Phone code: +44 (0)1951
Colonsay is the epitome of the island haven: remote, tranquil and undemanding. It has abundant wildlife (150 species of resident or migrant birds), beautiful plants and flowers (over 500 species) and glorious beaches. All this has become accessible to daytrippers, with a ferry round trip (see below), leaving you six hours ashore. This does scant justice to the island's peculiar charms, however, and judging by the ever-growing number of holiday homes and self-catering accommodation on Colonsay, it's a view shared by many.
The island is rich in archaeological & historical remains.
Colonsay's population lives in the three small villages, the largest of which is Scalasaig, the ferry port. The island's only hotel is here and there's also a restaurant, a post office/shop, a petrol pump and a heritage centre by the pier. A few miles north of the ferry, in the middle of the island, is Colonsay House, dating from 1772. The house was sold, along with the rest of the island, in 1904 to Lord Strathcona, who had made his fortune in Canada with the Hudson Bay Company and went on to found the Canadian Pacific Railway. The house is not open to the public but the lovely gardens and woods, full of rhododendrons, giant palms and exotic shrubs, are worth a stroll. The estate cottages are now self-catering holiday homes.
There are several standing stones, the best of which are Fingal's Limpet Hammers, at Kilchattan, southwest of Colonsay House. There are also Iron Age forts, such as Dun Eibhinn, next to the hotel in Scalasaig (see below). Colonsay is also home to a wide variety of wildlife. You can see choughs, one of Britain's rarest birds, as well as corncrakes, buzzards, falcons, merlins and perhaps even the odd golden eagle or sea eagle. There are also otters, seals and wild goats (said to be descended from the survivors of the Spanish Armada ships wrecked in 1588).
The jewel in the island's crown, though, lies six miles north of Scalasaig, past Colonsay House, at Kiloran Bay. The beach here is described as the finest in the Hebrides, and who could argue. The magnificent half mile of golden sands, backed by tiers of grassy dunes, with massive breakers rolling in off the Atlantic, is worth the two-hour ferry crossing alone.
The visitor guide on Colonsay in Inner Herbides will give you information on and around the place which includes getting to Colonsay, sleeping and eating, hotels and accommodation in Colonsay.