Islay, Jura and Colonsay
The three Hebridean islands of Islay, Jura and Colonsay may be neighbours, but they contrast starkly. Islay is green and relatively fertile, with a rangle of more rugged hills in the east. The island has many superb sandy beaches and offers some great coastal walking as well as being a top destination for bird-watching. It is, however, perhaps for its distilleries that it is best known - and many regard it as the spiritual home of whisky.
Jura is as wild and rugged as anywhere in the Highlands. Best known for its three great mountains - the Paps of Jura - the island also has its own whisky. Jura has long been an isolated retreat, and it was this that attracted George Orwell to write his novel 1984 here. At its northern tip is the notorious Gulf of Corryvreckan, where one of the world's largest whirlpools almost cost Orwell his life.
Colonsay may be the smallest of the three islands, but this does nothing to blunt its appeal. With fine beaches, woodland gardens, open moors and rugged hills, the island has a little of all that is best in the Hebrides. The neighbouring island of Oronsay - visited via tidal sands - is stunningly beautiful and a worthy home to the ruins of a once great priory.