Pastmap and Isle of Islay

Although it has been around for a couple of years a recent tweet alerted me, again, of the existence of Pastmap. PastMap is an interactive mapping service which offers a single point of entry into five major databases covering the built environment in Scotland and it covers almost every building and archaeological site on Islay as well. It is operated by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) in partnership with local government archaeological curators, and includes information from an increasing variety of other sources. It's a fantastic resource and is highly recommended if you're interested in the past of any place in Scotland.

PastMap allows you to look at a number of layers of information, each from a particular source, such as Listed Building information from Historic Environment Scotland. Each layer is shown in relation to an underlying Ordnance Survey map, and can be turned on or off; this allows you to explore heritage assets across Scotland. You can choose which data sets you wish to view and use the navigation tools to explore your area of interest.

Once you have identified something of interest - such as a standing stone, a castle or a designed landscape - you can use your mouse to explore them in more detail by hovering, clicking and also selecting specific map objects. Once you have made a selection, you can choose to create a more detailed report which you can then download as a table for offline analysis.

To use Pastmap simply visit, navigate to your area of interest, zoom in, activate the layers that interest you and start your discovery into the past. It's a real gem.

Tag: history pastmap

Important Islay Ferry Timetable Changes

Due to a technical issue with the MV Isle of Lewis, the MV Hebridean Isles has been redeployed elsewhere in the network to help out. As a result of this there are changes in the Islay Ferry timetable for the week ahead.

Please note that some ferries will divert to, or leave from Oban instead of Kennacraig. This means extra driving time depending on where you are travelling to or from.

Sunday 17 April

  • The 13:00 sailing from Port Askaig will operate to Oban, not Kennacraig as timetabled.
  • The 18:00 sailing from Kennacraig will divert to Port Askaig, not Port Ellen as timetabled.
  • There will be an additional 20:15 sailing from Port Askaig to Kennacraig. Continue reading...

Discover Islay Map on Islay Info

After the launch of the revamped Islay Info website there have been a few changes, some subtle and others more visible. During the conversion process I realised that a dedicated page for Kilchoman Cross and Church was actually missing on the website. So off we went a week ago to take a set of new pictures of the beautiful Kilchoman cross, the now ruined Kilchoman church and the Kilchoman military cemetery above Machir Bay. The result is a new informative page with a lot of pictures. To visit click on the following link: Kilchoman Cross and Church page

Another, and somewhat bigger change, is the Discover Islay Map. This map shows the entire island and has a lot of markers, each representing a page or a section on the Islay Info website. When you click on a marker an image and wee description appears together with a link to the respective page. It makes navigating the site easier and more fun. With this in mind I will also create new maps with businesses, activities and restaurants, just to name a few options. More changes will follow in the next month, we'll keep you updated through our blog. Click the map on the right to access the new map!

Port Ellen Closure Postponed

Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) regrets to announce that the repair work at Port Ellen Ferry Terminal has been postponed until Autumn 2016. The port's linkspan is being replaced and cylinders and pipework are being upgraded, and work was due to begin on Monday 18th April. Ferries will continue to operate from Port Ellen on the current timetable and will not be diverted to Port Askaig, as previously advised.

A technical problem was identified in the final stages of fabrication at the end of last week and the extent of works required to rectify it was only fully realised earlier this week. Although the linkspan will be ready by early May, the port’s owner, CMAL, after consultation with the operator, CalMac Ferries Ltd, has decided to wait until Autumn to undertake the work. This will avoid disruption during the upcoming Islay Festival of Music and Malt and the busy summer months. It also aligns with CalMac’s dry docking programme, where a single vessel service will be operating to Islay. CMAL will continue to monitor and inspect the existing linkspan, but do not envisage any issues with its continued use.

Lorna Spencer, Director of Harbours at CMAL said: “We apologise for any disruption to travel plans that have been made by customers due to this unavoidable delay and we will advise the specific dates for the revised three week closure as soon possible.” Passengers can find out further information on the current service by calling 0800 066 5000.

Tag: travel calmac port ellen