Swimming in the Name of Science and Whisky

On July 22nd, Explorer Club members Justin 'Baron' Fornal and Chad Anderson will make the first historic circumnavigational swim of Islay Scotland over the course of seven days. This historic expedition will follow in the footsteps of Alfred Barnard who, In the late 1880's, made an epic journey with friends visiting all the working distilleries of Islay. His book, "The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom," describes in great detail the distilleries of that era. The book is coveted by whisky connoisseurs and historians alike.

Ardbeg is where Barnard began his tour of Islay, and Justin and Chad plan to do the same, building upon his written account with video, photographs, and scientific exploration.

The Expedition Team will also carry with them a 30 gallon oak cask which will be filled incrementally at all of Islay's active whisky distilleries. Bottles of this 'pillage cask' will be available through Single Cask Nation (https://singlecasknation.com/). A portion of proceeds will go to Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
If you want to join the expedition via support kayak flotilla contact Whiskey Geek Tourism.

HISTORY: Following in Alfred Barnard's footsteps

HERITAGE: Paying tribute to the whisky heritage of Islay

ARCHITECTURE: Honoring local ruins and historical sites


The Whisky

Justin and Chad will carry a 30 gallon whisky barrel on the journey. The barrel will be incrementally filled at each active Islay whisky distillery. Upon completion of the swim the filled barrel will contain one of a kind pillage cask which will be then bottled by Single Cask Nation.


The science

The whiskys of Islay are some of the most unique in the world. Their unmistakable taste is the result of specific water sources, peat composition and local barley. The expedition land team will collect water, peat and barley samples from each distillery to document what gives each house its distinct characteristics. Our botanist will also collect samples of any flora that is endemic to the region.  The SCUBA and Kayak Team will document local marine flora and fauna found in the waters surrounding the island. Architectural historian James Sexton will observe and write reports on historic buildings and ruins found along the route.