Amazing Islay Video of Soldiers Rock

It's time to share a great Islay video with you. It's an exceptional good video as it contains some crips shots from a drone, but most of all it's from a stunning part of Islay not known with many folk. It shows parts of The Oa and the walk up to Soldiers Rock, an impressive Sea Stack within 20 metres from the cliffs. The drone footage is mostly of Soldiers Rock, the stunning surrounding landscape and Port Ellen. This one is highly recommended :-)

Cantilena Festival Islay 19th season

The Cantilena Festival is a week of classical music concerts in venues throughout Islay. It consists a mix of professional players and young professional musicians who are senior students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS). The Festival gives Islay the opportunity to hear live classical music and, just as important, gives these young people a chance to work and learn from experienced musicians. The concerts are informal and there’s always a chance to chat to the players and learn how passionate they are about their music.

Sunday 7 July sees the start of the Festival when the opening concert in the Columba Centre, Bowmore, will feature our professional players in works by Mozart, Schumann and Shostakovich. This is followed on Monday evening at Laphroaig Distillery and our Young Professionals’ Showcase. Come along and listen to our extremely talented young professional musicians from RCS show off their skills in a varied programme.

Tuesday evening’s concert in Lagavulin will include works by Corelli, Vivaldi, Rossini Mendelssohn, and little-heard Scots composer Thomas Erskine and features all the Cantilena players. Back in Columba on Wednesday, Daniel Silcock, a senior piano student at RCS will return to Islay to present a recital of Debussy’s Preludes. The second half of the evening will feature chamber music by Brahms and Beethoven. Continue reading....

Visit Portnahaven On Wednesday for T in the Church

I was invited today, Wednesday, by a few lovely ladies from the Rhinns who run the "Friends of Portnahaven Church Charity". The charity's aim is to keep the beautiful church in Portnahaven in a good condition for everyone to enjoy. The Portnahaven and Port Wemyss parish church, designed by Thomas Telford, is one of the few Telford churches in Scotland from which the design has been mostly unaltered. Islay has two other Telford churches, on one the Oa which is now ruined and the Kilmeny church near Ballygrant.

Maintaining the church is a very costly affair. 2011 for instance saw repairs to the Roof, the Skews and the Bell Tower costing well over £11.000 and in 2013 a further £8000 was spent in the upkeep of the church. And all this money has been raised locally. But more funding is needed if we all want to keep on enjoying this pretty church with its pink and white interior. And you can help! Continue reading....

iNaturalist - Identify and Record Wildlife on Islay

Recording the animals and plants in our surrounding environment is very important. It gives scientists an insight into the number and type of species and how it changes overtime, which helps conservation. Locally our Islay Natural History Trust (INHT) and RSPB record sightings of wildlife. For instance, the INHT has a large database with sightings of birds, plants, insects and other species. Malcolm Ogilvie can tell you all about it. The RSPB also records wildlife and focusses mainly on birds such as geese, corncrakes, chough, hen harriers and others for conservation purposes.

Nationally there are a few more organisations who are involved with recording sightings from the public for science such as the National Biodiversity Network, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, the British Trust for Ornithology, the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and quite a few more if you do a search on Google.

If you want to share your sightings with local or national organisations you need a description of the species, the date and time, preferably a good photo and of course the location of your sighting which you can then upload onto their websites or send them in by email. Some of them also provide an app to make it easier. Continue reading..