Step off the Islay ferry and into the world of single malt whisky. There are eight working distilleries on Islay, including the big names like Laphroaig, Bowmore and Ardbeg. It’s also a world of birds, over a hundred different species breed on the island. In summer at Loch Gruinart you’ll find thousands of migrant ducks and geese, and the RSPB reserve The Oa, pronounced ‘oh’, is almost an island in itself. Islay has excellent beaches, from Saligo bay on the Atlantic coast to the Singing Sands in the south. A boat trip might bring you close to minke whales, dolphins, basking sharks and seals. If you prefer to stay on land, Islay has plenty to keep you entertained, from music festivals and castle ruins to handcraft studios.