A CLAMBER UP COLONSAY’S HIGHEST HILL (143m!)

This simple hike, short and straightforward begins at the field behind Kiloran beach where cars can park. We could have walked from our apartment at Colonsay House, but thankfully Chris agreed that we drive the mile to Kiloran saving us a minor bit of leg work to and from Carnan Eoin. I felt my legs had done enough with the 10km walk to and on Oronsay this morning.

A herd of cattle watched us as we emerged from the car and headed off down the sandy track which runs behind the dunes and machair of Kiloran. Ahead, Carnan Eoin looked very rocky and steep but I’d read of an easier route up at the back of the hill.

Start of the climb

15 mins later and we branched off the gravel track and up to an obvious col at the base of the hill, following a worn path up the grass and below some telephone poles.

Moving up to the base itself, sure enough, a path of sorts appeared and we began  climbing up the rocky ground on a broad grassy rake.

Getting higher
Nearly there

The path wound its way easily up through rock and heather at a pleasant angle and in 10 mins we were on the top at the huge cairn which is visible for miles around. A very short ascent!

An eagle’s eye view too from this Rocky Hill of the Birds, as it translates from the Gaelic. Perched on the sizeable summit with its Trig Point and fine views to Jura and Mull, the golden sands of Kiloran Bay looked very beautiful. I felt a great sense of satisfaction that we’d made the fairly minor effort to get up here and also that we had been so lucky with weather this trip. This, our single full day on the island, was sunny and with great light.

Jura

From here, we could also see the island’s Whale Sculpture, created by an artist who had outlined a whale using stones and which was now being filled in by islanders and visitors. It looked very impressive seen from on high.

Whale sculpture

After 10 mins of identifying other islands – Iona, Tiree, Dubh Artach lighthouse, Scarba – we headed down again and were soon striding over to the beach itself, over its idyllic sand and pounding surf.

Kiloran beach

Mull and Ben More
Heading down

I think the profile of Carnan Eoin makes Kiloran overall, adding a rugged quality to the scene and setting off the beach perfectly. To me, it’s Colonsay’s finest corner. There is another beach beyond Balnahard which I’d been keen to walk to, but with rain coming in tonight and lasting most of tomorrow, that plan was already scuppered. Some hail it as the island’s best beach but photos I’ve seen don’t suggest, to me, that it’s anything better than the countless, beautiful white sands that exist over this gorgeous archipelago known as The Hebrides – and most of them don’t require a 6 mile return walk! But who knows, maybe one day…

Kiloran Bay

Back to the apartment for a drink which we’d planned to enjoy on the Terrace again (available free to guests in the evening once the café is closed.) But the sky was already darkening with rain clouds and the cold wind had whipped up again. Indoors it had to be!  Spicy chicken for tea (the remains of the roast chicken stir fried with chilli and curry powder) and the remains of the tatties converted , with some raw onion and mayonnaise, into Potato Salad – all in all, a favourite,  easy peasy , quick dinner. We’d made a quick visit earlier to the local shop which advertises itself as The Best Wee Shop in the Hebrides and I must say, it was brilliantly stocked with herbs, local meat, fish (on a Thursday) and all sorts of exotic ingredients (preserved lemons in a jar etc) local potatoes, good chocolate…very impressive.

A lovely if very short time on an attractive small island(well, 2 islands to be precise.) Perhaps overall Colonsay had not quite captured my heart as other islands have but it is a beautiful destination, welcoming, well kept and quite well to do. Will we return? I’m not sure though that east coast beach which we failed to see, is niggling me still…

Previously – A HALF DAY ON ORONSAY and COLONSAY AND ORONSAY:TWO TINY HEBRIDEAN GEMS

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