Time for a short visit to Islay’s neighbour Gigha. Most people (well, at least those who have travelled to Islay by ferry) will have seen the Twin Beaches near the northern end of the island, this drone video filmed on a beautiful bright sunny day gives you some brilliant aerial view of it. Not to mention other nice views of Gigha:
I hope you enjoyed the video and the Dolphins showing up in the second half.
For many years Islay High School / Àrd-sgoil Ìle has been participating in the annual FilmG (GD/EN) awards, 2021 is no different. Many years they were shortlisted, on several occasions they even won one of the awards. This year they submitted two entries, one in the Fluent category and one in the Learners category. The entry in the Learners category, “Easga Bhuidhe na Feidh” got shortlisted, this is their entry:
However, both entries qualify for the People’s Choice award, you can vote for them by going to the respective entry (use the links above to go there directly) and then clicking on the heart above the VOTE HERE / BHÒT AN SEO text. You’ve got until Monday 24/Jan/2022 to submit your vote. So please hurry and get your vote in!
Found two beautiful videos tonight which I’d like to share with you. They are both from the YouTube channel DiveClyde which mainly focuses on narrated scuba dive videos. At least two of their videos (I haven’t gone through all of their videos yet) feature Islay, Jura and Gigha, the topic of this blog. The first one covers a trip from Campbeltown to the Southern Skerries of Islay with some of the wildlife including Seals and Otters:
For the second video we cross over to Gigha and then to Jura for some fascinating scuba diving views and more, including a bonus view of a Sea Eagle:
I hope you’ve enjoyed the videos, I loved the views of the Otters and the various fish under water.
From my own new video of some beautiful waves at Saligo Bay to two Islay lighthouse videos by someone else: Steven Muir has taken a drone to two (there are four in total if you include two smaller ones on Islay and Jura) lighthouses at the Sound of Islay. Let’s start at the southern end:
From the south we move to the other end, to the north:
If the name and the second video ring a bell for you there might be a reason: I’ve blogged another video of Rhuvaal by Steven just over a year ago. I’m not sure if the footage is from the same visit or a different visit, either way I love seeing it again from this different perspective. Seeing it from up in the air just gives some more information you don’t necessarily get from the ground (I’ve walked to both lighthouses several times over the years).
Finally got around to editing another Islay video. My original plan was to edit one of a September sunset, but after reviewing some of the footage that will take a bit more time. So instead just a shorter video of some beautiful waves rolling in under the beautiful light of the gloaming not long after the sunset. Sit back, relax and enjoy for two minutes:
That’s all I’ve got for tonight, I hope you’ve enjoyed the video. I hope to be able to edit and publish the related Saligo Bay sunset video within the next week or two.
As I eluded to yesterday, today marks the start of a new chapter in my life, even though I don’t know yet where it will lead me. All I know is that over the coming weeks I’ll be looking for new career opportunities, while also aiming to use the opportunity for a few other changes. But at the same time there are some constants, including my love for Islay and some annual rituals/traditions:
This morning I got up early and left for my morning walk before dawn, on the return leg I saw a lovely colourful New Year’s day first dawn of the year sky over one of the West Berkshire fields I pass on my route. When I returned home I got the oven going for some fresh “New Year’s Day bread”, one Hemp Hearts bread and one fruit bread. Then it was time for one of my New Year’s Day traditions (mentioned on this blog before eg in 2020 and in 2018), the New Year’s Day concert from Vienna with a dram of Islay single malt whisky and my New Year’s Day brunch.
The whisky is the same as for Christmas, the Kilchoman Single Cask 11 Years Old Bourbon Cask. The brunch is the aforementioned Hemp Hearts bread, scrambled eggs and some smoked salmon. The salmon “slowly smoked for 12 hours over oak & whisky cask chippings”, so I’m imagining they were Islay whisky cask chippings.
The concert has now reached the encores with the famous Blue Danube, so I’m going to finish now and wish you all a happy and healthy New Year 2022!
So there we are, New Year’s Eve 2021. Another year coming to an end. Might as well take a look back at the year, what it meant to me, Islay related and a few other areas. The year brought both good and bad things and events:
In particular the first half of the year was of course still dominated by the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic, even though the ramp up of the vaccination efforts brought some hope. My second dose came too late for me to book anything for the first half of the year (I had decided I wasn’t going to travel until my second dose had taken full effect). Still, I managed to continue with daily posts on my Islay pictures photoblog by digging into my archives and plundering some other resources (mainly pictures taken on my phone). Also the belated online Islay Sessions 2020 took place early in 2021.
Then the first bad news struck when Ian Brooke unexpectedly passed away in June. I still miss him, my daily visits to the Islay Birds blog are not the same without him (that’s not to diminish the sterling job the team continuing it in his memory is doing, it’s just different). Also missed seeing and catching up with him at his bird hide when I finally managed to return to Islay in September, at least I had a good catch up with Margaret.
At least September brought my first return to Islay after 22 months without a visit. As you can read in that post it was magical. Being back on the beaches was just brilliant. Rediscovering some old haunts and exploring a few new places was just what I needed. And I had booked my next visit even before I left for my September visit, returning for a week in October. This time I stayed at Ballitarsin Lodge, which was another new experience. Some fantastic views from up there, also a few morning walks along the Glen Road instead of a beach. I got to meet some old friends with their latest addition to the household (and some homemade Spaghetti Bolognese on great evening), followed by some brilliant October night skies (I still need to process the pictures from that…).
Then the end of the year arrived with some bad news, but also a lot of opportunity for 2022: Earlier this afternoon I shut down my work laptop for the last time as a Verizon employee. Or in other words, from next week I’m looking for opportunities for the next stage of my career. If you know of any good jobs in the Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) area or similar, positions as a Finance Business Partner or similar please get in touch. Remote work or in the Greater Reading / West Berkshire and around area. You can learn about my skills and experience on my LinkedIn profile. Onwards and upwards, and after I’ve settled into my next career step it will be time for another visit to Islay.
Sam Holmes is crossing oceans in questionable sailing vessels (his own words). For this video he didn’t cross an ocean, just the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland. Watch his video and learn what else he did on Islay apart from eating Haggis:
After leaving Port Ellen he continued through the Sound of Islay, stopping at Bunnahabhain (and visiting Ardnahoe):
I hope you enjoyed Sam’s adventures on and around Islay. I always enjoy the different views and perspectives you get from a sailing boat.
Merry Christmas! After a busy and eventful year (including my first visit to Islay after 22 months due to the pandemic, but also some less positive events, more about that some other time) it’s time for a break and briefly winding down. It’s Christmas after all. On Christmas eve I started with a few drams of the Fèis Ile 2021 Mòine Bordeaux Finish 2013 (and a pizza with a Jarl from Fyne Ales). After tonight’s Christmas Day food (burgers and beers from Harviestoun) I opened a new bottle, my Christmas Islay whisky for 2021, a Kilchoman 11 years old Bourbon cask matured single cask release:
My bottle is nr 53 of 197, cask 222/2010, distilled 22/Apr/2010 (only notice that now, but it has some significance to me) and bottled 2/Aug/2021. And of course it’s rather nice.
With it I’m having some Haggis Spice Dark Chocolate, made by Edinburgh based COCO Chocolatier for Kilchoman. A bit of an unusual taste, but I like it. Sent some to my sister in Germany, not sure if she’s tried it yet.
The music over this Christmas is mainly coming from my ever growing Bad Mood Blaster playlist (as of writing this 179 songs, over 5 hours of my favourite music). Admittedly nothing directly Islay related, apart from that I listened to it on my drives to/from Islay and while driving on Islay. Or in the cottage.
With that Christmas Day 2021 is coming to an end, enjoy Boxing Day (and if you’re in the UK the upcoming two days bank holiday. Apologies to my continental friends, who to my knowledge either have to work or take holidays).
Regular visitors to Islay will mostly be familiar with the American Monument on the Oa and the history behind it with the Tuscania and Otranto shipwrecks in WWI. Still, history tour guide Bruce Fummey has created an interesting video about the history and the links between Scotland and the USA, well worth watching:
I hope you found the video interesting and informative, especially if you’re new to this part of Islay’s history.