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The Isle of Ulva

Samantha_GrantSamantha_Grant VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
edited March 2016 in Scotland's Islands
Ulva is an island off the coast of Mull, reached via the Ulva Ferry. A small on demand ferry which is called by uncovering a red panel on a wooden board over on Mull. In the blink of an eye you'll see a wee boat leave Ulva and head across to Mull to pick you up. 

Ulva once had a booming kelp industry and a population of around 800 people. Today there are under 10 full time residents living on the island. 

It's an unspoiled wilderness and a hikers paradise with several excellent trails to enjoy.  The ferry fare includes a map of the trails on the island as well as entry to a restored traditional blackhouse called Sheila's Cottage. The cottage really brought to life what life on the island must have been like. 

When I visited last year I did the trek out to the clearance village ruins at Ormaig. It was a beautiful day and when we reached Ormaig we just sat there in awe enjoying the dramatic landscape. The village ruins are hauntingly beautiful. 

After several hours spent exploring the island  without meeting another soul we headed back to the ferry and The Boathouse.  The Boathouse serves the most delicious food - fresh sandwiches, home made soups, an array of cakes that makes choosing one pretty near impossible and fish and seafood fresh from the sea. I enjoyed one of the best lunches I've ever eaten there. Perfect after a long hike.

So to anyone visiting Mull do add Ulva to your list of must see places as you won't be disappointed - it's a gem. 

Have you been or are you planning a visit? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 


I'm a Scottish travel blogger and freelance writer with an extensive knowledge of travelling in Scotland.  I'm always on the road exploring my wonderful country.  I love remote places, history and the great outdoors. 


  • mustseescotlandmustseescotland VisitScotland Contributor ✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    Totally agree with Samantha_Grant - Ulva is a magical place. Car free and perfect for walking - and the food at The Boathouse is outstanding. Read more about our trip there on our Mull page - the weather was really good - lots of dramatic skies. The father of David Livingston (the explorer) was born here. There is self-catering available on the island - I'd love to go back for a week.

    The independent online guide to Scotland, written by Gilbert and Johanna Summers - lifetime Scottish tourism experts, so you get the best vacation.

  • VisitScotlandJohnVisitScotlandJohn Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Another famous person to be born on Ulva was Lachlan Macquarie, who in the 1810's was the British governor-general of the colony of New South Wales. Macquarie is credited with being responsible for the transition of New South Wales from being just a penal colony. You can find Macquarie honoured with place names in Sydney and across New South Wales, and in his mausoleum that can be found on the nearby Isle of Mull, is inscribed the title of 'Father of Australia'.
  • Samantha_GrantSamantha_Grant VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Ha ha I have a story about the mausoleum. Many moons ago on a school trip to Mull we camped nearby.  The teachers took us for a walk to the cemetery at night. One was reading the inscription on the mausoleum by torchlight and I crept off unnoticed, round the back of it them jumped out at them roaring. Needless to say heart attacks all round. The teachers were first off the mark. Oh how I laughed. Ah the banter. @VisitScotlandJohn
    I'm a Scottish travel blogger and freelance writer with an extensive knowledge of travelling in Scotland.  I'm always on the road exploring my wonderful country.  I love remote places, history and the great outdoors. 

  • ToomaTooma Member ✭✭
    I enjoyed reading about Ulva, Samantha. My wife and I were on Mull very recently for the first time, and we drove past Ulva on our way to Craignure, having left Tobermory in the morning. It's a pity we didn't have the time to visit, as it sounds like we would have enjoyed it, especially with good food available. We both enjoy photography, so another reason to visit, from how you describe it.

    I never knew there was a connection with David Livingston, and I only read about that a few days ago as I was preparing a pic featuring Ulva, which I had shot from Mull, then you mention it too. I was particularly interested in the Livingston connection because my late Mother was related to him, and it seems she was unaware of the fact. I'm new here, so I can't post any pics of my visit yet.
  • ToomaTooma Member ✭✭
    edited June 2018
    This is one of my shots from our recent trip to Mull. Looking across to Ulva from the Eos Fors falls area. Look to the left skyline, and you can see Ben More, highest peak on Mull.

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