Where was Whisky Galore filmed?
Where was Whisky Galore filmed?
As whisky enthusiasts, we are big fans of everything around the legendary drink. If you have attended any of our whisky tours or distillery tours, you would remember that music and films are subjects we are also passionate about and even more when whisky is involved. In the following article, we would like to answer a common question we get during the tours: Where was Whisky Galore filmed? Since the answer is straightforward, I want to introduce you properly to the location and its relationship with the whisky industry in Scotland. So, let’s begin.
Whisky Galore is a 1949 British comedy film directed by Alexander Mackendrick. It is based on a true story about the residents of a Scottish island during World War II, who attempt to… (I’m going to stop here if you don’t like spoilers). The island in question is the southernmost of the Outer Hebrides, the Isle of Barra, which was featured as “Todday” in the film.
Whisky Galore was filmed on location in Castlebay, on the Isle of Barra, Scotland. Bear in mind that in 2016 there was a remake directed by Gillies MacKinnon and filmed mainly in Portsoy, Aberdeenshire (Speyside), Scotland. Since we have written about Speyside in a previous article, “Whisky Route 2: The Malt Whisky Trail – Speyside“, this time, we would like to go deeper into the location that hosted the original film from 1949. The Isle of Barra and its emerging whisky scene.
Before that, even if the film features Scotch whisky, there’s no mention of a specific or authentic brand. Sorry to disappoint.
The Isle of Barra, whisky and turquoise sea
It is located in the Outer Hebrides, the southernmost island of the chain. It has a population of around 1,300 people. Barra is known for its stunning landscapes, white sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, and turquoise sea. It also has a strong sense of community, and its residents have a close relationship with the land and sea, relying on fishing and tourism as significant sources of income. Barra is also home to several historic sites, including the ruins of Kisimul Castle, the ancient Chapel of St. Barr, the Barra War Memorial and the Catalina Memorial. Overall, the Isle of Barra offers a unique and beautiful destination for visitors looking to explore the Scottish islands and experience the island’s way of life.
Regarding gin, the isle is home to “The Isle of Barra Distillers Co”. It started operations in 2016, and so far, its “Barra Atlantic Gin” has been awarded a gold medal at the Spirits Business Awards in 2020 and a silver medal at the San Francisco’s World Spirits Competition in 2021. Barra Atlantic Gin is made out of a mix of 17 botanicals with a big emphasis on Carrageen Seaweed which is hand-picked from the island’s shores.
On the whisky hand, The Isle of Barra Distillers has ambitious plans to start single malt whisky production within the next couple of years. The project includes:
- The expansion of the current gin distillery.
- Adding the whisky distillery.
- We are creating a significant new tourist attraction for the Outer Hebrides, including a visitor centre and a restaurant.
Flavour-wise, the new single malt will be shaped by the coastal and salty notes from the Atlantic Ocean surrounding the isle. Moreover, with the creation of the new distillery, they expect to produce 200,000 litres of pure alcohol per year (LPA), fill 1,600 casks, and attract 38,000 visitors to the island each year. Hopefully, filmmakers too.
It’s worth noting that the distillery will reinvest 1% of its annual profits back into the Isle of Barra community for further development of the isle. Community and family are within the core values of the distillery.
Things to do on the Isle of Barra
If this could be your next travel destination, here is a list of activities you can do at The Isle of Barra. A stunning and historic place with a rich cultural heritage.
- Explore the beaches: The Isle of Barra is home to some of Scotland’s most beautiful white sandy beaches, including Tangasdale Beach and Vatersay Beach.
- Water sports such as surfing, sea kayaking, snorkelling with seals and coasteering are some of the island’s main highlights. For more info, visit Barra Surf Adventures.
- Cycling: A great way to explore the island, routes can be as leisurely or as challenging as you wish. For more info, visit Barra Bike Hire.
- Go fishing: Barra is a popular destination for fishing, both for sport and its thriving fishing industry.
- Enjoy wildlife: The island is home to various wildlife, including seals, dolphins, and bird species.
- Hike and explore the landscape: The island is home to some stunning landscapes, including rugged cliffs, rolling hills, and moors, which are great for hiking and exploring.
Overall, the Isle of Barra offers a unique and beautiful destination for visitors looking to explore the Outer Hebrides and experience the island’s way of life.
How to get to the Isle of Barra?
The Isle of Barra is located off the west coast of Scotland, and there are two ways to reach the island:
- By plane: You can fly to the Isle of Barra from Glasgow or Edinburgh via Loganair. The flight takes approximately one hour.
- By ferry: You can take a ferry to the island from Oban. Caledonian MacBrayne operates ferries to Barra. The crossing takes 4 hours and 45 minutes.
Regardless of how you reach the island, it’s essential to plan and ensure you have everything you need for your trip. I recommend checking with local tourism organisations such as Visit Outer Hebrides and Visit Scotland and transport providers for up-to-date information on how to reach the Isle of Barra.
In summary, the Isle of Barra is a stunning and historic island off Scotland’s west coast. The island offers something for everyone with its beautiful beaches, historical sites, rich wildlife, and vibrant cultural scene. Whether you’re looking to relax on a white sandy beach, hike in stunning landscapes, or drink good whisky and gin, Isle of Barra won’t let you down. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or just looking for a new destination, the Isle of Barra is worth visiting.