Bernera, Lismore

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For other places with the same name, see Berneray.
The eastern shore opposite Achadun Castle
The eastern shore opposite Achadun Castle
Bernera is located in Argyll and Bute
Bernera shown within Argyll and Bute
OS grid reference NM794393
Gaelic name Beàrnaraigh
Meaning of name Bjørn's island, from Norse
Physical geography
Island group Mull
Area 34 hectares (0.1 sq mi)[1]
Highest elevation 58 m
Political geography
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Argyll and Bute
Population 0
References [2][3][4]

Bernera Island (Scottish Gaelic: Beàrnaraigh) is a tidal island off Lismore, in Argyll, Scotland.


In the 6th Century, Bernera was settled by monks of the Irish Culdee church under the leadership of St. Moluag.[5] St. Columba used the island as a private place for retreat, meditation and prayer, and may have preached under (and possibly planted) a vast yew tree.[5] It is reported that the wood was turned into a staircase for Lochnell Castle[3] at Ardmenhuis and survived at least two fires, which burned down the rest of the building.[5]

The island has the remains of an ancient chapel and burial ground.[6]

Natural History[edit]

The island is limestone and this reflected in the diversity of species found on the island.

Bernera Island is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest on the basis of its feature of limestone maritime cliffs along with the presence of the nationally scarce rock whitebeam.[7]

The common seal is a regular visitor to the coastal strip between the high and low water marks. This littoral zone forms part of the Eileanan agus Sgeirean Lios mòr Special Area of Conservation along with the nearby islets of Eilean na Cloich and Eilean Dubh in the Lynn of Lorn to the east and Dubh Sgeir and Eilean Gainimh in the Lynn of Morvern to the west.[8]


  1. ^ Rick Livingstone’s Tables of the Islands of Scotland (pdf) Argyll Yacht Charters. Retrieved 12 Dec 2011.
  2. ^ National Records of Scotland (15 August 2013) (pdf) Statistical Bulletin: 2011 Census: First Results on Population and Household Estimates for Scotland - Release 1C (Part Two). "Appendix 2: Population and households on Scotland’s inhabited islands". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7. 
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey. Get-a-map (Map). 1:25,000. Leisure. Ordinance Survey. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "St. Columba’s Yew, Bernera – a Miracle of Yew Regeneration". Ancient Yew Group. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  6. ^ "Bernera Island". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  7. ^ "Bernera Island Citation". Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  8. ^ Eileanan agus Sgeiran Lios mór Special Area of Conservation: Advice under Regulation 33(2) (2006) Scottish Natural Heritage.

Coordinates: 56°29′40″N 5°35′0″W / 56.49444°N 5.58333°W / 56.49444; -5.58333