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Private Tours of Scotland: Whisky Tours onThe Isle of Islay

No whisky tour would be complete without a visit to the Isle of Islay, the most southerly island of the Inner Hebrides.

Famous for its smoky, peaty whiskies it boasts no fewer than eight whisky distilleries, with a ninth due to open in the near future at Port Charlotte. The Isle of Islay has 3,228 people and has an impressive 130 miles of coastline. Islay is renowned for its single malt whisky and the whisky industry one of the most important sources of income for the island. Names like Bruichladdich, Bowmore, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain and Ardbeg are the established brands and well known all over the world. Other industries are farming, fishing and tourism. Many people visit Islay as part of a whisky tour for the distilleries, the wildlife and the spectacular scenery. Birdwatching is a popular activity throughout the year because of the large flocks of wild geese which visit the Isle of Islay every winter and the rare birds seen on Islay such as the corncrake and the chough.

Whisky tours and sightseeing tours can be timed to coincide with one of the annual festivals on the island, including the Islay Festival of Malt and Music, which is held in May. Other festivals are the Islay Jazz Festival, the Rugby Festival and the Cantilena festival.

The Isle of Islay was once the main seat of power in the west of Scotland and became known as the home of the Lords of the Isles. The remains of their settlements are still visible at Finlaggan which is an important archaeological site on the Isle of Islay. Remains of Islay’s religious history and carved stones are seen at several locations on the Isle of Islay. The Kildalton High Cross is the last unbroken ringed Celtic cross existing in Scotland and dates to around 800AD.

When taking part in a Classic Scotland Whisky Tour or Island Hopping Tour, our customers often ask about the weather. Islay's climate benefits from the warm Gulf Stream, bringing cool winters with little frost or snow and mild summers. The driest, most pleasant weather, on average, is from April to July when the sun makes the most hours and rainfall is less than in most other months.

Our personalised private tours of Islay can also include The Persabus Pottery, Islay Woollen Mill and Islay Ales, Islay's only Brewery. 



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