The Scottish Inner Hebrides are somewhere not a lot of people have ventured to. Especially those around me now, the London lot. I however, have been visiting one specific island since I was a little girl. And that is the Isle of Coll.
It holds so many memories for me. My mum and dad were married there while two year old me sobbed the entire way through causing my brothers girlfriend at the time to miss the wedding. My Godparents lived there for years and when I was 12 years old I headed with my BFFs, their parents and my parents. Even the charity that I went to Uganda with is based there making it one of the last places I visited before I left Scotland for a year.
And ever since Greg and I got together, I have vowed to take him there. It is one of my favourite places in the entire world after all. So after a lot of planning from the adults (yes my best friend and I still call our parents the adults despite us both being in our 20s), we were heading up to meet them.
Getting to Coll is no mean feat let me tell you. First Greg and I had to get the train from London to Edinburgh where my BFF lives. Then the three of us drove up to Oban, a short three hour drive following the four and a half hour train ride. It was fine, I made a playlist and performed every single song for them.
From Oban, you need to get a boat. The ticket is £20 return for the boat. Just FYI if you are going by foot, you buy it just before you get on. You can also get to Oban from Glasgow on a train ride which has bloody beautiful scenery. I know this because we got the train back after the holiday.
We arrived on Coll just as the sun was setting. We were all slightly intoxicated from enjoying a fair few bottles of Budweiser on the way over, but it just made it all the more magical. Now we were lucky enough to have my parents “midlife crisis” (campervan) with us so we all bundled in, but you would need to have a bike or be willing to walk which to be honest is really not that bad. It is not a long journey into the “town”.
I say “town”, because there is one shop that stocks the bare minimum, a cafe that is only open at certain times and the hotel/pub. The hotel, while not the cheapest, is wonderful. The atmosphere is great, the people are great and the food is always amazing. I don’t know about you, but I do enjoy going out for at least one meal on a holiday and since this is the only place you can go, you have to.
That is something I should definitely note actually – take your food with you. There is a huge Tesco in Oban but stock up for the week. Take extras because you will need them too.
Of course, as a picnic fanatic, this is the week of picnics. I cannot recomment going down to any of the beaches, making a fire and building your own bbq more. We cooked sausaged on our fire and enjoyed sausage in a roll while chasing the waves in the turquoise blue sea.
It was a bit chilly since it was October when we went so we didn’t stay for too long but usually you can enjoy the whole day on the beach, sipping away on your beverage of choice (we took prosecco) and enjoying the silence of being completely undisturbed.
One of my favourite beaches, which you can access via the Project Trust base on Coll, is called Ballyhaugh and I would highly recommend it if you are into surfing, or like myself and a wee bit mad, a swim. That’s right – mid-October and I went a swim in the sea in Scotland. And I bloody loved it. There has never been a time I have gone to Coll and I have not gone in the sea, so this time was going to be no exception.
On the ferry across, we got chatting to a couple who thought Coll was beachless but that simply isn’t true. And no beach is the same. My top three are Ballyhaugh, Toristan and Feall Bay. You have Toristan, an incredible beach for playing games on the sand or exploring the rocks. Feall Bay, fabulous for seal watching, BBQ building and sea swimming. And many more that you can spend the day relaxing on.
Feall Bay is not only fantastic for the beach. To get to this bay, you need to park up your car (or midlife crisis) and walk for about 15 minutes to the bay. However before doing that if you climb up the huge hill in front of you, you will come across the sand dunes. The most exciting, terrifying, thrilling and beautiful spot to fall about in the sand at high speed on a boogie board.
I wasn’t so great and one of the best pictures from us all doing it is of me face planting at the bottom. You would not be wrong to call me glamourous at all times. But look at my puppy staring in such a concerned manner. My baby.
Coll really is one of my favourite spots in the world. It is the most serene place I have ever been, perfect for exploring, taking a break with your family or even just going away to unplug. I started my meditation there with Headspace and it was honestly the most perfect place to do that. If you just need a retreat from real life, internet, and busy schedules – Coll is the place to go.