One of the sunniest places in Britain is actually found in Scotland, in the small but perfectly formed island of Tiree
Measuring 10 miles long and five miles wide, the sky and sea seem to stretch all around you on Tiree. With its vast expanses of white sand beaches, the island is tranquil, pure and the most westerly island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.
The ferry from Oban to Tiree takes under four hours and means you can travel with your car if that makes life easier. Both ferry terminals have accessible toilets and a wheelchair for people who need it (book in advance). Visit www.calmac.co.uk or tel 0800 066 5000.
Flying is an option too. A 45-minute flight from Glasgow airport comes with extra assistance for people that outline their requirement at the point of booking. Visit www.loganair.co.uk or tel 0344 800 2855.
If you don’t travel by ferry, think about hiring a car to get about the island. Visit www.tireecarhire.com or tel 01879 220555. A bus on demand service called Ring’n’Ride provides transportation between any two points on the island and is suitable for wheelchairs (tel 01879 220419). Alternatively, a taxi firm operates around the island (tel 01879 220419).
What to do
Take plenty of time to check out the variety of small studio art and craft galleries that Tiree is home to. Chocolates & Charms is a small shop that offers handmade chocolate and jewellery along with gifts, toys, cards and work from other island artists. Visit www.chocolatesandcharms.co.uk or tel 01879 220037.
Dorinda Johnson Gallery has original paintings, prints, pottery and fine art cards. Visit www.dorindajohnson.co.uk or tel 01879 220747. Glass artist Frances Woodhead creates a range of functional and visual art using vibrant glass sheets from recycled bottle and window glass, which she displays in a gallery. Visit www.tireeglass.co.uk.
Enjoying the abundance of wildlife on and around Tiree is a must. From whales and dolphins to otters and birds, the best way to enjoy the sea life is by boat. Trips go to other nearby islands too. Visit www.tireeseatours.co.uk or tel 07788 810 623.
As the island has no streetlights and is sparsely populated, Tiree is an ideal location for those who wish to look skyward. Balevullin beach has been named as a Dark Sky Discovery Site as it is easily accessible, but many other sites around the island are magnificent for viewing the night sky.
Where to stay
A few hotels can be found on Tiree along with plenty of guesthouses and cottages. A number of self-catering cottages on Tiree are suitable for people with accessibility issues. Morton Boyd House, for example, has ground floor bedrooms (sleeps eight), an accessible wet room with a fold-down shower chair and grab rails, plus a bath with a support bar. Visit www.hebrideantrust.org or tel 01879 220730.
Where to eat
The Reef Inn is a luxury hotel with a suburb restaurant. Bursting with fresh, local produce, its menu will please those looking for classic dishes or a contemporary vibe. A treat for people with accessibility issues – as a place to eat as well as sleep – the restaurant, snug and downstairs loo are step-free and complete with grab rails and alarms. Visit www.reef-tiree.com or tel 07990 633953.
The ancient chapels of Kirkapol comprise two beautiful ruins. The larger is the former parish church and was built in the 14th century. The smaller ruin, also dedicated to Saint Columba, dates from the 13th century.