Sunday, June 15, 2014

Handa Isle

None of the island cruises I've taken over the years ever visited Handa, so it was good to finally get here. It is a large island managed by the National Trust. The wardens greet you when you arrive by rolling out a unique landing ramp mounted on a ball. They roll it over the sandy beach and, after the boat noses into the beach, you step onto the ramp to get ashore. They then lead you over to the NTS shelter to tell you a bit about the island and emphasize the 'stay on the path' rule.

Landing on Handa
A wonderful circular walk takes you past the ruin of the island's village, and on occasion great Skuas swooped overhead in places where the path neared their nests. The path then climbs to the western cliffs and the great stack of Handa.  Every nook and cranny of the stack was full of nesting seabirds.

Great Stack of Handa
I was hoping to see some puffins, but the only one I saw was the one on this 'keep away' sign.

Keep away from the puffins
Handa is an amazing island, but when the path reached its highest point I was disappointed that the summit, although just 100 yards away, was not included on the 'legal' path. No birds were nesting near the top, so I violated the rules and made a quick dash to the trig-pillar. I find it odd they don't have a short spur trail to the top, as it is a spot everyone would want to see with its view over the Summer Isles.

The summit

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