Coll of the Sharks Festival is the annual basking shark and ocean festival based on the Isle of Coll. With the idillic Hebridean waters surrounding Coll being the worldwide hotspot for basking sharks, where better to have a shark festival! 4 days of shark and marine based events, for enthusiasts, adults, kids, locals and visitors alike.
Thursday 4th August 2016 – Sunday 7th August 2016 – Isle of Coll. Scotland.
The festival is a long weekend of events surrounding the the wonderful marine environment of the Isle of Coll.
During the festival you can take boat trips to see or swim with the sharks and other wildlife. Scuba diving trip are being organised so you can sample some of the underwater delights of the Hebrides, snorkelling trip with the local seals, land based island tours, sunset trips and guided tours of the island can also be taken.
The showpiece event is a guest speaker presentation evening, which is happening on the Saturday night in the An Cridhe hall.
Please see a blog from the 2013 festival here and the video report from the ONE Show who also visited the festival. Presenter Sarah Mack getting her first taste of seeing the sharks up close and personal!
Where is Coll?
The Isle of Coll is a Hebridean island sitting a few miles to the west of Mull. An idicllic island paradise fringed by unspoiled white sand beaches and washed by pristine Atlantic seas. Although it has the same microclimate, Coll loses out to it’s better known neighbour of Tiree, as being the sunniest place in the whole of the UK! With only a few hundred people living on the island, it remains undisturbed and a haven for wildlife. Far from population mass, the marine environment is special with whales and dolphins regular visitors, along with large numbers of migrating basking sharks and large resident seal colonies. Underwater the reefs are a kaleidoscope of colour, rock surfaces are covered is soft corals, kelp forests sway in the tide and fish patrol along without the fear of large scale fishing. The area is under consideration for a marine reserve and the credentials speak for themselves!
What can I do on Coll and at the Festival?
As well as being a great attraction for folks wanting to see the sharks, the festival is a great excuse to visit Coll with friends, partners and families. There are stunning walks, unspoiled beaches, historical ruins to explore, bike and kayak hire available, cafes and restaurants to dine in or the hotel bar to sample a wee dram. There are a number of boat based excursions being organised along with the Saturday presentation evening. Land based tours will also be available, or you can self guide yourself around the island. As of 2014, Coll has also been designated a Dark Sky island which means there is very little light pollution. Being August means you don’t have to be up too late too see the incredible stars as you’ve never seen them before!
Four hour trip round the islands looking for sharks and other wildlife. Swimmers and watchers welcome.
Morning – 8am- 12:00pm
Seal & Lagoon Sunsets
Sunset trip to the stunning islands where you can swim with hundreds of seals and snorkel round the reefs in pristine waters. There will be a kayaking options and you can land on a remote beach and watch the sun set in Hebridean paradise!
Evening Tour 17:30pm-20:30pm
Evening Dive Tour
Scuba diving for qualified divers.
Evening Trip 19:00pm-21:00pm
2016 Programme Schedule
Thursday 4th August
Four Day Festival Shark Trip Commences (Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun)- 2 spaces remaining
19:00 – Evening Scuba Dive
Friday 5th August
Fast Ferry from Oban – 08:30am Departure (12 spaces)
12:30pm -16:30pm – Afternoon Basking Shark Tour (12 spaces)
17:30pm-20:30pm – Seal Swimming or Kayaking & Lagoon Sunset (12 spaces)
Saturday 6th August
08:00-12:00pm – Morning Basking Shark Tour (12 spaces)
12:30-16.30pm - Afternoon Basking Shark Tour (12 spaces)
18:00 – Coll of the Sharks Evening
To book please fill in the online form for what trips and accommodation you want. CLICK HERE.
Saturday Night Presentations – Free Event
See the link for the blog and pictures from 2013, we packed out the whole hall with people travelling from miles around. Informative great speakers with old and new friends – what an amazing night!
Using the excellent An Cridhe community centre, COTS 2016 will follow the same format with a bar and nibbles to start the evening off, then moving into the main hall for entertaining presentation on basking sharks, the marine environment and adventure. Guest speakers are planned to announced shortly, however a confirmed speaking will be Dr Mauvis Gore from Marine Conservation International will return to update everyone on her long terms study of the Hebridean basking sharks and site fidelity to the local waters.
Getting to Coll!
You need to make your own way to Coll via the Calmac Ferry from Oban or otherwise you can come on Thursday with us direct (fast ferry) to/from Oban for £30 one way. For information on getting to Oban and the ferry terminal – click here.
For details for the Ferry from Oban to Coll see this link to the Calmac Website and timetable.
What about a fast journey in style? How about flying up through stunning highland and island scenery whilst doing some wildlife spotting on the way up? The airport is about 10min from town and pick ups can be arranged. See the schedule of scheduled flight from Oban with Hebridean Air (£40-65 one way) - http://www.hebrideanair.co.uk/flights/Oban_Scheduled_Timetable.html
Accommodation is very limited on Coll . There is free camping on the island too, with showers and toilets available at the community centre.
Bunkhouse – Bunk rooms (6 per room) with kitchen/living rooms, separate showers and toilets. Self catering. Please book this through us. £25/pp
B&B – Double/Twin/Family Rooms. Ensuite. Breakfast included. See Tigh Na Mara
Hotel – Twin/Double/Family Rooms. Ensuite Breakfast included. See Coll Hotel.
4 day tour inc 3 nights accommodation – £600
Oban – Coll Fast Ferry – £30
1/2 Day Basking Shark Tour
Watchers – £60
Swimmers U16/Students – £80
Adult Swimmer – £90
Full Day Basking Shark Tour
Watchers – £100
Swimmers U16/Students – £150
Adult Swimmer – £160
Watchers – £40
Swimmers U16/Students/Kayaking – £60
Adult Swimmer – £80
Dive Trip – £30
Snorkel Equipment Hire – £20 pppd
Dive Gear Hire – £50 pppd