The Isles of Coll, Mingulay and Barra

These three fascinating islands form part of an exhilarating journey from the Inner to the Outer Hebrides.  Visit these islands on our Idyllic Isles of the Outer Hebridesand St Kilda and the Outer Hebrides 10 night cruises.

The island of Coll in the Inner Hebrides lies 4 miles north west of the island of Mull with the tiny island of Gunna between the two.  Gunna Sound is good place to look for basking sharks and other cetaceans.  The Island is 13 miles long and 4 miles at its widest with a vibrant community of only 200 residents.  Much of village life centres around Arinagour village and harbour, which is very picturesque.  Coll is a beautiful island; the panorama of other nearby islands makes a dramatic backdrop to Coll's flower-filled machair and sparkling white shell-sand beaches.  Coll is also known by the fictional name of the Isle of Struay. Mairi Hedderwick, a well know author and illustrator, set her series of children's books around her experiences on Coll. She says she'll never tell if any of her fictional characters were for real! 

The Cairns of Coll are a group of uninhabited islets and rocks off the northeastern tip of the island and renowned as a wildlife habitat and for sightings of Minke whale.   

In 2013, the Cairns of Coll were purchased by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith, who intends to  leave the islands in Trust to the Nation

The isles of Barra and Vatersay are the most Southerly inhabited  islands in the Outer Hebrides and the most Westerly in the U.K. They lie 60 miles north west of Coll.  The much smaller isle of Vatersay is linked to Barra by a causeway and has beautiful white sandy beaches and flowering machair.  Both Islands are renowned for their wildflowers and butterflies.  Castlebay is the picturesque principal town on Barra, with the quintessential Scottish castle, Kisimul Castle in the Bay.  It is a vital safe anchorage in the southern outer Hebrides  

Located 12 miles south of the Island of Barra, Mingulay has been owned by the National Trust for Scotland since 2000. Mingulay Bay is a stunning white shell sand beach and a perfect sheltered anchorage.  It is ideal for a trip ashore to explore the abandoned village and the nearby sea cliffs. 


At night the resident grey seal population come ashore to rest on the beach in great numbers and can be seen from our vessel anchored out in Mingulay Bay.  This is not only a spectacular sight but also a wonderful sound as the seals ”sing” to each other as they come ashore.

The beaches and St Kilda-like stacs and cliffs of Mingulay are awe-inspiring to view, and also an important sea bird breeding ground. During the nesting season the granite stacs and high cliffs are festooned with nesting kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots and large colonies of puffins.

Posted by The Majestic Line

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