Superlatives almost fall short to describe the fantastic ending to this year's fantastic festival week. Today was Ardbeg Day or should I say Ardbeg Night. It was a super relaxed, incredibly friendly and amazingly sunny and warm festival day. It's said that Bruichladdich always has sunny weather but I think Ardbeg can very easily compete with them where festival sunshine is concerned. Today the weather was simply glorious and the sun shone most of the day, in fact the sun was present on most days this week so no complaints there.
Ardbeg Open Day 2016
In a way we were going full circle as we passed Lagavulin on our way to Ardbeg. It was at Lagavulin, today a week ago, where the festival kicked off and where many folk had their first perfect festival day. The music was fine today, the band Callanish was playing on the stairs near the newly placed still overlooking the yard where tables and chairs were placed for visitors of Ardbeg Night. Continue reading
Closer to the filling area was the always present Ardbeg Tractor and various other games and food stalls. One of the main attractions were the Arbroath Smokies as long queues were forming for this Scottish delicacy. The Arbroath Smokie is a traditionally smoked masterpiece which originates from the east coast of Scotland. It's a smoked Haddock as you will likely never taste again. It has a fantastic flavoured taste and is best eaten warm. Combine them with the recently released Ardbeg Dark Cove and you have a winning combination.
Preparing Smokies at Ardbeg Day
Most folk just sat down on the grass with a dram, a smokie and some good friends or family enjoying the fabulous weather, the relaxed atmosphere and stunning views over a flat calm sea. Several tall ships visited Ardbeg Bay such as the Bessie Ellen and the Flying Dutchman, what a magnificent view to see these tall ships lying in the bay and sailing off again on the salty and very gentle breeze.
Relaxing while enjoying the fabulous views
The icing on the already very yummy cake was a boat trip, or should I say a "flight", with Gus from Islay Sea Adventures in his new twin engine 600hp inflatable RIB, suitable for 10 people. The speed of this RIB is unbelievable as it does max 45 knots in calm water, and that is FAST, believe me. Gus took groups out in Ardbeg Bay where we visited three shipwrecks, the Luneda, John Strachan and San Sebastien. Afterwards we had a dram, an Ardbeg 10yr old, in front of Lagavulin Distillery, next to Dunyvaig Castle. Make sure to book a trip with Gus next time you're on Islay as it is indeed the icing on your holiday cake.
Safety instructions before "Take Off"
Calm Seas on a fabulous trip. So great to go out sailing and see Islay from the sea.
We planned to only stay for a few hours but it turned out to be the entire day, but that's how it goes over here. Days like this make Islay to what it is, a wee bit of paradise on the Scottish west coast where folk from all over the world come. A place where people visit their favourite distilleries, make new friends, have a chat and a dram with likeminded people and enjoy the super relaxed atmosphere and fabulous weather. It can't get any better than this!
Band members from Reely Jiggered here to relax after their fantastic performances on Islay.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt :-)
Sit, relax, have a dram and enjoy the atmosphere
Tall Ship and Gus "Showing Off" in the bay
Relaxing in front of Warehouse 1