Bagging each of Scotland’s 282 Munros is perhaps the greatest physical challenge the country has to offer. But there are other ‘bagging’ experiences that require a bit less effort! The MacPhies of Colonsay and Oronsay are the perfect example. A MacPhie is defined as a point over 300ft on the islands and there are 22 of them which can be bagged in a single 20-mile walk, making it possible to complete the challenge in a day. Mark Beaumont completed the challenge on the last day of his Wild About Argyll adventure.
There’s no official starting and finishing point for bagging the MacPhies and no official record for completing the walk. A fit person might complete it in something like the 6 hours and 44 minutes it took one Eric Brown in 1996, but you’d have to be going some to match the 3 hours 56 minutes managed by elite fell runner Jethro Lennox in 2002. Of course, there’s no pressure to bag the MacPhies in a single day. Why not linger and discover the magical atmosphere as well as the fascinating history, flora and fauna of this tranquil island pair.
Colonsay and its much smaller conjoined neighbour Oronsay are Inner Hebridean islands separated only at high tide. If you’re planning a MacPhie-bagging trip you’ll need to know the tide times as one MacPhie is located on Oronsay. The islands lie about 15 miles south of Mull while to their south and east lie Islay and Jura. If you’re MacPhie bagging on a clear day you might just be able to make out the coast of Donegal in Ireland to the south west.