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Colonsay ChurchOfScotland
Colonsay ChurchOfScotland
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Colonsay (Scotland)
Colonsay shown within Scotland.
OS grid reference: NR382938
Gaelic name: Colbhasa
Norse name: Colonsey
Meaning of name: Old Norse for 'Columba's isle'
Area and Summit
Area: 4,074 ha
Area rank (Scottish islands): 26
Highest elevation: 143 m (469 feet)
Population (2001): 108
Population rank (inhabited Scottish islands): 44 out of 97
Main settlement: Scalasaig
Island Group: Islay
Local Authority: Argyll and Bute
References: [1][2]

Colonsay (Gaelic: Colbhasa) is an island in the Scottish Inner Hebrides, located north of Islay and south of Mull and has an area of just over 4,000 hectares (16 sq. miles). It is the ancestral home of Clan Macfie and the Colonsay branch of Clan MacNeill.

The island's total population is about 110 people. Colonsay's main settlement is Scalasaig (Gaelic: Sgalasaig) on the east coast, from where ferries sail to Oban and, between April and October, to Kennacraig via Port Askaig on Islay.

The island is known for Colonsay House, the eighth century Riasg Buidhe Cross, its wild goats, and for birds including Black-legged Kittiwakes, cormorants, guillemots, corncrakes and golden eagles. The island is linked by a tidal causeway (named 'The Strand') to Oronsay [Orasa].

Although Colonsay appears bare and somewhat forbidding on approach from the sea, its landscape is exceptionally beautiful and varied, with some of the finest sandy beaches in the Hebrides, and a sheltered and fertile interior. Hence the growth of tourism as the mainstay of the island's economy, with numerous holiday cottages, many of them owned and managed by the Isle of Colonsay Estate. The estate is owned by Donald Howard, 4th Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, whose eldest son and heir to the title, Alex Howard, lives on the island with his family and oversees the running of the Estate.

The Druid's Circle and other archaeological features on Colonsay.
The Druid's Circle and other archaeological features on Colonsay.[3]

The island has a tiny bookshop specialising in books of local interest; it is also the home of the House of Lochar publishing company specialising in Scottish history.[4] There is a hotel overlooking the harbour[5], a cafe and bakery, and a shop and post office. In 2006 the former grass airstrip was upgraded and provided with a hard surface, in readiness for the introduction of a scheduled air service from Oban (Connel) airport, which was due to commence in 2007, but has been delayed until 2008. [6]

Colonsay Community Development Company, the local development trust is “engaged in a range of work which reflects a sustainable approach to the regeneration of our island”. Current projects include running the islands coal supply and only petrol pump, a major rhododendron ponticum eradication programme and a feasibility study into the possibility of improving the harbour and surrounding area.

The nature of island life was exemplified by a story reported in November 2006, when a construction worker from Glasgow was arrested and confessed to burglary. The man had entered an unlocked house and stolen £60 in cash. Media interest was stirred when it was reported that this was the first recorded crime since 2004, and the 'first ever theft from a house.'[7]

2007 saw the opening of the Colonsay Brewery, a micro-brewery offering three different products.[8]

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[edit] References

  1. , 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland
  2. , Haswell-Smith, Hamish. (2004) The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh. Canongate.
  3. , Harvie-Brown, J.A. and Buckley, T. E. (1892), A Vertebrate Fauna of Argyll and the Inner Hebrides. Pub. David Douglas., Edinburgh.
  4. , House of Lochar Publisher. Mission Statement. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  5. , Colonsay Hotel. Retrieved on 2007-08-02.
  6. , "Argyll Flying High." Retrieved 20 September 2007
  7. , Paterson. S.. "Colonsay’s first house thief is fined £400", The Herald newspaper, 10 November 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-29. 
  8. , Colosay Brewery. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.

[edit] External links

Coordinates: 56°4'N, 6°13'W

(Source: Wikipedia)
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