Eilean nan Ron, Sutherland

The island’s name being Eilean nan Ron and was about two miles off the coast, north of a small fishing village called Skerray which in turn was north of Tongue, a few miles from the main road, the A838.

Its superb sea beach views to the north east. These extend from the Sutherland coast east towards Bettyhill and include an intriguing collection of small islands in Tongue Bay itself. Largest and most distant of these is Eilean nan Ron. Eilean nan Ron – Island of the Seals is 700 acres of heather and rock poised atop 200 ft high cliffs, one mile offshore at the entrance to the Kyle of Tongue. Between 1820 and 1938, this was home to several hardy, God-fearing families, whose houses can still be seen from Skerray.

The island of Eilean Nan Ron with its ruined cottages and Rabbit Islands lay in Tongue Bay. Evidence from the past suggests that grey seals must have bred somewhere on Oronsay or very nearby. There are currently two important breeding colonies on Eilean nan Ron (the island of the grey seal) and Eilean Ghaoideamal, both of which are very close to the excavation site.

Eilean nan Ron North Sutherland Coastal Islands SPA The island has a rocky coastline and is covered by maritime heath and grassland. The more sheltered, central area around the abandoned township on Eilean nan Ron was previously cultivated and is now dominated by rank grassland. The island supports a traditional wintering flock of Greenland Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis. The birds roost and feed on both islands, as well as on other small islands outside the SPA, and on agriculturally improved land on the nearby mainland. Eilean nan Ron and Rabbit Island have seals, seabirds, peregrine falcons, and other cetaceans may also be seen. Successful boat operators elsewhere on the west coast and islands have invested significant capital in the right vessel and safety equipment. Some vessels carry underwater viewing equipment.

Boat dive

A deserted island, swept by Atlantic swells, the Southern coast peppered with caves, a disused harbour on the eastern coast leading to a very steep cliff path (beware sunken rocks on the approaches), natural arches, sheltered gloups, sheer cliffs etc sets high expectations for diving. The experience is a bit better.

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