It has taken me quite awhile to organize my photos from various travels this summer. Over the long weekend of June 25-28, I flew from Gatwick to Glasgow to Port Ellen (on Islay) in Scotland, mostly to make a pilgrimage to the distilleries of some of my favourite scotch whiskies, but also to do some hiking.
Some overall reflections:
- Islay is difficult to reach by someone who has limited time and doesn't drive. The flight connections were not great and bus/ferry connections are difficult, too.
- Arranging a guide was a good plan. She was knowledgeable and pleasant (and relieved that my goal wasn't just to drink as much as possible).
- When it comes to hiking, trust the ordnance survey maps. If they don't show a trail, there probably isn't one there.
- The trip confirmed my preferences for scotch whisky that is peated during the malting process. And it confirmed which ones I seem to have drifted toward: I especially like Lagavulin (16-year-old) and Caol Ila. LaPhroaig and Ardbeg are okay, and I don't care at all for Bruichladdich.
- It is amazing how small the major world-class distilleries are.
- Peat harvesting is common on the island and a fascinating process.
- The population of Islay is about the same as the population of Clinton, Ontario!
- Seven-mile beach is spectacular! If you go to Islay, make time to visit it. My favourite time during the visit was walking alone on the beach, facing into the wind, flying my kite.