Getting To Colonsay
Air Service - ideal for short trips on or off the island
A scheduled air service operates twice daily, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from Connel (by Oban) including a link via Islay, also daily on Saturdays and Sundays. This service is operated by Hebridean Air Services.
Reservations etc.: 0845 805 7465 or 01631 524568 or 01951 238 083
Ferry Service - this carries your car, your dogs, your buckets, your spades...
Colonsay is served by a CalMac Ferries Ltd. ferry service from the port of Oban five times a week in summer, four times a week in winter. The journey takes two and a quarter hours and is a beautiful one, passing between the mainland and the islands of Kererra and Mull and then sailing South and West past the islands of Seil, Luing, Scarba and Jura.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In both summer and winter, there is an extra option. This is a ferry that originates at Kennacraig or Port Askaig, makes its way north via Islay and Colonsay to Oban, then pauses before re-tracing the route. If you wish to travel between Colonsay and Islay/Jura, this is ONLY possible on a Wednesday or Saturday in summer or on a Saturday in winter.
The ferry service has been greatly augmented in recent years and in summer it now runs almost daily. The owners of holiday accommodation try to be quite flexible but they do need to dovetail their bookings; so, since there is no specific "changeover" day that applies to every property it is worthwhile to study the booking charts or to contact the owners direct to ensure a "changeover" to suit both parties. Ferry reservations are always important, but should be made as early as possible if you intend to arrive or depart on a Wednesday in high summer, since those services can be heavily subscribed.
The ferry details are subject to slight change in detail from year to year, so it is essential to check them with Caledonian MacBrayne in advance. To confirm ferry details and reservations contact Caledonian MacBrayne on 08705 650000 or visit their Web site at http://www.calmac.co.uk/ They have an excellent online timetable and a pdf version for Colonsay which can be printed off for convenience.
NOTE: You do not have to bring a car and indeed a larger party might like to leave one or more cars on the mainland. You can arrange secure off-street parking in Oban - contact Stoddarts of Combie Street Tel 01631 564176
Bring bicycles (free) or rent from Archie MacConnell 01951 200355 ; if on foot, make sure that you are staying very close to Scalasaig unless you favour lengthy additional walks to shop, pub, restaurant, surgery, post-office, ceilidhs and church.
If you miss the ferry....
In fair weather it may be possible for a local boat to make a special run. A strong possibility is a Rigid Inflatable Boat, which can travel at up to 25 knots in fair weather and is fully seaworthy in any conditions that you might be inclined to consider. Travel from Oban is possible, but the street-wise person will go to Easdale by taxi, then continue by RIB - this reduces sea-time considerably. [If you have a car, CalMac will arrange to forward it by the next available sailing]. Contact Seafari on 01852 300003 (out of hours, it will be switched through to a duty skipper). In addition, Roger Eaton (01496 302459) operates "Angie" from Port Askaig.
Another fast and reliable service is based in Oban, runs all year round and can carry up to twelve people - check it out at Coastal Connection or telephone 01631 565833 or 07919 615210 (24/7), Cameron & Struan Smith. All the above craft are fully licensed, insured and operated by qualified personnel.
Accommodation en route
In and around Oban, try the Oban Tourist Board Tel: 01631 563122
An option (both by road or rail) is The Crianlarich Hotel Tel: 01838 300272 (mention Colonsay!)
Another option (avoiding bad section of road at Loch Lomond) is The Inveraray Inn Tel: 01499302466 (mention Colonsay!)
Many people choose to come to Colonsay without a motor car, to enjoy the walking and the freedom. If you need secure parking in Oban, contact Stoddard's on 01631 564176. Road, rail and air services to Scotland are improving all the time, and excellent websites exist which make it fairly easy to plan your journey from anywhere within the UK. For travel from the London area, both the "east coast" and "west coast" railways have now been modernised but rail travel is probably best avoided on Sundays. It is worthwhile to explore both train and bus options - overnight bus services from London are inexpensive (NationalExpress) and even include an optional "sleeper" facility (MegaBus only).
National Rail inquiries
Railtrack Travel Website
National Express Bus/Coach Website
Rail and coach companies will give itineraries right through to Oban, whereas airlines will only list services to Glasgow or Edinburgh, from which cities you will of course require onward transport:
Public transport between Glasgow/Edinburgh and Oban is still somewhat restricted and does not always fit in well with the ferry sailings but there is a very scenic if rather slow rail service between Glasgow and Oban, running up to six times daily each way. There is also a bus service operated by Citylink.
If you are coming a long way and are having trouble finding the ideal connection through to Oban or Kennacraig, you might consider a taxi or even a self-drive car. A taxi can be highly cost-effective if savings in overnight accommodation are taken into account. Youngs of Oban (01631 563784) are a reliable local firm which will be happy to send a car to Glasgow or Edinburgh to meet you. You could even travel up by sleeper train to Crianlarich and just book the taxi for the last 50 miles.
Self-Drive Car Hire
Obviously there is a wide range of Car Rental companies and many of them offer excellent rates. There is no facility at present to rent a car elsewhere and "drop" it at Oban so you might as well bring it to Colonsay. If not, do be sure that transport is provided to/from your accommodation in Colonsay and that you are happy to explore the island on foot or by bicycle. If in doubt, do ask for advice from your accommodation provider.
Public Transport in Colonsay
There is none. Your accommodation provider may offer you a free lift to/from your accommodation or you may care to hire biycles from Archie McConnell on 01951 200355; in addition, a bus-tour of the island is available on most Wednesdays and possibly on other days by arrangement. Book on 01951 200320; private hire may also be arranged, or Google Colonsay Guide Service.