(Gaelic, possibly meaning… Porpoise Island)
Canna lies at the western edge of the Small Isles, a glorious location at the very heart of the Hebrides. It’s a picturesque island with a tiny population - you really feel a million miles from the stresses of everyday life.
Canna’s coastline supports over 20,000 breeding seabirds and the sea air is alive with their raucous calls. In the surrounding seas you should look out for harbour porpoises, as Canna is a hotspot for this characterful creature. Larger, more elusive species, like killer whales, are occasionally seen from here as they travel through the Sea of Hebrides to the Minch.
The island is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and is home to a famous archive of Gaelic histories, song and traditions. The island seamlessly blends culture and nature, a remote oasis of green hills and beautiful coasts interwoven with song and sea.
A bit about the site
There is an unmanned 24 hour ‘honesty’ shop that sells food and crafts, and there are two public toilets and one shower, one at the pier and one in the square (also has a shower).
Wondrous creatures in the waters
Look out for
Killer whale (orca)
Common and grey seals
Kittiwakes Fulmars Shearwaters
Basking sharks galore
The rich fertile seas around Canna are home to many a wondrous creatures, and in late summer you might be lucky enough to spot a basking shark or two. Scottish naturalist and author Gavin Maxwell once hunted basking sharks in these seas, and wrote about an extraordinary encounter with these gentle giants at nearby Hyskeir. In 1947 he wrote “It was a gigantic shoal ... at one moment we counted 54 dorsal fins in sight at the same time.”
If you fancy stretching your legs, then the view from the top of Compass Hill will completely take your breath away. Compass Hill is made of volcanic rock with such a high iron content that the compasses of passing ships are distorted, pointing to the hill rather than north. The Isle of Canna NTS rangers run plenty of activities and are full of local expert knowledge to help you make the most out of your visit.