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Home Handa Local Area Map & Links

Handa Ferry, Tarbet near Scourie

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Handa Island

Handa Island Wildlife and History

Handa rises over 400ft above sea level and measures about a mile by a mile and a half. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is run as a nature reserve by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Bird life: Over 150 species including over 100,000 resident guillemots.

Plants: In excess of 216 species.

Mosses: In excess 100 types of moss.

History of Handa

Up until the mid 19th century, Handa supported a relatively large population for its size - in the census of 1841, 63 people lived there. Traditionally, the oldest widow was given the title "Queen of Handa".

The islanders worked the crofts and fished. Abundant bird life provided an additional resource - birds and eggs were eaten, houses were lit by burning fulmar oil and bird-feathers were traded for supplies. The potato famine of 1848 finally caused all the residents to emigrate.