Whalebone Arch on the Island of Coll

Coll Whalebone  025

The island of Coll is roughly fifty miles from the Scottish mainland, hidden from view by Mull. This whalebone arch, looking a bit sorry for itself, is what greets you at the pier when you step off the ferry. It comes apparently from a washed up Fin whale and it looks like it was quite a big one. There used to be a lot more of these things around. I remember as a child coming across one in a park in Hull. I have forgotten everything else about that day: where it was, who I was with, or what I was doing there. Even when you just came off a ferry that swallows 40-tonne trucks whole, they seem strange and wondrously large:

Let us now with whatever levers and steam-engines we have at hand, cant over the sperm whale’s head, that it might lie bottom up; then, ascending by a ladder to the summit, peep down into the mouth; and were it not that the body is now completely separated from it, with a lantern we might descend into the great Kentucky Mammoth Cave of his stomach.

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2 Comments on “Whalebone Arch on the Island of Coll”

  1. jonny says:

    I spent a heady summer on Coll a shocking 22 years ago when I was 21; labouring, fishing, living in a caravan on a cliff, drinking in the pub in arinagour, walking, swimming, falling in love with a local girl, of course, and enjoying the almost midnight sun together. this post brought it all spinning back to me.