On Friday the 4th of May, at the WW100 commemorations in Port Ellen, Ella Edgars Dancers performed a special Dance based on the events which took place 100 years ago when hundreds of soldiers died when the Otranto and Tuscania sunk in Islay's waters. This dance was performed for a small group dignitaries in Ramsay Hall on May the 4th. Today, at the Islay Festival Bruichladdich Day, it was performed again. See the video below. Enjoy.
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If you're passing or visiting Bruichladdich Distillery in the next days, and you probably will when you're on Islay for the Festival, try to have a look at the other side of the whisky casks outside the distillery. The front has "Bruichladdich" in big letters and on the other side you'll find the word Port Charlotte. Perhaps they'll reverse the casks on Sunday, that remains to be seen! But the wording is there for a very good reason!
This year Bruichladdich will relaunch the Port Charlotte brand and there is an exciting release coming up, a first permanent release of the Port Charlotte 10 and it comes in a cool green modern bottle. And there's also a Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2011. This one is distilled from barley grown on three Islay farms in 2010, Dunlossit, Sunderland and Kilchiaran. The Port Charlotte 10 will be available soon and will be priced at around £50.
And for those who will be present at Bruichladdich Open Day this year, and yes there will be plenty of sunshine, will have the opportunity to buy two other special Port Charlotte expressions, the Port Charlotte 'The Heretic' 2001 for £125 and The Distillery Valinch 50cl for £75.
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Islay has to deal with some problems which need funding, but to put it simply, there is no money. When, as an example, the Islay Community Council wanted to provide facilities for motorhomes on the island they couldn't do much due to a lack of funds. Another issue at the moment is funding for Rangers who do the Beach Cleaning which is at risk. Each year many tons of plastic waste are collected on Islay's beaches, making sure that we can enjoy our beautiful beaches which are one of Islay's most important attractions. With the current financial situation of the Argyll and Bute Council there won't be coming any funds from them to deal with these and other issues. Therefore we need to find an alternative way to generate income. That's where you as a visitor come in.
We need your help
Already a few years ago I had an idea to ask visitors for a voluntary gift to help improve things on the island. See it as a sort of Visitor Tax, the thing you pay in many parts of the world in addition to your accommodation costs. It's usually something like 50 pence or a pound per person per night. I'm sure that many visitors to Islay wouldn't mind paying something extra to support our beautiful island. However, it's a difficult task to organise this, as it's quite an undertaking to collect, register, and account for all these extra monies. Continue reading....
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Now that the weather is improving and the opening of The Machrie hotel is getting nearer it was time for me to have a closer look at the progress. You can see from a distance that is has become a larger building but you can only properly appreciate the size if you walk around it. The interesting bit is that I know the old Machrie Hotel and from what I recall the new Machrie looks at least 4 times bigger overall. The place is buzzing with workers. There are currently 85 people working on the interior and exterior to get everything ready for the opening, which is planned in the summer/autumn of 2018. The bungalows, which are used by the workers, will be demolished when they are no longer needed. It's a huge project and when finished The Machrie will have 47 rooms and will boast a superb bar/restaurant; a private 30 seater cinema; function room; two treatment rooms; a sauna and a small gym.
Machrie Golf Heaven....
When I walked around the construction site I also visited the Golf Course and was utterly impressed! I'm not a golfer, done it only once, but if I would play this would be golf heaven for me. The views over Laggan Bay, the fresh sea breeze, the dunes and the sound of the waves all compliment the immaculate and perfectly maintained 18 holes course. I'm sure many golfers will be very keen to play The Machrie! Below are some impressions of the Hotel and Golf Course. Continue reading..
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