Suggested Itinerary & Packing Tips


Before you travel:

Did you know that you can place your order for food, newspapers and fresh fish with Colonsay Stores before you reach Colonsay? Your delivery can be waiting for you in your cottage before you arrive - check out their website here to see a list of what they can provide and to make an order. Colonsay Shop Website click here

Saturday: arrive by CalMac ferry to the harbour.

The Mill is about a 20-minute drive away, anti-clockwise on Colonsay's only road. Directions from the ferry to the Old Mill are included on the Getting here page (with a local map) on this site. Please note that you should turn immediately right after the ferry terminal - don't go straight up to the Hotel unless you fancy a pint on the way.

Current summer schedule has the ferry arriving at 19:00 hours. You could eat on the ferry. pop to the Mill to drop your stuff and return to the Millenium Village Hall in Scalasaig (which you will see just to the left of the shop) for the Saturday night Ceilidh! See community website for details colonsay.org.

Sunday: leisurely breakfast around the Mill's large kitchen table - or around the Mill Stone outdoors depending upon the weather.

A short drive (or 30 minute walk) to the breathtaking Kiloran Bay. Marvel at the white sands - often voted one of the World's most beautiful beaches. Pack towels, buckets and spades and body boards and spend a fab day there.

Monday:

How about a game of golf on the Links golfcourse at Machrins (west side of island, by the Airstrip)? OK slightly more rabbit holes than golf holes but you won't fail to be impressed by the scenery and the sea. If golf isn't your thing then explore the area and climb up to the Old RAF beacon (the first light that the American planes would see in WWII as they flew over to Scotland), or cross the golf course and climb up the old Viking stronghold and promontary fort of Dùn Galláin.

From Machrins it is also a lovely, breath-taking and bracing walk around to the long stretch of stoney beach at Ardskeinish where you can spot seals basking in the sun on the rocky shelf out at sea.

Tuesday:

The tides need to be checked very carefully - and ask a local if you are not sure, but one day can be spent admirably on Oransay. You can walk across the Strand (south point of Colonsay - the road stops at 'The Road End' down at Garvard - you can't miss it. And you can walk over to see the Priory on the little isle that joins us every low tide. Oransay is farmed and managed by the RSPB. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.

Tuesday evening is Film night for kids at the Colonsay hotel from 6pm. Enjoy a bit of peace over a meal in the restaurant while the wee ones watch a DVD in the library. Call the Colonsay hotel to make your reservation on 01951 200316.

Wednesday:

Colonsay House Gardens are open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays. As is the Garden's Teashop. Don't miss the ancient Celtic stone carving down at the well, nor the Fresnel Lighthouse glass in the eponymously named garden. Meander through the mass of woodland paths that used to be tended over 100 years ago by 12 gardeners. Tender and subtropical species abound. May is the perfect month to see the splendour of the rhododendrons in flower.

Thursday: Scramble up to MacNeil's Folly, the monument which stands proud upon the hill above the harbour.

Have your tea in the Pantry (just above the Harbour, first turning on your left as you drive up from pier)? Or at least buy an icecream and some cakes there. The Pantry's website click here

Quiz night in the Colonsay hotel from 9pm.

Friday:

Rent bikes from Archie and explore the island - Call 01951 200355 or TEXT Archie 07833 900869 or Jan 075254 24907 and have your bikes delivered to your door. Hire a bike from Archie and Jan here

See the standing stones in Kilchattan, visit the island bookshop and Colonsay Brewery. Spend a while in the Heritage Centre. Set the bikes aside at the top of 'Spion Kop' and scramble down past the dump to the old abandoned village of Riasg Buidhe which looks out to sea across to Jura and down to Islay.

Want to get a 360° impression of your surroundings? Walk up to Beinn nan Gudairean for an excellent viewpoint from the middle of the island where there is panoramic map in bronze (walk up either from the old road behind the hotel or from the little loch just above Loch Fadda). Or climb up Carnan Eoin between Kiloran Bay and the spectacular beaches to be found a good walk up to the north end of the island to the remote Balnahard. A long walk but worth the effort for the sheer beauty of the place and the views to Mull and the mainland.

Tea again at Colonsay House Gardens?

Saturday:

Please kindly vacate the house by 10:30am so that we can get in to clean and prepare for our next guests. There is plenty to do on the island as you will now know, until the ferry arrives.

 

PACKING TIPS

There are both a shop on Colonsay and a Doctor but it is highly recommended that you bring all essential food and medicines with you from the mainland.

Don't forget that Colonsay can experience many fluctuations in weather (even within the hour) as we are a tiny island off the west coast of Scotland.

Therefore don't forget to pack:

  • Beach Towels - please don't take the towels we provide to the beach!
  • Sturdy walking shoes/boots
  • Sand shoes
  • Swimming costume.
  • Waterproof coats
  • Hats/scarves to keep sun/wind/rain/midges off your head
  • Midge repellent and anti-histamine cream.
  • Sun cream.
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Mobile phone (there is WiFi in the Old Mill but no landline)
  • Books, magazines, newspapers (the Old Mill also has lots and lots of books in its library)
  • Essential toilletries and medications.
  • Wet suits - especially for kids
  • Body boards - fantastic fun at Kiloran Bay
  • Buckets and spades (also available in the shop).
  • Golf clubs?
  • Canoes/kayaks/dinghies for all you boating enthusiasts - plenty of room to park at Mill
  • Life jackets.
  • Fishing Rods
  • Backpacks
  • First aid kit.
  • Pens and pencils
  • Maps of Colonsay - there are some in the Mill too but please do leave them for our next guests.
  • Special kit for kids: plastic tableware, drinkers, bottles, booster seats, travel cots.

The Mill is stocked with loo rolls, washing up liquid, and a tea cloth and cleaning cloth. There may be washing powder left by previous guests but if not you can get it at island shop.

For the Kitchen (we usually do a large shop in Tesco in Oban before we catch the ferry (in theory you can use their Click-and-collect service to preorder at Oban but please do check out first - Oban Tescos for click and collect groceries) But Colonsay Shop stocks most things too - check out their website or ring ahead. It's perhaps better value to do a big shop in Tescos but it is also very important to support local Colonsay businesses so do pick up all your extras regularly down there)

  • All seasonings and condiments - such as salt, pepper, cooking oil, ketchup, mayonaise
  • Disposable BBQ (also available in the Colonsay Shop)
  • Tea, coffee
  • Canned food.
  • Milk, butter and other dairy stuff
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Fruit
  • Veg
  • Meat
  • Fish (also available to order from shop - lobsters, crabs, mussels and oysters can be ordered from the island)
  • Kids food and drinks
  • Snacks for picnics/walks
  • Beer, wine, liquors and mixers. Sparkling water.

etc etc You get the picture....