Treshnish Isles, Staffa, Iona and Ulva
Turus Mara - Island Magic

The Treshnish Isles, Staffa, Iona and Ulva

Our tours visit accessible yet remote wilderness islands, home to unique birdlife and wildlife.

The Treshnish Isles

The Treshnish Isles lie to the west of Mull, Ulva and Gometra in the Tiree Passage. From Bac Beag in the south-west to Carnaburg Beag in the north-east is around 8 miles (11km). Lunga is the largest in size, and the main centre of bird breeding. The others of any reasonable size are the Dutchman’s Cap, Sgeir an Eirionnaich, Sgeir an Fheoir, Fladda and the Carnaburg Mor.

Lunga, largest of the Treshnish Isles, has one of the most varied and accessible seabird colonies on the Western Seaboard. Dun Cruit (the Harp Rock stack), is home to more than 6,000 Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin, Kittiwake ,Fulmar, Shag, Skua and many more. We provide a unique therapy in puffin watching at close quarters.

Historically the Carnaburg Islands are the most important having been fortified for many centuries. They were particularly important during the period of Viking occupation of the Western Seaboard from around the 8th to the 12th centuries. Remains of fortifications are to be seen on both. The Carnaburg Mor still boasts the gables of an ancient chapel and barrack room. The last garrison was probably prior to the Jacobite uprising of 1745/6.

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Staffa, from the Norse meaning ‘Pillar Island’ is a unique geological phenomenon recognised as one of the wonders of the natural world. Follow in many famous footsteps, listen carefully when you walk into the natural cathedral which is Fingal’s Cave and imagine the first few bars of Mendelssohn’s Overture in the eternal surge of the Atlantic.

One of the most well-known and popular classical pieces is the iconic overture, Fingal’s Cave, written by the great composer, Felix Mendelssohn, having been inspired by its creation during a visit in August 1829.  He was allegedly very seasick on the day and this may help explain his dissatisfaction with the first version of the overture. The version produced a couple of years later became the frequently performed concert piece we hear today.

It has been suggested that one other possible derivation of the name Fingal’s Cave – in Gaelic – Uamh Fionn, might have been Uamh Bhinn, meaning the sweet sounding or melodious cave.  Since Gaelic was the language in use in the area for many hundreds of years, this is a distinct possibility.

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