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The great outdoors: Why the tiny tidal isle of Erraid is the perfect day trip

© Shutterstock / Nicola PulhamA view of seals basking on an islet in the Firth of Lorn near to Oban, Scotland on a summers day; Shutterstock ID 1997286455; purchase_order: ; job:
A view of seals basking on an islet in the Firth of Lorn near to Oban, Scotland on a summers day; Shutterstock ID 1997286455; purchase_order: ; job:

Just west of Mull in the Inner Hebrides lies little Erraid. It is connected by a land bridge to the bigger island at low tide so a wander around its shores between tides makes for the perfect day trip.

Erraid measures just 2.5km2 (one square mile) and it receives only 1,000 millimetres (40 inches) of rain and a whopping 1,350 hours of sunshine annually – making it one of the smallest, yet driest and sunniest islands on the western seaboard of Scotland.

The island is privately owned, and has been home to members of the Findhorn Foundation for more than 40 years, practising sustainable living attuned with nature.

The island features a disused signal station for the lighthouses on Dubh Artach and Skerryvore and a row of cottages built for the lighthouse keepers.

Last year, the island and its community was featured on an episode of New Lives In The Wild with Ben Fogle, but its most famous appearance is in Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Thomas Stevenson, his father, was involved in building many nearby lighthouses and the young Robert visited the island as a child several times.

In Kidnapped, main character David Balfour is marooned on the island when his boat, The Covenant, hits a reef in bad weather and sinks. Balfour is unable to work out the crossing.

Thankfully, these days the Findhorn Foundation does a boat-run back and forth to Mull for their paying guests, should you miss the walk at low tide, so there’s no chance of being marooned.

Erraid, or in Scottish Gaelic Eilean Earraid, is a tidal island approximately one mile square located in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It lies west of Mull (to which it is linked by a beach at low tide) and south-east of Iona.

Erraid and the surrounding Mull is a great spot for wildlife watching, including the massive white-tailed sea eagle, above. There is a well-known anchorage on the western side of the island called Tinker’s Hole, a deep but narrow channel between Erraid and the westernmost of the islets called Eilean Dubh.