Folks who don't live on Tiree may be surprised to know that there are many Tirisdeach who have never visted Coll. I know loads of them. And I'm not just talking young people, here: this includes people my own age and older.
When I ask 'why did you never go to Coll?' the answer is usually something like, 'why would I go to Coll?'
Curiosity doesn't come into it. Hard working crofters and their families are not just going to stop off at an adjacent island just because 'it's there'. In the old days, I suppose, holidays were far and few between. When you went off the island it was to experience something completely different. Glasgow, for instance.
For those of you who have never been, Coll is very different from Tiree. It's not as flat for one thing and there are a few trees (gasp), although not many.
Because it is rockier, with more nooks and crannies in the landscape, Coll seems to harbour a greater amount of bird species. And, while Tiree has hares but no rabbits, there are plenty of little bunnies running around our neighbour across the Gunna Sound.
There is a hotel which serves excellent food. A local shop, a pottery at the pier and a self-service community run petrol station, too. I can't think of anything else in the way of facilities but there's bound to be more.
The population (according to Wilipedia) is 164 but I think it's probably about 180.
Tonight we will pack a few things into the car, pick up our friends' luggage and then head off to Coll in the morning for the Half Marathon.
I always enjoy visiting Coll. A few years back I went over with the specific intention of walking around the island. It didn't take long, actually.
I remember being surprised by how different it was compared to Tiree. Of course, this weekend I will take my camera with me and attempt to illustrate this.