The Treshnish Isles
Lunga, the main island of the Treshnish, is a bird reserve. Please treat it with respect. By stepping onto this island you are intruding into the lives of other creatures. Please do not encroach within 10 metres of the birds. Stay on the paths and away from areas where there are puffin burrows because you will cause them to collapse, possibly trapping young birds or adults inside.
Whilst on the island please note that paths have not been formally constructed and they are not maintained or marked. They are used at the discretion and risk of each visitor.
- DO take all your litter home.
- DO NOT disturb or approach the wildlife, particularly during the breeding season.
- DO sit and wait for a while – it is often possible to gain a more rewarding view of the wildlife.
- DO NOT climb on old walls or move stones. This can damage a valuable archaeological site.
- DO avoid the cliff edges and wet grass on steep slopes.
- DO NOT bring dogs (unless assistance dogs) or any pets onto the islands.
There are various tour operators to Lunga, none of which we have any affiliation with or receive any pecuniary or non-pecunicary benefits from. Here is a list of operators who have agreed to promote responsible behaviour when visiting the island.
The Treshnish Isles are one of the most scenically evocative features of the Hebridean landscape. Variously described as like a fleet of 'Dreadnoughts in line astern' or 'tabular icebergs broken from a great ice sheet', they guard the Passage of Tiree against the backdrops of the mountains of Mull to the east and the low islands of Tiree and Coll and the open Atlantic Ocean to the west. Exposed to the open ocean and having no settlements or good landing sites, they are most often viewed and admired at a distance. Their extraordinary morphology is eye-catching even when they are little more than dark shapes on the horizon, but at close quarters they also live up to the expectation of unusual and spectacular scenery and vibrant wildlife communities.
The Treshnish Isles possess unique landscape, rich wildlife communities and contain habitat which is vital for several vulnerable species. They have an archaeological history dating from early Viking times. The islands already have international recognition of their heritage value. They are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) because of their unique geomorphology, populations of seals, cliff- and burrow-nesting seabirds, wintering wildfowl and populations of house mice. They have also been designated as a Special Protection Area under the EC Directive (79/409) on the Conservation of Wild Birds. The specific mission for the Hebridean Trust on the Treshnish Isles is to:
- Provide protection in perpetuity for the landscape, wildlife and amenity of the Islands.
- Monitor the evolution of the islands as atractions for the general public, as habitat for wildlife and, where appropriate, to introduce management policies which enhance the heritage value of the islands on all fronts in a balanced manner.
- To use the islands as an educational tool, in conjunction with another ongoing educational project concerning the Hebrides, and to document the archaeology and history of the islands.
The Trust has an extensive exhibition on the Treshnish sited at Hynish. It is free and open most days without appointment.
The Hebridean Trust commissioned the Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) to undertake a standing building survey on the island of Cairn na Burgh More, Treshnish Isles, Argyll and Bute. This was one of the objectives set out in the Hebridean Trusts Management Plan for the Treshnish Isles. The work was undertaken between 25 and 30 August 2006. This project was undertaken in order to assist with the conservation and restoration of the structures and to assess the potential for further archaeological investigation. The archaeological work also included an evaluation of the site of a new light to be constructed by the Northern Lighthouse Board at the southern tip of the island. The evaluation concluded that there were no archaeological features located in the footprint of the light and so no further work was required.This survey has highlighted the important strategic position held by the Treshnish Isles, and Cairnburgh Castle in particular, and their involvement in major political events until the mid eighteenth century. It has also recorded the state of preservation of the diverse types of monuments that survive on the island. It has shown that there is great potential for further archaeological work on the island, including examination of the Medieval chapel and possible burial ground, the eighteenth-century barracks, the entrance way and curtain wall, possible midden deposits, nineteenth-century possibly turf-built structures, waterlogged deposits within the well and potential prehistoric and Norse remains. The survey has also highlighted the potential for a future survey of the adjacent island of Cairn Na Burgh Beg. Treshnish Isles Archaeological Survey 2006 conducted on behalf of the Hebridean Trust by Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) is available on request in pdf format.