Kiloran Bay, Colonsay
Kiloran Bay, Colonsay

Scotland's islands are known for their pristine beaches; remote stretches of clean white sand that would look at home in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean -- without all the people. There is no more appealing beach in Scotland than that at Kiloran Bay, in the northwestern corner of the beautiful island of Colonsay in Argyll.

Kiloran Bay is everything that a Scottish beach should be; stunningly beautiful, remote, and peaceful, with a wide expanse of clear sand in a gently curving bay, climbing gently to dunes on higher ground, further from the water.

Rock pools, Kiloran Bay
Rock pools, Kiloran Bay

Clean, white sand and turquoise water
Clean, white sand and turquoise water

I'm not alone in thinking that Kiloran is one of the best beaches I've ever seen. It regularly appears in online lists of the best beaches in Scotland. It is also extremely easy to reach by road, not something you can say about all Colonsay's amazing beaches!

The gentle curve of Kiloran Bay rises to the heights of Carnan Eoin to the north, while a system of sand dunes lies to the east. To the south, the land is rougher, with jagged rocks creating tidepools and low cliffs. Cut into the cliffs both to the north and south of the bay are sea caves, and in the south is a natural sea arch.

Sunset, Kiloran Bay
Sunset, Kiloran Bay

Sunset, Kiloran Bay #2
Sunset, Kiloran Bay #2

To the north, a track runs up the slope of Carnan Eoin, and below the summit of a low pass you will find a holy well dedicated to St Columba. It seems almost certain that St Columba visited Colonsay before moving on to Iona, where he established a monastery that became Iona Abbey. Climb to the top of Carnan Eoin for views of Jura in the distance.

There are no facilities at Kiloran Beach; you won't find ice-cream stands or mini-golf here, just the natural beauty of the land and sea. The depth of the beach varies according to whether the tide is in or out. When it is out, the sand seems to go on for miles.

Late evening light on Kiloran Beach
Late evening light on Kiloran Beach

A solitary footprint on the beach
A solitary footprint on the beach

I was lucky enough to spend a week on Colonsay, and I must have photographed Kiloran Beach five or six times during that week. There was just something about the place that drew me back again and again. If you are a photographer like me, there is no better place on Colonsay for sunsets, with an unobstructed view west towards the setting sun.

In recent years Kiloran Bay has become a popular destination for surfers. It is, in fact, the only breach on Colonsay with consistently good waves for surfing.

Watching the sun go down
Watching the sun go down

Getting There

Getting to Kiloran Bay is so simple. Take the B8086 past Colonsay House. According to road maps, the B-road ends at a sharp left turning before you reach the beach, but in truth, the pavement continues, and looks every bit as good as the actual B8086!

Carry on up this unnamed single-track road to a wide turning space with room for cars to park. The beach is immediately to your right. You will sometimes see bridal parties taking formal photos here, with the beach as a backdrop.

About Kiloran Bay Beach, Colonsay
Address: B8086, Scalasaig, Isle of Colonsay, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, PA61 7YT
Attraction Type: Countryside - Beach
Location: At the end of the B8086, north of Colonsay House
Location map
OS: NR401980
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

St Columba's Well - 0.5 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

Tobar Oran Sculptured Stone - 0.9 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

Colonsay House Gardens - 0.9 miles (Garden) Heritage Rating

Colonsay Whale Sculpture - 1 miles (Countryside) Heritage Rating

Clach A'Pheanais (Balnahard) Standing Stone - 1.7 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

Cill Chaitriona - 1.7 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Balnahard Bay Beach (Traigh Ban) - 2.2 miles (Countryside) Heritage Rating

Buaile Riabhach Stone Circle - 2.4 miles (Prehistoric Site) Heritage Rating

Nearest Accommodation to Kiloran Bay Beach, Colonsay:

Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Kiloran Bay Beach. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.

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