Isle of Islay

Port Ellen Sunset
Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Just been on a trip to the Isle of Islay (pronounced Il-lah) for a spot of rambling and bird watching. This is one of the southern most islands of the Inner Hebrides and is a great place for birding.
It’s remote. After driving up past Glasgow it’s a long way on ‘A’ roads twisting around past all the lochs to reach the port of Kennacraig and then its over two hours on a boat to the island.
We arrive in the dark and stayed at a self catering cottage in Port Ellen. It was exciting to wake up in the morning to find we were staying yards from a remote beach with only oyster catchers for company. If you are not a birder you need to know that oyster catchers are waders with long red beaks and they roam around at low tide trying to find tasty things to eat.
The island is the holiday home not to English tourists but thousands of barnacle geese from Greenland. They spend their days grazing on the grasslands around the island and one can spend many happy days looking at them through binoculars trying to spot the odd pink footed goose that come down in smaller numbers. Each estuary around the island is a haven for many other water birds including many waders and divers. There are eagles though I didn’t see one, hen harriers, buzzards and other raptors. The beaches are great for watching the world go by and beach combing. If its raining take a tour of one of the several whisky distilleries for Islay is one of the best places in Scotland for malt whisky. My favourite is Ardberg but go for at least a 10 year old.
I shall post some more blogs on walks and places to eat for the ravenous ramblers amongst you so keep your eyes on this space.


2 Responses

  1. after a working a summer long on a mine canalboat I love to go to the Hebrids, Islay is one of the best places to stay, nice people good food, and when I am there with 1 or 2 friends we rent a lodge at the Macherie near the airport. next time spend also time on Jura and see the corryvrecken. good place to eat lobster is at the pub/hotel at Port Askaig.
    Barra istarts the fun by arriving on the beach by plane,
    should be nice if this airstrip was a ”international” airport, good lobster and coquilles.

  2. Thanks for your comment. We did spend a glorious day on Jura – you are quite right – it is definitely worth it although we didn’t have time to get to up to the corryvrechen.

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