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
We travelled across to Luing– one of the Slate Islands - for our next island of the week feature, and Lorraine from the Atlantic Islands Centre gave us the full low-down on Luing life:
"The picturesque conservation village of Cullipool is at the heart of life on Luing and where you will find the Atlantic Islands Centre, home to a fascinating historical exhibition and a gift shop selling books and gorgeous crafts from over 20 local crafters."
"But it is the cafe which is the real jewel in the crown of the centre, selling local seafood, bread from our award-winning island bakery and an amazing selection of cakes provided by the Luing home bakers co-operative."
"The best thing about it is the lovely warm community. I've not been here that long and everyone has made me feel so welcome - I feel like I've been adopted!"⠀
"The community loves to come together regularly and are very proud of Luing. The centre holds a variety of events over the year from ceilidhs to book launches, and art exhibitions to community meals, where the whole island is invited! The centre opens on a Saturday night like a local pub and people gather to play pool, have a meal, share a drink with friends and catch up."⠀
"My favourite part of the island is the slate quarry in Cullipool. A walk to the quarry is like taking a walk into another world. It sits right beside the sea - a rugged coast where the water laps right up over the rocks giving you the feeling that you really are on the edge of the Atlantic!"⠀
"The landscape has a real atmosphere and you can imagine the men who worked here long ago and the hard physical graft they had to put in to extract the slate."⠀
"Luing is really accessible; it takes less than 40 minutes to drive down from Oban - and we have a brilliant regular car ferry service that runs all day. You can visit for the day no problem - although you will want to come back to explore the rugged coastline, the scenic walks and see the local wildlife. The sunsets are also amazing! Luing is beautiful, unspoilt, wild and friendly - everyone who visits ends up falling in love with Luing!"⠀
If Lorraine has inspired you to plan a trip then do head to https://isleofluing.org for more travel tips.
One of the Small Isles of the Inner Hebrides and home to a National Nature Reserve, we loved hearing all about Rúm.
Our island correspondent - Jed of Rum Bunkhouse - told us more about his stunning home isle:
"The freedom here is something that I try to appreciate and not take for granted. We have a National Nature Reserve on our doorstep and especially during the summer you can seize the day when the sun is out by getting out on the hill, cycling over to Kilmory or Harris; canoeing in the bay or getting the BBQ out.
"A walk up Coire Dubh to Hallival is my favourite. The moonscape-like rocks and beautiful views of the mainland and the Outer Hebrides is one of the privileges of living on the island; access to the island’s beauty is on our doorstep.
"We make good use of the village BBQ and have impromptu gatherings usually cooking steaks or handmade Venison burgers. However, my favourite dish is the Venison lasagne that is available at the local village café – Kim’s Kitchen.”
If you fancy visiting Rum once it is safe to resume travel, CalMac Ferries run regular sailings throughout the summer and winter months from Mallaig. ⠀
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.
The Isle of Raasay proved to be quite the wee gem; not only does it have the most amazing views of Skye and delicious local produce, but it is also the location for the current series of SAS Who Dares Wins!
Our featured islander, Calum from Isle of Raasay, told us all about Raasay’s highlights:
"We're lucky to have two amazing food stops straight off the ferry. The newly opened The Larch Box is fantastic, with fresh soups, baguettes and toasties and some of the best coffee you'll find anywhere in Scotland! Raasay House has an incredible restaurant and an unbeatable view over to Skye - you'll never want to leave!"
"Our annual 'Whisky, Fire and Song' event in November has music, ceilidhs and, perhaps most notably of all, a wonderful torchlit procession! It's a great event that really shows the best of what Raasay has to offer out of the normal tourist season."
"It's tough to find a spot on Raasay that isn't worth visiting, but the secluded beach at Inver is certainly one of Raasay's most picturesque spots. A winding path takes you through forests, over streams and eventually terminates at a beautiful beach, positioned directly across from Portree, with wonderful views over towards Skye."
"But isn't all about the outdoors! Raasay Distillery is a great stop for anyone interested in whisky with warehouse tours, handmade chocolate and whisky tastings, and a chance to try the new Raasay Gin."
If you like what you hear, Raasay is just a short hop across on the CalMac ferries from Sconser on Skye, with crossings 7 days a week, all year round.
Great wildlife, fantastic scenery, awesome food and castles! Our first featured island of the week was Mull located in the inner Herbrides.
We heard all about what makes the isle of Mull so wonderful from islander Cameron Anson:
"Winter is by far my favourite time of the year on Mull. Summer is great for sitting out having a beer or doing a bit of work in the garden, but winter is a great time to catch up with folk! When it’s a good winter (cold and clear), there are so many beautiful days here. And when it’s a milder, wet and windy winter, you always have the excuse of finding shelter in the pub on your way home!"
"Mull has such an enormous range of local produce. I can personally vouch for Knockvologan Lamb, Ardtun Pork, Lagganulva Beef and various sausages from Sgriob Ruadh! There’s also The Tobermory Fish Co.Ltd who supply all sorts of smoked seafood, Isle of Mull Cheese, Island Bakery Organics and, of course, locally sourced shellfish."
"Having stumbled into being a beer tent for Salen Show and Bunessan Show, I can say both are very enjoyable! There's also the Mull Rally in October, the Mull Music Festival in April the Mull 7's in May and all the various shows - not to be missed."
"There's loads of walks to choose from, both in the North and South of Mull; everyone will have a favourite. There’s lots to see in Tiroran Community Forest including giant head sculptures, the ruined township of Knockroy, sea eagles and a huge variety of other flora and fauna. Loch Pottie path is an absolutely brilliant walk too. There are so many spots around the Loch with incredible views.”
If you fancy seeing all this and more, CalMac ferries offer sailings from Oban, Lochaline and Kilchoan.
Photo: Cameron Anson