Isolated between Mull and Islay, Colonsay's (Web: www.colonsay.org.uk ) craggy, heather-backed hills support the occasional patch of woodland, plus a bewildering array of plant and birdlife, wild goats and rabbits, and one of the finest quasi-tropical gardens in Scotland.
The ferry docks at SCALASAIG, on the east coast, where there's a post office/shop, a petrol pump, a restaurant and the island's hotel. Right by the pier, the old waiting room now serves as the island's heritage centre and is usually open when the ferry docks. Two miles north of Scalasaig is Colonsay House, built in 1722 by Malcolm MacNeil. In 1904, the island and house were bought by Lord Strathcona, who made his fortune building the Canadian Pacific Railway and who was responsible for the house's lovely woodland gardens (April– Sept Wed & Fri), which are slowly being restored to their former glory. To the north of Colonsay House, where the road ends, you'll find the island's finest sandy beach, the breathtaking Kiloran Bay, where the breakers roll in from the Atlantic.
The Isle of Oronsay, half a mile to the south, is only an island when the tide is in, and, as you can't stay overnight, it can only be visited as a day-trip from Colonsay. The two are separated by "The Strand", a mile of tidal mud flats which act as a causeway for two hours either side of low tide; check locally for current timings. The ruins of the Oronsay Priory date back to the fourteenth century, and it still has the original church and cloisters. The highlight, however, is the Oronsay Cross, a superb example of late-medieval artistry from Iona, and the numerous finely carved grave slabs that lie within the Prior's House.