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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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

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....

Cycling Islay's Eight Distilleries

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, present at the Islay House open day this year during the Islay Festival, have released a short film titled ‘The Homecoming’. The film follows the journey of a special bottle of Society whisky as it returns to Islay where it was distilled in 1997. The whisky is taken by boat from the mainland to Islay where it's brought on land by Gus Newman. From there it's taken to Islay House where it was unveiled during the garden party. To mark the occasion four cyclists, one of them being our own Mr Cycling Brian Palmer, cycled over the island visiting each of the eight distilleries where they collected a stamp and earned a dram upon completion afterwards. A nice video with great music from Skerryvore! Enjoy!

direct link to video on youtube

Kilchoman Distillery to Purchase Rockside Farm

The rumours were there already for some time and now the Ileach has reported that Kilchoman Distillery has agreed to buy Rockside Farm on Islay from the current owners. Rockside Farm is the farm next to and surrounding the distillery grounds which provided the barley for the distillery. After more than 30 years on Islay, the current owners Mark and Rohaise French have decided to sell Rockside Farm in order to pursue new opportunities off the island, including spending more time with their four grown up children, who now all have families of their own. Earlier was announced that the Rockside Trekking Centre was to close its doors.

Mark French said, “It has been a wonderful privilege to live at Rockside, for the children to have grown up in this idyllic part of the world, and to have seen the distillery become the success it is today.” Anthony Wills, Managing Director of Kilchoman Distillery commented, “We have always been proud to produce whisky from barley to bottle and the purchase of Rockside Farm secures this vision for the future”. Rockside Farm will run as normal until the property changes hands at the end of November 2015.

Tag: kilchoman rockside farm

Loving the wild on Islay

There is so much on this summer at the Islay Natural History Trust, we are just bursting to share our love of Islay’s wonderful natural history with you all, come rain, shine, outside or inside!

Our Sunday rAmbles not only have been a great excuse for getting out in the fresh air for a few hours, but you get to see parts of Islay that you maybe won’t see otherwise. Our last walk from Bunnahabhain towards Staoisha through the forestry was very enjoyable with some lovely people. Amongst the many things pointed out to us along the way by our expert and walk-leader Fiona were four different types of orchid, as well as two insect-eating plants that help to make a dent in the midge population – that can only be good! We are very much looking forward to tomorrow’s walk at Killinallan, not least because there are 11 species of orchid now recorded in this small corner of Islay thanks to a new species discovered this month by some regular visitors (Mark and Sally). The Narrow-leaved Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza traunsteinerioides) is found in a handful of sites in west Scotland, including on the Isle of Mull and on Kintyre, so this new record for Islay bridges that gap. We cannot guarantee seeing all 11 species but there will be a delightful carpet of dune flowers of all shapes and colours to admire and hopefully in the sunshine a butterfly or two. Continue reading...

Ferry Tender Process and Possible Strikes

In September 2007 Calmac was rewarded the contract for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services, no surprise as they were the only bidder in a controversial ferry tender process. V-Ships and Western Ferries, the two other contenders, left the tender process at an earlier stage.

In the last eight years Calmac has provided the lifeline services for the islands and I think it's fair to say that they have done a fantastic job. The crew is always helpful and friendly and the ferries run usually exactly on time, far better than the planes do these days by the way.

Of course there were problems too. The ageing fleet, resulting in broken down ferries, has caused several disruptions, especially this year around easter. That, however, cannot be blamed on Calmac as CMAL and Transport Scotland are responsible for that part of the business. And not everyone is pleased with the fact that more and more services are cancelled or diverted based on wind forecasts and not so much the actual wind speed. I recall several days this winter where the wind seemed to be rather calm and yet the ferry service had been cancelled. On the other hand, the master must have had his reasons and who can really blame them for putting safety first? Continue reading...

INHT Walks and Islay Botanist Gin Botanicals

Fiona writes: Here at the Islay Natural History Centre we thought we should enhance our displays on the wonderful array of plants Islay is host to. With many of these contributing to Bruichladdich’s The Botanist Gin, it seemed fitting to provide a little more background to these 22 species. As well as their highly appreciated flavour benefits to this local tipple, our ancestors had a whole array of uses for these plants from medicines to clothes dyes. Thanks to Bruichladdich Distillery for doing a wonderful job of producing and printing it to stunning effect.

We now also have our microscopes all set up to see the finer detail of plants, their leaves, flowers and stems even down to their cellular structures. New creatures will have hopefully arrived before the end of term for our sea tanks, so there are so many reasons to come by for a visit. Continue reading....

Islay’s world premiere with SNJO and Eddi Reader

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra directed by Tommy Smith will present the world premiere of ‘Alba: Songs of Scotland’ featuring Eddi Reader at Port Ellen’s Ramsay Hall on Wednesday 10 June. The SNJO is celebrating its twentieth anniversary in style with Eddi Reader as their special guest as they tour Scotland’s island communities, Islay will be the first stop on the tour.

For two decades, Tommy Smith has led the SNJO and his efforts have placed Scotland on the world map of jazz. Eddi Reader has enthralled audiences worldwide carrying with her the spirit of modern Scotland. Together they’ve chosen a selection of popular airs, ballads and original music designed to fire the imagination. Alba would be incomplete without reference to Robert Burns. He was indisputably a love poet with few peers, and Eddi Reader is an admired interpreter of his work. Her performances with the SNJO are certain to capture the intensity of Burns’ lyrical ardour in famous pieces such as Ae Fond Kiss and John Anderson My Jo. Tickets online at www.snjo.co.uk or from Laurie’s in Port Ellen.

Tag: music


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