My wife and I visited Islay in July last year, and it was one of our best experiences to date. Like most, we both have hectic lives, demanding jobs, kids (although nearly grown now) – the works; and we hadn’t really gotten away together in several years. So we did some searching for a place that would be peaceful – maybe a little remote. The only qualifier was that we’d want to get on a plane and fly to another country. Islay, Scotland it was!
We expected a little more sun than we got, but it was just fine. The area is just amazing, and the people are friendly too. We stayed at Ballivicar Farm, which was exactly what we needed in terms of peaceful accommodation. It felt removed from whatever hustle and bustle there might be in parts of the island (although we never experienced any), but it didn’t feel like we were staying in the middle of nowhere. It was close to the port, a few of the distilleries (we toured all of the ones nearby), and the surprisingly empty beaches next to the sprawling sea. There was light rain almost the whole week we were there, but we still bundled up a bit and walked on the beach every day.
The farm was also close to some of the local attractions, including a nearby town called Bowmore, where we got to eat delicious food and see a couple of churches – one of which was particularly interesting because it was round. We were told that it was presumably built that way so that there were no corners for the devil to hide in. Just one of the many nuggets of lore we picked up during our stay.
On top of everything else, my wife and I are both animal people, so we were perfectly content to mingle with barn owls, rabbits, deer, pheasants, ponies, etc. while staying on the farm. Our trip to Islay was just what we needed.
Photo of the farm: http://www.islayjura.com/view-details.php?id=456