Beekeeping Courses on Colonsay

The following are some house-keeping details that might help with the enjoyment of your weekend.

Travel to Colonsay

The ferry leaves Oban for Colonsay at 16.30 on Friday.  

Remember all passengers and vehicles (if you are bringing one) must check in by 16.00. 

Traffic in Oban town centre can be very busy during the summer months and delays of 15-30 minutes are possible, just to get through the town.  Give yourself plenty of time.   

There are no parking facilities for Caledonian McBrayne near the ferry terminal. There is a long stay car park (charged over weekend) behind Tesco Supermarket (not Tesco’s own car park!). However, you must allow at least 15 minutes walking time to get to the ferry terminal. 

The only long stay car park in Oban is at the Atlantis Leisure Centre (easily found on left hand side of hill coming down into Oban from the north )  However, it is often full during the summer months, so allow plenty of time to find your parking space.

Arriving on Colonsay

I shall meet course participants who arrive on foot from the ferry’s gangplank on docking.  If you come by car or bicycle you will disembark via the car deck and the flow of traffic will take you to Colonsay Pier Terminal and car park.  Please try and wait there for me to arrive with foot passengers.  The Colonsay terminal car park is often full with out-going vehicles.  If so, there is another car park 50 yards on the left near the Village Hall and shop.  Wait until the Terminal car park clears and then you will be able to return and meet me.  Please do not go to the Hotel, your holiday cottage, B&B without first meeting me.  I will not know you have arrived and you will not know where to meet on Saturday morning!!

I shall then take those staying at the Backpackers to their destination, along with their luggage.   If you are staying at the Backpackers, a vehicle will be left for your use over the weekend, so that you can return to the village for an evening meal etc.

The course will start from the Backpackers or another agreed location at 9am Saturday morning. 


Please remember that you must not bring any used beekeeping suit, veils, gloves etc to the island This includes equipment that has been laundered.  All will be supplied.  Bring stout footwear, boots etc.  Some prefer wellingtons, but remember they can be unpleasant, if the weather is warm.  Remember a notebook or some prefer to bring a camera to help as a memory jogger.  We spend as much time in the apiaries as possible, if the weather allows.  If you are an elderly participant you might find standing for a long time difficult.  A small fold out seat, shooting stick etc. can be valuable.

Bring a thermos flask, juice, biscuits etc.  We start at 9 am and break for lunch at the Pantry around 1 pm.  You will need a refreshment break.  Water can be important if the weather is hot.

Evening Meals

For those staying at the Backpackers, there are kitchen facilities to cook evening meals.  Evening meals are also available at the Pantry (01951 200325) or Colonsay Hotel (01951 200316).  It is advisable to book ahead in order not to be disappointed, as the island can be very busy in the summer months.   It is advisable to book ahead in order not to be dissapointed, as the island can be very busy in the summer months.


We will NOT be able to go to the shop during the course.  Remember to bring all those little extras.  Batteries for the camera.  Coffee, tea, biscuits etc.   

Postcards are for sale at the Pantry, where we have our lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Bee Stings

It is assumed for insurance and liability purposes that all participants have been previously stung by bees and know that they are not allergic to bee stings.

Beekeeping Books for Beginners

There are so many books written about beekeeping that a beginner is often spoilt for choice and worse, will often find conflicting opinions and ideas of the “right way” to undertake various tasks and indeed to manage and husband bees.

I advise beginners to read as widely as possible in the knowledge that the skilled beekeeper is as much craftsman as scientist.  The basic facts and scientific knowledge must be learnt (and here books are so valuable).  The craftmanship can only be learnt from experience and observation whilst handling the bees.  There is often no “right way” but the craftsman does the right thing at the right time!

Guide to Bees and Honey – Ted Hooper

Beginners Bee Book – Clive de Bruyn and Margaret Thomas

Beekeeping – David Cramp

Principals of Practical Beekeeping – Robert Couston