Handa Island – near Lochinver Area

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Sun, 2009-11-29

Nearest Town: Scourie (1 miles), Highlands

I was in the lead when we took the road to Tarbet – on my little Honda CB125 motorbike, what fun this road was, lots of little twists and turns and everywhere was so pretty!

There is plenty of car and bike parking at the harbour and a Restaurant and Tearoom as well. The are public toilets at Tarbet and as far as I know, none on the island. The boat arrived to pick us up pretty quickly and we were off to Handa Island!

The boat handler was chatty and the trip was really quick so all of you squeamish people out there, don’t worry about it, it doesn’t take long and it is well worth it.

About Handa Island
The island is composed of Torridonian red sandstone and surrounded by cliffs covered with birds. In the north is a hill with two peaks, with the south and east being lower lying. The north and west have 100 metres (328 ft) high cliffs, and there are beaches in the south and east.

Handa is renowned for its magnificent Torridonian Sandstone cliffs, which rise to a height of 400 feet along the dramatic northern edge of the island. It is part of the Scourie Estate across the Sound of Handa, owned by Dr Jean Balfour and J.C. Balfour and managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust with a population of just one warden during the summer months. Thousands of years of weathering of the sandstone has formed horizontal layers which provide ideal disturbance free places for seabirds to breed. Superb, Offshore island seabird sanctuary, which is run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. One of the largest seabird colonies in N.W. Europe. In the north west of the island magnificent sea cliffs, formed from horizontally stratified Torridonian sandstone, rise vertically from the Atlantic.

Smaller islands around Handa include Glas-Leac to the south, Eilean an Aigeach to the north east and Stac an t-Sealbhaig to the north. As you walk along the cliffs you may also see many of the area’s marine wildlife such as dolphins, porpoises, seals and the occasional whale. Minke whales, which are the whales most commonly seen from Handa, have a small dorsal fin two thirds of the way down their back.

The island is composed of red sandstone and surrounded by cliffs covered in puffins, razorbills and guillemots. A small Ferry sails to Handa from Tarbet on the mainland and boat trips operate to it from Fanagmore. Visitors can access the island via a boat service from Tarbet, near Scourie. The are sometimes opportunities for visitors to stay in the bothie but all food etc. should be taken onto the island. The Sound of Handa separates it from the mainland.

How to get Handa Island

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