Islay News Roundup Second Half of June

Today another Islay news roundup with information and news snippets from Islay. Last roundup I wrote about the drought on Islay and later I published an article about that same lack of rainfall. Fortunately for some the rains came this week although the question is if the amounts of rain were enough to end the water shortage. Earlier the Argyll and Bute council issued a warning for owners of private water sources to take measures to prevent their sources from drying out altogether. If you like to hear the sound of the rain you can visit this page. Here is an outlook for the next two weeks by the Met Office for Thursday 8 Jul to Saturday 17 Jul: "Northern and western parts of the UK are expected to remain fairly changeable throughout the period. It will often be windy here with rain or showers and these rather unsettled conditions will extend to central areas on occasion. Temperatures are expected to be around normal for the time of year in the northwest where cloudier conditions prevail, but generally warm elsewhere and locally very warm in the southeast early in the period." The image shows Port Ellen harbour on a very hot day in May.

Islay Ferry The current timetable is still based on one ferry due the repairs of the MV Clansman that last longer than foreseen. The idea is now that this situation will last at least until the end of July. In the meanwhile Calmac announced extra sailings including a nightboat to Port Askaig. For the latest updated on the timetables visit In less than twelve months Islay will see the new ferry arriving, the 1st of May 2011 to be precise. The new ferry, the MV Finlaggan, was launched this week in Poland. CMAssets issued a press release and several videos of this event can be seen on Youtube. Continue reading.....

Sunderland Memorial Service at Blackrock I have published several articles and images about the Sunderland memorial service at Blackrock. The Ileach has updated several video's of the service, unfortunately the sound is absent in some fragments. Carl told me that they are trying to solve the problem and upload new videos with sound. To compensate for that you can find an edited extract from the address given at the memorial by Chairman of The Museum of Islay Life, Malcolm Ogilvie, below: "On behalf of the Museum of Islay Life, thank you all for coming. Some years ago, Squadron Leader Alan Deller, as he became before he retired from the RAF, visited Islay and suggested that there should be some kind of tangible memorial to the lost airmen. Three of them are buried in the cemetery of the Round Church in Bowmore, but until now their graves are all there has been by which to remember this tragedy. It has taken quite a while but the Museum of Islay Life is extremely pleased that we have at last been able to create this permanent memorial, inspired by, and paid for by Alan Deller, which the Revd. Ken Skipper is about to dedicate. Alan Deller is now in his mid-nineties, and although we had hoped that he might be able to attend, he has decided that he is too frail to make the journey all the way from Kent. He did though write a letter which will appear in the next Ileach, thanking everyone concerned and recalling the tragedy which is still obviously very much in his memory. Although Alan Deller cannot be here, I am delighted that Margaret Reid is here today having made the journey specially from her home in Perthshire. She was a close friend of the one of the airmen who was lost, Sergeant Walter Heath, and, indeed, erected her own memorial to him several years ago, which has been renewed and just now dedicated. I will now hand over to the Rev. Ken Skipper to dedicate the memorial. At 11.20 am, an RAF Tornado from Lossiemouth will fly over in salute, making two passes, up the loch from the south-west and back again. Then, James Carmichael on his pipes will bring this brief ceremony to an end.

The congregation make their way to the memorial plaque situated at Blackrock, overlooking Loch Indaal

Its amazing what Community spirit can do On the 20th March a very special evening took place on Jura in the Village Hall. This was the second ‘Jura Dinner Dance’ and it is some seven years since the first fund raising event, which set a precendent for a superb evening meal followed by an auction and then a ceilidh in true Jura fashion. So on the 20th March, 130 guests sat down to a superb three course meal, cooked by the Jura Hotel and served by the eldest daughter and her team of willing friends. Wine flowed as fast as the chatter and the top table was graced by Ian Smith, who gave a very entertaining after dinner speech and the auction was masterfully controlled by Mr Morrison of United Auctions. A great variety of wonderful items from an easter egg which raised £220, to a day’s fishing, a day’s stalking or a week’s holiday in Spain. Other items as varied as a autographed Rangers T shirt to a case of wine, all came under the master’s gavel and fetched the amazing total of over £12,000. After the expenses for the meal, much of which was donated from local sources, the Smith family were able to present two cheques to the value of £6,292.24 to each of the charities. This just proves what true community spirit can achieve and thanks to the wonderful auction and the brilliant atmosphere of the evening, concluding with a superb ceilidh by local band Doch An Dorus.

Islay Pipe Band The Islay Pipe Band travelled to Annan last weekend to compete in the British Championships. We were on first in our grade at 2.00pm. We played very well and were delighted to gain 7th place, just one place out of the prizes. The pipe corps were awarded a 2nd place by one piping judge and the drum corps climbed a few places as well, so all the hard work is paying off.

Ardbeg Gourmet Ride As part of the Ardbeg Committee 10th Anniversary celebrations, the Ardbeg Gourmet Ride took place on Islay on Saturday 19th June, co-incidentally, the start of Britain’s National Bike week. After breakfast at the Old Kiln Cafe the riders cycled to Ballygrant in superb weather for a packed lunch at the hall, before riding west round Islay’s Atlantic coast and on to Debbie’s cafe, Bruichladdich for some excellent coffee and sticky buns. Guest of honour for the day, and after dinner speaker at the sumptuous evening meal was Flying Scotsman, Graeme Obree, who was happy to ride and chat with the riders throughout the day, and kept all rivetted and amused after the meal. Ardbeg Distillery did themselves proud, and there’s always the possibility this may become an annual event.

Islay Lifeboat At the recent Kilchoman Distillery open day during Feis Ile some fundraising was done by Kilchoman staff and friends. As a result a cheque for £400 was presented to Captain Malcolm Anderson local chairman of the RNLI and David MacLellan coxswain of the local lifeboat at the distillery on 29th June. Earlier, during the Islay festival, the crew of the Islay lifeboat organised an open day. Visitors were allowed onboard and shown around the lifeboat. The image shows RNLI Engineer David “Beastie” MacArthur, showing Mariyana, a visitor to Feis Ile from Bulgaria, the control panel aboard the Islay lifeboat Helmut Schroder of Dunlossit II.

Events This weekend is the start of the Cantilena Festival on Islay, it will be held from the 4th until the 9th of July. For all the other events in the next weeks check out the PDF What's on on Islay

(wildlife) blogs The wildlife blogs on Islay are always a valuable source of information. Ian Brooke wrote: "Another month in, another dry month at that, with just around an inch, so we are really in dry times. Having said that we did have some rain through last night, not a lot but some". A new blog was launched by the Islay Natural History Trust a while back and they have a lot of very interesting posts and fantastic images. Especially the images of the Orchids are wonderful. Make sure to check the blog of John Armitage from Portnahaven, he has some interesting posts as well. There was however worrying news about two eagles nests: "Less welcome is that two of the traditional Golden Eagle sites have failed even though there was activity at each of them early in the season and incubation commenced. With greater access to the countryside occurring nowadays I wonder the extent to which even inadvertent and non-deliberate disturbance is having an effect on some species. For all such well known, traditional sites I feel a moratorium should be created within which no licences to visit should be issued by Scottish Natural Heritage be it for nest recording, photography or ringing purposes. It would do no harm for a period." For an overview of what the other blog's wrote about Islay I can recommend the blogging roundup by Armin.

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

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

Tag: news roundup ileach