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Ann Vastano Exhibition in Gaelic Centre

Ann Vastano is a Scottish Highland Artist living and working in the Highlands, based in Aviemore, probably best known for her artworks which hang in the Scottish Parliament.

Originally born in Bowmore, her family have enjoyed regular return trips to Islay. Last year Ann decided she would really like to hold an exhibition of art works reflecting a re-engagement with the land and seascapes of the isle, and is delighted that the exhibition has now come to fruition.

It opened earlier this month at the Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle. Ann has created an island portfolio of her trademark colourful paintings with the key theme being incorporation of Islay Gaelic. She has also created an exclusive Islay Gaelic calendar – Mìosachan ìle 2108 which showcases the work of the exhibition – and is available to purchase at the Gaelic Centre. A percentage of the sales of this calendar will be donated to the Islay and Jura Sick Children’s Fund.

Ann is very grateful to have received some sponsorship from Caledonian MacBrayne and also New Concept who recently completed work on Bowmore’s brand new eatery, “Peatzeria”. The exhibition runs until the end of September.

Tag: exhibition icci

New Autumn Whisky Festival on Islay

Islay has a new whisky festival in the autumn, 23-27 October 2017, and it's called Theatre of Drams. It has an entirely different concept from the spring festival as Theatre of Drams has a more educational focus. Theatre of Drams is an expansion and development of the hugely successful Whisky Course Islay hosted by Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) and participating Islay distilleries in 2015 and 2016.

Theatre of Drams Whisky Symposium/Festival offers educational and fun benefits for beginners, experts and enthusiasts alike. You can participate in a barley seminar with Islay farmers and Dr Steve Hoad of the Scottish Rural Colleges Agronomy Institute or learn secrets of Copper and stills from Speyside Copperworks. Explore the mysteries of peat, peated whisky and phenols, with Rachel MacNeill and enjoy an educational Masterclass led by Whisky Maestro Jim McEwan, formerly Bruichladdich, now building new Islay Distillery, Ardnahoe, with Hunter Laing. Learn why there is no such thing as an illicit still and there is the possibility to share a dram with distillery managers, excise men and Islay locals whilst listening to stories of old. Continue reading....

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...

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