21 October 2016

Islay Trip: Day two: The American Monument

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Having turned in early we woke up early. At just past 06:30 we went out the door. We had a wee stroll to the peer. Put the Bowmore distillery on a photo and went to check out the gates to the distillery. Apparently the distillery is closed at 06:48 in the morning which we found preposterous! I mean, we are up! Just kidding.

Bowmore early mornings
Bowmore Distillery
Bowmore Distillery
We went up to the church. Looks spooky at this time of day. 

Got some groceries at the supermarket and went don't to the hotel again where we were able to get breakfast. The salmon, bacon, scrambled eggs with toast breakfast went in with some excellent coffees and orange juice.

You may think while reading this: How is this a whisky blog? You are right, it isn't, it much more like a diary. A diary of a whisky related trip. It helps me remember for later and if you are reading this you are either me, family, friends or people that have decided to go to Islay too and want to get a feel for it all. Or you have been to Islay and maybe my texts sparks some memories. Or you live on Islay and then you can smile at the detail of it all.

We had a day of activities ahead of us. First to the American memorial. The view across the sea is supposed to be amazing. It was still dark when we set out hoping to get sun up from the cliffs. Then we would plant a flag at Laphroaig, pop in at Lagavulin, and the onwards to Ardbeg for lunch and a tour.

So off to the American monument. For more information about the monument see this link.

The road to the American monument is first to Port Ellen, just past the malting’s one turns right, up the hill for a bit, then turn left. This is where the road turns into a one lane road, even less wide than the road to Kilchoman. Not to worry right?

Wrong! We were meeting a car and I estimated that the "grass" to the left of the road was firm enough. It wasn't. It was grass that had grown high enough inside the, invincible, ditch so it looked firm enough. The front left wheel went over the side and we came to a gentle halt. We were not driving fast anyways. The moment is captured on video.

What to do? No one around! Do I have reception to call anyone? Yes I do! Who to call? The rental company? Eh .... I had the Lochside hotel on my contact list (tip!) so I called and the kind lady at the hotel would send a tractor. Where were we she asked! Ehhhrmm ... we took a right at Port Ellen makings and are just out of the woods on a road leading to the oa. Or ao, anyway, to the monument! (Mull of Oa, Isle of Islay, PA42 7AU, U.K.) The lady understood and help was on its way.

One minute later we heard at something come up the hill. Ones around the corner the something turned out to be a truck. A truck owned by Martin. Martin the truck driver is our hero and he made short work of getting us out the ditch. He had done this before, even with his own car and with his truck. We called the kind lady at the hotel, so she could call the person on the tractor to go do other things than rescue us. After a last thank you and a handshake we went on. We took it very much more slowly from that point on and absolutely avoided stubbornness. Tip: Use the passing areas!!!

Martin's Truck
Onwards to the memorial. The road went from tarmac to gravel to connecting potholes. Ones at the parking space we went on on foot. Staying clear of big, but gently grassing horned cows and bulls. Some sheep greeted us with a not to be miss-understood "meeeehhhh".

The walk to the monument is beautiful. The view at the monument is abso-frigging-lutely stunning! We could see Ireland, just about the whole loch and a good chunk of Islay. Let me shut up and let the photos do the talking.

American Monument

American Monument


The wind was coming from the sea, and we were warned not to dismiss the risk of being blown of the cliff. So noted. Tip!!!
Enjoying the view

Back to the car, past the sheep, past the cows, past the gates. The drive back gave us a perspective we had not noticed on the way to, but one’s going back we appreciated the ruggedness even more.

Next destination: Laphroaig flag planting

Just before going on to the next blog I would like to mention the excellent charity started by Ben Bowens for a children's heart surgery Hospital. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adramaday

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