Friday 29 August 2014

Islay be back!

Leaving Port Ellen
McArthur's Head lighthouse
A long way down
The wee Bothy
Room with a view

The next morning we were heading back along the south of the island passing the three distillers again, not stopping this time! The weather was nice and calm at this point so we decided to carry on round the outside of the skerries. It was at this point the northerly wind decided to blow hard right down the Sound of Islay. We had a hard battle into a F5. We had hoped to pitch on the flat area below the lighthouse at McArthur's Head, however after landing and clambering to the base of the light, we decided we'd possibly be blown away, certainly we wouldn't be bothered with midges!

Nice and tidy
 We carried on to the bothy at Chladaich. It was nice getting a fire going, draping kit around and not having to bother about pitching a tent.

Looking over to Jura

Next morning was glorious. The wind had died, the sun was out and the tide was going in the right direction - perfect! We paddled out into the middle of the flow and had a gentle, but fairly fast paddle up past Port Askaig, passing the lighthouse at Rhuvaal and round the corner to watch another otter blissfully unaware of us, diving then coming up happily playing with his catch. After that we landed on the beach at Dhoruis over looking Oronsay and Colonsay,(another trip is calling).

 Lunch over,we went for a wee explore through the massive interlinking caves. We could only go so far in as we hadn't taken torches. When you see the size of them, it's a wonder they haven't all just collapsed, I guess they will eventually. Again it was good to see the stretch of coast we hadn't managed to paddle, it'll still be there for another trip! It was now time to turn and head back down the Sound, with the Bunnahabhain distillers being the first one to come our way. It would be rude not to stop, so we did. Up in the tiny visitors room, no comfy chairs to snooze in here, we (Alice and myself) sampled their lovely rich handcream, before we all had our obligatory tasting of a couple of whiskies, the 12 year is particularly tasty.
Arriving at Bunnahabhain
Don't ask - again!
No. 7
Back in the boats, we made our way the short distance to Caol Ila where we had a tour through the wonderful glass fronted still room, unfortunately photos weren't allowed here, it was then out into the warm sunshine for our tastings with another 4 being forced down our throats. Somehow we got  back in our boats for the very short drift back to Port Askaig where we pitched our tents in the garden of the hotel owner. A lovely fish tea in the hotel that evening (recommend it) was washed down with an Ardbeg, the only distillers we hadn't had a taste from.
No. 8 - Last one for Islay

Made it back

And the next one

And Ansgar

The next morning, our last,  the mingin' weather which was forecast had arrived. We had already decided not to paddle, but to take the ferry over to Jura. It would be a shame to try all the Islay distillers and not Jura. Hubby dear managed a double tasting as I would be driving.
Jura - No. 1

Our lunch spot

It wasn't long before we were loading the boats on the ferry back to Kennacraig with the anticipation of seeing if Ansgar's van was still there or if it had exploded after leaving fresh beefburgers in it for a week!

On the big boat
Another long drive home to tackle 2 weeks worth of wet, salty kit and possibly calling AA, but well worth it! Yet another fantastic trip, great paddling, great company, lots of giggles (nothing to do with the whisky!) Cheers Alice and Ansgar for organising it and as you said, we'll see you in a whirlpool soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment