Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published January 24th 2017
Travel To Scotland's Best Kept Secret Island
Rolling waves, remote white sand beaches and striking turquoise waters, this is the perfect place to recharge your batteries on a remote hideaway that has hardly a mobile phone signal and only one main road. But this isn't a tropical destination, it's the Scottish island of Coll.
The tranquil beach and waters of the Isle of Coll
Teetering on the edge of the Scottish Inner Hebrides, Coll has a timeless beauty you won't want to miss for a long weekend or walking holiday.
Reachable only by ferry, the island boasts the most sunshine in all the UK, but is still one of the country's best-kept secrets. Trains leave Glasgow regularly for the coastal town of Oban and its ferry terminal, or if driving, it is a two-hour journey along the scenic A82 and A85 roads.
From Oban, you will need to take a Calmac ferry (Caledonian MacBrayne) to Coll and Tiree with the price for a return passage for two adults and a car around £150. A single passenger return fair is £20.60.
You are surrounded by nature and animals in the Scottish islands
Coll has an irresistible natural charm and untouched beauty with isolated, idyllic, sandy yet windy beaches to explore. Most of its 23 beaches are reached by following short trails, but once there, you will nearly always have it to yourself to relax, play or picnic while starring out at the crystal clear turquoise waters. Sometimes a seal, basking shark or whale is even seen passing by.
There's one main road through the island with paths off it if you want to take the bikes with you and cycle. There's plenty of noticeboards highlighting trails but it would be hard to get completely lost as the island is only so big.
Coll gives holidaymakers the chance to recharge their batteries
It is best to base yourself near the main village of Arinagour, close to the ferry terminal, as this is the only site with a general store and post office, along with The Island Café and the island's main pub and restaurant at The Coll Hotel.
It has hearty, welcoming food that fills the area with wafts of homecooking at lunch times and evenings. It's a typical Scottish pub that is the centre of the community.
Opposite the pub is the Coll Bunkhouse, which opened during the summer of 2012 and is a hostel with all the latest facilities, sleeping up to 16 people from £21 per person a night.
It's got good clean and modern facilities with twin rooms and larger rooms with more beds to share. There's also a large kitchen and sitting area.
Coll Bunkhouse is a stylish hostel on Coll
The pace of life is slow, but the tranquil atmosphere on the 13-mile-long island is something rare to find. It can bring out your spirit of adventure to explore and time to fully recharge those batteries before returning to the rat race.
Coll has to be one of the most hidden and exhilarating beauty spots in the British Isles.