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 chough.

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.


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Walking can be dangerous and all walkers must take personal responsibility for their own safety. You should always carry a backup means of navigation and not rely on a single phone, app or map. Walkhighlands strives to provide accurate information but cannot accept responsibility for changes, errors or omissions.