At around 13 miles long and 3 miles wide the Isle of Coll is a great size for getting out and about – big enough to find your own peace and quiet but small enough so that you don’t get lost! With a local population of just over 200 people, don’t be surprised if you choose a beach for the day and find that you have it all to yourself.

Getting to Coll

Despite its remote setting, Coll is relatively well connected with daily ferries during the summer months, operated by Calmac – the journey takes just under three hours from Oban. There are also regular flights (up to four times a week) with Hebridean Air from Oban to Coll airport and the trip lasts around 30 minutes.If you’re coming to Coll then first of all you will need to get to Oban. Trains from Edinburgh and Glasgow are operated by Scotrail, whilst Citylink provide a bus service throughout Scotland. There are spaces on the train to bring your bicycle, but make sure that you book a space for your bike in advance. You can also drive to Oban and leave your car in one of the free car parks if you want to save costs on the ferry crossing.

Things to do

Island Tours are available on a Tuesday at 10am and a Friday at 10.30am with a local guide. Tours last two hours and visit the scenic beauty spots on Coll in a 4 x 4 Toyota Celica and cost £15. Booking is advisable by phoning 01879 230520.

Bike Tours are available on a Tuesday and Thursday at 1pm with a local guide. Tours last approximately three hours and cost £10. To book, contact Carol on 01879 230436. Bikes can be hired from the Post Office. Further information is available here: Bike Tours of Coll.

Sharks and Wildlife Boat Trips take place on a Thursday with Basking Shark Scotland and last two and a half hours. Full information is available on their website

Island Facilities

Arinagour is the main settlement on Coll and you will find most of the local services here, including the ferry terminal, post office, petrol station, shops and accommodation.

The medical centre, school, fire station and church are also located in and around Arinagour and the village is generally at its busiest just after the ferry arrives from the mainland.

Outside of the village, you’ll find the airport around 4 miles to the southwest, between Uig and Arileod. Nearby is the RSPB bird reserve and information centre at Totronald. Situated around 3 miles west of Arinagour, Ballyhaugh is the home to Project Trust, the single biggest employer on the island with over 40 years of operations.

More detailed information about the facilities and amenities on Coll is provided at www.visitcoll.co.uk.

Accommodation

Coll Bunkhouse is situated right next door to An Cridhe and provides excellent hostel accommodation with modern facilities.

Also in the village and within easy walking distance are the Coll Hotel, Tigh na Mara Guest House and several self catering accommodation providers.  The Garden House provides camping facilities towards the west end of the island.

Further information and links to accommodation providers on Coll can be accessed via www.visitcoll.co.uk

Wildlife

Marine Wildlife:

In the summer time, basking sharks are regularly spotted in the bay close to the bunkhouse whilst otters and seals can be seen all year round.  Whales, dolphins and porpoise are also sighted in the waters around the island.

Bird Life:

There is a wide variety of breeding species on Coll and there’s a good chance of seeing meadow pipits, twite, skylarks and stonechats amongst others.  Coll is also home to approximately 10% of the UK population of corncrakes in the summer.  In winter time huge flocks of barnacle geese, greylag geese and white-fronted geese inhabit the island.

On the ferry over from the mainland it’s possible to see petrels, gannets, manx shearwaters, auks and a range of other seabirds.

Flora:

Coll is famous for it’s gorgeous carpets of summer flowers as a result of it’s unique grassland landscape known as machair. There is over 300 different species of wildflower on this small island.

One of the specialities is the pyramidal orchid with its distinctive pyramid-shaped flower head.  The bloody cranesbill is widespread too, also characterised by it’s deep magenta blossoms, a common colour right across the machair.