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Dihaoine, 24/Apr/2015

Friday Islay Picture #360 - Low tide in Saligo Bay

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Ooops, is it really already almost a month since I last blogged here? Well, I have a few excuses. Took a break over Easter, then had to get ready for walkislay, then spent a week on Islay walking and more, then had to catch up on a few things and finally took a break for my birthday. Something like that. But here's a picture from my Islay visit, a sunny beach view:

Picture of a beach at low tide

Saligo Bay looked quite different this spring, a lot of the sand having been washed away in the winter storms. There were a lot of stones exposed I can't recall ever seeing before. Hopefully a lot of the sand will be washed up again over the coming months, otherwise it will be sad sight at high tide.

I'll post a larger version of the picture on the Islay Pictures photoblog on Saturday morning. But for now, good night!

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Diciadain, 01/Apr/2015

Islay April Fools 2015

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Today being the 1st of April of course there were quite a few April Fools jokes around. On this blog the tradition started with Islay's indepence declaration back in 2007 continued with this year's luxury hotel high above Machir Bay. But this wasn't the only April Fools with an Islay link:

My favourite came from The Whisky Exchange crew with No More Peaty Whisky From Islay. A very well prepared effort with impressive graphics and a special Laphroaig.

In a similar vein Thomas from Germany wrote EU verbannt Phenole aus dem schottischen Whisky! (EU to ban phenols from Scottish whisky), although he didn't have any fancy graphics.

Not directly Islay related (although of course Islay is home to an RNLI station), but I also quite enjoyed the Navigator’s Intrinsic Technology Wave Interface Terminal on their Facebook page.

And those are the ones I'm aware of for this year, if I missed anything and you know any further Islay related April Fools please leave a link in the comments. Let's see if I can come up with another one next year…

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Luxury hotel to be built above Machir Bay, Islay

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Some very interesting but I suspect also possibly quite controversial news coming in from Islay today. Many of you will know the old radar station high above Machir Bay. From here you can have some beautiful views over Kilchoman beach and beyond. Now imagine waking up in the morning or enjoying your meals through the day to a view like this:

Picture of a view over a bay with a wide sandy beach from a hill overlooking the bay

I suspect it won't come cheap, but once the luxury hotel planned at the site of the old radar station opens its doors this could be the view guests will enjoy. At this point it's unclear who exactly is behind the project driven by an international conglomerate, one of the rumoured backers is Donald Trump.

The hotel is expected to be a fairly small boutique hotel with only 10 rooms, all with stunning views. The dining room will of course overlook Machir Bay as well, just imagine enjoying a sunset dinner from up there.

The buildings are expected to be all single floor to fit ‘sympathetically’ into the landscape, eco friendly materials are expected to be used for a turf roof building. It will replace the existing remaining buildings from the old radar stations, which are largely in a bad state of repair:

Picture of some old buildings on the top of a hill overlooking the sea

Work is going to start soon and the opening of the hotel is anticipated for the 1st of April 2016, in good time for the 2016 Islay Festival.

What do you think, would you like to stay at this hotel?

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Diluain, 30/Mar/2015

Crabs in Portnahaven, Islay

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It's kind of an Islay wildlife day today. Earlier today I posted pictures of a Marsh Fritillary and an Eider Duck on my photoblog. And tonight on here I'm going to share Tom's video of Crabs in Portnahaven:

YouTube: Portnahaven crabs

Portnahaven is usually better known for its Seals, but it looks like it might be worth watching out for crabs as well. Not to forget some of the birds passing the area.

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Didòmhnaich, 29/Mar/2015

Islay Blogging Roundup #324

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It's approaching two months now since the last Islay Blogging Roundup, so I thought I'll better have a go at another one. It probably won't be a very long and detailed one as I'm running a bit late after the changing of the clocks last night, but better than nothing. Here we go, a few interesting blog entries covering Islay:

Neil and friends from Northamptonshire visited Islay and covered their visit in a number of posts: The journey to Islay, Birds of Islay, Islay Birds Monday, Islay Birds Tuesday, Jura, Islay Birds Thursday and Back from Islay. Ade and Caroline from Cambridgeshire also visited mainly for birdwatching and wrote about it in Islay,22nd March, Islay,23rd March, Islay and Jura,24th March, Islay,25th March and Islay,26th March.

A bit of Islay whisky: Petja has two birthday presents, Laphroaig 200 Years and Ardbeg 200 Years. Brendan continued with his series on Islay started in January, so far added were Whisky Review #6: Laphroaig, The Islay Series – Distillery #6: Laphroaig, Diageo’S Ban On Photography: Not The Full Picture?, Whisky Review #5: Ardbeg, The Islay Series – Distillery #5: Ardbeg, Whisky Review #4: Bunnahabhain, The Islay Series – Distillery #4: Bunnahabhain, Whisky Review #3: Kilchoman, The Islay Series – Distillery #3: Kilchoman, Whisky Review #2: Lagavulin, The Islay Series – Distillery #2: Lagavulin and Whisky Review #1: Caol Ila. A German blog writes about a different way to serve whisky, Ardbeg Ceò – Der Nebel von Islay.

Joan Mitjavila returned to Islay and Jura and wrote about it in his blog (use Google Translate to read it): Visita a Islay: Port Ellen, Visita a Islay: Laphroaig i Lagavulin, Visita a Islay: Ardbeg i les runes de Kildalton, Visita a Islay: Bowmore i el centre de l'illa, Visita a Islay: Bruichladdich, Kilchoman i el Loch Gruinart, Visita a Islay: Runes de Finlaggan, Caol Ila i Bunnahabhain, Visita a Jura, and Tast dels maltes d'Islay i Jura. Klaus looks back in Scotland trip 2014 – part 3: Islay (including Caol Ila, Bowmore, Kilchoman).

The Alcdemics try to answer the question Islay, Scotland During the Feis Ile Festival: A Good Time to Visit? after a Distillery Visit: Bunnahabhain Single Malt Scotch Whisky on Islay.

Clive Booth writes about his exciting project in Documenting life on the Isle of Islay: Part One and Documenting life on the Isle of Islay: Part Two.

A family walking around Britain brings us The Coastal Path in Scotland – Machir Bay, The Coastal Path in Scotland – Harvest Moon and The Coastal Path in Scotland – Jura. Ailish has Five Go on an Island Adventure.

The IECBS News Blogs has three updates, Finally Up and Running, Its up again and First Generation. The Dower House crew brings us From The Dower House Window, Befores, Afters and Inbetweens. Annual Update-Part 2 and Way Too Long, Annual Update - Part 1. On the Our Learning Blog we can read about Bronagh’s Trip to Westminster, Country Dancing and The Last Week of Swimming. Justin exclaimed Crikey – it’s almost spring! a while ago. Ron writes about Aurora Borealis over Islay tonight, announces The new Islay Image Gallery is Ready and reports the Iconic Bruichladdich Still on its way to Ireland.

Some more Islay wildlife and birdwatching, Gordon Yates reports from his latest visit in Islay Whiteout and Goose Feast. John Armitage writes about Gordon and Pauline in Islay visitors come of age!. Struggling to pick a specific entry from the Islay Birds blog as there are so many, I'd say just go over an discover.

To close again few pictures: Amy has a Sunset at Saligo, Island of Islay, Scotland. A different type of picture from Carolyn, a Linocut of Portnahaven on Islay. Klaus brings us Whisky in pictures: Bruichladdich still maintenance. James Collett has some great pictures as usual, including Jura Deer, Jura From Ronachan, Port Charlotte Pier and View From Claddach, Islay. Mark Unsworth writes about Photographing Daffodils. And of course there were plenty pictures posted on my own Islay Pictures photoblog.

That's it for today, I hope you found something interesting.

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Disathairne, 28/Mar/2015

An Islay whisky inspired tune

Islay Music in stencil

Oh, well, while I didn't really get anything much done today I'm at least managing another Islay blog entry. Thought I'd share a nice little Islay whisky inspired tune I found today, performed by Gillian Campbell:

Gillian describes her inspiration for the tune as follows:

The concept of the tune is to create the effect of hopping around the seven distilleries on Islay: Ardbeg, Bowore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabian, Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Laphroig....and being a little worse for wear after!

I hope you enjoyed the music, may be with a wee dram of Islay single malt whisky?

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Dihaoine, 27/Mar/2015

Friday Islay Picture #359 - Wreck in Machir Bay

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

From yesterday's Islay Pictures Photoblog milestone back to today's Friday Islay picture. I'm not sure if it's the most photographed or the second most photographed wreck on Islay, but I should think it's in the top two. It's the wreck on the beach in Machir Bay:

Picture of a wreck on a beach

This is a view from 2008, the wreck quite visible (as I believe it is in early 2015 when I'm writing this). At other times it's almost covered by the sand, to reappear after some time.

That's all I've got for today, good night and have a nice weekend!

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Diardaoin, 26/Mar/2015

An Islay Pictures Photoblog milestone

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Almost missed it, so I hadn't really prepared anything special for it. And by now the number is one higher anyway. But this morning I almost by chance noticed a nice milestone on my Islay Pictures photoblog after having relaunched it in December 2012:

Screenshot of an admin panel from a blog

Having had to ‘abandon’ the previous incarnation of the blog at over 1,300 pictures I'm quite please to now be back at 1,500 pictures. Of those approx 1,200 are ‘reposts’ (i.e. posted previously on the old blog and posted again on the new blog) and 300 are ‘new’ (i.e. not posted before) pictures. I hope to continue for a long time and take it to 2,000 and hopefully more over the coming years.

In addition to the pictures there are approaching 6,000 comments of various types, these include direct comments, likes and comments people left on Facebook, comments and +1s on Google+ as well as mentions on Twitter. It's very nice to get so much feedback, so thank you everyone for it!

Unfortunately there's also a frustrating part to it, in the same time I've also had to deal with over 5,000 spam comments. All the spammers are doing is wasting their and my time, as all comments have to be approved by me. Once someone had a direct comment approved by me their next comments should go through automatically, but obviously the spammers will never get past the first comment to start with.

But enough of that, I'll pour myself a wee dram of Islay single malt whisky tonight to celebrate. I hope you'll enjoy the 1,501st picture, which is a View of Soldier’s Rock, The Oa, Isle of Islay.

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Didòmhnaich, 22/Mar/2015

Clive Booth photographs the RNLI Islay lifeboat

Islay on Video written in stencil

Sorry, no Islay blogging roundup just yet. My walk around a sunny West Berkshire this afternoon took longer that I had planned and pulling together a roundup this evening would take too long. Instead a link to some great Islay pictures and a making of video:

Clive Booth, who has been visiting Islay for over 20 years, is documenting life on Islay. To start with he's working with the RNLI Islay crew. You can see some of the pictures and read more about the project in Documenting life on the Isle of Islay: Part One.

In addition to the pictures there's also a short ‘making of’ video filmed by Harold Hastie:

RNLI / Canon EOS 5Ds from Clive Booth on Vimeo.

Quite impressive I'm sure you'll agree. Either his camera must have some excellent water proof sealing or he's using some underwater housing. Anyway, looking very much forward to further pictures and the final results of Clive's project. Probably also worth following @cliveboothphoto on Twitter for updates.

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Disathairne, 21/Mar/2015

Hen Harrier in flight on Islay (video)

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Some beautiful and rare Islay wildlife today in the form of a very nice video. A tour from Oriole Birding visited Islay in February and had a number of great sightings including this beautiful male Hen Harrier:

YouTube: Hen Harrier male Loch Gorm, Islay 17th February 2015

Isn't it an amazing and beautiful bird? Islay is one of their strongholds in the UK (there are almost none in England, some in Scotland and several on Islay), you stand a quite good chance of seeing one if you look out for it. The area around Loch Gorm and over to Loch Gruinart is quite good area to spot them on the wing.

For more from Oriole Birding try their Latest News and their @OrioleBirding Twitter account.

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