Fairy Isles Reserve
For hundreds of years people all over the world have believed in the idea of fairies. These mythical creatures have been said to be mischievous but generally good-hearted little beings having a somewhat human shape with wings. They were said to possess magical powers and have featured in children’s stories right across the northern half of the globe. Nowhere has the idea of fairies captured the imagination more than in the UK where the mythical realm of Faerie was considered by many to be real. The concept has had an undeniable influence on the culture of Scotland and is reflected all over the country in the naming of places and the reluctance of some to see these tales as myths.
One place that derives its name from these dragonfly sized mythical creatures is that of the Fairy Isles. Situated near Lochgilphead by the head of Loch Sween in Knapdale, Argyll, the Fairy Isles is a collection of six small wooded islands. They are part of the Fairy Isles Reserve which also incorporates a narrow strip of coastal woodland in its boundaries. When these various landmasses are taken together, they cover roughly 21 hectares of land and while they are likely not home to any fairies, they certainly do enjoy a good variety of coastal birds who are attracted to the sheltered waters of the islands and the striking woodlands. Many birds have chosen to make their homes amongst the rocky shorelines of these islands while others prefer to make use of the shelter provided by the trees. The forests have quite a bit of lichen and ferns growing under the tree canopies.
The Fairy Isles Reserve was originally the property of the Scottish Forestry Commission but a many by the name of Professor John Smyth managed to initiate an agreement between the forestry commission and the Scottish wildlife trust whereby the reserve became a trust reserve. Thus the Fairy Isles Reserve is now a Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve. Currently very little is done to promote the reserve as an attraction but should you wish to visit them you can certainly make arrangements with local wildlife authorities to do so.