The isle of Canna is a medium size island (7km long and 1.6km wide) with a population of 18. Also connected by a bridge (and sand spit at low tide) is Sanday which is around 1 km long and 1/2 km wide. Although now connected by a road bridge the roads on Sanday are still covered on high tide (beach/rock roads). The island was gifted to the National Trust for Scotland by their previous owner in 1981 and are now ran as a farm and conservation area. There are around 20 buildings on the island including 3 churches, a post office (a converted garden shed), a tea room, a community shop (more about this shortly), a red UK phone box and a primary school with 3 students. Electricity is provided by a diesel generator and it has a private water supply. The roads on the island are not sealed and privately owned so no car taxes are payable by residents.
We very much enjoyed our two nights / one day on the island, for it’s beauty, its peacefulness, and quite a bit of history, in-fact back in 1821 records show that the island was home to a population of over 400 people. Before I forget I must mention the community shop, its a small building but stocking all the essentials (most of it frozen) along with plenty of packet options, as well as the usual chips, chocolates, and a few local crafts and island gifts, the thing that sets this shop apart from any other shop is that it is an honesty shop, that’s right not staffed, but help yourself to what you want, write it in the book (so they can re-stock) and put your money in the tin (calculator provided for those who need some assistance with their arithmetic). How fantastic is that? Fabulous that in this day and age their is still a community built on trust and honesty. There is even an urn with tea, coffee and hot chocolate that you can make yourself and pay for – so a coffee shop also. However it was distressing to read and article on the wall announcing that the shop had been been subject to theft in 2015 extract follows “A tiny community on the remote Hebridean island of Canna is in turmoil after what appears to be its first recorded incidence of crime in years. The island’s community shop, which sells gifts, crafts and groceries and is staffed by volunteers, was ransacked on Friday night. The building is usually left unlocked overnight to allow fishermen to use its free Wi-Fi and to buy what they need while resting at the pier overnight. Payment is made via an honesty box, and shoppers are asked to make a note of what they have taken in a ledger. The apparently peckish thieves cleared the shelves of sweets, chocolate bars and biscuits, as well as six hand-knitted Canna wool hats made by the shop manager, Julie McCabe. …The island has for many years had a crime rate of zero, with reports suggesting the last theft committed on Canna was that of a carved wooden plate from one of the island’s three churches in the 1960s. The plate was never recovered and the case was never solved.”
The bay we were moored in was very protected and tranquil, it seems to be a popular stopping point for yachts as we were alone when we stopped mid afternoon but by sunset that evening the bay was full and the same again the next night. Many not going to shore just stopping for the night before heading off early the next morning making the most of the sheltered bay & lovely views. On our second evening we were pleasantly surprised to watch a yacht come in and stop flying an Australian Flag! Was lovely to chat with some fellow Aussies sailing Diomedea whom were spending their season sailing in Scotland before returning to Australia, they were kind enough to take a picture of Red Roo from their boat at sunset and email it to us (included at top of post).