Islay : the Hebrides encapsulated
Leaders - Paul and Hazel Heppleston (01629 540969)
There are two islands in the west which seem to encapsulate all that is dreamt of about the Hebrides. Colonsay
is one - and Islay is the other. Sometimes called the ‘Queen of the
Hebrides’ Islay has such a huge variety of habitat and landscape that
the challenge will be to fit everything into our week, not simply
activity-and-visit, but also a silence, a standing-and- staring and a
Once the seat of ancient Celtic
Christians and later the Lord of the Isles, Islay is now a thriving
island community of 3000 people with a high school and an airport, but
with villages and townships sufficiently separated that we can still
feel the wildness and space. It is as close to Northern Ireland as it is
to mainland Scotland and is rich in wildlife, empty beaches, cliff
scenery ‘as good as any in the west’; add to that the broad sea-scapes, Celtic settle- ments and foundations and uninhabited off-shore islands.
And then there’s Jura and the Paps; though a climb of one of those would be a challenge, we can wander on the lower slopes and feel a wild and empty landscape that is so different to that on Islay.
The islands also happen to be home to eight whisky distilleries, but that’s by the by - of course.
Walks radiating out from our central base are walks and journeys to different
parts of the island, including the Kildalton Cross, the Kilnave cross,
beaches, birds, cliffs, moorland. May is also the prime month for
machair flowers. There will be opportunities for shorter or longer walks
and our hired minibus will give us complete flexibility for the whole
Accommodation seven nights in our on-its-own spacious self-catering accommodation in a rurally situated family house near Bridgend - the centre of the island. Double and twin bedded rooms.
Getting there meet in Gourock about midday on 9th May. It’s probably good to spend
the previous night in Glasgow or Gourock. Minibus travel via Dunoon,
Portavadie, Tarbert and Kennacraig to Islay – and return to Gourock on
16th. Information re. mainland accommodation and transport available
from the leaders.
Cost - £ 475
Return to Journeys 2012