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Gaelic name Sgarba
Pronunciation [ˈs̪kaɾapə]
Norse name Skarpoe
Meaning of name Old Norse for "sharp, stony, hilly terrain"
Scarba is located in Argyll and Bute
Scarba shown within Argyll and Bute
OS grid reference NM690044
Coordinates 56°10′37″N 5°43′12″W / 56.177°N 5.72°W / 56.177; -5.72
Physical geography
Island group Islay
Area 1,474 hectares (5.7 sq mi)
Area rank 39 [1]
Highest elevation Cruach Scarba 449 metres (1,473 ft)
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Argyll and Bute
Population Not permanently inhabited since the 1960s
Largest settlement Kilmory Lodge
References [2][3][4]
Cruach Scarba
(Scottish Gaelic: Cruach Sgarba)
Highest point
Elevation 449 m (1,473 ft)
Prominence 449 m (1,473 ft)
Listing Marilyn
Translation Hill of Scarba (Gaelic)
Pronunciation About this sound ˈkʰɾuəx ˈs̪kaɾapə 
Location Inner Hebrides, Scotland
OS grid NM690044
Topo map OS Landranger 55

Scarba (Scottish Gaelic: Sgarba) is a small island, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, just north of the much larger island of Jura. The island was owned by Richard Hill, 7th Baron Sandys and has not been permanently inhabited since the 1960s.[3] It is now covered in heather and used for grazing animals. Kilmory Lodge is used seasonally as a shooting lodge, the island having a flourishing herd of red deer.

The island's name is from the Norse and may mean "sharp, stony, hilly terrain"[3] or "cormorant island".[5]


Scarba is not served by any public ferries, but access from Craobh Haven or Crinan Harbour is possible by arrangement with local boatmen. The rough summit ridge can be accessed from the harbour at the north end, from where a vehicle track leads up past Kilmory Lodge to a height of about 200 metres. After that, there are no paths or well defined routes, and the terrain becomes rough and boggy. The island rises steeply to a peak (Cruach Scarba) of 449 metres (1,473 ft). Although there are no technical difficulties, the summits are often shrouded in mist, through which navigation skill may be required. A cylindrical triangulation point marks the highest of several summits, which are surrounded by several small lochs.


Between Scarba and Jura lies the Gulf of Corryvreckan, known for its whirlpool. Writing in 1549, Dean Monro wrote of "Skarbay" that between it and "Duray":

Ther runnes ane streame, above the power of all sailing and rowing, with infinite dangers, callit Corybrekan. This stream is aught myle lang, quhilk may not be hantit bot be certain tyds. This Skarbay is four myles lange from the west to the eist, and an myle breadth, ane high rough yle, inhabit and manurit, with some woods in it.[6]

Scarba and a few nearby islets (Lunga and the Garvellachs) are collectively the Scarba, Lunga and the Garvellachs National Scenic Area.



  1. ^ Area and population ranks: there are c. 300 islands over 20 ha in extent and 93 permanently inhabited islands were listed in the 2011 census.
  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 c Haswell-Smith (2004) p. 60
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey. Get-a-map (Map). 1:25,000. Leisure. Retrieved 21 August 2013. [dead link]
  5. ^ Mac an Tàilleir (2003) p. 104
  6. ^ Monro (1594) "Skarbay" No. 16


External links[edit]

Media related to Scarba at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 56°10′34″N 5°43′24″W / 56.17607°N 5.72324°W / 56.17607; -5.72324