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Day One – Make Your Way to Kintyre
Reached from Glasgow via one of the country’s finest and most scenic routes, taking in the banks of Loch Lomond, eerie Loch Long, the Rest and Be Thankful pass and spectacular Loch Fyne, the Kintyre peninsula has an end-of-the-earth feel, with the Antrim Coast and Northern Ireland just a stone’s throw away across the water.
Your hotel in Kintyre
Recently restored, this historic harbour front hotel is an imposing building overlooking Campbeltown Loch itself – that’s the one made famous in song by Andy Stewart, who wished it were whisky! As well as a fine Scottish restaurant, the Black Sheep pub is a welcoming meeting place.
Day Two – Tastebuds and Nose at the Ready…
Campbeltown was once the Scotch whisky capital of the world – until prohibition, taxes and greed brought it all crashing down. You can still see the remnants of the town’s distilling history at virtually every turn. A handful of local producers have gradually restored its reputation and today you can discover more as your holiday begins in earnest, with two distillery visits. The first, Torrisdale, is home to the rather excellent Kintyre gin. Within 30 minutes’ drive – taxis are readily available and hotel staff will be happy to arrange if you wish – the setting here is quite something, and guests are welcome to stroll the mile-long private walk through the estate or to wander the estate’s very own stretch of beach, before or after the tour of this bijou establishment.
Your second distillery visit is to Glen Scotia, within a few-hundred yards of your hotel. Founded in 1832, this is one of Scotland’s smallest distilleries, producing double-cask, 15-year-old and Victoriana expressions. You’re in for a treat during a ‘Manager’s Tour and Tasting,’ with a range of drams to be enjoyed in the manager’s office at tour’s end. If you wish, you could also squeeze in a trip to Springbank, Campbeltown’s most famous tipple.
Day Three – Take a While on Islay
It’s just a short drive from Campbeltown to Kennacraig, where you’ll catch your first ferry of this tour, to the legendary Whisky Island of Islay (pron: ‘Isle-ah’). Arriving at either Port Ellen or Port Askaig, it’s no more than a 30 minutes or so drive to your base in the heart of the island.
Your Hotel on Islay
Situated in the heart of the 18th-century ‘island capital’ of Bowmore, this historic whitewashed inn by the harbour has seen a host of changes over the years. Most recently it’s been brought up to date with stylish en-suite bedrooms featuring splashes of tweed and contrasting earthy tones, while downstairs you’ll find a new conservatory with gorgeous views across Loch Indaal. What a great spot in which to enjoy a dram. The hotel’s award-winning restaurant offers an “a la carte” menu incorporating seasonal dishes using the finest locally sourced produce, while for more informal dining, the lounge bar offers an all-day menu.
Day Four –A Private Guided Tour of Islay
No need at all to drive today. After a leisurely breakfast you’ll be collected by our specially chosen local driver-guide and whisked away for a full day out on the island, including visits to two of its most appealing distilleries. Bruichladdich has a reputation as something of a maverick, and is home to the Botanist, Islay’s only gin. You’ll learn how its 22 hand-foraged local island botanicals come together in this unique spirit, with unhurried tastings along the way. Next, make your way to Kilchoman, Islay’s only family owned independent ‘farmhouse’ distillery, and the first new distillery to be built on Islay in 124 years. Here you’ll discover the once lost art of farm distilling, where their superb single malt is created entirely on-site, from barley to bottle. Along the way, your driver-guide will give you a flavour of the deep local understanding of Islay, its history, geology and wildlife. Of course, if there are any other Islay distilleries you would particularly like to visit, please just let us know.
Day Five – Return to the Mainland and Head to Oban
Wave goodbye to Islay and make the return crossing to Kennacraig, enjoying views to Jura and Kintyre as you sail. From here, take another of Scotland’s terrific driving routes, through deeply historic Kilmartin Glen and follow the road as it snakes and slithers along the picturesque Argyllshire coast, to ‘Scotland’s Seafood Capital’ of Oban. You’ll arrive in plenty of time to explore this classic Argyll fishing port and maybe even take a tour of Oban distillery, within easy walking-distance of your accommodation.
Your Accommodation in Oban
Set on the hill overlooking town, your family owned guesthouse in Oban is a welcoming and comfortable property, an imposing Victorian residence. Your hosts are only too keen to help you make the most of your stay, passionate as they are about Oban and all it has to offer.
Day Six – Over the Sea to Skye and to Raasay
Yet another of Scotland’s finest driving routes awaits this morning, after a beautifully prepared breakfast, of course. Head away from Oban, hugging the coast of Loch Linnhe with views of the Isle of Lismore, northwards to Fort William, nestling at the base of Ben Nevis. From here, take the Road to the Isles all the way to Mallaig for your first ferry of the day, carrying you over the sea to the most famous Isle of Skye. Once on the island, it’s just a few minutes’ drive to one of Scotland’s newest distilleries, at Torabhaig, where you’ll enjoy a tour of this impressive facility, hosted by friendly and knowledgeable staff. Takeaway drams are offered for drivers to enjoy later.
Travel on through the Sleat peninsula to catch the ferry for the short crossing to the Isle of Raasay, where you’re in for a real treat to round off your gin and whisky touring holiday.
Your accommodation on Raasay
What better way to top off your trip than with a two-night stay in the most comfortable accommodation at Scotland’s newest island distillery? Raasay Distillery has been created from the shell of a once-derelict Victorian building, almost lost to the elements just a few short years ago. Now, the island’s first legal(!) distillery is up and running and offers some of the most appealing bed and breakfast accommodation available, with the stills operating directly below your feet.
Set between Skye and the Applecross peninsula, the Isle of Raasay, while relatively tiny, is host to a diversity of geology way beyond its size. Thick forest, rolling hills and often-deserted beaches make up just some of the attractions here, while its fascinating history includes the story of Calum’s road – singlehandedly built by the postman – and the lives of Queen Victoria’s piper John McKay, and the poet Sorley MacLean. With a backdrop of the Skye Cuillins to the west and Torridon to the east, Raasay punches several leagues above its weight as one of Scotland’s most appealing islands.
Day Eight – Onward Journey Home
Take your final ferry-crossing back to Skye, then brace yourself for more breath-taking scenery as you cross the Skye Bridge back to the mainland. From here, you’ll traverse expansive Glengarry and the intimidating valley of Glencoe on your way back towards Glasgow and the south, armed with greater knowledge of Scotland’s gin and whisky heritage – plus a few souvenir bottles, we imagine!
This multi-centre holiday includes time in Kintyre, Islay, Oban and the Isle of Raasay.
£1295 per person in March and November, £1325 per person in April and October, £1395 per person from May to September.
Price is based on two people sharing a double or twin room for seven nights on a B&B basis. This price also includes tours/visits of six distilleries, a day’s private taxi tour on Islay and return ferry crossings for car and passengers as described. Additional distillery visits are available, POA.
Car rental is not included, but available from around £25 per day – do just let us know.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
This holiday can be arranged from March until the end of November.
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.
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