Easter Break 2019 – Goodbye Islay

It is inevitable that the last day of your holiday arrives but it always seems to arrive far too quickly. For us the sun was giving way to the clouds and a very blustery wind was building, which is probably the edge of Storm Hannah that has hit Wales in the last 24 hours.

We packed up our things and said goodbye to Byre Cottage and it’s spectacular views across the island.

View from Byre Cottage

On our daily excursions we had seen this red phone box and often wondered who would use it as it was at a junction in the middle of nowhere. We had been tempted a number of times to stop and have a look and so this time we did just that. I would have been very annoyed if I had seen this in the distance and trekked all the way to use the phone, only to find it didn’t even work!

The phone box in the middle of nowhere

Even though it looks a beautiful day the weather really did change shortly after this photo was taken. We headed down the peninsula towards Port Charlotte and then further down to Portnahaven. We were hoping to see the seals but the waves coming in off the Atlantic were huge. Some seals were braving the swells and we did see the odd seal head poking above the water. This would be a lovely little seaside village in good weather, but I suspect that doesn’t happen very often.

The fishing cottages of Portnahaven

Time was pressing as we had to be at the ferry for 3pm and we were currently at the far end of the island. Once we were off the single lane roads we made could progress and had time to even stop at Finlaggan which was the ancestral home of the Lords of Isle.

We do like a good ancestral tree

Finlaggan and the Lordship of the Isles has been around since about c875 and did belong to the Clan MacDonald, that is until they backed the wrong side and had all their lands seized by King James IV and given to the eldest male heir of the King of Scotland, latterly King of Great Britain. Therefore the current Lord of the Isles is the one and only Prince Charles, which will then be inherited by Prince William, when/if Charles becomes King.

The ruins of the abbey at Finlaggan

The Finlaggan Visitor Centre it very small but it is full of interesting artefacts including an ancient cross that was discovered by the Time Team when they carried out a dig here back in 1995. This mini museum is certainly in the modern era as my five year old loved the VR system that was available. With the VR he could travel around Finlaggan Castle as it was in the Middle Ages.

After the visitors centre we walked down to the old ruins, walking across a wooden walkway through the reed beds to get to the tiny island. There was not much left but the old Kilfinlaggan Chapel was still partially standing, contained within was the effigy of Domhnall Mac Gilleasbuig, crown tenant of Finlaggan during the 1540s.

Effigy of Domhnall Mac Gilleasbuig

A quick 15 mins drive and we are at the Ferry port, saying goodbye to a fantastic few days on the Isle of Islay. I am pretty sure we will all come back again, maybe when #DeaconT is a little older and we can take advantage of the many walking trails. I will have to make sure I practice my ‘Islay Flick’ for the next time I am driving on the island.

Goodbye to the Isle of Islay

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