The port town of Port Askaig is located on the eastern side of the Isle of Islay in the Inner Hebrides. Along with Port Ellen, it is one of two points on the island with ferry connections to the mainland of Scotland and to Feolin on Jura. The Calmac ferry to and from Kennacraig and Colonsay often stops here as well. The ferry crossings here could be quite rough, especially if you are not used to travelling by boat. The waters of the sound are subject to the strong tides and currents and on windy days, there is a possibility that the ferry to Isle of Jura may not run.
There is a hotel in Port Askaig, but there are not very many houses. The cove is very tiny and there is not a lot of room for more buildings. Visit the Islay Lifeboat at the lifeboat station that was established in 1934. Due to the rough waters around the island, yachts and ships often run into difficulty. It is the job of this lifeboat station to send out the rescue boats to help save the lives of those in danger. The bright colour of the boat makes it really stand out against the backdrop of the white houses.
Drop into the Port Askaig Hotel where you can have a delicious meal or a drink in the pub. The pub is the oldest licensed establishment on the island and has an interesting display of rare and old bottles. Take the winding road from Port Askaig that leads up the steep hill to tour the rest of the island. If you do not have your vehicle with you when you come to Islay, you can take the bus from Port Askaig to Bridgend and Bowmore. You can also rent a bicycle and cycle your way around the island.
Take a tour of the Caol Ila Distillery from which you have magnificent views of the Sound of Islay and the Paps of Jura. At the distillery, you can watch the distillers at their work as they tend the six copper stills of this facility. This distillery has been in operation for more than 100 years. The building is constructed from stone that was hewn from the rocks and is very photogenic. Have a taste of the fine malt whisky that is produced at this facility.
The Bunnahabhain Distillery is also located at the end of the road branching off from Port Askaig. This facility was established in 1881 and is still brewing many famous brands of the famous malt whisky. Following along the road from Port Askaig, you can travel to such places as Ballygrant, which was once the headquarters of the Lords of the Isles the Clan Donald. Visit the Islay Woollen Mills just outside of Bridgend or walk across the moor to Eilean Mor, where you will see the ruins of a medieval chapel and some very old gravestones.
The scenery of Port Askaig is very striking and you will be snapping photos as the ferry nears the island. Take your time and enjoy all that this beautiful island has to offer.
Light Traveler by Matthew Hart