An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

56.018211, -6.242265
Distance: 14.3 km
Difficulty: Moderate
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 9 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: Inner Hebrides
  • Size: 543 hectares
  • Terrain: Sands; island tracks; free range on open ground
  • Access: Tidal crossing
  • Height gain: 208 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer 354
  • Starting point: The track head on Oronsay. Lat/Long 56.028160, -6.227976. GR NR 36683 89762
  • Accommodation/food:

    None on the island; hotel, café and general store and post office in Scalasaig, Colonsay. Hostel, B&B’s and hotel on Colonsay.

  • Island Summary:

    Oronsay is a tidal island that sits just off the south coast of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides. It is a wild and rugged place that holds many secrets to prehistoric living, particularly the diet of human beings that has been revealed through the excavation of the three middens on the island.

  • Look out for:
    • Secluded swims off any one of the glorious white sand beaches
    • Exciting tidal crossing across the draining sands
    • Stunning views of the Paps of Jura and mountains of Islay
    • Spying the elusive corncrake
  • Route description:

    The walk begins with a fabulous tidal crossing of The Strand, and then uses the main island track to the Priory and Oronsay Farm before the easy free-range route follows the coast. There are magnificent views of the peaks of Islay and Jura for most of the trip, a wonderful bothy and stunning, deserted white sand beaches on the south and east coasts that make idyllic swimming spots.

  • Getting there:

    Calmac ferries offer a regular service to Colonsay from Oban https://www.calmac.co.uk/article/2127/Colonsay. From Scalasaig head past the Hotel on the B8086 for 1.3 km, then turn left onto the B8085 to reach the head of the causeway at the end of the road.

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