Looking back at 2012, a wee bit that is

And so the year comes to an end. I'm not the person to look back too much to events that have happened in the past year, the short version is that I can say that it was a good year, the slightly longer version can be found below. The Islay Info website and blog received well over half a million distinct visitors in 2012, an all time high, despite the fact that the blog hasn't seen as much updates as the year before, 193 new posts to be precise. I assume the stats prove that Islay is becoming ever more popular which is a good thing, especially in the current difficult economic climate which is likely to remain uncertain for the next few years ahead.

Worth mentioning is that the number of accommodations on Islay is growing rapidly. Around 25 new Bed and Breakfasts and Self Catering cottages were added to the ever growing database of high quality accommodation. There are now 175 different accommodations listed, from Hotels to Guest Houses and from Self Catering Cottages to Bed and Breakfasts. And now something from the useless statistics department: With an average of 8 to 10 people per accommodation (wild guess) the island can have a maximum of 1400 to 2000 tourists (incl. campsites), that's half the population of Islay, go figure! Continue reading....

One of the most noteworthy things last year was definitely the short but horrific storm early January which brought a lot of damage to houses and trees on the island and left many homes without power, some for more than four days. Another interesting fact was the completion of the Port Ellen ferry terminal upgrade on the 1st of July to be able to finally see the MV Finlaggan dock in Port Ellen. A big surprise this year was to hear that Bruichladdich, the independent Hebridean distillers, were into talks with Remy Cointreau to sell the distillery, which later happened. It turned out to be a good deal for many involved. The production will increase, there will be 24/7 shifts and new people will be employed.

Soon after Port Ellen saw the Finlaggan, Calmac announced that it would take the Finlaggan off the Islay route for four months in the winter. In the meanwhile some members of the community were trying to raise support for an Islay owned ferry. Talks about that are still taking place, 2013 will see more news. Later in the year the new owners from The Machrie heard that they will get a connection on the main water supply, which means the reconstruction of the hotel will (hopefully) start soon.

The thing that struck me most this year was the heartwarming response from the community for Ciara Caskie Allan, the girl with a brain tumour who needed a special and very expensive therapy in the US. I think almost everyone on Islay took part in all kinds of ways and activities to raise monies to help Ciara and her family and they achieved to raise thousands of pounds.

Nobody knows what 2013 will bring apart from a lot of uncertainty, at least the world didn't come to an end on the 21st of December. Let's hope it will be another good and prosper year for us all with a little less rain please. I want to thank you all for visiting the Islay Info website and Blog, do come back next year. A special thanks goes out to Carl Reavey, departing editor of the Ileach, and his staff. They allow me to publish some articles from the Ileach which is of great value for the Islay Blog. Cheers!

Happy New Year Everyone!