Friday, July 29, 2011

Just Back From...Island Hopping in Scotland

LDPR's Ashley Montblanc Day just returned from a press trip exploring the islands of Scotland.

Did you know that there are over 700 islands in Scotland? Only 100 of which are inhabited. I recently traveled with an adventurous group of journalists to explore just a few of the islands off the Scottish coast. After landing in Glasgow, we took a scenic drive to the western coast in order to catch a ferry to the Isle of Gigha, the most southerly of the Hebridean Islands. The community actually owns the island after a buyout in 2002. From Gigha, we ventured to the ultra charming Isle of Islay (accessible via plane from Edinburgh or Glasgow). Islay is known for housing some impressive distilleries, including one of Scotland’s oldest, Bowmore. We explored many of Islay’s villages and spotted plenty of wildlife including Highland cattle, lamas and loads of sheep. A five minute ferry ride from Islay is the Isle of Jura – what I think is an incredible untold story in Scotland. Jura comes from the Norse words meaning “Deer Island” and today over 6,500 deer live on the island. In contrast, the human population is less than 200. The island feels untouched in many ways and is a magical place, I can understand why George Orwell stayed there to write the book 1984. The island is also home to the Jura Distillery where we got a full behind-the-scenes tour.

The adventure wasn’t over for me there. I found myself behind the wheel (yes, that's right) for a road trip out to the Isle of Skye, the largest and most northerly of the Inner Hebrides. Skye is wild and remote, unspoiled and breathtakingly beautiful. After a stunning drive (even with it being on the wrong side of the road), I arrived with an editor/photographer from Saveur magazine in tow in the tiny town of Dunvegan, home to the acclaimed Three Chimneys restaurant. We spent time with Chef Michael Smith and were lucky enough to dine at the restaurant that has been touted as one of the best in the world.

Travelers would be remiss to visit Scotland and not make it out to the islands to explore the pristine beauty that the country’s coast has to offer – not to mention some of the most amazing local produce you have ever tasted and a whole lot of whisky, of course!

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For over 20 years LDPR has guided some of the world’s most prestigious travel brands through an evolving media landscape with creativity, professionalism and enthusiasm. We are a highly driven and innovative travel and lifestyle public relations agency based in New York City with a global roster of clients from destinations and tour companies to exclusive private islands, hotels and resorts. Our unique culture is defined by our collaborative and strategic approach to working with clients, media and our staff, leading to a strong partnership with measurable results.