Cladhach is a collection of three or four houses - barely a hamlet - on the single track road which ends at Ballyhogh, beneath Coll's highest point (a humble three hundred feet or so).
Highland cattle happily occupy the immediate hinterland to Cladhach Bay, as well as several fields to the south of the hamlet. It is a scene which defies the passage of time; it is easy to imagine that not a thing has changed in three or four hundred years.
The appearance of the landscape on the island is also constant; the northern section resembles a currant bun with chunks of rock protruding everywhere, while the southern half is softer and flatter with big sand dunes prominent behind the two gorgeous bays at Crossapol and Feall.
Coll is blessed with long hours of sunshine in spring and early summer, although it is also notorious for above average wind (the main reason that its near neighbour, Tiree, enjoys a growing reputation in wind-surfing circles).
With a population of 150, it is hard to believe that this island is self-sufficient, but some 7000 sheep and around 1000 cattle testify to the success of farming, while the tourist industry remains vital to the local economy. The villagers of Arinagour and those who run small businesses there eagerly look forward to the daily arrival of the Calmac ferry from Oban. Were that lifeline to be removed - for whatever reason - the painful decline of another Scottish island could be the only consequence. Thankfully, with four new houses being constructed on the island, the signs are all positive.
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