Calming, Captivating Colonsay

Ever since I first visited the isle of Colonsay, which must have been around eight years ago, I have longed to return. Yet with so many other Scottish islands to explore, other parts of the mainland – and world! – to visit, it somehow ended up on the back burner.

The Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns taught me that, above all else, you just need to see people. You must hold your loved ones close. We all lead such busy lives and, somehow, years can go by without connecting with those who matter most. So when an artist friend, the lady who first introduced me to Colonsay, told me she was planning a holiday there this summer with her extended family, I knew it was time. I could only manage three days due to work commitments but those days could be described as life-changing, or certainly life-affirming, as this magical place cast its spell over me once again.

Along with the more distant Tiree, Colonsay receives more sunshine hours than anywhere else in Scotland. That isn’t saying much, I hear you declare! But despite our almost constantly wet summer, the weather treated us kindly. Although a tad breezy – at least the dreaded midges are not a problem here – we enjoyed warm sunshine each afternoon, perfect for peaceful sketching, strolling around the seven miles of quiet, single-track road and even allowing for a swim, although I confess I took my wetsuit with me. Next time I promise I’ll go in without; it was glorious.

Surrounded by gleaming white beaches backed with the machair it is famous for (they have never used pesticides and the whole island is an RSPB reserve), Colonsay is peaceful and precious. It feels like finding something lost, something I desperately miss, but hadn’t quite realised. I don’t want to wait another eight years before going back, so I am working on a Vistas Sketching Holidays itinerary. This tiny Hebridean dot is a painter’s paradise and I can’t wait to share it with like-minded people, so watch this space!