Islay News Roundup Second Half of July

Today the Islay news roundup for the second half of July with information and news snippets from Islay, a nice way to stay in touch and to learn more about your favourite holiday destination. Let me start with what I believe is the most important news of this month. Yesterday Calmac announced that the Islay Ferry Hebridean Isles will return on the Islay route today which means that the two ferry timetable is back in operation. Good news for everyone who had planned to visit the island, good news for the locals and good news for the island economy. The picture shows some beautiful cloudscapes at Loch Indaal. The larger version is available on the Islay Pictures Photo Blog

Weatherwise the last couple of weeks haven't been the best of the year to say the least. I remember Gus Newman saying to me in an email last week: "I am looking out the window and the rain is bouncing off the ground, and that is the weather for the rest of the day." The weather forecast predicts some rain tomorrow during the "Ride of the Falling Rain" althoug it doesn't look all that bad. So if you haven't decided to come to Islay, you can still change your mind, after all there should be enough space on the ferries. Talking about the Ride of the Falling Rain brings me to the weather forecast of the next two weeks. Well I have decided not to include this anymore. It's hard for the Met Office to predict the weather for the next days let alone the weather for the next weeks so I don't want to raise false expectations. If you're interested you can have a look at the long term forecast yourself.

Islay Gin from Bruichladdich An interesting article appeared in the online Herald today titled "Island distillery gets a tonic from gin thanks to Ugly Betty". There were some speculations a while back already and Jean Marc, a member of the Islay Forum, posted a message in the forum early July. It seems that the announcement made by Bruichladdich on the 1st of April wasn't an April fools joke at all. A quote from the article in the Herald: Continue reading.....

The Bruichladdich Distillery, famed for its smoky and peaty malts, is to craft a gin after discovering old recipes and an experimental still. The distillation will begin next week using botanicals from around the island. The distillery researched historical methods and found that botanticals were used to flavour “usquebaugh” in the middle ages. Mark Reynier, chief executive of Bruichladdich, said: “Research we did showed that in medieval times what we know as whisky was very often flavoured with local botanicals. That’s partly because they were very bad at distilling and they were trying to make it taste better. “They flavoured it with whatever was at hand and we found old documents which showed that juniper was used, and bog myrtle and heather tops. “Having researched it, we found that here on Islay there are more than 20 different botanticals that we can use.” Jim McEwan, Bruichladdich’s production director, will be responsible for the distillation of the first gin to be made on the island, after learning the process from a firm in England. He said: “I created a recipe which I think is going to be superb: fresh, citrus flavours and an easy, effervescent drink. “I wanted to bring in the beautiful flavours of Islay.”

RNLI presentations The chairman of the Islay lifeboat management committee has been honoured by the RNLI at a special ceremony and presentation last month. Captain Malcolm T Anderson received the Institute’s silver badge in recognition of his services and commitment to the Port Askaig station where he has been a member of the committee for 16 years and the branch’s diligent chair for the last ten years. The retired master mariner, who lives in Port Weymss, received his badge at an awards’ ceremony in the Perth Concert Hall, hosted by the RNLI Scottish Council’s chair Sir Andrew Cubie. Handing over the badge was the Dunbar lifeboat coxswain Gary Fairbairn who is the holder of the Institute bronze medal.

Port Ellen Bowling Club On Saturday 3rd July, 51 bowlers from as far afield as Wishaw, Oban,and Tarbert, as well as the home grown talent from Bridgend and Port Ellen graced Port Ellen bowling green for the Ardbeg Open Bowls Competition.Tarbert again managed to send over three teams of very skilled bowlers and it was their Tarbert 3 team (led by John Martin) that met the Yodellers from Port Ellen (Andrew Hamilton, Ishbel Murray and Norrie McKinnon) in the final. The Tarbert 3 team narrowly won the competition, taking away what was surely the largest prize ever donated for a bowling competition at club level, not just in Argyll and Bute but throughout Scotland. An amazingly generous 3 x 1 gallon bottles of Ardbeg whisky.

Passenger numbers down at Islay Airport Passenger figures at Islay Airport were down 5.3% during June 2010 compared to the same month last year. Overall numbers for the year to date are currently running 17.3% lower year on year with 6,379 passenger movements compared to 7,710 for the same period last year.

Islay Pipe Band Saturday the 17th of July the Islay Pipe Band headed to Balloch Highland games to compete in the grade 2 and 3 competitions. Although we are in grade 3, at a minor competition you can play up a grade so they tried their our luck. The band recently held a Bingo at Portnahaven Hall and I would like to thank Sheena and all the pipe band ladies, as well as all the Rhinns ladies for all their superb baking etc it was an amazing spread and even if you don’t like bingo it’s worth coming for the tea alone! After raffle, tombola, teas etc the sum realised was a magnificent £700. Special thanks to our caller Eddie Morris and to Wendy for her hard work in the kitchen. We also held a very successful disco in Port Ellen on July 3rd. we would like to thank all who came and supported the band. We are delighted that Kevan Brown Ltd. from Tiree is sponsoring the bus to Balloch this weekend. A huge thanks from all the band for this great sponsorship. If anyone would like to sponsor the bus at a future competition please phone Andrew 850 27l. We would also like to thank lodge Kildalton 552 for the kind donation of £400. Many thanks.

Stormcats launch new catamaran The StormCat 950 Explorer is the latest model to be released from Stormcats at Lagavulin. Launched in June 2010, the 9.5 metre Explorer catamaran has just been delivered to a customer in Argyll. The interior and exterior werespecifically designed for the customer’s active lifestyle. The flybridge makes it very easy to manoeuvre around piers and harbours and is a fantastic viewing point to enjoy local wildlife. On the second day of sea trials she performed impressively when taken to the Corryvrecken whirlpool, off the coast of Jura in 25-30mph winds. Performance of the boat has not been compromised, with twin Evinrude ETEC 200HP engines and two 78 gallon fuel tanks which give her a long range. She can cruise at 25-27 knots with a top speed of 35 knots in sea trials. For more information check out the Stormcats website

Islay Hotel Work at the Islay Hotel continues and a number of milestones have been reached recently, including the installation of two rainwater capture tanks which have been buried in the grounds. Zander Bruce and his team working on the final stages of plumbing in the ground source heat pump, which will provide green energy to the underfloor heating system that has been installed throughout the hotel.

A little lunchtime music at Outback Art A well attended lunchtime concert held at Outback Art, Sanaigmore by a quintet from the Cantilena Festival on Wednesday 7th July. The programme consisted mostly of Mozart, Bach and Scott Joplin, assisted by fine coffee and carrot cake. (see image below)



The Islay Wildlife Blogs John Armitage from Portnahaven wrote an interesting article about "Raptor Persecution": Being fogbound for the last three days has caused me to contemplate a few questions relating to our current core values in the UK with respect to its wildlife and whether we're making progress or even holding the line of good reason. Recent results from the RSPB outlining the number of raptor persecution incidents in 2009, coupled with reportage of increases in 2010, even at this stage of the year, can only generate pessimism. Raptor persecution is one of the most prominent "thorny problems" of the modern age. In tropical areas big cats, rampaging elephants in crops and other species have often been the focus of mans' retaliatory revenge where personal safety or economic security has been involved. Outside of this the gratuitous killing of wildlife for pleasure has been much reduced nowadays, but persecution based on prejudice, often in pursuance of self interest, still remains. Such is the case in the UK where certain avian raptors are seen to jeopardise the production of game birds, vast numbers of which are simply destined to provide pleasure for a minority of shooting enthusiasts. Read more... Ian Brooke has some very nice images on his blog, particularly the one of a mute swan is beautiful. The Islay Natural History Blog have a ton of new posts so check them out and see for yourself! For an overview of what other blog's wrote about Islay I can recommend the blogging roundup by Armin.

A pleasant weekend to all and thanks for your visit. If you need something to clear your mind and help you relax I can recommend a look at my new Islay Relax Video. Enjoy!

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



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