Islay (Port Ellen)

After our stay in Oban, we continued towards Port Ellen. We had to plan the departure time reasonably well, because the Sound of Islay, which is located between the Islay and Jura islands, has a strong tidal current of at least 5 kn. If we tried to sail against this current, we would stand on the spot or even go backwards with little wind.

Our way to Port Ellen

At first the weather was not so nice, the wind was on our noses and because of the tide it was not possible to cross the wind. Otherwise we would have missed our time window for the Sound of Islay. There was also fog with visibility of less than a mile. We took the opportunity to play around with the bike a little bit.

Fog on the way to Port Ellen

It was only after a few hours that the wind shifter we expected came and we were able to pull the sails up and switch off the engine. It is a wonderful calm that immediately relaxes on the ship. In the Sound of Islay we sailed at just under 12 knots, pushed by the tide current. At the narrowest point, our AIS suddenly showed oncoming traffic from a ferry, the Finlaggan. We first thought about which side we should sail on so that the ferry could pass us safely, but they fell away when the ferry docked in Port Askaig.

Finlaggan in Port Askaig

So we continued sailing and were even able to cook and eat dinner in the calm waters. That was important because before we were rocked properly, we couldn't cook and we were hungry. There was the classic egg with bacon on board. We were also once again convinced of the usefulness of the AIS. I no longer remember how we used to do it without the tool. At 0:30 a.m. local time we walked into the harbor in total darkness, two nice Irish were still awake and helped us mooring.

Port Ellen in the sunshine

After getting up, the weather was very different. The fog had completely cleared and made room for real sunshine. I like the view from the marina into the bay. It is my fifth visit to Islay and it feels a little bit like coming home.

Pushy port swans

I used to see the harbor seal in Port Ellen, but it seems to have moved away or died. Instead, a family of intrusive swans lives here, which the sailors constantly beg for food.

Marina shower

What constitutes a good marina can be found in Port Ellen. A friendly, helpful harbor master and good showers. Those in Port Ellen are only a few years old and are in excellent condition. There is even a rainforest shower, which we have never seen in another marina. A big, fat wow!

Bus schedule on Islay

Since we wanted to move around the island, I immediately photographed the bus schedule. This is practical because the buses don't run too often, but you can use them to reach any important point on the island.

Famous crossroads

At the sight of the street signs at the crossroads, every whiskey lover will feel like a dram. I have no idea how many times I have photographed this intersection. It had to be again this year.

The evening after we arrived we witnessed a funny spectacle. Suddenly a tractor with a trailer appeared, on which many young people made noise and celebrated. A wedding party.

Wedding party on the trailer

According to the old tradition, the wedding couple is driven across the island and thrown with all kinds of dirt on the way. Mud, peat, manure and what else can be found on an island with 5000 inhabitants and 50,000 sheep. To get rid of that, people all jumped into the water. The Atlantic also has a great bathing water temperature - it has at least two digits.

Cracks from the quay wall

The mood was good and after half an hour the people were probably all clean, because they drove away again with a lot of noise.

We only had one program item - visiting the local pub. It is called Ardview Inn here and is also called “The Gluepot” by the locals, the pot of glue. Here we met one of the Laphroaig employees who told us a nice story. People work hard on the island and toil day in and day out. Then they turn the jacket inside out and turn their cap over, go to the pub for 15 minutes or have a drink. When they come out, they find that 200 years have passed.

Ardview Inn

We felt the same way. We entered the pub, it was already quite full. We quickly found two seats at a table, at which a tour group from Finland was already sitting. We began to talk.

Drink and talk to the Finns

There was a discussion about whiskey, the island of Islay and the arrival of the Finns who wanted to arrive on the foggy day when Jens and I arrived. The plane made a few laps over the island, was unable to land and flew back to Glasgow. It can go like this. As a result, the Finns lost an Islay day, the next day their plane landed.

The pub is full

There is a jukebox on the wall, which is fed with pound coins by almost all visitors. This creates a funny mix of music and everyone has fun doing it.

All Islay distilleries are represented behind the bar

If you want, you can taste whiskey from any distillery at the Ardview Inn. The least do it. The Scots prefer to drink cheap blends, because it is much cheaper to get stuffed with them.

We entered the pub around ten-thirty, well after midnight we tried to find our boat in the marina again. The name “Glue Pot” fits very well.

Hangover after visiting the pub

A fat cat with a velvety-soft fur stood in our way and wanted to be petted. He also enjoyed being hugged. I never do that again because - nomen est omen - the next day I had a big hangover. Jens too. That must have been because of the cattle, because it usually doesn't happen to us when we go to the pub for a beer.

In any case, the rule still applies: if you were not in the pub, you were not there.