Shuna Wildlife & History
For those with an interest in the natural world, a holiday on Shuna offers great opportunities to
view some of our most spectacular wildlife at close quarters. Almost uniquely for the west coast
of Scotland, the island is very heavily wooded - approximately 40% is native scrub birch and oak - there are no
artificial conifer plantations. The highest point is around 300 feet above sea level, and the shores are a mixture
of sheltered bays with small beaches and rocky slopes. People have lived on Shuna for at least 4,500 years - there
are both Stone and Iron Age burial mounds along with ruined farms and houses - between 1750 and 1850 it is thought
that there was a fairly stable population of around eighty. The main economic activity on the island at this time
was the production of lime from the natural stone here - old limekilns are dotted all over the island.
Shuna Castle was built as recently as 1911 for a rumoured cost of £300,000 - a
colossal sum at the time. It fell into disrepair in the 1980s - the cost of maintenance had become simply too great
- particularly given that it was built with a flat roof! The island has been privately owned by the Gully family
since 1946, and the family remain committed to the island and to preserving its unique heritage and long term
viability. The island itself has healthy populations of Red, Roe and Fallow deer, along with Otters and
Common and Grey Seals. Otters and Seals can usually be easily seen around the island, even at the Pier - the Otters
in particular seem to like it there. Whilst out on the water both Porpoises and Dolphins are regularly seen.
Obviously all the usual seabird species are found around the Shuna coastline, along with Buzzards,
Woodcock, Golden Eagle, Raven, Snipe and even a Nightjar has been seen (at night!) Because the island is so
sparsely populated by people, all our woodland and wildlife is undisturbed and exciting to explore. The unspoilt
natural habitat gives Shuna a unique diversity of plant, bird and animal life. Much of the woodland is also fenced
off from livestock, so is completely natural and un-grazed. Our deer populations are sensibly managed to ensure
maximum bio-diversity and maintain long-term habitats for all island wildlife.