40 years of Holidays on Islay

You probably remember the beautiful picture of Saligo Bay by Stuart Macfarlane here on the blog. Stuart wrote that he would write something for the blog and kept his word. Below are his impressions, and amazing pictures of his brother, of a happy childhood and much more in "40 years of Holidays on Islay"

Bunnahabhain Pier

Portnahaven Sunset

Stuart: "We loaded our bikes on top of our orange Hillman Imp and headed of on an adventure with Mum and Dad. "Pocket money for each of you if you can spot a newly registered car". We would be getting a ferry and travelling a long way to a "distant" island for our Summer Holidays. That was 40 years ago!

Our family have been visiting ever since. Continue reading....

Whose going to be first to see the ferry? A game we would play and our children would be playing many years later. Mum and Dad would talk about the anticipation of seeing the ferry, something which never left them, it was always exciting. We collected scalop shells as big as our faces and this passed the time while waiting.

Bunnahabhain Pier

We stayed in Bowmore. There were even rabbits that came into our garden. Long glorious days were spent on The Big Strand. The waves seemed massive. We would go round to Gruinart and walk out to the sand dunes watching and listening to the seals along the way.The sand dunes were like mountains and we would have such fun, climbing, jumping and sliding down them. There was this huge amphitheatre in the middle of them filled with "exotic" shells and golden sand. This was a different world.

Cycling on the Ballygrant Road

A treat would be some butter milk at the Old Creamery or a pineapple juice later on in The Hotel, a game of Pitch and Putt or Putting.

I loved the ferry journeys. Even if it was blowing a gale I would be out there trying to spot Gulliemonts and Razorbill"s. One crossing stays in my mind when the sea was like glass. There were fish all over the place coming out of the water. It would be a number of years later when I would see my first Minke Whale and Dolphins.


I can"t remember the first time I visited Saligo Bay. It is a place though now that is never far from my mind. Like the anticipation of seeing the ferry, the sound of the waves as you walk towards it and the vista that greets you is an unforgettable experience. The light seems unique, the waves always impressive and the rocks are dramatic.

Saligo Bay

As a photographer this has always been a special place for my brother and like him as twilight approaches I can"t think of anywhere else I would rather be.

So my Mum and Dad took me to Islay all these years ago and we have been going yearly since.

Grandma, Grandad and Jodie

The Girls

Our children are now experiencing what we did and still do. They recall with pleasure the evening Barbecues on Saligo Bay eating Marshmallows around the fire, fishing for Crabs, Chips and Cheese in the Port Charlotte Cafe, Horse Riding and Boogie Boarding at Machir Bay, The sand dunes and beaches and the anticipation of seeing that ferry!

My mums last holiday was in Islay a few years ago. She loved Islay and part of her will always be there and when I asked my daughter what she liked about Islay.....Just being there she said!

Horses at Machir Bay

The stunning photos in this article are from Graham Macfarlane, Stuarts brother. You can find out more about Graham on twitter and there are much more beautiful photos on his website www.scotlandscapes.com

Graham Photographing at Saligo Bay

Sound of Islay

Carraig Fhada Lighthouse