Jura may be ‘deer island’ and famous both for its wildlife and mountains – the Paps – but it also boasts some fantastic unspoiled beaches. This white-sand beauty stretches for a couple of miles – you’ll find it a few miles out past Craighouse.
Ardnave means Saint’s Point. It is a promontory on the north west of Islay which has a rocky shore in parts but incredible and extensive sand dunes too. It’s a lovely walk from Gruinart but beware of cows (keep your distance) especially when they have calves. Good views of Nave Island and Colonsay, on a clear day.
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches on Islay Saligo Bay is on the Rhinns, near Loch Gorm. It’s pretty, can be really sheltered and great for a day out with kids and a picnic. You can park near the gateway but be careful to block the road or the gate. You walk to it from the road through a field, so be respectful and mindful of animals.
This stunning cross outside the ruined late Medieval church at Kildalton is unbroken and carved from a single piece of stone. It is richly decorated and, like the Iona Crosses, probably dates from around AD800. Follow the road out past Ardbeg to find it clearly signposted on your right. Watch out for eagles en route.
Islay’s villages are all worth a visit. Port Ellen with its majestic sweep of houses on Frederic Crescent skirting the bay, Bowmore with its round Church and sheltered harbour; Port Charlotte with its white houses tumbling down to the shore and pretty allotments and beaches. Portnahaven on the southern tip of the Rhinns is a must and thoroughly worth the winding coastal drive. You’ll find a sheltered inlet of a bay, often full of seals, and lovely views across to Orsay Island and the lighthouse.