Isle of Islay
The island of Islay is famous for two things, its whisky and its birds. This beautiful, lush, unspoiled island produces world-renowned peaty malts and its native breeds of eagle, corncrake etc. are equally famous along with the multitudes of white-fronted and barnacle geese which winter here regularly in their thousands.
Springbank is situated almost in the centre of the island, just outside the village of Bridgend and only three miles from the township of Bowmore (shops, pubs, leisure centre and, of course, distillery). It is a solid and impressive whitewashed stone farmhouse standing in 2 acres of its own grounds and with superb views over Loch Indaal.
The inside of the house is comfortable, roomy and excellently furbished. At its heart is a modern, well-equipped kitchen with free-standing units and gas range. The cosy living room has an open fire and, at the top of the elegant curved staircase, there are four bedrooms and a bathroom. All the rooms have original hardwood floors apart from the kitchen and utility room which are tiled. Mature trees provide shelter on two sides of the house. There are stables, outbuildings, a riding arena, and a dog run. A raised lawn makes a perfect play area for children.
Islay is just ideal for a family holiday. As well as having beautiful beaches the island is relatively flat which makes it eminently suitable for cycling (cycles may be hired at Bowmore). There are fascinating coastal walks and would-be mountaineers can always try the small (500m) hills on the east of the island.
Islay is also not too large. Port Ellen with its picturesque harbour is only 17 miles from the cottage (Port Askaig, the other ferry terminal, is 8m in the opposite direction). Not far from Port Ellen a little road runs across the Oa past Loch Kennabus. At the end of the road you arrive at an RSPB reserve and an American monument erected to honour the memory of those who died in two naval disasters in 1918. In this part of the island you have a good chance of seeing golden eagles, choughs and buzzards as well as feral goats and, on the rocks, basking seals. The lochs are good for fishing and at Machrie there is a very good 18 hole golf course. You can also take a day trip across to Jura, famous for its deer, which are so unafraid they may even seem to pose for photographs. When you're driving on Islay remember to raise a hand in salute to every car you meet. It is a delightful local custom, typical of the friendly inhabitants, all of whom seem to follow it, even the police!
In all, there are seven major distilleries on Islay and visitors are welcome at all of them. Should the weather be inclement (Islay does fare better on the weather front than most other parts of the west coast) you could always try to tour all the distilleries. After such a tour you wouldn't really care much whether it's raining or not.
The first £20 of oil fired central heating and the first £15 of electricity are included. Bed linen and towels are included. Up to two well behaved, smooth haired dogs welcome by arrangement. A refundable damage deposit of £200 will be required. A chef service is available on request.
Accommodation (sleeps 6/8. ie; 6 adults and 2 children):
- Sitting Room with TV/DVD/VCR and open-fire.
- Kitchen/Dining room with dishwasher, microwave, and gas range cooker etc.
- Utility Room with washing machine, deep-freeze, refrigerator.
- wc and wash hand basin.
- Double-bed room.
- Double-bed room.
- Twin-bed room.
- Bunk-bed room.
- Bathroom with seperate shower, wc and wash hand basin.