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September 22, 2017

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The beauty of Kiloron Bay and the tranquillity of Oronsay Priory

July 29, 2017

From Oban, Colonsay is about the same distance as Iona and Oronsay Priory is 2nd only to Iona Abbey in terms of early Christian settlements.   Legend has it that St Columba didn’t like this island as the mountains of Donegal in Ireland could be seen some 75 miles to the SW and therefore continued north.  To the west the vast expanse of the North Atlantic leaves you feeling a bit exposed where the eastern seaboard of North America lies some 2200 miles away. 


The sea state was calm with only a scattering of fair-weather cumulus peppering an otherwise blue sky.  The Marfin made good time to Kilonon Bay on the NW tip of Colonsay.   I’d never heard of Kiloron Bay before today but having seen it, you can never forget it and will forever be a place I must return to.  I’ve seen greater expanses of sandy beaches in Harris and longer beaches in North Uist but the open horse-shoe shaped bay bounded by a mountain of sand  partially covered with sheep and cattle cropped  grass leaves it unequalled in the Hebrides.   I noted that when King Edward VII visited the island in 30 August 1902, that many of the royal party made their way to Kiloron on bicycle and carriage.  Today there was a lone swimmer with his loyal collie watching on, a young lady galloping her steed along the shoreline and a heard of cows loitering at the south end. 


Beyond the bay the guano covered sea cliffs were a cacophony of bird life.  It was like the Serengeti of the north with guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills all living cheek by jowl on the narrow ledges.  A lone Harbour porpoise joined us for a moment as we made our way to Oronsay a