Admire some of Scotland’s finest coastal landscapes on these 3 uninhabited islands.
Marvel at the beautifully carved Pictish stone on Pabbay, one of only two in the Western Isles.
Wander around the ghost village.
Look out for seabirds! The spectacular cliffs house internationally important breeding colonies.
Simply getting to Mingulay, Berneray and Pabbay is an adventure in itself – but it’s worth it! Sailing to these islands on the very edge of the Outer Hebrides is an unforgettable trip.
Lying just south of Barra, the islands boast spectacular coastal landscapes. To the west lie rugged cliffs, caves, sea stacks and promontories; in the east, green grassy slopes, white sandy bays and turquoise seas.
The islands are also fascinating for the mementos they hold of the people who once lived on them. Mingulay and Pabbay have been uninhabited since 1912, Berneray since 1980, with abandoned dwellings the only trace of the communities who lived here many years ago.
Mingulay, Berneray and Pabbay are open all year round.
Visits are very dependent on weather conditions as the islands can only be accessed by boat. All the islands have very high and dangerous cliffs. There is no pier or jetty; landing is on a rocky foreshore with a steep, uneven climb.
Most boats leave from Castlebay on the island of Barra – the Tourist Information Centre in Castlebay (01871 810336) can provide information about trips and charters. The islands are also often a stopping point on chartered cruises around the Western Isles, with many boats leaving from Oban and Mallaig.
There are no facilities or services of any kind on the islands.
The people who farmed, fished and hunted seabirds are long gone, but on Mingulay you can wander through the deserted village and imagine how life once was. Pabbay is home to a beautifully carved Pictish stone, one of only two in the Western Isles.
The wildlife is magnificent on all three islands. In summer, basking sharks and dolphins can sometimes be seen from boats, while golden eagles soar above and wildflowers inject colour across the islands. Mingulay and Berneray are Sites of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area, in recognition of the many thousands of razorbills, guillemots, puffins, kittiwakes and fulmars that have made the islands their home.
There is a ranger service based on the islands between April and September.
Visitors to Mingulay, Berneray and Pabbay need to be self-reliant. There are no facilities or services of any kind on the islands and there is no means of communication, including no mobile phone coverage.
If you have mobility problems, visiting Mingulay, Berneray and Pabbay is not advised – the islands can only be reached by boat, landing on rocky stretches of foreshore. There are no paths on the islands and any tracks are uneven. There is no wheelchair access.
The only way to get to Mingulay, Berneray and Pabbay is by boat.
Most boats leave from Castlebay, Barra; the Tourist Information Centre in Castlebay (01871 810336) can provide you with information.