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travel blog: islay, scotland


Well, I’m not sure I’ve ever posted a travel blog 6+ months later, but here I am. There were so many photos to go through, at times it was just too cumbersome to organize and edit – BUT I had to make myself work on this post. Out of all of the places I have visited, this is hands down the most beautiful and peaceful place I’ve ever been. While the food and scotch were phenomenal (we’ll get to that) – the scenery was more majestic than anything I had every seen before in person. The pictures just don’t even do the place justice.

Islay, pronounced “Eye-la” is an island just outside of Scotland that is known for scotch like Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, Laphroaig and more. The population of Islay is just 3,228 people in 1,479 households. Talk about quaint.

We had to take a train, a bus and a boat to get there from our stay in Edinburgh – but it was worth the trip. This was our view upon arrival. Breathtaking.

And if the view out front wasn’t perfect enough, this was the view out the back window of our Air b’n’b. It kind of felt like a fairy tale.

We were super lucky to land this most lovely Air b’n’b that happened to be owned by the local bar owner – which was just a stones throw away. How easy is that? Here’s Sir Dave enjoying a little sip. The bar was often hopping with local fisherman and everyone was so welcoming, it felt like we were home despite being so far away.

After several scotch’s our first night (hey-o!), we were up and at ’em for our tour of Ardbeg. We rented bikes to hop to and fro the distilleries and had the most beautiful views along the way. I even rode side by side with a little birdie, which I have to say was a moment in time I won’t forget.

I named this one Edwina.

We arrived at Ardbeg and had an amazing tour, on their stunning grounds.

I also basically took Sir Dave’s next album cover, right? The Scotch Beneath My Wings.

I also took this video, that you just have to listen to with the sound on. Could have stayed there all day…

After the tour, we grabbed lunch at the restaurant at Arbeg, the Old Kin Cafe. I had been hearing great things about Scottish steak pies, so that’s what I had. You had me at steak pie.

After a few nips of Scotch and a belly full of meat, we were off on our bikes to the next location – Laphroaig for a tasting. On the way, the king of the selfie, snapped a shot of us. 😀

The Laphroaig property was just as lovely as Arbeg’s. It smelled peaty and was lush and green with the ocean breeze blowing. I’m ready to go back.

The tasting was phenomenal. Very educational, and so fun to listen to the other folks in the room from all over the world give their input on what they were tasting. I knew very little about Scotch, but came away with a new appreciation for the history and artistry that goes into making it.

After all that tasting, we headed back to rest up for dinner. There weren’t a ton of options near us, so we just hopped down the street to the Bowmore Harbour Inn, which was perfect. We had a fantastic view and the food was divine.

Oh and this sign was out front. Just my speed.

We kicked it off with some unbelievable oysters.

Then, I ate fish and chips…again. I think I ate fish and chips five times while in Scotland for nine days. No regrets.

And how awful is this? I have absolutely no idea what this is. LOL. It’s been too long, and I think this was Dave’s meal…I wonder what’s under that ooey gooey cheese. I need a time machine.

After dinner we had a little stroll back to the local pub, knocked back a few Tennent’s (my favorite beer there), then headed to bed to rest up for our last day on lovely Islay.

I’ll be honest in that I kind of didn’t want to leave the island upon waking up on our last day there. But alas, there was scotch to taste and food to eat. So we headed to the Bruichladdich distillery and Yan’s Kitchen for lunch.

The tasting at Bruichladdich was fantastic. We got to sit in the room with the barrels and taste unique varieties that you can’t buy. Apparently we tasted Harrison Ford’s favorite, so Indiana Jones and I are practically best friends now.

Last, but certainly not least – we enjoyed one of the best meals of the trip at Yan’s Kitchen. It was a quaint little spot right on the ocean with a warm fire-place going. The seafood was phenomenal. And, oh – I had fish and chips AGAIN. 😀

After lunch we were headed off to Glasgow to finish our trip. It was rainy, drizzly and just perfectly how I pictured Scotland. If you can be in love with a country – Scotland just might be it for me.

On a “duh” note – if you’re going to go to Scotland, bring a rain jacket. Here’s me modeling my $20 Target number I bought at the last-minute. Boy, did it come in handy.

I’ll end this post with this pic of me having just taken a big old boat over to the island. In this moment I was so, so very happy. I’ve been lucky to be able to travel and have some regrets about not starting to explore earlier. We met so many lovely, sweet, welcoming people on this island and during this trip. I’m so thankful for all I got to see, and grateful there’s so much more adventure out there. Mexico is next up in February! Stay tuned. Cheers!

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