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Off Scotland’s west coast, lies the Hebridean archipelago. The two different island groups, known as the Inner and Outer Hebrides, are made up of over fifty islands, presenting an alternative cruising destination to adventurous superyachts.

These Scottish islands are unspoilt and untouched. Dramatic, rugged mountainscapes frame empty beaches with crystal clear waters, abundant with bird and sea life. Each island has its own unique charm, and there’s something different to enjoy and explore wherever you decide to visit. You’re likely to need to adapt your attitude (and clothing) to suit the weather, but chances are, you’ll be pleasantly surprised…

INNER HEBRIDES

Mull

Tobermory waterfront | Image credit: coastmagazine.co.uk

As the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Mull boasts some spectacular scenery. Take a walk to Duart Castle and enjoy the views over the emerald waters of the Sound of Mull, or for the more adventurous hikers, take on the Munro of Ben More. In Tobermory, enjoy a stroll along the waterfront, lined with beautiful brightly coloured independent craft shops, a cosy pub, and the fantastic Cafe Fish, a humble eatery serving up one of the best seafood platters from the islands. Tobermory is also home to Mull’s only single-malt whisky, made at Tobermory Distillery, where you can enjoy a tour and a tasting.

Iona

Iona Abbey | Image credit Michael Colin Campbell PhotoGraphics

Although only a small island, Iona has a lofty reputation. The island possesses an idyllic charm, beauty and tranquillity. The main attraction is Iona Abbey, but there’s much more to discover. There are a handful of beautiful craft shops, including the Iona Craft Shop, where you’ll find a beautiful collection of homewares, clothing, and gifts. Take a walk up to Dun I and enjoy the 360-degree views surrounding the island. There are a couple of hotel pubs where you can sit and enjoy a drink overlooking the white sands and aquamarine waters, which resemble a tropical paradise, and have inspired many artists, including the Scottish Colourists.

OUTER HEBRIDES

Lewis & Harris

Luskentyre Beach | Image credit: travel.allwomenstalk.com

Lewis and Harris refer to the same island but distinguish between the north (Lewis) and south (Harris). Picture-postcard beaches are aplenty on the western coast, namely Luskentyre and Seilebost. There are also many prehistoric sites, including the neolithic Callandish Stones and preserved blackhouses. Home to Harris Tweed, you’ll find many beautiful woollen fabric designs across the island, all handwoven in the Outer Hebrides. Stornoway is somewhat of a hub, with many craft shops, pubs, and cafes. You can enjoy a stroll or a bike ride around the grounds of nearby Lews Castle.

St Kilda

Puffins | Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Lying just under 45nm from the west coast of the Outer Hebrides, the archipelago of St Kilda is certainly off the beaten track. Since the last islanders evacuated in the 1930s, its allure has continued to grow, emerging as a World Heritage Site. St Kilda shows off the best of Scotland’s ‘great outdoors’, boasting the highest cliffs in Britain, spectacular birdlife including the island’s infamous puffins, adventurous hiking and an intriguing history. Sailing to St Kilda is, for many, a bucket list adventure.

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