Coll of the Sharks Festival is the annual Basking Shark festival based on the Isle of Coll. With the idillic Hebridean waters surrounding Coll being the main Scottish (and possible worldwide) hotspot for basking sharks, where better to have a shark festival! 6 days of shark and marine based events, for enthusiasts, adults, kids, locals and visitors alike.
Thursday 21st August 2014 – Tuesday 26th August 2014 – Isle of Coll. Scotland.
We are delighted to be welcoming the world to Scotland as part of the Homecoming Scotland 2014 celebrations!
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 self 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. The evening will bring locals and visitors together to the home of Scottish basking sharks! In 2013 we had a full house and 4 excellent presentations!
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- 12pm
Sunset trip to the islands where you can swim/dive with hundreds of seals or snorkel round the reefs in pristine waters. You can land on a remote beach and watch the sun set in Hebridean paradise!
Evening Dive Trip
Scuba diving for qualified divers. Depths 5-30m diving on a colourful reefs, shallow diving with seals or wreck dive(15m-25m). Night dives also possible.
Evening Trip 6pm-9pm
We have a plane chartered for a unique birds eye view of the islands of Coll and Tiree, whilst spotting sharks and other wildlife. The flight is 30min from Coll and there is space for 7 passengers only on this unique opportunity! Cost £109pp
Sunday 24th Aug – 15:45 – 16:15 (meet 15min before or get a lift from Arinagour).
2014 Programme Schedule
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 last year, we packed out the whole hall with people travelling from miles around. 4 great speakers with old and new friends – what an amazing night!
Using the excellent An Cridhe community centre, COTS 2014 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 TBC.
Getting to Coll!
You need to make your own way to Coll via the Calmac Ferry from Oban (£19.90 return as a foot passenger) or otherwise you can come on Thursday and leave on Tuesday with us direct (fast ferry) to/from Oban for £30 one way or £50 return. 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 but we have secured a range of accommodation to suit everyones tastes which can be booked through us. There are also Self Catering houses on the island which you may wish to stay for a longer period if you have a large group or family. There is also 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.
B&B – Double/Twin/Family Rooms. Ensuite. Breakfast included.
Hotel – Twin/Double/Family Rooms. Ensuite Breakfast included.
£60 Adults, £40 Kids Per Trip, Diving £40, Snorkel Gear Hire £20
- Shark Quickie – £140
Two shark trips, come to the shark evening and one nights bunk accommodation. Travel up Saturday morning (7am ferry) and return Sunday afternoon (5pm arrive). A chance to get up for the weekend but no time off work!
- Shark LongWeekender – £300
1 full day shark trips, 2 1/2 day trips, a sunset seal trip, 2 nights bunk accommodation. Travel up Friday morning (545am ferry) and return Sunday afternoon (5pm arrive). Take Friday off and enjoy a the shark evening and more opportunities to see the sharks, seals and other wildlife.
- Shark Extended Weekender – £460
2 Full days shark trips, 2 1/2 day trips,a sunset seal trip, dive trip, 3 nights bunk accommodation. Travel up Friday morning (545am ferry) and return Monday afternoon (430pm arrive). Make a long weekend of it, this will give you the best of everything with just a couple of days off. More chances of encounters and getting the best opportunities.
- Ultimate Sharks – £650
The whole shooting match. Travel up with us Thursday and head back Tuesday. 4 full days shark trips, 2 1/2 day trips, 2 sunset seal trips and 2 dive trips. 5 nights bunk accommodation.If you don’t want to miss anything then go for this package. This package will suit those who want to maximise all the shark and wildlife opportunities. Recommended for photographers and enthusiasts.
- Based on a twin share ensuite B&B (either twin/double) - £25per person per night extra
- Based on twin share ensuite Hotel B&B(either twin/double) -£45per person per night extra