Spellbinding and striking scenery await you on your trip to the Inner Hebrides
The islands of Tiree, Coll, Staffa, Iona, Mull, Kerrera and Lismore all boast independent characteristics, but share tranquillity and beauty at their core.
Tiree is Scotland's sunshine isle. It is aptly referred to as the 'Hawaii of the north' thanks to the amount of sunshine it gets, which is amongst the most in the UK. Given its wide skies, dramatic Atlantic seascapes, Tiree is a rewarding destination on our far western shore, whether you travel there to make the most of its water-sports or cycling opportunities, its striking but peaceful white beaches, or its incredible local seafood and shellfish.
Lying 6 miles to the west of Mull, the island of Coll is famous for its dark skies. With no street lights in sight, the island has gained official 'dark sky status'. It's the second location in the country to have this recognition and one of the six best stargazing and night time photography locations in the UK. It's also a nature lover's paradise - thanks to the bird and marine life that frequent the area, too.
On Saturdays until 5 September catch an early morning ferry from Oban and sail on a three hour trip through the Sound of Mull, spotting Duart Castle and the iconic coloured harbour of Tobermory on the way past. Travelling through the tranquil village of Arinagour (with its row of whitewashed cottages recognisable to any Katie Morag fans), then drive to the two islands' castles, off-road to a pristine beach and a chance to spot an elusive corncrake on the bird reserve or some seals. Before boarding the ferry back to Oban at 8pm.
The uninhabited island of Staffa, lying off the coast of Mull is a must visit if you're in the area. It is literally a natural wonder of the world, home to Fingal's Cave, towering basalt cliffs, and a visiting colony of breeding puffins during the spring/ early summer months.
Less than an hour from Oban lies the isle of Mull - home of the dramatic Duart Castle, which sits high on a cliff-top, proudly guarding the Firth of Lorne. On Mull, you'll also find the fishing port of Tobermory, famous for its pastel coloured houses, which line the harbour. There's around 300 miles of coastline to explore on Mull - with beautiful bays of turquoise water. On that coastline lies one of Mull's most famous spots - Calgary Bay. Around its edges you'll find traces of previous settlements including Iron Age forts, and most recently, those dating from the Clearances. Nearby is Calgary Art In Nature woodland walk - a cultural landscape, peppered with sculpture, that perfectly marries art to nature. There's plenty of surprises to uncover.
The historic island of Iona is home to Iona Abbey - one of Scotland's most sacred sites, and is the burial place of ancient Scottish Kings, including MacBeth. Close by, you'll find white sandy beaches, the last land before
Kerrera and Lismore
Just a few minutes by boat from Oban is the island of Kerrera, which like Lismore is also reachable from Port Appin. It's one of the most accessible islands on our west coast. However, in both cases, once you land on these islands after your short journeys, you'll feel like you've travelled much further than you have, thanks to the tranquil settings. On Kerrera, enjoy a walk up to the dramatic ruin of 16th Century Gylen Castle, positioned in its lush green landscape. Stop by the Kerrera Tea and Bunkhouse on your return for some for the perfect reward for your endeavours. Lismore is equally tranquil and unspoiled, boasting views framed with beautiful coastal and mountain scenery. Visit the coastal village of Port Ramsay, tucked away in a secluded bay with superb views of the Great Glen before taking in the Cathedral church, named after the saint who founded a monastery on the island - once a major centre of Christianity in Scotland.
Find out more on visiting the Inner Hebrides;