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Picture of an impressive cloud formation above some low hills near the top of a loch Having returned from hillwalking on Beinn Tart a'Mhill slightly later than originally planned I had to decide how to proceed on my last evening on Islay. Was it still worth driving all the way to the south eastern distilleries to try to catch up with the Islay Malt Pillage?

Having heard of a fairly bad forecast for the next day and knowing that the local mariners understand the weather better than anyone I decided to give it a go. Reaching the top of Loch Indaal and spotting the cloud formation on the left I wondered if these clouds were a sign of what was to come.

Arriving at the distilleries half an hour later I wondered if I had wasted my time: The skiff and the support boats were nowhere to be seen, they had passed already.
Picture of a bay in the evening light, nice cloud formations abovePicture of deer near a shore with two boats out in the distanceI decided to continue the chase, with a bit of luck I would catch them passing one of the bays on the way to Claggain Bay. With the road ending at Ardtalla that was as far as I was going to go.

Nothing when I passed Loch an t-Sàilein (where I didn't really expect to see them anyway). Nothing to see from Ardilistry Bay. The long stretch without a view of the sea past Kildalton. Nothing to see at Aros Bay. Could they really be this far already?

When I arrived at Claggain Bay I finally got lucky and spotted a few dots out on sea. There they were. The skiff and three supporting boats. Stopping at the entrance to Claggain Bay I spotted a few deer down near the shore with the boats behind them in the distance, a magical sight.
Picture of a skiff being rowed, followed by a RIB I continued along Claggain Bay up to the new car park at the eastern end of the bay, watching the boats and taking a few pictures. They were further out than I had expected, making it difficult to take pictures with the sun rapidly setting and the light disappearing.

They were making excellent progress, fairly quickly passing Claggain Bay and disappearing into the distance towards McArthur's Head on their way to the Sound of Islay. Their next stop would be Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain distillery.

I spent a few more minutes down at beach at Claggain Bay, then started the long drive back to Kilchoman. May be there would be a few stops on the way?
Picture of a panoramic view over a wide bay with a pebble beach in the evening light
Picture of a colourful sky after sunset over a sea loch By the time I arrived in Bowmore the sun had set, but the gloaming provided still provided some beautiful light. Stopping near Pennycraig the view west across Loch Indaal was beautiful, the colourful sky reflected in the water. Looking south west the lights were coming on in Bowmore, looking very calm in the light.

After a while I continued around Loch Indaal, passing the land crew of the Malt Pillage on the way. By now the moon had come out, making me stop again near Blackrock for a fantastic view of the moon over Bowmore.

The next day I left Islay. The forecast had been right, the weather was pretty atrocious the whole day. Which is why the travelogue finishes here, I didn't bother trying to take any pictures in the relentless rain.
Picture of a coastal village in the last evening light Picture of the moon rising over a coastal village seen across a sea loch
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.

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