Isle of Islay

Fairy Hill Cottage, Isle of Islay, Scotland

This is another ‘Islay Cottage’  but this time, a sweet little Victorian one.  We passed Fairy Hill Cottage in Kildalton, Islay,  which is at the end of the Whisky trail, after passing the distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and finally Ardbeg, all of which we did visit.  The little cottage is at the foot of Fairy Hill, which is in the heart of a designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.  You pass through the bluebell wood before you reach the cottage, which makes it a little bit more magical, but I only managed to get a little of the hill.  I think the Fairy Hill is called Cnoc Rhaonastil, and was long known to be the place of the faerie-folk and it’s thought that the Queen of Faerie herself lived here. 

May 2016 – Isle Islay, Scotland  

An Island Cottage

Today, the weather was glorious here in the Fens, which means one thing, gardening.  We have an acre of garden, which is a lot for a garden in the UK…..and that means lots of work at this time of year.   I would rather be out exploring, but I have more than enough photos to keep me going.  We are off to Scotland in a months time for our May holiday, so I think I had better try and finish posting last years holiday on the west coast of Scotland, plus our holiday on the Scottish Islands of Islay and Jura.  So to start the ball rolling…….. an abandoned cottage on the Isle of Islay, from our May 2016 holiday.

Clouds, Jura & Islay, Scotland

We spent eight hours on a train today, we travelled from Peterborough in Cambridgeshire to Edinburgh in Scotland, four hours there and four hours back….. six hours in Edinburgh.  A special offer on the trains, was to good to miss, so we choose to go to Edinburgh.  Normally we only visit in passing, mostly just a couple of hours, so this quite a treat.  We did lots of exploring, but I haven’t download todays photos yet, so here are a few cloud photos from our trip to Islay & Jura, Scotland, last year 2016. First two photos are Islay and the last two are views of Jura.

 

Ardbeg Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland

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Ardbeg was the last whisky distillery that we visited on Islay in 2016, and I must admit, I went a bit over board on the photos, its a very photogenic place. Using malted barley sourced from the maltings at Port Ellen, Ardbeg claims to produce the peatiest whisky in Islay, so of course my husband really enjoyed his tastings…..he had mine as well.

Ardbeg lies solitary, in a small cove off the south coast of Islay. It was once a stage for illegal distillation, when smugglers took advantage of the remote location and exceptional conditions for whisky production. Eventually, excise men seized the original, illegitimate buildings from the smugglers and destroyed them. It was not until 1815 that a legal distillery was established and founded by John McDougall. Sitting nearby leviathan distilleries; Laphroaig and Lagavulin, Ardbeg has always produced a very sought-after single malt, despite its production scale being less than half that of its neighbours.

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Finlaggan Cross, Eileen Mòr, Isle of Islay, Scotland

 

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In between looking at distilleries on the Isle of Islay, Scotland, May 2016, I did manage to visit a few interesting sites and a visit to Finlaggan was a must.  Finlaggan is a historic site on Eilean Mòr in Loch Finlaggan, this was home to the Lords of the Isles.  A small island that you walk across a wooden causeway, to explore the ruins and some fine tomb slabs.  But that post is for later, when we were there, we visited the Finlaggan Visitor Centre, which is full of interesting items.  I had just taken a couple of photos and then suddenly, I saw a very large sign….No Photos Allow…oh well, I did stop, but I hate waste, so I will use the couple that I took…..  The information board will tell you about the cross, I think they were very lucky to find it, but it would have been amazing to see it in situ, maybe they should make a copy, but I suppose that would cost too much money.

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Caol Ila Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland

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Nearing the end of our Whisky Tour of Isley, May 2016 and the one my husband really wanted to visit, was the very difficult to pronounce Caol Ila Distillery.  He really likes this whisky, we even had to drive down after it was closed, just so he could have a look, we had seen it on the ferry coming back from Jura and it did look quite intriguing, nestled in a small bay.  The next day we had a proper look and visited the shop for a couple of tastings

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Pronounced ‘cull-eela’ but say it very quickly and you just might get to hear how it should be pronounced.   The distillery is situated on the North Eastern shores of Islay, with magnificent views across the Sound of Islay to the spectacular Paps of Jura. 

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This is what the web site says……..Islay’s hidden gem, nestled down at the sleepy bay of Caol Ila lies the islands biggest distillery. Like all of Islay’s distilleries Caol Ila is surrounded in some if Scotland’s most beautiful scenery. Sitting on the edge of the sound of Islay, Caol Ila stands tall and proud alongside the fast flowing water separating Islay from Jura making it one of the most picture perfect settings for a distillery.  They are not far wrong, the scenery is spectacular, I should think, come rain or shine.