Alex Walked 5000 miles for RNLI and is now on Islay

Alex has been walking nonstop round the coastline of Britain and Ireland since August 2014, and all that for charity as he is raising money for the RNLI. He started off in Kent in England and by now he has walked over 5000 miles and raised over £25,000 for lifeboats around the country.

If you see him walking round Islay this week- dig deep! He has a collection bucket with him. He's walking from Bowmore along the coast towards Port Charlotte today so please keep an eye out for him, I know I do :-)

You can follow his progress on his Facebook page here: And if you miss him and can't make a cash donation directly with Alex you can also donate online via

Fair play to Ardbeg for donating a bottle of whisky to this RNLI Lifeboat fundraiser! It's raised £300 for the local lifeboat.

Tag: rnli charity

Port Ellen Ferry Terminal to Close Three Weeks

Essential repair work at Port Ellen will require ferry operator CalMac's to divert all Islay services to Port Askaig for a period of around three weeks. The port's linkspan is being replaced and fenders upgraded by owner Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) requiring closure from October 24 to November 13. There will be no reduction in overall service but an amended timetable will operate. Foot passengers requiring to disembark at Port Ellen will be transported by road free of charge. These sailings are marked with a 'D' on the timetable, which can be viewed below.

Calmac writes: “This is essential upgrade work being carried out by the port owners which, unfortunately will cause some inconvenience to the travelling public for a short period of time,” said CalMac's director of operations, Drew Collier. “To help us limit disruption as much as possible we ask that foot passengers looking to go to Port Ellen should book with our contact centre 24 hours before they travel during this period. This will allow us to plan alternative road transport effectively.” Passengers can book by calling 0800 066 5000.

Temp timetable from October 24 to November 13

Tag: travel calmac ferry

MacTaggart Leisure Centre Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Gary Scott explains that IJCE is still going strong after 25 years and invites you to the celebrations.

Back in 1979 people were saying it was impossible. A swimming pool and leisure centre on Islay? Not a chance. However a group of dedicated people with the community behind them had other ideas and set about raising the finance and identifying premises.

A staggering £1m was raised over a period of eleven years which coincided with Morrison Bowmore Distillers donating the redundant whisky bond in the village to the community for £1. The Mactaggart Leisure Centre was built and opened in June 1991. Mountain No 1 climbed.

Then came the problem of how the operational costs would be financed as the small service level agreement from Argyll & Bute Council together with trading income did not balance the books. Everything was turned into projects and funding applications submitted to grants providers, private trusts and foundations to cover the cost of each project. Through much work, huge amounts of energy and volunteer time over £2.5m has been raised over the past fifteen years to fund additional services and activities needed by the community. Mountain No 2 climbed.

In 2009 after eighteen years of heavy usage the building was looking run down, the roof was leaking and the plant was unreliable. The Mactaggart Leisure Centre needed a big injection of capital. Where would we get that amount of money everyone asked? Continue reading...

Wild Islay Birding - Wildlife Tours on Islay

After Jeremy Hastings of islay Birding left the island, now some five years ago, there was nobody who followed him up, at least not straight away. Becky Williamson started Islay Welly Walks a few years later but she left the island two years ago. The only "official" wildlife guide right now is DJ MacPhee who runs Islay Outdoors. On an island with such an abundance of wildlife there was certainly a need for another business doing wildlife and birding tours on the island. And here came Gary Turnbull, a former Police Officer from Glasgow and bird nerd since his early years. Gary has started up a new business recently called Wild Islay Birding and I've asked him for a wee introduction:

"Hello, I am Gary Turnbull and I have started a new wildlife tourism business on Islay, Wild Islay Birding. This is a guiding service for visitors to the island to show them the wonderful bird and wildlife which abounds here. I have visited Islay for sometime and retired here last year with my partner Samantha, she works at the Islay Woolen Mill. We came to Islay for the wildlife and met some very nice people and decided to move here permanently. " Continue reading...

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