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Why I love a Scottish island adventure
3 Min Read
11 November 2016
Why I love a Scottish island adventure
I am fortunate to live in central Scotland, which offers easy access to so many of Scotland’s west coast islands. Over the past decade, I’ve visited many different islands and I’ve discovered that whichever one I choose there is something quite wonderful about an island adventure. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of much of the Scottish mainland, especially the Highlands, but there is something unique about our islands.

Island arrivals

[caption id="attachment_21321" align="aligncenter" width="650"]Ferry trip to the Island of Arran. Ferry trip to the Island of Arran.[/caption] Whether you choose to travel by ferry, plane or drive over the bridge to Skye, arriving on an island feels special. You can even fly to places such as Benbecula, which features a tiny airport and a landing strip that doubles as a beach. Most often I will travel by CalMac ferry. It could be that I have taken a short ferry trip to Great Cumbrae, Bute or Arran or a longer, relaxing journey to Islay, Jura, Colonsay, Mull, Tiree or the Outer Hebrides but it’s that moment when I land on the island that I look forward to. [caption id="attachment_21332" align="aligncenter" width="100%"]Leaving the mainland behind. Leaving the mainland behind.[/caption] You can feel there’s a change in atmosphere from mainland to island. It’s hard to describe until you have travelled to a Scottish islands but it feels immediately other-worldly. I think the islands, in general, boast a more laid-back, relaxed, community orientated, welcoming and special feel compared to many other parts of the UK.

The island difference

[caption id="attachment_21322" align="aligncenter" width="650"]Island whisky distilleries. Island whisky distilleries.[/caption] Perhaps the difference is that the islands rely on tourism for their economy. This gives them an incentive to be welcoming to tourists. It’s also a fact that the islands boast small populations of inhabitants and so there is usually a greater community pull, where everyone knows everyone else and most want to help and support each other. Of course, this smaller community living is not attractive for all people but the ones who choose to live on the islands mostly seem to like it. I have always found island people to be keen to help and happy to tell you about the advantages of their island lives. [caption id="attachment_21329" align="aligncenter" width="100%"]Stunning Kilornan beach on Colonsay. Stunning Kilornan beach on Colonsay.[/caption]

Stepping back in time

A trip to the islands often feels like landing in a place that is from decades ago. While some larger islands, such as Arran and Skye, do boast mainstream supermarkets, for example, many modern conveniences have yet to arrive on their shores. But I like this! I enjoy a chance to buy local produce and products. It’s great to get away from the more commercial feel of mainland towns and cities and to fit in with a system that reminds me of my childhood. [caption id="attachment_21330" align="aligncenter" width="100%"]Wonderful walking on the Scottish islands. Wonderful walking on the Scottish islands.[/caption] Lots of islands have, or are pushing to get, broadband connection so they can offer visitors – and enjoy it themselves ­– good Internet access but many are still to be connected to faster broadband speeds. But I like this! I am a huge fan of the Internet, especially social media, yet I do enjoy a break. Being forced to switch off from the Internet is appealing when you are on holiday. There are less cars and traffic, too. This makes the islands a great place to go cycling and walking. [caption id="attachment_21325" align="aligncenter" width="100%"]Lovely views and great scenery. Lovely views and great scenery.[/caption]

Wildlife and scenery

The islands are less populated and often very abundant in amazing remote scenery and wildlife. See Walking and Wildlife holiday on Mull. [caption id="attachment_21324" align="aligncenter" width="650"]Puffins are abundant on some islands. Puffins are abundant on some islands.[/caption] You discover huge sandy beaches with not another person on them, rugged coastlines and hills, open moorlands, less trodden hill and mountain paths and a generally less busy environment. It’s unlikely, for example, that the machair – the sandy island shores resplendent with wild flowers – of the Hebridean islands would flourish quite so well in the more populated mainland. [caption id="attachment_21323" align="aligncenter" width="650"]You might be lucky enough to see a white-tailed sea eagle. You might be lucky enough to see a white-tailed sea eagle.[/caption] Wildlife is also attracted to many islands thanks to less people and a more peaceful environment. Many islands boast amazing populations of birds, as well as land and sea animals. I can't recall seeing a better sunset than the ones I've enjoyed on the Scottish islands. [caption id="attachment_21331" align="aligncenter" width="100%"]Glorious island sunsets. Glorious island sunsets.[/caption]

Longing for another island adventure

I have visited many of Scotland’s islands and enjoyed every one of them. I like, in particular, cycling on Bute, Arran, Mull, Islay, Jura and the Outer Hebrides. [caption id="attachment_21327" align="aligncenter" width="100%"]Walking in the Cuillin, Skye. Walking in the Cuillin, Skye.[/caption] I love walking and hiking on Arran’s highest mountain, Goatfell; in the mighty Cuillin on Skye; and bagging the MacPhies of Colonsay. The ocean wildlife of Mull and Coll is superb and the beaches of so many islands, such as Harris, the Uists, Colonsay, Mull and Skye are breath-taking. [caption id="attachment_21333" align="aligncenter" width="650"]Cycling the quiet roads of the islands, such as on Berneray in the Outer Hebrides. Cycling the quiet roads of the islands, such as on Berneray in the Outer Hebrides.[/caption] Then there are the fantastic whisky distilleries of Islay, Jura and Skye. If you haven’t visited at least one of these, you really should! I do enjoy coming back to the mainland and all its 21st century conveniences and communication, but I relish time away on the islands for a superb break, too. See Macs Adventure Scottish Islands walking and cycling holidays.  

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