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Islay Voices - The Peoples History of Islay

Islay Voices, an anthology of writing about Islay, is published this month and has been launched at the Celtic House in Bowmore on Monday 12 December. Illustrated with archive photographs from the Museum of Islay Life, it is edited by Jenni Minto and Les Wilson from Port Charlotte. Here is an exclusive extract from the book:

For thousands of years the island of Islay has drawn migrants, invaders and inquisitive wanderers to its shores. They have often come as lonesome travellers, but sometimes in great numbers like migrating geese. For many, their visits were inspired by innate human curiosity, while others came seeking a land that would sustain them. A few were washed up, half dead, on Islay’s shores. Once such saved soul, seventeenyear-old Private David Roberts of the US Army, wrote to his mother of the ‘Scots lads’ who had dragged him ashore and to miraculous safety after his troopship sank off Islay in a terrible storm in 1918.

Among the most revealing accounts of journeys to Islay are those of the Skye-born traveller and writer, Martin Martin; the Edinburgh-born naturalist and clergyman, John Walker; the Welsh naturalist and antiquarian, Thomas Pennant; and the distinguished English scientist, Joseph Banks. These serious-minded and perceptive men subjected Islay to the same kind of scrutiny as Banks had employed when he visited Tahiti with Captain Cook. Viewed from London or Edinburgh, 18th century Islay seemed almost as exotic as Tahiti. Continue reading....

Islay Photo Prints and Digital Files

Many years ago, when I took my first photo of Islay, I could never have imagined that I would end up with well over 60.000 Islay Photos in less than 15 years time. That's an average of more than 4.000 photos a year. In that time a lot has changed, camera wise I mean. The first photo I took was 2048 x 1536 pixels and had a size of 600KB. The last photo I took had a resolution of 5760 x 3840 and a size of 30MB, roughly 50 times more than the first photo. I won't bore you with more technical details but the good thing about my improved camera equipment is that I can now take higher quality photos and do more with the end result.

Since many years I post my Islay Photos on the Islay Info Website and Islay Blog and more recently a lot of them appear on Twitter and Facebook where we have almost 35.000 followers combined. For some reason many folk seem to like my photos and it motivates me to invest more in equipment and go out as often as possible to show you our beautiful island.

Quite a few of you have asked me if I offer prints and I'm also often asked by publishing companies and other businesses and websites owners if they can "use" my photos. Often I had to give them a no as an answer as I never had the means to sell them online and to easily retrieve them. Until a year ago I had to go through a library with 60K photo's every time someone needed a certain photo, you can imagine this is rather time consuming and not very practical. Continue reading...

Get Islay Presents for Christmas

The dark days before Christmas are here so now is a good time to start thinking about Christmas presents! Before you rush off to Amazon and the likes you might want to consider doing some of your Online Christmas shopping on Islay and support the local businesses as there is plenty of choice, as you can see on our online shops on Islay page.

But there is more. The Islay Celtic Craft shop in Portnahaven also sell their items online through Ebay and you can find a wide selection of Islay and Celtic related items. For an overview visit their Ebay page. Jane Taylor's beautiful whisky prints can also be purchased online and if children's books are your thing you must visit the website of Ailsa Press, they have some lovely children's books.

You can find a wide range of whisky soaps, special gift packs, creams, scenting candles, balms and other bathing and personal care products on the www.spiritedsoaps.com website and for those of you with a sweet tooth I can recommend the Islay tablet shop. The attractive online Islay Shop is another great place where you can find a nice collection of gifts such as Jewellery, calendars, t-shirts and whisky gifts. Continue reading...

Next Years Islay Holiday and Sketch Islay

We've been very busy lately and had a few large projects so there hasn't been any time for blogging I'm afraid. But as Christmas is coming closer and the days are getting shorter, wetter and darker too, it's slowly quietening down. Many folk use this time of year to start thinking about next year's holiday plans and hopefully many of you will make the trip to Islay to enjoy all the island delights.

If you are someone who likes to plan early, now is a good time to find accommodation on Islay. Many Self Catering properties, Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts still have plenty of spaces available in the spring and summer season so booking early avoids disappointment. As you probably know we have very comprehensive accommodation listings: Continue reading...

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