WW100 Islay Commemoration Service HMS Otranto

100 years ago, on the 6th of October 1918, the Troopship HMS Otranto sunk off Islay's west coast, merely half a mile from the coast near Machir Bay. In this terrible tragedy almost 400 soldiers lost their lives. Today, on the 6th of October 2018, a Commemoration Service, led by Reverend Valerie Watson, was held at Kilchoman Military Cemetery to honor those who lost their lives, the survivors and the folk on Islay who treated the men with dignity and respect.

The walk up to Kilchoman Military Cemetery

For those who don't know the story of the Otranto, below is a recap from our Islay Shipwrecks Page written by Peter Moir and Ian Crawford, who both dived the shipwreck of the Otranto. Read more...

Islay from a Different Angle

Robin Smith, a one time resident of Islay, and frequent visitor since, sent me an email a few weeks ago with a link to a very nice video. Robin writes that despite the weather not being the greatest he did manage to fly his drone to take some very nice shots of Bowmore, Gartbreck, Bridgend, Nerabus, Kilchiaran, The Big Strand, Port Charlotte, Kilchoman and last but not lease some great views of the Cultoon Stone Circle. I'm sure you'll enjoy this one.

Tag: video drone

Islay Book Festival 2018

The Islay Book Festival is gearing up for its most ambitious edition yet with events across the island from Thursday to Sunday (27-30 September). Top crime writer Lin Anderson and acclaimed author Bernard MacLaverty, a former Islay High English teacher, are among the big names headed for the four-day literary fest that has become an established part of the island's cultural and events calendar.

Local children's author Mary McGregor and Lynn MacDonald, editor of the Islay Gaelic Songbook, are also on a programme that ranges from sea-themed storytelling in An-Tigh Seinnse pub in Portnahaven on Thursday night to a "Get-it-written" poetry workshop with Chrys Salt at Islay House on Sunday morning.

Kids highlights include an appearance by Alan Dapre's much-loved Porridge the Tartan Cat at the Gaelic college, detective fun and games at the Museum of Islay Life with "Museum Mystery Squad" writer Mike Nicholson and Mary McGregor reading stories at Gruinart RSPB on Sunday afternoon. Read more....

Machrie Hotel Islay in Soft Opening Phase

Fantastic! That's for me the best word to describe the rebuilt Machrie Hotel. After having visited the place several times during the reconstruction phase I have become quite impressed with the way it has been rebuilt. The beautiful front, in which you still recognise the original Machrie Hotel, almost hides the fact that this is a very large hotel. The true scale of the Machrie Hotel can be properly appreciated if you walk around the hotel to the modern looking south-side of the hotel, the part which is a few metres away from the Golf Course. This side of the hotel has the very large windows which let in the stunning light from the south-west and opens up amazing views over the stunning golf course and Laggan Bay.

The interior is just as beautiful as the exterior. Because of the many windows the light is beautiful and the views from many rooms and lounges are great. Combine that with modern furniture, Scandinavian style according to their website, and a beautiful palette of warm colours and you immediately feel well. The Machrie offers Classic rooms, Deluxe rooms, Executive rooms and several special rooms and suites. Prices start from around £145 per night in winter to £235 in summer for a classic room with breakfast. Continue reading...

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