May 3, 2024

Last Day on Colonsay

The last day spent on Colonsay – we took an early  morning hike in the direction of Dun Eibhinn, reportedly the ancestral home of Somerled. It was mostly up hill and we seemed to run out of a clear path to reach it but got some spectacular views of the hill where the fort supposedly was laid out.  The mound upon which the dwellings sat is distinctive in that it appears as a flat top rectangle high up toward the top of the hill. While everything around it was brown at this time of year, Dun Eibhinn was green. Definitely getting a workout walking up and down these hills!  After Dun Eibhinn we went to the local cafe  to visit with Jen MacNeill, the young hostess who had agreed to let me photograph her. After that we headed out for another trek, this time back down to the strand leading to Oronsay. There was another bay we wanted to check out that was off to the west. Yet another long and hilly walk greeted us as we made our way to Traigh nam Barc where they uncovered the ruins of Viking Ships which are now covered up.  Although there was a dirt – rocky – road leading to the bay the terrain was such that you had to watch your footing. We passed through a large  sheep farm -surprise! – which apparently has been undergoing an expansion as there was much new fencing being installed.  After the two walks – a bit over 4 miles for the day – we settled in at the Colonsay Cafe near the ferry terminal. We had met Jen MacNeill, hostess in the cafe, the day before and found her to be a delightful islander. She was born and raised on Colonsay and told us about going to high school on the mainland and flying back to Colonsay on weekends! We also met Andrew Abrams the local “honey man” who keeps bees all over the island and also maintains oyster farms – delicious oysters to be sure!

Colonsay is a hidden gem – most people visit in order to cross over to Oronsay, which had been our main focus only to be thwarted by the high tides.  However, we then went into exploration mode and found much connected to the Lords of the Isles, not to mention the beauty of the island and the friendliness of the people.  This hidden gem is a biker and hikers treasure as well – and you simply can’t get lost! Another visit is certainly in order in the future.