We set off this morning headed for the ferry terminus at Kennacraig for the ferry to Islay for the Feis Ile 2018 which is a week-long celebration of traditional Scottish music and whisky which started on Friday and continues to the following Sunday. Each of the 8 distilleries hosts an Open Day where they provide free whisky tasting, food stalls and free entertainment. The days we are here are Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Bowmore, Jura and Bunnahabhain Distilleries have their open days which we intend to visit and there are Ceilidhs, which are Celtic music events on at pubs at night.
After arriving at Port Ellen, the principal entry point to the island, we headed for Bowmore Tourist Information Centre to gather information on the festival and the distillery open days. Today was the Caol Ila Distillery Open Day which is one mile north of Port Askaig which is one of the distilleries that we wanted to go to anyway. Lucked out again! We parked at the designated carpark, a local farmers paddock, had a complimentary dram of whisky and then boarded the shuttle bus down to the distillery. When we arrived, there were people everywhere, music playing, food trucks and stalls selling seafood and burgers and complimentary drams of 12-year-old single malt whisky, Moch and cocktails. The Islay oysters with a dash 12-year-old whisky on them was lovely.
The place was very lively and situated on a wonderful location with great views across to Jura. After having a look around the distillery and eating seafood and a few drams we bought a bottle of Moch and waited for the shuttle bus to return us to our park. It certainly was a pleasant experience.
We headed down to Port Askaig for our wild camp tonight and across the road is The Port Askaig Hotel where the car ferry shuttles passengers to and from Jura. We sat at an outside table on the lawn overlooking the water of The Sound of Islay having a drink or two and watched the boats loading and unloading, the car ferry going back and forth, the ferry to the mainland and people constantly arriving on pushbikes and cars. It was a very peaceful afternoon with a few pints and wine. Tomorrow is Laphroaig distillery which is another favourite. This place is heaven!