A Travellerspoint blog

June 2017

Colonsay - Some More

all seasons in one day 15 °C
View Colonsay on IainT's travel map.

I had 2 nights on Colonsay and almost 2 days there. It’s not big, so unless you have a particular interest in staying longer, 2 or 3 days is enough.

Away from it All

Away from it All

It’s the perfect place for the “get away from it all” holiday, so long as you’re flexible in your attitude to the weather! Most accommodation is self catering - holiday cottages. Mine was self catering - but a 1 bedroom apartment at Colonsay House. It was very comfortable and relaxing.

The House is the home of the island’s owner - Donald Howard, 4th Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, and is currently occupied by his eldest son. The servants’ quarters have been converted into self catering units.

Colonsay House

Colonsay House

Other options are a couple of bed and breakfast places, a backpackers’ hostel and the Colonsay Hotel.

I ate at the Hotel once - it was superb. I had oysters from the farm on the island and beef (for a burger) also from an island farm.

Local Oysters

Local Oysters

I also ate at the cafe at Colonsay House Gardens - much less grand, but excellent too.

You can buy food (and lots of other stuff) at Colonsay General Store. Their fresh croissants perked me up in the mornings. They modestly announce themselves as the “ Best Wee Shop in the Hebrides”. They’ll also deliver (free) to your self catering place and will even fill the fridge and cupboard before you arrive.

That makes a lot of sense and is smart marketing even in a normal environment, but with Colonsay the ferry often arrives at 18:45 and the shop shuts at 17:30.

You can buy lobster and crab from a local fisherman.

I rented a bike from Archie’s enterprises for £10 per day. He was helpful by dropping it at the apartment for me before I arrived and then collecting it from the ferry terminal when I left. If the weather co-operates, walking and cycling are the way to get around.

Kiloran Bay

Kiloran Bay

Even if the weather turns “Scottish” it’s no big deal. When I turned up for dinner at the hotel looking like I’d been through a hedge backwards and landed in a muddy puddle, no-one looked twice. This is not unusual.

Surf City

Surf City

If you need to buy presents or souvenirs to take home, there’s the beer, gin and honey produced on the island. I went for the honey. The bees feed on the machair and it is claimed to give the honey a special flavour. I haven’t tried my jar yet but I gave a jar to a friend and she reckons it’s great.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

The Calmac ferry back to the mainland (at Oban mostly, but a couple of sailings take you to Kennacraig) takes 2.5 hours. That’s plenty time for a leisurely lunch or dinner on board, and then a nap. The food is good too! The ferry journey cost £7.15 for a single.

Posted by IainT 14:20 Archived in Scotland Tagged scotland ferries island calmac islandlife colonsay Comments (0)

Colonsay

all seasons in one day 15 °C
View Colonsay on IainT's travel map.

Colonsay is one of the islands in the Southern Hebrides, located south of Mull and west of Jura. The population is about 100.

Island Life

Island Life

You have a choice of two ways to get there and back by public transport. Calmac offers a ferry service which is daily in the summer. The alternative is to fly with Hebridean Air from Oban.

Ready?

Ready?

I chose to mix and match for my trip to the island - I flew there and took the ferry back.

Hebridean Air operates from Oban Airport and flies to Colonsay on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It uses an 8 seat Islander.

http://www.hebrideanair.co.uk/flights/Air_Charter.html

Oban Airport is tiny. The usual formalities are ignored. My bag was weighed (10kg maximum) and the pilot gave as a safety briefing. That was it. No check in. No identification. No baggage tags. No boarding pass. No security checks.

The flight had one other paying passenger - the chef at the Colonsay Hotel - plus 2 fire crew from Colonsay who’d been on the mainland for training.

Tight Squeeze

Tight Squeeze

The flight bounces along at a pretty low level - it isn’t for the faint hearted. The views must be great on a good weather day. They weren’t the day of my flight. They almost cancelled the flight because of rain and low cloud - no fancy all weather systems here!

Low Level

Low Level

The service stops at Islay (35 minutes flying time) on the way, and then it’s another 15 minutes to Colonsay.

It cost me £35 one way (not business class, obviously) for a fabulous experience!

Highly recommended.

Posted by IainT 07:05 Archived in Scotland Tagged planes scotland ferries calmac islandlife colonsay Comments (0)

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