Come and Join the Islay Festival of the Sea

The Islay Festival of the Sea is a celebration of the unique sea-faring heritage of Islay and is held in Port Ellen. The geography and location of Islay have helped to develop a truly unique and fascinating culture over many years. The Festival aims to showcase the maritime heritage of the region, the fabulous seafood, wealth of local talent, abundant wildlife and historical links with Ireland which have endured since the time of St Columba. The festival is now in its third year and it has been a massive success since the start in 2011. This years event has a fantastic programme and will start on Friday 2nd of August and ends on Sunday 4th August. Below is the full programme featuring something for everyone, for young and old, with or without sea legs!

Activities for Landlubbers

Thursday - “Tales of the Sea” Columba Hall, 7pm. £5 admission on the door. We will be joined by Dr Richard Wood for his “Across the roof of the World” talk. After him Jim MacFarlane will take us through some of the An Currach agus Ìle exhibition which will be on display for the evening.

Friday - “Tales of the Sea” Marquee on the Green, 7pm. £5 admission on the door. Firstly we will be joined by the GalGael Trust, an amazing group of individuals who have created a traditional boat building community in the heart of Govan. They will be followed by Lord George Robertson who will talk to us on the subject of “The life and times of General Alexander McDougall, the Islayman at the heart of the American Revolutionary War” Continue reading.......

Friday - The Whisky River Boat Band, Marquee on the Green, 9pm. £10 admission on the door. On 2nd August 2013 The Whisky River Boat Band will attempt to break the world record for a country bluegrass band cycling from Glasgow to Islay, the band will set off with special guests Megan Henderson and Euan Robertson of Breabach and after many turns of the pedals they will arrive fit and healthy to play a set of their own unique styled country infused Bluegrass

Saturday - Song Writing Workshop with The Whisky River Boat Band, On the Green, 12noon, Free Event Come and write a song together with the Whisky River Boat Band. Instruments not necessary but bring them along if you have them. Workshop lasts around an hour. Open to adults, children and families alike.

Saturday - Performing on Stage Workshop with The Whisky River Boat Band, On the Green, 2pm, Free Event Come and learn to perform one of our songs. Workshop will include preparing and rehearsing our song before we take centre stage and perform it on the day. Open to adults, children and families alike

Saturday - Cargo for Ardrossan & The Maggie double bill, The Screen Machine, 5.30pm. £7 admission, pre-book We are delighted to announce the link up with our local mobile cinema to show these classic films shot on location on Islay. The 1954 Ealing comedy The Maggie is based upon the Vital Spark stories of Neil Munro. Cargo for Ardrossan was an advertis-ing film shot by SHELL, both great period films. Go to or call 0871 902 5750 to book your tickets.

Saturday - Captains Casks Whisky Tasting, Marquee on the Green, 6.30pm. £20 admission, pre book & on the door A unique opportunity for any whisky lover, come join us for a whisky tasting extraordinaire. Enjoy a dram from each of Islay's eight distilleries presented to you by one of their passionate ambassadors. The evening will showcase these amazing whis-kies, tales from their coastal birthplaces and some music to bring it all together. £5 off this event if you attend the Ceilidh too.

Saturday - The All Star Ceilidh Band, Marquee on the Green, 9pm. £10 admission, on the door Featuring members of Salsa Celtica, Breabach and The Whisky River Boat Band the group tonight will really get you in the mood for dancing. Celebrate the finale of this year’s Festival of the Sea musical events, in style, with us.

Crafts on the Coast

Friday 2nd-Saturday 3rd August, Coracle Building, Columba Hall, £200 to participate, open to spectators Dave Purvis, and Chris Morgan, members of the Coracle Society, host this workshop. Participants can choose to build a Coracle individually or share the task with a small group. The cost not only includes tuition but also all the materials required to build your unique boat. The Hall will be open for people to watch the progress of those taking part.

Saturday - Galgael Trust, Marquee on the Green, 10am—4pm, Free Event The GalGael Trust will be here all day doing demonstrations of wood crafts and traditional boat building. They will be bringing with them one of the boats they are currently working on for us to see as well as creating a bespoke woodcarving to commem-orate this years festival and Islay's rich Maritime history.

Wonders of the Waves

Dinghy Sailing Sessions, Leodamus Bay, £20 per child, £25 per adult, pre-book Friday: 09.30-12.30: Youth Beginners (12-16yrs), 13.30 -16.30: Youth Beginners ( 8-11yrs). Saturday: 09.30-12.30: Youth Begin-ners (mixed ages), 13.30-16.30: Youth Development (12-16yrs). Sunday: 09.30-12.30: Adult beginners

Coasteering Sessions, Leodamus Bay, £15 per person, pre-book Friday: 13.30-16.30: Youth (12-6yrs). Saturday: 09.30-12.30: Family Session, 13.30-16.30: Youth (8-11yrs). Sunday: 09.30 - 12.30: Youth (mixed ages)

Stand-up Paddleboarding, Leodamus Bay, £20 per person, pre-book Friday : 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-16.00, Saturday : Taster sessions, Sunday: 10.00-12.00 . For more information or to book ses-sions in advance please contact Shona Ramsay directly on 01496850037, 07816235152 or email (participants must be 10+ years)

Intermediate/Experienced Sea Kayaking Trips, Leodamus Bay, £20 per person, pre-book Friday: 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-16.00, Saturday: Taster Sessions, Sunday: 10.00-12.00 . For more information or to book ses-sions in advance contact Dave Protherough directly on or call 07973725456.

Friday & Saturday - Crabbing on the Port Ellen Pontoons, 10-11am, 12-1pm, 2-4pm, £1 per session on the day

Saturday - Sand Castle Competition, Leodamus Bay Beach, 11am, Free Event - Come and take part on the day

Exploring Sandy Shores, Leodamus Bay Beach, throughout the day, Free Event - Join on day at the NHT stall The Natural History Trust will join us again this year and will be taking groups out to see what is on our very doorstep.

Saturday - Islay Festival of the Sea Coastal Rowing Competition, North Bay Beach, 4pm, Free Event We will be showcasing several community built St. Ayles skiffs as teams from the mainland face off against our local teams.

Saturday - Tug o’ War Competition, North Bay Beach, 4pm, Free Event We are looking for Adult Men's, Adult Women's and Mixed Under 16s teams—contact us to take part.

Seafood Saturday Kitchen

The Smoking Sands, come and learn how to set up and home smoke mackerel, On the Beach, 10am, Free Event

Fish Starters Made Easy, The Food Tent, 11.30am, Free Event Join us and our guest chefs to learn how to make some simple but delicious starters.

Mussel Beach, come and learn how to hot stone cook mussels, On the Beach, 1pm, Free Event Fish with a Flare, The Food Tent, 2.30pm, Free Event Learn how to cook your own Mediterranean Seafood Stew.

Food Art Competition - open to under 16’s Join in our celebration of all things the sea by using your artistic flair with food. Entries do not need to be edible; the only rule is to make something representative of the sea out of food. What about a Spaghetti Jelly Fish or a Banana Boat?

The Beachside Bake Off – open to over 16’s How better to show your creative cake making skills by making us something yummy to eat and stunning to look at in the theme of the sea!? Baking entries do need to be edible as well as look the part this time so get your thinking (pirate) hats on. How about some pastry porpoises or some Koi Carp cupcakes? All entries for both competitions are to be brought to the Food Tent at the Festival of the Sea on Saturday by 10am. Judging and viewing will happen throughout the day and winners will be announced at 4pm that day. Good Luck!

For more information and to reserve places on the above activites contact festival of sea on 01496 300579 or email Website You can also follow the festival page on Faceookb at

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