The best and most comprehensive sites I know of about everything a traveler would need to know about Islay are at www.islayinfo.com and www.islayjura.com
Distances and Travel:
There are two choices. The first is a 3 hour 180 km journey by road from Glasgow to Kennacraig and then a 2 hr ferry crossing. Glasgow is well connected by train, bus and air to everywhere in UK. Bus service from Glasgow to Kennacraig is run by Scottish City Link Coaches Ltd, costs and timetables timetables can be found here. https://sales.citylink.co.uk/JourneyPlannerController?mn=1&op=4 Currently there are 4 bus services everyday on this route, synchronized with the 4 to 5 Ferry services everyday between Kennacraig and both Port Ellen and Port Askaig operated by the Scottish Govt owned Caledonian MacBrayne, popularly referred to as CalMac. Costs and time tables can be found here and here.
The other choice is to fly from Glasgow to Islay. Flybe flies this route twice a day in 45 minutes. This is the fastest and most convenient way to travel to Islay. But the road plus ferry option is far more scenic and a memorable experience. Flight timings and costs here.
You will find detailed travel info including local bus time tables at the islayinfo site.
We stayed at the Ardview Flats of Oystercatcher B&B. I am not sure if Lynn Ross still runs it or it has closed down. While updating this site I tried to find out latest information but couldn’t find the B&B in any listing. It would be a pity if that lovely establishment has closed down. But you will find plenty of other B&Bs and hotels here.
While there are some excellent hotels, I would suggest going for a B&B. Allows you that much more flexibility your own choice of food and drinks. Considering that public transport is limited at Islay, it makes sense to find accommodation close in town and near stores, pubs and restaurants. The airport is in the middle of the island halfway between the bustling but quaint towns of Bowmore and Port Ellen. The ferry comes in at Port Ellen. Hence I would recommend staying either at Port Ellen or Bowmore. There is a nice interactive accommodation finder map at the islayinfo website.
Bus from Glasgow to Kennacraig would be £ 18 (₹ 1600). Ferry ticket from Kennacraig to Islay is currently £ 6.50 (₹ 600). Air ticket from Glasgow to islay by Flybe varies wildly, just as it happens with all budget and commuter airlines. If you book 3 months earlier you can get a one way ticket for £ 40 (₹ 4,000). During peak seasons of June to August and closer to date of travel, be prepared to pay £ 120 (₹ 10,000) each way. Local taxi comes for £ 10 (₹ 900) for short trips and single bus fares are £ 1.5 (₹ 130).
Hotel, B&B and Self-catering would vary between £ 70 (₹ 6,500) per day for two people to £ 150 per day (₹ 13,000). Distillery tours vary between £ 5 and £ 10 per head (₹ 450 to ₹ 900). Budget £ 20 (₹ 1,800) for all meals per head per day if you are careful.
Would be delighted if you shared your comments and feedback....
Isle of Islay, Scotland,
United Kingdom, 19-21 May 2011.