back from Islay

Just returned from a wonderful week on the Hebridean island of Islay. We stayed in a delightful cottage at Kintra Farm, looking west over the sea – beautiful sunsets.

sunset from sgeir cottage

Islay is home to many beaches, from sand that stretches as far as the eye can see, to rugged coves where seals haul out onto the rocks, and pebbly strands with glass clear water. Home to deer, wild goats, rare pigs, alpaca, many colours of sheep and cows, rabbits galore and all sorts of sea and land birds, plus eight whisky distilleries – we visited the newest at Kilchoman, but came home with Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain – and a brewery.

On the textile trail, we visited the Islay Quilters, Elizabeth Sykes Batiks, and Tormisdale Croft Crafts, which doesn’t yet have a web site, but is full of luscious yarns and handdyed silks.

Highlights of the week were watching the seals sleep, swim and fight at Portnahaven, and encountering a beach sculpture of a woman gazing out to sea at Machir Bay. She fascinated me, I’m thinking about garments with nets and ropes and the colours of the rocks further along the bay.

seals at portnahaven
sea woman watching
sea woman
sea woman sketches
fringed rocks