In his latest cruising feature, Peter Cumberlidge picks out the best remote island destinations you can easily reach from the UK by boat

Skomer - harbour baysSkomer, Wales

Size: 1½nm long
Population: Two resident wardens (Eddie Stubbings and Birgitta Bueche by name)
Watering holes: None. Visitors take sandwiches and thermos flasks!

Solitary Skomer lies half a mile off the Pembrokeshire coast, a National Nature Reserve managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.

Visitors are welcome provided you land only at North Haven bay, contact one of the island wardens and pay the modest dues that help the Trust preserve this idyllic retreat.

Most boats arrive here from one of Milford Haven’s marinas. You must pick your weather and tides for the eight-mile passage from the Haven entrance, but in quiet conditions it’s easy enough to reach Skomer, slipping through Jack Sound at slack water to approach North Haven from the north.

Anchor east of the stone steps and land between 1000-1800 (no landing Mondays except bank holidays).

Call at the wardens’ house above the beach or phone on +44 (0)7971 114302. With north in the wind, South Haven is more sheltered, though no landing is allowed around this bay.

Skomer - north coastFrom North Haven (pictured above), paths lead west across the island, or you can skirt South Haven towards the south plateau for grand views across the Mew Stone towards Skokholm island.

In the centre of Skomer a refurbished farm has hostel accommodation for wildlife holidays. You’ll see puffins around the cliffs, and on the Neck between North and South Havens.

Don’t miss: Tramping out to Skomer Head to see the tidal races you avoided

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Sark, Channel Islands
  3. 3. Yeu, The Vendée
  4. 4. St. Martin’s, Isles of Scilly
  5. 5. Skomer, Wales
  6. 6. Cape Clear Island, Ireland
  7. 7. Île De Sein, Brittany
  8. 8. Île de Groix, Brittany
  9. 9. Coll, Scotland
  10. 10. Houat, Brittany
  11. 11. Vlieland, Netherlands
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