One of the things I love about having a camper van is that you don’t have to have concrete plans. Things can change at a moments notice. Happily and unexpectedly we found ourselves on a ferry to the Isle of Islay. Islay is a island that we wanted to visit but thought that we’d probably run out of time. When we saw how close we were to the ferry, we couldn’t say no! And we are so glad that we grabbed the opportunity as Islay is truly a beautiful island.
Each of the Scottish Islands has it’s own unique personality. Islay is such a clean and welcoming community. It felt like it enjoyed the remoteness of the most distant of islands. We really enjoyed our visit to Islay and it’s neighbour Jura, both of them fantastic locations for stand up paddleboarding.
Stand Up Paddleboarding on Islay
With nine whiskey distilleries this small island has a lot to offer the whiskey enthusiast and SUP bloke was kept quite busy visiting those that were open. Initially we visited Laphroig which we had sampled in the past. We quite like the peaty smokiness it offered and were happy to find out that we could claim our wee dram in rent payment for the foot square of land that came with the bottle we had previously purchased. You can read all about the Friends of Laphroig offer here.
As it was quite windy for most of our time on Islay we had plenty of time to explore the island (and it’s distilleries). Fortunately we got a couple of paddles in even though the wind was mostly too strong to stand up. Islay has so many lovely spots to paddle with some big shallow sandy bays. We also visited Loch Finlaggan the ancestral seat of the Lord of the Isles which is a significant historic Scottish location with strong connections to the Isle of Iona off the west coast of the Isle of Mull.
Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Isle of Jura
We also took a side trip over to the neighbouring Isle of Jura. Jura is a beautiful wild island with a large deer population. It has only one road which runs up the eastern shore passing some stunning scenery on the way. One of our favourite places was the Bay of Small Isles where we had a great SUP with some curious seals. They probably don’t get many paddle boarders up that way. We visited the local Gin Distillery – Lussa Gin which used locally foraged botanicals to give it a delicious fruity and floral flavour (I really recommend trying some if you get the chance).
Even though we found Islay to be pretty windy, Jura was a little bit more protected. Less wind made it a great location for stand up paddleboarding. There were less easily accessible paddleboarding locations on Jura than Islay as there is a lot less road. We were surprised however to find that there were a few really good options for launches.
If you missed part one of our SUP Safari Scotland to the Isle of Arran you can read about it here.
Stay tuned for next week as we head back to the mainland and head north along the west coast for some touristy spots, a touch of history and of course more paddleboarding!! Thanks for coming along on SUP Chicks SUP Safari Scotland.