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Catching up on April

We've been away for most of the month of April due to family circumstances and arrived home Sunday night on the Isle of Arran ferry, yes it is still sailing. It's great to be back on Islay and to see that spring is progressing, albeit rather slowly due to the low temperatures. April is always a great month to be on Islay, lambing is underway and everywhere you'll hear and see the wee woolly newcomers running around in the fields, and sometimes on the roads as well, so be carefull! Most of the winter visitors, such as the Barnacle Geese, have left the island and now is the time that more summer visitors, the tourists, find their way to Islay.

Woodland Planting Day

Dunlossit Estate’s Woodland Planting Day was quite a success. Over 50 volunteers braved the cold weather to plant 2000 trees commemorating the centenary of the First World War. The community planting day on Dunlossit Estate saw willow, rowan, alder, birch and other native trees going into the ground. Continue reading...

What is wrong with Islay?

The reason triggering my scribbles about some problems on Islay was an article I came across yesterday, which was spot on about some urgent issues on Islay. It's written by Lesley Riddoch and published in the online Scotsman. The title of the article is "Whisky leaves a bitter taste for Islay". So, what is wrong with Islay? Nothing I hear most of you say and on the surface, no not the road surface, all looks fine and dandy. But just as any place in the world Islay has its problems. The main problem Islay has is Infrastructure such as roads, ferries and broadband as well as housing. These problems cause anger and discontent amongst locals and sometimes also tourists, although the latter group only have to deal with them for a short period of time. The roads, most of them at least, are in a terrible state and need very urgent repairs. These roads were never built for the amount of heavy distillery lorries on Islay. Millions are needed but less and less money is spent on roads due to shrinking council budgets. A failing and crumbling infrastructure is a bad thing and has a huge impact on the economy and daily life of the islanders and its businesses.

Ferry Service

The ferry service is adequate at best, most of the times, and inadequate some of the times, like the single ferry service in the run up to Easter. It's adequate when there are 5 to 6 sailings a day but that's far from ideal. Why not have a sailing from Islay at 5am for early travellers and freight? And one from Kennacraig at 7 or 8 pm? That schedule gives you a day in Glasgow for a hospital appointment or shopping and more options to catch an early plane in Glasgow or an onwards connection elsewhere. With such a schedule it's also easy to include an extra sailing when demand rises in busy periods. Do the maths and you'll see that it works! Continue reading...

Video Currie Sands Beach Portnahaven Islay

A gorgeous spring day today on Islay so we've been on a lovely walk near Portnahaven. We always stop at the Currie Sands, a lovely sheltered sandy beach which we usually have to ourselves, although perhaps no longer after this post! On the westside of the beach is a beautiful viewpoint and next to it is a crevice in the rocks where the water forces itselves through, especially with a nice swell. Beware though as it can be dangerous here too!! I've made a video of this mornings visit, hope you like it :-)

New Islay Ferry on the Way

It's been relatively quiet on our Islay Blog about Calmac Ferries. That doesn't mean that everything is plain sailing on the Kennacraig to Islay route. Every now and then one of the older ferries, the Hebridean Isles or Isle of Arran, experience problems and in busier times there is often a lack of capacity. And with the construction of more whisky distilleries on Islay the capacity will be stretched even further as a lot of additional freight will have to use the Calmac Ferries. And we shouldn't forget to mention the ever increasing number of tourists with their cars and motorhomes who visit Islay during the tourist season. It's therefore fantastic news that there is hope for more capacity in the near future, as you can read from the following article which was published in the Ileach last week:.

The next major ferry to be built for CalMac has been allocated to the Islay-Kennacraig route. In addition, adapting both the new vessel and the Finlaggan by ten metres will be considered, should Port Askaig, Port Ellen and Kennacraig be developed to enable larger ferries. These are among the recommendations contained in the recently released Transport Scotland Vessel Replacement and Deployment Plan, which contained evidence that the Islay service was forecast to become the most “capacity constrained” of all the CalMac routes. Continue reading...

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