National Trust

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is the conservation charity that protects and promotes Scotland's natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy. With over 310,000 members it is the largest conservation charity in Scotland and it depends for its support on donations, legacies, grants and membership subscriptions. For more information on the NTS visit

In March 1980, much of the Hebridean island of Iona (Eilean Idhe) was presented to the NTS by the Secretary of State for Scotland. The gift was made possible by the Hugh Fraser Foundation, and included the majority of the main island and off lying islands. Excluded from the gift were the Abbey and certain ecclesiastical buildings and historic sites which had already been placed in the care of the Iona Cathedral Trust. Locally the NTS also looks after the Isle of Staffa National Nature Reserve, as well as the dramatic Burg on the Ardmeanach peninsula of Mull.

The primary purpose of NTS ownership of much of Iona is to ensure that this historic place is conserved for the enjoyment of the nation in perpetuity. In particular the NTS aims to ensure the preservation of the peace and tranquillity of the island, to work with the crofting and farming community to retain the traditional agricultural nature of the island and to promote the welfare of those who live and work there. In addition the Trust aims to provide for the harmonious integration of visitor requirements with those of heritage conservation and the interests of the local community, thus helping to promote unity and advancement of the spiritual and secular elements of the island for the benefit of all. For more information on the NTS and Iona visit their website.

Opened in June 2016, ‘Shelter’ is the NTS' new building on Iona for visitors to the island to relax, explore and shelter from the island's diverse weather. This building sits on the footprint of an older shed which has played a key part in island life over the last 100 years – a venue for dances, a cargo store, boatshed, and even the firestation – until it fell into disrepair. It now has a similar look to the old building but is in keeping with the village and conservation area. Inside you can find plenty of seating to rest your feet, a large scale colourful map of the island as well as information leaflets, picture boards explaining the key elements of Iona, a vending machine and posters. There is also a map where you can pin point any wildlife sightings using markers and fill out a sightings card which will continue to help us care for Iona’s natural environment. Many donors helped to fund the building and Oban High School were involved in our Changing Landscapes Project - their music and two short documentaries feature in the shelter’s audio visual display.

The NTS employs a Ranger (in partnership with the Mull and Iona Community Trust) covering the Ross of Mull, Iona, Staffa NNR and Burg. To contact the Ranger email or telephone 01681 700659 or visit their website for more information.