New Islay video: Kilchoman beach in 360°

Islay on Video

In addition to enjoying some nice Laphroaig with some smoked nuts last night I also got busy with a little “Christmas present” for you: Another Islay video. Another 360° Islay video to be precise. Last year I shared a 360° video of Lossit Bay with you, the new video is of Kilchoman beach and Machir Bay. We start at the car park, walk through the dunes and end up on the beach at low tide, where we visit the wreck of the Patti. While you’re watching the video you can look around in the video in whichever direction you want. Ahead, back, left, right, the choice is yours. Just move the view by dragging with your finger or mouse. If you’re on a mobile device and go full screen you should also be able to just turn/move your device and the view will change. And here’s the video, seven glorious minutes on Kilchoman beach:

I hope you enjoyed the video and looking around in all directions. Hopefully you didn’t get scared too much if you spotted me on occasion, one of the perils of 360° video, it’s almost impossible to not be in the picture at some point. I know the image quality / resolution isn’t the best at times, this was filmed with a fairly basic beginners camera bought at a discount about two years ago. Once I’ve learned more about filming 360° videos and if you like this type of video I’ll consider investing properly into a much higher quality camera.

Smoky Christmas Eve with an Islay whisky

Islay Whisky News & Links

May be a slightly unusual combination, but this is what I’m enjoying on Christmas Eve 2019: A Laphroaig Càirdeas Triple Wood with some Hickory Smoked Nuts (Almonds, Cashew and Macadamia). Just because I can and because I like it.

Picture of a Laphroaig Cairdeas Triple Wood with a Hickory Smoked Nut Selection
Smoky Christmas Eve with an Islay whisky

And that is pretty much all for tonight. Only thing left to say is: Merry Christmas to you, your family and friends and whoever you’re celebrating with!

The view from Islay’s Rhuvaal lighthouse (video)

Islay on Video

It’s quite short (only 25 seconds long), but as this is a view most of us won’t get I thought it is worth sharing. It’s a view from the top of Rhuvaal lighthouse in the far north of Islay, taking in Jura, the Sound of Islay, the Isle of Mull and some of Colonsay:

While it’s possible to walk to the lighthouse (from Bunnahabhain) and enjoy the views from the foot of the lighthouse for everyone fit enough the several hours walk, getting to the top isn’t that easy.

New video: Sanderling on an Islay beach

Islay on Video

Just a simple video this evening. A Sanderling running along the waterline on Kilchoman beach on a November afternoon on Islay. I love watching these small waders whizzing over the beach, their legs going so fast they are just a blur.

That is all. I hope to have another video ready for Christmas, if all goes to plan.

Islay Sessions 2019, a look back

Islay Music

Three weeks ago I listened to a lot of very nice music during the Islay Sessions 2019 at the Port Charlotte Hotel and Bruichladdich Hall. After that the day job and a few other things got in the way, so I only now get a chance to look back at it. Those who follow me on Twitter might have seen the clips already (individually), but here’s a video with a few impressions I’ve pulled together (all recorded on my phone, so it’s not studio quality. But I think it’s good enough to give you an idea):

The Sessions took place over three days from 22-24/Nov/2019. The Friday kicked off the event with a concert by newly formed VOX in the conservatory of the Port Charlotte Hotel. They played a variety of songs, with Laura-Beth and Kim (as well as on occasion the audience) providing the vocals. After the concert most went to the Port Charlotte Hotel bar for the informal part of the evening. Members of Eabhal and VOX joined forces and played a variety. Later during the evening Grahame Allison (owner of the Port Charlotte Hotel) sang a Gaelic song he performs regularly, what made it even better was Kaitlin Ross (of Eabhal) and Kim Carnie at times joining in.

Saturday saw the main concert at Bruichladdich Hall. After an introduction by Greig Shaw (brother of the late Fraser Shaw, who started the Islay Sessions) the Charlie Stewart Duo warmed up the audience with a variety of tunes on fiddle and guitar. Once they finished their set they stayed on stage to support Kim Carnie who sang some beautiful songs in Gaelic and English for us. Again there was some audience participation after a crash course in Gaelic for some. After the break and the Islay Sessions raffle of CDs and whisky Eabhal took the stage, mainly playing songs from their debut album This Is How The Ladies Dance. Again some beautiful tunes including some with rousing pipes. I headed back to the cottage after the concert as I was tired, but I hear their was more music in the Port Charlotte Hotel bar until early in the morning.

Sunday evening I finally got to see and hear the concert I had been waiting for for a year (she had to cancel the previous year as she had lost her voice, but this year all went to plan): Claire Hastings gave a wonderful solo performance with guitar and ukulele and of course her wonderful voice. Among other songs Fairweather Beggar and I Missed The Boat got an outing as well as a new song she wasn’t even sure it was finished just yet.

I had a great weekend and straight after their sets bought two albums online (Eabhal and Kim Carnie’s In Her Company). Angus was of the same opinion, as he writes in the Oban Times, Thrills and spills at Islay Sessions. If everything goes to plan I’ll be back for the 2020 Islay Sessions, scheduled for 20-22/Nov/2020. May be see you there?

Islay Sessions 2019 coming up

Islay Music

Just over a week to go until the Islay Sessions 2019, taking place 22-24/Nov/2019 (Fri-Sun). As of writing this I believe there are still some tickets available, but not for all events (I think the Friday is sold out). So who will be there this year?

The one I’m most looking forward to is Claire Hastings. Claire was scheduled to perform last year, but unfortunately had to cancel as she lost her voice, rather important for a singer. I’ve bought both of her albums and have listened to them many times. Here’s one of my favourites:

Fair Weather Beggar by Claire Hastings

Another one is this one, although I hope nobody will miss their boat on the way to Islay:

I Missed the Boat by Claire Hastings (here with Jenn Butterworth)

Next on my list are Eabhal, some of the members I know from previous Islay Sessions. Here’s a nice taster for their music:

Eabhal performing at Showcase Scotland 2019

The one I know least about is Kim Carnie. I will find out about her during the Saturday concert as well as on Friday where she will be performing with Laura-Beth Salter, Innes White (which I both know from previous sessions) and Calum MacCrimmon as VOX (no website I know of).

Very much looking forward to a great weekend with lots of great music, meeting old and new friends!

Nice walk to Islay’s Soldier’s Rock video

Islay on Video

Probably one of the most popular walks on Islay, the walk out to Soldier’s Rock on the Oa. Some great views to be enjoyed, in this video enhanced by some drone footage. After leaving the Oa there are also views from the south coast around Lagavulin.

One thing I would have done different though, I wouldn’t have walked through the cows with their calves. I have a very healthy respect of cattle, in particular when with calves, and if at all possible give them a wide berth. Simple self preservation.

Islay Pipe Band performing in a rainy Buchanan Street, Glasgow

Islay Music

Obviously a bit of rain isn’t going to stop the Islay Pipe Band from performing, plenty enough rain on Islay to be used to it. Here they are playing for almost a quarter of an hour in a rainy Buchanan Street in Glasgow, recorded by Eric Traynor during Piping Live 2019:

KILCHOMAN DISTILLERY ISLE OF ISLAY PIPE BAND PERFORM AT PIPING LIVE 2019

PS: I noticed there’s a man (blue jacket, green backpack) going round doing something with some kind of instrument at the drones of the pipers while they are playing. What is he doing there? Is he helping them or distracting them?

October Friday night Islay dram

Islay Whisky News & Links

First Friday evening in October 2019. It’s been a long and busy week in the day job, so I’ve decided to treat myself tonight with a dram or two from one of my favourite Islay distilleries (if you read this post you should be able to figure out which ones they are). Here’s a picture of the dram for tonight:

Picture of a bottle and dram of Laphroaig Lore Islay single malt whisky with a water jug
Laphroaig Lore Islay single malt whisky

Enjoying it with some nice 85% dark chocolate while pondering that I should probably blog here more again. I’ll try my best.

Rachel’s stained glass birds

Islay Links

This isn’t strictly speaking an Islay post, although I came across it because someone mentioned Islay in a comment to it. I’m not even sure if Rachel has ever been to Islay. Either way, Rachel makes birds from stained glass and I think they look absolutely amazing. The birds include Choughs and Hen Harriers, birds frequently spotted on Islay. If you know your birds you will spot the Chough in her tweet immediately:

For more of Rachel’s work including the already mentioned Hen Harrier and also some Greenland White-fronted Goose head over to Rachel’s website. It is being rebuilt as of writing this, but you can page through two excellent albums of her work.