Islay News Roundup Februari and First Half of March 2009

I have to be careful next time not to wait too long with the news roundup otherwise I'd be better off waiting for Jim Mitchell and his annual roundup. It's been six weeks already since the last one so there's lots to write about and an apology first for waiting so long. Somehow our trip to Islay, reason for the delay, seems ages ago but in fact it's only been two weeks since we left. As a result of that trip there is some interesting news to report before I start with the roundup. I had the pleasure to meet Gordon Bermingham of several times during that week and we agreed to team up. On Gordon's news section you can read: " is happy to announce that we will now be working with Ron at to help promote Islay on the web and provide a range of new services. The first of these new services will be an on-line booking service for the self-catering sector." Well I'm just as happy as Gordon and I look forward to these new services we will be bringing for Islay. Of course you can read all about it here on the blog as well as on Gordon's news section.

What follows next is a wee overview of Islay news published in the Ileach newspaper and from various other sources, which haven't been published before on this blog. The news that has already been published is available in the February and March archive.

The most important news of the last months is certainly all the commotion about the new Islay Ferry and the fact that it doesn't fit Port Ellen and Port Askaig, without a lot of public money being spent on the Pier in Port Ellen and the Linkspan and roundhead at Port Askaig. One sometimes wonders why (local) governments or CMAL wants a change, specially now that Islay has it's two ferries both in winter and summer and everybody seems to be happy with the current service. Blame it on progress! If you want to read the continuing story tune in at the tip of the iceberg Continue reading....Islay Energy Trust and ScottishPower Renewables collaborate on Sound of Islay Tidal Project At the community-owned Islay Energy Trust’s AGM on Wednesday 4th February, attended by about fifty people, the Trust’s membership voted unanimously to join with ScottishPower Renewables as partners in the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project, which IET has been progressing since last year. IET Chairman, Philip Maxwell, stated: “The discussions with ScottishPower Renewables represent an important step towards harnessing tidal energy from the Sound of Islay. It also opens up a real opportunity to demonstrate that communities can work together with corporate organisations for their mutual benefit. For IET itself, this is a significant milestone on the longer journey which will take us into the large-scale tidal arrays that may eventually be deployed in the seas around Islay.”

Andy MacDonald (centre) has been appointed as the Islay-based Tidal Energy Project Development Officer for Islay Energy Trust. Flanked by Alan Mortimer (left) of Scottish Power Renewables and Phillip Maxwell of IET, Andy hosted a public exhibition at ICCI demonstrating the tidal turbines and their proposed location in the Sound of Islay south of Port Askaig.

Junior Golf Open Day After a disappointing year in 2008, when numbers participating in junior competitions at Machrie reached a 10 year low, the committee took the decision to hold an Open Day with affiliated Golf Professional Ron Goudie last Sunday in an attempt to attract budding golfers to the links. The organising committee were delighted to see a large number of kids come down to take part, accompanied by many interested parents, and would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who made the effort to come along and support the event.

The way to a woman’s heart is a barrel of Bruichladdich At least it was for Kristian Dahl and Anne Abom from Denmark. The two Danes had joined the 10 am distillery tour which ends up in Bruichladdich distillery’s warehouse two. Here, Kristian went down on one knee, in front of Anne - and a cask of new spirit - and proposed to her. The cask had been purchased surreptitiously the day before to act as the engagement ring. She said yes. The distillery says: “From March onwards, people can get married in the Bruichladdich Distillery’s still house - the only such place in the UK.” For more information on marriages on Islay check out the Islay wedding page.

Feis Ile to be part of the Homecoming 2009 Homecoming Scotland has informed us that Feis Ile, the Islay Festival of Malt and Music is to become part of: “a unique month long celebration of Scotland’s famous national drink, Scotch Whisky, ...a highlight of the Homecoming Scotland 2009 programme. It is anticipated that the key events featured will attract in the region of 30,000 additional attendees with participating distilleries also expected to see a rise in visitor numbers, bringing a boost to businesses across Scotland.”

Endangered Species? Gaelic is “definitely endangered” and needs help to survive according to a new report by UNESCO which puts it on a map of the world’s dead and threatened languages. It hopes its ‘Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger’ will help their preservation and says a language is endangered when its speakers stop using it, or use it less often and stop passing it on to the next generation. Gaelic is seen as “definitely endangered” as there were just 58,552 speakers left in the 2001 census...

Islay’s Creel Fishermen critical of Tidal Energy scheme The proposed collaboration between Scottish Power Renewables and Islay Energy Trust to install an experimental array of 10 tidal turbines in the Sound of Islay was criticised by Islay creel fishermen at a meeting in January held at the Port Askaig Hotel. Seven local fishermen and John Crawford who is the Islay Branch Secretary and Treasurer of the Clyde Fisherman’s Association met with David Cantello of Abbott Risk Consulting Ltd who explained that his role was to conduct a preliminary hazard assessment of the risks to navigation posed by the proposal. The fishermen raised a number of concerns including: The potential problem of gear which had been shot a good distance from the turbine site (up to two miles) drifting on to the site. The recovery of this gear would prove very problematic and hazardous, particularly if the gear should become caught in the turbine propellors. The practical reality of fishing small boats, usually operating single handed, is that issues can and regularly do occur with the gear; such as tangles, ropes round props, technical failures plus a whole range of other unpredictable scenarios. The concern is that boats fishing miles away from the turbines could very easily be swept down into the danger area, with potentially disastrous consequences as the turbines could take a small boat down in seconds if it became tangled in the creel lines. The fishermen argue that the only way to offset this risk would be to create very extensive exclusion zones on both sides of the turbine area, thus severely limiting the fishing areas available.

St Kiaran’s charity event a great success A very successful coffee afternoon was held in Bruichladdich Hall on Saturday 28th February by St Kiaran’s Church to support Mary’s Meals charity and our involvement with the Klay Orphenage in Liberia. It costs just £5.80 to feed a child FOR A YEAR in Liberia, and St Kiaran’s congregation have committed themselves to raise enough funds for Mary’s Meals, the Dalmally based charity, to feed and educate all the children in this Orphenage. The coffee afternoon was supported by people from right across the island, and Bruichladdich Hall was swamped! In the end, £319 was raised at the event, but with donations this rose to £453. In all St Kiaran’s has raised £1494.90 for this project since we began in January 2009, and this is in addition to our other commitments. Many thanks to everyone who worked so hard for this project, and to all who supported it. Keep up the good work! For more information, or if you wish to help, please contact Steve on 850241.

News from the blogs Another new photoblog started soon after Mark Unsworth posted the first pictures on his photoblog. This new photoblog belongs to Ewan Graham of the Ballygrant Inn and is called Islayphotos. Armin has posted more pictures as well on his photoblog and I included a couple as well on my own picture blog from our latest Islay trip. The Laddieblog published a story about ferries and piers, then they decided to remove it and later on it appeared again under the title Terminal Ferry. Jez and brian were on the mainland for cycling stuff to get more ideas for brian's Cycling Blog. Whisky guy Rob, who I met on Islay, is still there (lucky him) and has visited Ardbeg and Islay Ales while Kevin over at the Scotch Blog announced the 2008 Drammies. After a period of silence Elliott of Islay Sea Shipping started blogging again, same as Ian who runs the Islay ICT Blog. The wildlife blogs are updated almost on a daily basis, specially Islay Birds blog by Ian Brook and the Islay Birder blog by John Armitage. For more news about Argyll check out For Argyll and if you like to stay up to date on Islay news every fortnight get yourself a Ileach PDF Subscription

I think this is pretty much everything I can come up with right now. I wish you a nice weekend and look forward to seeing you here soon!

Tag: news blogs roundup

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