While you’re there

Below are some places you may want to visit whilst on Iona. This is by no means comprehensive at all, so please don’t limit yourself to these.

Iona Abbey

Directly across the field from Grianan, Iona Abbey is possibly the most well known image of Iona. Walk diagonally across the field toward the road. There’s another gate a little along the road where tickets can be bought. If this is closed, you can buy tickets in the entrance once you reach the abbey.

The Village

The Village is a good place to start if you want to do some shopping. You may not need to plan a visit here, as you will likely be passing through it regularly on your way elsewhere. You can go the way you’ll have come when you arrived, via the road, or alternatively, head south across the field, and walk between the Abbey and the shore. You’ll cross a wood bridge just before you reach the Abbey. Follow the path along and you’ll reach a kissing gate. Through this there’s a row of houses leading to the village.

The North End

Walk north along the road at the top of the field. Pass Dun I on your left and continue until you reach a sharp left turn in the road, with a footpath through a gate ahead. Pass through the gate, and continue to the field ahead. In any direction you will now find dunes and the north end beach. This is farm land so dogs should be kept on leads at all times.

The Machair

Head south into the village. Once past the Nunnery, go through the gate, and up the rough track. The path runs directly through a farm, turning sharp left. Eventually you will get to a cross road, and back to the ‘main’ road. Turn right, and continue until you get to another gate. Past this gate is the Machair, and the beach ahead. If you feel like a challenge, there’s actually an 18 hole golf course here, though you’ll have to contend with the sheep and cows – pick up a course map before you go, which are available in a few places, most recently seen in the bookshop.

‘Port Grianan’

OK this isn’t it’s real name, but it’s what the family call the little beach directly at the shore beneath Grianan. If you’re heading down here, go over the wall just to the right of the gate, and bear left. You’ll cross a fairly muddy bit at which point you should bear toward the right diagonally down to the shore. It’s near impossible to manage this without ending up in a bog, so wellies are recommended. If you get there just as the tide is turning to come in, a great game is to find two gullies close together, and in teams, try to hold off the tide by building a sand/rock wall in your gully. Whoever’s wall lasts longest wins.