Getting to Islay
Wherever you are coming from, the last leg of your journey is across the sea, which you will travel either by boat, most probably from Kennacraig on the Mull of Kintyre, from Oban, or by plane from Glasgow International Airport. Here are some of the possible routes:
1. Drive, cycle or motorcycle under your own steam to Kennacraig on the Kintyre peninsula and get the drive on/drive off ferry to either Port Askaig or Port Ellen. The crossing takes about 2 hours. (https://www.calmac.co.uk) Book well ahead. Bicycles go free, but contact CalMac to check there is space. On Wednesdays and Saturdays in summer there is one ferry a day between Islay and Oban; it takes 4 hours. You can eat and drink on all the boats, wander around the decks enjoying the views and relax in the lounges.
2. Get to Glasgow - by train, plane, coach or overnight Caledonian Sleeper - then get either:
a) the Citylink coach (http://www.citylink.co.uk) from Buchanan Street Bus Station to the ferry terminal at Kennacraig. (A frequent Airport Shuttle Bus runs between the airport and the Bus Station.) The coach takes about 3 hours 20 minutes including a break of 10 minutes only at Inverary. It is inexpensive and the views are lovely.
- and then get the ferry, which is inexpensive for foot passengers and requires no advance booking, but check the service status.
b) take the once- or twice-daily 20 minute flight to Islay from Glasgow International Airport. (https://www.loganair.co.uk) It's an enjoyable trip in a small aeroplane and although pricey you can make savings with advance booking.
Private operators also offer air and sea transport, for the more adventurous. Visitors from Northern Ireland and Ireland might also consider the Kintyre Express, a fast passenger ferry from Ballycastle to Port Ellen. (https://kintyreexpress.com)
Once on Islay, there is a local bus service but it does not go close to the house. You need transport. There are two car rental businesses, Cresswell Cars and Islay Care Hire. They will meet you at either of the ferry terminals or the airport, and you can return the vehicle to whichever point of departure suits you. Cycles are for hire at Port Charlotte, Bowmore and Port Ellen and there are several taxi companies.
For more about the travel options see the Islay & Jura Tourism & Marketing Group Visitor Information (www.islayjura.com) or the 'Tourism' section of Islay Info (https://www.islayinfo.com) or contact me, Irene, at IslayDrumlanrig@btinternet.com.