Islay News Roundup First Half of August

Today the news roundup for the first half of August already with information and news snippets from Islay. For an overview of the news which I've already posted on the blog you can visit the blog's August overview. I can't believe the summer is almost over, that is where I live. On Islay it's different though, winter has started there according to some friends on the island, it always does after the Islay Agricultural Show. If it makes sense or not I don't know, I do know that today was beautiful. From a transport point of view it's perhaps interesting to mention that the Islay Ferry service is back to the normal two ferry timetable, let's hope it stays this way. Oh, and for images of the Islay show I can recommend the Ileach Flickr pages

Before I continue with the news roundup I want to share something with you. Yesterday I read an article in a paper magazine, yes they still exist, about yet another upcoming social media site/service on the internet called Friendfeed. What's this you might wonder, didn't we have Twitter, Facebook and the likes already and now there's another new thing? And you're probaly right, it looks like the internet is built on social media sites that connect friends, generate feeds, share pictures and video's and now there is more of the same, or isn't it? Friendfeed is in my opinion a recycling system where the newsfeeds from blogs, Twitter, facebook and many others are combined together to create something new, a sort of super newsfeed, and make it even more confusing in the process for some, or perhaps most! I often think that all these sites move the large internet crowds away from the traditional websites because at the end of the day there is only so much time to spend online. Well to make a long story short, I have created a Friendfeed for my Islay sites as a test, only to find out if this is something that survives in the longer term between all the other social media sites. I'm not sure if any of the readers use this or will like this service, but you can see how it looks like on and, similar as on many other social sites, you can subscribe to my page and stay up to date on any updates, which is also very very well possible on the Islay Web Portal. I can also imagine by the way that you are not bothered and just forget the above, in that case I'll see you on Twitter, Facebook, Posterous etc etc etc.... Continue to the more serious bits....

Now that we have the social stuff over with we can continue with the more serious things in life, which is the theft of whisky at several distilleries on the Scottish west coast. I'm talking about the last three isles classic pillage. Last week three Skiffs under tow, and five support boats left Islay early on the 8th, August flying the flags of the three Distilleries and headed for Tobermory. They departed Tobermory at 0200hrs, on Monday the 9th, arrivied at Jura Distillery early Monday evening. Departed Jura Tuesday on the morning tide heading to Ardbeg for the final Pillaging. Pillage crews slept on their support boats or under canvas on the Skiffs. Each Distillery donated 50lts, of 10 year old malt which gave them 200 ottles of which 150 will be up for auction at bids starting at £150. There's a really good article in the Herald and Carl Reavey, editor of Islay's newspaper, created a beautiful video. Check out for more info and the Ileach Flickr site for many beautiful images

Islay Surfing An interesting article was published in the Financial Times yesterday about surfing on Islay and the absence of a typical surf scene. "What constitutes a surf scene? Surf shops, bars where surfers hang out, plenty of surfers, maybe. But the true sine qua non is the surf itself. On the first counts, Islay doesn’t add up to much – there’s the odd VW camper van parked on the grass, the occasional wetsuit draped over a rough stone wall to dry out. On the plus side, you never have to jostle for a spot in the line-up of surfers waiting to ride a wave. In fact, your only company in the water is likely to be the bobbing head of a seal or two. The big waves come in with glorious predictability here – in sets of three to five, every few minutes. You see them stacking up in ominous dark lines 150 yards out, building with seeming gentleness, until suddenly they rear up into spitting walls of dark green that cover more and more of the sky, until fully half of it has been swallowed up. If it weren’t so exciting, it would be terrifying."

Port Ellen and Kennacraig Harbours works update Following further development of the plans for improvements to Port Ellen & Kennacraig harbours, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) held public meetings early August 2010 at both Port Ellen and Tarbert to provide an update on the projects which will deliver improved berthing facilities to accommodate the new vessel MV Finlaggan. The works at Port Ellen, initially planned to commence in late Autumn 2010 will be delayed until spring 2011, with a nine month construction programme. This delay is a result of a more enhanced programme of work to the pier which has been identified during the design phase. Port Ellen Pier will remain open until spring 2011, and then closed to ferry traffic during the construction period and ferries diverted to Port Askaig. In addition, works to improve the ferry berths at Kennacraig have been identified and as they are less complex than those at Port Ellen, CMAL anticipate starting construction in January 2011 for three months. Kennacraig will remain open and the works will be undertaken around ferry services.

Keep Islay clean and beautiful! A letter from a reader was published in the Ileach with a message that concerns us all: "It is sad to see that during summer holiday time when many people are out and about, the amount of litter dumped along Islay’s roadsides visibly increases. It is everyone’s responsibility, when they come out into Islay’s beautiful countryside, to take their food wrappers and bottles away with them. Rubbish should be disposed of properly in waste or recycling bins. Personally, I regularly walk the section of roadside which runs through my farm, collecting waste food packets and bottles from the verges where people have dropped their rubbish. Rubbish is unsightly for all of us when left along the roadside, and discarded food containers can harm wildlife."

The Ride of the Falling Rain The first of August saw another episode of the Ride of the Falling Rain, a hundred mile cycling event which starts off at Debbies in Bruichladdich. A quote from the organising committee: "the falling rain is relatively flat, though i will admit that the opening miles might not seem that way (as was pointed out to me on sunday). there is, however inadvertant, method in our madness; believe it or not, there are very few cyclists who can climb, so a 14% at the beginning splits everyone up, thus lessening my concern that local drivers would be incensed at meeting a mobile traffic jam all the way to ardbeg. it truly warms the bearings of my semi-integrated headset to see so many people cluttered outside debbie's on a sunday morn, clutching their bikefood bottles and bars (thank you gentlemen) and supping the last dregs of cappuccino from their cups, before heading south for the winter (a touch of artistic licence there). after five miles you'd hardly know there was anyone there unless you'd witnessed the exodus from the ferry in prior days."

The Islay Wildlife Blogs John Armitage from Portnahaven had a funny experience with a young buzzard on the 1st of August: "Of recent days what appears to be the only youngster produced from the local Buzzard's nest has taken to either sitting out on a rock 30m. from the house or on top of a telegraph pole nearby. Nothing wrong with that you might say, except...... Young Buzzards have the most penetrating, plaintive, irritating begging/contact call imaginable which, when it starts up at 0500 hours in the morning outside the bedroom window , is definitely not appreciated!! Revenge came when it landed on the telephone wire, which commenced to swing as if it was a tightrope (!), whereupon the call remained but was laced with obvious panic as the bird threshed its wings wildly whilst it tried to keep its balance !!! Never a dull moment." Ian Brooke wrote on his blog about yesterday, Saturday the 14th: "A grand sunny day over here today, next thing we will all be talking about is that we will be needing the rain again, just as the farmers want to think about harvesting the barley! This morning, out over Machir Bay, several groups of Gannets could be seen flying South. Up on the top of the crag this evening a Raven is sitting, just watching all around, with a distant Buzzard calling while on the wing." I don't know about you but this post didn't need an image, I could picture it perfectly in my mind, thanks for that Ian. As usual don't forget to visit the Islay Natural History Blog, they have some very beautiful images of wild flowers and other nature related things. For an overview of what other blog's wrote about Islay I can recommend the blogging roundup by Armin.

I'm convinced I've missed something here and there but that doesn't prevent me from wishing you a pleasant Sunday evening, and I look forward to seeing you here soon, or on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Posterous, Friendfeed..... you get the message!

Parts of this roundup were published with kind permission of the Ileach local newspaper.

Tag: news roundup ileach