Little Bernera

Long sandy beaches, outlying islands and aquamarine waters on Little Bernera

To the north of the island of Great Bernera, across the water from the idyllic Bosta Beach, lies the smaller, uninhabited island of Little Bernera.

Bosta Beach is six miles from our B&B and it takes around 15 minutes to get there by car

Little Bernera is roughly one mile east to west by half a mile from north to south and its highest point is 42m above sea level. At the closest point, Little Bernera and Great Bernera are no more than about 50 metres apart.

Looking west at the closest point, with Great Bernera on the left and Little Bernera on the right

The west and south sides of Little Bernera are jagged and rocky (see photo above) but on the east and northeast shores there are long, sandy beaches, outlying islands and crystal clear, aquamarine waters (see first photo).

Remains of dwellings and chapels provide evidence of centuries of settlement on Little Bernera. However, in 1825, the last of the inhabitants were forcibly evicted when the island became part of a neighbouring farmstead.

The only really significant remains to be seen today are the cemetery and chapel at the eastern side of the island. The ancient graveyard was in use until the beginning of the 20th century, but erosion is now taking its toll and some of the gravestones are starting to be claimed by the sea.

Little Bernera cemetery—a peaceful final resting place
The remains of the chapel

There is no public transport to Little Bernera, however it’s possible to reach the island by kayak (as we did), by private hire* or (for the more adventurous) by swimming there. Whatever means of transport you choose, on a calm and sunny day the trip is definitely worth it!

* There are currently two private operators offering boat trips to Little Bernera:
> Neil at Islands of Adventure has a sea taxi service to drop you off and pick you up.
> Malcolm at Little Bernera Tours offers boat trips with a guided tour of the island.

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