Welcome to Islay Weblog

Islay Weblog Brings News and Events from Islay

Welcome to Islay Weblog

Islay Weblog Brings News and Events from Islay

Welcome to Islay Weblog

Islay Weblog Brings News and Events from Islay

Loch Gruinart

Loch Gruinart

Kildalton Cross

Kildalton Cross

Islay Cloud Formations

Islay Cloud Formations

Atlantic Sunset

Beautiful Sunsets on Islay Westcoast

Port Charlotte

On the Rhinns of Islay

Loch Indaal

Loch Indaal

Atlantic West Coast

Sanaigmore Bay Saligo Bay

Jura

Isle of Jura

Islay Whisky Distilleries

Islay is famous for it's malt whisky



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Islay Skerries SAC - A Must do Trip on Islay

If there's one thing I could recommend visitors and locals to do on Islay, it would be a visit to the "south-east Islay Skerries marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC)". This is without a doubt one of the most stunning areas Islay has to offer. It's not a place you can easily walk to as this conservation area can be found off Islay's south-east coast. The area has been given its special status for the common seal colony and encompasses the offshore islands, skerries and the mainland coastline between Lagavulin Bay and Ardmore Point. A recent count by SNH revealed that the current population consists of well over 650 common seals. They are representing about 2% of the UK population and 1% of the EU population.

The best way to enjoy this stunning part of the island is by boat. Gus Newman, who runs Islay Sea Adventures from Port Ellen, is the man to talk to when you're interested in doing such a trip. Gus offers various trips in different types of boats. Last year we had the pleasure to visit this area in his large boat and yesterday we had an even more thrilling ride in his new RIB, a seven seater powered by a 225HP engine. Gus took us around the entire conservation area all the way up to u-boat bay where German submarines were occasionally hiding during the first world war. Continue reading....

Islay Museum Presentation in the Laddie Shop

The Bruichladdich Blog published a story this afternoon about an upcoming presentation on behalf of the Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte. The presentation will be given by archaeologist Steve Mithen. Also attending the presentation will be Dr. Karen Wicks from the University of Reading who is field director of the Inner Hebrides Mesolithic Project and the East Islay Mesolithic Project. For those interested, we have a huge amount of information and a video, published by Steve Mithen and Karen Wicks, on the Islay Info website www.islayinfo.com/east-islay-mesolithic-project.html

Museum chair Malcolm Ogilvie says: "We are delighted to announce that Steven, who is Professor of Early Prehistory, will be giving a talk entitled “Ice Age Hunters and Neolithic Tomb Builders on Islay” at 7.30 pm on Thursday 27th August 2015. Steven is a familiar visitor to Islay having carried out his first archaeological excavation here in 1988, followed by several return visits during which he has excavated sites on the Rinns and, more recently, in the north-east of the island. The latest of these, in 2013 at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, on the coast south of Port Askaig, revealed evidence of 12,000-year-old ice age activity, 3,000 years older than any previous discovery on Islay, as well as older than other Mesolithic sites in Scotland. This year Steven is bringing a team to investigate the Neolithic burial cairn on Beinn Tart a’Mhill, known as the 'Giant's Grave', where he will be looking for evidence of transitional links to the earlier Mesolithic period. These two Islay excavations, form the subject of his talk."

The presentation will take place on Thursday 27th August 2015 at 7.30 pm in the Laddie Shop. Donations in support of the Museum of Islay Life gratefully accepted.

Ballygrant Inn Whisky Bar of the Year

At the Annual DRAM Magazine Awards Dinner, which was held in the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow on Tuesday 11 August, Ballygrant Inn & Restaurant picked up the top prize for Whisky Bar Of The Year. The Dram Magazine, Scottish Bar & Pub Awards, now in their 20th year, aims to reward and promote excellence in the Licensed Trade and is a keenly contested annual event among Bars, Pubs, Hotels and Clubs, in fact all kinds of Licensed premises.

There were almost 20 categories and awards contested this year, including Gastro Pub Of The Year, Dog Friendly Pub Of The Year, Community Pub Of The Year, Cocktail Bar Of The Year. In the Whisky Bar Of The Year category, Ballygrant Inn & Restaurant from Islay was one of four finalists, the others being, Ardsheil Hotel, Campbeltown; The Pot Still, Glasdgow and The Curly Coo, Stirling.

In a change to the normal format, customers and suppliers were also invited to nominate their favourite Bar or Pub for an award and over 4,000 nominations were received by DRAM magazine. The judging process involved sifting through the entries in each category and then following this up with judging visits and mystery shoppers making calls on the finalists. Continue reading...

Killinallan Point Islay Panorama

Summer has finally arrived on Islay, The spell of beautiful weather started on Thursday at the Islay show and it looks like it's going to continue for a couple days more. Fingers crossed! Making the best of the great weather we headed for Killinallan Point today. A lovely walk of around 5km and such a joy when the sun is out. The flowers in the dunes were amazing and quite a few "crying" seals were basking on a sandbank. And as so often we were all alone and only when we returned to the car we saw some more people.

The picture below is a preview of a large panorama which stretches from Loch Gruinart on the left, Killinallan Point and Ardnave in the centre, Colonsay right from the centre and all the way to Gortantaoid on the right. The full panorama picture can be seen by clicking on the preview below.


Loch Gruinart - Killinallan Point and Dunes, Ardnave and Colonsay to Gortantaoid

Tag: killinallan point islay panorama

Whisky Course on Islay

Whisky course Islay is a certificated course created and developed by Islay local, Rachel MacNeill of Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) and Professor Paul Hughes formerly of Heriot-Watt University, and in association with Kilchoman, Laphroaig, Bowmore, and provisionally Bruichladdich and Ardbeg Distilleries. Professor Hughes is also co-author, with Ian Buxton, of the hugely informative book "The Science and Commerce of Whisky". Rachel attended scotch whisky production, perception & marketing in 2013 at the International Centre of Brewing & Distilling at Heriot-Watt University. The course was taught by Professor Hughes. Rachel said, "It was a wonderful course. Full on technical details presented in a very accessible way. I drank it all in ~ no pun intended...!! I asked Prof Hughes if he would agree to teach a similar course on Islay and he readily agreed.

We want to focus on promoting Islay malts education. Consumers are very aware, nowadays, of what they are drinking. They want to know where it comes from; are interested in how it is made. The discerning consumer has many questions. We intend to answer them with Whisky Course Islay! We believe the way to interact with the new (and old!) whisky drinker is to offer unique experiences and build on their awareness of whisky and whisky making. Continue reading....

Home Sweet Home on Islay

Although the rain is falling down at the moment of writing we are very happy to be back home on Islay after our time off this summer to see family and friends. We've been away for more than six weeks which explains the lack of posts on the Islay Blog. Yesterday was our second full day on the island and we went for several walks, from Port Charlotte to Nerabus, and in the afternoon we've visited Kilchoman beach while the sun was out, it was amazing! What struck me most upon my return was the large number, and variety, of wild flowers along the roadsides. Below some images of yesterdays walks as a start to another year of blogging, the 10th year to be precise.


The beach at Kilchoman in the sunshine


Wild flowers at the roadside


Wild flowers at the roadside

Tag: flowers kilchoman

Whisky and Cheese Evening at Old School Islay

The Rare Malt Whisky Company is heading over to Islay once again! We hosted two successful evenings during Feis Ile 2015 and we are returning to reopen the doors of The Old Portnahaven School once more. Join us on the 31st of July for an evening of Islay Malt Whisky and fine Scottish cheese. 5 Single Malt whiskies, including one Single Cask, will be paired with a range of Scottish cheese from our local cheesemonger, George Mewes. www.georgemewescheese.co.uk

On the evening of Friday 31st you will be welcomed into the recently restored Portnahaven School: you will then be invited to sample and savour some of Scotland’s best produce in one of the original school classrooms. Each pairing of whisky and cheese will be introduced and explained. The evening will commence at 7pm and finish around 9pm once everyone is suitably merry!

Tickets are £30 per person, if you wish to join us please call 01360 550 482 to book or email lesley@theraremaltwhiskycompany.com.

Tag: whisky cheese portnahaven

Of Famous Folk on Islay, Ferry Strikes and Bruichladdich

We are away on the continent at the moment, missing Islay dearly, so blogging is somewhat slower than you're perhaps used to. That however doesn't mean we can't post any updates. In fact there is quite a lot happening on and around Islay so here is some of the main island news:


Calmac Ferry and the 163mtr Eclipse yacht - picture courtesy of Moira McGillivray

Ferries
When Calmac staff went on strike end of June over job security and pensions due to the current ferry tender, there were severe disruptions on the Islay Service which had drastic implications for locals and tourists. For a period of four days there were cancellations and on one day, Friday the 24th, there were no ferries at all. Despite more talks, the union (RMT) has announced even more industrial action. On 10 July a full day of strike action is planned which is likely to cause SEVERE disruption. More info here. If you are travelling that day make sure to get in touch with Calmac to reschedule your journey! In the meanwhile talks have taken place and according to the union they were "productive".

update 9th July: Ferry strikes are called off - read more

Famous folk visit Islay
I'm terrible with celebrities but when pictures appeared on Facebook with a giant yacht outside Port Ellen combined with a story about a Russian owner of a football club, the puzzle was complete for me. Even more so when several media reported that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, someone with a bit more money than most of us (together), likes to visit the Scottish islands, including Islay. The man took his helicopter to fly from his 163mtr yacht to the Isle of Arran where he walked his dog, go figure! Must be nice to move around the islands in such glamorous style, I'll stick to good old Calmac, if they don't strike. continue reading....

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