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Dihaoine, 22/Apr/2016

Friday Islay Picture #384 - Waves at Sunset

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

Almost a week that I'm back from my first Islay visit for 2016, time to get blogging here again. I'll write a more detailed report about the Islay walking week over the weekend, for today there will be just a new Friday Islay picture, taken one evening during my recent visit. It's a sunset viewed from Saligo Bay in April, during high tide and a fierce cold north easterly wind:

Picture of a sunset behind breaking waves

Despite it being very cold in the icy wind the view was beautiful, the clouds on the horizon kept changing colours and shapes while beautifully shaped ‘surfer waves’ kept rolling in from the Atlantic.

That's all I have for tonight. Time to enjoy a few birthday drams (yes, it's my birthday today, as usual I tried to keep it fairly quiet, but as usual it sneaked out anyway) from Bruichladdich and Laphroaig while listening to some of my favourite music. I'll post a larger version of the sunset (larger as in twice as big) on the Islay Pictures photoblog on Saturday morning. Good night.

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Diardaoin, 07/Apr/2016

10 Years of IslayBlog.com

Islay Fun in stencil

Where have the years gone? This Saturday it will be 10 years ago that I registered the domain islayblog.com on 9/Apr/2006. And while I'm not blogging here as much as I used to (the Islay Pictures photoblog has taken some of the attention) this blog is far from dead. But as I will be on my way to Islay for the Islay Walking Week on Saturday I'm writing this up now. Let's take a look back and some general thoughts about what happened with the blog over the years:

As already mentioned I registered the domain on the 9th of April 2006, thinking a dedicated blog about Islay would be a good idea after having visited Islay for 8 years then. I had been blogging in a more general form (and with some interruptions still do, you can find the most recent incarnation of my personal blog at the ‘new’ Ministry of Propaganda) since June 2001 and had a dedicated Islay section on my first website since 1999, so I wasn't entering completely new territory. While admittedly it took me until May 2006 to fully launch the blog with its first post I did hint at my intentions before leaving for the Islay walking week 2006 (and the WayBackMachine even has what first appeared as a placeholder until I could go live).

IslayBlog.com banner with added 10 years

I settled on a design fairly early on and have only made a few fairly minor tweaks since then, I still mostly like it, also I like consistency and recognisability (is that a word?). Blogging to me is to a large part about linking to other sites and interesting things (for this blog about Islay and its neighbours) on the web, I think I've done a fairly decent job of that. Many of those links will now be dead as sites have disappeared or moved, but many will also still work for many years to come. After initially not having comments due to a lack of technical capability I added a comment system later. Some of these were lost when the service I was using initially was shut down. Hopefully the service I'm using now will be around for many more years to come. Comments and feedback are very important I think, I've had some very valuable conversations in the comments providing me with new insight and information.

I could try to pull together some statistics like the number of posts, but I don't feel that is really that interesting. I think what's important is that hopefully my readers enjoy what I'm doing here, that the posts inform, entertain and educate them, that they get something from them.

So this is also a thank you to you, my readers, visitors, commenters and more. Some of you I've met in person over the years, others I've only met online. Either way, it's great having you, without you there would be no IslayBlog.com.

On to the next 5, 10, 15 years?

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Dimàirt, 05/Apr/2016

Evening paddle (and fishing) at Kilnaughton, Islay

Islay on Video written in stencil

How about a nice and relaxing video of going paddling and fishing tonight? Well, Ross Bassnet to the rescue, because he filmed and uploaded a video of doing just that on the south coast of Islay:

YouTube: Kayak fishing Islay - paddle at kilnaughten

Some great views of the lighthouse in some beautiful evening sunshine, I hope you liked the video and found it relaxing as well.

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Disathairne, 02/Apr/2016

John MacLellan Tribute Fund

Islay News in stencil

Last weekend John MacLellan sadly passed away, known to many from his work at Bunnahabhain and Kilchoman distilleries during a long career in the whisky industry on Islay. I've written about my memories of John here, other thoughts and memories are at Spirits Business, WhiskyCast and ScotchWhisky.com. In John's memory a tribute fund has been set up:

Picture of John MacLellan from Islay

John's wife Lindy and their children Rosie and Sandy have set up a John MacLellan Tribute Fund at the Beatson Cancer Charity to help raising funds for Beatson who helped to care for John. When they set up the fund they said they were hoping to raise £5,000 for Beatson, as of writing this the total was already standing at £5,859. May be £10,000 can be reached after all, doubling the £5,000? If you knew John and would still like to donate why not head over now.

I understand the funeral service took place at Kilchoman today, I'm going to pour a wee dram of Kilchoman Islay single malt whisky (in a Bunnahabhain glass) in memory of John tonight.

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Dihaoine, 01/Apr/2016

Friday Islay Picture #383 - Laphroaig Distillery

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

OK, the fun is over. Of course the WhiskyLand™ theme park to be built on Islay was an April Fools joke. Most of you spotted it immediately, but some were getting a bit worried. Anyway, what could be better than a fake theme park than a picture of a real Islay distillery as a Friday Islay picture now? Here you go, a beautiful view of Laphroaig in the June evening sun:

Picture of Laphroaig distillery

As usual I will post a larger version (larger as in twice as big) on the Islay Pictures photoblog on Saturday morning. To go back to the topic of April Fools, for those who'd like to see the ones from previous years on this blog, here's a list:

And that's enough April Fools. Good night and have a great weekend!

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WhiskyLand™ theme park to be built on Islay

Islay News in stencil

What is one of the main things Islay is known for? Of course the famous Islay single malt whisky. This fame will soon strengthen even more, as Islay has been selected as the future home of the first WhiskyLand™ theme park to be opened in Scotland.

I've been told not to reveal the backers behind the plan, but it is a well positioned global conglomerate with many decades of experience in the theme park field. The group is planning to open three WhiskyLand™ theme parks in Scotland, Islay will be the trailblazer.

Some of the attractions will include:

Several locations are currently under review, including just outside of Port Ellen, near Bowmore and possibly even at Uiskentuie:

Picture of a shore with a pebble beach

Assuming everything goes to plan the park is expected to open in spring 2018, just in time for the Islay Festival 2018.

What are your thoughts, do you think this will be good for Islay and whisky? Will you be visiting?

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Diciadain, 16/Mar/2016

Video: Otters at Ardbeg, Islay

Islay on Video written in stencil

Yay, a rare entry on this blog. Yesterday evening Chris of Norfolk Birding alerted me to his latest Islay birding tour report, an interesting read with a lot of nice pictures. While the main purpose of their Islay visit was of course birdwatching they also saw some other wildlife. Their sightings included these otters near Ardbeg:

YouTube: Otters

While only a short video I think it is very nice to watch these fascinating animals. For some more Islay wildlife also head over to Ron's blog, where you will find pictures of Dolphins in Loch Indaal.

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Diardaoin, 25/Feb/2016

Rhinns of Islay lighthouse cottages for sale?

Islay News in stencil

Not really sure what to think of this one. Earlier today I came across a website claiming to have information that the cottages at the Rhinns of Islay lighthouse would be up for sale in 2016. You can read more on these pages:

Picture of a lighthouse on a cloudy day

The only source for this information is the website mentioned above, so I don't know how much truth is in this. It could happen, or nothing could come of it. Should the cottages come up for sale I wonder about some of the practicalities:

To start with the cottages are obviously not on Islay, but on the small island of Orsay. To get to it you would need to use a boat from Port Wemyss or Portnahaven. I suspect especially during the winter months this could be tricky or even impossible at times. I wonder if there is a reliable water supply on Orsay, if there is it must be a well or a borehole. I assume there is a power supply as that is needed for the lighthouse. But how reliable is that? Of course there is backup power for the lighthouse, but does that cover the houses as well? And how about a telephone line, I doubt you will be able to get broadband internet.

Anyway, let's see what happens and if they really come up for sale.

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Dihaoine, 12/Feb/2016

Friday Islay Picture #382 - Wave Splash

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

Running a bit late and strictly speaking it's past my (new) bedtime, but then again it's Friday. Which means I should post a Friday Islay picture. The Islay Pictures photoblog kind of had a Colonsay Excursion theme the last few days with several pictures from Islay's neighbour Colonsay, so I thought it's time to tilt the balance back to Islay. How about a picture from Saligo Bay?

Picture of a wave splash against a rock

Admittedly not a big splash, but I think a very photogenic one. I like the way how it arches back as it hits the rocks, milliseconds before collapsing into nothing. A unique yet constantly repeating event in Saligo Bay. As usual I'll post a larger version for the full glory on the photoblog on Saturday morning. Have a great weekend!

PS: This entry was written while drinking a Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Islay Barley and listening to The Gaslight Anthem - "45", loud. So there. Now you know all you need to know about this post.

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Diciadain, 10/Feb/2016

Video about the Port Charlotte Hotel, Islay

Islay on Video written in stencil

Found an interesting video today about the Port Charlotte Hotel on the Rhinns of Islay. It is mainly an interview with Grahame Allison, who with his wife owns and runs the hotel, about the significance of Gaelic, traditional music and more for his hotel business:

YouTube: Port Charlotte Hotel - Gaelic Case Study

He is a member of the Islay Gaelic Choir, a big supporter of the Islay Sessions and the regular live music events in the hotel. You can watch an example of it in the Traditional Music at the Port Charlotte Hotel video I recorded a few years back.

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