|Loch Ness Monster or Sea Otter - credit: J|
|The Paps of Jura - credit:S|
|Jura Distillery with Cabbage Trees - credit:J|
are, and no amount of Googling helped them (unsurprisingly). She can now impress them all with her new found knowledge of cordyline australis.
Lunch at the Jura Hotel was amazingly good with the local produce the star: fresh scallops and wild venison burgers (there are thousands of red deer on Jura). We also got to try a locally made gin: three local ladies have started a small scale operation producing a very perfumy gin called Lussa infused with locally foraged botanicals (much like The Botanist).
|Paps of Jura - Credit:J|
|Cove, Ardlussa Estate - credit:S|
After a well earned cup of tea at the cottage, we treated ourselves to dinner in the poshest restaurant in Port Ellen, at the Islay Hotel. Expensive but cheap enough in Wellington terms: about $120 per couple. We've had to book all our restaurant and distillery tour sojourns, as the island still seems very busy in spite of the time of year. Lots of American and German tourists, with a few Japanese whisky lovers too.
|Loch Tarbert, Jura - credit:J|
The day started with high level cloud, but the sun started making an appearance mid-morning. We'd booked an 11am tour of the Bruichladdich distillery in Bruichladdich village, a 35 minute drive from our cottage, so had to be slightly more organised this morning.
|Oldest still - credit:J|
|Ugly Betty Gin Still - credit:J|
The highlight for me was Ugly Betty, the still where they make my favourite gin, The Botanist. The raw spirit is imported from England, then distilled with the 22 botanicals foraged on Islay, including gorse flowers, wild thyme, hawthorn flowers, red and white clover flowers and apple mint. They get 250,000 bottles from each distillation so they only have to do it once a year. They were bottling The Botanist while we were there.
We had lunch in Port Charlotte, a quaint seaside village of whitewashed houses, across the water from Bowmore (Islay has a strange shape, almost like two deformed walnut halves separated by a stretch of water called Loch Indaal, so Bowmore and Port Ellen are on one half and Port Charlotte on the other). Yan's Kitchen is a great restaurant that Jeremy and I discovered the last time we were here - a Chinese guy making Spanish/Italian food on a Scottish island! Again we had great local seafood (scallops and crab claws) as part of a tapas menu. Jeremy tried a very strange beer, made using some of the smoked barley usually used for making whisky, so it was like a barbecued beer. I thought it was disgusting but J was unperturbed.
By now it was quite hot with glorious sunshine.
|Portnahaven - credit: S|
|Grey Seals, Portnahaven - credit:J|
|Portnahaven - credit:S|