"Bowmore" Top 5 Page for this destination Islay by Flamegirl

Islay Travel Guide: 59 reviews and 150 photos

Family legend has it that there were three brothers of the clan Cameron present at Glencoe who managed to escape the massacre of February 1692, and one of the brothers (my ancestor) made his way to Islay.

This Cameron line comes down as far as my grandmother, whose parents owned what was then The Imperial Hotel in Bowmore (now the Harbour Inn - white building at the bottom left of the photo).

My father was born here in the Blue House, but the family moved to Glasgow when he was 4 (although he returned to Islay for summer holidays).

Hence the connection which led to my own name, Isla, which is a fairly rare Scottish name (though less so than its male version, spelt Islay).

I have visited Islay several times, though sadly I've rarely enjoyed good weather. It is a characterful island, and ideal if you like to get away (George Orwell wrote his famous novel "1984" in neighbouring Jura, which is even more deserted) and enjoy nature - there are many species of wildlife now difficult to find on the mainland.

The picture shown here is of the main street from the pier, looking up towards the church. It was built in the form of a circle so that there would be no corners in which the devil could hide.

Imperial Hotel, Bowmore

This is an old family photo of the hotel my great-grandparents owned, now the Harbour Inn (see my accommodation tip).

Lady's Rock

If you walk down the path past the Bowmore Distillery and along the coast, you will very soon reach this little formation.

It is known as Lady's Rock because the local women (so I'm told) took advantage of its shelter to bathe in privacy.

Speaking for myself, the freezing cold Atlantic water has never encouraged me to dip in more than a toe; but then I have the luxury of a hot bath. Life on the island wasn't always so cushy.

On a personal note, this was also where my Grandpa's ashes were scattered, upon his request - wanting to be close to this small town (near "The lights of Loch Indaal") where he met my grandmother, so many decades ago.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:a quiet escape; friendly people; lots of whisky!
  • Cons:lots of wind and rain
  • Last visit to Islay: Feb 1998
  • Intro Updated Apr 2, 2007
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (2)

Comments (3)

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    Islay is my favorite Island in Scotland! For the whiskies but not only. I have tasted Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Lagavulin, Laphroig and Ardbeg but never tasted Caol Ila. Another time !

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Mar 13, 2007 at 2:51 AM

    Ah yes, your page brought back our visit to Islay, as does the lovely single malt from time to time!

  • shrimp56's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2003 at 3:22 AM

    I look forward to hearing about your visit:)


“there's a whole world out there...”

Online Now


Top 5,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 1 8 6 9
Forum Rank:
0 6 9 4 0

Badges & Stats in Islay

  • 2 Reviews
  • 4 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 1,187PageViews

Have you been to Islay?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Islay

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)