As we made our way over the machair towards...
Under the terms of the Land Reform Act (Scotland) you can visit and camp on Oronsay provided you avoid disturbing the birds (or other wildlife). The RSPB website still encourages visitors to visit their other reserve Loch Gruinart on Islay instead: "This site is one of several that due to its size, location and/or conservation sensitivity is not capable of accommodating large numbers of visitors (unless stated). Where possible, we have indicated the nearest equivalent RSPB nature reserve (Loch Gruinart) suitable for visiting."
Fortunately, they now have a rider at the bottom of the page which recognises your legal right to access the island: "This does not affect any statutory rights of access under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act or Land Reform (Scotland) Act legislation".
I joined the RSPB in 1973 when I started work as a ranger/naturalist with the National Trust for Scotland. Although I was a member for several decades, I left when it became clear their aim was to restrict public access to their reserve land.
Anyway the RSPB do not own Oronsay. The island belongs to a delightful American lady, Mrs Colburn, who we have found to be most welcoming of visitors. Indeed on our last visit we met her on the beach and helped her clear up plastic flotsam and jetsam.
As we passed her lovely house on the way to the Priory she waved to us from the window.
this post from our previous visit.
Some say St Oran gave his name to Oronsay but I rather doubt this as Oronsay is quite a common name for tidal islands on the west coast. It comes from the Old Norse and means "island of the ebb tide" which is exactly what Oronsay is. You can walk to it from neighbouring Colonsay at low tide.
Far from the Peace of Oronsay and away to the east, beyond the Paps of Jura, lie the lands that inspired Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It is a sad paradox that many lives in those lands that were at one time the cradle of civilisation are currently blighted by senseless violence and destruction.
You can read Ian's account here.