Group of tourists on Oransay


Oransay is the smaller tidal island to the south of Colonsay. It houses the Oransay Priory and is an important habitat for choughs, corncrakes and other wildlife.

Of all of the historical artefacts to be found on Colonsay and Oransay, the priory on Oransay is without doubt the most impressive. Legend has it that Oransay was visited by Columba on his journey into exile from his native Ireland. On climbing Beinn Oransay on a clear day he discovered that he could still see the coast of Ireland so he sailed on, eventually founding the religious community on Iona.

The Priory was founded in around 1340 AD, by John Good, Lord of the Isles. Much of it is still intact and a visit, when the tide allows, is thoroughly recommended. The nationally significant collection of medieval carved grave stones shows the skills of the amazing craftsmen of the time.

As well as its significant history and bird life, Oransay is not short of natural beauty – sandy bays, machair, wild flowers and stunning vistas abound.

Crossing on foot is possible on certain days, when a big low tide allows.

Please consult in the Post Office for appropriate days and times before embarking on this walk.
Please note that Oransay farm is tenanted by RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) and it is operated in a bird-friendly manner. It is vital to their management programme that needless disturbance is avoided; visitors are asked to keep any dog under strict control, and to co-operate with any guidance that may be issued from time to time.

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