Three Islay distilleries
Moving on from Kintra Farm after a last gallop on the beach, I parked the Romahome in the car park of Laphroig distillery, and after a quick turn round the shop, aka the visitor centre, (very tartan, very eightsome reels) we set off on foot along the rugged coastline, with the gorgeously smoky Laphroig smell wafting along with us for a short while.
The incoming and outgoing ferries from Port Ellen could be seen, looking like toy boats making their way over the sparkling blue sea. Yes, the sea and the sky are blue and it's not raining, spitting, drizzling, or doing anything remotely wet. The next distillery along this stretch is Lagavulin, with the characteristic pagoda chimneys and a tall industrial chimney reminiscent of Lancashire cotton mills. A strong malty smell was on the breeze here.
On past sheep and lambs, with their alternating low and higher pitched bleating as the lambs checked in with their mums. As ever there was the constant trickle and rush of water as streams and rivers made their way to the sea. Bluebells were just coming into bloom and the road was lined with violets and primroses.
Ardbeg was the final distillery in this cluster, and this one has a cafe. I tethered Jinty to a picnic table and went inside to order coffee to drink outside. When I came back out a man was sitting at the table with a glass of whiskey. He said that he was from Quebec, Canada, and had been to Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews and was now sampling all the Islay distilleries. He described his drink as tasting the same as the air here smells. So, if you're wanting a single malt tasting rain-washed, fresh, salty and slightly flowery, Ardbeg is the one for you. If you like a visitor centre (shop) with really posh ladies toilets, Ardbeg is also the one for you.
Making the most of the lovely weather I decided to carry on up the coast, just for fun. Rocky promontories, small sandy coves, it just went on and on. I discovered that wellies, which I've been wearing all week in an effort to at least have dry feet, are not ideal for longer walks, so decided to turn back before reaching the stone cross at Kildalton. The joy of walking and of retracing steps is that you see things from a different angle and have time to really appreciate beautiful views and the smaller things like flowers and birds. Not to mention smells and sounds.
However, all those steps in my wellies really made my feet hurt and I was relieved to get back to the Romahome and fish out my walking boots, ready for the drive round the island to Port Charlotte, and last few nights of our Islay stay at Port Mor campsite. On the way there was the added fun of silly waving and tooting at another Romahome driver as we passed on the road (it wasn't just me, they were doing it back) It's the first time I've seen another Romahomer out and about, so it was definitely worth a wave.