laphroaig

Islay

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Itinerary: A five day trip to the Scottish Isle of Islay, known as the Queen of the Hebrides, to celebrate my husband’s 30th birthday.

Travel time: We took two flights- one from London to Glasgow and another from Glasgow to Islay (on a tiny puddle jumper). There is a ferry option too if you don’t like small planes or want to bring your car with.

Accommodation: We stayed at the most wonderful bed and breakfast called the Kilmeny Country House which is situated on 300 acres of farmland and is run by the lovely Margaret (literally everyone we ran into on the island knew her!). The drive up to the house is straight out of the opening credits to a movie with a long, tree-lined road that leads up to the house which is perched on top of a hill. Each morning we were warmly greeted in the dining room by Margaret or her husband and offered the most delicious breakfast all served on fine china- it felt like something from a different time.

Highlight(s): Islay (pronounced eye-la) is home to 9 working whisky distilleries and is where we decided to celebrate Reid’s 30th birthday. Over the course of our trip, we visited Bruichladdich, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Bunnahabhain. The entire island is very small, so presumably, you could visit all of the distilleries within a long weekend. My personal favorites were the Bruichladdich and the Laphroaig distilleries. Every distillery offers tours varying from your basic ones that cost about £5 and include a few drams of whisky to the more in depth that can range in price depending on what’s involved (all of which is available on each distilleries’ websites). I think I enjoyed the Bruichladdich distillery so much because one- it was the first distillery we went to and everything was new to me, two- I love their branding it (It has a much more modern and clean feel than some of the others) and three- the whisky was delicious! On our visit to Laphroaig, we had booked spots onto a more in depth tour with a small group that ended with us being able to bottle our own whisky directly from the cask to take home.

When we weren’t tasting whisky, we took our time exploring Islay by eating at a the different pubs/restaurants/cafes, hiking around the lochs, and just taking in the insanely beautiful and rugged scenery that surrounded us. On one of our drives, I was behind the wheel ticking along on a single lane road when I managed to run our car into a ditch. There was no oncoming car, no sharp turn, no bad weather, no whisky was involved- I just have really bad driving skills when it comes to driving on the left side of the road. Luckily we had just passed a house and the lovely old man who lived there (whose accent was so thick neither Reid or I could understand him) hooked our car up to his four wheeler and dragged us out of the ditch without a scratch on the car. To this day I wish I had taken a quick photo of him.

This trip gave us just a little taste of Scotland and given how easy it is to get here by car, train or plane, I can see us visiting more and more in the future!

 

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*shot on a Contax 645 with Kodak Portra 400 and a Lomo LC-A with Iflord XP2*

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