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27 Feb 2017

The Hebrides

Let Scotland’s magical Western Isles cast their spell over you.

With turquoise seas, white sandy beaches, lush green meadows, sheer silver-grey cliffs, towering sea stacks and an almost sparkling light, a trip to one of the National Trust for Scotland’s Hebridean properties will take your breath away.

The wilderness of Burg on the western tip of Mull can only be reached on foot. Leave your vehicle in the car park and head off across a rough 5 mile coastal path to see the solitary remains of the forest that once covered this peninsula – the 50-million-year-old MacCulloch’s fossil tree.

Canna provides a sharp contrast to Burg’s untamed, isolated beauty; this little island is thought to have been inhabited for over 7,000 years. Explore the prehistoric ruins dotted across the island, the stunning walled garden at Canna House and, in summer, tuck into dishes made with local, fresh produce at Café Canna.

Escape the pressures of modern life with a visit to Iona, and absorb its tranquil atmosphere. This historic island is where St Columba brought Christianity to Scotland and is also the burial site of Scotland’s early kings, including Macbeth.

The islands of Mingulay, Berneray and Pabbay are on the very edge of the Outer Hebrides. Although the islanders are long gone, their homes and crofts remain, providing a haunting reminder of days gone by. Thousands of seabirds live on the spectacular cliffs, with basking sharks and dolphins offshore and golden eagles soaring high above.

The remote and fascinating St Kilda has been uninhabited since the final 36 islanders were evacuated in 1930. In recognition of its outstanding natural and cultural heritage, this archipelago of islands and spectacular sea stacks is a dual UNESCO World Heritage Site – the only one in Britain. 

Staffa is a tiny island, a few miles from Mull, which looks as though it might be from another planet! The island’s cliffs and rocks consist of hexagonal columns, which, in several spots, the sea has carved into immense caves, including the famous Fingal’s Cave.