The Isle of Coll is one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. On a good day, Coll’s white sandy beaches could easily be mistaken for the Caribbean. This wee island in the Inner Hebrides has a fascinating history and is home to many rare species of flora and wildlife such as corncrake and basking shark as well as being the inspiration for the Katie Morag stories.
Wildlife on the Isle of Coll
Birds on Coll
The Isle of Coll is a haven for wildlife and much of the land surrounding Lonban Cottage and Tigh na Craig is managed by the RSPB. Coll and Tiree have become well known in the twitching fraternity because of the corncrake, a bird that has become all but extinct in the rest of the UK. You will also see lapwings, skylarks, curlews, stonechats, buzzards, kites, sea eagles, barnacle geese amongst others.
Sealife on Coll
In recent years, the waters around Coll have become a popular feeding ground for the mysterious basking shark. During the summer months, Basking Shark Scotland run boat trips from the Isle of Coll where you will have the opportunity to see these fantastic creatures. Keep a look out for seals, porpoises, dolphins and puffins while at sea.
Things to do on the Isle of Coll
Coll has a great deal to offer for all the family… Active kids can spend their days swimming, beach combing, surfing or sailing with the Coll Sailing Club. You can hire a kayak in Arinagour from Collactive and paddle out into the bay to look for seals and otters. In addition to the sea life and rare birds, the carpet of wild flowers and orchids will keep nature lovers occupied.
There is even plenty to see when it goes dark… Coll has been officially recognised as a Dark Skies Island by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). The clear dark skies combined with very little light pollution make Coll an ideal location for observing the galaxy… You might even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!
If you are on Coll during the warmer months, keep an eye out for posters in the village advertising the various summer events that take place. Each summer there are usually two fishing competitions, beach football, bingo, a Half Marathon, numerous ceilidhs and of course, the Coll Show. Visitors to Coll are actively encouraged to get involved in all of these events.
And if you just fancy getting away from it all, sitting on a beach and reading a book. You can do that too, chances are you’ll have the whole beach to yourself. Bliss.
Eating out on the Isle of Coll
The Coll Hotel
The award winning Coll Hotel has been run by the Oliphant family since the 1960s and has built up a solid reputation for serving up great food for all budgets. The success of their food is based on the abundance of quality local produce, whether it is from the sea or the land. Wherever possible they use fresh Coll vegetables, salad, herbs, meats, fish and shellfish. In addition to fine dining using the best of the island’s larder, the Coll Hotel also serves bar meals, light snacks, kid’s meals, brunch at the weekend, teas and coffees and even takeaways. There is also free wifi available.
> Visit the Coll Hotel website
The Island Cafe
The licensed Island Café’s menu is varied and wholesome. You can enjoy good old fashioned fry-ups, Sunday Roasts, pasta, soups, puddings and takeaways. All meals are home cooked and many use local meat. The ambience is warm and bright and overlooks the harbour of Arinagour. There is free WIFI, a sofa and freshly made coffee on demand!
Open all year round Thursday to Monday inclusive.
Open weekdays and Saturday from 11am – 2pm and 5pm – 9pm and Sunday from 12pm – 6pm.