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Mr. Wallace:
We have booked a flat for a week in Edinburgh in early October. Among other day trips, we are planning to fly to Islay from Glasgow late one afternoon, stay in Islay on night, tour the island via rental car the next day, then leave late afternoon. We would like to return via ferry, but can't figure out how to get from Kennecraig to Glasgow/Edinburgh by rail. Is there no rail for that route? Flying both ways may be the only/best alternative. And where do you recommend we stay on Islay?
Also, our Edinburgh flat is in St. Bernard's Crescent. What do you consider the best local pub in that area, since you are also an expert on pubs?

Thank you in advance.

Meg and Chris

Answer
hi Meg and Chris.

Just came off Islay yesterday.  Beautiful in the glorious sunshine.

There are very few trains anywhere in the West of Scotland and definitely nothing near to the ferry terminal from Islay.  There is a bus service operated by West Coast Motors, which will take you back to Glasgow, from the ferry and then you can transfer onto a bus back to Edinburgh.  I am not sure if the service meets the 18:00 ferry from Islay and not sure, even if it meets the 15:30 departure from Islay.  If you rent a car, you will have to return it before taking the ferry and believe me, it really is not worth the hassle.  You drop it at the airport and then have to get a taxi 18 miles to Port Askaig for the ferry, which takes two hours to cross with another four to Glasgow and one more to Edinburgh.  Take the plane there and back and save the hassle.

If you plan to visit distilleries, aim to do one in-depth tour and tasting and then just call into the others for a look around and maybe a sample dram.  Laphroaig offer some interesting tastings, as do Lagavulin and Bowmore.  The others are all good too, but tend to offer less choices.  Ardbeg's tours differ depending on which hour you take one.  You would do better to catch a mornng flight and stay two nights, flying back on the morning flight, Islay is BEAUTIFUL!  and very friendly!

The Antiquary and the Bailie on St stephen's Street are probably the best bars in Stockbridge.  The St Vincent at the end of the street used to be good, but I have a feeling they have made it into a beer and burger joint.  Good restaurants on St Stephen Street.  Purslane is truly excellent and the Stockbridge is very good, but there are Mexican and others there too.

Cheers, Willie

Scotland

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Willie Wallace

Expertise

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)

Experience

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.

Publications
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.

Education/Credentials
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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