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


Isle of Jura

Islay Whisky Distilleries

Islay is famous for it's malt whisky

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The new Islay Image Gallery is Ready

The world of computers and internet has changed dramatically since the arrival of smartphones, tablets and with that a larger variety of browsers. In the "old days" a website either worked or didn't work and if it did you'd be ready for some time. Nowadays websites need to adapt their behaviour to the "client" being your device. This means that there will be a gradual change of designs on some of the Islay Info websites to make sure everyone will be able to get the best possible user experience. Recently I have completed the changeover of the Islay Gallery, the place where most of my Islay images are posted. In this case changing over brought some more advantages and new options. The layout has changed to a more modern and minimalistic style, the galleries can be viewed in all sorts of ways, I have chosen for the "grid view" which allows perfect visibility on all devices. Now to end the technical blabla, in my opinion there is no better way to promote Islay better than through the eyes of a camera so the new Islay Gallery has hundreds of stunning images in several different "grid style" galleries such as:

On top of all the beautiful galleries there is also a Photo Blog where special pictures will be introduced before they end up in one of the galleries. And as this is an ongoing project more and more pictures will be added on a regular basis so all the more reason to come back every now and then. The new site can be reached via the same url: www.islaygallery.com. I look forward to welcoming you there. Thanks for visiting.

Bruichladdich Peat Banks above Conisby Islay

It's been a very busy time here at the Islay Info residence in Port Charlotte. IT work and web design are keeping me very busy, which is of course a great thing. Some of the hard work has so far resulted in a new and modern looking Jura Info website and more very exciting stuff is on its way. In between work and a very annoying cold which doesn't seem to really go away, we do manage to go out from time to time and discover some parts of Islay we haven't been to before. This was for instance the case a few weeks back when we waited for a cracking frosty morning and walked up to the old peat banks of Bruichladdich Distillery, no longer in use, which you can find on the hills above Conisby. The walk is nothing more than one long climb on an almost straight path but the views all around are breathtaking, both during the walk up hill and even more so on the top as you can see from the pictures below.

A group of Red Deer with Loch Gruinart and Mull in the background

View to Lyrabus

Continue to more images...

Iconic Bruichladdich Still on its way to Ireland

Quite a strange sight yesterday at Bruichladdich Distillery when I saw two copper stills loaded on a lorry with final destination Ireland, to Mark Reyniers new distillery in Waterford to be precise. Mark Reynier is the former MD of Bruichladdich Distillery who has recently bought a brewery in Waterford in Ireland which will be turned into a whiskey distillery. Both stills that are now heading for Ireland had arrived on Islay back in 2005. They were part of the equipment Bruichladdich purchased when Inverleven Distillery in Dumbarton was being broken up. The second still was stored at the site of the future Port Charlotte Distillery. It is uncertain if the move of the two stills will have an effect on the plans of the new distillery in Port Charlotte. Whatever happens, the iconic copper still will be missed and as you can see from the picture below, the view has changed quite a bit.

The view of the distillery without the still and Duncan's boots

The copper stills on the lorry, almost ready for transport

Tag: bruichladdich

Islay Ferry Restaurants Awarded by VisitScotland

Caledonian MacBrayne has become the first ferry company to take Visit Scotland’s ‘Taste Our Best’ seal of approval to the high seas. Seven of the company’s on-board Mariners restaurants – including MVs Finlaggan and Hebridean Isles, the ferries which usually ply the Islay routes – have been awarded this accolade.

More than 50 per cent of the Mariners Menu is Scottish, offering the likes of Barra-landed Haddock, smoked salmon from Argyll Smokery in Dunoon, along with burgers sourced from meat from around Argyll and the famous CalMac’n’Cheese, made using cheddar from Lockerbie. And locally produced ales, lager and whiskies can also be found on board.

"We have worked hard to put together a menu which not only satisfies our hungry customers, but which is value for money and promotes good Scottish produce,” said Retail Operations Manager Kurt Hart. “Many of our suppliers are from the islands we serve – items like Stornoway black pudding, Islay ales, whisky and tablet, and Barra-landed haddock – putting us, once more, at the heart of these island communities; we are glad to both support these local businesses, as well as promote their goods to our customers.” Continue reading....

Improvements in Bowmore Main Street

Bowmore residents will be pleased to hear that a planning application has been submitted to create holiday letting units at the derelict building next to the village hall. The former Royal Arch Masonic Hall has been lying derelict for more than ten years and is in a state of disrepair. Local builders, McEachern Brothers have submitted proposals for alterations and an extension to the B listed building to give it a new lease of life.

In its time the Royal Arch building has been well used by the Bowmore community. Apart from its main function as a lodge for the Royal Arch it has seen many Mod adjudications carried out in its warren of small rooms. Islay’s very own community newspaper, the Ileach, had its first offices in the building. In 2008, the building having been empty for a number of years, an application to turn the Royal Arch into a nursery were approved but the plan was abandoned by the then owner who made other business arrangements.

article published with kind permission of the Ileach

Book Review The Caledonian Steam Packet Company

The recent spate of storms battering Islay's coasts and the subsequent disruption or cancellation of our ferry services, was perhaps a timely reminder of just how fragile an existence is experienced by the islands off Scotland's west coast. This relative isolation from the mainland (daily air service notwithstanding) can be considered either a plus or a negative depending on your point of view. Several days without ferries often means a lack of essentials such as bread, milk, newspapers (apparently) and no letters on the doormat. To an extent this underlines CalMac's definition as a lifeline service, even though the advent of Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) for visitors as well as residents may be seen as a slight undermining of that status.

But the islands and coastal ports of the Clyde are also served by this Scottish national ferry service, ultimately an amalgamation of several competing ferry groups over the past hundred or so years. One of these component parts is the Caledonian Steam Packet Company (CSPC), founded in 1889 and subsequently merged with the David MacBrayne fleet in 1973. This itself was an outgrowth of Caledonian Railways, a company keen to provide steamers to complement the trains serving its new terminal at Gourock and from Wemyss Bay.

The growth of the Caledonian Steam Packet Company eventually encompassed many Clyde ports that some may have nostalgic memories of visiting. Rothesay, Ayr, Ardrossan, Ardrishaig and Arrochar were all visited by a fleet of paddle steamers that had no need of 'fitting the pier' in the manner that MV Finlaggan didn't. For in those days, any cargo that might have been carried, including motor vehicles, were lifted aboard by crane or driven across two strategically placed planks of wood. Presumably devices such as 'linkspans' were either not thought of or unwarranted in those halcyon days of yore, when large crowds of passengers and would-be passengers could be seen thronging decks and piers. Continue reading....

Snowdrops in Bridgend Woods Islay

Despite the nightly frost, chilly northerly winds and the frequent snow and hail showers, one of the most beautiful signs of spring is displaying in between the majestic trees in the woods of Bridgend. The snowdrops are out again, in their thousands or millions, who knows. It's such a heartwarming view to see these fierce wee plants flowering so beautifully despite the gales, cold and hailstones. Below a few views taken this morning south of the community garden

Snowdrops in front of Islay House

Small groups of Snowdrops at the base of a tree

A white carpet in the woods at Bridgend

Tag: snowdrops bridgend islay house

Commemorating the WW1 Centenary on Islay and Jura

Stuart Graham explains why he was driven to write a book about the men of Islay an Jura who gave their lives in the First World War:

Why is it important to remember the men from Islay and Jura who fought in WW1?
Millions of men from all sides died fighting for what they believed to be a 'just cause'. Many millions more suffered appalling injuries and disfigurement. Others endured traumatic psychological effects e.g. shell shock some of which were officially acknowledged, a great many were not. The after-effects of the war lived on in damaged families across the world.

On an even wider scale the greater part of the turmoil and troubles of the present day can be firmly placed at the door of the First World War. The rise of Nazism and the Second World War; current problems in the Middle-East; the rise of the Soviet Union and the Cold War plus numerous other smaller conflicts all have their roots in the carnage and aftermath of the 'War to end all Wars'.

How many men from Islay and Jura were involved?
The Glasgow Islay Gathering held in February 1917 claimed that 'a thousand Islay men (were) at the war'. This from a population of 6287 (1911 Census) and a proportional number from Jura (population 570). To serve in the armed forces, men had to be at least 18 years old and no older than 38. Age limits did not apply to the many men from Islay and Jura who served in the Mercantile Marine. Scores of men who were officially in reserved occupations e.g. farming, fishing, transport, still enlisted, so many that emergency notices were issued, urging, for example, shepherds not to enlist and to remain with their flocks. Continue reading....


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The Maggie

Buy The Maggie from Amazon The Maggie is one of Ealing studios lesser known comedies. It is however a 'gem' in the true sense of the word. The film has everything, humour, tragedy, pathos, romance. A wily old skipper of a Western Isles 'Puffer' and his motley crew lead all who come into contact with them a fine old time!


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Ileach Newspaper

The Ileach is the inde-
newspaper for Islay and Jura and was rewarded community newspaper of the Year. The Ileach offers subscriptions worldwide, also as full colour PDF. For more information on subscriptions
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