Island focus: Gigha

The tiny, beautiful Island of Gigha in the Southern Hebrides has a long history, having been inhabited continuously since prehistoric times.  Step ashore on the Isle of Gigha from the sea and you are following in the tracks of the people who settled from Ireland, the Vikings who plundered from distant Scandinavia and of the Norse King Hakon.  Gigha may have had an important role during the Kingdom of Dalriada and is the ancestral home of Clan MacNeill.  The Island is now community-owned with a population of 150 residents.

Gigha was attractive to settlers because of its fertile soil.  It is the most southerly of the Hebridean Islands and one of the most beautiful . Seven miles long by a mile and a half wide, Gigha is three miles west of the Kintyre Peninsula, separated by the Sound of Gigha.  The environment is breathtaking with sandy beaches, clear green seas and is a haven for birdlife.

There are fabulous views of neighbouring islands to the west and the Kintyre mainland from the east of the island.  Because it is set on the eastern shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Gigha attracts a wide variety of sea birds which breed on Eilean Garbh, a small tidal island in the North.  Gigha's unique microclimate allows the growing of tender plants from around the world, including an impressive collection of Rhododendron species. Achamore gardens covers 50 acres and is central to the life of the island.

The ancient history of Gigha is filled with turbulent times and legendary tales. It can still be felt at various archeological sites throughout the island.  Kilchattan chapel, dating from the 13th century is near the entrance to Achamore Gardens .

Gigha is a popular stopover on our first cruise of the season, Mull of Kintyre and the Inner Hebrides,now only 3 cabins remaining for 2015.  It is also on the itinerary of The Heritage and Wildlife of the Southern Hebrides, with one cabin for 2015 remaining on May 2nd.

Posted by The Majestic Line

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