Handa Island

Important notice

Please note that while Handa may now be accessible by ferry on a reduced service, the Handa visitor shelter and toilets remain closed. While there are a small number of staff on the island focusing on essential conservation duties, they will not able to provide briefings or support to visitors this season.

Magnificent Torridonian sandstone cliffs rise from the Atlantic on the north west coast of Handa Island. Each summer, nearly 100,000 seabirds breed here, including internationally important numbers of guillemots, razorbills and great skuas. These dramatic cliffs provide stunning ocean panoramas.

Why visit?

Highlights include:

  • Internationally important for seabirds
  • Amazing sight of a live seabird colony
  • 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


There are loads of opportunities to volunteer on Handa, from just one 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.

You can find out more by reading our latest Handa newsletter


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 in 2017). Tarbet is signposted from the A894 about 3 miles north of Scourie and 3 miles south of Laxford Bridge.

The 2017 season ran from 3 April to 2 September.

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 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.


About Handa Island

Out & about

Nearby reserves
Ben Mor CoigachLoch Fleet

Local group
North of Scotland

Links & downloads

Reserve leaflet

Reserve map


Stay up to date with the Scottish Wildlife Trust by subscribing to our mailing list Subscribe now

Back to top