A couple of years ago I was invited out to the Isle of Coll to photograph a wedding. What happened next was an amazing few days spent cut off from the world in a scene that wouldn’t look out of place in the Caribbean – except for the tell tale chill in the wind. These images aren’t enhanced in any way – this really is what the Isle of Coll looks like on a sunny day! The 2 days I planned to stay on this little island kept stretching and soon became several more.
There’s nothing approaching communication when you are parked on the edge of a beach like this. No e mails pinging , texts coming through, not even so much as a hint of a mobile signal.
But there are a lot of animals….. Down at waters edge several seals popped their heads up and came closer as they spotted me on the beach, curious to see who I was. They did not even mind even when I braved the cold and went in for a swim. I woke up early on my first morning with a sense of shock as my van was shaking, something obviously outside at 4 am in this remote spot. I jumped out of bed to discover that a cow had decided that my vans wing mirror made an excellent scratching post. In the days to come, I became accustomed to my neighbouring cows and thought no more of it.
Days become long and leisurely when you live like this. A stark contrast to our usual busy lives filled with technology, talk and rushing from one thing to another. It sometimes feels like a race to the end of the day, as if the value in a day is given by how much has been crammed in. I remember my days spent on Coll well. I slowed down, lived and ate outside, had quiet evenings alone and early nights – because time became irrelevant. I appreciated every minute of being able to see such sights and experience complete aloneness and peacefulness in such an incredibly wonderful place. I have much to thank the Isle of Coll for.
A few helpful pieces of information if you are thinking of visiting the Isle of Coll.
- It is close to Tiree which is officially the sunniest place in the United Kingdom. You can catch the Calmac ferry from Oban to Coll and the same ferry stops at Tiree afterwards. It’s a 2 and half hour journey to Coll on the ferry depending on which ferry is in service.
- You can hire kayaks or paddle boards in Arinagour , the village close to the ferry terminal and I was told that you can paddle out into the bay and the seals will happily swim beneath and around you.
- Showers and toilet facilities in community centre An Chridhe are open from 9am every day.
- Opposite the community centre is the bunk house which looks exceptionally good.
- It is an amazing place to visit so if you get the chance – Go!