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Three Distilleries Walk

Hiking trail
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Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • The 3 Distilleries path
    / The 3 Distilleries path
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Laphroaig maltings floor
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Laphroaig peat fire
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Laphroaig vault
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Laphroaig distillery
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / MacDougall monument just off the path
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Lagavulin distillery from the road
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Dunyvaig Castle ruins
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Lagavulin distillery
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / The phone box near Ardbeg distillery
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Ardbeg distillery forecourt
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Port Ellen
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
m 30 20 10 10 8 6 4 2 km
Explore the stretch of coastline from Port Ellen to Ardbeg distillery, taking in Laphroaig and Lagavulin distilleries on the way. 
Distance 11.7 km
3:00 h
31 m
34 m
An easy-going walk from Port Ellen’s beach on Frederick Crescent out of the village following the dedicated 3 Distilleries walkway and cycle path passing Laphroaig and Lagavulin on the way to Ardbeg the final distillery on this stretch of the island's coastline.  We have included a short detour to the Dunyvaig Castle ruins, which afford an excellent view across a calm bay to Lagavulin distillery.  When you reach Ardbeg the route follows the same path back into Port Ellen.  Take your time and enjoy this opportunity to take in 3 of Islay's most famous distilleries! 

Author’s recommendation

If you have booked the Laphroaig premium afternoon tour you may wish to do the bulk of this route in the morning as the informative guides on the tour tend to run over time-wise. 
Profile picture of Catherine Allan
Catherine Allan 
Update: September 17, 2018
Highest point
34 m
Lowest point
3 m
Best time of year

Safety information

The route is all on dedicated pathway beside the road except one short section near Lagavulin which is on the road, and a short grassy detour to a ruined castle. 

Tips and hints


Points of Interest

Laphroaig Distillery

The Laphroaig Distillery has been officially in operation since 1815 when it was founded by two farmers Donald and Alexander Johnston.  The distillery reamined in this family until 1954.  After WWII the distillery was run by Bessie Williamson for 34 years - Bessie retsored Laphroaig to it's former glory and indeed grew it's fame wordlwide.  Find out more about the distillery on a tour:

Lagavulin Distillery

There has been whisky distilling activity at the site of Lagavulin since 1742, but a legal distillery wasn't esablished here until 1816 by John Johnston.  Situated on the shore within site of Dunyvaig Castle ruins the location is a peaceful one well worth a visit. The distillery tour and tasting offting can be found here:

Ardbeg Distillery

Founded around the same time as Laphroaig and Lagavulin, Ardbe was established (officially) by John Macdougall in 1815, before being bought over by a Glaswegian Merchant Thomas Buchanan, but John's son Alexander still managed the distillery.  In 1981 production at the distillery ceased and no whisky was produced here until the distillery was purchased in 1987 by Allied Lyons, and then by Glenmorangie in 1997 - from here the distillery has gone from strength to strength.  Why not visit to find out more? 


Bus timetable from Port-Ellen to Ardbeg 


Food & Drink

There are plenty in places in Port Ellen to eat and get provisions.  If you are booked on the Laphroaig Water to Whisky premium tour (summer months) then a picnic lunch is included.  Otherwise the café at Ardbeg distillery has good café serving cakes and meals. 


Frederick Crescent, Port Ellen (6 m)
OS Grid
NR 36760 45205
55.628941, -6.183575
55°37'44.2"N 6°11'00.9"W
29U 677307 6168381


Frederick Crescent, Port Ellen

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – On Frederick Crescent with the 3 mile signpost to Ardbeg TURN LEFT to follow the signpost and ascend out of Port Ellen village. 

0.28 km – Cross the road opposite the school to turn left onto the 3 distilleries path and continue STRAIGHT ON with the stone wall and field on your left and fields on your right. 

0.49 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON the path beside the road as you cross over a track. 

1.50 km – Here you can take a detour to follow the signpost for the MacDougall monument just 50 m off the path behind the wall.  Otherwise, continue STRAIGHT ON along the path beside the road. 

1.60 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON to cross a track cutting the path and continue towards the distillery warehouses ahead on the right.  

2.00 km – After passing the warehouses continue STRAIGHT ON over the pedestrian crossing and BEAR RIGHT onto the tarred and fenced path through the trees.  In 100 m continue STRAIGHT ON over the bridge. 

2.20 km – Here you can TURN RIGHT to visit the Laphroaig distillery.  Otherwise, continue STRAIGHT ON to pass Lagavulin and Ardbeg. 

3.00 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON over a bridge on the path. 

3.40 km – With the Storm Pods signpost to your right continue STRAIGHT ON into Lagavulin village and ascend on the path. 

3.50 km – Pass through the stone wall to continue on the quiet minor road (please take care of traffic) and continue through the village. 

3.70 km – With Lagavulin distillery on your right you can TURN RIGHT to visit the distillery or continue STRAIGHT ON to reach Ardbeg further along the path. 

4.10 km – Continue out of Lagavulin village and TURN RIGHT to rejoin the 3 distilleries path along the left-hand side of the road and the stone wall.

4.20 km – Here you can take a 1 km detour to Dunyvaig Castle ruins.  TURN RIGHT off the 3 distilleries path and descend on a track passes housing on your left.   

4.40 km – At the end of the track with the house on your left continue STRAIGHT ON to the grassy path down to the castle in 300 m with great views of Lagavulin across the bay.  Retrace your steps back to the 3 distilleries path. 

5.20 km – At the T-junction with the 3 distilleries path TURN RIGHT onto the path and continue towards Ardbeg. 

5.70 km – TURN LEFT to cross the road then TURN RIGHT to continue on the 3 distilleries path now with the road on your right-hand side.  You can now see Ardbeg down by the shore ahead on your right. 

6.00 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON passing through two metal gates. 

6.10 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON over the bridge then BEAR RIGHT to cross the road (pass the bus stop) into the Ardbeg distillery grounds.  If you wish to visit the distillery follow the Ardbeg signposts to TURN RIGHT and descend into the car park. 

6.30 km – From the visitor centre car park ascend slightly back to the entrance to Ardbeg and TURN LEFT to regain the 3 Distilleries path to retrace your steps all the way along on the 3 distilleries path back to Port Ellen. Alternatively, depending on the bus timetable you could catch a bus from any of the distilleries back to Port Ellen.  

11.70 km – You have now arrived back on Frederick Crescent in Port Ellen.  After a few drams you’ll likely be ready for a good meal – why not try one of the bistros along Frederick Crescent or make your way to the Islay Hotel. 


all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
NR 36760 45205
55.628941, -6.183575
55°37'44.2"N 6°11'00.9"W
29U 677307 6168381
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


A short walk on easy terrain, we recommend a small rucksack with waterproofs and plenty of water and snacks along with a comfortable pair of walking shoes or trainers. 

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)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking poles
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Blister kit
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID
  • 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.

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11.7 km
3:00 h
31 m
34 m


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