Saturday, 10 June 2017

Stocking up at Scalasaig

It would have been easy to linger at Balnahard Bay but time was marching on and we had most of the length of Colonsay's east coast to travel, plus the crossing back to Jura before the end of the day.

Colonsay's east coast is something of a contrast to the wild and rugged sweeps of the west side of the island.  There are natural woods of willow, birch, hazel and rowan above a low rocky shore for most of the way, and there seemed to be a cuckoo calling in every bay.

Maurice had just mentioned that the one Scottish wildlife "big tick" he'd love to see was a Sea Eagle.....

...when his wish was granted!  "What, like that one over there?" we asked.......

..."or how about that one just behind it?".  Two White Tailed Sea Eagles lifted off from a skerry close to us and moved a little way up the shore before settling again - bringing a furious response from a pair of Oystercatchers who were somewhat less impressed by the great birds than we were.  Sea Eagles....Maurice had waited years to see one and then two came along at once!

We arrived at Scalasaig (the main village on Colonsay, but don't expect a busy built-up place...) by early afternoon.  We were well overdue first luncheon, and so made our way up from the harbour..... the Colonsay Pantry where we enjoyed coffee, cakes and other treats.  We'd been disappointed to note that the island's brewery had a "Closed" sign on the outside, but this unfortunate situation was remedied when we spotted that the Pantry sells.....

...a selection of Colonsay Ales!  I purchased a couple of examples of local produce for testing that evening.  We also took the opportunity to top up our drinking water from a tap at the pier - a useful resupply as usable running water isn't easy to find around the island's coastline.

Our time on Colonsay was over - for now.  An island of real contrast, interest and variety with history, wildlife, stunning beaches and super sea kayaking, it's a place I know I'll return to soon.

Pulling out of the harbour, we pointed our bows towards the distinctive outline of the Paps of Jura and hoisted sails to take advantage of a light breeze.  Ahead lay a 16 kilometre crossing to Jura and our intended camp site. 

You'll be able to follow the whole of our journey to Jura and Colonsay in "sea kayak stereovision" by reading Douglas' blog starting here


  1. Mmmm...the coffee, cakes and "other" treats look mighty good, Ian. But paddling, after all, is hard work and needs to be rewarded, and sustained! :)

  2. Absolutely Duncan...we barely registered the calorie upload!