Handa Island

Each spring, tens of thousands of seabirds migrate to the magnificent Torridonian sandstone cliffs that rise from the Atlantic on the north west coast of Handa Island. This wild island is an internationally important breeding site for guillemots, razorbills and great skuas that spend the summer breeding and feeding in the rich waters around Handa.

The dramatic cliffs provide stunning ocean panoramas and a chance to spot some of our larger marine species: minke whales, bottlenose and Risso’s dolphins, grey seals and even the occasional orca or basking shark can be seen.

Donate to support our work on Handa Island

Why visit?

Highlights include:

  • Internationally important seabird populations
  • One of the UK’s largest guillemot colonies
  • Chance to spot marine mammals
  • Spectacular views
  • Fascinating history

Best time to visit?

  • Apr to Jul for breeding seabirds
  • Mid-May to July for puffins

Visit for:

  • birdwatching
  • wildflowers
  • coasts
  • geology
  • scenery
  • mammals
  • archaeology
  • uplands

Other information

Please note that due to very large numbers of ground nesting birds, dogs are not permitted on the island.


There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer on Handa, from just a week at a time to a series of Assistant Ranger placements lasting from 8-21 weeks.

For more information, visit the volunteering on Handa page.


Hover for more information


How to get there


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

Get directions

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 “Ferry Info” below for more information.

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

Access restrictions

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 to take warm, waterproof clothing, even in midsummer. As the terrain on Handa can be challenging, a reasonable level of fitness and care is required when walking around the trails. We recommend wearing appropriate stout footwear, with good grips on soles. It is also advisable to take something to drink whilst on the island.

Nearest town
Scourie (3 mi / 4.8 km)
OS grid ref
Landranger map

Handa Island

Ferry Info

The ferry to Handa is operated independently of the Scottish Wildlife Trust.  For all enquiries relating to the Handa ferry, please contact Roger Tebay on 07780 967 800 or info@handa-ferry.com

  • Running times: Mon to Sat 9:30 – 16:45. Last ferry to island at 14:00.
  • Ferry does not operate on Sundays and at operator’s 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 operator in advance.


About Handa Island

Out & about

Nearby reserves
Ben Mor Coigach

Local group
North of Scotland

Links & downloads

Reserve leaflet

Reserve map


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