The islands of Islay and Jura are part of the Inner Hebrides – islands situated just off the west mainland of Scotland. You can travel there by boat or plane and there’s easily enough to keep you busy for at least a week.
Islay, the larger of the two, is famous for the peaty whisky made in one of the nine distilleries located on the islands. You can visit them all and make a holiday from the distillery tours alone – it’ll also amaze you just how different some of the whiskies are to each other. Here’s a secret though, when you go to the Bruichladdich Distillery, ask for their best seller. You’ll find it’s not whisky but a gin called ‘The Botanist’. Invented in 2012, it’s become a worldwide success through its use of island based botanical ingredients.
Also while you’re on Islay, you can also enjoy the rugged scenery, play some golf or catch some traditional music in one of the many hostelries and visit some of the less well known sights. One of these is the ancient settlement of Finlaggan where the legendary Lords of the Isles ran their kingdom from over a thousand years ago from a secure inland lake – yes a lake hidden in the island! Take time to visit the planned town of Bowmore or the hamlet of Part Askaig where some of the ferries arrive from the mainland and the short connection to Jura is located.
Take a day at least though to pop over to the neighbouring island of Jura on the five minute journey across the Sound of Islay. There you can wonder at the spectacular scenery on the island topped off by the massive Paps of Jura. There is also a really well known literary connection to Jura – it was here that 1984 the author of the book ‘1984’, George Orwell called home.