Britain and Ireland’s most remote spots
The Old Forge, Knoydart Peninsula
With no roads in or out, this secluded pub is accessible only by a choppy 45-minute sea crossing, or to experienced hikers by way of a demanding trek. The Knoydart Peninsula boasts some of the most awesome coastal and mountain scenery on the west coast of Scotland and is one of mainland Britain’s last true wildernesses.
This tiny windswept island 12 miles off the north coast of Devon has fewer than twenty full-time residents. The diverse wildlife thriving on and around this granite outcrop in the Atlantic Ocean includes seabirds (“lundy” is thought to mean “puffin” in Old Norse), grey seals, dolphins and the occasional basking shark.
Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island), North Wales
The “Island of the Currents” is separated from the tip of the Llŷn Peninsula by two miles of churning, unpredictable water. Today a National Nature Reserve, this peaceful and special place has been an important pilgrimage site since Medieval times.
Sandwood Bay, Scotland
A four-mile hike across rough moorland takes you to the remote sands at Cape Wrath. Flanked by epic dunes and a slither of shimmering loch, at the bay’s southern tip is Am Buachaille (“the Herdsman”), a stack of stones rearing 240ft out of the sea.
Ramblers adore the wild splendour of the moor, and though the fickle weather is notorious for fog that can envelop the landscape at a moment’s notice, when the sun penetrates and casts its warm glow over 365 square miles of raw granite, wetlands and seas of heather, there is no place more magical.
Barra, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
The southernmost inhabited island in the Western Isles (or Outer Hebrides) is reached by a dramatic and romantic flight in a twenty-seater propeller plane. The landing strip disappears twice a day as the tide comes in on this scenic island only 8 miles long and 4 miles wide.
Foula, Shetland Islands, Scotland
The most isolated inhabited island in Britain – on a clear day views from Da Kame (reputedly Britain’s highest sea cliffs) offer a magnificent panorama stretching from Unst to Fair Isle. Foula means “bird island” and is home to a colony of great skuas or “bonxies”.
Assynt Peninsula, The Highlands, Scotland
Dramatic, remote and highly distinctive hills mark the transition from Wester Ross into Sutherland. Studded with castles and ruins, mountain ranges and peaks rise from the moorland in this, one of the least populated areas in Europe.
The Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons
Tiny villages, isolated churches and quiet back lanes make up the undulating landscape of the Brecon Beacons. The mountain ridges are comprised of unremitting sandstone until the peak of Pen Cerrig-calch (2302ft high), a distinctive outcrop of limestone dotted with prehistoric burial cairns and an Iron Age fort.
Lindisfarne Holy Island, Northumberland
Reached by a paved causeway, which is submerged at high tide, Holy Island in the North Sea is the birthplace of England’s Christian Heritage. Unique, peaceful and unspoiled, the island is famous for its religious heritage and sixteenth century castle perched high on a craggy hill.
Rising abruptly out of the Atlantic Ocean, six miles off the southwest tip of Ireland, Skellig Michael is home to an exceptionally well-preserved monastic complex built in the late seventh or early eighth century. You cross over from the mainland on small slow boats and from the quay, 650 steps climb almost vertically to the remarkable monastery.
Mountains of Mourne, Northern Ireland
Wandering in a wintry landscape of lonely and rugged steep sided mountains with no interior roads, you feel as if you have reached Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Up here, Peregrines ride on the wind and sharp-beaked ravens hope to scavenge the corpse of a lamb or two.
Par Beach, Isles of Scilly
A stunning crescent beach nestled on the north coast of St Martin’s Island. Lazing on the sun-bleached white sands watching the ebb and flow of the clear blue sea and listening to the wind whispering in the long grass that fringes the beach, you feel a million miles from anywhere.
The Pennine Way, Derbyshire to the Scottish Borders
After two weeks’ walking through rain and shine, the final day of the Pennine Way, Britain’s oldest and longest long-distance footpath, is upon you: a 27-mile marathon over the desolate Cheviot Hills. The full length of the challenging 268-mile-long Pennine Way takes you through some of the wildest countryside in Britain.
On the far west of Europe, the starkly beautiful region of Connemara is cut off from Ireland by the 25-mile barrier of Lough Corrib. The coast is full of jinks and tricks, a hopeless maze of inlets, peninsulas and small islands and the fickle climate can turn from blazing sunshine to grey, soaking mist in minutes.
Orford Ness, Suffolk
This wild and remote shingle spit, stretching for some ten miles along the bleak Suffolk coastline, is an ecologically unique nature reserve of brackish lagoons, mud flats, grassland, salt marsh and, above all, shifting swales and ridges of shingle. Home to wildfowl and waders, the spit preserves flora of such scarcity that it’s the most important of its type in Europe.
Flow Country, Scotland
The name comes from flói, an Old Norse word meaning “marshy ground”. The Flow Country is a large, rolling expanse of peat bogland with a unique eco system. This precious peatland is the largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe, and covers about 1500 square miles.
Carreg Cennen, South Wales
Isolated in rural hinterland in the far western extremes of the Brecon Beacons National Park, this privately owned-castle is one of the most magnificently sited in Wales. It sits on a fearsome rocky outcrop 300ft above a sheer drop down into the green valley of the small River Cennen.
These lonely islands off the scenic Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry are on the very edge of Europe. Great Blasket Island has been uninhabited since 1953, but it boasts an astonishing literary heritage and a quintessential Irish landscape.
Llanddwyn Bay, Anglesey
The wide, open expanse of Llanddwyn Bay boasts breathtaking views that take in the misty hills of Snowdonia and the Lleyn Peninsula. Enchanting Ynys Llanddwyn (Llanddwyn Island) extends from the northern end of the bay – a narrow spit of land that is cast adrift from the mainland at high tide.
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