To many casual visitors, Kiloran Bay on Colonsay is the finest beach in the Hebrides.
To others, it is not even the finest beach on Colonsay. Once you get to know the island, it is usual to meet people whose favourite is anywhere but Kiloran Bay (which due to its popularity, can sometimes be unbearably busy, sometimes with two or three other people on the beach at the same time). More than one person, for example, has indicated a preference for Balnahard Bay at the very northern end of Colonsay.
Balnahard Bay and Jura:
But Balnahard and Kiloran aren't the only beaches on Colonsay. The island has what seems like dozens of them. And at least one person I met swore by Traigh Tobar Fuar. This, he exclaimed, was the best beach on Colonsay.
Traigh Tobar Fuar:
I am not so sure. For those in the know, at the end of farm tracks, are other, even more exquisite beaches. By a fairly large margin, the jewel of those who know Colonsay is Cable Bay, with its turquoise water and otter tracks in the sand.
We're getting warmer, but there is another beach not too far from Cable Bay that captured my heart. It doesn't have a name on the map, but it sits right at the edge of Colonsay, facing Oronsay. A narrow tidal channel cuts the beach in two, temptingly wadeable at very low tide. The wind whips the marram grass as you approach but on the beach itself, there is shelter, and a complexity in the lagoons and rocks left behind by the receding tide, seabirds pecking in the shallows. The atmosphere is different to other beaches. Neither intimate nor big and oceanic, it feels at the edge of everything, yet also secluded, a world in itself.
My favourite Colonsay beach:
There's other things to do on Colonsay, but with beaches like these, you'd need more than a couple of weeks to see and do them all!
May 1 on the Pacific Crest Trail, 35 Years Ago
6 hours ago