Abandoned but Not Forgotten

Apart from wildlife, many picturesque Scottish islands now lie uninhabited – but many once hosted thriving communities.

SCOTLAND has a host of windswept and stunningly beautiful islands now long since abandoned by their residents.

Once home to small yet resilient communities, these often-remote locations now only provide homes to vast numbers of animals and birds.

St Kilda is among the best known, evacuated in 1930 after life became too challenging for the islanders. Now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, their row of homes on Hirta are a monument to a now lost and unique way of life.

In the Outer Hebrides, Mingulay, Pabbay and Berneray, south of Barra, with their dramatic landscape, vibrant wildlife, and sandy beaches, are now left to nature.

Having been occupied for 2,000 years, islanders left Mingualy and Pabbay in 1912, after the combined impact of absentee landlords and dwindling population made life unviable. Berneray’s islanders clung on until 1980.

The treacherous Corryvechan whirlpool separates Scarba from Jura.

Unoccupied since the 1960s, it was once known for its hardy residents: one islander is said to have lived until she was 140. Kilmory Lodge on the island is sometimes used by shooting parties stalking its population of red deer.

Handa, off the Sutherland coast is a haven for puffins, razorbills, and guillemots, with a grim history: it was once used as a burial ground, safe from scavenging wolves that once prowled the north of Scotland.

Just two miles long, the Orkney isle of Fara in Scapa Flow was home to 76 residents in 1805, with its own school and lush sheep pasture for crofters’ flocks