Farewell to Colonsay
After the stop-start to our visit to the inner Hebridean island of Colonsay, we arrived on Friday evening and found the lodge that was to be home for the next three days, at the top of the hill near the ferry in Scalasaig. To be honest, nothing is too far from the port hamlet of Scalasaig, given that the island is about ten miles long by two wide! Once we had brought our essentials into the lodge, including our own bedding, which we had been asked to provide due to Covid restrictions, we ventured out to the hotel bar, which was adjacent to our accommodation and enjoyed a few beers, a luxury not available since the tail end of last year! Another Covid restriction.
On Saturday, we rose early to enjoy a lovely bright day and were soon out on the bikes to cycle around the island, a trip of just over 9 miles! However, en route, we took a detour to take in the beautiful beach at Kiloran Bay and then concluded the trip by cycling on the Strand between Colonsay and Oronsay as the tide was out! After our exertions, we relaxed back at the lodge, enjoying the late afternoon sun, before getting ready for dinner, which we had booked in the hotel. Nadia chose the rib-eye steak, which was excellent, and I chose the seafood platter. This choice turned out to be a feast and included pate, mussels, crab claws, langoustine and a couple of oysters, fantastic! The hotel staff were amiable and attentive, and we were assured of a delightful evening.
Unfortunately, Sunday began with heavy rain and wild winds; however, undaunted, we dressed appropriately and headed out for a walk up to the monument erected to Lord Colonsay high above the harbour. By the time we got to it, the wind was so strong that we were struggling to stand up against it. It was undoubtedly bracing, and with the rain being driven into us, it was an exhilarating experience! As the day drew on, the weather abated, the clouds cleared, and we enjoyed a beautiful sunny end to the day. This turn of events enabled us to get out on the bikes again and do the round island loop "in reverse."
As Monday was our last day, we were up early and were cleared out of the lodge by 10:00 as requested. We then drove up to Kiloran Bay and enjoyed a coffee while looking at the scenery. There then followed a walk along the beach, culminating in reaching the whale bones at the far end of the sands. Unfortunately, the rain started, and we had to endure being weather battered on the return walk to Iona, hay ho, a typical Scottish summer! Once back in the van and connected to WiFi again, we received notification from Cal-Mac that our ferry, due later in the day, had been cancelled! Ah well, at least we had our own accommodation parked up outside the hotel, so staying another night was of little consequence.
We had booked a late lunch in The Pantry down by the harbour, and we sat down at 15:00 to enjoy some giant prawn scampi and a plate of crab meat, all washed down with a lovely bottle of New Zealand Marlborough! Then, in the early evening, we walked back to Iona and settled in for the night as the wind howled around outside. It was great to be tucked up in bed after another adventurous day.
Kiloran Beach and a brewing storm
We rose this morning, packed up and headed the three minutes down to the harbour where we joined the ferry queue. Unfortunately, we did not have sufficient time to visit the Heritage Centre, which Nadia had hoped to do. Apparently, they have the old telephone exchange machinery that she recalled from childhood visits to the island. As a youngster, she and her family holidayed on Colonsay, and Nadia slept in the same room where Flora McNeil operated the island’s telephone exchange from her cottage! The crossing was calm and smooth, and by early afternoon we were back on the mainland and ready to travel on to our next destination.....