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Day 7: Islay

When we woke up this morning we were relieved to see that the weather looked significantly better than yesterday :)


It's hard to make them out in the photos, but when we stepped outside the cottage there were several seals in the harbour again.


Portnahaven had been pretty even in the torrential rain yesterday, but this morning everything looked even better.


We went for a stroll around the village to enjoy the sunshine.


From the far side of the harbour we could look back towards the cottage again.


And at one point we spotted seven different seals :o Some were sunbathing on the rocks, while others were just little heads bobbing up and down in the water.


It was really cool to see them - Portnahaven has definitely been a wonderful place to stay :)


Because the weather was so good today, we decided to try and revisit some of the places we went to yesterday in the rain. First stop was the Oa peninsula, where we tried to retake a photograph in the same position as yesterday - in yesterday's picture, the hill behind me wasn't visible!


The Oa peninsula is supposed to have some of the most spectacular scenery on Islay and we were optimistic about actually seeing some of it today :D


At the end of the peninsula is an RSPB nature reserve with a marked circular trail of a couple of  miles.


The signs for the trail were easy to follow but I was slightly concerned when they started leading us through a field of cows.


I mean, look at the size of the horn on these :o 


Luckily the cows seemed fairly placid.


And once we got past them there were some amazing views.


The coastline is really beautiful here.


And the sea seemed really calm today after yesterday's bad weather.


The trail was leading us towards a monument on the top of a hill.


This is known as the American Monument.


It was constructed by the American Red Cross to commemorate two ships which sank off the coast of Islay during WWI.


The monument was designed to look like a lighthouse and it definitely does.


From the hill on which the monument is situated we had more great views of the cliffs.


The cliffs were reminiscent of Shetland at times, although the waves definitely weren't comparable!


It was a really beautiful spot and I'm so glad we came back today to see it in the sunshine :)  


The weather was so clear that we realised we could actually see all the way back to where we were staying. It was too far away to be captured properly by photos, but in the photo below the tip of the peninsula that you can see in the background is where Portnahaven is and in real life we could make out the lighthouse which is behind our cottage :) 


Once we'd finished the walk at the Oa, we started driving back in the general direction of Portnahaven. I wanted to revisit the beach which we'd also seen in the rain yesterday. As we were driving, we realised we were about to pass through Bowmore where we'd seen there was an Indian takeaway and we knew it was open between the hours of 12 and 2 for lunch... We ended up changing our plans, picking up a lunchtime takeaway and driving back to the cottage to eat it.  A slightly unusual thing to have for lunch, but given the limited food options on the island it made sense to get a meal while we could :)

Once we'd finished eating - and I'd spent a while sitting in the conservatory and watching the seals! - we set off towards Machir beach.


Today we were more successful and found an easy path down to the beach which didn't involve crossing a river :) 


The good weather meant we weren't the only people at the beach today.


But you couldn't exactly describe it as crowded :)


The sand looked really beautiful in the sunshine.


But although it was bright and sunny, it was still quite windy!


We walked along the beach for a while, before heading back to the cottage for a final evening of enjoying the sea views. Islay has been a really lovely island to visit and I'm really glad we got to see it in the sunshine as well as in the rain :) 


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