Colonsay

Finally, last assignment for this module of the jolly old Open University course completed and uploaded – phew! Now, back to the blog and time to catch up with some of the events of the last few weeks…

Last month I went to Colonsay, a small island to the north of Islay. During the summer you can get there via the CalMac ferry going to Oban, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The ferry arrives around lunchtime and returns en route to Islay at about 19.00, so you can have a good afternoon looking round even without staying overnight.

I have to say, I was very impressed with Colonsay. It is quite small but there are lots of places to visit and the scenery is beautiful. The community seems to be very cohesive and well organised – a chap meets the cars coming off the ferry and hands out a batch of leaflets and booklets containing information about the island and details of what’s going on.

Here are a few of the things I saw:

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A fuchsia hedge outside the Colonsay Hotel. This reminded me of the hedgerows in Ireland.

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Kiloran Bay. Stunning.

If the timings with the tide are right, you can walk across the strand to Colonsay’s even smaller neighbour Oronsay, at the south of the island. Tide times are displayed in the foyer of the Colonsay Hotel and also, I believe, at the CalMac office at Scalasaig (where the ferry arrives).

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You need to take your shoes and socks off unless you’ve got wellies or waders…

Oronsay is privately-owned and managed by the RSPB. Only a handful of people live there; the main feature of the island (besides the bird life and the wonderful views) is the Priory. Once you have crossed the strand, there is a walk of about half-an-hour on a good quality track to reach the Priory.

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The current incarnation of the Priory was founded in the fourteenth century by Augustinian monks; the buildings are surprisingly extensive and in good condition. There is a roofed Prior’s House containing information and exhibits, and some impressive cloisters…

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Who are those strange people who keep appearing in my photos?! A lady in shorts in Scotland…

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Amazing weathering on the walls…

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Well worth a visit – a really peaceful and beautiful place.

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Heading back towards the strand to return to Colonsay…

I hope to visit Colonsay again and stay for a few nights – this time with a decent camera instead of just my phone! As it is a smallish island, exploring on foot seems like a good idea and there are plenty more places yet to visit. Unfortunately the ferries don’t run from Islay during the winter I don’t think, so this will be a trip to plan for next summer… :0)

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