Sula Sgeir & Rona
Far beyond the north-west coast of mainland Scotland lies Sula Sgeir, a remote rocky island reserved for seabirds and grey seals. Read about our travellers' visit on the island and on Rona, another island in the wild archipelago of Scotland.
Monday 30th April 2018 - Sula Sgeir and Rona, Scotland
On this sparkling morning our Zodiac took us on a circumnavigation of Sula Sgeir's cliffs, in and out of its dramatic sea-caves and tunnels, and brought us face to face with the guillemots and gannets that nest crammed on ledges here by the thousand, while grey seals noted our passage intently from every rocky niche. A remarkable tradition, dating back many hundreds of years, is still practised here in the annual ‘guga’ hunt, when intrepid Hebridean men catch a quota of young gannets, a famous local delicacy.
Another forgotten island beckoned to us from the horizon. Rona was occupied by farming families until the late 1600s, and the remains of their settlement amid a field system once golden with barley made an extraordinary sight in the open ocean. And at its centre, an ancient Celtic chapel, built long before the Vikings, and dedicated to St Ronan, who was said to have found his way to the island of the back of a great whale. Now the shores and skies were filled with gannets, guillemots, razorbills, puffins, eider ducks, shags, purple sandpipers and more, all gathering at this faraway undisturbed oasis of peace to breed. This is wild Scotland at its most wonderful.