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Diciadain, 22/Oct/2014

Emma playing the pipes on Islay

Islay Music in stencil

Some of you might have seen this already, as I mentioned it on my @islayblog Twitter account this morning. But I like it a lot and for those not using Twitter I thought I'd share it here as well. Emma Murray launching a Reely Jiggered concert on Islay recently:

YouTube: Emma @ Port Charlotte Hotel on Islay

This is from their album launch tour visiting various places in Scotland, of course including Islay. Certainly looks like they put up a great show in the Port Charlotte Hotel. For more from them visit the Reely Jiggered website, check out the Reely Jiggered YouTube channel, follow ReelyJiggered on Twitter or go to the Reely Jiggered Facebook page (where you will also find a few pictures from their Islay visit).

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Diluain, 20/Oct/2014

Wild day at Saligo Bay, Islay

Islay on Video written in stencil

Gonzalo (well, what's left of it) is going to hit the UK and in particular Scotland on Tuesday. In case you don't know, Gonzalo is (or better was, it's since lost a lot of its power) a Hurricane. Quite fittingly just a few days ago William uploaded a short video of another storm hitting Islay last winter:

YouTube: Saligo bay in Islay during onshore westerly in December 2013 !

The foam you see is natural, it comes from some algae if memory serves me correctly. It's not from any pollution (at least not directly).

If you're somewhere on the west coast, I hope you're well prepared and the storm will pass without any significant damage. And as long as it's safe I hope you can do some wave watching.

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Didòmhnaich, 19/Oct/2014

Islay Blogging Roundup #310

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There we are again, another weekend coming to an end. Not one of my best, only got a fraction done of what I wanted to get done. Anyway, better get going with this week's Islay blogging roundup then, let's see what the blogs had to say about Islay and Jura:

Let's start with the visits. The Romanian blogger has moved on to Bruichladdich Distillery. Gillian (or shorter Gills) returned to Islay for Week Thirty Nine - Heaven Revisited (for an earlier visit see Week Twenty Four: Heaven Truly Is A Place On Earth). Fiona went to Islay for Bothy and soul: coming to terms with the indyref. A visit to Islay inspired the Kildalton Cross Scotch Ale. A cycling visit is described in Part Four: No Sleep ‘Til Bridgend and Part Five: Boats, Bikes, and Automobiles.

A bit of Islay whisky: The Whisky Snob shares The Big Leagues – Ardbeg Ten – Dram 53 and No Swimming!! – Ardbeg Corryvreckan – Dram 54. The Malt Diary tastes a Laphroaig 18yo 1990-2008 55.6% Berry Bros & Rudd cask#2248. The Bruichladdich News blog celebrates The Budgie - 25 Years At Bruichladdich. Whisky Waffle tastes the Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

One of Islay's renewable energy projects has reached a significant milestone this week: Teresa has pictures of the Islay Community Wind Turbine Arrives at Port Askaig, this is also picked up in the IET blog in Turbine arrival at Port Askaig and earlier It’s here!. Ron went on a Site Visit Islay Community Wind Turbine after having received A Warm Islay Welcome.

On to the birdwatching and wildlife: The Islay Birds blog reports a variety of sightings, sightings from Andy and Jane and a bumper edition with many sightings. For the INHT blog Becky went on a Fungal Foray and RSPB Islay blog shares some Autumn treats.

And of course to finish the pictures: Alcademics has Snap Shots: Highland Cow on an Island. From my own Islay Pictures photoblog I've picked Kilchoman in the evening light, October sunset at Saligo Bay and Sheep near Gortantaoid, Isle of Islay.

And again one more thing: Teresa continues to impress with great pictures on her Islay Wildscapes blog. Too many to link them all, for this week I've picked Sunset at Sanaig from Ardnave, Sanaig Storm Clouds, Stormcloud over Nave Island, Dolphins off Sanaig, Barnacle Geese Roost at Dusk, Loch Gruinart, Evening Glow over Mull and Sanaig Surf, Otter, Red Deer Stag, Jura and Sunset from Granny Rock, Kilchoman.

That's it for this week now. More next week. Good night.

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Dihaoine, 17/Oct/2014

Friday Islay Picture #343 - Saligo Sunset

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

Yay, it's Friday! I've just opened a very nice bottle of Bruichladdich PC9 Islay single malt. And I've picked a nice sunset for this week's Friday Islay picture. Here it is:

Picture of an October sunset over a bay with a sandy beach

The sunset is of course at Saligo Bay, a great place for watching the sunset for most of the year. This one was in October 2013, a great end to a beautiful day.

Good night and have a great weekend!

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Diciadain, 15/Oct/2014

Islay success at the Royal National Mòd

Islay Music in stencil

The Royal National Mòd is currently (10 - 17 October 2014) taking place in Inverness. Of course there were (and still are) quite a few Islay participants and they are quite successful. Or as Mary put it:

Wow! They're going to need a bigger @Calmac ferry to Islay to bring back all the #Mod medals the kids won today http://t.co/Z9ssvHwKwh

— Mary Galbraith (@Mary_Galbraith) October 13, 2014

I hope there will be further videos, but to start with here's one winning performance:

YouTube: Coisir Bun-Sgoil Port Ilein a' bhuannaich duais Susan Paterson bho Calmac

This was Port Ellen Primary winning the Susan Paterson Caledonian MacBrayne Trophy. But that's not all: The Morris sisters were very successful in the solo singing competition, Sisters’ success at Inverness mod as the Press and Journal reports. Checking out the results from Monday you'll find Port Ilein (Port Ellen) mentioned 14 times, Còisir Òg Ghàidhlig Ìle (Islay Youth community choir) shows up 12 times (two wins and several other trophies, also one inidividual win by Lewis Davey), Bowmore also wins a prize, taking the tally to 27 for the day (I hope I haven't overlooked anything).

Looking at today's results I spotted Fergus Muir and Kirsten Laurie with one win and two seconds. I'm not sure if/how many Islay participants there will be, but I assume there will still be some opportunities for more silverware for Islay on Thursday and Friday, possibly in the Highland Dancing or the senior choir events, where the Islay Gaelic Choir will be competing. Fingers crossed.

PS: I've just found another clip of a Còisir Bun-sgoil Port Ilein performance.

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Diluain, 13/Oct/2014

Summer sailing in the Southern Hebrides including Islay

Islay on Video written in stencil

With summer kind of coming to an end (well, it's wet, rainy and cold in the south of England, although it's still warm and sunny on Islay) I thought I'll share a video of the summer now past. It takes us a bit further than just Islay, on to the Clyde and around the Southern Hebrides:

YouTube: Our Zuma Summer

Gigha is at around 3:00 min, they arrive on Islay at around 4:15 min. Some mixed weather as you would expect from a Scottish summer, but mainly some beautiful sunny days with beautiful views from their yacht. I hope you enjoyed watching and following them on their journey.

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Didòmhnaich, 12/Oct/2014

Islay Blogging Roundup #309

Islay Blogging Roundup in stencil

Autumn certainly has arrived now I believe, at least in West Berkshire. It has cooled down markedly over the last week, let's see how long I can hold out until I cave in and turn the heating on. I've been busy with a variety of things this weekend, booking my Islay visit in November and learning about The Data Scientist’s Toolbox. But now it's time for this week's Islay mentions in the blogs:

To start with a slightly unusual find, a German blog entry Buchmesse – Wie auf einem anderen Planeten about a book fair mentions a German crime novel (don't know if any translations are planned) set on Islay.

Moving on to the Islay whisky mentions: The German Alkoblog writes Tausend Höllenhunde: Ardbeg 10 im Test. From the other side of the planet Whisky Waffle writes about Jim McEwan: the Rock-Star of Whisky (and also reviews the Laphroaig 10 Year Old). Bozzy tastes the Big Peat… and Drink Spirits has a Review: Laphroaig Cairdeas 2014 Amontillado Edition Whisky. Again from Germay we can read Botschaften aus dem "Hinterzimmer": Neue Ardbeg Embassy wird in Berlin eröffnet. Serge compares Port Charlotte vs. Octomore Islay Barley on WhiskyFun.com. On the Bruichladdich news blog we can read about The Laddiewaggon in Germany and Port Charlotte Islay Barley Launched.

Kind of whisky related, yet somehow different, Lagavulin 16 Makes History…Drunk History. The Whisky Lassie has Can you say light bulb!? Virtual tour of Islay whiskies…

On Great Drams we can read about Memories of a 1985 visit to Bowmore while the Perpetual Pilgrim's visit to Scotland included Islay.

On Posie's Blog we learn The Maternity Wing turns into a Nursery… and the Dower House team tells us "All that glitters is not gold it's copper!". Lots of new entries on the Our Learning Blog of Port Ellen Primary, including The Cheeky Chicks, a look back at the Book Festival, an introduction to Mrs Regli from Switzerland and information about the Commonwealth War Graves Commision Ceremony.

For the birdwatching and wildlife we start with the Islay Birds blog again, where we read about Whooper Swans over Port Ellen, a variety of sightings and some bird count numbers. The INHT blog marks the end of the season with Free-ing the fishes. The RSPB Islay blog has More arrivals… to report and information about the Brent goose journey.

To close of course the pictures again: James Collett shares a Sunset At The Big Strand, Islay. From my own Islay Pictures photoblog I've picked Moon over Coull in October 2010, Lagavulin and Dunvaig Castle from the Islay ferry and Wave breaking over Port Charlotte pier, Isle of Islay.

And again one more thing: Teresa has posted a lot of great pictures on her Islay Wildscapes blog again. Some I've picked (but there are plenty more on the blog) include Barnacle Geese, Gruinart, Stormy Sunset over Kilchoman and Loch Gorm, Stormclouds at Dusk, Loch Gorm, Sanaig, Sunset at Loch Gruinart, Loch Gruinart Sunset from Craigens and 4.4m High Tide at Craigens, Loch Gruinart

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Dihaoine, 10/Oct/2014

Friday Islay Picture #342 - Paps of Jura

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

Yay, it's Friday evening. The weekend starts here. Had a pizza and beer earlier, now have moved on to Laphroaig PX Cask and dark chocolate. Loud music playing on the internet stream. But don't worry, I haven't forgotten the Friday Islay picture. For today I've picked a wonderful view we enjoyed during the Islay walking week in April 2014:

Picture of a view from a hill across a sound to three high mountains

This is a view from Dùn Bhorariac across the Sound of Islay to Jura. Of course the main feature on Jura the three Paps of Jura. While we were walking on Islay another group had climbed Beinn a'Chaolais, the Pap closest to us.

That's all I've got for tonight. I'll post a larger version of the picture on the Islay Pictures photoblog on Saturday. Good night and have a great weekend!

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Diardaoin, 09/Oct/2014

Siar CD launch party on Islay this Friday

Islay Music in stencil

Three weeks ago I mentioned the excellent debut album Testing the Water by Islay band Siar. If you are on Islay at the moment there are some more good news, as there will be a launch party this Friday, 10/Oct/2014, evening in Port Charlotte:

Picture of the Siar CD cover

The launch will take place from 21:00 to 23:00 this Friday at the Port Charlotte Hotel. After the launch itself there will be a ‘free for all’ session where everyone who plays an instrument can join in. Sounds like a great evening to me. For more information and other updates check the Siar Facebook page and/or the Siar on Twitter account.

If you're not on Islay and/or can't make it to the launch, the album is also available online at Google Play and iTunes. I hope you'll like it, I think it's excellent.

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Diciadain, 08/Oct/2014

Surfing on Islay in October

Islay on Video written in stencil

How about a bit of action tonight? A bit of windsurfing on Islay? Well, I think I've got just the right thing for you there. Doug Paton takes us out on his surfboard on a breezy day in Laggan Bay:

YouTube: Islay Oct 2014 Edit

Hope you enjoyed getting out on to the water, I loved the perspective of the helmet camera. Made it almost look like being there myself, except that I don't actually know how to windsurf. But that's how I imagine it would be being out there surfing the waves.

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