Berneray is a small island in the centre of the chain of islands which form the Outer Hebrides/Western Isles off the north-west coast of mainland Scotland and is perfectly situated for ‘island hopping’. It lies in the Sound of Harris and is connected to North Uist by causeway and to Harris by ferry.
The island is roughly two miles by three, with a sweep of Atlantic beach along its west coast, described by Lonely Planet as ‘unparalleled in Scotland’. The West Beach is just one of several beaches and many coves on Berneray, each with their own unique character.
Popular activities include birdwatching, kayaking, canoeing and windsurfing. Seals are very common on the rocky east coast, otters are sometimes spotted, birds of prey feature and the elusive corncrake can be heard and occasionally seen. The machair, a rare and unique grassland habitat, rich in flora, insect and birdlife, is famous for its colourful carpets of flowering wildflowers.
The best time to witness the magical display of the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) is during the winter and autumn months. Aurora Watch UK provides free text alerts on increased auroral activity. Autumn can also be a good time to spot otters and to see seal pups. Winters are relatively mild and are a perfect time to stroll the West Beach and to experience the ever changing colour and moods of the Atlantic.
The island is well served by a shop, bistro (open for lunch all year round, plus evenings during summer), post office and information centre (the latter open in the summer months only) and North Uist provides a number of restaurants and bars, several of these are based at Lochmaddy, 10 miles from Berneray.