Family travel snap: making memories in the Hebrides

For our family travel snap this month we’re joining Lonely Planet Magazine’s Alice Braham and her family for their regular trip to Colonsay in Scotland.

Kids Blog - Alice
Jumping the waves at Cable Bay © Alice Braham

What’s the story behind this photo?

This is my middle son Ronnie (5) jumping over the waves at Cable Bay. His brothers Sam (7) and Harry (3) are building an ambitious sandcastle behind us. Cable Bay is a little cove on the east coast of Colonsay in the Hebrides, only reached by a long walk through sheep fields and sand dunes. When we arrived – everyone carrying baskets, towels and balls – we were happy to discover that we had the beach to ourselves.

It was a lovely day. We had a big picnic lunch on the beach and explored some of the caves. Then Grandad devised one of his famous treasure hunts, involving one-legged pirates, digging in the caves and treasure hauled up by a rope!

I chose this photo as it makes me feel happy and reminds me what a great holiday we had. It was our third time to the island as a family (I used to go on family holidays with my parents who in fact first met on the island in 1974!) and we enjoy it more each time we go. The boys love the familiarity of going back time and again, and we all have the sense of it being ‘our island’ when we are there.

Kids’ perspectives

Ronnie: ‘We lost our Frisbee in the sea! Daddy tried to swim out to find it but it sank.’

Sam: ‘We were singing to the seals who came to see us.’

Harry: ‘Grandad did us a treasure hunt and we ate lots of chocolate.’

Alice’s tips for visiting Colonsay with kids

1) Be prepared for any weather – you need flip-flops and wellies, swimming costumes and macs! It can be four seasons in one day here so it’s best to take lots of indoor games for the rainy days.

2) Make the most of how family-friendly and welcoming the island is. The one hotel/restaurant/pub organises a weekly movie night, where the kids are looked after while the adults enjoy a civilised meal.

3) Consider taking the longer and more scenic ferry from Kennacraig. The ferry from Oban is quicker but the kids love arriving by ferry so why rush?

Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?

We would like to go back to the Greek islands. We have visited Patmos and Rhodes as a family and loved them both. Everyone in Greece seems to adore children, and you know the weather will be great too.

Lastly, complete the sentence:

When we shut the front door ready to go and travel as a family, we always…

…pack a backpack for each of the boys, stuffed with things to do on the journey and plenty of snacks to minimise moaning (‘Are we there yet?’), fights in the back and pit stops!

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