Berneray | Bill Spiers

About

This small island is rich in wildlife and history, with a long sweep of white sand backed by high dunes and machair. It sits between the Isle of Harris and the Isle of North Uist, and its population of 140 is linked to the Uists by a 900m long causeway. The name Berneray is from the Old Norse Bjarnar-øy and means either 'Bjorn's island' or possibly 'bear island'. The island has a thriving active community, with an array of services and facilities.

Famous For

  • Giant Macaskill, noted in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest giant, was born on Berneray in 1825. The Giant Macaskill Cairn was erected in 1991 to commemorate his birthplace.

  • Berneray is one of the last remaining places celebrating Oidhche Challain – or the Old New Year – which is celebrated on January 12. Children dress up in fancy dress, visit each house and recite a verse in Gaelic – a duan that tells of their hunger – before asking the householder to hand over their surplus food or risk a curse being put on their house.

  • The island boasts one of the best machairs in the Hebrides, with an incredible array of flora and fauna during the brief summer months.

Ask an Islander

  • The island's pure white sandy beaches and turquoise waters are frequently listed amongst the best in the world and were once used in error to advertise Kae Bae beach in Trat Province, Thailand.

  • Explore the island by following one of two historical trails. Leaflets are available locally for a very small cost, showing the map of the trails and detailed information. Definitely worth a look!

  • Check out the stunning West Beach, but be careful not to park on or damage the machair, which is a haven for rare flora and fauna.

Accommodation

Check out the following accommodation listings to book your stay.

Visit Scotland accommodation guide

Visit Outer Hebrides - Accommodation in Berneray

More Information

You can find some additional information about Berneray at the links below

Visit Outer Hebrides

COVID-19

Please check the latest rules on travelling to and around the Scottish islands on the Scottish Government website, including guidance on testing before you travel. Please note that advice may vary depending on the specific island you are visiting.

Getting here

Covid-19

Please check the latest rules on travelling to and around the Scottish islands on the Scottish Government website, including guidance on testing before you travel. Please note that advice may vary depending on the specific island you are visiting.


You can reach Berneray via a causeway from North Uist or via ferry from Leverburgh in Harris operated by CalMac.

A bus service (W16) runs from Benbecula, through North Uist, to Berneray Monday–Saturday.

Find out more about getting to North Uist.

Find out more about getting to Harris.

Get Your Passport

You can find lots more information about things to see and do on the island, see some amazing island photography and collect your island stamp by downloading our app.

Download the app

App in phone

Download the Scottish Island Passport app to collect your island stamps! The app also provides lots more information on each island including recommendations from locals about things to see and do, info on how to get around, more stunning photos and useful offline maps.

  • Unlock Stamps - Collect them all! Stamp your passport when you visit each island - with an individual stamp designed to represent a unique aspect of island heritage.
  • Experiences - Discover the best experiences each island has to offer – from local boat trips to exciting traditional festivals, there is something for everyone.
  • Maps - Navigate the islands with useful offline maps, handy for areas where internet connectivity is weak.
  • Travel Jounals - Create an in-location travel journal with pictures from your island adventures, to look back on your trip.
  • Favourites - keep track of your most loved islands with the favourites feature. Available to access from your account on both the app and web.