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.

Visting Oransay

Please notice 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. There is, of course, no restriction on one's legal "right to roam" but some of the habitats are particularly vulnerable.

More information will appear here shortly. In the meantime, do look at the National Biodiversity Network listing to get some idea of the importance of the site. By the way, if you are researching Oransay (Gaelic: Orasa) online, do note that it is normally rendered as "Oronsay" by officials and non-residents. Locally, either spelling is acceptable.

Crossing To Oransay

You will find that the best time to cross is in the two days following a New Moon or a Full Moon; low-water will be in the early afternoon and you may be able to take 4 or 5 hours over the round trip. Tide tables can be found here and also posted at the CalMac office - add 1 hour to the time of low-water (to convert it to BST), then deduct 10 minutes for local conditions - this gives you the mid-point of low-water. Aim to follow the tide out, by being at the Strand (say) 2.5hrs before that mid-point time. Note the time at which you are actually able to cross, and then calculate the time by which you must return.

Check your estimates in advance with any local person, and beware of winds from the south and east (which may sometimes make a crossing impossible). Follow the route marked on the map, do not ever take a "short-cut" in a vehicle, or even on foot when the tide is coming in. Do not take your vehicle if you can avoid it - if you make a mistake, the fuel will leak out and pollute the area whilst the vehicle is submerged.

Colonsay Moorings Development

A Marine License Application for the 10 moorings due to go into Queen’s Bay was submitted to the Crown Estate in March. CCDC also submitted an application to Marine Scotland in late April. Both these applications have had a considerable amount of input from MOWI who are one of our key match-funders for this development. We hope to hear if our applications are successful in the next six to eight weeks. MOWI would like to see the moorings installed as soon as possible, but as you would expect, COVID-19 has impacted many of the administrative and physical processes required to see the 2 tonne anchor blocks put in place. Similarly, the Path Development has been delayed due to an inability to source materials. Our funder, Paths for All, are understanding of the situation and are willing to work with us on this. Colonsay Estate has agreed in principle to the path up to the church and we are working through the details with them.  
In the meantime, CCDC have been corresponding with other marine establishments, and are working on a management plan which incorporates an online booking system for the moorings.  
If anyone has any thoughts or questions about the moorings. Please contact Roz Jewell: rjewellccdc.ldo@gmail.com