Cultural and Healthy? - Islay Distilleries by bike


Glasgow fair weekend 2015 - ideal time for a tour of the Islay distilleries, by bike of course.  Part of Mark's cycling odyssey around the distilleries of Scotland.  What a great weekend - let's do this again.  As Frank once said, "absurdity is the only reality"!

Let's get loaded.  Checking the weight etc.
Let's get loaded -  part two.  Testing the Islay beers and whiskies on the ferry - well it would be rude not to!

Got to Port Ellen - first stop the Port Ellen hotel, to get loaded.  Careful with my next pint there.

Back to reality - cycling and stuff, in the rain.

The road to Ardilistry Bay, our preferred campsite for the night (as we both camped there some forty years ago).  Some 5 and  a half miles of cycling joy.  In the rain.  Just as well we had whetted our insides first.  Spot the deer?

Meeting the natives.  It stood there for ages, dazzled by Mark's jacket I think?

Despite the stormy weather, we got the tents pitched before the darkness.

Serenity by Ardilistry Bay.

The next morning, and the rain was off.

Striking camp after the obligatory naked swimming by Mark.  I was more reserved (and didn't even take pictures).

Distillery #1 - Ardbeg obviously.  And we didn't get a dram!  More fool us.

Onto the next one.

Which one is this?

Relaxing in the tasting room.  Nearly midday I think, but who cares!

So that was #2.  Next?

#3

I got to sign the book, cause I own a square foot of the bog where the water comes from.  Didn't go and see it, but collected my rent (a nice miniature).  Mark didn't get to sign the book, but got a miniature and a tasting, so didn't really care.

Mark not really caring.

So three down - where next?

PUB.  Well we hadn't been in this one.

And distillery #4, after the ten mile cycle to Bowmore.  Hard work this cycling and drinking malarkey.

And this time we did the full tour (as the tasting options were better).

Paps of Jura - for another day.

Heading around Lochindall to Port Charlotte, another 10.5 miles, and only one pub stop on the way.

Tents up, with the paps of Jura over Lochindall, and time to get on with tea.

OK, time to hit the pub.  

Sunday morning, but not open yet!  Not that progressive.

This distillery tour ain't much cop if they aren't open!

Distillery # 5 (Bruichladdich doesn't count yet) - on a Sunday.  What a shame the sign at the head of the road five miles away didn't mention the opening hours.

Still there is a lovely beach at Machir Bay.

No feeling like sand between your toes.  

Washing out the sand.

An old wreck on the beach.   Believed to be an early steamship called Patti, and wrecked in the 1840s.

And then of course the five milescycle back over the hill to the main road.
Counting this as number 6 now,  with boys showing off.  A. L.  What does it all mean?  (Nothing).  
 No pics of the tasting, but it was good.  Very good!

And after all that excitement, time for a refreshment in the Lochindaal Hotel, apparently a "cosy, family-run pub specializing in seafood and rare malt whiskies".  Foxy McSomething wasn't quite in keeping with that image, unlike ourselves (you had to be there).

Still decorous after all that.  Is this why they invented Sunday afternoons?

Puncture repairs - I got a flat at Machir Bay.

And ingenious tent repairs - is there not stopping this guy?

Could I sell this as an advertising poster - Murphys on a Sunday afternoon?

Monday morning, tents down, time to get on the road to Bunnahabhain - only 18 miles to our next drink.

This was quite a big cycle for me, but we did stop for coffe and cake.

# 7.  Three and a half miles from the main road, mostly downhill.  Just as well we got a refreshment to see us back up the 315 foot climb.

We dumped our bags before the Bunnahabhain bit, so now trying to get them back on the bikes.

And finally # 8.  One of my favourites.  Only half a mile detour, and a 75 foot ascent (fully laden) back out.  But worth it for that wee warmer.

Impressive customer care on the ferry back.  But it worked so no complaints.  Fantastic weekend.  Need to do some more of this.

Back to another page where there are some bike/hill trips