Our first visit was in 2018.

MrS celebrated a landmark birthday last month but we were busy and couldn’t get away, though we did have a night off and a lovely meal at our local.

Oops! Forgot to take a photo of the food.

This month it was our wedding anniversary and we did get away, although I didn’t really believe we’d be going until we were actually on the boat.

Now you might think that we shouldn’t have even thought of travelling at the moment but we were staying within our council and health board area and observing all the appropriate local rules. And while hospitality remains open it really needs customers to keep things going.

(Just before we booked I heard that the Bridgend Hotel, where we’d stayed in 2018, had closed.)

This time around we’d opted for The Machrie and splashed out on one of the lodge suites. Which proved to be extremely lucky as new restrictions on hospitality* were introduced just after we booked. We chose well, the lodge was spacious, well equipped and very comfortable. The only problem is I’ll want to stay there every time I go to Islay now!

this cushion is the only photograph I took of the decor. It’s pretty isn’t it?

Islay suits us all, there are lots of historic sites for MrS

Ancient Kildalton cross, around 1200 years old.

Finlaggan and Kilnave Chapel

Delicious food for me

Scallops at Seasalt Bistro at Port Ellen

And many, many gorgeous beaches for DogS

Which makes her very happy

Actually both MrS and I like all three, and DogS likes the historic bits as long as she can come with us. And she’s ever hopeful about the food……..

We were luck that the Museum of Islay life was still open (it closes at the end of October). It’s full of interesting things, from ancient relics, old domestic objects, folk tales and reminders of the tragedies witnessed by Islay during the first world war**.

I particularly liked this, but it made me feel sad as we’ve had to cancel our shows this year.

And of course Islay is famous for its whisky, a new distillery has opened since our last visit Ardnahoe near Port Askaig. It’s too new to have its own whisky on sale but we enjoyed the food (and the views) from the cafe and did bit of early Christmas shopping.

Cute still shaped salt and pepper at the cafe
And the view across to Jura

The restrictions on food and drink service didn’t really bother us, the suite was so well equipped that we enjoyed cooking. DogS was certainly happier with that. And we were able to toast our anniversary out on the balcony of the hotel.

We would have done this anyway (weather permitting) because DogS wasn’t allowed inside.

And the best thing is that there are still lots of things we haven’t explored. Which means a return visit sometime. And with foreign travel off limits for probably quite some time, that’s something nice to look forward to.

Keep safe, stay well.

Marina xx

*no alcohol sales indoors, cafes and restaurants shut at 6pm, hotel residents excepted. Tighter controls in the Central Belt

**The loss of the troopships Tuscania and Otranto

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