The great Clan Donald chose well when they made the Isle of Islay the centrepiece of their Lordship of the Isles.
Islay has always been blessed with nature's bounty - rich farmlands which each autumn witness clouds of geese arriving. Loch Gruinart in the north is the island's main reserve, with barnacle and white-fronted geese flying in from Greenland.
Peat is still cut from the mosslands which cover much of the interior, giving the unique flavour to the 'Islay malts' - world-famous whiskies such as Bowmore, Laphroaig and Ardbeg. Most are still in production and welcome visitors to watch the production process and, even better, sample their delights.
Islay has a number of villages with terraces of small, single-storey houses lining the foreshore, such as Port Ellen, Port Charlotte and Port Askaig. Bowmore, Islay's main town, has a unique, round church, said to have been designed to ensure that evil spirits had no corner in which to hide.
Relics of a bygone age abound, with stone circles, carved stones and crosses, fine forts and castles and evidence of Bronze Age settlements.