Islay (pronounced ‘eye-la’), with a population of approximately 3,200, is on the same latitude as Gigha (see my post of April 6th 2017) and so shares its position as the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides Islands, off the west coast of Scotland. Along with the neighbouring island of Jura, it is known for its whisky. Eight distilleries produce the island’s characteristically peaty single malts.
The first written references to Islay come from St. Columba who set foot there in 560 AD. The historical significance of Islay cannot be over emphasised. It is from Finlaggan, the cradle of the Clan Donald, that much of Argyll was ruled by the Lords of the Isles. Here, in the ancient burial ground is the grave of Robert the Bruce’s grand-daughter.
For many visitors the famous distilleries on Islay are the first acquaintance with this hospitable and friendly island, but Islay has many other attractions and is well worth a visit to follow the beautiful coastline, walk its moorlands, and visit its small villages and historic settlements. The island has miles of beautiful beaches, impressive bays on Islay’s Atlantic west coast, and stunning views throughout. Walking and cycling are ideal and practical ways to explore the island. Islay is also a birdwatching paradise with more than 100 species of birds and thousands of migrating geese who visit Islay in the winter from the Arctic. Not without reason Islay is called “The Queen of the Hebrides”.
Below is a Gallery of just twelve of the photographs I took on a previous visit when the weather was not always as kind as it might have been. Clicking on any of the photographs will bring up a slide show with slightly larger images …