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RSPB Islay News April 2017

Hiya! I had been hoping to post again sooner as the 2017 ‘season’ started, but, better late than never, I have been able to put a little something together for you now! My 2017 season as RSPB Community Information & Tourism Officer is well under way, and I now have an opportunity to let you know what I’ve been up to, and what is coming up in the season.

Since my last post, my new boss, Mark, the new warden for RSPB Loch Gruinart, has arrived and we have also welcomed Joan, in the role of Visitor Experience volunteer. At the beginning of April, the RSPB hosted various walks on both its reserves, Loch Gruinart and The Oa, for Walk Islay week. It was good to see some familiar faces from last year, all the way from USA, and the walks were well attended. I also enjoyed meeting Steve (and his wife, Sue) from Islay Heritage, discussing ways in which both organisations could benefit from the wealth of history, heritage and archaeology found on the RSPB reserves. Another exciting development is coming to fruition, with RSPB Loch Gruinart becoming a ‘Scout friendly’ reserve, working with the First Islay Scout Group as part of the larger partnership between RSPB Scotland and Scouting Scotland. Together with The Botanist Foundation and Bruichladdich Distillery, responsible for The Botanist gin RSPB Islay will be introducing some evening walks later this year which will focus on sustainable foraging, and the opportunity to meet Mark (www.gallowaywildfoods.com), the man who puts the ‘Islay’ into The Botanist gin! Continue reading....

Islay Drone Photos

A few weeks ago I wrote on Twitter "We are taking our photography to a higher level with our new Drone" and I included a few photo's of Port Charlotte from around hundred metres up in the sky. It marked the start of an extra service we are offering to everyone on Islay: Islay Drone Photography. By flying a drone and taking photographs or video from higher up in the sky we are opening up a completely new way of capturing Islay's beauty.

Personally I think it's everyone's dream to be able to fly and to look at the area you live in from an elevated position. That's why we like satellite imagery and Google Earth so much. Admiring views from higher up is one of the reasons why we climb mountains and with a drone you can literally create your "own mountain" anywhere and look down below to take in these breathtaking views. Continue reading....

Peatzeria Islay Pizzeria Restaurant

I can't think of a better name for a Pizzeria on Islay than Peatzeria, it's carefully chosen and blends in perfectly with Islay's rich whisky past and present. And it's not only the name that is carefully chosen as you will find out for yourself when you visit this restaurant in Shore Street Bowmore. The interior is just as beautiful as the name is original and my first thought was when I entered Peatzeria for the first time that it could be just as well in the centre of Glasgow, or anywhere else for that matter. The design is just stunning and the owners made the best of the limited space available. This former church building can seat 32 people, made possible by a mezzanine floor. A further 20 seats will become available later on in May when the outdoor area will be finished which has fantastic views over Loch Indaal. I can't wait for those beautiful warm evenings! Continue reading....

Islay Festival 2017 Preview

This year's Islay Festival of Music and Malt will start on Friday the 26th of May and will end on Saturday the 3rd June. So it's less than a month before Islay House Hotel will kick off this years Feis Ile with their traditional garden party on Friday. They have invited the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for a whisky pairing masterclass and a blues band to end the evening under the stars. Fingers crossed!

Lagavulin Distillery is the first of the distilleries to have their open day with masterclasses, special tours, food stalls and coopers who show you the craft of cask building. The musical backdrop will be provided by Tide Lines, a new Scottish Band with familiair vocals as the lead singer is Robert Robertson who left Skipinnish last year. Tide Lines will also perform at the Ceilidh in Ramsay Hall that same evening.

On Sunday Bruichladdich Distillery will celebrate their open day and it will be another very busy and hopefully sunny day. There is lots to see and do and there is a great lineup of bands playing that day such as the Salsa Celtica Celtic Band, The Coaltown Daisies, Tide Lines and The Blueswater. Ella Edgar's Highland Dancers will show their dances, there are many art and food stalls and there's a malt bar and botanist tent. Continue reading....

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