If you’re visiting Mull, the short ferry trip across to the island of Ulva makes a great day out. Ulva, which means ‘wolf island’ in Gaelic, is one of many islands that are strewn across the Inner Hebrides. It may be an idea to visit some of these while you’re here as well. The closest is the tidal island Gometra, which is actually accessible from Ulva by a bridge at low tide. Other nearby islands include the Treshnishs Isles, Coll, Tiree, Staffa, and Iona.
Although at one point eight hundred people lived on Ulva, only a handful of people currently live there. There is lots of wildlife here and over five hundred different plant species are found on the island.
There is a range of terrain on the island, including coastal cliffs, caves, moors and woodlands. The path around the island can be rough and boggy at parts so take appropriate footwear. Ulva’s peaks, Beinn Chreagach and Beinn Eoligarry, are 313 and 306 metres above sea level respectively. After walking, it might be an idea to step into the Boathouse restaurant to get a bite to eat. Also, you might want to stop in at Sheila’s Cottage to learn about the fascinating history of the island.
Many of the great romantic artists and poets of the 19th century took inspiration from Scotland’s natural wildernesses. Islands such as this were a source of inspiration for them. Walter Scott was thinking of Ulva when he wrote ‘The Lord of the Isles’ in 1815. This appreciation of Ulva’s natural beauty continues to this day, with people coming here with camera in hand.
Ulva is also of interest to archaeologists due to various remains and relics that have been found there, some dating back to Mesolithic times. Some of the most interesting finds include a shell midden dating to around 5650 BC. Several dolmens and standing stones have also been found there.