List of islands of Scotland: Wikis


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Map of the Inner and Outer Hebrides

This is a list of islands of Scotland, the mainland of which is part of the island of Great Britain. Also included are various other related tables and lists. The definition of an offshore island used in this list is that of "land that is surrounded by seawater on a daily basis, but not necessarily at all stages of the tide, excluding human devices such as bridges and causeways".[1]

Scotland has over 790 offshore islands, most of which are to be found in four main groups: Shetland, Orkney, and the Hebrides, sub-divided into the Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides.[2] There are also clusters of islands in the Firth of Clyde, Firth of Forth, and Solway Firth, and numerous small islands within the many bodies of fresh water in Scotland including Loch Lomond and Loch Maree.

Many of these islands are swept by strong tides, and the Corryvreckan tide race between Scarba and Jura is one of the largest whirlpools in the world.[3] Other strong tides are to be found in the Pentland Firth between mainland Scotland and Orkney, and another example is the "Grey Dog" between Scarba and Lunga.[2] The geology and geomorphology of the islands is varied. Some, such as Skye and Mull are mountainous, whilst others like Tiree and Sanday are relatively low lying. Many have bedrock made from ancient Archaean Lewisian Gneiss which was laid down 3 billion years ago; Shapinsay and other Orkney islands are formed from Old Red Sandstone, which is 400 million years old; and others such as Rùm from more recent Tertiary volcanoes.[4]

The largest island is Lewis and Harris which extends to 2,179 square kilometres, and there are a further 200 islands which are greater than 40 hectares in area. Of the remainder, several such as Staffa and the Flannan Isles are well known despite their small size.[2]

Some 97 Scottish islands are populated, of which 92 are offshore islands. Many previously inhabited islands such as Mingulay, Noss and the St Kilda archipelago have been abandoned during the course of the past century and today only 14 islands are populated by over 1,000 people and 45 by over 100. Between 1991 and 2001, the population of the islands fell by 3% overall, although there were 35 islands whose population increased. The total population of all the islands in 2001 was 99,739.[5]

The culture of the islands has been affected by the successive influences of Celtic, Norse and English speaking peoples and this is reflected in names given to the islands. Most of the Hebrides have names with Scots Gaelic derivations, whilst those of the Northern Isles tend to be derived from the Viking names. A few have Brythonic, Scots and even perhaps pre-Celtic roots.[2] A feature of modern island life is the low crime rate and they are considered to be amongst the safest places to live in the UK.[6]

Rockall is a small rocky islet in the North Atlantic which was declared part of Scotland by the Island of Rockall Act 1972.[7][8] However, the legality of the claim is disputed by the Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Iceland and it is probably unenforceable in international law.[9][10]

Eilean Donan castle


Larger islands

This is a list of Scottish islands that either have an area greater than 40 hectares (approximately 100 acres) and/or are inhabited. The "Groups" which in many cases provide a more useful guide to location than local authority areas are after Haswell-Smith (2004). The main Groups are: Firth of Clyde, Islay, Firth of Lorn, Mull, Small Isles, Skye, Lewis and Harris, Uists and Barra, St Kilda, Orkney, Shetland and Firth of Forth. In a few cases where the island is part of either a recognisable smaller group or an archipelago, or is located away from the main groups, an archipelago, local authority or other descriptive name is used instead. "F" designates a freshwater island.

Orkney aerial photomap
The Shetland archipelago
Bressay Lighthouse at Kirkabister Ness, Shetland
The Old Man of Hoy, Orkney, a 137 metre (450 ft) sea stack of red sandstone
The cliffs of Creag na Bruaich, Raasay
Dhu Heartach Lighthouse, During Construction by Sam Bough (1822-1878).
Ailsa Craig from the South Ayrshire coast
Two of the Paps of Jura. Photo by John Shaw
The cliffs of Eshaness, North Mainland, Shetland
MV Isle of Lewis in The Minch
Sula Sgeir from the South West.
Stornoway harbour, Lewis
Fair Isle cliffs
Callanish Standing Stones, Lewis
Machair at Balephuil Bay, Tiree
The east coast of Mousa towards the Peerie Bard.
Sortable table
Island Group Area (ha)[11] Population[5] Height (m)[12]
Ailsa Craig (Creag Ealasaid) Firth of Clyde &0000000000000099.00000099 0 338
Arran (Eilean Arainn) Firth of Clyde &0000000000043201.00000043,201 5045 874
Auskerry Orkney &0000000000000085.00000085 5 18
Baleshare (Baile Sear) Uists and Barra &0000000000000910.000000910 49 12
Balta Shetland &0000000000000080.00000080 0 44
Barra (Barraigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000005875.0000005,875 1078 383
Barra Head (Beàrnaraigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000204.000000204 0 193
Benbecula (Beinn nam Fadhla) Uists and Barra &0000000000008203.0000008,203 1219 124
Berneray, North Uist (Beàrnaraidh) Uists and Barra &0000000000001010.0000001,010 136 93
Bigga Shetland &0000000000000078.00000078 0 34
Boreray (Boraraigh) St Kilda &0000000000000077.00000077 0 384
Boreray (Boraraigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000204.000000204 0 56
Bressay Shetland &0000000000002805.0000002,805 384 226
Brother Isle Shetland &0000000000000040.00000040 0 25
Bruray Out Skerries &0000000000000055.00000055 26 53
Burray Orkney &0000000000000903.000000903 357 80
Bute (Eilean Bhòid) Firth of Clyde &0000000000012217.00000012,217 7149 278
Calf of Eday Orkney &0000000000000243.000000243 0 54
Calve Island Mull &0000000000000072.00000072 0 20
Canna (Eilean Chanaigh) Small Isles &0000000000001130.0000001,130 6 210
Cara Islay &0000000000000066.00000066 0 56
Càrna Mull &0000000000000213.000000213 0 169
Cava Orkney &0000000000000107.000000107 0 38
Ceallasaigh Mòr Uists and Barra &0000000000000044.00000044 * 0 10
Ceann Ear Monach Islands &0000000000000203.000000203 0 17
Ceann Iar Monach Islands &0000000000000154.000000154 0 19
Coll (Colla) Mull &0000000000007685.0000007,685 164 104
Colonsay (Colbhasa) Islay &0000000000004074.0000004,074 108 143
Copinsay Orkney &0000000000000073.00000073 0 64
Danna Islay &0000000000000315.000000315 * 5 54
Davaar (Eilean Dà Bhàrr) Firth of Clyde &0000000000000052.00000052 * 2 115
Easdale (Eilean Eisdeal) Slate Islands &0000000000000020.00000020 <20 * 58 38
East Burra Shetland &0000000000000515.000000515 66 81
Eday Orkney &0000000000002745.0000002,745 121 101
Egilsay Orkney &0000000000000650.000000650 37 35
Eigg (Eige) Small Isles &0000000000003049.0000003,049 67 393
Eileach an Naoimh Garvellachs &0000000000000056.00000056 0 80
Eilean Bàn, Lochalsh Highland &0000000000000010.00000010 <10 * 2 5
Eilean Chaluim Chille Lewis and Harris &0000000000000085.00000085 0 43
Eilean Chearstaidh Lewis and Harris &0000000000000077.00000077 0 37
Eilean Donan Highland &0000000000000001.0000001 <1 * 1 3
Eilean Dubh Mòr Slate Islands &0000000000000065.00000065 0 53
Eilean Fladday Inner Hebrides &0000000000000137.000000137 0 39
Eilean Liubhaird Lewis and Harris &0000000000000125.000000125 0 76
Eilean Macaskin Islay &0000000000000050.00000050 0 65
Eilean Mhic Chrion Islay &0000000000000054.00000054 * 0 63
Eilean Mòr Crowlin Islands &0000000000000170.000000170 0 114
Eilean Mòr (F) Lewis &0000000000000059.00000059 * 0 64
Eilean nan Ròn Highland &0000000000000138.000000138 0 76
Eilean Righ Islay &0000000000000086.00000086 0 55
Eilean Ruairidh Mòr (F) Loch Maree &0000000000000041.00000041 * 0 51
Eilean Shona Small Isles &0000000000000525.000000525 9 265
Eilean Sùbhainn (F) Loch Maree &0000000000000118.000000118 * 0 36
Eilean Tigh Inner Hebrides &0000000000000058.00000058 * 0 111
Eilean Trodday Skye &0000000000000042.00000042 0 45
Eileanan Iasgaich Uists and Barra &0000000000000050.00000050 0 23
Ensay (Easaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000186.000000186 0 49
Eorsa Mull &0000000000000122.000000122 0 98
Eriska Loch Linnhe &0000000000000310.000000310 * 0 47
Eriskay (Eirisgeidh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000703.000000703 133 185
Erraid (Eilean Earraid) Mull &0000000000000187.000000187 8 75
Eynhallow Orkney &0000000000000075.00000075 0 30
Fair Isle Shetland &0000000000000768.000000768 69 217
Fara Orkney &0000000000000295.000000295 0 43
Faray Orkney &0000000000000180.000000180 0 32
Fetlar Shetland &0000000000004078.0000004,078 86 158
Fiaraidh Uists and Barra &0000000000000041.00000041 0 30
Flodaigh Uists and Barra &0000000000000145.000000145 * 11 20
Flodaigh Mòr Uists and Barra &0000000000000058.00000058 0 28
Flodday, Sound of Barra Uists and Barra &0000000000000040.00000040 0 41
Flotta Orkney &0000000000000876.000000876 81 58
Foula Shetland &0000000000001265.0000001,265 31 418
Fraoch-eilean Uists and Barra &0000000000000030.00000030 *  ?[13] 11
Fuaigh Mòr (Vuia Mòr) Lewis and Harris &0000000000000084.00000084 0 67
Fuday (Fuideigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000232.000000232 0 89
Fuiay (Fuidheigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000084.00000084 0 107
Gairsay Orkney &0000000000000240.000000240 3 102
Garbh Eileach Garvellachs &0000000000000142.000000142 0 110
Garbh Eilean Shiant Islands &0000000000000143.000000143 0 160
Garbh Eilean, Loch Maree (F) Loch Maree &0000000000000065.00000065 * 0 25
Gigha (Giogha) Islay &0000000000001395.0000001,395 110 100
Gighay (Gioghaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000096.00000096 0 95
Glims Holm Orkney &0000000000000055.00000055 0 32
Gometra (Gòmastra) Mull &0000000000000425.000000425 5 155
Graemsay Orkney &0000000000000409.000000409 21 62
Great Bernera (Bearnaraigh Mòr) Lewis and Harris &0000000000002122.0000002,122 233 87
Great Cumbrae (Cumaradh Mòr) Firth of Clyde &0000000000001168.0000001,168 1434 127
Grimsay (Griomasaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000833.000000833 201 22
Grimsay (South) (Griomasaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000117.000000117 * 19 20
Gruinard Island (Eilean Ghruinneard) Highland &0000000000000196.000000196 0 106
Gunna (Gunnaigh) Mull &0000000000000069.00000069 0 35
Handa (Eilean Shannda) Highland &0000000000000309.000000309 0 123
Hascosay Shetland &0000000000000275.000000275 0 30
Hellisay (Theiliseigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000142.000000142 0 79
Hermetray (Thearnatraigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000072.00000072 0 35
Hildasay Shetland &0000000000000108.000000108 0 32
Hirta (Hiort) St Kilda &0000000000000670.000000670 0 430
Holy Isle (Eilean MoLaise) Firth of Clyde &0000000000000253.000000253 13 314
Horse Island Summer Isles &0000000000000053.00000053 0 60
Housay Out Skerries &0000000000000163.000000163 50 53
Hoy Orkney &0000000000013458.00000013,458 272[14] 479
Hunda Orkney &0000000000000100.000000100 0 41
Inchcolm (Innis Choluim) Firth of Forth &0000000000000009.0000009 * 2 34
Inchfad (F) (Innis Fada) Loch Lomond &0000000000000040.00000040 c.40 * 2 24
Inch Kenneth (Innis Choinnich) Mull &0000000000000055.00000055 0 49
Inchlonaig (F) Loch Lomond &0000000000000077.00000077 * 0 62
Inchmarnock (Innis Mheàrnaig) Firth of Clyde &0000000000000266.000000266 0 60
Inchmurrin (F) (Innis Mheadhran) Loch Lomond &0000000000000133.000000133 * 13 89
Inchtavannach (F) (Innis Taigh a' Mhanaich) Loch Lomond &0000000000000052.00000052 * 3 84
Innis Chonan (F) Loch Awe &0000000000000008.0000008 * 1 62
Iona (Ì Chaluim Chille) Mull &0000000000000877.000000877 125 100
Isay (Ìosaigh) Skye &0000000000000060.00000060 0 28
Islay (Ìle) Islay &0000000000061956.00000061,956 3457 491
Isle Martin (Eilean Mhàrtainn) Summer Isles &0000000000000157.000000157 0 120
Isle of Ewe (Eilean Iùbh) Highland &0000000000000309.000000309 12 72
Isle of May (Eilean Mhàigh) Firth of Forth &0000000000000045.00000045 0 50
Isle Ristol (Eilean Ruisteil) Summer Isles &0000000000000225.000000225 * 0 71
Jura (Diùra) Islay &0000000000036692.00000036,692 188 785
Kerrera (Cearrara) Mull &0000000000001214.0000001,214 42 189
Killegray (Ceileagraigh) Lewis and Harris &0000000000000176.000000176 0 45
Kirkibost (Eilean Chirceboist) Uists and Barra &0000000000000205.000000205 0 7
Lamba Shetland &0000000000000043.00000043 0 35
Lamb Holm Orkney &0000000000000040.00000040 0 20
Lewis and Harris (Leòdhas agus na Hearadh) Lewis and Harris &0000000000217898.000000217,898 19918 799
Linga, Muckle Roe Shetland &0000000000000070.00000070 0 69
Linga, Samphrey Shetland &0000000000000043.00000043 0 40
Linga, Yell Shetland &0000000000000045.00000045 0 26
Linga Holm Orkney &0000000000000057.00000057 0 10
Lismore (Lios Mòr) Mull &0000000000002351.0000002,351 146 127
Little Bernera (Bearnaraigh Beag) Lewis and Harris &0000000000000138.000000138 0 41
Little Colonsay (Colbhasa Beag) Mull &0000000000000088.00000088 0 61
Little Cumbrae (Cumaradh Beag) Firth of Clyde &0000000000000313.000000313 0 123
Longa Island (Longa) Highland &0000000000000126.000000126 0 70
Longay (Longaigh) Skye &0000000000000050.00000050 0 67
Luing (An t-Eilean Luinn) Slate Islands &0000000000001430.0000001,430 212 94
Lunga Slate Islands &0000000000000254.000000254 7 98
Lunga Treshnish Isles &0000000000000081.00000081 0 103
Mainland, Orkney Orkney &0000000000052325.00000052,325 15315 271
Mainland, Shetland Shetland &0000000000096879.00000096,879 17550 450
Eilean Mhealasta Lewis and Harris &0000000000000124.000000124 0 77
Mingulay (Miughalaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000640.000000640 0 273
Moncrieffe Island (F) (Eilean Monadh Craoibhe) River Tay &0000000000000046.00000046 * 3 5
Mousa Shetland &0000000000000180.000000180 0 55
Muck (Eilean nam Muc) Small Isles &0000000000000559.000000559 30 137
Muckle Roe Shetland &0000000000001773.0000001,773 104 267
Muldoanich (Maol Dòmhnaich) Uists and Barra &0000000000000078.00000078 0 153
Mull (Muile) Mull &0000000000087535.00000087,535 2667 966
North Rona (Rònaigh) Atlantic Outlier &0000000000000109.000000109 0 108
North Ronaldsay Orkney &0000000000000690.000000690 70 20
North Uist (Uibhist a Tuath) Uists and Barra &0000000000030305.00000030,305 1271 347
Noss Shetland &0000000000000343.000000343 0 181
Oldany Island Highland &0000000000000200.000000200 * 0 104
Oronsay (Orasaigh) Islay &0000000000000543.000000543 5 93
Oronsay (Orasaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000085.00000085 0 25
Oronsay (Orasaigh) Mull &0000000000000230.000000230 * 0 58
Oxna Shetland &0000000000000068.00000068 0 38
Pabay (Pabaigh) Skye &0000000000000122.000000122 0 28
Pabay Mòr Lewis and Harris &0000000000000101.000000101 0 68
Pabbay (Pabaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000250.000000250 0 171
Pabbay (Pabaigh) Lewis and Harris &0000000000000820.000000820 0 196
Papa Shetland &0000000000000059.00000059 0 32
Papa Little Shetland &0000000000000226.000000226 0 82
Papa Stour Shetland &0000000000000828.000000828 23 87
Papa Stronsay Orkney &0000000000000074.00000074 10 13
Papa Westray Orkney &0000000000000918.000000918 65 48
Priest Island (Eilean a' Chlèirich) Summer Isles &0000000000000122.000000122 0 78
Raasay (Ratharsair) Skye &0000000000006405.0000006,405 192 443
Ronay (Rònaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000563.000000563 0 115
Rousay Orkney &0000000000004860.0000004,860 212 250
Rùm Small Isles &0000000000010463.00000010,463 22 812
Samphrey Shetland &0000000000000066.00000066 0 29
Sanda Island (Sandaigh) Firth of Clyde &0000000000000151.000000151 1 123
Sanday (Sandaigh) Orkney &0000000000005043.0000005,043 478 65
Sanday (Sandaigh) Small Isles &0000000000000184.000000184 6 59
Sandray (Sanndraigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000385.000000385 0 207
Scalpay (Sgalpaigh) Skye &0000000000002483.0000002,483 10 392
Scalpay (Sgalpaigh) Lewis and Harris &0000000000000653.000000653 322 104
Scarba (Sgarba) Islay &0000000000001474.0000001,474 0 449
Scarp (An Sgarp) Lewis and Harris &0000000000001045.0000001,045 0 308
Seaforth Island (Eilean Shìphiort) Lewis and Harris &0000000000000273.000000273 0 217
Seil (Saoil) Slate Islands &0000000000001329.0000001,329 560 146
Sgeotasaigh Lewis and Harris &0000000000000049.00000049 0 57
Shapinsay Orkney &0000000000002948.0000002,948 300 64
Shillay (Siolaigh) Lewis and Harris &0000000000000047.00000047 0 79
Shuna (Siuna) Slate Islands &0000000000000451.000000451 1 90
Shuna (Siuna) Loch Linnhe &0000000000000155.000000155 0 71
Skye (An t-Eilean Sgitheanach) Skye &0000000000165625.000000165,625 9232 993
Soay (Sòdhaigh) Skye &0000000000001036.0000001,036 7 141
Soay (Soaigh) St Kilda &0000000000000099.00000099 0 378
Soay Mòr (Sòdhaigh Mòr) Lewis and Harris &0000000000000045.00000045 0 37
South Havra Shetland &0000000000000059.00000059 0 42
South Rona (Rònaigh) Skye &0000000000000930.000000930 2 125
South Ronaldsay Orkney &0000000000004980.0000004,980 854 118
South Uist (Uibhist a Deas) Uists and Barra &0000000000032026.00000032,026 1818 620
South Walls Orkney &0000000000000850.000000850 * 120 (est)[14] 57
St Serf's Inch (F) Loch Leven &0000000000000041.00000041 * 0 110
Stockinish Island (Eilean Stocainis) Lewis and Harris &0000000000000049.00000049 0 44
Stroma (Sròmaigh) Highland &0000000000000375.000000375 0 53
Stromay (Sròmaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000066.00000066 0 16
Stronsay Orkney &0000000000003275.0000003,275 343 44
Stuley Uists and Barra &0000000000000045.00000045 0 40
Switha Orkney &0000000000000041.00000041 0 29
Swona Orkney &0000000000000092.00000092 0 41
Tahay (Taghaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000053.00000053 0 65
Tanera Beag Summer Isles &0000000000000066.00000066 0 83
Tanera Mòr (Tannara Mòr) Summer Isles &0000000000000310.000000310 5 124
Taransay (Tarasaigh) Lewis and Harris &0000000000001475.0000001,475 0 267
Texa Islay &0000000000000048.00000048 0 48
Tiree (Tiriodh) Mull &0000000000007834.0000007,834 770 141
Torsa Slate Islands &0000000000000113.000000113 0 62
Trondra Shetland &0000000000000275.000000275 133 60
Ulva (Ulbha) Mull &0000000000001990.0000001,990 16 313
Unst Shetland &0000000000012068.00000012,068 720 284
Uyea, Northmavine Shetland &0000000000000045.00000045 0 70
Uyea, Unst Shetland &0000000000000205.000000205 0 50
Vaila Shetland &0000000000000327.000000327 2 95
Vacsay (Bhacsaidh) Lewis and Harris &0000000000000041.00000041 0 34
Vallay (Bhàlaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000260.000000260 0 38
Vatersay (Bhatarsaigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000960.000000960 94 185
Vementry Shetland &0000000000000370.000000370 0 90
West Burra Shetland &0000000000000743.000000743 753 217
West Linga Shetland &0000000000000125.000000125 0 52
Westray Orkney &0000000000004713.0000004,713 563 169
Whalsay Shetland &0000000000001970.0000001,970 1034 119
Wiay (Fuidheigh) Skye &0000000000000148.000000148 0 60
Wiay (Fuidheigh) Uists and Barra &0000000000000375.000000375 0 102
Wyre Orkney &0000000000000311.000000311 18 32
Yell Shetland &0000000000021211.00000021,211 957 205
Loch Lomond from Beinn Dubh and Creag an t-Seilich

Freshwater islands

There are numerous other freshwater islands, of which the more notable include Lochindorb Castle Island, Loch Leven Castle Island, St Serf's Inch, and Inchmahome, each of which have played an important part in Scottish history.

Inchmurrin is the largest freshwater island in the British Isles.[15][16] It is in Loch Lomond, which contains over sixty other islands.[16]

Smaller offshore islands

This is a continuing list of uninhabited Scottish islands smaller than 40 hectares in size.

Sortable table
Name Island Group / Location
Bac Mòr Treshnish Isles
Bass Rock Firth of Forth
Bayble Island Lewis and Harris
Belnahua Slate Islands
Bottle Island Summer Isles
Brough of Birsay Orkney
Cairn na Burgh Beag Treshnish Isles
Cairn na Burgh Mòr Treshnish Isles
Calf of Flotta Orkney Islands
Calvay Outer Hebrides
Campay Outer Hebrides
Castle Island Firth of Clyde
Cearstaidh Outer Hebrides
Clett Inner Hebrides
Clettack Skerry Pentland Skerries
Corn Holm Orkney Islands
Craigleith Firth of Forth
Craiglethy Fowlsheugh
Cramond Island Firth of Forth
Craro Inner Hebrides
Damsay Orkney Islands
Deasker North Uist
Dubh Artach Inner Hebrides
Dùn St Kilda
Dùn Channuill Garvellachs
East Linga Shetland Islands
Eilean Chathastail Inner Hebrides
Eilean Dubh Firth of Clyde
Eilean Dubh Summer Isles
Eilean Horrisdale Wester Ross
Eilean Mhuire Shiant Isles
Eilean Mullagrach Summer Isles
Eyebroughy Firth of Forth
Fidra Firth of Forth
Fish Holm Shetland Islands
Fladda Slate Islands
Fladda Treshnish Isles
Flodday near Vatersay Uists and Barra
Floddaybeg Outer Hebrides
Fodragay Outer Hebrides
Fuaigh Beag (Vuia Beg) Outer Hebrides
Garbh Sgeir Inner Hebrides
Gigalum Island Inner Hebrides
Gilsay Outer Hebrides
Glas-leac Beag Summer Isles
Glas-leac Mòr Summer Isles
Gloup Holm Shetland Islands
Glunimore Island Firth of Clyde
Groay Outer Hebrides
Grunay Out Skerries
Gruney Shetland Islands
Gualan Outer Hebrides
Haaf Gruney Shetland Islands
Harlosh Island Inner Hebrides
Haskeir Outer Hebrides
Haskeir Eagach Outer Hebrides
Hearnish Monach Islands
Helliar Holm Orkney Islands
Hestan Island Solway Firth
Holm of Faray Orkney Islands
Holm of Huip Orkney Islands
Holm of Papa Orkney Islands
Holm of Scockness Orkney Islands
Sortable table
Name Island Group / Location
Horse Island Small Isles
Horse Isle Firth of Clyde
Huney Shetland Islands
Inchgarvie Firth of Forth
Inchkeith Firth of Forth
Inchmickery Firth of Forth
Innis Mhòr Easter Ross
Kili Holm Orkney Islands
Lady's Holm Shetland Islands
Lady Isle Firth of Clyde
The Lamb Firth of Forth
Lingay near Harris Outer Hebrides
Lingay near North Uist Outer Hebrides
Little Linga Shetland Islands
Little Roe Shetland Islands
Little Skerry Pentland Skerries
Louther Skerry Pentland Skerries
Lunna Holm Shetland Islands
Mingay Inner Hebrides
Moul of Eswick Shetland Islands
Muckle Flugga Shetland Islands
Muckle Green Holm Orkney Islands
Muckle Ossa Shetland Islands
Muckle Skerry Pentland Skerries
Mugdrum Island Firth of Tay
Nave Island Islay
North Havra Shetland Islands
Oigh-Sgeir Inner Hebrides
Opsay Outer Hebrides
Orasaigh (many) Outer Hebrides
Orfasay Shetland Islands
Ornsay Inner Hebrides
Orsay Inner Hebrides
Out Stack Shetland Islands
Pladda Firth of Clyde
Rockall North Atlantic
Rough Solway Firth
Rusk Holm Orkney Islands
Rysa Little Orkney Islands
Scaravay Outer Hebrides
Sgat Mòr and Sgat Beag Firth of Clyde
Sheep Island Firth of Clyde
Sibhinis Monach Isles
Shillay Monach Islands
Soay Beag Outer Hebrides
South Gruney Shetland Islands
South Isle of Gletness Shetland Islands
St Ninian's Isle Shetland Islands
Stac an Armin St Kilda
Stac Biorach St Kilda
Stac Lee St Kilda
Stac Levenish St Kilda
Staffa Inner Hebrides
Stockay Monach Islands
Stuley Outer Hebrides
Sula Sgeir Atlantic Ocean
Sule Skerry Atlantic Ocean
Sule Stack Atlantic Ocean
Sursay Outer Hebrides
Sweyn Holm Orkney Islands
Tarner Island Inner Hebrides
Trialabreck Outer Hebrides
Urie Lingey Shetland Islands
Uynarey Shetland Islands
Vacsay Outer Hebrides

Small archipelagos

Boreray, Stac Lee, and Stac an Armin (left) from the heights of Conachair, St Kilda

There are various small archipelagos which may be better known than the larger islands they contain. These include:

Highest islands

Scotland's islands include thirteen Munros (mountains with a height over 3000 feet or 914.4 metres), twelve of them found on Skye, and a total of 227 Marilyns (hills with a relative height of at least 150 metres, regardless of absolute height).[17] The following list is of all islands with a highest elevation greater than 300 metres (980 ft).

The rock pinnacles of the Quiraing, Skye
Sortable table
Rank Island Mountain Height (ft) Height (m)
1 Skye Sgurr Alasdair 3,258 993
2 Mull Ben More 3,169 966
3 Arran Goat Fell 2,867 874
4 Rùm Askival 2,664 812
5 Lewis and Harris Clisham 2,621 799
6 Jura Beinn an Òir 2,575 785
7 South Uist Beinn Mhòr 2,034 620
8 Islay Beinn Bheigier 1,610 491
9 Hoy Ward Hill 1,571 479
10 Shetland Mainland Ronas Hill 1,476 450
11 Scarba Cruach Scarba 1,473 449
12 Raasay Dùn Caan 1,453 443
13 Hirta Conachair 1,410 430
14 Foula The Sneug 1,371 418
15 Eigg An Sgurr 1,289 393
16 Scalpay, Inner Hebrides Mullach na Càrn 1,286 392
17 Boreray, St Kilda Mullach an Eilein 1,259 384
18 Barra Heaval 1,256 383
19 Soay, St Kilda Cnoc Glas 1,240 378
20 North Uist Eavel 1,138 347
21 Ailsa Craig The Cairn 1,108 338
22 Holy Isle Mullach Mòr 1,030 314
23 Ulva Beinn Creagach 1,026 313
24 Scarp Sròn Romul 1,010 308

Former islands

Ruined ecclesiastical buildings remain visible on Eilean Chaluim Chille, near Kilmuir, Skye.

The following is a list of places which were formerly islands, but which are no longer so due to silting up, harbour building etc.

Bridged islands

Churchill Barrier 1, blocking Kirk Sound
Inchgarvie can be seen just below the Forth Bridge

Many of Scotland's islands are connected to the mainland and/or other islands by bridge or causeway. Although some people consider these to be no longer islands, they are generally treated as such.

Outer Hebrides

Many of the islands of the southern Outer Hebrides have been joined to other islands by causeways and bridges. These include:

To the north, Scalpay and Great Bernera are connected to Lewis and Harris.

Inner Hebrides

Orkney Islands

Looking south across Wind Wick, South Ronaldsay.

Similarly, four Orkney islands are joined to the Orkney Mainland by a series of causeways known as the Churchill Barriers. They are:

Hunda is in turn connected to Burray via a causeway.

South Walls and Hoy are connected by a causeway called the Ayre. The islands are treated as one entity (Hoy) by the UK census.

An undersea tunnel between the archipelago and Caithness, at a length of about 9–10 miles (14–16 km) and a tunnel connecting Orkney Mainland to Shapinsay have been discussed,[23][24] although little has come of it.

Shetland Islands

Several Shetland islands are joined to the Shetland Mainland:

There is also a bridge from Housay to Bruray.


Various other islands are also connected by bridges or causeways, to the mainland or other islands, including:

  • Inchgarvie (part of Forth Bridge), thus joined to both Fife and Lothian on the Mainland.
  • Garbh Eilean at the entrance to Loch Glencoul is now joined to the mainland by both the Kylesku Bridge to the south and its associated roadworks to the north.
  • Innis Chonan, an inhabited island in Loch Awe is connected to the mainland by a small road bridge.

Tidal islands and tombolos

A beach on Oronsay by Colonsay, looking towards the Paps of Jura in the distance.
St Ninian's Isle and tombolo

There are a large number of small tidal islets in Scotland. The more notable ones include:

Oronsay means "ebb island" and there are several tidal islands of this name.[25]

The three main islands of the Monach Islands (Heisgeir), Ceann Iar, Ceann Ear and Shivinish are connected at low tides. It is said that at one time it was also possible to walk all the way to Baleshare, and on to North Uist, five miles away at low tide. In the 16th century, a large tidal wave was said to have washed the route away.[2]

St Ninian's Isle is connected to Mainland Shetland by a tombolo. Although greater than 40 hectares in size it fails to meet the definition of an island used in this list as it is only surrounded by water during occasional spring tides and storms.[26]

Dùn in St Kilda is separated from Hirta by a shallow strait about 50 metres wide. This is normally impassable but is reputed to dry out on rare occasions.[2]

Castle Islands

Castle Stalker, as seen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Ther are several small Scottish islands that are dominated by a castle or other fortification. The castle is often better known than the island, and the islands themselves are often tidal or bridged. Due to their picturesque nature some of them are well-known from postcards and films. Examples include:

Many of the Islands of the Forth and southern Orkneys have fortifications from the two world wars. Rosyth Castle stands on a former island.

Holy islands

The Tibetan Buddhist Centre for world peace and health on Holy Isle
Oronsay Priory

A huge number of the islands of Scotland have some kind of culdee/church connection, and/or are dominated by a church. The more notable include:

Brother Isle's name is not ecclesiastical in origin as is sometimes stated.

List of Scottish islands named after people

This is a list of islands, which are known to be named after someone. In some cases such as North Ronaldsay this status may not be obvious (it isn't named after a "Ronald", unlike South Ronaldsay). This list omits names such as Hildasay, where the person in question is mythological, or Ailsa Craig, where the individual in question is not known, and also Colonsay & Egilsay where the derivation is disputed.

Iqbal Singh, the owner of Vacsay, has also expressed wishes to rename it after Robert Burns.

Places called "island" or "isle" etc which are not islands

Burntisland - not actually an island

Some places in Scotland with names including "isle" or "island" are not islands. They include:

Sortable table
Name Island group / location
Black Isle (An t-Eilean Dubh) Ross and Cromarty
Burntisland Fife
Gluss Isle Shetland
Isle of Harris (Na Hearadh) Outer Hebrides
Isle of Lewis (Eilean Leòdhais) Outer Hebrides
Isleornsay (Eilean Iarmain) Skye
Islesteps (south of Dumfries) Dumfries and Galloway
Isle of Whithorn Dumfries and Galloway

Lewis and Harris are separated by a range of hills but form one island, and are sometimes referred to as "Lewis and Harris". Isle of Whithorn and the Black Isle are peninsulas, and Isleornsay is a village which looks out onto the island of Ornsay. There is no commonly accepted derivation for "Burntisland" which had numerous other forms in the past, such as "Brintilun" and "Ye Brint Eland".[27]

Gluss Isle at the western entrance to Sullom Voe is one of the many promontories in Orkney and Shetland connected to a larger body of land by an ayre.


Other elements

Vementry Farm, on Mainland Shetland, with Isle of Vementry in hinterground

The name "Inch" (Innis) can mean island (e.g. Inchkenneth, Inchcolm), but is also used for terra firma surrounded by marsh e.g. Markinch, Insch.

Eilean is Gaelic for "island". However, Inistrynich, Eilean na Maodail, Eilean Dubh and Liever Island are all promontories on Loch Awe as opposed to islands, despite their names. Likewise Eilean Aoidhe on Loch Fyne. The Black Isle is also An t-Eilean Dubh in Gaelic, while Eilean Glas is part of Scalpay.

"-holm" is also common as a suffix in various landlocked placenames, especially in the far south of mainland Scotland e.g. Langholm, Kirk Yetholm, Holmhead (by Cumnock), Holmhill (next to Thornhill, Nithsdale). Some of these were river islands in their time, or dry land surrounded by marsh. "Holm" can be found in an element in Holmsgarth, now a suburb of Lerwick and the Parish of Holm on Mainland Shetland and Mainland Orkney respectively. Neither of these is an island in its own right.

Islands named after mainland areas

Likewise, occasionally an island may be named after a location on the nearby mainland, or a major neighbouring island - or vice versa. Examples of this include: Vementry, which was originally the name of an island, but whose name has been transferred to a nearby farm on Mainland Shetland; Oldany Island, whose name has been transferred to Oldany; Cramond Island which is named after neighbouring Cramond (a district of Edinburgh); and Eilean Mhealasta in the Outer Hebrides, which is named after Mealista on Lewis.


Modern reconstruction of a crannóg in Loch Tay

Crannógs are prehistoric artificial islands created in lochs. There are several hundred sites in Scotland. Today, crannógs typically appear as small, circular islands, between 10-30 metres (30-90 feet) in diameter.[28]

See also

References and footnotes

General references
Specific references and notes
  1. ^ Various other definitions are used. For example the General Register Office for Scotland define an island as "a mass of land surrounded by water, separate from the Scottish mainland" but although they include islands linked by bridges etc. this is not clear from this definition. Haswell-Smith (2004) uses "an Island is a piece of land or group of pieces of land which is entirely surrounded by water at Lowest Astronomical Tide and to which there is no permanent means of dry access". This is widely agreed to be unhelpful as it excludes bridged islands. However, the large numbers of small tidal islets essentially defy categorisation.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 1841954543. 
  3. ^ The Corryvreckan is regularly cited as the third largest whirlpool of the world - see for example "Corryvreckan Whirlpool " Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 19 September 2009. Some sources suggest it is the second largest after the Moskstraumen.
  4. ^ McKirdy, Alan Gordon, John & Crofts, Roger (2007) Land of Mountain and Flood: The Geology and Landforms of Scotland. Edinburgh. Birlinn.
  5. ^ a b General Register Office for Scotland (28 November 2003). Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands. Retrieved 2007-07-25. 
  6. ^ Ross, John (5 October 2007). "Isolated Communities Where Violent Crime Comes as a Shock". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 
  7. ^ "On This Day: 21 September". BBC. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  8. ^ "House of Lords Hansard". 24 June 1997. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  9. ^ Oral Questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Dáil Éireann. 1 November 1973. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  10. ^ MacDonald, Fraser (2006). "The last outpost of Empire: Rockall and the Cold War". Journal of Historical Geography 32: 627–647. doi:10.1016/j.jhg.2005.10.009. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  11. ^ Haswell-Smith (2004), save those indicated with an asterisk, which are estimates based on Ordnance Survey maps and General Register Office for Scotland statistics.
  12. ^ Ordnance Survey maps. Note that the maps mark the height above sea level of a high point on most islands, but in a small number of cases, this may not be the highest peak.
  13. ^ This island is at (grid reference NF860580) and the evidence of both Ordnance Survey maps and photographs (e.g. "Houses on Seana Bhaile" Geograph. Retrieved 10 August 2009) indicates a resident population. There is even a name, "Seana Bhaile" for the main settlement. However, neither the census nor the main reference work (Haswell-Smith 2004) refer to the island at all. Its small population is presumably included in nearby Grimsay (which has a population of over 800) by the census.
  14. ^ a b The 2001 Census does not list South Walls as an island, but includes the total in Hoy. The record for Hoy in this table excludes the estimated total for South Walls. The combined population is listed as 392.
  15. ^ "Loch Lomond Islands - Inchmurrin". Loch Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  16. ^ a b Dow, Jim (2005) Islands Galore. A Scottish Islands Handbook. Edinburgh. Black & White Publishing.
  17. ^ D.A. Bearhop (1997). Munro's Tables. Scottish Mountaineering Club & Trust. ISBN 0-907521-53-3. 
  18. ^ "Broch of Clickimin" Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  19. ^ "Slate Islands - The Islands that Roofed the World" Retrieved 14 November 2009.
  20. ^ "Local Names" Retrieved 3 January 2009.
  21. ^ Hansom, JD and Black, SDL (1996) "The Geomorphology of Morrich More: Management Prescription Review" (pdf) SNH. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
  22. ^ "Preston Island". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  23. ^ David Lister (September 5, 2005). "Islanders see a brighter future with tunnel vision". The Times.,,2-1765366,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  24. ^ John Ross (10 Match 2005). "£100m tunnel to Orkney 'feasible'". The Scotsman newspaper. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  25. ^ Pàrlamaid na h-Alba placenames Retrieved 16 July 2007.
  26. ^ Fettes College Shetland Landscapes Retrieved 3 August 2007.
  27. ^ Burntisland Online Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  28. ^ "What is a crannog?" Scottish Crannog Centre. Retrieved 26 December 2008.

External links


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