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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...

Islay Festival 2017 Ardbeg Day

That's the festival over for this year already and fortunately the ferry problems have been solved, what a relief! We haven't been to as many events/distilleries as I had planned earlier, sometimes work and life gets in the way as was the case this week. We did however manage to visit Ardbeg today, it's one of our favourites, and not least because of these delicious Arbroath Smokies. The atmosphere was very nice today with good music and many familiar faces including a lot of locals. I had a feeling it was a lot busier than last year!

Gus Newman took folk out on the Sea Explorer, which is his very fast RIB, and there were plenty of excellent drams too including the new Ardbeg Kelpie! It started off a bit damp in the morning, there was even a thundery shower, but when the sun came out around noon it was glorious. We even saw an otter eating a fish, no not a Smokie, in front of warehouse one. How cool is that? It has been a very busy week for many on the island and from next week onwards it's back to normality. See you all next year when the festival will be held from Friday 25th of May to Saturday the 2nd of June. Below is a photo impression of this years Ardbeg Day. Continue reading....

One Ferry Islay Service due to Breakdown

Due to a technical issue with the bow ramp, the following MV Hebridean Isles sailings are cancelled for today, Friday 2nd of June:

07:00 sailing from Kennacraig to Port Ellen
09:45 sailing from Port Ellen to Kennacraig
13:00 sailing from Kennacraig to Port Askaig
15:30 sailing from Port Askaig to Kennacraig
18:00 sailing from Kennacraig to Port Askaig

Calmac has and still is contacting all affected passengers in order to arrange transfer to alternate sailings.

Due to this technical issue with MV Hebridean Isles the following timetable will operate Saturday 3rd June: Continue reading...

Islay Festival Bruichladdich Open Day

The Sunday was worthy to its name as, and it's a tradition by now, the sun came out during Bruichladdich Open Day. I can't think of a Laddie Open Day without sunshine to be honest. Anyway, it was another great event visited by many folk from near and far. According to someone from Bruichladdich it was the busiest open day in history and it added to the fantastic atmosphere. The crowds were not packed in the courtyard but spread across quite a large area which made it quite pleasant. The music was provided by Tide Lines, see my post yesterday, the Celtic Salsa Band and the Coaltown Daisies. Just after 3pm Ella Edgars Dancers gave a smashing performance and included were the youngest dancers with a lovely display. Well done Ella! Just before the dancers came on stage Duncan McGillivray was put in the spotlights and he received a great applause from the audience, followed by a big round of applause for Ella Edgar. She is still going from strength to strength with her Highland Dancers. Below is my photo impression of this years Bruichladdich Open Day.


Happy crowd in the yard


Islay Pipe Band


Smiling faces all around

Continue to more images of Bruichladdich Open Day

Islay Festival Start and Lagavulin Open Day

The 2017 edition of the Islay Festival of Music and Malt is on its way and it's very noticeable too on the island. Many folk from all over the world have arrived on Islay, many of them are return visitors. Accommodations are fully booked and the campsite at Port Mor looks as if there's not a single space left. What a comparison to a week ago. Bowmore was crowded too with hardly a parking space to find and many folk were queueing at Bowmore distillery to get their hands on a special limited festival bottling. Not sure when the queue started but it was very early morning for some, perhaps even night?

The first Saturday of the Islay Festival is traditionally Lagavulin Open day and it started off warm and humid. Last year Lagavulin celebrated their 200th anniversary which attracted many visitors to the south of Islay. This year was a bit quieter, better organised traffic wise and the atmosphere was just as pleasant as last year, not at the least due to a magnificent new band called "Tide Lines" with lead singer Robert Robertson, former band member and lead singer of Skipinnish. Various art stalls, a nice demonstration by the coopers, the burger tent, ice cream van, sea food shack and of course Lagavulin's excellent drams were the ingredients for a good time. The weather was kind as well as it stayed dry and warm for most of the day. Below are some impressions of this year's start of the Islay Festival and Lagavulin Open Day. Continue reading...

Tidal Wave in a Glass in Bridgend

The start of the Islay Festival has a special newcomer this year. Although Ardnahoe has no distillery on Islay yet, they do have a distillery shop and it opened yesterday at 10am. Because planning permission for a temporary shop at Ardnahoe Farm, which is next to the new distillery site, was not granted by A&B Council, they had to find an alternative location. As it so happened Mark Unsworth of Islay Studios moved across the square to a bigger and better equipped location and as a result Ardnahoe Distillery is now occupying the space of the former Islay Studios shop on the square in Bridgend. The shop will stay at this location for a few years until Ardnahoe Distillery have their own visitor centre and shop on site.

To mark the start of the construction of Ardnahoe Distillery, Hunter Laing & Co has unveiled a range of six very rare Islay whiskies. They go under the name Kinship Range and the range comprises of a 34-year-old Sherry cask Port Ellen (£1,800), 33-year-old Sherry cask Caol Ila (£375), 30-year-old Sherry cask Bowmore (£495), 30-year-old Bourbon cask Laphroaig (£720), 28-year-old Sherry cask Bunnahabhain (£310) and a 26-year-old Bourbon cask Ardbeg (£720). A very remarkable range indeed! Continue reading...

Pop Up Restaurant at Islay Festival

Martine Nouet and Audrey Gow, neighbours on the Rhinns of Islay, are going to do something special during this years Islay festival. On Saturday 27th of May, Tuesday 30th May and Thursday the 1st of June they will open a Pop Up restaurant in the beautiful dining room of Ocean View B&B in Nerabus.

Guests will enjoy a four-course dinner, cooked by Martine and Audrey, with each course paired with an Islay whisky. Each night is limited to 10 guests, and places must be booked and paid for in advance. This is going to be a unique and very special treat.

More info is available on this website. You can also email either martine.nouet@gmail.com or audreyhelengow@gmail.com to book a place for this unique event.

Tag: pop up restaurant islay festival feis ile

Wilder Ways Horse Riding Adventure on Islay

Wilder Ways offers you an opportunity to take their experienced horses on an exhilarating journey through some of the lesser known wilds of Scotland. Whether you are an adventure seeker wanting a trip of a life time, or are looking to get back into riding and build your confidence back up, Wilder Ways have an adventure to suit you. Customers can even bring their own horse, either to adventure to the max, or to gain confidence from being part of our experienced herd. And now Wilder Ways take to the seas for their Isle of Islay adventure this summer.

The herd will travel by ferry to enjoy the beautiful Hebridean Isle of Islay for the month of July. Wilder Ways have been working hard to put together an exciting programme of riding adventures, so you can explore some of the breath-taking scenery of this stunning island and enjoy the many exhilarating riding experiences on offer. There are 7km of golden beach, cliff-top paths, woodland trails and hills and, for the adventurous, some of the most extreme wilderness riding available. There'll also be time to see some local heritage and maybe drop by one of the distilleries to sample some of the famous Islay malt whisky. Continue reading...

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