Ulva, meaning ‘Wolf’s Island’ in Norse, is a sizeable privately owned island off the west coast of Mull. A peaceful place to escape the crowds thronging Mull in the summer, it has good walking and off-road biking, a 9th-century Viking fort, and a wee 19th-century church built to a Thomas Telford design. It is linked by a bridge to the even more remote island of Gometra.
Once Scotland’s main centre for kelp gathering, Ulva formerly had a population approaching 1000; kelp was an essential ingredient in soap production. Today the population has fallen to 16, with many removed from the area in the Clearances of 1850. You can still see many of the derelict cottages used by crofters in centuries past.
At the time of research a community buy-out of the island was being debated.