Friday, November 10, 2006

Isle of Colonsay - April 2005

Danny and I spent a week on Colonsay to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. We chose it because it's quiet, has a beautiful landscape, nice beaches, good hill walking and because it's an island neither of us had visited.

We rented a self-catering traditional stone cottage which had unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean. This cottage was rented through Colonsay House Estate. Colonsay Community Website.

Day 1: Hillwalking near our cottage and the golf course. Drizzle but not enough to require rain trousers.

Day 2 & 3: Rain and wind. Power went out midday the second day. Open coal-burning fireplace in the living room was useful for heating water for tea and cooking (our anniversary) dinner. The ferry was cancelled so someone had to be flown in by helicopter the next day to fix the power. It was back on after 24 hours. We took a bike ride completely around the island ('s not very big) in the rain in full rain gear.

Day 4: We had booked a day boat trip on the
Lady Jayne to Jura, however, everyone else had cancelled so that trip was cancelled. So the captain, Kevin Byrne, changed his plans to pick up someone from the Isle of Mull. So we went with him to Mull instead. Beautiful sunny day and a lovely trip.

Day 5: A very long day! We hiked to Balnahard Bay from Kiloran Bay via Balnahard Farm.
Following a walking guide we purchased from the island book shop we took a different route back. We climbed the hills to the south of the bay to follow the coastline, then went inland. This proved to be a big mistake! There were many bogs to traverse, heather to walk through and steep hills to come down. There were also new barbed wire fences to climb over which proved a huge challenge. We recommend this route is NOT followed. The owner of the bookshop mentioned to us later that there is a deep pit in the area we were walking through that is impossible to see until you fall down it.....! However, we did thoroughly enjoy the walk to the beach and our long lunch on the beach. The sand and the colour of the sea there is gorgeous!

Day 6: Oronsay Island. We crossed the long strand which connects Colonsay and Oransay at low
tide. Oransay has the ruins of a 14th century Augustinian Priory. There is a building on the site with many well-preserved burial slabs. Well worth the walk but make sure you get back before high tide or you are stuck!

Day 7: Last day and the 4th sunny day in a row. We packed up and had to leave our cottage by 1.30 in order for it to be cleaned for the next tenants. The ferry only leaves in the evening so we had until 7.35pm to explore what we hadn't yet seen. Colonsay House Gardens are open to the public from 3-5 on Fridays and are quite beautiful. We also spent quite a bit of time on Kiloran Beach and walking around the surrounding area.


Fran said...


What was it like making the trip over to Oronsay? Did you walk or take a car? If you drove, did you have any special type of vehicle?

Just wondering because we hesitated to make the trip earlier this month as we had only one day to explore and didn't think it would fit in. Also, we weren't sure our car would traverse the strand.

Annie said...

I walked over and my husband, against advice from an islander, rode his bicycle over. We were told the salt in the chain would cause a problem but he washed it well when we got back. We saw the postie truck and a jeep going over and they didn't seem to have any trouble. If you have a 4WD I'd suggest you drive because it gives you a lot more time on Oronsay. Our stay was much too short due to having to get back before the tide came in.