List of islands of Scotland

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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".[Note 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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[1] 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 formed 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.[3]

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.[1]

Some 99 Scottish islands are populated, of which 94 are offshore islands.[Note 2] The local government council areas with the most inhabited islands are Argyll and Bute with 26, Orkney with 20, Shetland with 16 and Highland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar with 15 each.[Note 3] 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.[4]

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.[1] A feature of modern island life is the low crime rate and they are considered to be amongst the safest places to live in Britain.[5]

Rockall is a small rocky islet in the North Atlantic which was declared part of Scotland by the Island of Rockall Act 1972.[6][7] However, the legality of the claim is disputed by the Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Iceland and it is probably unenforceable in international law.[8][9]


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 main groups, from Haswell-Smith (2004), in many cases provide a more useful guide to location than local authority areas. These 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).
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
IslandGroupArea (ha)[10]Population[4]Height (m)[11]
Ailsa Craig (Creag Ealasaid)Firth of Clyde7001990000000000000990338
Arran (Eilean Arainn)Firth of Clyde700443201000000000043,2015045874
Baleshare (Baile Sear)Uists and Barra70029100000000000009104912
Barra (Barraigh)Uists and Barra70035875000000000005,8751078383
Barra Head (Beàrnaraigh)Uists and Barra70022040000000000002040193
Benbecula (Beinn nam Fadhla)Uists and Barra70038203000000000008,2031219124
Berneray, North Uist (Beàrnaraigh)Uists and Barra70031010000000000001,01013693
Boreray (Boraraigh)St Kilda700186000000000000086[12]0384
Boreray (Boraraigh)Uists and Barra7002204000000000000204056
Brother IsleShetland700140000000000000040025
BrurayOut Skerries7001550000000000000552653
Bute (Eilean Bhòid)Firth of Clyde700412217000000000012,2177149278
Calf of EdayOrkney7002243000000000000243054
Calbha MorEdrachillis Bay700170000000000000070[13]067
Calve IslandMull700172000000000000072020
Canna (Eilean Chanaigh)Small Isles70031130000000000001,1306210
Ceallasaigh MòrUists and Barra700155000000000000055[13]010
Ceallasaigh BeagUists and Barra700146000000000000046[13]010
Ceann EarMonach Islands7002203000000000000203017
Ceann IarMonach Islands7002154000000000000154019
Coll (Colla)Mull70037685000000000007,685164104
Colonsay (Colbhasa)Islay70034074000000000004,074108143
DannaIslay7002315000000000000315 *554
Davaar (Eilean Dà Bhàrr)Firth of Clyde700152000000000000052 *2115
Dunglass Island (F)River Conon700140000000000000040 *08
Easdale (Eilean Eisdeal)Slate Islands700120000000000000020 <20 *5838
East BurraShetland70025150000000000005156681
Eigg (Eige)Small Isles70033049000000000003,04967393
Eileach an NaoimhGarvellachs700156000000000000056080
Eilean Bàn, LochalshHighland700110000000000000010 <10 *25
Eilean Chaluim ChilleLewis and Harris700185000000000000085043
Eilean ChearstaidhLewis and Harris700177000000000000077037
Eilean DonanHighland70001000000000000001 <1 *13
Eilean Dubh MòrSlate Islands700165000000000000065053
Eilean FladdayInner Hebrides7002120000000000000120[13]039
Eilean LiubhairdLewis and Harris7002125000000000000125076
Eilean MacaskinIslay700150000000000000050065
Eilean MeadhonachCrowlin Islands700177000000000000077054
Eilean Mhic ChrionIslay700154000000000000054 *063
Eilean MòrCrowlin Islands70021700000000000001700114
Eilean Mòr (F)Lewis700159000000000000059 *064
Eilean nan RònHighland7002138000000000000138076
Eilean RighIslay700186000000000000086055
Eilean ShonaSmall Isles70025250000000000005259265
Eilean Sùbhainn (F)Loch Maree7002118000000000000118 *036
Eilean TighSkye700154000000000000054[13]0111
Eilean TroddaySkye700142000000000000042045
Eileanan IasgaichUists and Barra700150000000000000050023
Ensay (Easaigh)Uists and Barra7002186000000000000186049
EriskaLoch Linnhe7002310000000000000310 *047
Eriskay (Èirisgeigh)Uists and Barra7002703000000000000703133185
Erraid (Eilean Earraid)Mull7002187000000000000187875
Fair IsleShetland700276800000000000076869217
FiaraidhUists and Barra700141000000000000041030
FlodaighUists and Barra7002145000000000000145 *1120
Flodaigh MòrUists and Barra700158000000000000058028
Flodday, Sound of BarraUists and Barra700140000000000000040041
Fraoch-eileanUists and Barra700155000000000000055[13] ?[14]11
Fuaigh Mòr (Vuia Mòr)Lewis and Harris700184000000000000084067
Fuday (Fuideigh)Uists and Barra7002232000000000000232089
Fuiay (Fuidheigh)Uists and Barra7001840000000000000840107
Garbh EileachGarvellachs70021420000000000001420110
Garbh EileanShiant Islands70021430000000000001430160
Garbh Eilean, Loch Maree (F)Loch Maree700165000000000000065 *025
Gigha (Giogha)Islay70031395000000000001,395110100
Gighay (Gioghaigh)Uists and Barra700196000000000000096095
Glims HolmOrkney700155000000000000055032
Gometra (Gòmastra)Mull70024250000000000004255155
Great Bernera (Beàrnaraigh Mòr)Lewis and Harris70032122000000000002,12223387
Great Cumbrae (Cumaradh Mòr)Firth of Clyde70031168000000000001,1681434127
Grimsay (Griomasaigh)Uists and Barra700283300000000000083320122
Grimsay (South) (Griomasaigh)Uists and Barra7002117000000000000117 *1920
Gruinard Island (Eilean Ghruinneard)Highland70021960000000000001960106
Gunna (Gunnaigh)Mull700169000000000000069035
Handa (Eilean Shannda)Highland70023090000000000003090123
Hellisay (Theiliseigh)Uists and Barra7002142000000000000142079
Hermetray (Thearnatraigh)Uists and Barra700172000000000000072035
Hirta (Hiort)St Kilda70026700000000000006700430
Holy Isle (Eilean MoLaise)Firth of Clyde700225300000000000025313314
Horse IslandSummer Isles700153000000000000053060
HousayOut Skerries70021630000000000001635053
Inchcailloch (F) (Innis na Cailleach)Loch Lomond700150000000000000050[13]085
Inchcolm (Innis Choluim)Firth of Forth70009000000000000009 *234
Inchfad (F) (Innis Fada)Loch Lomond700140000000000000040 c.40 *224
Inch Kenneth (Innis Choinnich)Mull700155000000000000055049
Inchlonaig (F)Loch Lomond700180000000000000080[13]062
Inchmarnock (Innis Mheàrnaig)Firth of Clyde7002266000000000000266060
Inchmurrin (F) (Innis Mheadhran)Loch Lomond7002120000000000000120[13]1389
Inchtavannach (F) (Innis Taigh a' Mhanaich)Loch Lomond700170000000000000070[13]384
Innis Chonan (F)Loch Awe70008000000000000008 *162
Iona (Ì Chaluim Chille)Mull7002877000000000000877125100
Isay (Ìosaigh)Skye700160000000000000060028
Islay (Ìle)Islay700461956000000000061,9563457491
Isle Martin (Eilean Mhàrtainn)Summer Isles70021570000000000001570120
Isle of Ewe (Eilean Iùbh)Highland70023090000000000003091272
Isle of May (Eilean Mhàigh)Firth of Forth700145000000000000045050
Isle Ristol (Eilean Ruisteil)Summer Isles7002225000000000000225 *071
Jura (Diùra)Islay700436692000000000036,692188785
Kerrera (Cearrara)Firth of Lorne70031214000000000001,21442189
Killegray (Ceileagraigh)Lewis and Harris7002176000000000000176045
Kirkibost (Eilean Chirceboist)Uists and Barra700220500000000000020507
Lamb HolmOrkney700140000000000000040020
Lewis and Harris (Leòdhas agus na Hearadh)Lewis and Harris7005217898000000000217,89819918799
Linga, Muckle RoeShetland700170000000000000070069
Linga, YellShetland700145000000000000045026
Linga HolmOrkney700157000000000000057010
Lismore (Lios Mòr)Loch Linnhe70032351000000000002,351146127
Little Bernera (Beàrnaraigh Beag)Lewis and Harris7002138000000000000138041
Little Colonsay (Colbhasa Beag)Mull700188000000000000088061
Little Cumbrae (Cumaradh Beag)Firth of Clyde70023130000000000003130123
Longa Island (Longa)Highland7002126000000000000126070
Longay (Longaigh)Skye700150000000000000050067
Luing (An t-Eilean Luinn)Slate Islands70031430000000000001,43021294
LungaSlate Islands7002254000000000000254798
LungaTreshnish Isles7001810000000000000810103
Mainland, OrkneyOrkney700452325000000000052,32515315271
Mainland, ShetlandShetland700496879000000000096,87917550450
Eilean MhealastaLewis and Harris7002124000000000000124077
Mingulay (Miughalaigh)Uists and Barra70026400000000000006400273
Moncrieffe Island (F) (Eilean Monadh Craoibhe)River Tay700146000000000000046 *35
Muck (Eilean nam Muc)Small Isles700255900000000000055930137
Muckle RoeShetland70031773000000000001,773104267
Muldoanich (Maol Dòmhnaich)Uists and Barra7001780000000000000780153
Mull (Muile)Mull700487535000000000087,5352667966
North Rona (Rònaigh)Atlantic Outlier70021090000000000001090108
North RonaldsayOrkney70026900000000000006907020
North Uist (Uibhist a Tuath)Uists and Barra700430305000000000030,3051271347
Oldany IslandHighland7002200000000000000200 *0104
Oronsay (Orasaigh)Islay7002543000000000000543593
Oronsay (Orasaigh)Uists and Barra700185000000000000085025
Oronsay (Orasaigh)Mull7002230000000000000230 *058
Pabay (Pabaigh)Skye7002122000000000000122028
Pabay MòrLewis and Harris7002101000000000000101068
Pabbay (Pabaigh)Uists and Barra70022500000000000002500171
Pabbay (Pabaigh)Lewis and Harris70028200000000000008200196
Papa LittleShetland7002226000000000000226082
Papa StourShetland70028280000000000008282387
Papa StronsayOrkney7001740000000000000741013
Papa WestrayOrkney70029180000000000009186548
Priest Island (Eilean a' Chlèirich)Summer Isles7002122000000000000122078
Raasay (Ratharsair)Skye70036405000000000006,405192443
Ronay (Rònaigh)Uists and Barra70025630000000000005630115
RùmSmall Isles700410463000000000010,46322812
Sanda Island (Sandaigh)Firth of Clyde70021510000000000001511123
Sanday (Sandaigh)Orkney70035043000000000005,04347865
Sanday (Sandaigh)Small Isles7002184000000000000184659
Sandray (Sanndraigh)Uists and Barra70023850000000000003850207
Scalpay (Sgalpaigh)Skye70032483000000000002,48310392
Scalpay (Sgalpaigh)Lewis and Harris7002653000000000000653322104
Scarba (Sgarba)Islay70031474000000000001,4740449
Scarp (An Sgarp)Lewis and Harris70031045000000000001,0450308
Seaforth Island (Eilean Shìphiort)Lewis and Harris70022730000000000002730217
Seil (Saoil)Slate Islands70031329000000000001,329560146
SgeotasaighLewis and Harris700149000000000000049057
Shillay (Siolaigh)Lewis and Harris700147000000000000047079
Shuna (Siuna)Slate Islands7002451000000000000451190
Shuna (Siuna)Loch Linnhe7002155000000000000155071
Skye (An t-Eilean Sgitheanach)Skye7005165625000000000165,6259232993
Soay (Sòdhaigh)Skye70031036000000000001,0367141
Soay (Soaigh)St Kilda7001990000000000000990378
Soay Mòr (Sòdhaigh Mòr)Lewis and Harris700145000000000000045037
South HavraShetland700159000000000000059042
South Rona (Rònaigh)Skye70029300000000000009302125
South RonaldsayOrkney70034980000000000004,980854118
South Uist (Uibhist a Deas)Uists and Barra700432026000000000032,0261818620
South WallsOrkney70031100000000000001,100[13]120 (est)[15]57
Stockinish Island (Eilean Stocainis)Lewis and Harris700149000000000000049044
Stroma (Sròmaigh)Highland7002375000000000000375053
Stromay (Sròmaigh)Uists and Barra700166000000000000066016
StuleyUists and Barra700145000000000000045040
Tahay (Taghaigh)Uists and Barra700153000000000000053065
Tanera BeagSummer Isles700166000000000000066083
Tanera Mòr (Tannara Mòr)Summer Isles70023100000000000003105124
Taransay (Tarasaigh)Lewis and Harris70031475000000000001,4750267
Tiree (Tiriodh)Mull70037834000000000007,834770141
TorsaSlate Islands7002113000000000000113062
Ulva (Ulbha)Mull70031990000000000001,99016313
Uyea, UnstShetland7002205000000000000205050
Vacsay (Bhacsaigh)Lewis and Harris700141000000000000041034
Vallay (Bhàlaigh)Uists and Barra7002260000000000000260038
Vatersay (Bhatarsaigh)Uists and Barra700296000000000000096094185
West BurraShetland7002743000000000000743753217
West LingaShetland7002125000000000000125052
Wiay (Fuidheigh)Skye7002148000000000000148060
Wiay (Fuidheigh)Uists and Barra70023750000000000003750102
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.[16][17] It is in Loch Lomond, which contains over sixty other islands.[17] Loch Maree also contains several islands, the largest of which are Eilean Sùbhainn, Garbh Eilean and Eilean Ruairidh Mòr.

Smaller offshore islands

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

Sortable table
NameIsland Group / Location
Bac MòrTreshnish Isles
Bass RockFirth of Forth
Bayble IslandLewis and Harris
BearasaighLoch Ròg
BelnahuaSlate Islands
Bottle IslandSummer Isles
Brough of BirsayOrkney
Bound SkerryShetland
Cairn na Burgh BeagTreshnish Isles
Cairn na Burgh MòrTreshnish Isles
Calbha BeagEdrachillis Bay
Calf of FlottaOrkney Islands
CalvayOuter Hebrides
CampaighLoch Ròg
Castle IslandFirth of Clyde
ClettInner Hebrides
Corn HolmOrkney Islands
CraigleithFirth of Forth
Cramond IslandFirth of Forth
DamsayOrkney Islands
Dore HolmShetland
Dubh ArtachInner Hebrides
DùnSt Kilda
Dùn ChannuillGarvellachs
East LingaShetland Islands
Eilean ChathastailInner Hebrides
Eilean DubhFirth of Clyde
Eilean DubhSummer Isles
Eilean HorrisdaleWester Ross
Eilean IgheArisaig
Eilean MhuireShiant Isles
Eilean Mòr, Loch DunveganSkye
Eilean MullagrachSummer Isles
EyebroughyFirth of Forth
FidraFirth of Forth
Fish HolmShetland Islands
FladdaSlate Islands
FladdaTreshnish Isles
Flodday near VatersayUists and Barra
Fuaigh Beag (Vuia Beg)Loch Ròg
Garbh SgeirInner Hebrides
Gigalum IslandInner Hebrides
Gloup HolmShetland Islands
Glunimore IslandFirth of Clyde
GrunayOut Skerries
GruneyShetland Islands
GualanOuter Hebrides
Haaf GruneyShetland Islands
Harlosh IslandInner Hebrides
HaskeirOuter Hebrides
Haskeir EagachOuter Hebrides
HearnishMonach Islands
Helliar HolmOrkney Islands
Hestan IslandSolway Firth
Holm of FarayOrkney Islands
Holm of HuipOrkney Islands
Holm of PapaOrkney Islands
Holm of ScocknessOrkney Islands
Sortable table
NameIsland Group / Location
Horse IsleFirth of Clyde
HuneyShetland Islands
InchgarvieFirth of Forth
InchkeithFirth of Forth
InchmickeryFirth of Forth
Innis MhòrEaster Ross
Kili HolmOrkney Islands
Lady's HolmShetland Islands
Lady IsleFirth of Clyde
The LambFirth of Forth
Little LingaShetland Islands
Little RoeShetland Islands
Linga, SamphreyShetland Islands
LingeighOuter Hebrides
Lunna HolmShetland Islands
Maiden IslandInner Hebrides
MingayInner Hebrides
Muckle FluggaShetland Islands
Muckle Green HolmOrkney Islands
Muckle SkerryPentland Skerries
Mugdrum IslandFirth of Tay
Nave IslandIslay
North HavraShetland Islands
Oigh-SgeirInner Hebrides
OrfasayShetland Islands
OrnsayInner Hebrides
OrsayInner Hebrides
Out StackShetland Islands
PladdaFirth of Clyde
RockallNorth Atlantic
RoughSolway Firth
Rusk HolmOrkney Islands
Rysa LittleOrkney Islands
ScaravayOuter Hebrides
Sgat Mòr and Sgat BeagFirth of Clyde
Sheep IslandFirth of Clyde
SibhinisMonach Isles
ShillayMonach Islands
Soay BeagOuter Hebrides
South Isle of GletnessShetland Islands
St Ninian's IsleShetland Islands
Stac an ArminSt Kilda
Stac BiorachSt Kilda
Stac LeeSt Kilda
Stac LevenishSt Kilda
StaffaInner Hebrides
StockayMonach Islands
StuleyOuter Hebrides
Sula SgeirAtlantic Ocean
Sule SkerryAtlantic Ocean
Sule StackAtlantic Ocean
Sweyn HolmOrkney Islands
Tarner IslandInner Hebrides
TrialabreacOuter Hebrides
Urie LingeyShetland Islands
Uyea, NorthmavineShetland Islands
UynareyShetland Islands
VacsayLoch Ròg

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:

Sortable table
NameIsland Group / Location
Ascrib IslandsSkye
Burnt IslandsFirth of Clyde
Crowlin IslandsSkye
Flannan IslesLewis and Harris
Islands of FleetSolway Firth (Wigtown Bay)
GarvellachsFirth of Lorn
MacCormaig IslandsIslay
Monach IslandsUists
Out SkerriesShetland
Pentland SkerriesOrkney
Rabbit Islands (Eileanan nan Gall)Highland (N Sutherland)
Ramna StacksShetland
Scalloway IslesShetland
Shiant IslesLewis and Harris
Slate IslandsFirth of Lorn
St KildaLewis and Harris
Summer IslesInner Hebrides
Treshnish IslesMull

Highest islands

Scotland's islands include thirteen Munros (mountains with a height over 3,000 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).[18] 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
RankIslandMountainHeight (ft)Height (m)
1SkyeSgurr Alasdair3,258993
2MullBen More3,169966
3ArranGoat Fell2,867874
5Lewis and HarrisClisham2,621799
6JuraBeinn an Òir2,575785
7South UistBeinn Mhòr2,034620
8IslayBeinn Bheigier1,610491
9HoyWard Hill1,571479
10Shetland MainlandRonas Hill1,476450
11ScarbaCruach Scarba1,473449
12RaasayDùn Caan1,453443
14FoulaThe Sneug1,371418
15EiggAn Sgurr1,289393
16Scalpay, Inner HebridesMullach na Càrn1,286392
17Boreray, St KildaMullach an Eilein1,259384
19Soay, St KildaCnoc Glas1,240378
20North UistEavel1,138347
21Ailsa CraigThe Cairn1,108338
22Holy IsleMullach Mòr1,030314
23UlvaBeinn Creagach1,026313
24ScarpSròn Romul1,010308

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

Inchgarvie can be seen just below the Forth Bridge
The stone causeway to Danna

Many of Scotland's islands are connected to the mainland and/or other islands by bridge or causeway. Although some people consider them no longer to be 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

Churchill Barrier 1, blocking Kirk Sound

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,[24][25] 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:

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.[27]

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.[1]

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.[28]

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.[1]

Complex islands

The islands of Eileanan Chearabhaigh at centre, with mainland Benbecula in the foreground and the northern tip of Wiay beyond

There are a number of offshore islands that defy easy classification.

Castle islands

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

There 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.

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" etc. that 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
NameIsland group / location
Black Isle (An t-Eilean Dubh)Ross and Cromarty
Gluss IsleShetland
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 WhithornDumfries 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".[29]

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.[30] Scottish examples include:

See also

References and footnotes

General references
  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. ^ The 2001 Census lists 96 inhabited islands but the evidence of maps, sources and photographs makes it clear that in addition South Walls, Eriska and Fraoch-eilean are inhabited. These three are tidal islands, although other similar islands are listed.
  3. ^ The 2001 Census also lists three in North Ayrshire and one each in Fife, Perth and Kinross, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire. The last three named plus two islands in Argyll and Bute are freshwater rather than offshore.
Specific references
  1. ^ a b c d e f Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7. 
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ McKirdy, Alan Gordon, John & Crofts, Roger (2007) Land of Mountain and Flood: The Geology and Landforms of Scotland. Edinburgh. Birlinn.
  4. ^ a b General Register Office for Scotland (28 November 2003). Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands. Archived from the original on 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2007-07-25. 
  5. ^ Ross, John (5 October 2007). "Isolated Communities Where Violent Crime Comes as a Shock". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 
  6. ^ "On This Day: 21 September". BBC. 21 September 1955. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  7. ^ "House of Lords Hansard". 24 June 1997. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  8. ^ Oral Questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Dáil Éireann. 1 November 1973. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  9. ^ MacDonald, Fraser (2006). "The last outpost of Empire: Rockall and the Cold War". Journal of Historical Geography 32 (3): 627–647. doi:10.1016/j.jhg.2005.10.009. 
  10. ^ Haswell-Smith (2004), save as otherwise stated or those indicated with an asterisk, which are estimates based on Ordnance Survey maps and General Register Office for Scotland statistics.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Rick Livingstone’s Tables of the Islands of Scotland (pdf) Argyll Yacht Charters. Retrieved 12 Dec 2011.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Loch Lomond Islands - Inchmurrin". Loch Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Dow, Jim (2005) Islands Galore. A Scottish Islands Handbook. Edinburgh. Black & White Publishing.
  18. ^ D.A. Bearhop (1997). Munro's Tables. Scottish Mountaineering Club & Trust. ISBN 0-907521-53-3. 
  19. ^ "Broch of Clickimin" Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  20. ^ "Slate Islands - The Islands that Roofed the World" Retrieved 14 November 2009.
  21. ^ "Local Names" Retrieved 3 January 2009.
  22. ^ Hansom, JD and Black, SDL (1996) "The Geomorphology of Morrich More: Management Prescription Review" (pdf) SNH. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
  23. ^ "Preston Island". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  24. ^ David Lister (September 5, 2005). "Islanders see a brighter future with tunnel vision". The Times (London).,,2-1765366,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  25. ^ John Ross (10 Match 2005). "£100m tunnel to Orkney 'feasible'". The Scotsman newspaper. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  26. ^ Clickimin Broch Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  27. ^ Pàrlamaid na h-Alba placenames Retrieved 16 July 2007.
  28. ^ Fettes College Shetland Landscapes Retrieved 3 August 2007. Archived July 18, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Burntisland Online Retrieved 22 June 2007.
  30. ^ "What is a crannog?" Scottish Crannog Centre. Retrieved 26 December 2008.

External links