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Summer Highlights and Other Islay Stuff

A little over seven weeks ago we boarded the ferry at Port Askaig for a long trip to see family and friends. Living on a remote island such as Islay is fabulous but having older family abroad requires longer trips away to spend very necessary time with them. Last Monday night we arrived home on the evening ferry and we were welcomed with a magical sunset.

Over the course of almost two months I didn't blog about Islay and now that we're back it's catching up time. Quite a few interesting things have happened during that time and I will cover most of them in this post:

Islay Rum Distillery

Ben Inglis from Islay is starting his own craft rum distillery at Glenegedale. If all goes to plan, the High Road Rum Company as it is called could become the first rum distillery on Scotland’s West Coast. Ben also hopes to make the distillery an extra attraction to visitors to the island, by showing how rum is made. ‘We want to show people the whole process,’ he said. ‘It will all be done by hand. Scotland has such a reputation with spirits, and that needs to be upheld. There are no half measures. It has to be done the right way: take the high road.

‘It just wouldn’t be right to buy in our spirit and pass it off as Islay rum,’ Ben explained. ‘I have made it my mission to take the time and effort to research traditional means of fermentation, distillation and maturation of rum so I know every detail. This doesn’t mean everything will be traditional – after all we are talking about rum on the whisky isle.’ Continue reading...

Local paramedic to kayak round Islay

Local paramedic Joe Hughes is to kayak round Islay’s coast to raise money to increase Islay’s supply of defibrillators.

To raise the necessary funds Joe will undertake a circumnavigation of Islay in his kayak on Saturday 8 July 2017. This will be a distance of around 135km and take in the region of 25-30 hours. He will be supported throughout the trip by friends and colleagues in the emergency services along with members of Islay Kayak club. This is an extreme event which will see Joe battle stresses and strains along with mental and physical fatigue.

Joe is a keen Kayaker, having started when he was eighteen years old. He has paddled to St Kilda and around Skye during the past eight years so can consider himself an experienced kayaker. His circumnavigation of Islay will, however, be a first. 'It’s certainly a challenge,' Joe said. 'I’ve never paddled that distance before.' His training for the challenge has involved a number of 40 kilometre paddles. He has gone from Port Ellen to Port Askaig and also from Port Askaig to Bowmore. Joe thinks that June is the best month to attempt the challenge, the days being very long. He is timing things so that he will paddle the west coast during the hours of daylight. Continue reading...

Made in Islay and Jura Craft Markets

The aim of the Made in Islay and Jura group is to support local artists and crafts people to display and sell their work. Bruichladdich Village Hall supports the group by providing the venue twice a week on Tuesday & Thursday from 10.30 - 4.30 and the resident artists and craftspeople welcome you to visit them there.

Islay photographer James Deane says " Made in Islay & Jura Craft Markets provides an opportunity to exhibit and sell work and is also a great way to meet visitors to the Island, we have the chance to talk and exchange ideas and visitors find out what its like to live and work here." Local resident Linda says " It's lovely to come into such a welcoming place, I can get a gift here which I can't get any where else."

This year the Craft Markets will be held throughout the tourist season until the middle of October. So if you're looking for a nice gift make sure to visit the markets on Tuesday and Thursday in Bruichladdich Hall. You can find these and other events listed in our Islay Events Calendar


Islay & Jura Craft Market in Bruichladdich Hall

Tag: craft market made on islay

The Music of Fraser Shaw – Islay CD Launch Party

Fraser Shaw, originally from Glasgow, lived on Islay where he worked in the Port Charlotte Hotel. He was a great musician but very sadly passed away in May 2015 after battling with MS. He is still missed by many from near and far. Later in that same year the Fraser Shaw Trust was set up by family and friends. Their website states: "The foremost aim of the Fraser Shaw Trust is to raise money for the relief of multiple sclerosis, particularly in Argyll, Scotland, through a series of projects and events celebrating the late Fraser Shaw and his music. Proceeds are also used for the advancement of education, arts and culture in Scotland, particularly on the Isle of Islay."

A few years before Fraser's passing, he had it in mind to release a book of his own compositions, the proceeds of which would go towards the MS Care Centre in Lochgilphead, Scotland. Unfortunately, due to his illness, this never came to fruition. Over the last year and a half, the Trust have been working hard to bring this idea to life and release Fraser's much anticipated tunebook, along with an album comprised of Fraser's music. In November 2015 a group of musicians gathered on Islay, to play a special memorial concert at Fraser's festival, The Islay Sessions, thus laying the groundwork for the album. In January 2016 at Celtic Connections this same group of musicians, “The Islay Sessioners” as they called themselves, performed this music as part of Islay Night, a concert that both celebrated the music and culture of Islay, and the tunes of Fraser Shaw. Continue reading...

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