Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Isles to Be - Little Colonsay - and Mars?

I have been posting on islands that I have not yet been able to visit. While deciding which island to write about next, I noticed, on my blog statistics page, that a post I did on Little Colonsay last year, an island I've never been to, had a large number of hits in the past week. I had to scratch my head; why the sudden interest in Little Colonsay?

Little Colonsay
An internet search on "Little Colonsay" answered the question. It was a surprising answer: Mars. It seems the Mars Rover has come across a strange, shiny rock of some sort, possibly a meteorite.

"Little Colonsay" - photo NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL
Why the mysterious rock was named "Little Colonsay" is not mentioned in any of the news stories on the find. The rock is certainly not shaped like the island. I can only guess the name came from a scientist who likes obscure Hebridean islands. (My kind of scientist!)

Little Colonsay is one of my Isles to Be. I have seen it from afar on multiple occasions, but have never set foot on it. Here is what Hamish Haswell-Smith's has to say about the island in his book The Scottish Islands:

This is a nice little island in a stunning setting...on a calm sunny day it is easy to be enthralled until you remember that the southwest is entirely exposed to the Atlantic with no sheltering landmass between Little Colonsay and the shores of America.

Little Colonsay seen from Ulva
Prior to the clearances the population peaked at 16 in 1841. An old map show a small cluster of ruined houses, but these days there is only one intact home on the island; a Victorian mansion that has been extensively remodeled. As I said in my post last year, someday I hope to set foot on Little Colonsay. I would climb to the summit of Torr Mor to enjoy the view over the amazing constellation of historic islands that dot the sea between Ulva and Iona.

Mansion on Little Colonsay

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