Coll Bird Festival 20192019-02-18T13:30:02+00:00

Stay on Coll from £22 per person, per night…

5* hostel accommodation on the Hebridean Isle of Coll.

BOOKNOW

John McLaren, a previous visitor to Coll Bird Festival, has very kindly combined some video excerpts from his time on Coll and Lunga. Other than the boat trip to Lunga it doesn’t feature the Bird Festival events, but it gives you a real flavour of Coll and what you might expect from a visit:

Coll Bird Festival
10th/11th/12th May 2019

Is the corncrake your nemesis?   Has your best sighting just been a fleeting glance and you didn’t get that photo?   Did you know that one of the best places to see the corncrake, along with a host of other fantastic and often rare wildlife, is the Isle of Coll?   And, the best time of year is late April to mid-May which is why we host Coll Bird Festival at this time of year.

Over the course of a 3-day weekend, Coll Bird Festival (in partnership with the local RSPB reserve) offers a variety of guided walks, boat trips, and talks.  We also host a ceilidh and organise a beach clean with BBQ to finish off the weekend.   Visitors can book a package deal or pick and choose individual events.

2019 full programme final

Our 2019 programme offers:

  • Skydancer Walk (Saturday) – a unique opportunity to observe and learn about Coll’s breeding pairs of Hen Harriers.   This wonderful, and protected species, must be treated with care, and our RSPB guide will ensure you get the most out of your viewing experience while also affording this magnificent bird the respect it deserves.
  • ‘Off the Beaten Track’ walk led by local RSPB staff (Friday) – for 2018 the RSPB team created an exciting new walk which showcases more of the Coll bird life than has been seen in previous years and let you see parts of Coll that the average visitor will never see.   This is a longer walk, estimated at 3-4 hours, although not difficult and you will not be walking for 4 hours.   Guests should plan to take a packed lunch with them.
  • Walk Arinagour (Saturday) – is back and lets you explore Coll’s only village, where the different landscape, from the bay to the trees, offers habitat for birds not commonly seen elsewhere on the island.
  • Dawn Watch (Saturday) –  Spend time on the RSPB reserve enhancing your identification skills by listening to the magnificent dawn chorus, and find that elusive corncrake. Despite the early start, this session (with hot drinks and croissants) has proved very popular and rewarding, year on year.
  • Boat trips (Saturday/Sunday) – our popular guided boat trips are back again, and the firm favourite, the puffin, is on the programme again with our trips to Lunga.   For 2019, we are also visiting Gunna, our neighbouring island.
  • Talks (Friday/Saturday) – over the course of the weekend there will be 3 talks on a variety of bird-life and wildlife-based topics.
  • Ceilidh (Saturday)– offering a chance to unwind and enjoy some traditional Scottish music  (and dancing)
  • Beach Clean (Sunday) – the beach clean is a great way to wind up the weekend and make a contribution to Coll which, being on the Atlantic, naturally ‘collects’ debris from all over the world.   You never know what interesting items you might find.
  • Evening Buffet (Saturday) – to ensure you still find time to eat in amongst a busy programme of events, we are hosting a buffet on Saturday evening at 5:30pm.   Tickets are £12 each and must be booked in advance.

To receive a full copy of the programme when it is ready please email info@collbunkhouse.co.uk

As part of the Bird Festival there will be a substantial buffet (with bar) accompanying the Saturday evening talk (booking required).

Both the Island Cafe and Coll Hotel serve lunches and evening meals and both use a variety of local produce as part of their menu.   If your events take place over lunchtime you have the option of an early lunch at the Island Cafe, or you can book a packed lunch from the Coll Hotel and Tigh na Mara Guesthouse.

In 2019 we are delighted to be able to support a new and local business venture, Isle GO.

You will travel to Lunga and/or Gunna in their Redbay Stormforce 8.4 Rib, ‘Stormbringer II’.

Please note that guests on our boat trips should be comfortable with walking over rough terrain and prepared to access the vessel via a series of steps or a ladder, depending on tide conditions. Please contact us if you have any concerns over accessibility and we will be happy to help.

Lunga is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its abundant plant life. Many rare and endangered plants are native to the island. The flora includes Primroses, Birdsfoot Trefoil, orchids, Sea Campion, Thrift and Tormentil. Atlantic Grey seals inhabit the waters surrounding the island while birdlife includes Storm Petrels, Kittiwakes and Manx Shearwaters. Guillemot, Puffin, Corncrake and Razorbills breed on Lunga and on the Harp Rock, a sea stack separated by a narrow gut, which you can walk to on your visit. A trip through the Sound of Gunna provides the opportunity to see as variety of sea birds, stunning scenery and the possibility of seeing dolphins.

Most visitors take advantage of the puffin-therapy afforded by a trip to Lunga, where you can sit within a few feet of these iconic little sea-parrots and watch them interact. Lunga attracts over 2000 breeding pairs of puffins within a small area on a grassy plateau overlooking the sea, which makes for a fantastic spectacle.

Accommodation is available in the village of Arinagour at Coll Bunkhouse from £22.00 per person per night.

Further accommodation is available in the village of Arinagour at the Coll Hotel, Tigh na Mara Guest House and Dun Fraoch B&B. A extensive list of accommodation options on Coll, including self-catering properties, is available here: Visit Coll.

A number of events are run over the course of the weekend and customers can choose individual events or a package rate.

For visitors booking accommodation at Coll Bunkhouse there is a discount of 10% on bookings of 3 nights or more.

Package rate and individual prices:

The package rate includes 3 walk tokens, 1 sea safari, entry to all the talks, entry to the ceilidh and beach clean & BBQ.   Additional walk tokens (£5 RSPB members, £3 non-RSBP members) or boat trips (£45 each) can be purchased separately.   The Saturday buffet is £12 per person and is not part of the package.   The buffet must be booked in advance.

RSPB Members Package: £60

Non-RSPB Members Package: £68

Additional Walk tokens: £3 RSPB Members, £5 non-RSPB members

Additional SeaSafari:      £45 each

Saturday buffet:             £12 each, must be booked in advance

Evening of talks:            £3 RSPB Members, £5 non-RSPB members, children free

Ceilidh:                          £10 adult, £5 child (up to 16 years, incl.), £25 family (2 adults & 2 children)

To register interest, please call Coll Bunkhouse on 01879 230217 or email: info@collbunkhouse.co.uk.

For a handy guide to getting to Coll, look no further than the Coll page on the Caledonian MacBrayne website which offers advice on travelling to Coll by car or public transport: Calmac Info on Coll.

For those of you arriving by public transport and/or without your own vehicles we will provide options for transport to/from events using local transport providers which will involve a small fee. Please contact us for further details.

Once again the Coll Bird Festival is brought to you in partnership with one of Scotland’s leading wildlife organisations. We’re very grateful for the support of the variety of people who help us to organise this event. Please use the links below to read more about the work of our partner organisations.

This festival is sponsored by CalMac and would not be possible without the support of our local RSPB teams on Coll and Tiree.   We are delighted to use IsleGo, a new Coll business venture, for our SeaSafaris, and we are grateful to Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust for their participation in this year’s festival.