The Isle of Coll lies somewhere between Mull and Tiree in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland. To get there you have to find your way to Oban then take a ferry or plane. It’s well worth the journey though, once you get there you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful coastal scenery and the warmest of welcomes from the local residents.
The Isle of Coll sits about four miles west of Mull, is approximately 13 miles long and 3 miles at its widest. Local residents total 220 and along with the plentiful natural beauty there are also 2 castles, both currently lived in by local families (not tourists attractions unfortunately).
The Coll Half Marathon has become a major event on the island with most of the locals getting involved one way or another. Many runners return year after year to do the event, purely to enjoy the scenery and indulge in Coll hospitality.
Graham Parker from our Barrow showroom decided to take himself up to Scotland and run the Coll Half Marathon and shares his adventures below.
Graham's Coll Adventure
Firstly a huge thank you to everyone who supported by sponsoring me, together a fantastic £300 has been raised for Project Trust, so a great effort all round. Well done!
It was an early start from Oban with a 6am ferry journey that would last 3 hours. The forecast wasn’t ideal due to the wind and an ‘amber warning’ was in place, meaning the ferry might not actually sail, but thankfully we were given the go ahead. Once we arrived on Coll, which is essentially a fairly flat lump of rock with a maximum height just over 100m, the wind really kicked in! Not overly helpful when you are trying to pitch a tent, but I wasn’t going to be beaten this early on and eventually got the tent pegged and my camp for the weekend was set up.
The race started at 2pm on the Saturday and to welcome us to the start of our adventure the rain started. The rain was soon forgotten when we finally set off on our half mile adventure running directly into a 30mph head wind - I understand now why there are no trees on Coll!
By half way, courtesy of the wind, I had already dropped 6 minutes compared to my previous time. At the next ‘water stop’ I did actually accept a tot of whisky, but to my credit turned down the red wine at the next one. There then followed a long (make that very long!!) road back to the finish and the 2 hour time clicked up as I approached the 12 mile mark.
I made it to the finish line and in the end came a respectable 103rd with a time of 2 hours 10 minutes and 58 seconds. Maybe a little disappointed but hey, I’m older, fatter and drink too much (maybe that red wine might have helped though??), so what could I really expect. Just to finish is a great achievement and it was such a good weekend and most importantly we helped raise £300 for Project Trust.
If anyone fancies having a go next year take a look at the website, you won’t be disappointed.