Isle of Islay

This is the most perfect of islands for a family holiday. In addition to the wonderful beaches, the comparative flatness of many parts of the island make it ideal for cycling (bikes may be hired at Bowmore).

There are splendid coastal walks, while there are some hills on the east of the island rising to about 500m for those who prefer something more vertical. Islay is a compact island - the pretty harbour of Port Ellen, where you may land if you come by ferry, is just 17 miles from the cottage and the other ferry terminal Port Askaig is 8 miles n the other direction. Just along from there it is well worth taking the little road across The Oa past Loch Kennabus. At the end, there is an RSPB reserve and an American Monument that was erected in memory of those who perished in two Naval disasters in 1918. Here you stand an excellent chance of seeing golden eagles, choughs and buzzards, to say nothing of feral goats and seals basking on the rocks.


There is good fishing in the island's lochs and an excellent 18 hole golf course at Machrie.

Take a day trip across to Jura, the island of deer, where many of them will even pose for you to take their pictures. When you're driving around, don't forget to lift a hand in salute to every car you meet. This is a charming local custom, one typical of the friendly islanders and they all tend to do it - even the police!

Islay has no less than seven major distilleries, all of which welcome visitors. If you do get a wet day (though the weather on Islay can be very good in comparison to other parts of the west coast) you could always do a round tour, at the end of which you may no longer care whether it's raining or not.