26 Nov Isle of Canna, Scotland
The roadless island of Canna is a moorland plateau of black basalt rock, just 5 miles long and 1.25 miles wide. Compass Hill (143m), at the north-eastern corner, contains enough magnetite (an iron oxide material) to deflect the navigation compasses in passing yachts.
The ferry arrives at the hamlet of A’Chill at the eastern end of the island. There is a tearoom and craft shop by the harbour, and a tiny post office in a hut.
You can walk to An Coroghon, just east of the ferry pier, a medieval stone tower perched atop a sea cliff, and continue to Compass Hill, or take a longer hike along the southern shore past a Celtic Cross and the remains of the 7th century St Columba’s Chapel.
In 2006 the island was cleared of a plague of rates that had threatened its population of native wood mice and nesting seabirds. In the same year the National Trust for Scotland (Canna’s owner), worried about the viability of the island community, sent out an international appeal for new residents.
It received more than 400 applications for the two vacant properties available, both of which were filled by the end of 2007 – one of the new families moved into Tighard, a guest house.
The Isle of Canna is a hidden gem that is worth a visit on your tours of Scotland.