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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Beautiful Christmas Lights in Port Ellen Islay

With the shortest day of the year tomorrow, Sunday the 21st of December, the Christmas Lights on the island are lit rather early. We were on the Oa this afternoon and when we returned to Port Ellen the evening sky was coloured red while the beautiful Christmas lights were on in the village, it provided for a beautiful atmosphere. The Ileach wrote today: "South Islay Development would like to say a very big thank you to businesses in the south of Islay who contributed to making the Crescent in Port Ellen look all sparkly and pretty for the Christmas holidays. The lamp-post lights are a great adornment to the village, and will make many a wise man smile." I'm not sure if I'm a wise man but the beautiful lights turned a smile on mine and my daughters face. Below are a few views of the nice Christmas atmosphere in Port Ellen this afternoon.

Frederick Crescent Port Ellen with Christmas Tree and Lamp-post Lights

Christmas tree with a nice backdrop

Christmas Lights on St Johns Church

Merry Christmas from Port Ellen Maltings/Diageo

Lamp-post lights at the village store

Tag: christmas holidays port ellen

New Islay Goose Management Strategy Announced

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) announced today a new strategy to gradually reduce the number of Barnacle Geese on Islay and at the same time to to increase the number of White Fronted Geese. Their press release: "The strategy will reduce crop damage by an estimated 25% to 35% by decreasing the number of barnacle geese, improving habitat for rare Greenland white-fronted geese, and helping farmers manage their land more effectively. It will support large numbers of barnacle and white-fronted geese on the island, as well as help local farmers whose land and crops are affected by the geese.

The island’s habitats are vital for Greenland barnacle and Greenland white-fronted geese, which are protected under European law. The barnacle goose population has grown from about 20,000 in 1987 to an average of over 41,000 in recent years. Farmers across the island have received funding to partially compensate for economic losses since 1992. Local and national organisations, including the Islay Goose Management Group, Islay NFUS, local staff from Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections office in Oban and SNH on Islay, have worked together on the new approach. More than 70% of the island will remain as undisturbed feeding areas for geese. This will include large areas of grassland on individual farms, RSPB reserves, rough grazing, dune grasslands, saltmarsh and roost areas. Continue reading...

The Foreland Brick and Tile Works Islay

I remember years ago seeing a stone circle like structure behind Foreland House from the hill on the Kilchoman Road. Later on I found out it were the ruins of the former Foreland Brick and Tile Works, which was back in its days, we are talking about the years around the 1840s, a big industry on Islay. They produced drain tiles which were important for the agriculture on the island, the tenant farmers needed the tiles to properly drain their fields. So the structure I mistakenly thought was a stone circle, was in fact a drying shed of about 30 metres long divided into ten separate bays, hence the ten pillars on each side. Next to the drying shed, in a separate building, was the engine house and in it the cast-iron clay-mixing machine, still in place today. Next to the engine house are the ruins of the former kiln. Below are a few pictures of our visit on a cold and grey December afternoon. Please check with the estate when you venture out yourself if access is permitted, there might be shooting or stalking taking place.

Ruins of the Foreland Brick and Tile Works

The cast-iron clay-mixing machine with a tree growing inside!

Tag: history foreland estate

Snow on the Hills of Islay

The aftermath of the "Weather Bomb" brought more colder air to Scotland and with it the first snow on Islay's hills of this winter season. This morning I headed out to one of my favourite viewpoints on the island, on the High Road behind Bowmore, and took the image below. You'll see the first dusting of snow on the higher hills of Islay, captured while the sun was throwing it's last golden rays of light on the hills before another series of showers passed, which resulted in a rather wet and cold day on Islay.

Wintry Islay Landscape with snow on the hills

Tag: winter landscape snow

The Face in the Wave near Port Wemyss Islay

Little did I know yesterday when I was out taking pictures near Port Wemyss that I was about to make one of my most remarkable pictures ever. The waves around Portnahaven and Port Wemyss were incredible yesterday due to the "Big Storm", also referred to as "Weather Bomb". When I had parked the car in Port Wemyss at the beginning of the path along the shore I waited for the sun to come through, and when it did I witnessed a beautiful spectacle. Huge waves crashed very nearby on the rocks and further out at Rhinns Point. One of the pictures turned out to be the "special one". When I came home and went through the images there was one standing out, it had a face inside a huge wave. After posting it on Facebook and Twitter there were quite a few people responding as well as Sky Television and a national news agency. This morning I found out that the picture is all over the news. So far I have seen an article in the Daily News, The Telegraph, in an Australian news site, The Express and a few others. I guess those were my fifteen minutes of fame but most of all I'm thrilled that it's fantastic publicity for Islay and Port Wemyss.

The Face in the Waves - Ebenezer Scrooge? Voldemort? Neptune? The Man of the Sea?

Skerryvore to give Two Concerts on Islay

On Saturday the 20th of December Skerryvore will give two concerts in Bowmore, a family concert where children with parents can come and watch the band, and a concert later in the evening. Skerryvore, the popular Scottish band, first formed on the tiny lsle of Tiree off Scotland's west coast in 2005. The band then consisted of Tiree-born brothers Daniel and Martin Gillespie who bonded with holidaymaker Fraser West and friend Alec Dalglish over a shared love of music: everything from traditional to rock and jazz. It was this mix of musical styles and sounds that set the path for the band's 2005 debut album, 'West Coast Life.’ The more the fledgling band experimented with fusing together this mix of musical styles, the more their signature sound evolved, aided by the arrival of Barry Caulfield and Craig Espie in time for their second album, 'On The Road', in 2007.

But it was with the release of self-titled third album, 'Skerryvore', that the band found themselves catapulted into the musical limelight winning a string of prestigious awards, including SNMA Record of the Year 2011 and STMA Live Act of the Year 2011, and garnering much critical acclaim: "Skerryvore are the most promising young band in Scotland today'' according to Mick MacNeil from the Simple Minds. Continue reading....

Islay Ferry Disruptions This Week

Due to the forecasted very windy weather for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday it looks like there will be quite a few ferry cancellations. Already today the morning and evening ferries diverted to Port Askaig and also the 07:00hrs sailing from Islay tomorrow, Tuesday 9th of December, will operate from Port Askaig and not Port Ellen as timetabled. And if I read it correctly this could very well be the last ferry sailing for the next few days. Judging from the wind forecasts it looks like the wind will ease not earlier than Thursday afternoon.

Earlier today Calmac sent out the following information: "Due to the impending adverse weather forecast of SSW winds up to 50 knots the 07:00hrs sailing from Kennacraig & the 09:45hrs sailing from Islay tomorrow (Tuesday 9 December 2014) have been cancelled. A review will be made at 09:00hrs tomorrow morning (Tuesday 9 December 2014) with regards to the remainder of the days sailings but it is looking highly unlikely that there will be any sailings carried out at all due to the impending adverse forecast for the next couple of days."

To keep an eye out on the latest updates please visit the Calmac service status page

Tag: travel ferry calmac

Storms on Atlantic bring Winter and Huge Swell to Islay

Brian Palmer always tells me that winter on Islay starts after the Islay show in August. This year however this is not really the case. The autumn has seen some very nice weather all the way up to early December. It's only since a few days that the weather patterns are drastically changing and already yesterday and today saw squally hail showers leaving some white patches of hail here and there. In the meanwhile there is a huge winter storm brewing on the Atlantic which will bring us high winds, rain, snow, hail and a huge Atlantic swell with waves well over 40 to 45 Feet.

The latter, the swell, can be beautifully followed via the Magic Seaweed website. Their website brings surf reports and surf forecasts for the surfers around the globe. They also bring animations of the projected swell for the entire globe and already they are referring to this weeks weather and ocean events as Black Wednesday Swell for North Atlantic. A quote from their website: "The North Atlantic is developing its first winter super storm. A rapidly deepening low pressure system is forecast to bottom out at 930 millibars and impact Northern Europe in the middle of next week " The surf height for Machir Bay on Islay during the storm is forecasted at 41ft with a peak around 3pm on Wednesday.

The Met Office has already issued a weather warning: "Severe gales may affect much of North Wales, Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Wednesday and at first on Thursday with a risk of storm force winds for parts of Western and Northern Scotland. In addition to winds, waves will be unusually high, bringing the risk of overtopping waves, particularly over western Scotland." Happy wave watching!

Patches of white after a hail shower on the beach at Kintra this morning

Tag: winter weather storm swell


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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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