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Diluain, 15/Dec/2014

Some music from Jura

Jura Excursions written in stencil

Thought I'll take you over to Islay's neighbour Jura this evening for a nice musical interlude. The Corn Potato String Band visited Jura in summer 2014 and a few videos were recorded of their music. Here's one of them:

The Corn Potato String Band - 'The Silver Lake Polka' from sound of jura on Vimeo.

Their visit was organised by Sound of Jura of Gilles Perring. Gilles also recorded and produced the recently released CD by the Islay Gaelic Choir.

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Didòmhnaich, 14/Dec/2014

Islay Blogging Roundup #316

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There we are, a quite productive long weekend is slowly coming to an end. I've cleaned out and prepared the room for my sister's visit over Christmas, done some gardening, baked two more Bremer Klaben (as well as rolls and bread), got my Christmas haircut, went out to Hosehill Lakes for some photography and even made a lazy attempt to make my flat look at least a tiny bit like it's Christmas soon. And now it's time for the Islay blogging roundup, so here we go:

Let's start with some Islay whisky, like the 21st Annual Whisky Advocate Awards: Islay Single Malt of the Year. The Smoky Dram tastes the Kilchoman Machir Bay 2012. A Canadian blog finds a Bowmore in Whisky Advent Calendar: Day 8 and Fredde from Sweden tastes the Laphroaig Brodir Port Wood, 48% (2014). The Bruichladdich News blog writes about A Pen - Hand Made From A Bruichladdich Cask Stave and some Laddie Christmas Gifts. WhiskyFun has Seven Ardbeg black to black.

Getting closer to Christmas, but also staying with whisky, the Laphroaig campaign receives a few mentions: The Denver Egotist writes Laphroaig Shares the Best and Worst Opinions of Its Scotch, In Holiday Song and Peter Moser from Germany shares Laphroaig’s Weihnachts-Video: Opinions Welcome. Another blog says One of their musical influences just HAS to be Monty Python.

This is of course the time of the year where best of lists and other reviews of the year are published. Gordon gets in early with That was the year that was…..

Ron has his fifteen minutes of fame with The Face in the Wave near Port Wemyss Islay, before moving on to Snow on the Hills of Islay. On the Our Learning Blog of Port Ellen Primary we can read about the Visit from Janet Watersworth. The IECBS news blog announces Power for Christmas.

After an earlier report from his Islay visit Christian now reviewed the hotel he stayed in at Zu Gast im The Islay Hotel, Port Ellen | #visitScotland #Islay. Rachel takes a bit of Islay to Israel with her visit to I AM WHAT I DRINK ~ whisky day.

Of course there was birdwatching and wildlife: The Islay Birds blog reports of birds blown away in the storm (kind of) and Ian is happy he kept back a few sightings. Despite some bad weather Bob and Pat reported some sightings yesterday. It's been a Wee bit windy on the RSPB Islay blog as well. Just before the storm Becky reported from Shifting light and shadows at Gruinart and Loch Indaal.

To close again the pictures: James Collett shares Weather Bomb – Islay and Milky Way as well as A View From Fairy Hill, Islay. Ron shares a picture of big waves during the recent storm. Konrad Borkowski shares more pictures in his Christmas campaign including Beinn Shiantaidh, Paps of Jura, Lagavulin at Sunrise, Islay, Scotland and Deer on the Long Road, Isle of Jura, Scotland. And from my own Islay Pictures photoblog I've picked the Geese roadblock at Kilchoman, My parents walking on Tràigh Baile Aonghais and of course the Milky Way over Saligo Bay at night, Isle of Islay.

That's it for this week, more next week in the ‘just before Christmas edition’.

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Dihaoine, 12/Dec/2014

Friday Islay Picture #349 - Dusk in Saligo Bay

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

That was a busy but productive Friday, a bit longer than expected though. Still, the room my sister is going to stay in when she visits me over Christmas is now pretty much ready. I've also done a bit of gardening, I hope the plants will survive the winter (or at least the next few weeks). And now it's time for the Friday Islay picture. Here's what I've picked for tonight, a beautiful dusk at Saligo Bay:

Picture of dusk over a bay on clear night, only a few clouds on the horizon

After a nice sunset dusk was beautiful, later on the stars came out, allowing me to take the picture of the Milky Way over Saligo Bay on a starry night. In summary, a fantastic afternoon and evening.

And on that note I'm off to bed, good night and have a great weekend!

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Diardaoin, 11/Dec/2014

Laphroaig turns opinions into songs

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Now that's good timing by Laphroaig. I'm just settling down after a busy day off work completing a variety of chores and as I have tomorrow off as well it's not a ‘school night’, meaning I can enjoy a wee dram or two of Islay single malt tonight. Some of you might remember the Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Opinions Campaign started earlier this yet. They have now set some of these opinions to song, Christmas style (no, not Gangnam Style):

YouTube: Laphroaig Whisky Christmas Choir: Chapter 1

This was all filmed on location on Islay, for a great insight into the filming and recording you also want to watch this video:

YouTube: Behind the Scenes with the Laphroaig Christmas Choir

I think this is very well done, I must admit something I hadn't really expected from Laphroaig. My first impression seeing some of the comments I think this is going to be very successful. Well done!

PS: I agree, Woody has a great beard.

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Diciadain, 10/Dec/2014

A drive along Jura

Jura Excursions written in stencil

Came across an interesting video yesterday. David Muir visited Islay's neighbour Jura and filmed a video of a drive (and walk) all the way from Feolin ferry to the northern end of Jura. A lot of different sights along the way, watch closely and you'll also spot an Otter:

YouTube: Isle of Jura (the long road)

I hope you've enjoyed the video as well, may be it inspires you to visit Jura as well. Just remember that in reality the drive takes some time. Also you can't drive all the way, as you'll have seen you can only drive up to signs showing the end of the road. From there on it's walking for quite a few miles to the far far north of Jura.

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Didòmhnaich, 07/Dec/2014

Islay Blogging Roundup #315

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And so we have firmly moved into December, including a quite chilly morning in West Berkshire yesterday. A bit later than in previous years I've baked my first Bremer Klaben yesterday and enjoyed a few slices this afternoon. Also got a few other things sorted this weekend. But now it's time for the Islay mentions in the blogs this week, the Islay blogging roundup:

Let me start with the first Christmas (in some way) related postings (have to start at some point): Pete writes Advent: Day 5 – Bowmore 12 Year Old from his whisky advent calendar. Anthropith's Whisky Gift Guide includes two Islay malts. Ron suggests to Buy Christmas Gifts Online on Islay. Konrad is selling a variety of his Islay and Jura pictures on his blog, including Snow Covered Whisky Barrels, Ardbeg, Scotland, Old Shipwreck Buried in the Sand, Machir Bay and Stag and the Moon, Isle of Jura. Justin Tyers comes straight to the point: A free-prezzie give-away? …it must be Christmas

A few Islay whisky postings, starting with Contrafactual and Port Charlotte Scottish Barley. Viskikonttori from Finland tastes the Laphroaig An Cuan Mòr 48%. Peated Perfection has a Lagavulin Distillery Profile. From Germany whiskyundfrauen considers Ardbeg Kildalton und die Frage nach der Wertigkeit. Scotch & Sci-Fi has a Whisky Review – Port Charlotte PC11 ‘Eòrna Na h-Alba’ (Bruichladdich) From Bruichladdich you can Win Tickets To A Jim McEwan Tasting In Paris.

The Bruichladdich blog also tries to answer the question What Is The Population Of Islay?

A few writers touching on Islay: Martin provides an update about his Current projects including a fantasy story involving Islay. I believe similarly Michel from France writes Un détective archiviste qui aime la bonne bouffe, le bon vin et le…

The birdwatching and wildlife: The INHT blog reports from Our 30th birthday party, belated congratulations also from me! On the Islay Birds blog we read winter has arrived, find the numbers from a count at Gruinart and catch up on the rainfall numbers for November.

To close of course as usual the pictures, where Ron has a view of Kintra beach. James Collett's picture isn't far away with Kintra Waterfall, Islay, he also has a view of the Long And Winding Road To The American Monument. Teresa shares some moving pictures of the Jura Ferry arriving at Port Askaig at night. From my own Islay Pictures photoblog I've picked the November afternoon in Saligo Bay, the view of Saligo River in full spate and of course the Starry night sky over Machir Bay, Isle of Islay.

And that's all for tonight. More next week. Good night.

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Disathairne, 06/Dec/2014

No, that's not a Lagavulin

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For some there might be a more serious background, but I think the video is more on the funny side, hence the ‘Islay Fun’ category. Anyway, some of you might remember Ron Swanson of American TV series Parks and Recreation (hope I got that right, I don't watch television) visiting Islay and in particular Lagavulin last year. I understand Lagavulin is his favourite whisky by far. Which of course means he knows his whisky, although he's also humble enough to check with someone from Islay who certainly knows:

YouTube: That's Not Lagavulin

For more you might want to watch the Music Video (which includes more Islay scenes) and check the My Tales of Whisky Official channel. From what I understand this is a project by actor Nick Offerman (who plays Ron Swanson) and Diageo (who own Lagavulin as well as Caol Ila on Islay, not to forget the maltings). Certainly well done, I quite enjoyed watching the videos. I hope you'll enjoy them as well.

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Dihaoine, 05/Dec/2014

Friday Islay Picture #348 - Evening mood in Saligo Bay

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

That's a rather long week finally over, didn't leave the office until 19:45 today. Adding on some shopping I had to do didn't get home until gone 21:00. But I still wanted to post a Friday Islay picture, even though technically it's now Saturday. So here we go, a nice view from the west coast of Islay:

Picture of a beach in a bay on a November late afternoon around sunset

This was during the second afternoon/evening during my recent Islay visit in November. A nice sunset at Saligo Bay with the clouds providing some dramatic views and light. Lots of very nice views in the changing light that evening.

But now it's time for bed. Good night and have a great weekend!

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Diluain, 01/Dec/2014

Konrad's Isle of Jura photography book

Jura Excursions written in stencil

Hopefully I haven't left it too late and there are still some available. But I wanted to wait until I had my own copy before writing about it, which meant going to Jura in November. In case the title hasn't given it away I'm talking about Konrad Borkowski's new book ‘Jura: The Wild Island’, published recently. A truly beautiful book, some amazing photography:

Collage of impressions from a book

I first heard about the book back in July through Konrad's Facebook page and immediately decided I wanted a copy. When I was on the ferry to Islay two weeks ago it turned out that Konrad was on the ferry as well, returning from a holiday on the continent. A few days later I visited him on Jura, where I joined him and visiting friends on a drive up the only road on Jura and of course picked up my signed copy of the book.

So, what can I say about the book apart from that it is fantastic?

Well, you can preview it on Blurb, then if you like it (which I'm sure you'll do) you can order it via Konrad's website. The book contains 75 pictures of Jura's amazing landscape and wildlife by day and by night, from the ground and from the air. Konrad really understands light and goes to great length to get the right picture. I'm struggling to pick a single favourite, the Rainbow over Beinn Shiantaidh, the Northern Lights at Lagg and a great picture of a White-tailed Eagle are among my favourites. There's so much to choose from.

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Didòmhnaich, 30/Nov/2014

Islay Blogging Roundup #314

Islay Blogging Roundup in stencil

After yesterday's day out today was a bit more indoor, in fact, I only went outside to take the recycling down. Got a few admin things and housework like finishing the data for my tax return and catching up on my ironing done. Not terribly exciting, but unfortunately it has to get done. But enough of that, now it's time for the first Islay blogging roundup since my holiday:

Let me start with a poem by Robert James Berry, Islay (I'll let him get away with the Canada Geese as poetic freedom). Another poem and a bit of whisky in George’s Rants and Raves: Bowmore Small Batch and 12 Year Old Scotch.

More Islay whisky: A Finnish blog writes (in English) about the Kilchoman Original Cask Strengh 2014 to ease the winter chillness. The Battle of Bowmore! is reported on Booze Dancing. Whisky Israel has a Port Charlotte Islay barley – Review. The Bruichladdich News blog answers the question What Is Peat? and explains It'S A Family Affair at Bruichladdich.

Ponder the Irrelevant longingly thinks back to their visit to the Isle of Islay. For German readers Christian writes Zehn Insider-Tipps für deinen Besuch auf der Isle of Islay | #Islay #Scotland on TasteUp while on his own blog he writes Ich war da! Isle of Islay, Whiskyinsel oder mehr? | #visitScotland #Islay. LivingRoom Whisky shares Ardbeg. A Visit and Great Drams brings us A trip to Islay, the definitive summary. The Southern Gentleman writes about A Visit to Islay.

From the Islay Sessions Gráinne and Tina report G&T at The Islay Sessions while Tina's Week 29 #tuneoftheweek is Islay inspired.

Some interesting signs including two from Islay can be admired in So it is written … Schottlandreisen from Germany writes about (and supports with a donation) Re-JIG – Müllsammeln auf der Whisky-Insel Islay.

An Sionnach has a few Updates & Thoughts about Mind-Stories. Jenny of the Dower House has a Long Awaited update. On the Our Learning Blog of Port Ellen Primary we can read about a Beach Clean, the P1/2 Bird Feeders, Gardening and making soup and the Litter Police on the beat.

The birdwatching and wildlife: Ed has returned and writes about Migration madness. On the Islay Birds blog we can read about Dolphins and birds, various bird sightings and the International Goose count results. The INHT blog reports of a A festival of colour on a dull day and announces the celebrations for 30 years of the Islay Natural History Trust. The RSPB Islay blog reports A wee drop of rain… and says it's Weather for Ducks. The Geltsdale Wildlife Warrior writes about his visit and sightings in Islay, November 2014.

For the pictures James Collett shares his of the Wyre Majestic Shipwreck and on his ramblings writes about Photography 101: A Pop Of Colour. Teresa shares pictures of the Craigens Farm and RSPB Loch Gruinart Receeding Floods and a view of Barn Hill, Jura. Ron shares Kilnave Chapel and Cross Pictures and writes about An Amazing Islay Day in November. From my own Islay Pictures photoblog I've picked the November afternoon sun at Laphroaig distillery, November sunset in Machir Bay and of course the Red sunset at Saligo Bay, Isle of Islay.

That's it for this week, more next week. Good night!

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