Vatersay | Chaotic Scot

Island intro

Vatersay is well known for its beaches, but there’s a great deal of history and heritage to be discovered too.

Ask an Islander

Helping us understand more about this fascinating island is John from the Vatersay Hall Cafe.

John begins by telling us about how he is almost amazed by the wealth of wildlife on the island. He tells us, “While enjoying a bracing walk in the wind along the beach, I came across a young seal pup on the sand. It always amazes me; the wealth of wildlife that is within our very next footsteps”

One of John’s favourite times of the year is winter. He reminds us that although the sun can be shining, the weather can be very bracing – “Vatersay has its own unique chilly charm at this time of the year,” he says.

One of John’s favourite events on the island is a wedding, as he tells us. “A wedding is always special, but an island wedding has that little something extra! The bride and groom can arrive by boat, stepping onto the sandy beach of Vatersay Bay on a balmy summer evening with everyone waiting to greet them. Words cannot express the atmosphere of warmth and happiness for everyone who takes part in a Vatersay wedding!”

Irene from Vatersay Community Association told us, “Many Vatersay residents are descendants of the last peoples who lived in the now unpopulated islands to the south of Vatersay.  You can visit these fascinating islands in the summer with a local boat tour company: ‘Mingulay boat trips & Wildlife spotting’ and ‘Hebridean Sea Tours’ both do regular (weather permitting) trips to Mingulay, Barrahead and St Kilda.”

“We have 2 historically important memorial monuments on our little island: The ‘Annie Jane’ Memorial which stands over Vatersay west beach, commemorates the tragic shipwreck of the sailing ship the ‘Annie Jane’ which, on its way from Liverpool to Canada, was wrecked on this beach on 28th September 1853 with the loss of more than 350 people. And the ‘Catalina Seaplane’ Memorial the wreck of which can still be seen on the side of the hill at Heishival Beag. The RAF Catalina seaplane tragically crashed on the hill killing three of her nine crew on a training exercise in 1944.”

Irene also shared this amazing video created by talented young islanders, promoting awareness to Vatersay’s natural beauty and fragility; it highlights the major concern there is with erosion. Enjoy the video.

Gaelic / Gàidhlig

The Gaelic name for Vatersay is Bhatarsaigh.

Want to say ‘good afternoon’ to someone in Gaelic? That’s ‘feasgar math’!

Getting Here

Vatersay is connected to the neighbouring island of Barra via a short causeway.

CalMac Ferries operates daily sailings between Barra and Oban on the mainland, and Loganair operates daily scheduled flights between Barra and Glasgow.

Explore More

Want to find out more about Vatersay and explore more of our amazing islands?

Download the free Scottish Islands Passport app to:

  • discover your perfect island match,
  • find out about the experiences each island has to offer,
  • collect passport stamps for the islands you visit,
  • find information on accommodation, travel and island amenities.

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.