New series continues Paul Murton’s tour of our unique Islands

Paul will embark on a six programme tour of the Scottish Islands. Pictures by  Timeline Films/BBC Scotland.
Paul will embark on a six programme tour of the Scottish Islands. Pictures by Timeline Films/BBC Scotland.

Paul Murton continues his island odyssey in a fourth series of the Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands, starting on Monday, September 5th on BBC One at 7.30pm.

The series explores the remote and fascinating places which scatter our coastline, and meets the people who call these islands home.

Over the six week filming period in the spring and summer, the production crew from Timeline Films was blessed by catching just about every good day going and the results are evident on screen.

Virtually every shot of the series is bathed in beautiful Scottish sunligh.

Their foray for series four ranged from North Rona (even more remote than St Kilda), Heisgeir in the West, and north to the far flung parts of Shetland.

Says Paul: “You certainly need good sea legs getting to some of these islands. Although the weather was usually clear, the crossings were rough enough to make members of the film crew green around the gills and feeling pretty sick.

“This series has a really adventurous feel about it because of the destinations I’d chosen. Many of them are remote – some uninhabited; but all of them have an amazing story of human settlement to tell.

“It never ceases to amaze me that even the most isolated and hard-to-reach islands were once home to thriving communities – and had been settled for thousands of years. Yet, despite all the conveniences of modern transport in the 21st century, many are now abandoned.

“The islands are exquisitely beautiful, but there is so often a melancholy about the ruins that is powerfully evocative, communicating a powerful sense of the people who lived there.

“I hope viewers get a sense of that atmosphere and enjoy the windswept vistas and the stories behind the ruins.”


From Berneray to Pabbay: The Riddle of the Sands - On his first Grand Tour of the new series Paul explores a cluster of Islands in the Outer Hebrides.

His journey begins on Berneray, just off the North Uist, where none other than Prince Charles had a stint as a crofter.

His journey then takes him south to capture the colours of Grimsay, and then weaves through the marram grass of Kirkibost, to end on the deserted whisky island of Pabbay.


Bridging the Gap: Scarp, Great Bernera, and Scalpay - This Grand Tour takes Paul around the coast of the “Long Island” of Harris and Lewis, beginning on Scarp, travelling north to Great Bernera, then south east to Scalpay.

Scarp was finally abandoned in the 1970s because it had no bridge or ferry service. Crossing the bridge to Great Bernera Paul discover the secrets of prehistoric life in an Iron Age House.

On Scalpay, he waulks the tweed and meets weaver Sheila Roderick who uses traditional techniques.


Against the Odds: Papa Stour, Whalsay and Out Skerries - In this programme Paul explores the island outposts of Shetland; Papa Stour, Whalsay and Out Skerries, encountering new born lambs, ancient ruins, traditional Shetland sword dancing, before sailing on a £30 million Pelagic Trawler to Out Skerries.


Northern Skye: A Land of giants and fairies - In this episode Paul heads to the northernmost spur of Skye; the stunningly beautiful Trotternish Penninsula, which has a distinct identity of its own – almost as if it were an island within an island.


- From Flotta to Sanday: War and Peace in the North - On this journey Paul crosses the great natural harbour of Scapa Flow to the island of Flotta, before heading round the main Island of Orkney to Stronsay, and from there travelling north to the stunning beaches of Sanday.

Along the Paul discovers stories of World War One, a mysterious sea monster, and Orkney Selkies.


Off the Map - In the final episode of the series Paul embarks on his most difficult island Grand Tour to date. Every destination has been long abandoned by people; there are no ferries, no piers or proper landing stages at these islands making it quite a challenge.