The Enchanted Isles

Few have the privilege of visiting the remote and magical Shiant Islands. We make it possible for you. No other boat operator on mainland Scotland runs regular tours to the islands. We offer you a unique opportunity to experience the wild and rare beauty of the Shiants.

The Shiants are a group of small islands and rocky outcrops about four miles off the coast of Lewis and 28 miles across the Minch from Gairloch.

The islands’ coastline is stunning.

Cliffs, some more than 500 feet high, rise majestically above the sea. Dolerite columns on Garbh Eilean, one of the larger islands, are over 350 feet tall – comparable (some say even more impressive) to those around Fingal’s Cave on Staffa and at the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.

Now uninhabited, the Shiant Islands are soaked in the myth and legend of earlier times. They are owned today by Adam Nicolson whose book, The Sea Room, is the definitive work on the islands, past and present. Adam Nicolson also maintains the Shiant Isles website.

The islands support massive colonies of seabirds – some estimates have put the number as high as 250,000.

Here you will find Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Skuas, Razorbills, Shags and many more.

In summer thousands of Puffins (pictured) breed in burrows on the slopes of Garbh Eilean. In winter the grassland on the larger islands is home to Greenland Barnacle Geese.

We take you on a three hour round trip aboard Orca 1 to the Shiant Islands*. On the voyage there and back there is a good chance of encounters with whales and dolphins. This is a rare and memorable experience available only through Hebridean Whale Cruises.