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Disathairne, 30/Aug/2014

Islay Pipe Band at the World Championships 2014

Islay Music in stencil

One month after the Islay Pipe Band finished 4th at the European Championship the biggest competition in the annual pipe band calendar took place, the World Championships. It took place in Glasgow again with several hundred bands competing in the various grades. Here is the Islay Pipe Band performing in the Grade 3A finals:

YouTube: Isle of Islay: World Championships 2014

Because of the large number of entries there were two stages: In the qualifying Islay finished an excellent 3rd of 14. Unfortunately their luck left them a bit in the finals, where they were placed 10th out of 12 bands (although they were equal points with the 8th place). I'm not sure how the scoring/placing works, it seems the Ensemble Place is the deciding factor if bands are on equal points. Explanations appreciated.

That's the season almost finished, the final competition for the Islay Pipe Band is at the Cowal Games today, but as of writing this I don't have the results. Fingers crossed for a successful end to the season!

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Dihaoine, 29/Aug/2014

Friday Islay Picture #336 - Mull and Jura

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

Don't drink and blog, they say. Well, I have to break that rule today. Earlier this evening I had a very nice steak with some nice Australian red wine (there's no wine made on Islay, so I think I'm excused). I've since moved on to the Laphroaig An Cuan Mòr I bought when I flew to Germany last week (it's a travel retail bottling). And to make matters worse the Friday Islay picture is only an Islay picture in as much as that it was taken from the Islay ferry:

Picture of a small lighthouse with a few islands in the background

This is the lighthouse at Carragh an t-Sruith on Jura with Mull in the distance, seen from the Islay ferry departing from Port Askaig. Admittedly not a view you'll get with the bare eye, this was taken with my 80-400mm lens fully extended to 400mm. The big mountain is Ben More on Mull, the only island Munro outside the Isle of Skye.

With that I'm going to say good night, have a great weekend!

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Diciadain, 27/Aug/2014

More Bagpipes and Islay distilleries

Islay Music in stencil

Some of you might remember the Bagpipes and Islay distilleries post from two weeks ago. In it I introduced you to two videos by Dudelsackspieler Thomas from Germany, they featured Lagavulin and Ardbeg distillery. Since then Thomas has released two more videos of Islay distilleries, I'll start with Laphroaig:

YouTube: Laphroaig, Islay, Scotland

With the three southern Islay distilleries covered Thomas moved to the centre of Islay, to Bowmore:

YouTube: Bowmore

I'm not sure if that's all from Islay now or if there's more to come. I have a vague memory of Thomas mentioning somewhere that he didn't have video of all Islay distilleries, but I'm not entirely sure. If Thomas reads this I hope he can clarify in the comments.

For me it's time for a wee dram of Laphroaig An Cuan Mòr.

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Dimàirt, 26/Aug/2014

The MUNCHIES visit Islay

Islay on Video written in stencil

Apologies for those of you who were waiting for the Islay blogging roundup yesterday, unfortunately I was ill and didn't feel up for it. On the way to recovery now, but not enough time for a roundup. So instead a video from a visit to Islay (and Mull) for whisky (and lobster):

YouTube: Meet the Steampunk Lobster King: MUNCHIES Guide to Scotland (Episode 2)

The video is part of a series:

Good showing from Islay, although seeing the Steampunk folks on Mull I wonder if there are any on Islay? Or do Bruichladdich consider themselves as Islay's Steampunk distillery?

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Dimàirt, 19/Aug/2014

Mixed Islay and Jura links

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Thought I should do one of those posts again where I post a variety of links to other sites and pages mentioning Islay. Or Islay's neighbour Jura. Here we go:

Having seen dozens of tweets and other mentions of it tonight I thought I'll start with a mention of Bruichladdich's Botanist gin in the NYT: The Scottish Gin That’s Perfect for a Late Summer New York Cocktail.

Some very old Islay related history, starting with FIRST WORLD WAR: Bedford’s Tartan Army - how a war diary from Somme hero inspired historian. The diary in question was by Private Hugh McArthur, an 18 year old Argyll & Sutherland Highlander from Islay. You can read more about him (and find a picture) about half way down on 'The Bedford Highlanders'.

In the Telegraph's The 10 best islands in Scotland Islay and Jura are listed as numbers 1 and 2. Unfortunately Colonsay and Gigha were missed off the list.

Neil Ansell writes about visiting the wilderness on Islay's neighbour in the Guardian: Nostalgia trip: an emotional return to the Isle of Jura, Scotland.

The Sydney Morning Herald asks Why is peated whisky so polarising?, of course mentioning several Islay single malts.

I should probably give this it's own post (and once I had the time to download and listen to their CD I will do it), but the Islay Gaelic Choir has a new website and has just released a new CD, Sruth Air a’ Charraig (you can listen to a preview on the page).

I'm going to leave it at that for today, I hope you found one or two or may be even all of the links interesting.

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Diluain, 18/Aug/2014

72 hours on Gigha

Gigha Excursions written in stencil

Taking you over to Islay's neighbour Gigha tonight for an interesting video. It's a long term timelapse, filmed from The Boathouse looking out to sea. I hope I counted correctly, assuming I did it covers 3 days or 72 hours:

YouTube: Isle of Gigha Timelapse

I quite like the short nights and the beautiful light around dusk and dawn. It's just magical. I hope you like the light and video as well.

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Didòmhnaich, 17/Aug/2014

Islay Blogging Roundup #302

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And it's Sunday evening again. Time for the Islay blogging roundup. Although, as an early heads up, the next one will probably not appear next Sunday but a day later on the Bank Holiday Monday. Simple reason being that I won't be home for most of Sunday. But back to this week, here are the Islay mentions in the blogs:

On his travel blog Keith Hunt has a series of posts from his Islay visit: Islay – a magical place away from it all Days 1 and 2, Islay – a magical island away from it all Day 3, Islay – A Magical Place Away From It All. Day 4 – Whisky and a Wander, Islay – A Magical Island Away From It All. Day 5, Islay, a magical isle away from it all. Day 6, The Annual Islay Show, Islay, a magical island away from it all. Day 7 – Peat bogs, lochs and whisky, Islay, a magical island away from it all. Day 8, Uisge beatha gu leoir! (Whisky galore!) and Islay, a magical island away from it all. Day 9, Wet and Whisky – I mean Windy!. Phil returns to the island where he was married to Lynne under sail, visiting Jura on his way to Islay: Craighouse Jura, Hidey holes and Islay are his reports. Amelia's sabbatical adventures included a visit to Scotland and Islay. I'm not entirely sure where they are from (I think Denmark), but two Scandinavian cyclists had To dager i Mekka.

Olivia mentions she found the Islay stand at the British Birdfair in We are family. On microblogging site Twitter (to use a popular description) we find Andy's picture of a busy Islay stand and that Mick won the Islay visit.

From the Islay whiskies Fredde tastes the Laphroaig An Cuan Mór 48% (2013). The Alkoblog from Germany has a Whisky-Duell: Lagavulin Distillers Edition vs. Caol Ila Distillers Edition. Whiskynotes compares the Bowmore Tempest (Batch 4 vs. batch 5). The Bruichladdich News blog asks if it is The Perfect Summer? The GrapeScot is still catching up with Laphroaig at the Feis (Book early)!. Similarly Adele just published Feis Ile 2014: Islay & Jura

Apparently It All Started With An Apple Pie for Sionnach Ìle. Becky reports from a Welly walk to Kilnaughton and Islay Welly Walks at Islay Show. Ron has a preview for the Islay Jazz Festival 2014 and a very sad post saying Farewell to Lily MacDougall.

Neil Gordon-Orr has entries in both of his blogs again, in his Islay History blog we find Islay First World War Dead in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour. On his running blog we find another instalment of his Islay running series, Running Islay (3) : Bowmore to Cruach and beyond (12k).

Bill Rogers writes about a well known Ileach, at least if you watch BBC Scotland.

The birdwatching and wildlife was limited this week, as the usual suspects were all at the already mentioned British Birdfair. Still, a few posts appeared on the Islay Birds blog with Pheasants and the preparation for said birdfair. The INHT blog reports from the Killinallan family activity 08/08/14 and the RSPB Islay blog has an update from The Show. Philippa Mitchell announces a New Film from her exhibition visit to Islay.

As usual to finish the pictures: Steve has a lot of his iPhone pictures in ISLAY (AND JURA), promising film pictures for later. Not sure if they really qualify under pictures, but then again Illustrations are a type of pictures, aren't they? Anyway, Lucy has some great ones in Islay - west coast Scotland, Lighthouse at dusk (a brilliant animation!) and Another lighthouse! From my own Islay Pictures photoblog I've picked Ardbeg stills in 1999 (as it nicely shows the wisdom of the crowd), Highland Cattle near Sanaigmore and Loch Indaal, my first Islay picture ever.

That's it for this week, the next one to follow probably on the upcoming Bank Holiday Monday. Time for a wee dram of Bruichladdich Laddie Sixteen to call an end to the weekend.

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Disathairne, 16/Aug/2014

Big Al visits more places on Islay

Islay on Video written in stencil

Last week I blogged about Big Al visiting four Islay distilleries, namely Kilchoman, Ardbeg, Bowmore and Bunnahabhain. I also promised I would share some other videos of places he visited on Islay at another time. That time is now, starting with Islay Ales brewery:

YouTube: Islay Ales - A quick look and review - Bridgend Isle of Islay

Alastair also went to the pub a few times, although seems to have filmed only once:

YouTube: Portnahaven Pub Isle of Islay - An Tigh Seinnse

Earlier this week he also uploaded the video from the 5th Islay distillery he visited, Caol Ila:

YouTube: Caol Ila Distillery Isle of Islay

I don't know if there are any more videos to come, the ones I've mentioned so far are the ones online as of writing this. You can check his The Drinking Mans Guide To Scotland YouTube channel and his Big Al Twitter account for updates.

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Dihaoine, 15/Aug/2014

Friday Islay picture #335 - Sedge Warbler

Friday Islay Picture in stencil

Apologies for the (mostly unplanned) lack of blogging here the last few days. Tuesday I got home late (as normal, as I do some shopping) and ran out of time. But on Wednesday evening the latest Windows Patch Day updates crippled my laptop, essentially bricking it (as in, making it as useful as a brick). I spent several hours trying to restore it and once I finally managed it to ensure I really had backups of everything (in addition to the backups I already had). Thursday was spent further researching the problem and solution (this thread provided me the solution, excluding two updates) and applying it. And now it's Friday, time for the Friday Islay picture. I've picked another bird, for a reason I'll come back to later:

Picture of a Sedge Warbler

I believe that's a Sedge Warbler, if it isn't please leave a note in the comments so that I can correct it. The reason I've picked another bird picture is of course the Islay presence at this weekend's British Birdfair. There are first reports from visitors to the stand:

Islay stall at Birdfair good crack an a range of single malt for tasting. pic.twitter.com/vZi1eYWchI

— Andy (@arobgoo) August 15, 2014

Looks good, doesn't it? Lots of whisky and learning about the birds on Islay. If you go please say hi to Ian and the crew, unfortunately I can't make it myself this weekend.

With that all I've got left is to say good night and wish you a great weekend!

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Diluain, 11/Aug/2014

New Islay video - Waves in Portnahaven and Port Wemyss

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OK, it's not entirely new, considering I mentioned it yesterday and also posted it on a few social media channels. But I only finished and uploaded it yesterday, so I'd still say it's new. Back in April the first walk of the Islay walking week, an excursion to Texa, had to be cancelled as due to high winds and strong swell we wouldn't have been able to land safely. With that in mind I drove to Port Wemyss hoping for some decent waves. While not as impressive as during a proper storm I think I got some decent views out of it. Lean back and enjoy:

YouTube: Breezy April day in Portnahaven and Port Wemyss, Islay

The first part of the video covers a few views from Portnahaven, some big waves mainly around Eilean Mhic Coinnich. Also the Saltire flying proudly in the wind, unfortunately I believe the pole since had to be removed. The second (and longer) part of the video then focuses on Port Wemyss, where you get to see some (I think) spectacular waves crashing over the rocks near Rhinns Point (that's what you see in the preview picture).

I hope you'll like the video. Plans for the next video are in the pipeline, although that one will almost certainly take me longer to edit than one single rainy Sunday. If you subscribe to my Armin's Islay and other videos YouTube channel you'll be notified whenever I upload a new video.

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