We've been away for most of the month of April due to family circumstances and arrived home Sunday night on the Isle of Arran ferry, yes it is still sailing. It's great to be back on Islay and to see that spring is progressing, albeit rather slowly due to the low temperatures. April is always a great month to be on Islay, lambing is underway and everywhere you'll hear and see the wee woolly newcomers running around in the fields, and sometimes on the roads as well, so be carefull! Most of the winter visitors, such as the Barnacle Geese, have left the island and now is the time that more summer visitors, the tourists, find their way to Islay.
Woodland Planting Day
Dunlossit Estate’s Woodland Planting Day was quite a success. Over 50 volunteers braved the cold weather to plant 2000 trees commemorating the centenary of the First World War. The community planting day on Dunlossit Estate saw willow, rowan, alder, birch and other native trees going into the ground. Continue reading...
WW100 commemoration 4th of May
A heads-up for the WW100 commemoration event being held in Port Ellen on Friday 4 May. Planning is well underway and one of the issues is parking for local cars and invited guests cars. Parking areas have been identified and now need to be confirmed. As there is no one area that can accommodate all the expected vehicles then it is requested where possible that people invited to the event and are travelling from other parts of Islay, where possible share transport to minimise the impact on Port Ellen and the event. There will be parking restrictions and road closures enforced by a local authority Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) in and around Port Ellen to facilitate the free flow of the increased volume of traffic through the village and to maintain the security of the event.
Islay Museum and Islay Nature Centre
The Islay museum in Port Charlotte has opened its doors to the public. The Museum is open during April, Monday to Friday from 10:30 to 16:30. They also plan to open from May to September at the weekend, the hours yet to be confirmed. They look forward to welcoming you to the Museum and so does the nearby Islay Nature Centre in Port Charlotte, notice the new name! The Islay Nature Centre is open from 10am to 4pm on weekdays so please pay them a visit!
Islay and Jura Summit
There has been an Islay and Jura Summit, which saw three Scottish Government Ministers and a host of high ranking local authority and Government agency, CalMac, distillery and other commercial company officials converge on the islands. And to make a long story short, there are four action points which need to be addressed with some urgency:
The four action points which emerged were
- The establishment of an Islay and Jura Economic Group, similar to one already working successfully on Arran.
- A petition to be lodged by Brendan O'Hara at Westminster calling for the establishment of a Whisky Fund, similar to the Oil Fund on Shetland, which would go some way to funding the infrastructure required to cope with the increasingly buoyant and growing Islay distilleries.
- A commitment from the Scottish Government to look into the commercial viability of a dedicated freight service to free up capacity on the CalMac ferries for visitors and non-commercial passengers.
- Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Argyll and Bute Council to prioritise a resolution to the housing needs problem on the islands.
Ferry Problems... Again....
It's quite shocking to see that there are, again, ferry problems on the Islay route. One ferry in the network, the Clansman, broke down and due to the ageing boat spare parts had to be made in Denmark, which takes much longer than anticipated. As a result of this breakdown Calmac reshuffled their fleet and due to the knock-on effect in the Calmac network Islay and some other islands are suffering. For Islay it means that there are a lot of sailings cancelled in the weeks ahead and it looks like this situation could possibly last until the 23rd May. What this means for the thousands who visit Islay during the festival I don't know but if you have plans to come to Islay you'd better make sure to book your crossing ASAP. In the meanwhile you can stay up-to-date on the Calmac website where you'll find the timetables and an eye-watering list of cancelled ferries.
Have you Cancelled your Islay Trip? We'd like to hear from you!!
For those who wanted to come to Islay and weren't able to book a ferry, and subsequently cancelled their entire trip to Islay, we'd like to urge you to get in touch with us. This information is important and is needed to get an idea about the possible loss for businesses on the island. Please send us an email through our Contact Page and we'll forward them to the local ferry group. Thanks!