Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands

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North Rona & the Monach Islands

Series 4 - Episode 6 North Rona & the Monach Islands



Paul Murton’s final tour is a tough one: no piers or jetties and no welcoming locals, since the islands he visits are mainly uninhabited. That wasn’t always the case, though, so his journey means travelling back in time, trying to summon up lost communities. On Heisgeir, a group in the Outer Hebrides west of North Uist, he has an elderly former resident for company, telling tales of a simple idyll now lost. Meanwhile, Murton fills us in on the time in the tenth century when a colony of monks lived next door to some unusually muscly nuns.

After a dash up Harris’s spectacular peak, Clisham, the last leg sees Murton fulfil his ambition to visit North Rona, 45 miles from civilisation. It’s difficult, but engrossing, to try to imagine life there 200 and more years ago, with no land in sight and, indeed, no boat.


Paul Murton embarks on his most difficult journey to date as every destination has been long abandoned by people, meaning there are no ferries, piers or proper landing stages. He visits the once-inhabited island of Heisgeir, sails around the gannet haven of Sula Sgeir and endures rough seas to make landfall on the extraordinarily remote island of North Rona.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Paul Murton
Series Producer Kathryn Ross