Another hearty breakfast, car packed we headed off to look for the stone circle at Cultoon.
We parked and walked across a field as we couldn’t see another way to the stone circle. This was not the way to go. We walked through a farmers field which was a mistake – the gate was open and there were no sheep in the field – but a farmer on a quad bike came to ensure we left his field. We left promptly. If you are visiting this area please be careful how you access the site.
Next it was on to our first distillery of the day – Lagavulin – one of three distilleries on the south of Islay.
The distillery of Lagavulin officially dates from 1816, when John Jonston and Archibald Campbell constructed two distilleries on the site. One of them became Lagavulin, taking over the other – which is not exactly known. Lagavulin is celebrating it’s 200th anniversary this year.
Next up was Laphroaig. The distillery was not in production when we visited but this allowed us to see inside the kiln. Laphroaig is one of the few distilleries that malts some of its own barley.
Laphroaig was established in 1815 by Donald and Alexander Johnston. The last member of the Johnston family to run the distillery was Ian Hunter who died childless in 1954 and left the distillery to one of his managers, Bessie Williamson.
Laphroaig is the only whisky to carry the Royal Warrant of the Prince of Wales, which was awarded in person during a visit to the distillery in 1994.
Well after visiting two distillery it was time to get something to eat so we headed to Ardbeg distillery. Coffee and cake but no tour around the distillery. There was time for photos.
Our last visit of the day was to Kildalton Cross. This is a monolithic high cross in Celtic cross form in the churchyard of the former parish church of Kildalton. It was carved probably in the second half of the 8th century AD, and is closely related to crosses of similar date on Iona. It is often considered the finest surviving Celtic cross in Scotland.
The cross is in the graveyard next to the ruins of Kildalton church which has other interesting graves.
It was then a drive back to Bowmore to book into The Harbour Inn for our last night on Islay.