ISLAY & OBAN WHISKY TOUR
Oban to Kennacraig – (1.40 hours)
Kennacraig to Port Ellen - (2.20 hours)
Islay is a fertile island and has attracted visitor from at least as early as 8000 BC. By 800 AD the Vikings arrived on Islay as it lay on their sea trading route between their homeland and settlements on the Isle of Man and Ireland. Initially as raiders, the Viking began to settle, marrying into local families who became known as Gael-Gall. The potato famine in 1840 saw many immigrate to places like New Zealand. It is believed that Irish monks in the 14th century were the first to recognise that Islay was ideal for the production of whisky - Uisge Beathe, (water of life). The supply of peat, the pure soft water from the rivers and lochs and ‘bere’ the fore-runner for barley were all here in abundance.
Select 2 distilleries of personal choice
Overnight in Bowmore
Port Ellen ferry to Kennacraig 0910 hrs (2.20 hours)
Dunadd was originally an Iron Age hillfort that dominates a raised rocky outcrop. Standing proudly above the Moine Mhor (the great moss) Dunadd became the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Dal Riata between AD 500 and AD900. This was one of the most important places of its time with a buoyant crafts industry and strong trading activities across Europe. It was thought that kings were anointed here. The original Scots were migrants from Ireland who settled across Argyll in ever greater numbers. They were known as Gaels because they share the common language of Gaelic. The Latin speaking fraternity in the south referred to them as Scoti, thought to be a derogatory term that scribed them as pirates.
Stroll through the glen and explore ancient burial mounds and standing stones. The area is one of the richest concentrations of prehistoric monuments and historical sites in Scotland. Over 5000 years of human existence stretches across this ancient valley. It contains over 350 monuments within a 6-mile radius with 150 being prehistoric. The monuments include: chambered cairns, round cairns, cists, standing stones and rock carvings. The inhabitants of this area in Scotland pre-date the pyramids and they constructed unique linear cemeteries at Nether Largie South and stone circles at Templewood.
Nestled beneath the steep cliffs that overlook Oban, the distillery is one of the oldest and one of the smallest with only 2 pot stills. Established in 1794, it was built before the town sprung up around the craggy harbour. The whisky is described as having a ‘West Highland’ flavour that falls between the dry smoky style of the Scottish islands and the lighter, sweeter malts of the highlands.
2 DAY TOUR
Depart Oban and travel south on the A816 to Lochgilphead passing Kilmartin Valley and Dunadd. Continue south on the A83 to the Port of Kennacraig. Board the 1000 hrs ferry to Port Ellen on the south coast of Islay. Travel to Bowmore for lunch then spend the afternoon discovering why whisky is Scotland’s No 1 export product. Day 2, catch the 0910 hrs ferry from Port Ellen to Kennacraig and travel north to Dunadd the ancient Kingdom of Dal Riata. Then stroll through Kilmartin Valley, Scotland's 2nd most significant Neolithic site before catching last orders at the Oban Distillery.