ISLAY & JURA, TRANSPORT
Flybe have weekday service from Glasgow to Islay that leaves at 08.30 and returns at 18.15. The flight takes 45 minutes. On landing at Islay we will become dependent on local taxi transfers to Machrie golf course, but fortune has smiled on us, the airport is conveniently close. We will similarly be limited regarding distilleries too. With the benefit of an early tee-time however we should be able to tackle Laphroaig before having to return. Sadly, without our own transport this is as far we can usually go
Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) have a fleet of car ferries that knit together the numerous Scottish Islands with the mainland.
The ferry to the Isle of Islay sails from Kennacraig. The first 20 minutes of this trip are sheltered since Kennacraig lies halfway up Loch Tarbert. This means only 110 minutes would be considered sea faring. Even then, the Isle of Islay provides some additional shelter from northerly and westerly winds. From Port Ellen we disembark the vehicle and drive the short distance to Machrie (4 miles) for a round of golf. The famous Laphroaig Distillery is only a mile from Port Ellen and along with Ardbeg and Lagavulin complete an impressive first day trio.
One of the advantages of approaching Islay this way is that the vehicle and timings positively seduce into exploring the neighbouring wilderness of the Isle of Jura (population 180). You wouldn’t be able to do this using the hopper flight
The Isle of Jura is Distillery is the only one operating on Jura, the whisky being officially classified as ‘Highland’. A quick 10 minute ferry links Islay with Jura. We should be able to accommodate the Bowmore Round Church and Caol Ila Distillery too along the way
We return back for a later evening round of golf at Machrie again and a second night at our hotel in Port Ellen
The safety record of the ferries that serve British coastal waters is excellent. Between them, they’ve sailed millions of times now and in over a century, only one has been lost in peacetime, and that was in the English Channel and not remotely connected to Scotland.