Walking & hill climbing
You can walk and wander around and across most of the island. Even though many tracks are fenced, access to remote beaches and wilderness areas is possible. Of course you must be sensible and, if in any doubt, just ask at the shop, hotel or nearest farm. Please don’t leave your car blocking fields’ gates. However, many areas are sensitive in the spring and early summer with nesting birds, often rare species. Be careful not to walk on too many orchids, although this may sometimes be quite difficult!
Signposts were introduced in 2006 in fenced areas to encourage the use of footpaths to the many beautiful beaches.
Inland, there are lots of surprises in store. Crannogs can be found on many of the lochans and you will stumble across remains of ancient civilisations and communities in most parts of the island.
More on Historical Sites here => History
The beaches of Coll are one of the hidden delights and best kept secrets within the Hebrides. There are well over 20 beaches to cater for most tastes. One thing you can be sure of, they will not be busy. Photos showing beaches devoid of people isn't a gimmick, it's the norm.
There are no beaches near Arinagour so day trippers may find it difficult to get the full flavour of Coll without a long walk or bike ride. The quickest beach to get to from the village is probably Cliad, on the other side of the island from Arinagour. The walk will be worth it, particularly when the Outer Isles are visible. You are likely to see inquisitive seals, and maybe an otter.
Many beaches will show the signs of otters as they scurry to and fro the dunes after rabbits or fresh water. Early morning is always a good time to spot one.
Unlike Tiree, all of Coll's beaches have to be walked to with their true majesty hidden from view from the roads. Unfortunately, this makes disabled access to beaches more difficult.
A guide to Coll's beaches can be found here => Beaches
A climb to the top of Ben Hogh is always a favourite, as is the top of Ben Feall. Both are relatively easy to walk up and you will be rewarded with a spectacular views of all the surrounding islands. On a good day you can see as far as Jura in one direction and South Uist in the other.
Maps and or mobile phones?
Whilst mobile connctions are improving, one should nor rely on the availability of accuracy of a mobile signal in remote areas. Please read advice on Walk Highlands website where is says, in red:
Everyone heading into the hills needs to learn how to read a map,
and to be able to navigate effectively with a paper map and compass.
The local Post Office stocks a range of books & maps that you may find useful when exploring Coll. You will find a selection of books in the Quiet Room at An Cridhe, our Community Centre, which you are welcome to browse through.