Picture This: Searching the Cliffs of Islay

by Keith Savage · 10 comments

The sunlight strikes purple on the hillside sprinting down to the ocean. Gauzy and warm like a child’s blanket, the air is a physical body filling my lungs and draping the landscape in veils of cloudy blue. There is a disappearing path running around the cliff tops, happily bereft of rails and warnings, sustained only by the infrequent tread of the curious. I cross over clefts that drop away to the surging sea and over spongy patches of gorse and heather buffeted by the Atlantic gales. Every labored breath passes over gritty earth and sea salt. In the distance, the headlands of Islay ceaselessly clash with the sun, sea, and sky.

I don’t know where I’m going. Eventually I stop before a simple wooden post with an arrow pointing to the heavens. Or is it forward? There are a handful of moments where I allow the elements to batter me in my stillness. It’s the first sign I’ve seen on this hike, but everything – the blinding sun, the glittering sea, the eye-watering wind – is urging me to close my eyes, stop looking, and keep moving forward.

Dykota HouseNo Gravatar December 5, 2011 at 5:38 AM

Islay has an astonishing magnetism, unmatched by any other place in the world. I felt such peace and rejuvenation after the very first minutes I set foot there. One of my very favorite spots ever!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 19, 2012 at 9:04 AM

It was quite a serene place, helped all the more by the fine distilleries.

Travel ScotlandNo Gravatar December 4, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Hi Keith,
I’ve visited the Mull of Oa on Islay many times while conducting whisky tours to that fantastic island. It always catched the clients out when they get such a great view over to Ireland. For anyone planning to travel to Scotland, if you have the time I cannot recommend Islay high enough. Love the place

Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 19, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Yes, the views were often astonishing. Hard to believe Islay is so close to Ireland. Then again, historically, Islay was often part of Irish lands.

Roy MarvelousNo Gravatar November 26, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Such vivid commentary, it really makes you feel like you’re there.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Thanks Roy.

Traveling TedNo Gravatar November 26, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Beautiful photo and commentary as usual. Just be sure to open your eyes at the bend in the trail.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 26, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Part of the fun is in falling, right?

Holiday ScotlandNo Gravatar November 25, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Nice picture, i love the trail worn between the heather, stumbled it : )

Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 26, 2011 at 10:25 AM

This was a gorgeous hike that totally rejuvenated me after a bunch of insane travel.

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