Take Shelter

With all the wet and windy weather it’s about time you had a tour of our lovely new building on Iona which opened earlier this year, so…

Welcome to Shelter!

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Let’s take a look around…


This new 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’s now revitalised, with a similar look to the original building outside (in keeping with the village’s status as a building conservation area). If you are here on a quick daytrip we hope it will inspire you to visit again and spend more time exploring.  If you need a dry place to wait for the ferry, be our guest, and maybe learn something interesting while you’re waiting – there’s a handy vending machine for snacks too!  If you are unable to walk far, our audio-visual film, large-scale map and colourful banners will bring the sights and sounds of the island to you.  If you’re ready to explore off the beaten track you’ll find the map and leaflets useful – don’t forget to come back and record your wildlife sightings afterwards and find out how the conservation work of the National Trust for Scotland provides ‘shelter’ for the island’s wildlife and landscapes too.


Of course this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our generous donors, many thanks to all who contributed and to those who help to keep the building clean and open for business.


10th June saw our official opening ceremony at which young people from Oban High School who’d been involved in our Changing Landscapes project entertained us with their music and poetry.  A short documentary film about this project features in the Shelter’s audio-visual display and can be viewed online here: www.nts.org.uk/Site/Iona-changing-landscapes/Changing-Landscapes

The wildlife film created by Simon Goodall can also be viewed online here:                     www.nts.org.uk/Nature-Channel/View/Iona-Time-And-Tide

NTS Iona

Pic: Tom Finnie (10.6.2016) Official opening of new National Trust for Scotland visitor shelter on Iona:


Winter update

Fans of Changing Landscapes will be glad to know the results of last September’s project are now online!  We gathered together another great team of tutors and Oban High School pupils for a couple of days on Iona, and their creative efforts in music and poetry can now be viewed here.

Feels like it’s been a busier winter than usual, in spite of the storminess!  I enjoyed catching up with ranger colleagues at the NTS countryside conference, including a site visit to the Knapdale beaver trial – we all know species reintroductions can be controversial so it was fascinating to learn all about how that one’s been going.

knapdale beaver signs knapdale3

Bunessan primary afterschool nature club has been running all winter, and Iona’s will restart in the spring.  We’ve been making art to celebrate our local environment with It is Our World, learning about the Scottish Outdoor Access Code through games, video clips and an obstacle course challenge, taking part in the Big Schools Birdwatch and doing some citizen science through the What’s Under Your Feet? project.


Meanwhile I’ve started visiting the Bunessan Pre5 class every month, so far exploring hibernation and winter using all our senses, and also enjoyed some evening stargazing with Iona primary school families including spotting familiar constellations and waving to Tim Peake as the ISS flew past!

stargazing iona primary stargazing iona primary2

Have been spending plenty of time planning our summer events programme so look out for some old favourites and a few new ideas in the mix!  This year I hope to take some school and holiday club groups to our new community forest at Tiroran as well.

On Iona, the National Trust for Scotland’s new Shelter is nearly ready to open…hope to tell you more about this soon!

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Emily Wilkins – ranger for South Mull, Iona, Staffa and Burg