North Minch

A map of the northern section of Scotland, with the Minch as the main focus

In north-west Scotland, a strait of sea called The Minch separates the Outer Hebrides islands and the mainland of Scotland. It is a sea channel of the Atlantic Ocean, between 14 to 45 miles in width and reaches a great length of 70 miles. The Sea of the Hebrides northern limit is The Lower Minch, also known as Little Minch. It is The Minch’s southern extension that separates the island group of the Outer and Inner Hebrides. Stornaway is the capital of Lewis, which has the main port connecting across the Minch to Ullapool, on the mainland.

Spectacular Scenery and Abundant Wildlife in The Minch

The sea is a stormy breath of water, but the views travelling across are magnificent. Spectacular rocky landscapes and mountains, lush greenery and beautiful beaches, all inhabited by local wildlife. The Minch is full of wildlife, in the water and surrounding islands. Gannets swoop high and low, diving and feeding from the sea fish, many seals and otters take residence on the surrounding rocks of the islands. You can also more commonly see pods of dolphin or minke whale.

The Minch Project: Promoting Sustainable Tourism and Conservation

The Minch is popular with ferry operations, run by Calmac, connecting Stornaway with Ullapool and Uig on Skye to Tarbert on Harris. The Highland Council and Scottish Natural Heritage are in collaboration on The Minch Project to reduce litter and pollution and promote tourism to the areas. Increasing tourists viewing local wildlife, such as watching dolphins.

The Minch: Possible Site of a Major Asteroid Impact

Scientists believe under the waters of The Minch, is the site of one of the biggest asteroids to strike the British Isles. This theory first came to light in 2008, finding evidence of rocky debris created by a callosal impact. The impact is said to have occurred over 1.2 billion years ago when life on our planet looked very different. Unfortunately, as the impact is offshore, examining the site would be significantly costly.

Highlights of The Minch: Lighthouses, Stornoway, Callinish Stones, and Beautiful Beaches

The Minch is marked by lighthouses throughout the Hebrides islands, Barra Head, Ushenish and Hyskeir at the southern entrance. The Outer Hebrides are signified by Weavers Point, Eilean Glas, Tiumpan Head and Butt of Lewis. When visiting The Minch, you can see Stornoway on Lewis and the Callinish Standing Stones, Uig on Skye and incredible beaches on Barra, Uist, Harris and Lewis.

The Blue Men of the Minch: A Mysterious and Chilling Part of Celtic Folklore in The Minch

The Minch has a lot of Celtic folklore and surrounding islands, most famously the chilling tales of the Blue Men of the Minch. The blue men are supernatural sea-dwellings who can be seen in the Minch waters, capturing and drowning sailors in the turbulent seas.

There are wonderful aromas along the coasts of the Minch, from the sea waters to the golden sands and warming scents. All our candles are inspired by the scents and smells of the Minch. Why not take a look for yourself?

A Google map aerial view of the Minch
The sun setting over the Minch, Scotland. With waves coming towards the shore. As viewed from Oldshoremore beach, Highlands of Scotland

FAQs about The Minch

Why is it called The Minch?

Its ultimate origin is the French name La Manche. This is the French name for the English Channel but was originally used in the early 1600s to refer to any long, narrow sea strait.

How long is The Minch?

The Minch spans a width of 14 to 45 miles (23 to 72 km) and stretches approximately 70 miles (110 km) in length.

How deep is The Minch?

Average water depths vary with some parts reaching over 200 meters.

Where is The Little Minch?

The Little Minch is a southern extension located between the Outer and Inner Hebrides island groups, dividing Harris and North Uist in the west from the isle of Skye in the east.

A view out over the Minch, with Neist point lighthouse on the Isle of Skye, Highlands of Scotland
The Aurora Borealis candle from the Minch Candle Company, A Scottish candle company using soy and coconut wax