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Coll

An island of Argyll and Bute in the Inner Hebrides, Coll lies to the northwest of Mull and northeast of Tiree. Its principal settlement and ferry port is Arinagour which lies 19 miles (31 km) west of Tobermory. The island, which rises to 104m (341 feet) at Ben Hogh, is just over 12 miles (19 km) long and between one and three miles (1.5 to 5 km) in width. It has an area of 7685 ha (18,989 acres) and mostly comprises metamorphic schist covered with grass and heather. The island was unable to support a population of 1440 in 1841 and the Maclean chieftain of Coll encouraged half the population to emigrate to Australia and Canada before selling the island to John Lorne Stewart in 1856. Having at first promoted the clearance of the island, the Stewarts later repopulated the island with Ayrshire dairy farmers who marketed a well known variety of cheese. The population is recorded as 147 (1961), 144 (1971), 131 (1981), 172 (1991), 164 (2001) and 195 (2011). The 15th-century Breachacha Castle was restored by the Project Trust, a youth training scheme and in 2013 the island was awarded 'Dark Skies' status by the International Dark Skies Association, making it one of the best stargazing locations in Britain. Coll has an airstrip and is linked by ferry to Tiree, Oban and Tobermory on Mull.


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