Ask an Islander
We asked locals in Colonsay & Oronsay to tell us why their island is special. Here’s what they said:
Colonsay is known affectionately as the ‘Jewel of the Hebrides’ and boasts sandy beaches and a 200-year-old golf course, whilst its tidal-island neighbour, Oronsay, is home to a beautifully preserved 14th-century priory.
Colonsay is famed for its sandy bays, stunning natural scenery, a huge diversity of flora and fauna and fascinating archaeological sites. Neighbouring Oronsay sits half a mile to the south. Visitors can walk across from Colonsay at low tide to visit the beautifully preserved and fascinating 14th-century Oronsay Priory. Oronsay Priory is incredibly well preserved and houses a nationally significant collection of carved medieval gravestones.
The wide, golden sweep of the iconic Kiloran Bay has inspired many an artist and beachcomber.
The Palladian style of Colonsay House is widely celebrated, as is the stunning variety of rhododendrons in its gardens.
If you want to delve a little deeper into the history of the islands, The Colonsay and Oronsay Heritage Trust has a fascinating free exhibition on island life – you’ll find it in the old Baptist Church in Upper Kilchattan.
Forget Munro-bagging – try MacPhie-bagging instead. Defined as any hill over 300ft, there are 21 of them on Colonsay and one on Oronsay. If you’re fit, they can all be bagged in a day!
If golf is your thing, then the 18-hole classic machair golf course at Machrins Bay is for you – this incredible course is reputedly over 200 years old!
Gaelic / Gàidhlig
The Gaelic name for Colonsay is Cholbhasa and Oransay is Orasa.
Want to say ‘good morning’ to someone in Gaelic? That’s ‘madainn mhath‘!
CalMac Ferries operate regular sailings between Oban on the mainland and Colonsay. Occasional sailings are also available from Kennacraig on the mainland to Colonsay, via Islay.
Hebridean Air operates scheduled flights between Oban on the mainland and Colonsay. Some flights go via Islay.
Oronsay is accessible from Colonsay on foot at low tide. Please check tide times locally before crossing.
Want to find out more about Colonsay and Oronsay and explore more of our amazing islands?
Download the free Scottish Islands Passport app to:
- discover your perfect island match,
- find out about the experiences each island has to offer,
- collect passport stamps for the islands you visit,
- find information on accommodation, travel and island amenities.