Following is a short overview of Islay news published in the Ileach Newspaper and from various other sources.
Finlaggan: Finlaggan Trust committee members turned out on one of our few dry January days to cut the first sods in preparation for the building of an extension to Finlaggan Cottage. On 5 February Billy Muir's construction company moved onto the site and the project, which has taken three years of planning and fund raising, was underway. Picture left to right: Gina McAuslan, Hugh MacDonald, Donald Bell, Jean MacKay and Rona MacKenzie.
Neighbour Colonsay: The stormy weather of last week left the Colonsay Shop almost without supplies, since several ferry sailings from Oban were cancelled. Mr McNicholl, a local shop keeper said islanders had rallied round to help neighbours and visitors to the island. 'We had a sailing the Wednesday before last and then didn't get another one until this Wednesday. I got double supplies then after looking at the weather forecast. The shelves were pretty bare. I was left with one leek and two half carrots. And we are down to our last six jars of caviar. We still had some whisky and some fine Bibendum wines, as well as part-baked bread and croissants and long-life milk.' If I had the choice between the hectic of city life or whisky with caviar on Colonsay I'd choose the latter. I guess that's part of the romance of living on a remote island. Michael of Bruichladdich feels the same while for blogger Katie from Glasgow this is all the more reason not to live on a remote Scottish island.
Islay Healthy Living Centre: Islay Healthy Living Centre, the innovative Lottery Funded initiative that was established five years ago has closed due to lack of funding. It's Lottery grant, only ever envisaged as a short term start-up, has now been exhausted and no further funding has been forthcoming from the Scottish Executive. The Healthy Living Centres were designed to improve â€œsocial exclusion, lack of access to services and socio-economic deprivation'.
First Light Movie Awards: The film 'And It's Goodbye to Care', made by a group of young people from Islay has been nominated for Best Documentary in the prestigious First Light Awards 2008. The award ceremony is tonight so keep an eye out on the First Light News Page. Continue reading....Beach Clean: The Canoe Club's first attempt at a paddle/walk/beach clean on Feb 3rd was postponed due to foul weather so the following Sunday, blessed with no wind or rain, six members showed up. Four paddlers set off from Claggain Bay with an open top canoe on tow and two timorous but hardy members walked the sodden muddy path. We beach cleaned, picniced, filled our open top canoe with bags of rubbish and headed back to Claggain - a good job well done and enjoyed by all. Next Beach: Ardtalla.
A private convenience: In the days before flushing loos there were various solutions to the problem - here a little stone building sits over a burn with a strategically placed wooden seat. Now sadly rather dilapidated it is a poignant reminder of less convenient times...
Islay Abattoir: The new Islay Abattoir at Avonvogie has been designed to meet the needs of the smaller farmers and crofters and unlike the huge mainland abattoirs will be able to process small numbers of cattle, sheep and pigs - even single animals. The abattoir has also been designed to be able to deal with fully horned Highland cattle. There are very few abattoirs available now that can do this without first having the horns removed by a vet - a process which is distressing for all concerned - as well as expensive. The availability of the small-scale local abattoir will further bolster the case of those farmers and crofters who wish to return to raising small numbers of traditional breeds aimed at specialist markets.
Islay & Jura Tourism and Marketing Group: The Islay & Jura Tourism & Marketing Group held their A.G.M. on 22nd January 2008 at the Bridgend Hotel. The Chair, Rhona Scott, spoke of the Group's achievements in 2007 reporting on its revamped and upgraded website www.islayjura.com, the Walk Islay week 2007 and its website www.walkislay.co.uk, the Visitors Welcome Evenings held every Monday between April and October, the design and publication of the new 'Islay & Jura whisky trail' leaflet, the publication of the 'Welcome to Islay & Jura 'leaflet and the 'Walk Islay' leaflet, the collation and publication of the 'Visitors Handbook' and publication of the Walks booklet.
Blogs: Armin published his 25th blogging roundup and posted a few nice pictures of Peat Bog Fires on Islay. The folks at Bruichladdich, who have the best view of the pier, mention the oil delivery shambles. I wonder what would have happened with the oil supplies when Calmac wouldn't sail with two ships this winter, that would have been a real nightmare scenario. Gordon Yates just returned from a two week trip to Islay to promote his new DVD and to film the snow buntings at Ardnave. The PGA tour website mentions some of the best golf courses in Scotland and the Machrie is clearly one of them and Jeremy Hastings guided the new factor of Islayestates over the island. I would like to finish this news roundup with an image:
Highland cattle on Jura - Will they be lucky enough to escape the new abattoir?