Some sections of today’s walk are on quiet single-track roads so please take care of traffic and set aside to let vehicles pass. Please heed livestock on the farms at Saligo and any notices about lambing season. Watch out while walking next to the coast and don’t go too close to the edge except on paths – dune landscapes are fragile.
Please follow the advice of the notices at Machir Bay and Saligo Bay and don't swim in the sea due to the strong undercurrents.
Tips and hints
Points of Interest
Kilchoman is Islay’s only farm distillery producing all of it’s own barley on the island. A small operation compared to some of the larger distilleries a premium tour here is a special experience – many of the processes are still carried out by hand which is a contract to some of the older, larger distilleries who cannot function like this any longer. If you wish to book a tour you can choose from their basic and premium tours (details, opening times, and days can be found on the below link, or you can call them on +44 (0)1496 850 011).
Visitor Centre and café opening hours may vary but are listed as 9.45am - 5pm (Monday to Friday - November 2017 - 23rd March 2018 and everyday - 26th March - 2nd November 2018)
Nearly 2 km in length the sandy expanse of Machir Bay is a wonderful spot for taking in the power of the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is the namesake for Kilchoman’s flagship single malt. The distillery manager, John MacLellan, describes the malt here: “Machir Bay has a beautiful balance of vanilla, smokey butterscotch and rich fruitiness each contributing in complexity and combining to create a truly unique Islay dram”.
The beach at Saligo is said to be Islay’s most beautiful, but when you visit you can see and decide for yourself! The beach is west of the quiet shores of Loch Gorm and north of Kilchoman distillery. Visible from the dunes above the bay is an unusual rock formation further up the coast, the locals call it the “sleeping Giant” because of it’s peculiar shape.
Food & Drink
The distillery is situated in remote country on the west coast of Islay so thankfully it has a good café serving coffee, cakes, and sandwiches etc along with a gift shop and visitor centre. There is nowhere else to get refreshments on this route, but you can stock up on snacks or a picnic lunch if you don’t wish to use the café in Port Charlotte before your morning taxi transfer.
EquipmentA small rucksack with waterproofs and spare warm layers is essential – the walking is beautiful on a good day but the landscape is very exposed to the elements if the weather turns. Make sure to bring plenty of water and food for the day.
Basic Equipment for Hiking
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Hiking socks
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
- Hiking poles
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Blister kit
- Bivy / survival bag
- Survival blanket
- Pocket knife
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
- Emergency contact details
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.