Getting around Coll


To assist you to get around Coll, there are three detailed map displays: outside the Calmac pier office; on the roadside by the fire station and in the airport waiting room.

To see the best of Coll it may be a good idea to consider an Ordnance Survey map (available in the Post Office), OS Explorer map 372, Coll and Tiree, 1:25,000. Coll community can't offer any 'Free maps', the island is just too small for such a luxury.

There is no taxi service but there is private hire - see here. You may even be offered you a lift, even if you don't stick your thumb out!

There is no public transport on Coll so travelling around is more of a challenge. Bikes can be hired from the Post Office and some accommodation providers may have bikes for their guests.

For the more adventurous, an increasingly popular way to see the coast is a circular sea-kayak trip. There are many little islands to explore off Coll and a wealth of wildlife to discover. How about going back to Oban on the ferry from Tiree after a short paddle between the islands? CalMac ferries will not charge extra to bring your kayak over to Coll. More info.

Driving on Coll

The roads on Coll are all single track with passing places, although there is one 10m (yes, 10m as in metre, not mile) stretch of dual-carriageway near the top of the island!

Whilst driving is usually free of hassle, please remember that locals sometimes need to travel a bit faster than sightseeing speeds. Please use passing places to allow others to overtake.

Most off-road tracks on Coll are on/through environmentally sensitive ground, probably private and should be avoided.

Passing Places

Many islands, and islanders, have their own views on how 'passing places' should be used! The only/proper way is as detailed in the Highway Code (sections 132 & 133) which can be found here.
Passing places are NOT parking spaces.

Parking

Coll hasn't kept up with the rate of increase of tourism traffic, with respect to parking areas. Consequently, parking is a problem especially at road-ends like Sorisdale. Please observe signs and do not obscure turning places or go through clearly marked signs that say 'Private road'.

There is a fuel station in Arinagour which sells petrol and diesel but has limited opening hours. It takes cards or cash). The fuel station is run as a community social enterprise on a non profit basis and, even so, fuel is typically 20p – 50p dearer than the mainland; due to freight charges and the relatively small volume of purchases.
There is an electric car charging point at Coll Community Centre - full details here.

Cycling around Coll

Cycling on Coll can be quite an experience, the lack of traffic making it relatively safe. Consequently, many bring their bikes to Coll or hire them here. Bicycles travel free on CalMac ferries (numbers can be limited) but cannot be carried on Highland Airways flights.

Using a bicycle means you can take a circular route, making use of the sandy track that goes behind Hough Bay linking the RSPB Centre at Totronald to the Hebridean Centre . This track is closed to vehicles.

Please consider the following:

  • Cyclist and motorist have equal rights on the Queen's highway, please respect each others presence & needs.
  • Coll roads are proper roads and the rules of the highway still apply.
  • Even though Coll roads may look like, they are not, dedicated cycle paths. Please don't hang-out, spread all over the road.
  • When a group of cyclists stop for a car to pass it is much safer if all the group go to the same side of the road. By doing so the car/van/lorry can pass more safely allowing the cyclists more room.
  • Please contact Cycling UK for more advice.

Emergency Services

Not all of Coll's emergency services have special vehicles with flashing lights. Please give way to anyone driving abnormally quickly with headlights flashing. They may be an island volunteer fire-fighter or in the coastguard service, the doctor or nurse. Please assist by allowing them to pass quickly and safely.

Cycling around Coll

Cycling on Coll can be quite an experience, the lack of traffic making it relatively safe. Consequently, many bring their bikes to Coll or hire them here. Bicycles travel free on CalMac ferries (numbers can be limited) but cannot be carried on Highland Airways flights.

Using a bicycle means you can take a circular route, making use of the sandy track that goes behind Hough Bay linking the RSPB Centre at Totronald to the Hebridean Centre . This track is closed to vehicles.

Please consider the following:

  • Cyclist and motorist have equal rights on the Queen's highway, please respect each others presence & needs.
  • Coll roads are proper roads and the rules of the highway still apply.
  • Even though Coll roads may look like, they are not, dedicated cycle paths. Please don't hang-out, spread all over the road.
  • When a group of cyclists stop for a car to pass it is much safer if all the group go to the same side of the road. By doing so the car/van/lorry can pass more safely allowing the cyclists more room.
  • Please contact Cycling UK for more advice.

Emergency Services

Not all of Coll's emergency services have special vehicles with flashing lights. Please give way to anyone driving abnormally quickly with headlights flashing. They may be an island volunteer fire-fighter or in the coastguard service, the doctor or nurse. Please assist by allowing them to pass quickly and safely.