January is typically a quiet month on Islay with only a few visitors and locals that use the opportunity to go on holiday to warmer places. Nature isn't that quiet though and January is the month that usually produces the worst weather and heaviest storms. This January however started off quiet but the storms of last weeks made up for that and resulted in quite a lot disruptions of the ferry service. I'm curious to see what February will bring, so far the winter shows its teeth!
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 January archive.
The Islay, Jura and Colonsay Agricultural Association has kindly loaned its impressive collection of Dairy Trophies for show at the Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte. There has only been one dairy farmer on Islay (the MacDougalls at Esknish) since the demise of the Islay Creamery in 2000 when all other dairy herds were disbanded and there has been no competition in the dairy classes at the Islay Show since that time. The photograph shows David McLellan, the last holder of the Milk Cup holding the trophy flanked by Association members Iain McKerrell, John Findlay, Eion Brown, Tony Archibald, Angus Kerr, Nigel McKerrell, John MacKellar and Donald McKerrell. Continue reading.....Faclan NÃ dair Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has launched Faclan NÃ dair (Words of Nature) a new learning tool to help people identify and understand Gaelic names for trees, plants and animals. Hosted on Scottish Natural Heritage website www.sng.org.uk, Faclan NÃ dair is for Gaelic speakers and non-speakers alike. The online database offers translations of names and uses images and audio guides to aid pronunciation of the Gaelic words which describe our native species. It highlights the fact that many traditional Gaelic names and terms can add to our understanding through their vivid descriptions and insights to the story of a particular species.
Burns celebrations Close on 100 guests attended the Ballygrant areaâ€™s tribute to Robert Burns held in the local village hall on Saturday. Former village resident John MacIntyre chaired the proceedings and the haggis, addressed by farmer Angus Kerr, was borne to pride of place by Joan Fletcher and led by Pipe Major Nigel Morris. The supper was organised and prepared by members of the hall committee, Black Bottle sponsored the toasts and all enjoyed an evening of â€˜sangs and clatterâ€™. On the same evening the Feis Ile committee held its celebration of our National Bard in the Masonic Lodge at Port Ellen. Around 70 supporters braved the elements to see the haggis led in by Piper Andrew MacEachern and held aloft by Harry Ross. It was vigorously addressed by Eddie Pollard and the main toast was proposed by Consepie contractor Iain MacPherson who also sang a selections of the bardâ€™s works.
Fantastic Fun at the Feis by Morwenna Hastings Itâ€™s Feis time again, a chance to try a new instrument or keep going with one you love to play already.: be a brilliant beginner or an excellent expert! So far at the Feis Iâ€™ve learnt whistle, chanter, fiddle, drama, Gaelic singing, drumming, art and guitar as well as playing with friends, having fun outside and speaking Gaelic too. I really enjoyed having the chance to go to Jura to do this as well. Why not come and have a go this year? In the picture youngsters enjoying the music at last yearâ€™s Feis Oigridh held in ICCI, Bowmore.
John Findlay reports from Royal Society of Edinburgh Meeting in Oban 19 January 2009 Following the Chairmanâ€™s welcome to over 100 delegates at the Argyllshire gathering Halls in Oban, the main speaker Professor Roger Crofts CBE FRSE former Chief Executive of SNH, delivered a summary of the Committee of Inquiry into the Future of Scotlandâ€™s Hills and Islands Report that was issued in September 2008. The full report is available at www.islayinfo.com.
Drammie Awards The Scotch Blog announced that voting started for the annual Drammie Awards. It's good to see Islay is well represented. In the category Distiller/Blender/Independent Bottler of the Year you will find Bruichladdich and Ardbeg Distilleries. In the category Best Packaging/Marketing Campaign again Bruichladdich with Octomore, Ardbeg with Blasda and Elements of Islay, these three nominees are also included in the category Most Innovative New Product. And last but not least, Octomore from Bruichladdich is nominated in the category Best New Product (whisky). To support your Islay distillery or dram go over to the Scotich Blog and Vote.
News from the blogs A new photoblog emerged from cyberspace, Mark Unsworth posted the first pictures on his photoblog, welcome Mark and let's see when the next one comes online, I have heard rumours already... ;-). The Laddieblog wrote that Whisky is Water (what the heck did they put in my bottle of Octomore?) and explain why Bruichladdich is a tongue-twister, John Hansell of Malt Advocate has been busy with Islay Malts and reviewed PC7, Ardbeg Supernova and a Port Ellen 29yr old and on top of all that they launched a new website. Have a look at www.maltadvocate.com/, brian is active as ever on his Cycling Blog, Rebecca Brown from Islay will hold three fiddle workshops, G & M Porter of Carrabus Farm bought a Limousin Bull for 7,000gns, Armin published his Roundup 65, Forargyll reported that the Connect Festival 2009 is cancelled, they are also wondering why Â£250,000 was spent on a new Gaelic website called mygaelic.com, and they published an interesting interview by Lynda Henderson with the Duke of Argyll, which you can see below:
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!