Driving from the Kilchoman distillery to the Lochside hotel in Bowmore is very straightforward. Turn left at the loch, turn right at Bridgend and turn right at the pier/harbour in Bowmore. Find a spot and just park. The speed limit is 40 miles per hour and this is quickly enough and even to fast in some places if you don’t know how the roads go.

We were met by the owner of the Hotel who bid us a hearty welcome and we were shown to our room. Room 7 had been recently refurbished and I must say it looked very well indeed. After a short shirt refresh it felt like we needed a beer. Luckily the hotel has also a bar, a pub, a restaurant and an outside terrace. What more could we possibly need.

A bar and a pub? Yes a bar and a pub. The hotel bar is only separated from the “next door” pub by one wall and a door, which is in the one door. Same personnel works both places! Very convenient setup!!

At the bar of the pub.

We took our beer from the pub, through the door in the one wall, to the restaurant “next door”. We got a table and this is where we met our graceful hostess for the first time. Eilidh would become one of the highlights of our trip!

In the restaurant

We asked what was good. The fish was good. We ordered the fish. The fish was indeed good. What more can one say about fresh fish from waters just outside the window! No burgers for us this trip we told Eilidh! (We broke that statement Saturday night when we found out the Islay burgers are friggin delicious!)

On to the bar, on this side of the wall, so not the pub. You will get it when (not if) you go visit. This is where me met Keith, one of the staff. I think we ordered coffee or something. Doesn’t matter what we ordered but we got to talk to a guy from New Zealand who was visiting Italy for a ICT programmer kinda conference but had decided to take a wee detour to Islay. That is some detour dude! Excellent bloke. Excellent conversation. The first of many excellent folk we would meet at the bar.

I had gotten my 200 ml bottle of laddiemp4 and was about to find the Bruichladdich youtube steam only to find out the internet was, let just say, not performing that well. We would not be able to see the stream any more than Bruichladdich would be able to upload it. The same internet glitch hit us. (We found this out the next day) So we had to do a tasting without the guidance of Adam Hannett. Ah well. Lets do it!

Bruichladdich LaddieMP4, cask 16-062

We asked for 3 glasses. We got three glasses. One for my friend, one for me and one for the New Zealand dude. Put in a dram and before we knew it we met by the fair but strict reprimand from Keith. We were not allowed to drink a dram we brought ourselves. Oops! In our enthusiasm to join the laddiemp4 tasting we had forgotten a very basic bar rule. We slammed the dram (sorry!) and I brought the bottle up to the room. Better to order some classic laddies and get on the good side of Keith 😉 hi Keith!

We had been up since 4:15 am and were knackered. So we turned in at 20:30, which felt like 3 am to us. Slept like babies only to wake at 6:00 am. Day two had begun.

Just before going on to the next blog I would like to mention the excellent charity started by Ben Bowens for a children’s heart surgery Hospital. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adramaday