Islay is famed for its distinctive whiskies, and is home
to eight working distilleries. Known as the Queen of the Hebrides,
Islay is fertile and its hills - though rugged - are small.
Amongst outdoor enthusiasts, the island is perhaps best known
amongst birdwatchers, being a wintering ground for a huge population
of geese, as well as a breeding ground for rare corncrakes and
However, Islay offers some superb scenery for
walkers. There are spectacular beaches of perfect fine sand,
whether the vast sweep of Machir Bay or the wide sands of Loch
Gruinart, or a score of more intimate, sheltered coves around
the Rhinns. In the southwest, the Oa peninsula offers spectacular
coastal cliffs as well as a rugged interior. There are fine
woods around Bridgend and Ballygrant, picturesque white-washed
villages such as Port Charlotte or Port Ellen, and superb views
over the sea seemingly around every corner. With some wild corners
receiving few visitors, Islay has something for everyone who enjoys exploring on foot.