To the Hebrides

If you go to Scotland, the best thing to see are the islands. The concession for RORO (Roll On Roll Off) car ferries to the Hebrides is run by Caledonian MacBrayne. They include longer trips to Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides, as well as a 5-minute sail between Mull and the Sacred Isle of Iona, where the ancient kings of Scotland are buried.

Martine and I have ridden the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries to Mull, Iona, and Islay. In the Middle Ages, the Hebrides were ruled from Islay by the Lord of the Isles, the best known of whom was Somerled (1113-1164). At their height the Lords of the Isles were the greatest landowners and most powerful lords after the Kings of England and Scotland. Today, the Lord of the Isles is Charles, Prince of Wales—though the title is now purely ceremonial.

Above is Kildalton Cross on Islay, where my favorite Scotches are distilled: Laphraoig, Bowmore, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, and Caol Ila. They are known for their peat smoke aroma.

When it is safe to travel again, and if I had the money, I would love to go to Scotland and hop aboard Caledonian MacBrayne, going from island to island.

If you are ever interested in seeing a classic British film set in the Hebrides, I highly recommend Alexander Mackendrick’s Whisky Galore! (1949), based on Compton Mackenzie’s novel of the same name. It’s a classic.