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The Whisky Islands: Whisky Galore and More

5 min read

By Rupert Shanks, Chief Storyteller
More by Rupert

Whisky Island Pilgrimage

Explore the Whisky Islands for an Alternative Whisky Pilgrimage

One of Scotland’s most prolific whisky producers are the islands of Mull, Skye, Arran & Jura. These four Whisky Islands produce a fantastic range of whiskies. Despite the fact that Islay gets a special region of its own, they are all worth exploring both for their natural beauty and for a dram or two!

So we’d like to highlight why we bring our clients to these beautiful islands and how we think they are best experienced.

Arran by bike

Whisky Island Arran

Road biking on Arran is a great way to see the island.

Arran, nestled in the firth of Clyde, is often described as Scotland in miniature. On this tiny island you can climb a Corbett, feast on tasty produce from cheese to haggis to whisky, visit castles and explore dramatic coastlines with beautiful beaches. It packs a punch as a destination all of this own, and in the past the island was home to dozens of illicit whisky stills.

On our Island Explorer road cycling adventure we make our way to the lovely village of Lochranza where you’ll find the fully-above-board Arran Distillery – the island’s only one. Before hopping on the ferry you should experience the fruity sweetness of barley in the Arran malt so you can compare it to Islay’s punchier dram later. And while you’re enjoying your whisky make sure you look up as you’ll be in with a good chance of spotting a pair of Golden Eagles that nest nearby.


Whisky Islands Jura

Our Road cycling Island Explorer trip also visits the winding coastal roads of Jura. This sparsely-populated mountainous island is a great place to visit for a few reasons. Taking a walking tour of the Isle of Jura is just as intriguing. Jura means Deer and there are around 7,000 of them on the island – in fact they outnumber people by around 30 to 1. The island and its waters are teeming with wildlife – look out for porpoises, otters, eagles and many other types of sea bird.

Author George Orwell was a one time residence and wrote is famous dystopian novel 1984 here while suffering terribly from tuberculosis. Again there is just one distillery and in 2014 it launched a 1984 inspired Jura malt.

Mull by Bike

Whisky Islands Mull

Tobermory, Mull. Credit: Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam

Like Talisker the Tobermory malts of Mull try to capture the unique spirit of the island. IN addition to sampling the local whisky in Tobermory, Mull offers a wealth of adventures for the outdoors lover. Home to a stunning winding coastal road, we love road cycling on Mull to explore the endless bays and sandy beaches of this Hebridean isle. Mull also is home to a thriving Sea Eagle community as well as Otters, passing marine life such as whales and many other seabirds.

Skye - the Misty Isle

Whisky Islands Skye

That Talisker whisky is made by the sea seems obvious with its distinctive maritime flavours of salt and smoke. On our Isle of Skye walking tour we’ll take you on a walk around Talisker Bay to work up a thirst for your dram; passing the impressive rocky Preshal Mor before emerging at the southern end of the bay.

Isle of Eriskay

Whisky Islands - Eriskay

Whisky washed ashore on Eriskay in 1941. Credit: P. Tomkins/Visit Scotland

While the Isle of Eriskay doesn’t actually produce whisky it warrants a visit if only to hear about the real events that inspired the novel and film Whisky Galore. (A new version is back out in cinemas this week.) On our walking tour of the Outer Hebrides we take a detour to Eriskay so you can persuade the local landlord to let you try a taste of a 70 year old bottle of whisky. If that’s not enough then perhaps you’d rather go scavenging on the beach as rumour has it the island still holds a cache of the illicit whisky that washed up in 1941.

Explore our trips to the Whisky Islands and find a new perspective for enjoying your malt. Slainte!

Meet the Author: Rupert Shanks

After a spell in the corporate world in London Rupert decided to find a more rewarding way of life involving a closer connection to the outdoors and to his camera! Rupert produces a lot of the photography and video for Wilderness Scotland and works within the Marketing team.

View profileMore by Rupert

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