The closest link between the people that make wine and the people that drink it
A common dilemma.
For a lot of people, though they might not be able to agree on exactly where it is, they will be able to agree on a number of common attributes.
In my opinion, The Perfect Holiday Destination (PHD) would definitely incorporate at least some,
if not all, of the following characteristics:
The destination I would like to commend to you is in fact The Southern Inner Hebrides. To be more precise the islands of Arran, Mull, Islay, Jura, and Kintyre (The latter isn’t actually an Island, it just feels like one)
All meet the above criteria for the PHD. The beaches of Islay and Mull are some of the finest I have ever seen, certainly on par with those of Fraser Island, Western Australia.
Uncrowded? Jura has a total population of 180. The island has an area of 142 square miles (368 km2) so that’s about 1¼ people per square mile!
Convenient flights? If you want to fly, then the flight to Islay or Kintyre is about 20mins from Glasgow airport. If flying isn’t you thing, then the Caledonian McBrayne feet can whisk you over to Arran in around 1½ hours from Glasgow Central Station.
Language? I’ll be honest here, there is a language barrier. The good news is however that all the islanders can understand me perfectly. I, on the otherhand , found their utternces a little difficult to fathom at times. Usually around closing time!
History? The islands abound with it. St. Columba landed at Iona, just off Mull in the 6th century to bring Christianity to Britain. On Islay lies Loch Finlaggan. Here the installation of the Lords of the Isles took place. The Lords of the Isles ruled the islands and part of the west coast virtually independent of royal control, until as late as the 16th Century.
Empty roads? Do you really remember the last time that driving, for driving sake, was a real pleasure? In London? Just try to imagine empty mile after empty mile of single lane tarmac, without any other traffic.
This will sound quite incredible. However, some visitors manage to visit Arran, Mull, Islay, Jura, and Kintyre, without visiting a distillery, brewery or golf course!…or even walking up a mountain or two. I know!! Utterly amazing!!
Here we can start with the important bits:
That’s the distilleries. As well as the Whisky, there are breweries on Arran, Islay and Mull. Cheese producers abound, seemingly everywhere. The seafood is rather good too. Oh and the beef. Oh yes, the venison as well.
The more observant will have noticed that I have avoided any mention of the weather. I grant you that it has been known for there to be quite a lot of weather in Scotland. But, and it’s a big but. Contrary to common belief, it doesn’t always rain. In the summer it has been known not to rain, for days, if not weeks at a time. Granted, in mid summer when the Greek Islands are sweltering in a 40ºC heat wave Tobermorey will not, but 20-25ºC is still warm enough. Equally it doesn’t get that cold either. As I write London is shivering, trying to cope with -1ºC. Campbeltown on Kintyre, by comparison is a might more comfortable, 5ºC
If you’re still not convinced ask my wife. I usually do. She tells me that the 5 days we had in Islay were the best holiday we’ve had since our honeymoon! Believe me that really is saying something!