Living on Colonsay

Colonsay and Oransay has a small year-round resident community. About 125 of us are ordinarily resident here. Many others have a second home here and we welcome our families and visitors as well as those former residents who come ‘home’ each year. This wider community contributes to the life and enjoyment of living here.


As a community are served and supplied by our shop, post office, primary school, the church and our doctor and health service. Fuel supplies are available from the community Trading Company.


Our social lives are enhanced by our community owned hall, community garden, The Pantry and the Colonsay Hotel. We have several clubs, societies and trusts. We have music and dance.

The low population and unbalanced demographic mean that the key attributes of a healthy community are fragile. The school roll has consistently declined, and the shop and businesses either reduce their hours or don’t open at all in winter. We look forward to our community becoming stronger as we work towards an increasing population and the benefits that will bring in terms of sustainable, year-round facilities and services for the island.


The island life is not an easy one. Colonsay’s exposed location gives us more than our share of winter storms and distance from the mainland makes access to jobs and services a challenge.

Nevertheless, life here has its rewards for those who enjoy living and working in a small community. The abundance of natural scenery, flora, and sea life provide interest and recreation for island -dwellers.

Colonsay and Oransay also have a strong cultural heritage. The Gaelic language has declined in popular usage but is kept alive by a few and features strongly in our music, worship and history. There is a great deal of interest in the history of the island and its context in the Gaeltacht, Scotland and beyond. The Colonsay and Oransay Heritage Trust is a key organisation in the cultural protection of the islands.

The community development company works to provide housing and work opportunities in support of a sustainable and inclusive community on the islands.


Work on Colonsay mainly revolves round tourism, farming and other services – with seasonal jobs often available in local retail, hospitality and holiday home servicing Those who are interested in finding out more about living here and the opportunities to work in and contribute to the community can find more info on our Affordable Housing & Business Unit projects here or contact us.

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