Muck is one of a group of islands to the south-west of Skye known as the Small Isles, the others being Rum, Eigg and Canna. The island's climate benefits from the North Atlantic Drift and from the shelter afforded by its higher neighbours, and the island is a riot of wild flowers in summer. There is evidence of human habitation on Muck going back to Mesolithic times, and Bronze Age burial cairns and artefacts have been found there. In addition there is a building believed to be of Norse origin called the Toaluinn, and remnants of a prehistoric fort at the entrance to the villge of Port Mor. There are less than forty people living on the island now, but at its peak in 1821 the population was 320. Then, in 1828, the island's landlords the MacLeans, following a familiar pattern in these remote parts, decided to evict the island's indigenous crofters. They were sent to Nova Scotia, where some of their descendants still speak Gaelic. Muck is primarily an island for walking and wildlife watching, with around 40 species of breeding birds, including puffins, while the marine life includes Grey Atlantic seals, porpoises, Basking sharks and Minke whales. In fact, the name Muck is not some derogatory reference to the state of island, but comes from a shortened version of the Gaelic for sea-pig, or whale (muc-mhara).
Map of the area.
© 2005 L J Cunningham, via Wikimedia Commons