We have spent the last two weeks in the far north-west of Scotland, in the area around Loch Ewe to be precise, in Wester Ross. That's why the blog was quiet and I wasn't able to bring you the latest news from our beloved island. We had a magnificent Scotland trip, we have travelled 2,400 miles and I took 2,400 pictures. We have toured the Applecross Peninsula, visited Glen Torridon, Diabaig, Loch Maree and many other places.for those interested, I have written a lengthy travel report and included many images. Now that I'm back you will hopefully see many Islay updates here.
Upper Loch Torridon seen from Diabaig
So what's happened on Islay during those two weeks? First of all the island saw a record invasion of Barnacle Geese at the RSPB Reserve at Loch Gruinart, an event which is unique in Scotland. Jack Fleming from the RSPB on Islay said: "We've got wall-to-wall feathers at the reserve at the moment, it's absolutely incredible. Many of these birds will now disperse to different areas over the next few weeks, leaving us with around 25,000 regularly using the roost at Loch Gruinart - still a remarkable spectacle morning and evening!"
Besides the Geese the most eye-catching event however must have been the opening of the new Islay Hotel in Port Ellen. On the 24th of September I wrote about the upcoming opening of the Islay Hotel on October the 1st. Soon after that Emma Goudie was kind enough to send information and pictures about this very special event. Roland and his team have spent four years transforming the old and grey eyesore in the heart of the village into a top class shiny white hotel using the latest building techniques. There is still plenty to do and more sections of the hotel will open in the near future and the website will be live in the next few weeks.
Opening of the Islay Hotel
Emma Goudie said: "The opening day was incredible, it was so lovely to see all the people outside. After the cutting of the tape we handed a drink to everyone as they passed through reception. The Port Ellen Primary school gaelic choir sang for us. Later in the afternoon Ella Edgar's dancers danced for guests. Ciara Mactaggart, Donnie Mackinnon, Clare Jordan and David Adams played twice, afternoon and evening. There was thought to be 500 people there. In the restaurant between 2 - 8pm we sent out 248 meals. The bar closed at 1pm and people stayed outside in the garden until midnight! It was a lovely atmosphere and a very special day for Port Ellen." I think they have done an incredible job and I hereby send my congratulations to all involved.
Restaurant of the Islay Hotel