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Scotland/travel consundrum with Islay trip


QUESTION: Hello! For various reasons I have a patchwork of planning for a trip from Glasgow airport to Islay Isle.

I have a house and bicycle rented to tour around Islay, and a direct flight from Islay back to Glasgow, but somehow I'm trying to get from Glasgow to Kennacraig to catch the ferry. My flight gets in at 11:20am and the last ferry to Islay leaves Kennacraig at 18:00 that evening.

All buses seem to make overnight stops. I would love to rent a car and take my time driving through the countryside, but there doesn't appear to be any way to drop off a car in Kennacraig or even close.

Outside of hiring a driver, which I will guess is prohibitively expensive, do you know of any way to get me to Kennacraig from Glasgow in 5 hours?

Thank you

ANSWER: Easy-Peasy, Bill.

Take the airport express bus in to Glasgow to the Buchanan Street Bus Station and catch the 14:00 bus to Kennacraig.

The above link takes you to the Winter timetable which is current until 19th May, but they will be releasing a new one for the Summer, soon.

West Coast Motors operate this service for Citylink, so the bus will be half of one livery and half the other, which is quite unusual.

If you have queries about the service, email to

Alternatively, rent a car and take it over to Islay.  Having a bike on Islay sounds brilliant and most of the time it will be, but I have experienced stronger winds on Islay than anywhere else in the world.  One time I was over last year, and the hurricane force winds blew pagodas off the roofs of Bruichladdich and Bowmore Distilleries.  One gust took my spectacles off and deposited them in a puddle about 30 yards away in one swift blow.

Distances are greater than you would expect, on Islay.  Portnahaven to Ardbeg Distillery is about 34 miles.  Lots of wee hills which look like nothing on the map or from a car, but on a bike.....

for a car at Glasgow Airport, which take away all the hassle of where to go and how to do it.

Where about is the rented house?

Hope that helps,

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QUESTION: Thanks Willie!

Interesting - I was under the impression the island was smaller than that, but perhaps I can't take straight routes across the island by bike?

My plan is to walk from the Ferry to Lagavulin Hall, which I've rented for 4 days. Then the next morning walk back to Port Ellen for breakfast and to rent the bike.

The only car I'll need is one from Lagavulin Hall to the Islay airport the morning I leave and for that I'll grab a local cab.

Two-way flights were too expensive, but the Ferry can't get me back to Glasgow for my Heathrow flight in time.

Hope that all makes sense. I'm used to 10-20 mile bike rides, although I appreciate the tip about the wind. My main intention is to decompress from the trials of the world for a few days. I hope to check out the distilleries and take some nice pictures, but I don't have an aggressive agenda or any sort of plan once I'm there.

Thanks for all the advice! I'll check on that bus right now...


Hi Bill,

The walk to Lagavulin is a nice and fairly easy one.  

You will have a ball.  

Ardbeg and Laphroaig together with Lagavuin are on the same lovely stretch of road from Port Ellen and all within about 1.5 miles.  From Ardbeg, it is another six miles or so to Kildalton Churchyard and Celtic Cross and then on another four or so to Ardtalla where the road runs out in a wee farmyard.  It is a lovely stretch of road and perfect for a bike and you will see very few cars after you leave Ardbeg and none after you leave Kildalton.  It either hugs the coast or meanders through woodland and rough pasture land.

You will need a taxi to get to the airport, probably, though check the local timetables for the bus from Ardbeg to the airport.  Book the taxi in advance.  They are very lackadaisical on Islay and seem only to go out when they want, or the direction of the journey suits them.

I am over for four days from 16th to 18th April, my first trip of many, of the year.

Have a great time,



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Willie Wallace


I live in Edinburgh and travel a lot, myself, in Scotland. I`m especially keen on the many beautiful and remote islands, whisky distilleries and golf and can help with travelling around and good places to stay. Also reknowned, locally, as an expert on Edinburgh pubs :o)


I run a tour company bringing visitors to Scotland - Whisky Tours and golf tours mainly, but general tours also. I am already listed as an Expert in the UK section.

Wrote for Fodor's Guide to Scotland. Wrote "Stray Out There" on Backpacking in Ireland and UK. Also wrote a guide on Backpacking in Australia, for Australian Tourist Commission.

Some college. Traveled and lived all over the world. You can't beat that for an education!

Past/Present Clients
Two of our whisky tour clients - Hotel Waldhaus in Swizerland - Largest number of malt whiskies in the world - over 2500 (Guinness Book of Records) and Dundee Dell, possibly the largest collection of malts of any bar in the US. Regular visitors.

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