24 October 2016

Islay Trip: day two: Ardbeg Tour (part one)

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The drive from Lagavulin to Ardbeg is a short one. You could walk it, or take the bicycle. Parking on the most excellent car park I have seen yet on Islay puts you right next to the distillery. Where the car park used to be is now a large area which is covered with the Ardbeg logo. Its big enough to be spotted by the international space station crew! Beautiful!

Me in front of the still


Out of this world is one of the phrases one can label the Ardbeg distillery with. At least that's what I think.
Nice copper display behind the counter

The main bar building

Due to weird time zone agenda stuff we had come in an our early. We thought we had a half hour for lunch, but after some confusion we discovered we had an hour. The confusion began as I told the lady behind the counter that we were in for the 13:00 "Deconstructing the Dram" tour. The lady looked at us a tad odd. I told her my name. She wrote it down, because I wasn't in the list. She went to talk to a colleague and the colleague came back. She asked if I had come for the 13:00 tour? Yes I did. There is no 13:00 tour sir. I was starting to get a bad feeling. The tour was full sir! .... after a bit she walked to the counter , checked the tour book waved me over. Is this your name sir? I looked! Yes it is! The smile returned in the lady's face and it was all sorted.

Only then did I find out that 14:00 CET had shifted to 13:00 UK time due to the time zone difference. We were an hour early.

Stew / Pie

Signing the guestbook

Thats one BIG bottle!

So after a hearty excellent lunch we went outside for some photos. We walked past the parking area around the buildings and went to check out the sea. Tried to get an angle to shoot the sign but couldn't. We located the spot we needed, below the cliff.

Getting a better angle

Nice view, but we can do better

The angle just wasn't right. Lets climb the cliff. So we did. The angle can only get better if you are on the peer during the tour or on a boat. The angle from on top of the cliff is pretty amazing too and not many people make the effort.

View from the Cliff

Palm Tree

My friend had spotted a palm tree standing around which would be excellent for getting a feel for this trips nature. The diversity is like nothing I have seen yet on any other place I have been to. The closest is a combination of the south and north island of New Zealand.

Engine block

shoreline below the cliff

Next we went down the cliff on the other side. Found an engine block, a table, a hammer, stuff you find that came ashore and lots of loose rocks and seaweed. Excellent views of the sea. So close to the distillery but yet so far away. If you do this by yourself and get hurt, no one will hear you scream. That's another tip when on Islay outside the trotted tracks, don't go alone, don't!

View from behond the fields

So we strolled some more, found all kinds of flowers and excellent nature. We needed coffee. So we went back to the cafe.

After coffee we spend a while outside talking to guys that were sitting outside. One of them was from the USA, San Something above LA. He had slept in a small tent on top op a cliff overlooking the Laphroaig distillery. He and his tent were almost blown of during the night becaus it does get a tad windy up there it seems. We were discussing the USA presidential election, housing prices, forrest fires and why he was packing all that crapp in his backpack. I mean the dude had Brie, Chedder, Bread, Tomatos, "fresh" fish, butter, salt, pepper etc etc with him. I figured he was like the male version of a friggin Hermione Granger.

After discussing life, the universe and everything we figured the answer would be 42 and this meant we needed to get inside for the "Deconstruction of a Dram" Tour.

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.

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