A Gateway to the Unique Cruising Grounds of the Western Isles. This is the slogan on the new website from Port Ellen Marina. The website gives information about the facilities, directions for sailing from the Port Ellen bouy, the dockage rates and contact information. Furthermore the website offers a photo gallery with pictures from Islay.
The new website can be visited by clicking here
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On sunday the 20th of august, I was lucky enough to accompany a group of 10 friends from Ireland on their return voyage from Islay. They arrived on the Friday afternoon for a mini adventure on Islay and Jura, and in that time managed with the help of Fionas taxi bus to tour two distilleries, sample food&drink, and the sun shone on que for their weekend.
Their journey started from Ballycastle in county Antrim in Northern Ireland in an eleven meter rib owned and run by two Islay men, father and son team Nicol and Donnie McKinnon. The boat, a storm force eleven, built this year 2006 in Cushendall, Ireland by Redbay boats called ‘’Shannick of Islay’’ so called after Nicols daughter Shannon and son Nick. The vessel can comfortably seat 12 passengers and 3 crew under its canopy. After a while you could easily be forgiven for thinking you are sitting on a jet plane and not a boat. The twin Yamaha 422 diesel 6 cylinder engine power plants, purr along smoothly, combining over 500 horse power, and can sit at over 40 knots if required.
My friends journey was all of 45minutes to travel 27 norticle miles from Ballycastle to PortEllen in the south end of islay, the berthing point for the boat, in the new highly successful pontoon development which seems to grow every year.
For anyone who is unsure of traveling by sea, I can assure you that this vessel is smooth, and handles very well. The return trip for my friends was my first trip on Shannick of Islay, the boat is very well equipped and bristelling with the latest high tech electronics and saftey equipment.
There are a number of different routes on offer from, Iona, Mull, Tiree, Colonsay, Oransay, the Famous Corrie Vrechcan whirl pool at the north end of Jura not to mention the many destinations around Ireland even the Isle of man. Or if you want a distillery tour by sea or just to look at the wildlife then this is an excellent boat for the job. Various routes are on offer and all information and booking details can be found at Islay Sea Safari
The one thing that was pointed out to me by the returning group, was that a short break in Islay would not really have been possible, by ferry or aeroplane in the short time they had, and for such a good price.
Many thanks to Donnie, I enjoyed my cup of coffee and jam scone in Ballycastle.
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In part one of Islay's Lost Distilleries was an article about the Lochindaal Distillery in Port Charlotte
Part two will give more info about the Ardmore Distillery, also known as the Lagavulin2 distillery which was established in 1817
Little is known of the Ardmore Distillery which shared the sheltered bay at Lagavulin with the Lagavulin Distillery. It was established in 1817 by Archibald Campbell, although when the name Ardmore was adopted is uncertain. It opened as a 92-gallon, single wash distillery, but within a year was operating under double distillation with the addition of a 30-gallon low wines still. By 1825 it was being operated by John Johnston of Lagavulin who ran both distilleries simultaneously often using the names Lagavulin 1 and Lagavulin 2. Johnston died in 1836 and in 1837 a valuation carried out shows the two distilleries as having operated during John Johnston's tenancy. The Still House (No 2), Tun Room and Malt Barn No 4 were all listed as belongings to the Laird Walter Frederick Campbell, as Ardmore Distillery. Alexander Graham, a Glasgow distiller-merchant and owner of Islay Cellar that supplied Islay Malts in Glasgow and to whom Johnston was indebted, acquired the distillery for the sum of a little more than 1100 pounds. Lagavulin and Ardmore were immediately merged and together form the site of much of the present-day Lagavulin site.
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Over the past three months the Islay lifeboat has been particularly busy with the Port Askaig-based craft responding to 10 rescue operations. These services included searching for wreckage reported off Rathlin Island in mid-June, followed shortly by towing the yacht ‘Fumerole’ to safe anchorage at Caol Ila after she lost power in Loch Tarbert at Jura.
When the yacht ‘Yuhoigo’ was reported aground at Jura’s Tarbert Bay on July 5th the lifeboat again raced to the scene but stood down when the yacht managed to refloat without damage.
On the 24th July, the yacht ‘Verona’ suffered engine failure in the Gulf of Corryvreckan and the lifeboat towed the stricken vessel to safe moorings at Crinan. Next day the RIB ‘Mor Gorm’ was towed to safety at Castle Sween following gearbox failure at the MacCormick Isles.
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