Ulva is a small island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, off the west coast of Mull. It is separated from Mull by a narrow strait and has a population of just seven people! This is easily one of the most remote places I’ve visited but equally one of the most untouched – an absolute haven for wildlife lovers.
Ulva is open from Easter to October and is best accessed by the local ferry (which takes foot passengers and bicycles) between Monday and Friday 9 – 5. The crossing only takes a matter of minutes. There is no specific timetable – to summon the ferry you uncover the red panel on the pier and then recover it again as the boat approaches.
You don’t need a ticket – you pay at The Boathouse which is on the Isle of Ulva as you pull in. It has a gorgeous selection of fresh cakes and fresh seafood too.
It’s worth noting that there are no cars on Ulva or proper roads so if you have mobility issues then this might not be the best place to visit. On arrival at The Boathouse, the staff give you a map so you can gallivant around the island without getting lost (although there is a very clear path). Unless you are a good runner, I think it would be very difficult to explore the whole island in a day and make it back in time for the ferry! It would be better to take a good couple of days to explore the island if you are a keen walker or wildlife fanatic. We just went for the day and still saw a good amount of the island.
We started at Shelia’s Cottage, which is a restored thatched croft house that once was the home of Sheila MacFadyen. There’s information in the cottage about some of Mull’s famous visitors and about the life of Shelia.
From there, we went on a lovely scenic walk to Ormaig ruins. There’s a great spot for a picnic when you reach the ruins. On a clear day you can see for miles, looking onto Ben More and the surrounding islands and of course Mull.
If you continue on from the ruins, you’ll come to a secluded beach – you’ll most likely be the only person there as it’s quite a trek from The Boathouse. Further on from there is a little bothy where you can stay- although I’m not sure how well maintained it is or if there are any facilities as it is in the middle of no-where! It would make a lovely camping spot however if that’s something you are interested in.
Whilst you’re exploring Ulva do bear in mind that the last ferry back is at 5pm – don’t lose track of the time or you will be stranded on the isle overnight!
Ulva was a really beautiful find, we are so pleased we chose to visit it. A lovely escape – really the polar opposite of city-living in Edinburgh. In the grand scheme of things it is not the most well-known isle so it really does feel like your own little haven whilst there.