Islay April Fools 2017

Islay FunSorry, fun’s over. Admittedly pretty much all of you spotted immediately that the Haggis farm on Islay was an April Fools. But just in case you had any niggling doubts it might be true after all, it isn’t. No Haggis farm on Islay any time soon.

It wasn’t the only Islay related April Fools, Laphroaig also joined in with this product announcement:

Islay Ales announced the opening of an Artisan restaurant. Although it seems it was destroyed in a storm just hours later.

If there are any other Islay related ones I have missed please let me and other readers know via the comments.

Regular readers of this blog will know that April Fools jokes have a long tradition on this blog, here’s the obligatory list of the previous ones (on the old blog):

And that’s enough Islay April Fools. Let me see what I can come up with next year (it is getting more difficult…)

Haggis Farm to be built on Islay

Islay NewsIslay farmers are well known for their excellent beef, pork and lamb. The fresh sea air and salty grass certainly helping with the nice taste of the meat. Soon there will be a fourth variety of meat coming directly from Islay: Haggis. A Haggis farm is to open on Islay today.

The farm will start with 100 Haggis, but expansion plans have already been approved to grow this to 1,000 Haggis. Being located on Islay the expectation is the Haggis meat will have a salty and peaty taste influence. Especially over the winter (and therefore in the prime season just before Burns Night) the grass will be complemented with draff from the whisky distilleries, meaning the Haggis will go even better with a good Islay whisky.

The location of the new farm is on the Rhinns of Islay, between Port Charlotte and Kilchiaran:

Picture of some rugged uncultivated rugged land
The location for Islay’s first Haggis farm

It is expected that the Haggis will thrive on this rugged land, finding plenty of food (as already mentioned supplemented with the draff from the distilleries during the harsh winter months) and growing and fattening quickly. The uneven and hilly landscape is their natural habitat, so they will feel right at home.

Initially most of the sales are expected to be local on Islay, but as its fame spreads the owners expect to export to the mainland and even internationally. First enquiries by international importers have already been received even before the farm started operating.

Bumpy crossing to Islay

Islay on VideoIf you get seasick easily this video might not be right for you. Assuming I can trust Google Translate the title and description for this video read: ‘Tidal waves at the island of Islay’ and ‘We felt worse than it looks’. Otherwise enjoy the glimpses of Islay appearing over the horizon and the waves:

I suspect after that crossing Łukasz and his crew will have enjoyed a wee dram or two of Islay whisky…

Unusual way to present Lagavulin Islay single malt whisky

Islay Whisky News & LinksI couldn’t help thinking of Colin Furze’s 20ft Fire Tornado Firework Launcher when I saw this (if you don’t know of Colin be warned, he’s a bit mad and has no interest in health and safety. Don’t do his stuff at home). I don’t know how Barin has achieved his video, although I suspect there might have been some computer animation involved. Anyway, here’s an unusual way to present a Lagavulin Islay single malt whisky:

I hope you enjoyed it, I found it quite fascinating watching it swirling around.

Islay Blogging Roundup NC #3

Islay Blogging RoundupI had hoped to write this a bit earlier (it’s exactly month again since the Islay Blogging Roundup NC #2), but a variety of things got into the way. Time to catch up now then, here’s the latest collection of Islay (and Jura) related blog posts I found interesting:

Not on the RSPB Islay blog but on the RSPB Liverpool blog I came across an entry about a birdwatching visit to Islay: Holiday to Idyllic Islay, 19th to 23rd February 2017 – Led by Aquila Ecology.

The iLaddie decided to perform an experiment: Blending Bruichladdich LaddieMP5. He claims it was successful.

I’ve mentioned Kate’s (who I haven’t met in person yet) work and Islay visits as well as Anna (who I’ve met a couple of times while she was working and living on Islay) a couple of times, now Anna writes about Kate’s work: Inspired by Islay.

An interesting write up about a Bruichladdich whisky tasting in Ireland: The sound of Islay (no, not the Sound of Islay, that’s something different).

As if by coincidence the next one is a quick jump across the Sound of Islay to Jura for A day in the life “Rachael jones”.

Heiko is a regular visitor to Islay and also quite fond of burgers (I like that man, Islay whisky and burgers, he’s certainly in my good books). He has recently published a burger book and is celebrating with a Surf’n’Turf Burger.

Jake on the Distiller Blog claims The Debate Over Terroir Rages Away on Islay. Which side are you on?

Gordon Yates has been back on Islay again, you can read about it in Forty Shades of Grey and Hunter and Hunted.

Lynne writes about her visits to Ardbeg Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland and Caol Ila Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland. She also visited the Finlaggan Cross, Eileen Mòr, Isle of Islay, Scotland as well as The Kildalton High Cross, Isle of Islay, Scotland.

Julia Garner has a bunch of posts about her Islay visit in February, including Islay beach findsSaligo Bay – two versionsIslay wildlife highlights and Singing Sands and otters.

On the Port Ellen Primary School blog we can read about the My Place Photography Competition. They also celebrated Burns Day.

I’ve watched them many times on Islay, in particular at Ardnave and at Kilchoman. Scotland’s Nature writes Why the chough needs a champion.

An Islay blogging roundup wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Islay Birds blog (which by the way will be 10 years old in two months). While Ian (who writes the blog with the help of dozens of contributors, even I have been able to contribute a few times I’m immensely pleased to say) was away for three weeks James ran the blog for him. Some of the highlights include a Cackling Goose, a possible Gyr Falcon and a variety of birds including a Glaucous Gull.

And that’s it for this Islay blogging roundup. Hopefully I’ll get the next one out a bit earlier than in a month…

Chris Mills’ Golden Eagle pictures from Islay

Islay PicturesChris Mills of Norfolk Birding has just returned from an Islay trip. Earlier today he shared some very nice Golden Eagle pictures on Twitter. For those who missed them or are not on Twitter here they are (click on the pictures for larger versions):

Excellent pictures I’m sure you’ll agree. Well done, Chris!

Kilchoman Parish Church, Islay, from above

Islay on VideoSorry for the lack of blogging here, no post for a week. Not good. My excuse is that the day job had to take priority. Better get back to it. A rather sad video this evening, filmed by Leon a few months ago. Yet another winter with its winter storms won’t have helped the situation either. Here’s a view of the ruin of Kilchoman Parish Church from the air:

The church was last used several decades ago. At some point (not entirely sure when) it was sold to a private owner. Plans for an alternative use never came to fruition for various reasons, among them the lack of water supply. When I first visited Islay in the late 90s the church still had a roof, this gradually disappeared over the years until the last parts of it collapsed and fell into the church a few years ago.

Sadly I think the building is beyond repair now, at best what remains can be stabilised. I fear if nothing is done the gable or part of the side walls will start to collapse soon.

Brazilian visitors to Islay video

Islay on VideoAs my Portuguese is rather limited (that’s an understatement by the way) I didn’t understand much in tonight’s video (only the few seconds in English to be precise). Still I found this video of Vinicius Bustamante’s visit to Islay quite interesting. They (there seems to have been at least one other couple?) stayed in the Glenmachrie Guesthouse and visited several distilleries:

According to Google Translate’s version of the video description he very much enjoyed Islay, the whisky, the sheep and the beaches, so he hopes to return soon.

Good and bad Islay whisky news

Islay Whisky News & LinksTwo Islay whisky news links this evening, one I consider to be a good news, the other is more bad news. Pour yourself a wee dram of a good Islay single malt whisky and read on:

Let me start with the not so good news: The Times (£ or registration required to read full article, sorry) reports Business Rates – Rises pour misery on island distilleries. For the big distilleries while not nice I should think they will be able to manage. For the smaller independent ones I think a 40% increase will be quite a bit tougher.

Moving on to the good news, where I think this should have never gone to court in the first place. The consumer isn’t as stupid as some lawyers seem to think. The Herald reports (I also saw it in The Sun, but I won’t link to that rag) Whisky distiller wins trademark battle with makers of McEwan’s Lager. The whisky distiller in question is of course Jim McEwan, who is back in business.

A short walk to Islay’s Carraig Fhada lighthouse

Islay on VideoTime for a bit of virtual exercise. And may be it can inspire you to complete the short walk out to Carraig Fhada lighthouse (weather permitting, don’t attempt this walk in a storm…) next time you’re in Port Ellen? Enjoy the video: