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Didòmhnaich, 20/Jul/2014

Islay Blogging Roundup #298

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If I want to hit the 300 mark this summer I think I better get going. After the return of the Friday Islay picture, my first full run since the injury (rested today, only went for a walk) and this summer's gardening (a view from the other side) it is time to bring back the Islay blogging roundup. What have the blogs been saying about Islay recently?

Let me start with a new blog from Islay, called ANGELADUNBAR. As the name indicates, it's by Angela Dunbar, an Islay Folk Singer. You can find videos and other news on the blog.

A few Islay visitors: Gordon writes from his Islay Visit Part XXXVII. Nina has a series of entries from her Islay visit, to Scotland, the sky of Islay, even slower, immersion, immersion, continued, and she shall have music wherever she goes…, this, too, is Islay, Sunday on the Isle of Islay and and in the end…. The Grapescot (quite late) writes about Feis Ile 2014 Islay Whisky Festival - Highlights and Islay Whisky Festival 2014 - Ardbeg while Jacob just has The Islay. Whisky Saga brings us The Big Islay Adventure 2014 – part 1, The Big Islay Adventure 2014 – part 2 and The Big Islay Adventure 2014 – part 3. Rainer writes about Islay 2014 and Gartbreck Distillery

The Bruichladdich blog writes about The Laddie Banjo, announces Duncan McGillivray Retires and has a report from the Islay Beach Rugby 2014. Ron shares Lily Celebrates her 100th Birthday, a report Sailing Onboard the Thalassa to the Islay Festival and announces Ardbeg Kildalton to Support Port Ellen Community. The Rowan Cottage answers Why come to Islay in June?

A lot of updates on Becky's Islay Welly Walks blog, including Lily's birthday and sandcastle competition, Heiko's Birthday Walk and Islay and Jura Youth Action at Killinallan. From the Dower House we hear about "Sleeping with a rat?", see the Highlights of the last 2 weeks in June! and read about Where We Are…. The IECBS shares an update about Improving the track to the turbine site.

The IHS Head Teacher blog shares a Review of the Year 2013/2014. On the Our Learning Blog of Port Ellen Primary we can read about Beach Rugby, the Scottish Education Awards, the P6/7 Science Trip and Our Trip To Bowmore.

The Malt Impostor writes about Duncan McGillivray, Bruichladdich Distillery Manager, retires after 40 years and tastes The Wemyss "Heathery Smoke" 30 year old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (50 ml performance art piece). The Whisky Advocate has John Campbell of Laphroaig – In 140 Or Less. The Smokybeast has Battle of the Beasts Part 1: Lagavulin 12-Year, Battle of the Beasts Part 2: Ardbeg Supernova, Battle of the Beasts Part 3: Bruichladdich Octomore 2.1, Battle of the Beasts Part Four: Kilchoman Barrel Room and Battle of the Beasts Finale - The Baddest Beast in the Land! Peter also had some festival posts: Feis Ile 2014: Mein Besuch bei Gartbreck, Feis Ile: The Ultimate Islay Tour – Lagavulin, Caol Ila und Maltings and Feis Ile: Schicht als Stillman und Mashman bei Ardbeg.

Of course there was lots of birdwatching and wildlife: On the Islay Birds blog we find Emily's sightings, news about Islay at the British Bird Fair, a Black Tailed Godwit, the return of the blog after Ian's move, a Rose Coloured Starling and a brilliant Hen Harrier. The INHT blog shares Sanaigmore Ramble - 13th July 2014, A Pond of Wonders, Camping and caves at Bagh an Da Dhoruis and answers the question So What's been happening?. On the RSPB Islay blog we can read about a Balancing act, the Return of Trail cam!, news of Hot Weather and the Sea bird surveys. Gordon Yates writes about a Corncrake Spectacular, Islay’s Seabirds and a Skydancer.

To close of course the pictures: James Collett has Loch Fada, Islay and the Rhinns Of Islay Lighthouse, reports from his Beinn Bheigier Walk, Islay, shares a nice Glenastle Loch, Islay, Sunset Timelapse and takes us to Lossit Bay, Islay. Ron shares Portnahaven Church and Kilnaughton Bay. The Alcademics share Snap Shots: Boats Off Bowmore. From my own Islay Pictures photoblog I've picked Filming the sunset in Saligo Bay, High Road on a June evening, Saligo Bay sunset June 2014 and Bowmore from Knockdon, Isle of Islay.

That's it for now, I hope you found something interesting. If all goes to plan it will be #299 next weekend followed by the magic #300 the weekend after. Good night for now.

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Disathairne, 19/Jul/2014

Sandra's Islay (and Jura) video diary

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First full run since my injury completed (around 3.5-4 miles in about 40 minutes) without any noticable side effects earlier today. This years attempt at some kind of gardening completed this afternoon. Time to relax with a few nice Islay videos. Sandra and her partner visited Islay for a few days at the end of June and they documented their stay with a three part video diary:

YouTube: Kennacraig to Islay 28 June 2014

YouTube: Islay Saligo Bay to Portnahaven 29 June 2014

YouTube: Islay Portnahaven to Ardnave 30 June 2014

Very nice to follow them on their adventure, I hope you enjoyed it as well. Of course they were slightly lucky with the weather, but then again you can get weather like this at this time of year quite often. I've had many great days in June over the years.

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Dihaoine, 18/Jul/2014

Friday Islay picture #331 - Harvest under the Paps of Jura

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Much later than planned, but after well over a month finally a Friday Islay picture again. I have mixed feelings about the picture, as I took it when I noticed the first signs of my calf injury which was going to ruin my Islay holiday this June. At the same time posting it is a sign of recovery, as I can start to post more again. Not to mention that after almost exactly 5 weeks I'm hoping to do my first full distance jogging this weekend. But now for the picture:

Picture of a combine harvester bringing in hay under the backdrop of large hills

This is a view from the road up to Kilchoman towards Rockside Farm and the Paps of Jura. Farm work under the backdrop of the Paps of Jura on a beautiful sunny June day.

And that is all for tonight. Bedtime for Armin. Good night, if all goes to plan more blogging over the weekend.

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Diciadain, 16/Jul/2014

Islay Pipe Band at the European Championships

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Yay, two posts on consecutive days from me again. Another sign I'm slowly getting better. After yesterday's blues by visitors to Islay we're kind of moving the other way around this time. It's the Islay Pipe Band competing in Forres at the 2014 European Championships:

YouTube: Islay Pipe Band - 2014 European Championships, Forres

While there's still room for improvement (their own words) they finished an excellent 4th place in Grade 3A. Congratulations!

Oh, and if you're on Islay on the 19th of July (that's Saturday this coming weekend) you can hear them playing at the Port Ellen Sports Day.

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Dimàirt, 15/Jul/2014

Blues on Viking Ship visiting Islay

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Remember the Viking Ship which visited Islay on Saturday? Turns out it's not only a beautiful ship, it's also a great (improvised?) concert venue. On Saturday evening Edinburgh based Chicago Blues band The Blueswater played on the deck of the ship:

YouTube: The Blueswater onboard Draken Harald Hårfagre Viking Longboat (Islay, 2014)

Wonderful music on a great ship, I hope you enjoyed as much as me. For more by them try the The Blueswater YouTube channel or The Blueswater on SoundCloud.

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Disathairne, 12/Jul/2014

A Viking Ship visits Islay (again)

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Some more blogging from me again. Following my earlier injury I'm making progress in the recovery, today for the first time in almost four weeks I did some mixed light jogging and walking. It seems to have gone well, so far I don't seem to have any adverse reaction in the leg. Now on to the topic at hand, a Viking Ship visiting Islay today:

Yesterday evening I spotted a tweet from a Viking ship heading towards Mull and Islay. Following a short exchange I knew that the Draken Harald Hårfagre (Dragon Harald Fairhair) was aiming to visit Port Ellen today. Unfortunately I'm not on Islay just now, but luckily there are kind people with cameras around. A friend from Islay sent me three great shots, starting with this one of the ship arriving in Port Ellen:

Picture of a viking ship replica arriving in a harbour

Here's a view into the ship, looking quite spartan especially considering they sailed across the north sea from Norway over to Scotland:

Picture of the deck of a Viking ship replica

And finally the crew receiving directions from the captain (blond hair in the centre), I believe they will be visiting Islay distilleries this afternoon:

Picture of the crew of a replica Viking ship on deck

Unfortunately the Draken Harald Hårfagre lost her mast on the way from Norway over to Scotland in some very heavy winds. They hope to replace it when they are in Liverpool (the destination of this trip). To give you an impression of her with the mast and under sail, here's a rather amazing video of her last year:

YouTube: Sailing Draken Harald Hårfagre summer 2013

They will be leaving Islay on Sunday morning, so if you're around and would like to see her you still have time. I think it's well worth taking a look, I love her elegant lines. Oh, and in case you're wondering why the title of the entry reads ‘A Viking Ship visits Islay (again)’, almost exactly seven years ago another (much smaller I believe) Viking ship visited Islay. I hope this won't be the last Viking ship visiting Islay, I'm sure the Draken Harald Hårfagre would be welcome again.

For more about Draken Harald Hårfagre's journey you can follow them on Twitter @DrakenHH or visit their Draken Harald Hårfagre Facebook page.

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Disathairne, 05/Jul/2014

Sorry for the lack of Islay blogging here

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It's probably time for at least some sign of life on this blog. Under normal circumstances I would have started blogging again last Sunday after returning from Islay visit in June, but unfortunately there are some unusual circumstances. My two week Islay holiday unfortunately took a wrong turn:

After a nice journey up and a nice first evening I went for my usual run on the beach in Machir Bay on the first morning. Returning from it I suddenly had a massive pain in my right leg and could hardly walk in the afternoon, soon followed by significant swelling of my calf. With hindsight I probably aggravated it the next day when I thought I could walk/light jog it off after a slight improvement, only to make it worse by doing that. Over the next few days it only improved slightly and on the Friday I went to the doctor. Looking at it they thought there was a possibility of a DVT and treated it accordingly. As the necessary tests couldn't be completed on Islay I had to fly to Glasgow early in the second week, where to my huge relief the tests for a DVT were negative. It was ‘only’ a muscle strain, which required a lot of rest. Only on the second Friday of my stay on Islay I could slowly start to properly walk again (especially after the return flight from Glasgow was delayed by 24 hours due to fog on Islay…) before having to leave again for Aldermaston Wharf on the Saturday.

Of course this meant I wasn't able to complete any of my plans for the visit. I took hardly any pictures as most of the time was spent resting in/at the cottage with the leg raised (as well as 48 hours in Glasgow). Luckily I still just managed one sunset from the dunes in Saligo Bay (I wasn't able to climb down to the beach) on the last evening:

Picture of a cloudy sunset over a bay with a beach and dunes

Since returning home I've been mainly resting the leg when at home (as well as in the office as much as possible, having gone back to work on Monday), which didn't allow me to spend much time at the computer in the evening. While I updated the Islay Pictures photoblog as normal this blog had to suffer. Not being in the office and generally slowly improving allowed me to sit down today to write this entry, after a long (1:20 hours) walk this afternoon with no negative effects.

With further improvements I'm hoping to be able to start more blogging here in a weeks time or so. If all goes well I'm also hoping to start some light jogging next weekend, although I'll be very careful with that.

Before closing I'd like to say a huge thanks to all the people who helped my immensely while I was unable to function much with the leg injury, especially being unable to drive and only to walk (limp) very slowly. I wouldn't have been able to cope without your help. Also thank you for all the get well wishes on Twitter, Facebook and via email.

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Diardaoin, 12/Jun/2014

Off to Islay for two weeks

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Trying to get going with packing (laundry is done, bread baking is well under way, just the packing…), so this will probably a fairly short good bye. Yes, it's time for another Islay visit. June again, I've been going in June for a few years now, enjoying the long days including the longest day of the year.

So what are the plans? To start with I'm hoping to get some walking in again. Not sure yet if in this exact location (as that picture is from last year, might return or go somewhere else this year):

Picture of a man walking on a hill along a dramatic coastline

Unfortunately I will miss the Islay Beach Rugby as I won't arrive until Saturday evening (happy that I'm able to go these two weeks in the first place). Probably will also miss most or even all of the Football World Cup, as I don't intend to waste valuable time on Islay watching it.

Instead I'm hoping to be out and about as much as possible. In particular hoping for a clear night or two on Saturday and Sunday to watch (and if possible take pictures of) the ISS passing in the night sky. Weather (wind) permitting I'm hoping to get a few quadcopter flights in. Of course a few distillery visits. Not to forget of course meeting many old and new friends, one of the most important parts of each visit.

It will also be my last stay at Kilchoman House Cottages with Ian and Margaret running them, as they will be retiring soon. The cottages will stay open though under new ownership, so it won't be my last stay there. Still, feeling a bit sentimental after quite a few years staying with them.

As usual this blog as well as the Islay Pictures photoblog will almost certainly fall silent while I'm away. However, I do intend to post to my IslayBlog on Tumblr account and there will also be updates on the @islayblog Twitter feed.

Good night and see you in two (and a bit) weeks.

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Diluain, 09/Jun/2014

Collected Islay links

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Probably should have written this post a while ago as some of them are a bit old now, but then again some of you might still find them interesting. Anyway, here's a bunch of Islay related web finds and links from the last few weeks:

Not the adventure they set out for, luckily it all ended well: Helicopter rescue for family stranded on boat near Isle of Islay.

From down under with a large focus on Ardbeg from Islay: What type of whisky fan are you?

One of the rare birds Islay is known for: The chough: RSPB survey into one of Scotland's rarest birds

An Islay guide focusing mainly on the distilleries: An island guide to Islay, 'the Queen of the Hebrides'

It would be a real pity if Jimmy's were to close: Island post office’s manager leaves after 40 years

Quite an achievement for such a small village on an island: Post Office in tiny Hebrides village - population 120 - sends out 3000th food package for troops in Afghanistan

An interesting recipe with Laphroaig Islay single malt whisky: Laphroaig ice cream with salted caramel swirl

I think I'll stop here, I hope you've found one or two or more of the links interesting. More Islay finds and links in due course.

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Didòmhnaich, 08/Jun/2014

Islay Blogging Roundup #297

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While the weather on Islay has been rather mixed today (bright sunshine and torrential rain) it's been quite summery in West Berkshire today. Fingers crossed it will be nice and sunny from the end of this week when my summer holiday on Islay begins. But before that I still have this week's Islay blogging roundup, let's see what the blogs had to say about Islay and its neighbours:

Catching up on a few stragglers about the Feis Ile Islay festival: Peter shares his Reisebericht: Fèis Ìle 2014 – das Whisky-Festival auf Islay, the Feis Ile 2014: Masterclass mit Jim McEwan, the Ardbeg Tasting – Deconstructing the Dram and Feis Ile 2014: Mein Besuch bei Gartbreck. The WTC has Weds 28th, Bowmore Day. Fiona Robertson shares her experiences at the Islay Music and Whisky Festival. Hanna claims I Survived Drinking 23 Drams at a Whisky Festival in Scotland and Vinspire UK we find Smile for Feis Ile 2014: Islay Whisky Festival Roundup. Ron shares an Islay Festival Video of Bunnahabhain Open Day while Bruichladdich says Feis Ile 2014 - Thanks Everybody.

On to the visits: I had mentioned their journey via Inveraray last week, now the visit proper continues with Kennacraig till Port Ellen, Destination Bowmore, Paps of Jura, Jura, Bruichladdich and Islay Ale. Kimberly went On to Islay before a Pilgrimage to Oronsay and a visit of the Holy Wells on Colourful Colonsay before it all ended with the Seventeenth Ferry. Waz and Jules are Off to Islay.

A few Islay whisky entries: Scott got busy and has A Brace of Bruichladdich- Part 1, A Brace of Bruichladdich - Part 2, A Brace of Bruichladdich - Part 3 and A Brace of Bruichladdich - Part 4. Whisky Empirically has The Last of its Kind: Bruichladdich 12 (2nd Edition). Gordon Homer writes about A Festive Duo !

Asher wrote about his Kayaking/Camping Trip to Texa while our man from Maine writes about Ships and Scones. Becky shares Jane's story of a wee' sma' hours' encounter with nature. Justin Tyers brings us a Video: This is crogging… and Jenny at the Dower House has A Life Truly Lived. From the IET blog we learn the Sound of Islay application takes another step forward.

A bit of Islay wildlife and birdwatching: On the Islay Birds blog we find a picture of a Corncrake, a picture of a Meadow Pipit and a Canada Goose at Portnahaven. The INHT blog has not just one but two different Elephant Hawkmoths and impressions from a walk to Beinn Bheigier from Kynagarry. The RSPB Islay brings us More marsh fritillaries, Slip me some skin… and A Chough…

The pictures: In Evermore Ian Forsyth writes about the military cemetery at Kilchoman and shares his pictures. James Collett shares The American Monument Islay and Claggain Bay, Islay. Ron has a Portnahaven sunset. From my own Islay Pictures photoblog I've picked Port Ellen pier and marina, The wreck in Machir Bay on a hazy day and Ardbeg distillery from the hill, Isle of Islay.

That's it for this week, more in a few weeks.

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