Travel down the eastern side of the island for several miles and you reach the village of Balvicar dotted with white washed quarriers cottages set beside Balvicar Bay. These cottages provide the first clue to the Islands recent past.
For over three centuries Seil along with the neighbouring islands of Easdale, Luing, Lunga, Shuna, Torsa and Belnahua was at the centre of the Scottish slate industry. From these islands slate was quarried, cut and exported all round the globe giving rise to the name ‘the islands that roofed the world’.
Head west from Balvicar and the character of the island changes and becomes more rugged and rocky; with fewer signs of cultivation and habitation until you reach the village of Ellenabeich. This is the largest village and main settlement on the island with rows of low single storey white washed slate workers cottages along the main street. The village has been used for various television and film locations including Parahandy, Ring of Bright Water and Sea of Souls. A heritage centre has been opened in one of the cottages depicting island life and the slate industry and well worth a visit. The neighbouring island of Easdale, reached from the harbour by a boat journey taking 5 minutes is the home of a folk museum run by the Scottish Slate Islands Heritage Trust.
Follow the road from Ellenabeich back to Balvicar and take the road to the southern tip of the island to reach Cuan, where a small ferry terminus links the Isle of Seil with the Isle of Luing.
Discover for yourself this hidden gem and visit the small and beautiful Isle of Seil on the west coast of Scotland. You will not be disappointed.