Lying to the south of Skye, the Small Isles are part of the Inner Hebrides and offer a wonderful variety of scenery and wildlife.
These four islands are situated just off the west coast at the junction of the Sound of Arisaig and the Sound of Sleat and are accessible by ferry from Arisaig and Mallaig on the mainland. Caledonian MacBrayne operates a regular passenger ferry all year round.
Rum, by far the largest island, possesses a cluster of formidable volcanic peaks, the architecturally remarkable Kinloch Castle, and some wonderful wildlife. Scottish Natural Heritage runs the island as a National Nature Reserve. The island’s most famous residents are sea eagles, re-introduced in the 1980s, although these massive birds have mostly abandoned Rum in favour of neighbouring islands.
Eigg, which measures just 5 by 3 miles, is by far the most vibrant, populous and welcoming of the Small Isles, with a strong sense of community. There are wonderful views of Muck and Rum from An Sgurr (1292 ft).
Smallest and most southerly of the Small Isles, Muck is low-lying, mostly treeless and extremely fertile, and as such shares more characteristics with the likes of Coll and Tiree than its nearest neighbours. There are sandy beaches, rocky shores and the 452 ft Beinn Airein with its panoramic view of the surrounding islands.
Canna, in many ways the prettiest of the isles with its high basalt cliffs, has been in the hands of the National Trust for Scotland since 1981. Measuring just 5 by 1 miles, there is little to do but walk, watch birds and take in the scenery.