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Introducing Isle of Islay

The most southerly island of the Inner Hebrides, Islay (eye-lah) is best known for its single malt whiskies, which have a distinctive smoky flavour. There are eight working distilleries here, all of which welcome visitors and offer guided tours.

Islay's whisky industry contributes approximately £480 million a year to the government in excise duty; that's about £140,000 for every man, woman and child on the island. Little wonder that the islanders complain about lack of government investment in the area.

With a list of more than 250 recorded bird species, Islay also attracts birdwatchers. It's an important wintering ground for thousands of white-fronted and barnacle geese. As well as the whisky and wildfowl, there are miles of sandy beaches, pleasant walking trails, and good food and drink.

There's a campsite and bunkhouse at Kintra, near Port Ellen, and a campsite and youth hostel in Port Charlotte. If you want to camp elsewhere, ask permission first. Camping is prohibited on the Ardtalla and Dunlossit estates on the eastern side of Islay.