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Thursday, 17 July 2014

A Boat Trip to the historic Island of Soay

If you are interested in a boat trip to Soay and want to know a bit more about the island and what it has to offer then a boat trips to Soay on Skye Boat Trips boat the Islander is the perfect answer. Especially since the skipper of the boat, Oliver, lives on Soay.

Soay is the closest of the Small isles to the Isle of Skye and lies to the West of Loch Scavaig. Soay has much to offer in the way of wildlife. There is a Seal colony not far from the island and depending on the time of year there may even be some seal pups. There is also a chance of seeing minke whale, porpoise, dolphins and basking sharks.  On land people very often see red deer and if you are there very early in the morning then there are sometimes some otters around the coast. There has also been an increase in sea eagle sightings recently so you may be lucky enough to spot some of them.

Although Soay is a very small island compared to Skye with the highest part of it, BeinnBhreac, only reaching just over 140m it is rich with history. Soay is famous for having Gavin Maxwell’s basking shark factory. Gavin Maxwell was an author who bought the island of Soay in 1944 and soon after opened a basking shark factor in 1945. His plan was to process shark oil and sell it on to Glasgow, however due to lack of funding and bad planning the business failed and he soon sold the island to Tex Geddes and his wife in 1952. Tex Geddes was also an author however he decided that instead of selling the processed shark oil he would continue to hunt basking sharks and sell the unprocessed livers instead. In 1953 most people left the island and moved to the neighbouring Isle of Mull due to the lack of emergency telephone services and the threat of stopping the postal services. Tex Geddes and his family stayed on the island however and protested the closure of the postal service. They were successful in their protest as post would still arrive to the island once a month.

If you were to take a boat trips to Soay now, you would still see the remains of Gavin Maxwell’s and Tex Geddes’s basking shark factory on the coastline of the island. Thankfully the number of basking sharks in the area is starting to rise again. If you wish to find out more about Gavin Maxwell’s basking shark adventures then he wrote about it in his book called “Harpoon at a Venture”.

Although Soay does not have many people living on it any more it is definitely well worth a visit. If you wish to book a boat trip to Soay then please get in touch with us at Skye Boat Trips and we will be happy to arrange a time and date.

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