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Crime-free island rocked by first ever burglary?Edit

User:Coinneach323 edited the article to state that "it was wrongly reported that this was the first recorded crime of any significance ‘in current memory’." This may well be the case, but as this was the report in the media, and no source was provided to contradict it, I have reverted the change. Ben MacDui (Talk) 18:57, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

This statement has now been modified using 'The Herald' as a source. Ben MacDui (Talk) 08:57, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I remember this report vaguely. I think a visiting tradesman had done it. --MacRusgail 16:34, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

He could not have been charged with, or have confessed to, 'burglary', as there is no such crime in Scotland. It is called '(theft by) housebreaking'. Ceartas 12:42, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

You are quite right. Thanks for spotting this. Ben MacDui 12:56, 7 August 2010 (UTC)


What, weren't there any fish in the ocean around the island? What about small game like birds and hares? +Angr 16:01, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Well its the source that's speculating about this, presumably on the basis of the quantity of nuts being used relative to the potential amount of meat, especially in the absence of larger game. I fear we know very little about sea-fishing in the Scottish Mesolithic although Colonsay is a daunting sea journey with no guarantee of good weather so they must have had decent craft. I don't know if there are hares there today - I doubt it. Seabirds are typically taken in numbers where there are cliff nesting sites, and although a bow and arrow could probably bring down a few seagull or herons I suspect most of the species that are good to eat would be hard to take this way. Seals are a much more likely source and in modern times there are breeding populations on the islands south of Oronsay. However if they had been used extensively there would be bone material in the middens, which I am assuming was largely absent. Ben MacDui 18:06, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
White city folks :b Large game statistically provides the smallest percentage of meat in hunter gather societies. Seabirds can all be eaten if you don't mind the flavour, they can also be caught outside nesting season; polar people around the arctic rims use a tool that looks like a Lacrosse bat with a several meter long pole to catch them in flight. It's an amazing sight and a single person can catch several in an hour. Shellfish would have been abundant, even without adding deepwater fish to the menu. Ok, call it OR but I would say it would be virtually impossible to sustain a significant population on Colonsay without animal protein. Akerbeltz (talk) 19:42, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree with that, but the evidence does not suggest that this was a resident population at all, but rather one that arrived for a single season, made vast quantities of hazel nut paste for purposes unknown and then left again, never to return. Ben MacDui 19:54, 22 September 2009 (UTC) PS Please don't tell me you speak Inuit as well....
PPS There are substantial mesolithic shell middens on Oronsay, and Kiloran cave on Colonsay has the remains of all the usual domestic animals, but they date from the Neolithic.
Not fluently...
That doesn't mean they weren't there, we may just not have found them yet. Were sea levels higher or lower in the mesolithic? Akerbeltz (talk) 22:39, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Dean Munro (1594) records many hares on Oronsay. John Mercer (1974) claims that 'the last one was shot in 1927'. Dhmellor (talk) 09:51, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Useful info for a forthcoming "natural history" section - but they could have been introduced and eliminated several times over in the intervening period. W.H. Murray thinks Colonsay was part of an Ireland-Scotland land bridge 14,000 BP with sea levels rising slowly since then. It is very difficult to tell when it became an island, although I assume it was by 9,000 BP. Ben MacDui 17:29, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

I gather sea levels were about 15ft higher; that the mesolithic population of Oransay has been demonstrated to have enjoyed a largely marine diet, whilst that of Colonsay consumed mammals instead. Neither population would have been large - perhaps 30 or so persons between the two islands. The "vegetarians" were believed to be seasonal visitors exploiting local resources, possibly from a base in Islay - Kevin Byrne —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:30, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Gaelic nameEdit

Colonsay's name in gaelic, it should be noted, is varied. The music festival on the island goes by "Cholasa". The Brewery calls it "Cholbhasa". And a number of shirts on the island with its name on have "Colbhasa".

My Great Auntie, a native of the island and native gaelic speaker informed me before her death that the name had no "b" in it at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:49, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Numbers don't add upEdit

I'm not sure how seriously to take numbers in this article. The 2001-2011 population increase from 108 to 144 is described as nearly 15%, when that would be over 30% if those numbers are correct. And the two people employed by the microbrewery are described as about 10% of the island's workforce, which implies that the vast majority of residents are either children, unemployable, or retired. Could someone with more attachment to this article double-check the numbers, and if necessary make corrections? (talk) 04:27, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out. The total population figure was wrong - its 124 - and has been fixed. The brewery web link does state that it employs 10% of the island's workforce, although I agree that this is probably misleading. It must surely exclude crofters, farmers etc. who are self employed, so I have amended the text. Ben MacDui 07:37, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

There may very well be only 20 people on Colonsay with employee status, but I agree with MacDui that the term 'workforce' includes the self-employed, and there are quite a few of those on Colonsay, as on many other Scottish islands. Dhmellor (talk) 10:26, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

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