With its beaches of silver sand and miles of unspoiled moorland, you’d be forgiven for thinking Colonsay was part of the remote Outer Hebrides archipelago.
This island, however, lies much closer to the mainland, only two hours from Oban by ferry. Between Islay and Mull, and measuring just 10 miles by two, Colonsay entrances a steady stream of holiday-makers while maintaining its secluded charm. The highest point, Carnan Eoin, measures just 469ft.
Relatively sheltered from the Atlantic storms, the island is host to a remarkably diverse array of flora and fauna. Wild goats roam the craggy hills to the west, while one of the finest rhododendron collections in Scotland can be found at Colonsay House.
Kiloran Bay is the island’s best beach, with miles of silver sand and exceptional views.
The resident population currently stands at around 135, but the island has been inhabited for thousands of years. In 1995 a Mesolithic midden pit of hundreds of thousands of burned hazelnut shells was found, and carbon-dated to 6,000 BC.
Boasting a microbrewery, bookshop, and numerous holiday cottages as well as stunning scenery, Colonsay is an essential entry on anyone’s island bucket list.
Gaelic name: Colbhasa
Norse name: Colonsey, Old Norse for Columba’s isle
Location: OS grid reference NR382938
Area: 15.75 square miles
Highest elevation: 143m
Factfile: The ancestral home of Clan Macfie and the Colonsay branch of Clan MacNeil, Colonsay lies in the Inner Hebrides north or Islay and south of Mull.
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