Skye’s Hidden Heritage
Discover the historic settlement of Rubh’ an Dùnain
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Rubh’ an Dùnain

Flora and fauna

If Rubh' an Dùnain's lengthy human history remains shrouded in mystery, its flora and fauna are no less intriguing. The peninsula's isolation, particularly since it was abandoned by humans in the mid-19th century, has ensured that plants and wildlife have remained relatively undisturbed since.

In general terms Skye's flora and fauna are well documented and richly rewarding for naturalists. But Rubh' an Dùnain, it seems, has escaped serious attention in recent times. The result, while not exactly a blank canvas, offers ecologists and wildlife enthusiasts a rare opportunity to examine, explore and document this remote area afresh. There is a real prospect of making new and exciting discoveries and at the same time contributing to a deeper understanding of what has made Rubh' an Dùnain the unique settlement it is.

Along the way, of course, there will be opportunities for young and old, amateur and expert alike to make chance encounters with adders, frogs and toads, otters, shrews, orchid beetles and the occasional brown rat.

There may be tantalising glimpses of seals, porpoises and solitary basking shark. Birdlife abounds: in the lochs and lochans listen out for the eerie wail of a Great Northern Diver. On the ground, among the many species of wild orchids and carnivorous sundew, strut golden plovers while overhead there are frequent visual sightings of golden and sea eagles, falcons, skuas and auks, among others.

Read more in detail

Delve into our short guides by local experts:

  • Flora and fauna, written by botanist Stephen Bungard.
  • Birds, written by ornithologist Bob McMillan.