Colonsay

Very handily, the CalMac ferry to Colonsay from Oban makes it possible to travel to the island for a full weekend of paddling (or anything else) and this is enough time to leisurely explore the full coastline of both Colonsay and the neighbouring island of Oronsay, which are separated from one another at higher levels of tide.

Half a dozen of us arrived on a Friday evening and readied ourselves on the slipway in Scalasaig for a short paddle south to a suitable camp spot we had chosen and which we could get to with the limited remaining daylight. After setting up camp, we chatted for an hour or two before retiring to our tents for the night.

We had great weather pretty much of all of Saturday and after a relaxing start, we set off on our clockwise circumnavigation, enjoying views across to Jura and Islay at first. Interest in the coast of Colonsay then Oronsay improved with each kilometer and soon we were in a maze of idyllic channels at the southern end of Oronsay, taking pleasant minutes to paddle as many different nooks and crannies as possible. Passing through to the western side of Oronsay we could see the waters on the west were okay and not affected by swell or winds adversely which meant all was well for continuing.

Oronsay Priory was our next destination and we pulled up on the beach just south of it and walked up to the remains of the priory for a look. An interesting place but it would have been nice to have more info to hand, perhaps there are leaflets available if approaching from the land route but we only saw the limited signage within the priory itself. Lunch above the beach followed before we continued north along the west coast of Colonsay to a very nice raised beach area in a bay protected largely from the larger swell we were by now experiencing.

A pleasant few hours of daylight, sunrise and starry skies were enjoyed as we chatted the night away as a good number of shooting stars and passing satellites entertained us.

Sunday started grayer and at first was dry but a short shower saw us off the beach and we were off again, north, below cliffs teaming with bird-life and booming with breaking surf at their base. A lunch stop close to Kiloran Bay allowed a leg stretch and look at the local whale.

Rounding the corner at the northern tip, we entered breezier and choppier conditions (contrary to forecast) and though weakening these lasted till our arrival back at Scalasaig where we had time in hand for a bar meal and a pint at the hotel.

A really nice and unspoiled place to visit and somewhere I’d like to return to with more time on land next time. The ferry journey alone is a real experience with views of islands both close and far in the distance in all directions; Kerrera, Mull, Seil, Scarba, Jura, Islay, the Garvellachs and more.

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One Response to “Colonsay”

  1. What amazing pictures, I live on Colonsay but you’ve made me view it in a new light. I am just doing some shameless promotion for our book festival which runs next April if you or any of your readers are interested.

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