Little Colonsay

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Little Colonsay
Gaelic name Colbhasa Beag
Norse name kolnøy[1]
Meaning of name Old Norse for "Columba's island" or "Kolbein's island"[1]
Little Colonsay is located in Argyll and Bute
Little Colonsay
Little Colonsay
Little Colonsay shown within Argyll and Bute
OS grid reference NM375365
Coordinates 56°26′51″N 6°15′40″W / 56.44737°N 6.26122°W / 56.44737; -6.26122
Physical geography
Island group Mull
Area 88 hectares (0.34 sq mi) [1]
Area rank 154 [2]
Highest elevation 61 metres (200 ft)
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Council area Argyll and Bute
Population 0
References [3][4]

Little Colonsay (Scottish Gaelic: Colbhasa Beag) is an uninhabited island west of the island of Mull in Scotland. The geology of the island is columnar basalt, similar to that on neighbouring Staffa. It is part of the Loch Na Keal National Scenic Area, one of 40 in Scotland.[5]

In 1841 the population was 16 individuals in two households but by 1881 no population as recorded, the island having been cleared in 1846 by F.W. Clark, the notorious owner of Gometra and Ulva. The censuses of 1891 and 1931 recorded two inhabitants. In the early 20th century the island was farmed by John MacColum, known as "Johnny Colonsay", but he and his family were forced out by a plague of rats.[1]

The island is currently owned by Michael Hare, 2nd Viscount Blakenham, but has not been permanently inhabited since the 1940s.[6] Hare's daughter, Cressida Cowell, the author of children's books including How to Train Your Dragon, spent childhood summers on the island and cites the Inner Hebrides as an inspiration for her books, suggesting they are "one of the most beautiful places on Earth" and "the kind of place where you expect to see dragons overhead".[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7.  pp. 98-100
  2. ^ Area and population ranks: there are c. 300 islands over 20 ha in extent and 93 permanently inhabited islands were listed in the 2011 census.
  3. ^ 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey
  5. ^ "National Scenic Areas". SNH. Retrieved 30 Mar 2011.
  6. ^ "Little Colonsay". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  7. ^ "Film based on little island" (5 April 2010) Press and Journal. Aberdeen.

Coordinates: 56°26′51″N 6°15′40″W / 56.44737°N 6.26122°W / 56.44737; -6.26122