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The Small Isles - Our Seasonal Year Winter

Winter is not usually a time when visitors think of visiting the islands but the Small Isles have so much to offer through winter. Read below for why you might want to consider a trip in the winter months.

Living on the Small Isles, our lives are shaped by the land, the weather and the seasons. In summer, days are full and busy - it can be hard to pass up the opportunity to make the most of the long daylight hours. Winter, on the other hand, has a completely different but no less valuable feel. There is a world of wonder for those intrepid enough to join us through the winter months. The weather can be raw and visceral, whipping up the sea and creating dramatic skies but it can also be soft and golden ensuring dream conditions for photographers. This changeable weather can also mean travel disruptions and ferry cancellations. It’s part and parcel of island life and may keep you on the isles for a night or two longer than you planned.

One of the best ways to enjoy a winter's day on the isles, is to grab a flask, layer up and head out for a walk and really experience the elemental nature of life. The views and scenery can be even more inspiring with crisp days leading to even greater clarity and with the bracken and foliage all died back, sites of important archeological and historic significance are even easier to find.

It might not seem like the best time of year for it but now is the time when grey seals haul out onto shores around the Small Isles to give birth. Their pups grow quickly and soon gain the confidence to head into the sea and learn to fish for themselves.

When the darkness sweeps in (around 4pm at the height of winter), retreat inside to cosy in by the fire with comfort food and a book or make time for stargazing. Out here, with next to no light pollution, the milky way is often visible and if you are particularly lucky, you may even witness the aurora borealis.

There is a contentment that comes from retreating to the Small Isles in winter. The dark nights lend themselves well to activities that quieten the mind, the perfect antidote to busy lives. The setting encourages creativity - the Isles are home to a range of creative professionals from artists and photographers to musicians and craft workers. We also have a number of visiting creative practitioners with residencies and artist retreats taking place all through the winter months. Some visitors join us for extended stays over the winter months, working remotely and becoming part of the local community in a deeper way. There are also a number of unique one off events such as stargazing weekends, concerts by local artists and films screened using the Small Isles touring cinema showing a range of current and classic movies curated by islanders.

No matter when you visit the islands, the weather will play a core part of your holiday. Embrace everything about each season and you will get to enjoy the full experience of the Small Isles.

If you’d like to find out more about the Small Isles and the accommodation options available through the winter months start with each island’s website:

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