One thing I can definitely recommend if you make a trip to Harris and Lewis is make sure you book anything you want to do and do it well in advance, well before you arrive on the island if possible! We had planned to book onto the Harris Distillery tour and were very disappointed when we found they were fully booked for our entire stay. Luckily a chance cancellation when we went to browse in the shop meant that we did get to have a look around after all, I’m so glad we did.

The Isle of Harris Distillery is a company with very strong values, I think a good way to describe them would be that they are for, by, and all about the Isle. It all started with an idea from the founder, Anderson ‘Burr’ Bakewell, who wanted to share the ‘rare and elusive spirit’ of the island with the world by capturing in a bottle of a very different spirit! Having also noted the sharp decline of the population over the last half a century it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to reverse this trend and build a legacy for future generations of islanders to benefit from and enjoy.

Currently the distillery is waiting for the first batch of their single malt whiskey ‘The Hearach’ to mature, this is very much a wait and see process so there’s no exact date of when this might be. It could be ready soon, it might still be years! But it does promise to be rather special when it does. In the meantime the sugar kelp infused Isle of Harris gin is very much ready and very lovely it is too. Not only is it an excellent gin, the bottle it comes in is a work of art with a wonderful story and has rightfully won awards.

Our tour guide, Alexander, was excellent; wonderful to listen to and full of interesting stories and information. The tour itself took us around the entire process from the founding and values of the company, to the ingredients and their stories, and the physical process of making the spirits themselves. Their canteen is also worth a try, we had a lovely lunch there. A visit to Tarbert wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the distillery and a warm welcome will definitely await you, find out much more about them on their website.