Off to Whisky Island – July 6

On our last trip, three years ago, we decided that the next time we visited Scotland we would definitely not move every night. Ahem. And so this morning we packed up all our stuff, had a wonderful fresh cooked breakfast and headed out to catch the ferry to Islay, because when it comes to vacation, we’re rather terrible at this relaxing thing. It was a little bit of a bummer because Tarbert (population: small) seemed like a neat little place to explore. And the view from our room was a lovely sight. 

None-the-less, we had whisky tastings to attend, and so on the ferry we hopped.  We first opted to sit inside and try to sleep. That was an abject failure, so we headed out on the deck. It was very breezy. And cold. 

Me on ferry: jeans, sweater, nano puff, hands jammed in pockets, hunched against the wind, thinking I should have brought my wind proof fleece hat, but still unwilling to go back inside and miss the view. 

Local woman on ferry: thin dress shorts, sandals, light windbreaker, not zipped. Accompanied by small children in shorts and flip flops. 

Chad was also bundled up and so I felt a bit silly when a local guy in shorts and flip flops, holding his infant in what I would describe as clothes for a scorching hot day, looks over at us and says completely seriously, “Lovely weather for a crossing.” 

Us: “Yes” while leaning into the buffeting wind, hair sailing behind me like a windsock. (I am clearly not built for this weather, sorry cold climate ancestors, the Mediterranean genes clearly won out. )

The ferry landed and disgorged us at 12:38. We had to be at Lagavulin by 1:30. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and there were 2.6 miles between us and our tour. And thus began our first full on forced march and it only took us until the 3rd day!

I’d like to remind you that A. we were wearing jeans B. the sky devoid of clouds, and C. there was no breeze and no shade. Oh, and we were wearing our very full backpacks. To say we were a wee bit sweaty when we arrived at Lagavulin would be by far an understatement! Fortunately, the waiting area was nice and cool. Thank god for old, thick-walled, stone buildings!

We had a nice tour, although like the other distillery we’d toured last time there were no photos allowed inside. Although our tour guide did let us do a little cheat and take a photo of the stills from outside the door.

At one point we popped out on the bay side of the building and what a view! We could see ruins of a watchtower.

We went to the end of the pier, but it wasn’t quite enough to get the much sought after photo with the black lettered Lagavulin building. As you can see the best you can do is this….

Our tour included not only a tasting, but really nice glasses with the distillery logo – that I am now responsible for hauling 3000+ miles home in one piece.

Ok. First tour done. We had just under an hour to get to our next tour at Laphroaig which was only a mile or so down the road. We’d hustled past it on our way up the path. We were very early, which was nice. So we wander around and relax. Plus get coffee! Because nothing screams cool and refreshing like a nice cup of coffee when you’re sweating to death.

The Laphroaig tour was quite a bit bigger and included an obnoxious overly-dorked out guy who was practically vibrating the whole tour. Even with uber dork, the tour was great. And shockingly we could take all the photos we wanted, which was a complete surprise! Like this one of me on the malting floor….

And this one of Chad on the malting floor next floor up, which was not in use at the time.

Chad was quite taken with the tiny little peat oven that was used to smoke the malt. It really was tiny little thing, considering how peaty Laphroaig is.

The view from the dock was just as lovely as the previous one, but with the bonus of being able to get the iconic photo without a side trip! Hooray!

Finishing up in the museum – this was my favorite bit of trivia pictured below –  we had quite a few options to sample. Trying to choose wisely is both possible and impossible since I’d only ever had one previous variety from this distillery, so I simply trusted that I’d be happy with whatever I chose. And I was.

It was now time to head back into town and seek out our Air BnB which was a first floor flat in someone’s back garden. We popped around a corner off one of the main streets and I was immediately reminded again why I love the Victorian concept of space. Let’s just build a two story building in our back garden! Seriously, it’d be like us deciding to do a small apartment in our backyard. Also, let’s add two sheds, one for laundry one for shed stuff.

Next stop….dinner. I had fish pie. Yes. Fish pie. It was delicious. Creamy sauce, fresh caught salmon and haddock, covered with crust reminiscent of shepherds pie, but crunchier. Nom nom nom nom.

We ended the evening with a walk on Kilnaughton Bay. It was completely deserted and we couldn’t figure out why. Not that we were complaining about having it all to ourselves, by any means. (We later figured out that World Cup Soccer was the reason it was deserted, unless you were in a pub.)

Check out the gallery – there are a lot more photos in it that I didn’t use. And I even captioned them so you were looking at them going, uh, nice photo of…..a thing?

chris on July 6th 2018 in Travel

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply