Islay Whisky Tours with Scottish Routes

Since 2004, Scottish Routes have been specialising in unique and distinctive tailor-made and small group tours of Scotland. They have always focussed on sharing their favourite aspects of Scotland with their guests and, in 2009, they fell in love with the magical Isle of Islay.

A bit about Scottish Routes
Founded in 2004 this small, Scottish-owned company have built a solid reputation for high quality tours around Scotland. In 2009, due to true love taking the previous owner on a journey across the Atlantic, a change of ownership occurred. This led to a re-branding and the start of a now long-standing love affair with Islay.

The company has grown since the early days and now operates two 16 seat minibuses and a number of smaller vehicles. They offer a range of touring options from completely bespoke private tours to regular departure trips from Edinburgh and Glasgow. Islay is by far the most popular destination for them!

Why Islay?
Having grown up on the Isle of Lewis, MD Will Stockham has a passion for the Hebrides. In 2009, Will travelled to Islay for the first time to look into the possibility of offering regular and customised tours there. After only a few hours on the island (during a wet and windy winter day) he was hooked. Not sure whether it was the peat smoke in the air reminding him of home, the laid back atmosphere of the island or the helpful locals that he met, he quickly decided that he wanted to share this with his guests.

After a few successful private tours to Islay, the company launched a regular 4 day minibus tour from Edinburgh. Initially, this was in conjunction with another tour company and together they were the first Scottish companies to operate regular trips to Islay. Since then, Scottish Routes has taken on all the tours and this year will offer 17 minibus tours to Islay from Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as private tours to suit.

Happy Times on an Islay Beach

What do their guests love about the island?
First and foremost, they are here for the whisky! The tours are aimed specifically at the whisky lovers and self-confessed 'peat freaks' of the world. However, there is so much more to islay than whisky. Before arriving, they don't give too much away about these other aspects of the islands so the guests are blown away when they get to.

  • Visit the Kildalton Cross
  • Walk along the beach at Machir Bay
  • Watch the waves crashing onto the shore at Saligo
  • Seal spot at Portnahaven
  • Enjoy amazing seafood in a local restaurant
  • Slurp down local oysters on the beach
  • Walk to the American Monument
  • Catch a glimpse of Ireland
  • Go bird watching
  • Listen to traditional music
  • Taste a locally brewed ale
  • Picnic in a walled garden
  • See where the tartans used in Braveheart were made
  • Explore Finlaggan
  • See ancient standing stones and burial sites
  • Here the gaelic language being used
  • and much more.

Why choose Scottish Routes?
As a small, Scottish owned company they are passionate about sharing their country with their guests.

The scheduled tours are designed to ensure you get the most from your time in Scotland whilst not following the masses and feeling rushed. Each scheduled tour has been designed to allow maximum flexibility and time to explore. For example, lunch on Islay can be a sit down meal in a pub or restaurant (or even distillery) if it is raining, but a picnic on the beach if the sun is shining. The minibuses take a maximum of 16 guests as this ensures personal interaction with the tour guide, as well as making sure no-one feels like a herded sheep.

When it comes to private tours, they will work with you to come up with an itinerary that gives you want you want. They will advise on the best options, based on your requirements and be completely honest about all the options available (good and bad). Theses can range from a half day city tour to a 14 day whisky extravaganza around Scotland (including Islay of course!).

All of their Scottish drivers and guides are passionate about the history and culture of the areas they visit and each has their own unique personalities. There are no scripts just a genuine desire to share the sights and experiences with you. All the whisky tour guides are also fully fledged graduates of the Scotch Whisky Training School as well.

Tours and Contact
So, whether you want to book on a 4 day minibus tour or create your own unique tour to Islay, Scottish Routes can help.

Full details of all the options can be found on their website at or you can contact them using any of the following options:

Twitter: @scottishroutes
Tel: +44 (0) 131 347 8886

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Norman Newton - Islay guide
A small book loaded with gorgeous photo's and practical Information. Lightweight and soft sided makes an ideal companion on Islay.
More Islay books here...