Most of the British Isles are Scottish. There are nearly 800 in totaland most of the 94 inhabited ones are linked by ferry. There are four groups: Shetland and Orkney in the north and the Inner and Outer Hebrides in the west. The islands vary enormously in topography.
Some, such as Tiree and Sanday, are low lying; others such as Skye are as moody and menacing as Tolkien's Mordor. And many feel remote and other-wordly. Some have castles, several are deemed holyand many are famed for their whales, dolphins and other wildlife, their distilleries, their Viking heritage, their dinosaur footprints.
You'll also be able to see visit well-known children’s TV locations, such as Balamory (Mull) or Lewis, where Katie Morag is filmed.
There’s no guarantee of sunshine, even in summer, but when you’re exploring the incredible deserted beaches on the western shores of the Outer Hebrides, watching the cacophonous conventions of seabirds in Orkney, or bagging your first Munro, Scotland's islands will work their magic whatever the weather.
Getting there: Caledonian MacBrayne car carrying ferries sails to 24 destinations on the west coast, from Campbeltown on the Kintyre Peninsula to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. A Hopscotch ticket is valid for one month on a range of routes. An eight- or 15-day Island Rover ticket is valid on all services. Northlink Ferries serves Orkney and Shetland from Scrabster and Aberdeen and sails between the two.
Price: Sample fare with Northlink Ferries: Scrabster–Stromness from £343.20 for a four-berth cabin.