Wild and Magic Islay’s Guestbook

rachel-carraig-fhadaMy wife, born in New York and I in Virginia, lived our first four years of marriage in Glasgow in the early 60s where I was a postgraduate student and she a teacher. We grew up together in Scotland and will always think of it as our adopted home. We have been fortunate to return “home” quite a few times over the years and always enjoy making our way around Scotland on our own. A few years back we arranged a flight to Islay and I contacted a car hire firm on Islay only to learn that they did not hire cars to persons over the age of 75. Had I known this earlier I might have hired a car on the mainland and crossed on the ferry, but it was too late for that. Some further research led me to the webpage for Rachel MacNeil and the Wild and Magic Islay Travel Company. We liked what we read and following a few email messages arranged to meet Rachel for two of our seven days on Islay.
As things turned out, not being able to hire a car was a blessing in disguise. Rachel took us to many beautiful and remote areas, taught my wife to enjoy Islay whisky and introduced us to many friends along the way, some of whom we would meet later while walking about the towns. By the end of the trips, we were well prepared to travel about on our own using local transport and Rachel had become our friend. Rachel knows that she is welcome in our home at any time. We just need to arrange a whisky festival in Chapin, South Carolina where we currently live.

Eugene Long

My daughter and I journeyed to Islay from Alabama in September, 2013, drawn by the opportunity to see where the world’s best whisky is made. The distillery tours and whisky were superb, but we found so much more. The warm, welcoming people. The beauty of Islay’s coast, hills, flowers and forests. Its timeless music, ancient Celtic crosses, and ageless standing stones. We found a whole other world. Thank you, Rachel and Wild and Magic Islay, for helping to make our brief stay in your corner of paradise so enjoyable. We’ll be back!

Daryl L. Masters

stow-whisky-clubOur whisky club, Sandefjord Taste Of Whisky (STOW), was established back in 1989. This year we turned 25, which was a huge deal for us. We had to celebrate the anniversary in style, and what better way to do that than to arrange a trip to Islay – a real pilgrimage!
Rachel helped us sort the hold thing out – the dream trip for 21 whisky loving guys from Norway. Wild and Magic Islay made sure we had a bus with dedicated driver take us from Edinburgh, stay with us on the island, and take us back. Our trip lasted from June 11 till June 15. We stayed in Bowmore, at Bowmore Disillery.
We had fantastic tastings and tours at Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain and Jura. Rachel looked after us all the tinme. Made sure our accomodations were stocked with all we needed for a full Scottish breakfast every morning, followed us on our distillery visits, made sure we were really well taken care of all the time.
I cannot praise Rachel enough for the great job she does. She provides the best service – ever – anywhere. She is dedicated, she knows whisky, she knows Islay (and Jura) and she apparently knows everyone that lives on these islands as well.
We will be back, and Wild and Magic Islay has our strongest and most sincere recommendations!

STOW Whisky Club

I first “met” Rachel on Twitter. She seemed genuinely interested in my little trip around Scotland and passionate about showing me the very best of Islay. She went well beyond the call of duty by helping me work out some of the logistics of my whole trip round the west of Scotland, which was to end on Islay. She sent through an itinerary and she was incredibly flexible about my needs and really personalised the trip for me.
I wouldn’t normally have paid for an organised tour in the UK but I have to say I’m so very glad I did. By the time I arrived on Islay and met up with Rachel I felt more like I was visiting a friend than going on a “tour”. I saw as much of Islay as I could manage on time schedule and without rushing anything…..the pace was perfect and of course there is plenty more to go back and see. The balance between structured activities and time to myself was also perfect. Driving round with Rachel was a total pleasure. It was clear she was passionate about sharing the beauty of the island and certainly was a mine of information. Even meeting the craftspeople on the island felt like visiting friends with Rachel by my side.
Islay was so welcoming with locals offering lifts to me and generally the kindness I was shown was heartwarming. For a personal, unique, unforgettable,  intimate exploration of a beautiful,  wild and magic island I can’t think of a better way than through booking some time with Rachel – I had the time of my life!???

Bb Senthi from Birmingham

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