I think Frank Cowper got these islands wrong when he wrote: "As for Tiree and Coll, the less said about them the better". His problem was the lack of safe anchorages which to some extent is still true today, even with our engines and chart plotters.
Every island has its own character. Coll’s is Outer Hebridean even though it is firmly part of the Inner Hebrides; similar forbidding and grim eastern coastline, and similar delightful beaches on the western coastline. It has a population of about 200. Something like a third of the houses on Coll are holiday or second homes these days, so most of the locals appear to be English (no harm in that, it just seems a bit odd in the outermost of the Inner Hebrides). Coll is probably best known outside Scotland as the home of Project Trust and inside Scotland as the home of Mairi Hedderwick who wrote the lovely Katie Morag children's stories. She also wrote The Last Laird of Coll, Birlinn, 2011, a rather nice account of how most of Coll was once owned by a family who latterly farmed it and eventually in 1991 let most of their remaining estate go to the islanders. Interestingly Coll too had a 'Whisky Galore' second world war moment when the Nevada ran aground in Struan Bay - an easy walk from the Sorisdale anchorage - and deposited thousands of cigarettes for the islanders to squirrel away. In 2008 a commercial air service to Coll was launched from Oban airport of all places – we will see how long it lasts.
Tiree, the final inhabited island I got round to sailing to, is completely different to Coll and everywhere else. It reminds me of Connemara – flat with occasional mountains poking up in the distance, although unlike Ireland the mountains are on different land masses (Jura, Mull, Rum and Skye). Tiree is so flat and low that global warming and a rise in sea level could do for it; imagine the chart in a hundred years, no Tiree just a couple of rocks – Sgeir Hough and Sgeir Hynish! It is not much visited by boaties, I guess because there is no all weather anchorage, indeed there are only three anchorages of any sort in the sailing directions and the main one – Gott Bay - is exposed to the south and east, and not all that attractive. However, take a windsurfer, Tiree is famous for wind and waves (and the sunshine). Strangely, given about 800 people live on Tiree, there seems to be remarkably little in the way of good cafes or pubs within easy reach of the anchorages. The two hotels are hardly hugely welcoming (quite unlike the Coll Hotel), and the Ceabhar Guesthouse and Restaurant at Sandaig is too far away although it certainly looks attractive from its website.