Review of the Islay Year 2012

I wrote a wee review of 2012 myself, that was in the last days of December. By that time I already had the Ileach review of 2012 in mind and here it is, just in case you missed out on any news in the last year. It's packed with many interesting snippets and published here on this blog with kind permission of the Ileach Newspaper. If you like to get updates from the Ileach throughout the year, either on paper or PDF, you might want to visit their subscription page. For now much pleasure with the 2012 review.

January will mostly be remembered for the wild start to the month, not only with New Year celebrations, but for the stormy days which arrived right after New Year, with hurricane-force winds causing extensive loss of electricity throughout the island. The storm-force winds brought extensive damage to some properties and many repairs were required all around the islands. The New Year also brought news of the imminent move for Bowmore Surgery up to Islay Hospital, and other large-scale moves included the deployment of the 1 megawatt (MW) Hammerfest StrÅ…m HS1000 device for trials in the seas off Orkney, the same design as will be used by ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) as part of the world's first tidal turbine array in the Sound of Islay. Moving rather less speedily has been a planned rollout of superfast broadband across the whole of the Highlands and Islands. As of last January it was 'progressing according to plan', said the region's development agency. Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which had posted an open tender invitation for a partner to co-invest in next generation broadband in June last year (2011, that is) and were negotiating with BT as the sole bidder. Many households and businesses in rural Islay are still waiting for improvement to their broadband services, or indeed to any access at all to 'phone line' broadband. Continue reading....

Another Islay Year by Ileach Editor Carl Reavey

It is a whole year ago since we were all asked to write to the Mactaggart Leisure Centre in support of a big grant application - the fruits of which we are now beginning to see. It was announced that ‘Finlaggan’ would be the name of our new ferry, despite the naughty Ileach registering ‘Isle of Islay’ and offering it to CMAL free of charge.... Bank managers were in short supply in Bowmore but there was plenty of support for the Beatson from the William Monaghan football boys. A farmers market appeared at Dunlossit and the usual loonies from Lagavulin Fundraisers jumped off the pier on Boxing Day to raise ever more cash. We were worried about potholes in our roads (little did we know) and we were admiring the enterprise of those living off grid and harvesting their own rainwater. The findings of the Shoreline Project Consultation were published and there was the first of a series of articles about the WW2 air crash at Blackrock. Bowmore was to be ‘regenerated’ with pontoons and ‘streetscaping’. George Robertson was writing to Alex Salmond about Port Ellen pier.

A mechanical failure aboard ‘Isle of Arran’ precipitated the first of a series of ‘heavy berthings’ of ferries but no-one was hurt even if quite a lot of machinery got bent. Islay High School won two Gaelic film awards, and young rugby player Scott Piper was to lead out the Scottish team against the Auld Enemy at Murrayfield. Tom and Kevin won their 4th Badminton championship and David Boyd proposed a radical solution to the problem of Islay freight traffic. Glenn Campbell won a top award for his TV journalism and Flora opened a new sweetie shop in Portnahaven. It was Feis Oigridh time again. The former CVS premises at Highfield were handed over to ACHA, Ashley, Kelly and Kelsey did their best to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake and if we thought we were having cold weather then… Continue reading....

Islay News Roundup September

Today the news roundup for the month of September with information and news snippets from Islay. I have had a very busy period in August and September with hardly any time to blog, let alone write lengthy news roundups. And in the meanwhile we are preparing to go to Scotland as well in a week. We will be staying in the far north-west of Scotland, Wester Ross & Sutherland, for a week and then we will come down to Islay and stay on the island from the 16th to the 23rd of October, we can't wait!! Today I finally had enough time for the roundup and the result is quite a lengthy edition, I hope you enjoy it.

For an overview of the news which I've already posted on the blog you can visit the blog's September overview. The weather is gradually changing and autumn is taking over from summer, or should I say winter is taking over from Summer! The change however was quite visible last month when high winds caused some ferry diversions. Autumn also means that the colours in nature are changing and it is a beautiful time of year on Islay. It probably won't be long before the first geese will arrive on Islay. The latest info from Loch Gruinart however is that the Baracle Geese haven't arrived yet. Judging from the weather patterns this will likely last another week or so. Right now the winds are south and will remain so well into next week. The Geese need notherly winds on their journey from Iceland and Greenland. Continue reading...

Islay News Roundup Second Half of August

Today the news roundup for the second half of August with information and news snippets from Islay. For an overview of the news which I've already posted on the blog you can visit the blog's August overview. Today a somewhat shorter version because I have just returned from holiday where I celebrated my birthday, hence the lovely surprise of my wife and daughter in this weeks Ileach.

Cycle parking in Bowmore by brian palmer Each successive year on Islay sees an increasing number of cyclists making the trip across the water for what is likely some of the finest cycling in the islands, given that the bumpy bits are mostly round the edges. And not unnaturally, with the island’s Tourist Information Centre and a number of eateries located in Bowmore, a good many of these bicycles end up leaning against a village wall or two. Surprisingly, because nobody remembers them being mentioned in the same breath as the ‘improvements’ currently underway in Morrison Court, two cycle ‘racks’ have appeared adjacent to the plethora of bollards now guarding the pavement outside Bowmore Hall. Why on earth they have been sited there is beyond us. In all the years the Ileach has been at the corner of Main Street and Jamieson Street, we have never seen any cyclists find the need to park at that particular point. Rumour has it that another six of these are to be sited around Main Street. As a cyclist, I do not wish to look a gift horse in the mouth, but might it not have been a good idea to consult with those who frequently use this form of pedal-powered transport as to what type of cycle rack would be useful, and where would be the best place to put them? As it is, the best that can be achieved is to lean a bicycle against one of these items. Sort of what we’ve used walls for all these years. Continue reading...