. The cafe serves lunch and snacks throughout the day and also doubles up as the bar. It's the social hub of the island and is right on the shore, offering some of the most stunning views."⠀
"There are a surprising amount of walks you can do on our island, including walking up Compass Hill, out to the 'West End' for great archaeological finds and the stunning Tarbet beach. Also, the Canna 10k is now in it's 2nd year with a record sell out of places in 24hrs! It got great feedback last year for being a good challenging run, and the ceilidh was an absolute hoot!"
If you fancy experiencing the Canna magic, you can sail direct from Mallaig to Canna courtesy of Calmac Ferries.
Cumbrae was our next small but-mighty-island to be featured, and giving us the low-down on island life was islander, Scott from Visit Cumbrae:
"Being roughly four miles long and two miles wide makes Cumbrae the perfect spot for cycling or walking, taking in some stunning coastal views”.
“The Cathedral of the Isles is a lovely place to stop too, with many more hidden gems, pirate’s tunnel, Cannon in the wall, standing stones, glaid stone - not to mention our very famous Lion, Indian and Crocodile Rocks. Also - don't miss our great museums at the Garrison House or the Field Studies Council."
"Being known as the island of a thousand bikes, cycling is a big thing to do on any day! Then there's crazy golf, trampolining and of course rock pooling. There's also fishing, a beautiful 18-hole golf course, bowling, bouncy castles and paddling, building sandcastles, and wildlife spotting at the beach."
"My firm favourite beach is at Bell Bay, (by the Indian Rock). With lovely white sand and stunning views of Bute and Arran. It's also quiet and the water is shallow, so it's great for the kids."
“But the best thing about island life is the community. Everyone says hello and it's such a warm and friendly place."
With just a 10-minute ferry crossing from Largs with CalMac Ferries (no booking necessary) this wee island is packed with activities. Why don't you hop across and check it out!
Our fifth 'island of the week' adventure took us to the Outer Hebrides and to the island of Barra, or ‘Barradise’ as it's affectionately known.
We spoke to Sarah from Bùth Bharraigh who gave us the low-down on this absolute gem of an island:
"In winter there are lots of activities to try and ways to get involved in community activities. This winter we made a Castlebay Christmas tree using knitted and crocheted squares from all over the world. It looked spectacular. Anyone can get involved - check out Barra Bunting - be a part of it. On a rainy day come to Bùth Bharraigh. Have a coffee and catch up, do emails and get your laundry done! It's a great community hub selling craft supplies and good books to keep you busy. Then there's the Heritage Centre where you can learn about the island's past too."
"On a sunny day it's Barradise! Going to one of our beautiful beaches is a must. Swimming in the crystal-clear waters or going kayaking or snorkelling with Clearwater Paddling is a great way to enjoy Barra. You can also book boat trips to uninhabited Mingulay, where you can see seabirds, basking sharks and porpoises with Mingulay boat trips and wildlife spotting."
"In spring, wonderful primroses appear all over the place, the days are getting longer, and there is a real warmth in the sun. Visitors also start to return, many now friends who come back year after year. It is nice to see them and a there is a definite buzz about the island."
"There are so many lovely beach and hill walks on the island. It is nice getting up Heaval, the highest point on the island, and seeing the magnificent views from the top."
Doesn’t it sound glorious? You can fly from Glasgow with Loganair or you can go for a wee Scottish cruise with CalMac Ferries from Oban or Eriskay. For more information head over to Visit Outer Hebrides.
Up Helly Aa, incredible landscapes and an abundance of wildlife, Mainland Shetland really does have it all!
At 60 degrees north, the archipelago is surprisingly accessible with regular flights from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Orkney and Manchester courtesy of Loganair, and you can also take the overnight ferry from Aberdeen with Northlink Ferries.
Islander and local photographer, Gary Buchan told us more about his home islands:
“Winter brings many challenges with it but, on the upside, there can be dramatic skies, glorious sunsets/sunrises. And, of course, the bad weather can bring some seriously dramatic seascape imagery.”
"The wildlife here is spectacular, with otters, orca, Humpback Whales, a half dozen different species of dolphin, Pilot Whales, many different species of birds. The list goes on!"
"My favourite time of year has to be Summer. With the arrival of thousands of seabirds to the clifftops, Orca all around the coast, wall to wall sunshine, up to 18 hours of daylight and so many great events with music and food, Summer on Mainland Shetland has so much on offer for locals and visitors alike."
If you fancy seeing Shetland for yourself, why not plan your trip? You can find heaps of information as well as travel guidance at https://www.shetland.org/.