“The road from Port Ellen to the ruined church of Kildalton, distant seven miles, is one of the most beautiful in the island. First it skirts a wild coast, against whose half-submerged rocks the waves at times break grandly, then it passes through the pleasant woods of Kildalton, where red and fallow deer may be seen in the early summer, grazing heedless of passers by.”
The Carved Stones of Islay
Robert Graham 1895
Ardtalla, a Gaelic name, meaning the High (aird) Hall (talla). Ardtalla is a place redolent with stories and rich in natural beauty.
Islay is probably not the best known of Hebridean islands. It lacks the spectacular mountains of Skye and is less accessible than Mull. However, it is home to several world famous whisky distilleries, has a winter population of tens of thousands of geese, and is the former stronghold of the Lords of the Isles. Its traditions are Gaelic, and its cultural heritage rich with a cornucopia in song, spirit, stone and saga. Megaliths, early Christian stone crosses, vitrified forts, old Norse place names and clan battle sites give Islay a tangible presence in the past.
Islay’s population, according to the 2011 census was 3,228, which equates to 0.15 souls per acre. Islay is positively crowded in contrast with Ardtalla with a permanent population of 10 on its 14,500 acres. If you like peace and solitude, Ardtalla is yours to enjoy, though you must share that space with hundreds of red and fallow deer, some golden eagles, otters, seals and those clamorous geese.