Gigha is the most southerly of the Inner Hebrides islands, and lies just 3 miles off the west coast of the Kintyre Peninsula, reachable via a 20-minute ferry journey from Tayinloan on Kintyre to Ardminish on Gigha. The island is long and thin in shape, 7 miles in length and just one and a half miles wide. The island was originally given the name Gudey, meaning "Good Isle" by the Norse King Hakon when the Vikings were rampaging around these parts, but the name was changed to Gigha (pronounced Geea) by the Gaels. Later on in its history, the island found itself at the centre of clan warfare between the MacNeills and the MacDonalds. The modern-day Gigha is owned and run by its residents, with a Trust whose Directors are elected from the islanders. The story of how the island was bought is told on the Isle of Gigha website.
Considering its small size, the island has an impressive range of activities for visitors, It has its own golfcourse, where the panoramic views might make it hard for the golfers to keep their eye on the ball. Walkers can enjoy a number of designated walks along off-road paths, and there is no shortage of interesting sights to look out for: a large variety of birdlife, marine life including seals and otters, wildflowers, ancient duns or forts and standing stones. The ruined Kilchatten Chapel (St Cathan's) dates from the 13th century, although the saint himself came through here in the 6th century. Among the remains are a fine collection of carved graveslabs. Garden lovers should head for Achamore House, where the mild climate permits the growing of azaleas, rhododendrons and palms. The House also offers bed and breakfast accommodation.
Map of the island.
© 2009 Gordon Brown, via Wikimedia Commons
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