So beer and yet so far – Isle of Colonsay
The last island I visited on my island tour this year was Colonsay. Before I actually arrived on the Isle of Colonsay, as a little treat to myself, I decided to stay at the up-market Colonsay Hotel for a little rest and recuperation. It can be difficult to to book B & B’s on Colonsay (there are only a few and they get booked up well in advance), so I booked myself a single room at the islands only Hotel for 3 nights.
The Ferry from Oban pulled into Scalasaig and I walked the quarter of a mile up a single track road to the Hotel. The Colonsay Hotel, a charming white-washed country house, was built in 1750 as an Inn for the islanders. It is the social hub of the island.
I checked myself into the Hotel and onto another treat that i spied within the Bar area. I ordered myself a pint of Colonsay IPA. This real ale is only available in draught form at the Colonsay Hotel. Nowhere else in the world has it on draught. Being a fan of the bottled version of the drink, I had been especially looking forward to trying my first pint. I enjoyed it so much I repeated this once every night!
I made my way up to my single room. The rooms were all called after parts of the island. The single room was called Port Lobh. The actual Port Lobh is located on the west coast of the island.
After an early rise and a hearty breakfast, I set off on my designated mode of transport. A mountain bike. This is perceived as the best way of getting around the island (if you don’t want to bring the car). My bike duly arrived and off I set, slowly staggering to both sides of the single track road, like a drunk riding a bike for the first time. I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 10 years, but once I had cycled a couple of miles, I was able to get the hang of it again!
I slowly (unless it was downhill) made my way to the north west of the island and over to Kiloran Bay. I approached the beach via a short track and left my bike at the sty, which I then climbed over. Kiloran Beach is one of the jewels of the Hebrides. It is a wide expanse of light orange sand that spreads out before you like a carpet. I took some photo’s (and video) and then cycled back up towards the hills above Scalasaig. Once I was there, I free-wheeled it back down to Scalasaig and rewarded myself with a cold drink from the Hotel.
The next day, I decided that I would like to go for a walk, rather than cycle. I headed off for the track that was behind the church across from the Hotel. This afforded great views of the Lord Colonsay Monument. This is named after a laird who did not clear any of his tenants during the Highland Clearances.
From here I made my way down to Queen’s Bay at the head of Loch Staosnaig. I stayed here for a while and enjoyed the views out to sea. I then made my way via a track to the tiny village of Milbuie and then I slowly walked back towards the main road near to the Hotel.
I walked down to the main village on the island, Scalasaig and had a look around the excellent Colonsay Bookshop and then went for a snack at The Pantry, where I had a delectable home-made cake. I took some photo’s around the village and then made my way back to the Hotel. I had had a lovely relaxing time on the island and thought that I deserved a second treat before my ferry the following morning. So, I treated myself to an extra pint of Colonsay IPA. Bliss.
I hope to see more of the island on my next visit and hopefully I will be able to visit the Priory at Oronsay and some of the other places that I did not have time to visit on this trip. Not that I need an excuse to go back …