6 Reasons to Visit the Isle of Kerrera

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When I arrived in Oban, Scotland I was desperate to see some of the country’s famous highland scenery. I also needed to find a place I could explore in a half day before work. After a little research and a helping hand from the internet, what I found was heavenly. I discovered that the Isle of Kerrera is home to a whopping 34 people, and is a manageable 4 miles long by 1 mile wide. Translation: a walkable, quiet land with minimal people. It also promised to have all of my favorite things, and if you and I like any of the same things- well, I imagine you’ll find it to be pretty spectacular, too.

1. Walking Trails

Kerrera is a beautiful place to go walking and exploring, and is mostly laid out with clear tracks.  When you do go off course, you're going to run into wet and boggy grass, but sometimes wet feet are the price you pay for a little adventure, and the perfect photo. If you want to walk the 7 mille perimeter of the island, set aside a solid 3.5-4.5 hours, otherwise the hike from the ferry drop off to the castle and back is a comfortable 2 hours. Unless you're me. And you stop every ten seconds. In which case, double that.

2. Jaw-Dropping Scenery

If raw, moody, untouched landscapes are your thing, Scotland is your country, and Kerrera is your island. It's the scenery, in fact, that turned what should have been a relatively short adventure into a long one. I could not put my camera down.

3. A Tea Room

If you want to motivate me to do something, there's no better carrot to dangle than a nice cup of tea and a scone with jam and clotted cream. The Isle of Kerrera doesn't have much in the way of civilization, but it does have a tea room, and it's pretty freakin' adorable. Along the path to the castle, you'll start seeing some top-notch marketing efforts in the form of tea kettles and clever signs. Each one leads you closer to the Kerrera Tea Garden, which is located just before you reach the path to the castle. Stop in if you need to use the toilet (it's a stand alone loo with a view!) or enjoy some tea, pastries, or even a full meal. There's a beautiful garden and also a byre (cowshed) to sit in. The byre is just the coziest little room (watch your head!) with comfy couches, chairs, and charming details.

4. A Castle

Gylen Castle is, in my opinion, the highlight of the island. Built in the 16th century, the four-story castle is in ruins today, and overlooks the Firth of Lorn from atop a green, grassy hill. The landscapes surrounding it are quite epic, and the castle itself is accessible to be explored. Apparently it was only occupied for 70 years before it was sacked and burned down, and has remained in ruins ever since. 

5. Fluffy Animals

Sheep. I'm talking about sheep. You'll find their fluffy white bodies scarfing down grass all over the island's hills and fields...and hear their bleats resounding at every turn. It's also a popular place for visitors to take their dogs, so you'll probably meet some furry pups along your way, too.

6. Something Abandoned to Explore

In addition to the castle, that is. You'll actually run into this one en route to the castle, and it's a SHIPWRECK! I was very impressed with this large fishing boat tipped on its side, set against a backdrop of the sound and the countryside. Was worth slogging through the wet marsh to get to and snap a few photos.

So, how do you get there?

Located about 10 minutes by car from the center of Oban, you’ll need to head over to the Kerrera Ferry Terminal on Gallanach Road to hop the ferry and make the long and arduous 5-minute journey across the channel to the island. That was sarcasm, in case you missed it. There’s free parking where the ferry picks up, so driving isn’t a problem. If you don’t have a car, you’re likely going for a refreshing 2+ mile walk. The ferry is a foot passenger ferry, with room for a car or two max. It’ll set you back £4.60 for a roundtrip ticket, and the timetable can be found here.