St Mary lighthouse

St Mary’s Island

Looking at the global map you see quite clearly the shape of Great Britain, consisting of the majority of England, Scotland and Wales. That is the name of the big large recognisable island. However did you know that the British Isles consists of over 6000 Islands. Out of shore all around are land masses ranging from the larger likes of Anglesey and Isle of Wight to tiny rocky islands and yes, thousands of them. At the bottom of this post is a clever video that very quickly does explain the difference between United Kingdom, Britain, British Isles, England and a whole lot more but I want to show just a few of the isles that at low tide become part of the mainland, enough to walk to. There are 43 tidal islands all together, here are only a few.

St Mary’s Island

Off the coast at Whitley Bay those that have been to the area will know the sight of the tall white lighthouse on St Mary’s Island. The lighthouse was built in the 1800s and visitors can climb the steps to the top. That is when you get across as when high tide arrives it becomes a true island. Hundreds of years ago the island had a chapel that within its walls contained the light of St Katherine. This was written wrong at some point as St Mary and thus the name we have today. There was once a pub there too, hard to believe it was closed down due to noisyness? ๐Ÿ™‚

BaldHiker Retreats

St Michael’s Mount

Off the coast of Cornwall and perhaps the most famously iconic of these types of island with a castle standing proud at the top. St Michael’s Mount has a large history.

Some of the history shrouded in myth and geographical upheaval. Old monasteries, royal visits, destruction by tsunamis has had it all and more. What we have today is a magnificent view from the British mainland when the tide is out or low a man made causeway path appears and a walk out to discover awaits.

st michaels mount

The Worm’s Head

Over into Wales and pretty much all of the coast of Wales is worth an adventure on foot. For a lovely tidal island head to the Gower peninsular with Worm’s head. The name comes from not what you think but actually the Welsh word for Dragon.

A small but inviting tidal island amongst the sandy bays but please check local tide timings/warnings before venturing. It can change rapidly and cut you off.

the worms head, Gower

Davaar Island

Scotland, of course famed for many of it’s offshore islands. A great example of one of its tidal ones is Davaar, off the east coast of Kintyre. Seperated from the mainland by a shingle causeway passable only at low tide (takes about 40 minutes). You would then join the population of 2 plus the sheep and goats. Wilderness. I love it.

Davaar island

Hilbre Island

In the North West of England, at the end of the Dee Estuary sits a group of islands the largest of which is Hilbre. Uninhabited now but throughout history it is known to have had life in the stones age, pilgrimage in the middle ages, a rock factory for salt and a pub. Many tourists take the time to walk over there. It is a nature reserve with seals, unique plants and birds of many types. Beware again of tides as it is surrounded by sea for at least 5 hours in every 12 and can be a lot more unpredictable than that. Check local information.

Hilbre island


And I make my way back down to Cornwall. Gugh is out in the Scilly Isles. Designated an area of outstanding beauty. Only 0.5 miles wide it can be walked to from it’s larger neighbour St Agnes. At low tide the sand bank reveals itself and you can stroll scross. A very calm place to be down out on the bottom tip of Britain.

Gugh island cornwall

OK, as I said above I wanted to share a video I found a while back that quickly but aptly explains the difference between UK, Britain etc etc. You may have to watch more than once to ‘get it’ hehe ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  1. Patricia Mandell says:

    That video was so funny! A thousand years of history in five minutes! I learned a lot, even though I have British and Welsh friends, and Scottish relatives, and have osmosed some of the touched upon cultural resonances.

    Your photos of the British isles are gorgeous. They make me want to go to.

    A friend wants to visit them at Christmas, to see Christmas traditions. I told her I didn't think there were any. Some years back, a couple of my British friends told me that Christmas celebrations in England are not as lavish as i the U.S. Is this true??

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Robert Bell says:

    Well done, Paul -and thank you. This would inspire anyone to put on their walking boots!

  3. Lesley Peterson says:

    Gorgeous photos! And that video is really useful…

  4. May Allah Bless you Pual. too too helpful both " information and video" . Pictures are beautiful enough to take you breath away.How beautiful the nature around us. when I see pictures like this I say Glory be to Allah ad There is no God but Allah.thanks Paul for sharing such a stunning pic .

  5. turismo en Portugal says:

    Awesome images. Great post ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Chad Claeyssen @RoadDogTravel says:

    Nice post and pics. Wow, I thought I was pretty clear on these subjects, but learned a lot. I would have never guessed the British Isles are made up of over 6000 islands, I would have said about 100. I was slightly off. Very informational video too. Was that sped up? I had to listen to a couple parts twice. Maybe I'm just slow, haha. Thanks for posting.

  7. The Traveling Fool says:

    The video was hilarious. Reminded me of a lecture I attended where at the end I went "Huh?"

  8. lymphoma symptoms says:

    That photo of St. Michael's Mount stunned me. I wonder how often can the locals cross to the St. Mary's island. It looks cool that the pathway disappears during high tide. The place i believe is less visited, or maybe I am not just familiar with it.

  9. Great post, the vid was very informative…

  10. Paul Steele says:

    Thanks Derek yes there are many more I could have gone on and on. Another day. Yes the video was due to how many times I get asked ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Derek Fogg says:

    Great title Paul and a very interesting post. Only actually been over to one of these islands St Michaels Mount but been near to a few of the others. Some nice images in there as well. Since the video before and proving very popular – I have used it myself to explain the British Isles.

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