Gunna (Gaelic: Gunnaigh) is an island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.

Gaelic nameGunnaigh
Norse nameGunni-øy
Meaning of name"Gunni's island"
Gunna is located in Argyll and Bute
Gunna shown within Argyll and Bute
OS grid referenceNM100513
Coordinates56°34′N 6°43′W / 56.56°N 6.72°W / 56.56; -6.72
Physical geography
Island groupMull
Area69 ha (14 sq mi)
Area rank176 [1]
Highest elevation35 m (115 ft)
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Council areaArgyll and Bute

Geography and geologyEdit

Gunna lies between Coll and Tiree, closer to Coll. It is 69 hectares (14 square mile) in area and 35 metres (115 feet) at its highest point. Nowhere is it wider than 500 metres (550 yards). It has no permanent inhabitants; the only house is used as a holiday residence by its owner, Marcus de Ferranti.[5]

It is surrounded by various smaller islands including Eilean Frachlan (just off the north coast), Eilean nan Gamhna off the south coast, Soy Gunna to the north east, and Eilean Bhoramull, which is nearer Coll. It is surrounded by many rocks, especially in Gunna Sound (Scottish Gaelic: Am Bun Dubh[6]), between it and Tiree.

According to Haswell-Smith, the island has a: "bedrock of paragneiss schist with a light sandy soil. Metasediments in the west grade into undifferentiated gneiss in the east".[3]

Etymology and historyEdit

"Gunni" is a Norse forename, and Haswell-Smith suggests that Gunni-øy means "island of Gunni the Dane" (although it is not recorded for which Gunni the island was named) or conceivably that the modern name is from Eilean nan Gamhna, Gaelic for "island of the stirks". Mac an Tàilleir suggests that the Norse means "Gunnar's island".[7]

It was possibly an anchorite/culdee's island at some point - beside the old well, there is Port na Cille, which means Port of the Monk's Cell. Uamh Mòr, (big cave) on the north coast, could well be where the hermit sheltered.

According to Mac an Tàilleir Gunna is mentioned in the lines of a song, "Farewell beyond Gunna to Mull of the great mountains".[7]


Gunna supports a wide range of sea birds, as well as geese, and shelducks. Grey seals also breed here.

It is currently used for grazing from Coll.[3]

Gunna in fictionEdit

Sandy Duncanson, the villain of Neil Munro's novel The New Road, comes from here, one chapter is titled "The Man from Gunna". It is suggested that this symbolises his ambiguous nature, since Tiree was "one of Mac Cailean Mór's loyal islands", and Coll was wild country.

See alsoEdit


  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, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. pp. 115–16. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7.
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey. OS Maps Online (Map). 1:25,000. Leisure.
  5. ^ "The Herald". Retrieved 2019-11-07.
  6. ^ "Rannsaich/translation search". UHI. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  7. ^ a b Mac an Tàilleir, Iain (2003) Ainmean-àite/Placenames. (pdf) Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 26 August 2012.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 56°34′N 6°43′W / 56.567°N 6.717°W / 56.567; -6.717