Isle of Coll is ready to welcome back visitors

Islanders on Coll on the west coast of Scotland hope holidaymakers will chose to stay on the island.

As Scots prepare to holiday at home this year, the Isle of Coll is hoping to welcome new people to the island who would otherwise be heading abroad for a break.

The island, situated on the coast of Mull, had no outsiders coming in during lockdown which has hurt businesses financially but kept islanders protected from the pandemic.

Now there’s hope a busy summer season will reinvigorate the island. 

John Fraser, a IsleGo Coll tour guide, explains that there are many things to see during a trip to Coll.

“If you go out on the boat, you’re going to see dolphins, puffins, you’re going to see seabirds,” he says.

“We are remarkably privileged up here to have this sort of environment.”

Paula Smalley, who runs Tigh Na Mara Bed and Breakfast, has been adapting her business in the wake of coronavirus.

However she is concerned the summer season will be impacted by less ferries operating due to restrictions.

“We’ve invested literally thousands of pounds to make sure we’re Covid ready,” Paula says.

“I had a full reservations book but now we’re looking at empty rooms because people couldn’t get bookings on the ferry.”

Cancellations have cost hoteliers on Coll tens of thousands of pounds, due to guests having to cancel bookings after being unable to secure ferry tickets.

Ferries are still operating at a reduced capacity, with only a third of the usual number of passengers allowed to travel to ensure safe social distancing. 

It is hoped that despite these setbacks, the Isle of Coll can welcome visitors again soon.