Handa Island

Magnificent sea cliffs of Torridonian sandstone rise from the Atlantic on the north-west coast of Handa Island. The island comes alive each summer when nearly 100,000 seabirds gather to breed, including internationally important numbers of guillemot, razorbill and great skua. Over 250 pairs of puffin breed here.


There are loads of opportunities to volunteer on Handa, from just a week at a time, to an Assistant Ranger volunteer post for the whole season! For more information, visit the Volunteer Handa webpage here.

Snipe © Amy Lewis

Why visit?

  • Internationally important for seabirds
  • Amazing sight of a live seabird colony
  • Spectacular views
  • Fascinating history

Best time to visit?

  • Mid May to late July to see puffins
  • April to July for breeding seabirds

Visit for:

  • Uplands
  • Archaeology
  • Mammals
  • Scenery
  • Geology
  • Coasts
  • Wildflowers
  • Birdwatching


There is a pedestrian ferry service to Handa Island which runs on demand from Tarbet on the mainland during the visitor season (from April to September). Tarbet is signposted from the A894 about 3 miles north of Scourie and 3 miles south of Laxford Bridge.

Getting onto the reserve

When you arrive on Handa you will be met by a volunteer, who will give you a short introductory talk about the reserve and answer any questions you may have. See the "Ferry Info" tab for more information.

For non-ferry related enquiries, the Ranger can be contacted from April-August on 07920 468 572 or handaranger@swt.org.uk.

Getting round this reserve

Weather conditions can change quickly and the ferry crossing can be very wet, depending on wind and tide conditions. It's very important to be prepared and take warm, waterproof clothing, even in midsummer. The terrain on Handa is changeable and we recommend that you wear appropiate stout footwear.

2015 Handa visitor season: Monday 30 March to Saturday 29 August inclusive.

For all enquiries relating to the ferry, contact the operator, Roger Tebay on 07780 967 800. 

  • Running times: Mon to Sat 9 am – 17:00pm. Last ferry to island at 14:00. 
  • Ferry does not operate on Sundays, and at operators' discretion in bad weather. 
  • For reasons of passenger safety, comfort, and space, the ferry does not carry dogs.
  • If travelling with a large group or from a long distance away, you are advised to contact the ferry operators in advance.




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