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Changes, Spring on Islay and a Warning

It's the end of February, the days are getting longer, and every now and then there's already a touch of spring in the air. Isn't it lovely after the wet winter! It's a relatively quiet time of the year on Islay with the tourism season to start officially early April. The last few days brought us glorious weather so I took some time for a walk in the woods at Bridgend to admire the Snowdrops. I've done this several times over the last years and it looks as if there were more of these pretty flowers this year than in other years. Of course I took my camera and you can see the results in this post. Speaking of weather. Although we had some lovely sunny days this week it looks like winter has yet to start properly. According to Netweather the "Beast from the East" will bring chilly winds, frost and perhaps snow too, even on Islay!

Website Updates

As far as changes are concerned there are a few things of interest. Recently we've upgraded some of our sites and changed the web address as well. The Islay Blog you are reading right now has changed address and can now be found on https://www.islay.blog which is easier to remember and now secure (SSL) too. Also our Accommodation Directory has a fresh new look and a new secure address: https://www.accommodation-islay.info/. Soon the Islay Info website will be secured as well which means that your information, if entered anywhere on our websites, will be encrypted and secure. Continue reading...

Fourteen Whisky Distilleries on Islay

I was updating the Islay Whisky Distilleries Page on Islay Info today with an updated map, new photos and updated texts. While I was creating the map I made an overview of the eight active distilleries. I also included the four planned distilleries being Ardnahoe Distillery, Port Ellen Distillery, Gartbreck Distillery and Port Charlotte Distillery. The status of some is somewhat uncertain at the moment.

From Ardnahoe we know that they will probably start producing whisky this year and Port Ellen is planned for 2020.

Gartbreck Distillery is uncertain, there was a dispute about land, but that seems to be resolved now. It is not known to me if construction of the distillery is still on the horizon. Fingers crossed though as the location is quite amazing.

And there is Port Charlotte Distillery. From the four planned distilleries this seems to be the least probable one to come to fruition. But one never knows.... Continue reading....

Major plans unveiled for Bunnahabhain Islay

Bunnahabhain Distillery on Islay is in line for a multi-million pound make-over after plans were lodged with Argyll and Bute Council’s Planning Department. If approved the plans would see the Distillery change dramatically, offering improvements logistically, from a production perspective, and also a much enhanced visitor experience.

Removal of Old Warehouses

Part of the proposed plans see the removal a number of the existing old warehouses, the filling store and the current shop which is located in the building beside the pier. Also destined for removal are the old village hall and the run down houses which once provided homes for the distillery workers. The cottages on Shore Road are planned to be refurbished with a view to bringing them back as holiday lets. The newfound space which will be freed up will enable the articulated lorries which deliver barley and remove spirit, casks and draff, to gain access from the the top end of the distillery and avoid the route they currently must take around the tight bend and down into the heart of the distillery. Continue reading....

WW100 Islay Centennial Service at American Monument

On this day, 100 years ago, the SS Tuscania was torpedoed on a bitterly cold February evening in 1918. On board were 2,235 soldiers consisting of companies 'D', 'E' and 'F' of the 6th Battalion, members of the 32nd Division, the 100th, 158th and 203rd Aero Squadrons and a British crew. Over 200 soldiers and crew lost their lives in this terrible tragedy which was not the only one as in October that same year the Otranto sunk in Machir Bay on Islay's west coast.

This morning at 11am many folk attended the Centennial Service of Remembrance for the loss of the SS Tuscania. The service was held at the American Monument on The Oa and was conducted by the island’s two ministers, Valerie Watson and Jim McNulty. The two minute silence at the American Monument was quite impressive with the rather strong wind swirling around the tower being the only sound to be heard. This was followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the foot of the monument. Continue reading....

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