Monday, 14 October 2013

Beach Therapy on the Isle of Coll

Guest Blogger: George McConnachie, Coll Bunkhouse
Ten people on a beach might not sound like a lot but on the Isle of Coll it would definitely be considered ‘mobbed’. Why ten, you might ask? Well, with 23 beautiful beaches to a population of around 220 residents, that works out as….actually, you don’t need me to answer that one!

The truth is, when you leave the village of Arinagour you can pick virtually any spot along the coast of Coll and more than likely you’ll have it all to yourself. From sheltered coves to broad sweeping sands, this little Hebridean island has a multitude of beauty spots, belying it’s low profile. For me personally, it means that I can offer lots of options when our bunkhouse guests ask for recommendations for where they might roam. Most weekends I try to explore a different part of Coll. It might sound strange for an island that’s only 13 miles long and 3 miles wide but every trip brings something different. Whether it be the changing tides, the arrival of migrating birds or basking sharks spotted from the shore, no two views are ever the same.

Visitors will often ask, what’s my favourite beach? That’s easy. It’s Cliad for the seals. It’s Hogh Bay for the crashing of the waves. It’s North Shore for the seclusion. It’s Feall for beauty. It’s wee Toraston for the beach football in the summer. I could go on!

Perhaps the best thing about the beaches on Coll is that you have to seek them out for yourself. You can drive every road on the island and you’ll only see half a dozen from the car. Park, walk, explore. Is there anything better than meandering along a lonely path, then turning the final bend to see a stretch of golden sand, empty except for your own footprints?

George McConnachie manages the Isle of Coll’s new hostel, Coll Bunkhouse, and the new community centre next door, An Cridhe. Both buildings are purpose-built and community-owned and provide excellent facilities for visitors and local residents.

George says “Coll is definitely one of the lesser-known of the Hebridean islands and that’s absolutely fine with the people that live here. Whilst we recognise that tourism is important for the local economy, we’re also very conscious of what it is that makes this island so special. The isolation, unspoilt nature and raw beauty combine to make it a genuine escape from mainland living and something that we’re keen to preserve”.


  1. Lovely write up and a superb Island. I was moved to poetry on our visit!

  2. Hi Mark - thanks for your comment and the link to your blog - loved the poetry!