IslayBlog.com -> Home

IslayBlog.com

Diardaoin, 10/Apr/2014

Gone walking on Islay

Islay Events written in stencil

It's been much quieter than here than I had planned (some longer than hoped for days in the day job) and now it's going to go even quieter: I'm leaving for Islay tomorrow, for anyone who remotely knows me it should be fairly obvious for what.

Picture of two walkers and a dog walking along a northern coast

Yes, of course it's Islay walking week time again. Having been on at least one walk on every single one of the walking weeks since they started in 2003 I'm really looking forward to the very latest edition. I've written about this year's walks earlier, no change to that.

As usual it will be quiet here while I'm away, but phone signal and/or wifi permitting I will aim to post on my @islayblog Twitter account and on IslayBlog on Tumblr. Hope to see you on Islay!

Sharing and discussing. Opening up the discussion. Have your say:

Share ‘Gone walking on Islay’:

Tell me and others what you think: Leave a direct comment on ‘Gone walking on Islay’ for all to see.

Advertising

Diluain, 07/Apr/2014

Armin's Little Islay Guide v6 is out!

Islay News in stencil

Well, this took much longer than it should have done, but finally it's done. I've just published the sixth edition of Armin's Little Islay Guide, a printable Islay guide. Hopefully in time for the 2014 Islay holiday season.

Screenshot of the cover of Armin's Little Islay Guide

I had hoped to publish it last year, but then for various reasons never got round to it. So earlier this year I set myself a goal to get it done for this holiday season. There were a few things which went backwards and forwards (like the Islay Natural History Trust centre closing and then not closing at least for now), making some of it fairly tricky. Anyway, I think it's now as good as I can get it for now.

This is also the time to thank a few people for their input (and for chasing me), in particular Ian, Irena, Sue, Andrew, James and Rosemary. I've probably missed someone, if I have thank you as well. Also thank you to all the people who have sent me positive feedback about finding the guide helpful, you are a major motivation to keep updating it.

That's pretty much all I have for now, you can download the latest version at Armin's Little Islay Guide, a printable Islay guide. If you find any errors, omissions or have any other suggestions for improvements by all means let me know, either via email or in the comments, whatever you're comfortable with. I'm also thinking about adding a few pictures to the next edition, do you think that's a good idea or would you prefer keeping it to just the text as it is now? Either way, I promise I won't wait that long until the next edition.

Sharing and discussing. Opening up the discussion. Have your say:

Share ‘Armin's Little Islay Guide v6 is out!’:

Tell me and others what you think: Leave a direct comment on ‘Armin's Little Islay Guide v6 is out!’ for all to see.

Didòmhnaich, 06/Apr/2014

Islay Blogging Roundup #290

Islay Blogging Roundup in stencil

Yes, definitely a slow Islay blogging month. After a very late night on Friday finishing an online course I signed up for I didn't get an awful lot done yesterday and just went to bed early, hence the lack of blogging last night. Had a good day today though, pretty much finishing the latest edition of Armin's Little Islay guide. If all goes to plan I'll publish it tomorrow. But for now back to the Islay mentions in the blogs this week:

Starting her new business Becky started a new blog, the Islay Welly Walks blog, not surprising the first entry is The launch of Islay Welly Walks.

A few Islay whisky related news: On the Bruichladdich News blog we find that the Mashtun Rebuild Starts. Quite a few blogs pick up on the latest Gartbreck distillery press release: Ron has Traditional Methods of Whisky Making Return to Islay, WhiskyIntelligence posts Gartbreck, the 9th Islay Distillery Aims To Revive Traditional Methods of Whisky Making – Scotch Whisky News and from Germany WhiskyExperts.net has Gartbreck wird neunte Islay Distillery. Oliver Klimek claims he can show us How To Turn Ardbeg Into Bowmore, don't try this at home, kids! Whiskynotes from Belgium had the Bruichladdich 1964 (G&M #3670-3672) and the alkoblog from Germany has the Lagavulin 16 Jahre Distillers Edition 2013 im Test. Sjoerd joined Bowmore’s Piece of Islay Twitter Tasting.

Marc Calhoun writes about Kilnave Church and Cross - Islay and Ron goes celebrity spotting in HRH Prince Albert of Monaco Just Landed on Islay. From the Yacht Albatross we can read about Our Spring Cruise, which included a visit to Islay.

On the Our Learning Blog of Port Ellen Primary we can read about the Band Trip and learn about some excellent Poetry Success. The Dower House Restoration Project reports of Embarrassing Incidents and Progress. The IECBS blog is Rising to the challenge… and reports the The final tally…

Now for the birdwatching and wildlife: On the Islay Birds Blog we find a Ruppell's Vulture (which wasn't an April Fools), sightings from various people and Bumblebees and birds. On the INHT blog we find Spring!!! and Purple Saxifrage and Marsh Fritillary Caterpillars. John Armitage provided a Brief update on E-petition followed by The E-petition is still alive and well, believe me!. The RSPB Islay blog shows Creatures great and small and asks Is that you baby, or just a brilliant disguise? And Philippa Mitchell announced My Flyers for her Barnacle project.

To close again the pictures: WhiskyExperts.net shares Whisky im Bild: Port Ellen von der Fähre aus gesehen while Mark Unsworth ponders Big Or Little Stopper ? Ron shares some waves in Machir Bay and in James Collett's Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Texture we find an Islay beach. Patrick Mackie shares Kilchoman barrels and a beautiful Corryvreckan sunset. From my own Islay Pictures photoblog I've picked A cloudy view over Bunnahabhain and the Sound of Islay from Sgarbh Breac, MV Hebridean Isles at McArthur’s Head lighthouse at the Sound of Islay and Rocks, sand and waves in Saligo Bay (2), Isle of Islay.

That's it for this week. The next Islay blogging roundup will probably appear in 2-3 weeks, after my return from the Islay walking week.

Sharing and discussing. Opening up the discussion. Have your say:

Share ‘Islay Blogging Roundup #290’:

Tell me and others what you think: Leave a direct comment on ‘Islay Blogging Roundup #290’ for all to see.

Dihaoine, 04/Apr/2014

Friday Islay picture #323 - Walkers at Singing Sands

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

Bit of a slow start to the month, sorry I didn't blog last night, I was too tired for some reason. Anyway, it's only just over a week until WalkIslay 2014 now (Yay!), so I thought I post a picture of the 2013 edition as the Friday Islay picture:

Picture of a group of walkers

This was as most of you probably recognised at the Singing Sands near Port Ellen, we had walked here along the coast from Inveraval. A very nice walk passing Port an Eas and other places on the way.

While we won't visit the Singing Sands this year I'm very much looking forward to many great walks again this year. And on that note I'm signing off for tonight. I'm not sure yet if there will be a Friday Islay picture next week, but there will certainly be a few posts before I leave. Good night and have a great weekend.

Sharing and discussing. Opening up the discussion. Have your say:

Share ‘Friday Islay picture #323 - Walkers at Singing Sands’:

Tell me and others what you think: Leave a direct comment on ‘Friday Islay picture #323 - Walkers at Singing Sands’ for all to see.

Diciadain, 02/Apr/2014

Islay April Fools 2014

Islay Links in stencil

OK, I assume you all figured out instantly that yesterday's Islay man to take Laphroaig on mission to Mars was my contribution to this year's April Fools posts, just like last year's Ancient Illicit Distillery Discovered on Islay. But I wasn't the only one who had a go, there were others with Islay related April Fools:

To start A Wardrobe of Whisky has Diageo to release NAS Port Ellen whisky. For the non-whisky drinkers, NAS means ‘No Age Statement’ (i.e. doesn't have a 10/12/15/16/etc years old label) and seems to be a huge bone of contention among a number of whisky bloggers at the moment.

Keeping to the whisky theme Big Peat had this (not sure what you would call it, it's not really a whisky) on offer:

At long last... Here he is: Big Ginger - a medley of Islay Malt, zingy ginger & sweet spices! #bigpeat #bigginger pic.twitter.com/miJbeUvg8p

— Big Peat (@BigPeatWhisky) April 1, 2014

And to close something you might think was an April Fools, the Islay Birds blog reporting a Ruppell's Vulture having been found on Islay. No, this one is true, as among others the BBC reports today: Missing vulture Gandalf found on Scots island of Islay.

Now let's see what I can come up with next year…

Sharing and discussing. Opening up the discussion. Have your say:

Share ‘Islay April Fools 2014’:

Tell me and others what you think: Leave a direct comment on ‘Islay April Fools 2014’ for all to see.

Advertising

Dimàirt, 01/Apr/2014

Islay man to take Laphroaig on mission to Mars

Islay News in stencil

Some fascinating news reached my inbox this morning: Remember the Ardbeg in Space experiment a few years ago? Well, that feat will be trounced by a bottle of Laphroaig in a few years time if all goes to plan. How that?

After graduating from Islay High School a young man from Port Ellen, Bill Campbell, went out into the world. With a degree in engineering and chemistry from the University of Glasgow Bill moved to the US to further his studies towards a Ph.D. Closing in on his Ph.D. at Caltech (some of you might have heard of it from Sheldon and his friends in The Big Bang Theory) he joined the NASA space program.

Lo and behold Bill has now been selected to be an astronaut in the first manned flight to Mars in 2024. In exactly 10 years from now, on the 1st of April 2024, a spaceship is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral for the long journey to Mars, where it is expected to arrive almost two month later at the end of May. Yes, quite possibly during the Islay Festival 2024 an Islay man will be on Mars. But there's more, as Bill writes:

Of course I'm incredibly excited having been selected for this amazing opportunity. To my surprise we were also told to think about a small souvenir from earth we should pick to take to Mars. Obviously it can't weigh a lot, so I selected a miniature bottle of my favourite whisky from home on Islay, a Laphroaig Cask Strength. I'll also take one of the miniature Scotland flags from the FoL programme to claim my square foot of Mars.

It will probably almost get lost in the vast red desert of the Mars surface, but here is how it might look:

Picture of the Mars surface with a miniature bottle of Laphroaig

Isn't that amazing? An Ileach selected to be on the first flight to Mars! And he picks a local whisky to take with him, even though I doubt he will be allowed to actually drink it during the mission. Alcohol and space travel probably don't go well together.

Congratulations to Bill! If this blog is still going in 10 years I will certainly report from the launch!

Sharing and discussing. Opening up the discussion. Have your say:

Share ‘Islay man to take Laphroaig on mission to Mars’:

Tell me and others what you think: Leave a direct comment on ‘Islay man to take Laphroaig on mission to Mars’ for all to see.

Didòmhnaich, 30/Mar/2014

Islay Blogging Roundup #289

Islay Blogging Roundup in stencil

That's March almost over and the clocks have gone forward last night. Hello to longer brighter evenings. And not long to the Islay walking week, just two weeks to go. Yay! But before I leave there will still be two Islay blogging roundups to write, next week's and of course tonights. So here we go:

To start with a good bye (and hopefully also a return one day): Last week I mentioned We lost a good one today… on the RSPB blog, saying good bye to Amy after her time on Islay came to an end (she's returning to Ramsey Island). Amy took a lot of nice pictures both during her work as well as her walks, this week she posted a few memories: Machir Bay, Sunset over Machir Bay, chambered cairn on the Oa, gathering sheep on the Oa, raised beach and deer fence at Gruinart, rare snow on the Oa, around Kilchoman and to close Sunset around Grainel and Loch Gruinart. Thanks for all the great Islay blogging Amy, hope you'll be back for more.

The Island Review shares Islay: the island of whisky and Ron has a nice Stormy Weather at Lagavulin Bay video. The IET blog reports Great advances…., linked to it Another day, another fabulous total! on the IECBS blog.

After a break there are a lot of postings on the Our Learning Blog of Port Ellen Primary. They include Decimals, My Endeavour Quilt Making, Football Robots !!!, Trip To Islay High For National Science Week, Photo Competition, Taking Emily Horse Riding For Endeavour and Port Charlotte P6/7 Come To Port Ellen P6/7.

Some Islay whisky postings: Whisky und Frauen from Germany writes Das Spiel kann beginnen: neuer Ardbeg Auriverdes wird am Ardbeg Day vorgestellt and Michael Heads Distillery Manager of the Year while the Rowan Cottage blog introduces A whisky lovers dream venue for a wedding …. The Bruichladdich news blog informs us Jim McEwan Inducted Into Hall Of Fame. A few tastings: Laphroaig QA Cask 40 % on drikkelig.no and Johannes has a whole raft of notes including Bruichladdich 10 year old – The Laddie Ten review, Elements of Islay Lg3 review and Lagavulin 16 year old review. Time for whisky from Australia Tasted #71 through #75: Kilchoman (#101drams).

On to the birdwatching and wildlife: On the GWCT Woodcock Watch Blog we find Meet our new woodcock and track them online, three of them were caught and tagged on Islay. The Islay birds blog reports from monthly bird nerds meeting, has sightings by Peter as well as the Bolton Birders and more sightings by the Lincs and the Bolton birders. On the RSPB Islay blog we can read about the Oa coast and hear about Tales of the expected.

Of course there were pictures: Darren Robinson was in Islay Heaven….. and James Collett shares a view from Ronachan Point, Kintyre to Islay and Jura. Ron has casks at Bunnahabhain. From my own Islay Pictures photoblog I've picked Starry night sky over Machir Bay, Otter on the Jura Shore of the Sound of Islay (2) and of course the 900th picture since the relaunch, Colourful June sunset, Isle of Islay.

And finally something from some visitors who haven't made it to Islay just yet (well, they might have by now, but they were certainly delayed): Inte Helt Enligt Planen. Fingers crossed all turned out well and I can link to an update from their time on Islay next roundup.

Sharing and discussing. Opening up the discussion. Have your say:

Share ‘Islay Blogging Roundup #289’:

Tell me and others what you think: Leave a direct comment on ‘Islay Blogging Roundup #289’ for all to see.

Dihaoine, 28/Mar/2014

Friday Islay picture #322 - Lagavulin at the coast

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

Well then, it's Friday evening. Earlier I posted the 900th picture on my Islay Pictures photoblog since the relaunch, hopefully the colourful June sunset was an appropriate choice. Admittedly that was a repost, as I'm still working on getting all the older pictures back online. However, the Friday Islay picture is always something I haven't published before. So here's something I haven't shown before:

Picture of coastal village with a distillery, seen from coastal hills behind

A view of Lagavulin distillery and village from the hills on Islay's south coast. Apologies to the folks at Laphroaig, as this picture was taken during a walk guided by them. The equivalent (taken during the same walk) is Laphroaig warehouses and a passing ferry. On the other hand, you do get better views of Lagavulin from this side, as Laphroaig is largely hidden by the trees. You do get a nice view of Lagavulin Bay and Dunyvaig castle from the hills though.

And as the size I'm posting here is fairly small you might want to watch the photoblog on Saturday morning, where I will (as usual) post a version of this picture twice as big. Until then, good night and have a great weekend!

Sharing and discussing. Opening up the discussion. Have your say:

Share ‘Friday Islay picture #322 - Lagavulin at the coast’:

Tell me and others what you think: Leave a direct comment on ‘Friday Islay picture #322 - Lagavulin at the coast’ for all to see.

Diardaoin, 27/Mar/2014

Quick Islay news/links update

Islay News in stencil

Two quick updates and reminders to topics I posted about earlier is all you're going to get today. Here we go, Yan's Kitchen now has a website and the investment deadline for the Islay community wind turbine project is rapidly approaching:

Among a few mixed Islay links in early February I mentioned Yan's Kitchen was going to open in March. Well, it is now open and as of today the Yan's Kitchen Seafood, Grill & Tapas website is online.

Back in January the Islay community wind project launched. On the Islay Energy Community Benefit Society you could read about the latest investment/funding status, but the main reason to mention it again is that the closing deadline for investments is now rapidly approaching. Check the latest in Another day, another fabulous total!

That is all. Good night.

Sharing and discussing. Opening up the discussion. Have your say:

Share ‘Quick Islay news/links update’:

Tell me and others what you think: Leave a direct comment on ‘Quick Islay news/links update’ for all to see.

Diciadain, 26/Mar/2014

Roberto Diana live at Kiloran Bay, Colonsay

Colonsay Excursions written in stencil

Decided to take you over to Islay's neighbour Colonsay tonight for some very nice music, thanks to the @visitcolonsay Twitter stream mentioning it yesterday. Here is Italian (from Sardinia I believe) musician Roberto Diana performing above Kiloran Bay:

YouTube: Roberto Diana - S'Astore live @ Kiloran Bay, Colonsay (Scotland)

You can find more of his music on the Roberto Diana YouTube channel, he also seems to be a regular visitor to Colonsay. He played at the Ceòl Cholasa Colonsay Music Festival 2013 and this video was recorded some time before that.

I hope you've enjoyed the music as well.

Sharing and discussing. Opening up the discussion. Have your say:

Share ‘Roberto Diana live at Kiloran Bay, Colonsay’:

Tell me and others what you think: Leave a direct comment on ‘Roberto Diana live at Kiloran Bay, Colonsay’ for all to see.

Advertising