A quick read - Journal of Ferg's travels around these islands

Ferg goes wild about Islay and Jura

Day 1: Arrival and First Impressions

08:00 AM - Departure from Edinburgh:
I caught the early morning train from Edinburgh to Glasgow, then hopped on a bus to Kennacraig. The journey was great with ever-changing views along the way. The anticipation of returning to Islay started to build - nothing beats that feeling of a ferry crossing to a west coast island.

13:00 PM - Ferry to Islay:
The ferry ride from Kennacraig to Port Askaig was not disappointing. Standing out on deck, seeing the Paps of Jura approach in the distance is not a sight I'll ever tire of - it brought back memories of my previous travels. Out came the camera, but not sure my pictures did the scene justice.

03:00 PM - Arrival at Port Askaig:
Upon arrival, I felt my shoulders drop immediately. The island’s rugged beauty and tranquil atmosphere were exactly what I needed. I checked into a charming wee bed and breakfast, where the owner welcomed me with that endearing west-coast smile and warmth.

03:00 PM - Exploring nearby
I spent the afternoon wandering through the village and stretched my legs with a walk along to Caol Ila Distillery, taking in the views over to Jura (noting that a visit across there was a must). I chatted with some locals who shared fascinating stories about Islay’s past. I made sure to jot down notes for my book.

07:00 PM - Dinner and Whisky Tasting:
For dinner, I enjoyed a tasty meal of fresh seafood at a local pub. Scotland has some of the finest seafood in the world and I couldn't wait to tuck in! The highlight of the evening was the whisky tasting session. I sampled a variety of Islay’s famous single malts, enjoying the unique characteristics of each. The peaty aroma and smoky flavours were a delight.

Day 2: Distillery Tours and Research

10:00 AM - Tour of Lagavulin Distillery:
My day started with a tour of Lagavulin Distillery, one of Islay’s oldest and most renowned whisky producers. The master distiller shared his extensive knowledge of whisky production. We chatted about the history of Lagavulin... I recorded our conversation in case anything was useful for my book later on. Just in case I forgot after a few distillery trips!

12:00 PM - Lunch at Ardbeg:
After the tour, I headed to Ardbeg Distillery for lunch. Their alfresco dining 'Ardstream Trailer' serves a great range of local dishes - I gave in to the sight of the home-baking. I took a moment by the water, right by the distillery entrance to admire the view of the sea, what a setting!

02:30 PM - Visit to Jura Distillery:
My first stop on Jura was the Jura Distillery, known for its distinctive whiskies. The distillery tour was fascinating, sharing insights into the unique processes and history behind their production. I had a great chat with the master distiller, who shared anecdotes about Jura’s history and the local community’s involvement in the distillery.

04:00 PM - George Orwell’s Cottage:
Next, I visited the remote cottage where George Orwell wrote "1984." The journey to the cottage was an adventure in itself, navigating narrow paths and rugged terrain. Standing in the place where one of the most influential novels was written was quite a humbling experience. I took plenty of pics and made notes about the stark beauty of the surroundings and Orwell’s life on Jura.

06:00 PM - Return to Islay:
I returned to Port Askaig on the evening ferry, feeling very satisfied and content by my brief (yet impactful) visit to Jura. The island’s raw beauty and rich history really made its' mark on me!

07:00 PM - Evening By the Fire:
Back at my bed and breakfast, I spent the evening reflecting on the day’s experiences. As I read over my notes and listened to my few recordings, I felt that fresh flash of inspiration by the stories and people I had met. A glass of Jura whisky was the perfect choice as I sat by the fireplace, mulling over the connections between Islay and Jura.

Day 3: Out and About

10:00 AM - Visit to the Museum of Islay Life:
I spent the morning at the Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte. The exhibits are great for offering more of the island’s heritage. I took even more notes and photographs; the displays related to the island’s whisky history obviously caught my attention most!

01:00 PM - Meeting with Local Historians:
In the afternoon, I met with a group of local historians and whisky enthusiasts. What a lively and informative chat we had... covering topics from ancient distilling techniques to modern innovations. Their passion for Islay’s heritage was quite contagious, if only I could stay a few more days to drink in (not literally!) this amazing island!

04:00 PM - Relaxation Time
I spent the late afternoon relaxing by the shore at Singing Sands. The sound of the waves and the distant call of seabirds were a soothing backdrop as I roughly sketched out ideas for my book. But it was also nice just to be in the moment and enjoy the calmness.

07:00 PM - Ceilidh Night:
In the evening, I joined a local ceilidh - it seemed like an impromptu wee session! The lively music and joyful atmosphere were the perfect end to my day. There's something special about the connection to Islay and its people, and I knew that this trip would add to my writing.

Day 4: Farewell to Islay

08:00 AM - Final Morning Walk:
On my last morning, I took a quiet walk along the beach, savouring the peacefulness. I collected a few pebbles and shells as mementos of my visit. I must remember to pass some on to my nephew when I get back.

11:00 AM - Departure:
A quick thank you and chat with my B&B host then it was time to head to the ferry terminal. As the ferry pulled away from Islay, I felt a mix of sadness and contentment. This journey had been more than just research; it really did reaffirm my love for Scotland and its rich heritage.

How would I sum up my trip? My visit to Islay was a journey of discovery, connection, and inspiration. I can't wait to start adding the stories and experiences I’ve gathered into my book - this is why I want to share the magic of Islay with readers - to inspire them to visit to!

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