One of the great things about Iona is that it is small enough to be explored on foot but still offers a wide variety of walks. Whether strolling along a beach at the North End, appreciating panoramic views from the top of Dun I, or seeking out Columba’s Bay to the south, there are plenty of places to enjoy.
Pathways are not generally signposted, but maps are available and a walk with a local guide can be a great way to get to know the island better.
Scottish access legislation means that you are welcome to walk over most of the island, but please remember that Iona is a living, working community. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code sets out responsibilities as well as rights. For more information and to make sure you know the code before you go, visit: www.outdooraccess-scotland.com.
The highest point of the island is Dun I (pronounced Dun E) which means the 'hill of Iona'. It only rises 100m above sea level but the view from the top is splendid and well worth the trek up. You’re rewarded with a fantastic view for a little effort. To get to the path to Dun I, follow the road up the hill past the Spar shop and turn right passing the Abbey, after a few hundred metres you’ll see a sign post to Dun I on the left side of the road.
St. Columba's Bay or ‘Port a Churaich’
Follow in the footsteps of St. Columba to the bay where he is thought to have landed in his coracle in 563 AD. Follow the road going south from the ferry and then across the island to the golf course. From here follow the track south over the hill. It can be quite boggy in parts so stout footwear is advisable.
The Golf Course
As you leave the ferry, turn left and follow the road past Martyrs Bay and Traigh Mor. Walk up the hill for ¾ of a mile until a gate is reached. Go through the gate and in front is a magnificent stretch of machair which doubles as one of the most laid back and informal golf courses you’re likely to see!
The Bay at the Back of the Ocean
Follow the directions above to Iona golf course and you will come to the aptly named "Bay at the Back of the Ocean" or it's gaelic name of Camus Cul an t-Saimh. From here there are views south to the Spouting Cave, at its best after a strong north-westerly wind and at half tide. It is possible to get quite close to the cave but not recommended with young children.