Thursday 19th October comments: For the third year running, a record number of people have visited the Isle of May. Almost 13,000 visitors came ashore to the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) national nature reserve in 2017 to enjoy the wildlife and learn about the island’s cultural heritage.
The numbers were boosted by a variety of popular events – including a seabird weekend, family days and a seal weekend – and a lengthy feature on BBC’s Countryfile programme in July this year.
A special event this year was an archaeology exhibition, in conjunction with National Museums Scotland, featuring artefacts excavated in the 1990s. As part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the show told the fascinating story of the island as a focus for Christian pilgrimage for a thousand years, beginning in the 5th century AD.
David Steel, SNH’s Isle of May reserve manager, said: “We’re so glad that so many people have come to enjoy the wonderful wildlife and history that the reserve has to offer. This stunning and mystical island has a backdrop of almost 100,000 puffins which are a major draw, as are the terns, shags, other seabirds and the amazing history. Simply by visiting you are helping the reserve to maintain itself as one the UK’s most important.”
“If you missed out this year, boats will start sailing from 1st April 2018, so make sure you book a place! Sailings are on the privately-run May Princess or Osprey of Anstruther from the Anstruther Harbour; or through the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick or Forthwild Dunbar.