When it comes to beaches, Colonsay does not disappoint. With magnificent white sandy bays dotted around the coastline, visitors are spoilt for choice. With beaches in every direction, It is possible to find shelter from the breeze and find your own secluded sun trap for the day.
The waters surrounding Colonsay are crystal clear and irresistibly inviting. We are not going to lie and say the water is warm however the island does have record high levels of sunshine compared with the rest of the UK and during warm weather the shallower water around the tidal strand areas to the south of the island and Oransay, can be just like bath water, warmed by the hot sand when the tide comes in. Even if you usually opt for a heated pool or sunnier shores, take a deep breath and dive in, a wild swim with the most spectacular views will invigorate body and soul.
If you are more adventurous or own a wet or dry suit, the breakers at Kiloran Bay are popular for surfing, boogie boarding and paddle boarding. The currents can be strong so young children should stick to the shallows with supervision.
Please bear in mid that most of Colonsay’s beaches and surrounding areas are used for grazing livestock. Dog’s should be kept under control at all times.
Situated on the north western coast with easy access from the road, Kilroan Bay is the most popular of Colonsay’s beaches and it’s easy to see why. With a long stretch of golden sand looking out to the Ross of Mull and the vivid blue of the Atlantic Ocean, even on a winters day this place will take your breath away. The bay is surrounded by the peak of Carnan Eoin to the north, sand dunes in the east giving way to sea cliffs to the south. There are many fascinating caves to explore at both ends of the bay with evidence of neolithic use still present today. The larger of the caves can be found to the north and are best explored when the tide is out or on it’s way out. Ask any local to point you in the right direction.
The viewpoint at the car park is a popular spot for weddings and if you are lucky you may even be serenaded. This is the amazingly talented guitar player Roberto Diana, a regular at the music festival.
Balnahard beach is located on the northern shore of the island with views over to Mull, Scarba and Jura. To reach this beautiful and isolated bay you must walk 3.5 miles from An Crosan (bridge leading from public road at Kiloran onto Balnahard Track) down the Balnahard track and across the machair to the bay. Setting aside a full day to visit Balnahard will allow oportunity to enjoy the walk to and from the beach where there are many historical features such as cupmarked stones, St. Columba's Well, a Bronze Age house and neighbouring Iron Age fort, the Gruagach Stone, not to mention the natural heritage of this area with its machair, dunes and sea cliffs.
Once you reach the bay, you will find the remains of the wooden steam ship ‘SS Wasa’, lost to an engine fire in 1920 during a voyage from Liverpool to Sweeden. The huge timbers and cast-iron hull can be found jutting out from the sand at low tide.