Since Jeremy is off to the mainland and won't submit a nature report I feel I have to fill this space tonight with another subject. Finding something to write about is never hard, there are always enough ideas to keep you up to date and well informed about Islay. And if not about Islay, I just have to look from Islay's shores in the (far) distance to see plenty of interesting islands surrounding Islay, giving me even more inspiration. You probably guessed it by now, this post is not just about Islay but more about the area where Islay is a part of and is called the Inner Hebrides.
When you stand on Islay's beautiful beaches and shoreline there is usually an island to be seen in the (far) distance. Depending where you are looking from, the most obvious island that you can see is of course Jura and its majestic Paps, followed by a whole bunch of other islands such as Colonsay, Texa, Nave island, Gigha, Oronsay and in excellent conditions even the isles of Iona, Coll and Tiree should be visible, with or without binoculars. That, combined with my curiosity for, and interest in the islands surrounding Islay, was the reason for me to start a new website about the Southern islands of the Inner Hebrides. So far I have visited some of the islands and I'm planning to visit others in the future. Continue reading....
By doing research for the new website I found out that there is so much interesting to learn about the fifty or so islands that make up the Southern Hebrides. The area stretches from the isles of Mull and Lismore in the north, Coll and Tiree in the west to Gigha in the south. When I read about these islands it gave me a better understanding of how the area where Islay is part of evolved in history. It also showed that these islands often played an important part in Scottish history. We all know that Islay was once the centre of power in the west of Scotland with the Lordship of the Isles, but the other islands have had their interesting share of history too, sometimes directly related to Islay. Take for instance the island of Iona where Columba in 563, with his twelve companions, set about building Iona's first church, made of clay and wood construction. Another surprise to discover were the McCormaig Isles from which Eilean Mor is owned by the Scottish National Party and, besides a medieval chapel, offers stunning views towards Islay and Jura. I have also found some remarkable islands which I never heard of before such as the Treshnish Isles and The Garvellachs just to name a few. On the map some of these islands look so very small but in fact they all have played an important part in history.
The new website is almost ready, as far as a website can ever be called ready of course. Coll and Tiree are missing from the list but they will get a page in the next weeks. I haven't written all the pages of the website all by myself, Susan Campbell helped me out with several pages and Teresa Morris was kind enough to supply the images for the Colonsay page and another friend, Bruce, supplied images for the Slate Islands. Since I haven't been to all of the islands (yet) I had to find an alternative source for some images. The fact that most images from the Geograph project are licensed for reuse proved to be a great way to complete all the pages. Another feature of the new website is a blog where I will post travel reports, images and other snippets of the Hebridean islands every now and then.
I welcome you to have a look at the new site. It doesn't differ that much from the Islay Info and Jura Info website, I have only changed the colours and left the layout more or less the same. Please feel free to give me feedback for improvements or any other reason.