Scottish islands: Islay

Portnahaven, IslayThe third in my photo-series on Scottish islands focuses on Islay, with a winter sunset seen from Portnahaven.   This little village of white-washed houses sits on the westernmost tip of the Rinns, a long peninsula of rough grassland with rocky outcrops and hidden coves.   On the far horizon is the coast of Ireland – by my reckoning it should be Malin Head in County Donegal.

Photo copyright © Colin Woolf


  1. Memories. We arrived in rain, then had 4 days of summer and finished the week with Gales and very high seas…..the Ferry did sail but they did say it was at the point they could cancel. But with a following wind and running tide it was the fastest return trip to mainland that boat had ever made…..only one van,two cars and our car and caravan and a handful of passengers on board. It was rather exciting!. Then it was a quick drive up to Oban and after a stop to top up at Tesco it was onto the evening ferry to Mull and a return to summer weather (and of course Midges). Must head back to Islay and Jura

    • That sounds like a month’s worth of weather in one day! Islay is so beautiful, and Machir Bay is one of the most wonderful beaches I’ve ever seen. Yes, it would be good to go back! 🙂 Thanks, David, glad this stirred some memories for you.

    • And if you are trying to go against the tide, DON’t. The powerful twin engines of our friend’s boat couldn’t make enough knots to make any headway at all. The upside of that is that it gave us an extra four hours in lovely Port Askaig.!

      • That sounds a bit alarming, Viv! I didn’t know the currents were so strong around there, although I have seen the ferry trying to cross the Sound of Islay when the tide is running.

  2. Wonderful picture!

  3. On my first visit to Islay, we left from Port Askaig in thick fog. The fog horn kept sounding and we were sure the ferry must have special radar equipment to know where to go. Imagine then our feelings on looking up at the bridge and seeing the captain and other sailor types anxiously staring out at the fog with binoculars… Exciting!

  4. Lovely photo….just might be going at the start of September, fingers crossed 🙂

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