The Summer Isles


The Summer Isles is a group of about 20 islands, rocks and skerries that sit off the Coigach peninsula, north of Ullapool, in the North-West Highlands of Scotland.

The largest, Tanera Mor is some 800 acres (300 ha) and is the only one of the islands permanently inhabited. You can walk to the closest, Isle Ristol, with its long white sandy beach, on the lower tides; the furthest, Eilean a Chleirich (Priest Island), lies some 6 miles from shore. The island is a RSPB reserve and is home to seals, otters and seabirds, including over 2000 breeding pairs of storm petrels. Other smaller islands Bottle Island, Horse Island, Isle Martin, Eilean Dubh, Glas-leac Beag, Glas-leac Mòr, Tanera Beag, Càrn nan Sgeir and Eilean Mullagrach.

Although the waters of the Summer Isles are sheltered to some extent by the Outer Hebrides across the Minch, the predominant South West and Westerly winds can result in considerable seas that crash onto the exposed shores of these rocky isles.

One week day-sailing around the islands. Our base was a chalet at Ardmair Point. Dinghy was safely left on the shore in front of our hire chalet. This was a good place to cruise. The weather did let us down a bit but we used the wet days to to hill-walk and explore. This area (mountains/ water) can only be described as 'superb'.

LEFT: Armair Point. Right: one of the islands we landed on which was 'full' of seals.

This is NOT a photoshopped picture. This is what we got one evening.

"Aerosol or ball?" inquired the salesperson at the deodorant counter. "No, it's for my armpits"