The Armin Grewe Homepage
Mid June 2007, time for another visit to Islay, my second visit to Islay for the year after WalkIslay 2007 in April and my 15th visit in total. This time I was going to be joined by my parents and my sister for the first week. The second week on Islay I would have for myself.
Picture of a paddle steamer (Waverley) travelling down a loch As usual now I drove up to Carlisle on the Friday evening. It was pouring with rain for almost the whole way, not a good sign I thought. After some grocery shopping on Saturday morning I drove up to Glasgow in quite windy and showery weather. My sister had flown in to Glasgow airport from Germany during the morning, I picked her up early in the afternoon for the drive down to Kennacraig.

We had a brief stop at Firkin Point on Loch Lomond, but luckily soon continued: Driving around the top of Loch Long near Arrochar I spotted something not often seen here. A quick drive up the road just past Succoth to a better viewing point gave us an excellent view of the Paddle Steamer Waverley (see also Waverley Excursions) on a rare visit to Arrochar. Certainly an impressive and exciting sight!

Picture of a panoramic view over a small harbour with sailing yachts and fishing boats
Picture of an adult swan with 5 young swans Picture of a young woman sitting at a coffee tableApart from a short stop at Loch Fyne to buy some smoked salmon we continued without any significant stops until we reached Tarbert. We had a look around, among others spotting a swan family with five very young swans.

We then stopped at Luckenbooth Gallery for some hot chocolate and tea. While it is mainly a gallery it also offers teas, hot chocolates and coffee. A nice find if you have some time to spare on the way to Kennacraig or are staying in the area for longer.

Picture of fishing boat masts in a harbour, a hotel in the background Picture of a cup of hot chocolate, some chocolate cake and a tea being poured
Picture of a small passenger cruise ship Refreshed after the stop we quickly drove down to Kennacraig to board the ferry to Islay. The Hebridean Isles arrived on time and left slightly ahead of schedule. As it was very cloudy and not very warm we stayed inside while the ferry sailed out of West Loch Tarbert.

Once outside we had a number of interesting sightings: Just past Colonsay we spotted the Hebridean Princess in the distance, steaming away towards the Mull of Kintyre or Ireland. Near McArthur's Head the Isle of Arran, the other Calmac ferry on the Kennacraig-Islay route, passed us on its way to Kennacraig.

While initially cloud free some interesting clouds moved in over the Paps of Jura, like a blanket being pulled over the hills.
Picture of a Calmac ferry, the Isle of Arran Picture of clouds moving in on some high mountains
Picture of Ardbeg distillery from the sea, a sailing yacht in the foreground Then it was time for some serious distillery spotting:

As we were travelling to Port Ellen we would be able to see the three southern distilleries on Islay. While the weather wasn't as good as we had hoped we were still expecting some nice views. My sister took out her big long telephoto lens and we were ready for action.

First up was Ardbeg, where a sailing yacht had just arrived as well. Lagavulin quickly followed at Lagavulin Bay, no crane disturbing the view this time. We then had to wait for a while until we had passed Texa, but then had a great view of Loch Laphroaig with Laphroaig distillery.
Picture of Lagavulin distillery from the sea Picture of Laphroaig distillery from the sea
Picture of a lighthouse in the late evening light Finally the familiar sight of Carraig Fhada lighthouse at the top of Kilnaughton Bay came into view before we arrived in Port Ellen. Time for the last leg of our journey, the drive over to Kilchoman.

We were one of the last cars to drive off the ferry, but a wise tactical decision helped us to make good progress nevertheless: Driving out of Port Ellen on the A846 I decided to take the High Road, the B8016. While a single track road we had a free run all the way to the junction with the A846 near Springbank.

Coming over the hill near Carn nan Coileach on the B8018 we were greeted with a beautiful dramatic sunset. The clouds were breaking up, the sun providing some dramatic light. We watched it for a while before continuing to Kilchoman House Cottages, where Ian and Margaret were waiting for us. After a warm welcome we had a late dinner before going to bed after a long and eventful day.
Picture of a beautiful sunset with a ship out on sea in the distance Picture of a beautiful sunset with a gap opening up in the clouds
If you are interested in more information about Islay, Colonsay and Jura you might also be interested in my Isle of Islay pages. There you will find many more pictures and further information about Islay, Jura and Colonsay.

Islay June 2007 -> Next: Kilchoman Crags Walk