Amenities on the Isle of Coll
Coll has no theme parks, amusement arcades or parking meters, no street or traffic lights, no double yellow lines, no traffic jams or road rage, no rushing about, no light pollution (you really MUST come here mid winter to see the stars - and the Aurora Borealis), no today's newspaper (only yesterday's if you're lucky), no police and most of all, no pressure.
What Coll has is a general store, a 'health' store, a post office, a petrol station, an hotel, a café, two gift shops, a handful of talented artisans/artists and an eclectic mix of odd-bods who choose to live on this wild and secret island.
The island has a resident doctor and nurse. The Medical Centre is just outside Arinagour village - Location - on the road to the west end of Coll. For opening times please see opening times. A dentist, optician and chiropodist visit the island on a regular basis. In a medical emergency a helicopter will take you to the mainland (weather permitting).
The island has a volunteer fire serveice (more here) and a volunteer coastguard service. For any emergency service dial 999 as usual. Coll's local policeman lives on Tiree so should you need the police you may have to wait a couple of days for the next ferry or, in a real emergency, a helicopter to arrive (again only if weather permits). It's hard to imagine, however, why anyone would want a policeman on Coll !
The emergency services here do NOT have flashing lights on their vehicles (which are ordinary cans/vans)
please don't delay anyone in a hurry - it might be a real emergency.
Coll Community Centre (An Cridhe) - Location -
July 1012 saw the opening of Coll's community centre. Situated in Arinagour, the centre is open most of the day and offers displays of art, toilets and showers as well as hosting a variety of daytime and evening events. For more information please see here.
Kiddies Play Park.
There is a kiddies play park in Arinagour, behind the Island Stores - Location. It is supported by local fundraising and is open to all visiting children (any donations for further improvement/additions are always welcome !).
There are no street lights on Coll (and long may it remain that way !) so if you visit off-season make sure you have several reliable torches. In mid winter it is VERY dark around new moon. Most Collachs carry at least two torches on their person and one spare in their car. Wind-up tourches are becoming more and more popular.
There is no cash machine on Coll.
The hotel, café and petrol station take most credit/debit cards. The Island Stores only takes cash or cheques (with guarantee card), no credit/debit cards.
Mobile phone coverage is limited and supplied by a privately owned mast near Ben Hogh. This is for Vodaphone customers only (4G !) and covers about 75% of the island. The signal is relatively week and may not penetrate houses or cars, and there are many dead spots. During power cuts it usually doesn't work as the battery back-up is so minimal.
Users of other networks may get a signal at Sorisdale, the main pier or the beaches close to Tiree.
There is a public phone box (remember them?) next to the public toilets at the middle pier in Arinagour - Location. Unfortunately, it's a classic BT phone box and the door is usually hanging off it's hinges, they aren't designed for Hebridean winds. Other payphones are located in the hotel lobby and inside terminal building #1 at Coll airstrip. There is no payphone at the ferry terminal.
The public toilets are at the middle pier, next to the phone box, in Arinagour - Location.
There is one church on Coll, the Kirk overlooking the village of Arinagour. For information about services please contact Neil in the Island Stores (01879 230484).
The island has a bustling primary school situated in the village of Arinagour, with close on 30 pupils. For secondary education, pupils go to Oban (boarding in a purpose built hostel) travelling back to Coll for weekends.
There is no vet on Coll, the nearest being on Tiree, Anne Stanley, tel 01879 220571 or 07769 332912