The Isle of Ulva
Was named by the Vikings as Ullfur or, translated as, Wolf Island. They may have indeed seen Wolves on the island, but it didn't stop them seeing the island as an ideal place to settle.
Ulva was privately owned by the Howard family until the 21st of June 2018, It is now owned by a community group from the North West of Mull (North West Mull Community Woodland Company). The 'buy out' was publicly funded to take over the whole of Ulva. ( The 'buy out' was controversial, both locally and, with the Howard faminly. ( Read his comments )
The Isle of Ulva was, in past years, the home of 600 people, who made their living from the collection and exportation of kelp. Today there are under 20 residents who make a living from sheep and cattle farming, fish farming, oyster farming and tourism.
There are no tarmac roads on Ulva, so no cars, just the 4 wheel cross country bikes used by all inhabitants, young and old. The new owners are dedicated to creating a balance between the needs of the community and the preservation of one of Scotland's most unique, beautiful and accessible islands.
Ulva's woodlands, shores and open moors make it an ideal place for bird watching. Bird activity is intense throughout the year. There are exciting seasonal events - the coming of the terns to the small islands south of Ulva to breed, the puffins in the waters west and north of Ulva in early summer, the occasional cry of the Corncrake.
The animals and plants you see on a visit to Ulva will depend upon three things: the time of year, your powers of observation and pure luck. Red deer, rabbits and mountain hares, the occasional sea otter, stoat or hedgehog might be spotted at any season. A researcher from Leeds University studying the habits of otters managed to see them every evening for six weeks in the summer of 1986 along the south shore of Ulva.
Ulva is open from Easter to October; the ferry which takes foot passengers and bicycles runs Monday to Friday 9 - 5. The crossing only takes a couple of minutes and is on demand; summon the ferry by uncovering the red panel on the pier but don't forget to cover it again as the boat approaches. The island is closed on Saturdays but opens on Sundays from June to the end of August.
Ulva is home to Sheila's Cottage, a restored thatched croft house once the home of Sheila MacFadyen. (Read more) Mull Magic offers regular walking tours on Ulva with pick-ups in Tobermory and Salen. The cost includes the ferry to Ulva and entry to the island, packed lunch and afternoon tea in the Boathouse.
Ulva had it's own Parliamentary church which was one of five churches on Mull and Iona to be designed by Thomas Telford and was completed, along with the manse, in 1828. In the mid 1950s Lady Congleton who owned the island purchased the church and the larger partof it was converted into a community hall. Only the north west portion was retained for ecclesiastical use. The church is now privately owed and a couple of services are conducted every year at Easter and Harvest time
There is a licensed tea-room where you can have delicious home cooked food, hot or cold drinks and choose from a range of specialities (such as Ulva's own oysters, marinated salmon etc.) based on locally available ingredients. In fact you can just have a cup of tea or you can have a three course meal at any time from 9am to about 4.30pm.