A new tour concept! Why not combine a few of Scotland’s best features! We’ll have two days of wildlife boat tours around the Argyll area which will include looking for basking sharks, seals, whales and dolphins in the Firth of Lorne Special Area of Conservation. Pass through the famous Corryvreckan whirlpool, explore shipwrecks and samples some of Islays best distilleries. We can cater for everyones taste on this trip, ranging from those who want to snorkel with seals, to wildlife watching from our large boat and those looking for an interesting trip and sample a few drams.
Day 1 – Whirlpools & Wildlife
Firstly we will pass the slates isles and remnants of the slate quarrying industry in the area. The slate was quarried here from the 17th century and for hundreds of years was shipped all round world including the US, Australia and New Zealand. There are many ruins and machinery that lie on the islands all remaining from the day production stopped. This area is a marine special area of conservation so is abundant in wildlife as well as history.
As we move further south the tidal streams increase until we reach the Corryvreckan whirlpool, one of only a few phenomena worldwide. Sitting in between the islands of Jura and Scarba, the tide slams into underwater rocks creating standing waves, whirlpools and tidal races. This is the third largest whirlpool in the world and tidal streams can reach up to 8 knots. Don’t worry we will be entirely safe in our large boat. You will be able to see some of this tidal power in action and as you can imagine this hive of activity attracts a lot of marine life too! Whales and dolphins are common here along with seals and otters. On the islands of Jura and Scarba there are eagles which can be spotted and also red deer so we are really spoiled for choice. THe BBC have made a new programme BBC Hebrides – Islands on the edge. See a trailer below of the Corryvreckan episode. It might look exciting but its only on certain tides it gets this big!
We will then head down through the stunning Sound of Jura, passing the impressive mountains Paps of Jura then into the Sound of Islay. Here we will explore the Wyre Majectic shipwreck, a 338 tonne fishing boat which ran aground and still sticks above the water and for those who wish to we can snorkel around the wreck. For those not so keen, we can drop you at the Bunnahabhain distillery for a quick dram! Following this exploration we will move down past Islays west coast onto the Ardbeg Islands. These islands are well known for their large colonies of Common Seals and this will be another chance to snorkel with the seals or just watch their antics from the boat.
After the days wildlife whirlpools and adventure we aim to have you into Port Ellen for approx 4pm where you will check into you accommodation of the Islay Hotel ( www.theislayhotel.com). Situated only a few minutes walk from the pontoons, this is a very high standard of accommodation where you can relax, have an evening meal and visit the rustic whisky bar! Rooms are booked on a double or twin basis and we offer 3 levels of room. Gold, Silver or Platinum see below for pricing.
Day 2 – Islay Whisky
Islay is world famous for its malt whisky and there are eight distilleries on the island, during our visit we will be able to visit two. After a leisurely start and hearty breakfast we will head to the Lagavulin Distillery for 10:30 where we have a warehouse demonstration of the whisky making process. You will be shown the journey of this peaty malt through the maturation process and inspect samples drawn from barrels in front of you. This tour will be lead by the Lagavulin legend Iain McArthur. You can take a sneak preview of this demonstration here along with some insights into island life. We just love their island accent – wonderful!
Following this experience we will take a short walk (5-10mmin) to the Ardbeg distillery which is just along the coast. You will be able to compare the difference between the two malts and processes. This next tasting will take around an hour and we can then have lunch at the Ardbeg Cafe. Allowing an hour for lunch, our boat will then meet us at the distilleries own pier where we will depart for home. Retracing our steps through prime wildlife country we will hopefully have more sightings of all our target wildlife and get you back to Oban for around 5.30pm.