" 4. A Scottish Adventure ~ The Island of Coll ~ "

Date & Time: Monday 14th - Wednesday 16th May 2012.

Locations : The Island of Coll, part of the Scottish Inner Hebrides group of islands.

Places visited : Arinagour, Sorisdale, Cornaigbeg, Ben Hogh.

Accommodation : The Dunara Self Catering Cottage, Arinagour, Coll.

With : Ann and myself plus the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Changeable . . . frequently . . . but generally fine and sunny.




After our one day delay due to stormy weather the CalMac boat arrived

to take us on the next step of our adventure this time to the Island of Coll.

We boarded the boat for an hour long cruise up the coast of Tiree, across the short sound of Gunna

and then past half of the southern coast of Coll to reach Loch Ethearna and the Arinagour Terminal.

The Lord of the Isles at Scarinish on Tiree.

Down amongst the big boys !

We were the only car planning to disembark at Coll so we had pride of place next to the ramp.

A "house by the shore", possibly the remote home at Hyne

in the bay known as Port na h-Eathar.

A view back after we disembarked.

The Dutchman's Cap island (seen in front of the boat) is part of the Treshnish group

and the distant land beyond the apparent horizon belongs to Mull.

Sailing for Oban  but heading out towards Lunga to start to clear the shallow water.

The sailing cruiser was on the way in to pick up one of the blue mooring buoys set out for visitors to the harbour.

With the relatively new ferry terminal, this became the "middle pier" and is the working jetty for the local boats.

The oldest pier is nearest the village and will be the one our cottage looks out onto . . . rather nice to say the least.

From the same spot, our home for the week was the old Joiner's house and workshop now known as Dunara.

Its name comes from one of the famous local ships, the Dunara Castle, captained by Donald MacFarlane of Coll.

Arinagour is the main and only village on Coll

and the main street lines the water's edge

of the short Loch Ethearna.



All the houses used to be tied cottages

but were sold many years ago and are

beautifully maintained by their owners.



Across the front of Dunara the old fishing buoys

have been painted too, and make a fine display.

The back of the house and a lovely enclosed garden for Harry and Bethan

Inside views of the bedroom . . .
. . . which looked out over the harbour.

On the window sill this delightful artwork.

We could practice our bird identification indoors . . . a ringed plover ? . . . but my guess may be a bit wooden !

More indoor bird identification (Mallard)

The central lounge with a fire and TV

Hold your cursor over the picture to have a second go at bird identification.

- - - o o o - - -

Having settled in we spent the next few days exploring the island.

The small hamlet at Sorisdale.

First stop was the north-eastern end of the island,

affectionately known as the East End

because the only significant road on the island heads that way.


At the last gate on the track we were offered two ways to the headland.

Decisions, decisions . . . this was supposed to be a holiday !

Acairseid Mor and the rocks that make up the Cairns of Coll.

This was the final headland and reef off the top of Coll and the views today were really good.

So good that we just had to sit and enjoy them top the full.

Across the sound . . . the tall lighthouse on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula.

The local boat crossed back and fore, busy checking his pots presumably.

The ever-present and easily recognised Treshnish island of  "Bac Mor or the Dutchman's Cap".

The old crofts back down to the beach.

Many were abandoned at the time of the clearances and subsequent depression in the 1930's.

We walk out onto the machair grass on the headland.

Unfortunately the cold winter has delayed the flowers from blooming on the dunes and meadows.

A wider view of Sorisdale Bay

which has provided a sheltered harbour from many a storm.

Walking back across the white sands to the houses and the car.

The northern coast of Coll is characterised by rocky bays and white sands.

This one and the one below are found near Cornaigbeg and Cornaigmore.

The southern (opposite) coast of this top end is much more rocky with fewer beaches and no road,

so it is very remote and rarely visited..

The island boast one dual carriageway on their road network . . . this is the start of it . . .

. . . and this is the end, just fifty yards further on.

Near Torastan we venture down to the beach again.

The high ground is A Chroic, all of 43m above sea level.

This is Scotland . . . so this must be the "Mollusc of the Glen" !

More lovely pink thrift seemingly growing out of the rock.

A bright Turnstone stays long enough for one photo . . .
. . . but not two.

While walking to the beach we disturbed a small flock of Graylag Geese

who took to the air with a mighty flapping of wings.

They circled overhead . . .

. . . and closed in for the attack . . . watch out you two  !

Not only thrift grows on the rocks.

Most likely a Common Gull's eggs . . . but bird books don't have egg pictures anymore.

Best not to stay too long close to the nest.

Adult male Reed Bunting is my guess.

[ distinctive black head, white nape of neck, rich brown body streaked with white and white outer tail feathers ]

Quite a selection of houses . . . with a lot of new money entering the island to build some of them.

A more modest structure overlooks Grishipoll Bay.

These two old thatched houses were high on the hill

and presumably now holiday homes rather than agricultural crofts.

Just beyond Grishipoll about half way down the northern coast is Ben Hogh.

As the highest point of the island, it commands the dizzy height of 106 metres, 344 feet above mean water ordinary tides.

In front of it is (presumably) Loch Hogh which we need to walk part way round to start our climb.

Looking north west to the approaching weather.  There are several patches of sun but a big one of rain there too !

Down below us, at the end of the tarmac road is the headquarters and training Centre of The Project Trust

an organisation that arranges gap-year placements for youngsters wishing to do voluntary and social work overseas.

Ben Hogh is famous for a perched erratic boulder on its summit.

Ann shelters behind it and puts a coat on as the rain arrives at the summit.

The trig point on Ben Hogh . . . shame about the lack of long distance views.

As if to apologise for the bad weather, a rainbow forms over the hill as we return to the car.

Perhaps we could return on a more settled day.

That brisk and squally wind gives a fine set of waves on the adjacent beach.

- - - o o o - - -

Back to the cottage to enjoy a meal in, self-catering tonight.

Cheers !

Evening sun on Arinagour old pier at the end of the day.


- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon G10 or 1100D Digital SLR.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . . a nice place to stay and rest a while.

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