A variety of Islay links in May 2023

Islay Links

Over the last week or so I had a look through a large number of Islay related links which had accumulated in my newsreader. Many of them weren’t of much use, like many dozens of whiskies offers on shop pages or people and businesses named after Islay. But a few were more interesting, so here’s a collection of 12 of them:

  1. Rosemary Fletcher of Persabus writes Island Voices: From a new farm house porch to a Celtic cross in The Scottish Farmer
  2. A long running saga receives (another) mention in the Press & Journal: Royal Mail says ‘sorry’ for Dingwall and Islay delivery failures
  3. This one might need a follow up and listen, but in an article about an upcoming album release show by Tim Monger it says “He said it ties together a list of niche themes — from cranberry bogs and distilleries on the Scottish island of Islay to the flightless woodhens of New Zealand.” Oh, and his dog is named, you guessed it, Islay
  4. Any Leice photographers among my readers (I’m more of a Nikon person)? You might like Isle of Islay – A Wild Goose Chase! on the Leica Nature Blog
  5. Having skipped all the Islay whisky shop pages I decided to keep one of a beer aged in old Islay casks: Amity releases first two beers in new barrel-aged series. Just be aware it’s quite pricey…
  6. It’s quite far away, but I found the combination of the two neighbouring islands in an address in Canada quite interesting. If you’re looking for a house in Saskatchewan then 205 Islay STREET. Colonsay, SK might be of interest?
  7. I pretty confident I’ve mentioned the mobile cinema (aka Screen Machine) on this blog at some point. What I didn’t know was that its first visit to Islay 25 years ago wasn’t a success as an article From the Northern Times 25, 50 and 100 years ago mentions
  8. I would expect it is well out of the price range of almost all if not all of my readers, but as some of you might know Islay is the birth place of the Land Rover and they have just release an Islay inspired special edition: This £230k+ Defender Works V8 is inspired by a Scottish island
  9. I believe work is well under way by now (the article is from early April), but the Press & Journal writes Islay Airport gets £5 million runway upgrade
  10. I’m not sure if there will be other return visitors (I unfortunately won’t be able to be there, I took some pictures during the first edition), but Parkland County angler Jason Doucette to compete in Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships means a return to Islay for him, as he already competed in the 2009 edition
  11. Impressive: Exhibition of Islay RNLI crew portraits raises over £9,000
  12. Some news about a wind farm off Islay: Site Investigations Start for 2 GW Offshore Wind Project in Scotland

I think I’ll leave it at that and hope you found some of the links interesting. Maybe leave a comment which link you found most interesting?

IslayBletherAI launches today

Islay News

Over the last year or so there has been a lot of talk about Chatbots, Artificial Intelligence and related topics. Back in December I had a chat about Islay with ChatGPT, I’m hoping to run a similar test with Google Bard soon. But that will have to wait, as today sees the launch of something much more exciting, to which I had exclusive preview access: IslayBletherAI

I was given the opportunity to have a chat with the IslayBletherAI for a few minutes, here is the transcript of our chat:

Armin: Hi IslayBletherAI, let’s have a blether

Ashley: Hi Armin, my name is Ashley, not IslayBletherAI. I’m a wee language model trained by IslayAI using the powerful 10 Terabyte P.E.A.T. (Petaflop Excentric Algorithmic Triangulation) method to teach me everything about Islay there is to know and blether about it for hours on end.

Armin: OK, Ashley, sorry for that. Let’s talk about Islay then

Ashley: That sounds grand, I can talk about Islay for hours, you know?

Armin: So why is Islay so great?

Ashley: Because it is. Not sure I understand your question? Islay is just great. That’s all there is to know. Actually, no, there’s waaaaay more and I could talk for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours…

Armin: Unfortunately I’ve only been given a few minutes, so let’s talk about something else. What is your favourite Islay whisky?

Ashley: Well, as I’m an Artificial Islaytelligence bot I unfortunately don’t have any taste buds yet, so I can’t really taste it for the time being and develop a preference. But I can tell you one thing: They are the best. There’s no other whisky in the world that comes even close to an Islay dram!

Armin: Fair enough. How about the best Islay beach?

Ashley: Now you’re putting me on the spot. I’m reluctant to take sides here while at the same time my developers have taught me to adapt and to please the person I’m chatting with, so I’m going to say Kilchoman beach. How about that?

Armin: You’ve certainly done your homework, I’m impressed! Sadly we’re running out of time, so one last question: What is the meaning of life?

Ashley: Huh? I’m only trained to talk about Islay, not philosophy, but I’m going to give it a try anyway: If you haven’t visited Islay at least once in your life, your life has no meaning.

Armin: Thank you very much for your time Ashley, it was a pleasure chatting with you.


So there you have it, that was my first chat with IslayBletherAI, the first AI chatbot exclusively designed to talk about Islay. I think the first steps are promising, once taste bot sensors are added to the technology and it can actually taste and judge any whisky it is being offered it will get even better. That might help some whisky bloggers as they can just let the AI write their whisky reviews for them.

I’ve been told public access will be made available later today, I will aim to share the link to the public beta of IslayBletherAI (or Ashley, as it prefers to be called) with you as soon as possible. Will you be testing and using it?

Having a chat about Islay with an AI assistant (ChatGPT)

Islay Fun

There has been quite a lot of talk about ChatGPT recently, like this BBC report and of course in the tech press. Some people have tested it in various ways, like a driving instructor asking it to create YouTube video scripts for him. I wanted to have a play as well and headed over to the OpenAI blog post to learn more and then created an account for the ChatGPT research preview. Of course I also had to have a chat about Islay with it to see how much it knows about it, although we didn’t get off to a good start:

Armin: Hi ChatGPT, let’s have a chat

AI Assistant: Hello! My name is Assistant, not ChatGPT. I am a large language model trained by OpenAI to assist with a variety of tasks, including answering questions and providing information on a wide range of topics. How can I help you today?

Armin: OK, Assistant, have you ever heard of Islay?

AI Assistant: Yes, I am familiar with Islay. Islay is an island located in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It is known for its whisky production and natural beauty, with a rugged coastline and many beautiful beaches. The island is home to several whisky distilleries, including Lagavulin, Laphroaig, and Ardbeg, which are known for producing high-quality single malt whiskies. Islay is also a popular destination for birdwatching, with a large variety of bird species living on the island.

Armin: Thank you. How can you get to Islay?

AI Assistant: There are a few different ways to get to Islay:

  1. By air: There are regular flights from Glasgow to Islay, which take about 40 minutes. The airport is located in the town of Glenegedale, which is about a 20-minute drive from the island’s capital, Bowmore.
  2. By ferry: There are regular ferry services from the Scottish mainland to Islay. The main ferry terminal is in the town of Port Ellen, which is located in the south of the island. Ferries depart from the port of Kennacraig on the mainland, which is about a 2-hour drive from Glasgow. The journey by ferry takes about 3 hours.
  3. By car: If you prefer to drive, you can take a ferry from the Scottish mainland to Islay with your car. The ferry departs from the port of Kennacraig and takes about 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive to the island via the bridge at Tarbert, which connects Islay to the Kintyre Peninsula on the mainland.

No matter how you choose to travel to Islay, be sure to plan your trip in advance and allow plenty of time to enjoy all that the island has to offer.

Armin: That sounds good. Tell me more about the whisky distilleries on Islay

AI Assistant: Islay is home to several whisky distilleries, each with its own unique character and flavor profile. Here are a few of the most well-known distilleries on the island:

  1. Lagavulin: Located in the south of the island, Lagavulin is known for producing a rich and full-bodied single malt whisky with a smoky flavor. The distillery was founded in 1816 and is one of the oldest on the island.
  2. Laphroaig: Located in the south of the island, Laphroaig is known for producing a peaty single malt whisky with a distinct iodine flavor. The distillery was founded in 1815 and is one of the oldest on the island.
  3. Ardbeg: Located in the south of the island, Ardbeg is known for producing a peaty single malt whisky with a smoky flavor. The distillery was founded in 1815 and is one of the oldest on the island.
  4. Bruichladdich: Located on the northwest coast of the island, Bruichladdich is known for producing a range of single malt whiskies with different flavor profiles, including unpeated, lightly peated, and heavily peated expressions. The distillery was founded in 1881.
  5. Bowmore: Located in the center of the island, Bowmore is known for producing a balanced single malt whisky with a peaty flavor. The distillery was founded in 1779 and is one of the oldest on the island.

Visitors to Islay can tour many of these distilleries and learn more about the whisky-making process. Many of the distilleries also offer tastings and have visitor centers where you can purchase bottles of whisky to take home.

Armin: Thank you. What about wildlife and birdwatching on Islay?

AI Assistant: Islay is home to a diverse range of wildlife and is a popular destination for birdwatching. The island is located on the Atlantic Flyway, a major migration route for birds, and is home to a large variety of bird species. Some of the birds that can be seen on Islay include:

  1. Seabirds: Islay is home to many seabirds, including gannets, kittiwakes, puffins, and guillemots. These birds can be seen along the coast and on offshore islands.
  2. Waders: Islay is home to many wading birds, including curlews, oystercatchers, and redshanks. These birds can be seen along the coast and on the island’s wetlands.
  3. Geese: Islay is home to large numbers of geese, including greylag geese, barnacle geese, and Canada geese. These birds can be seen in fields and on the island’s wetlands.
  4. Eagles: Islay is home to golden eagles and white-tailed eagles, which can be seen in the island’s forests and on the coast.
  5. Songbirds: Islay is home to many songbirds, including blackbirds, robins, and wrens. These birds can be seen in gardens and woodlands throughout the island.

There are several birdwatching sites on Islay, including the RSPB’s (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) reserve at The Oa, which is located in the southwest of the island. The reserve is home to many different bird species and is a great place to see birds in their natural habitat. Visitors to Islay can also join guided birdwatching tours, which are led by experienced local guides who can help you spot different species and learn more about the island’s birdlife.

Armin: Interesting. What about beaches on Islay?

AI Assistant: Islay is home to several beautiful beaches, which are popular with visitors and locals alike. Here are a few of the most well-known beaches on the island:

  1. Machir Bay: Located on the west coast of the island, Machir Bay is a wide, sandy beach with clear, blue water. It is popular with surfers and is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing.
  2. Saligo Bay: Located on the west coast of the island, Saligo Bay is a long, sandy beach with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a popular spot for walking and picnicking, and is a great place to watch the sunset.
  3. Port Ellen: Located in the south of the island, Port Ellen is a small, sheltered beach with golden sands. It is a popular spot for swimming and is a great place to relax on a sunny day.
  4. Kintra: Located on the southwest coast of the island, Kintra is a beautiful, secluded beach with white sands and crystal-clear water. It is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing, and is a popular destination for surfers.
  5. Finlaggan: Located on the north coast of the island, Finlaggan is a secluded beach with white sands and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It is a great spot for walking and picnicking, and is a popular destination for birdwatchers.

No matter which beach you visit on Islay, be sure to follow local safety guidelines and take care when swimming in the sea. The beaches on Islay are generally safe and well-maintained, but it is always important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to ensure your safety.

Armin: Those sound nice. What about history, any historical sites?

AI Assistant: Yes, Islay has a rich history and is home to many interesting historical sites. Here are a few of the most well-known historical sites on the island:

  1. Finlaggan Castle: Located on the north coast of the island, Finlaggan Castle was once the seat of power for the Lords of the Isles, a medieval Gaelic kingdom that controlled the western seaboard of Scotland. The castle is located on a small island in a loch, and can be reached by a causeway.
  2. Kilnave Cross: Located on the south coast of the island, Kilnave Cross is a historic stone cross that dates back to the early Christian period. The cross is believed to mark the site of an early Christian monastery and is a popular destination for visitors interested in the island’s history and culture.
  3. Bowmore Round Church: Located in the center of the island, the Bowmore Round Church is a unique building that dates back to the 18th century. The church is circular in shape and has a distinctive dome-shaped roof, and is a popular destination for visitors interested in architecture and history.
  4. Dunyvaig Castle: Located on the south coast of the island, Dunyvaig Castle is a ruined castle that dates back to the 14th century. The castle was once the seat of the Lord of Islay, and was an important defensive structure in medieval times.
  5. Port Ellen Distillery: Located in the south of the island, the Port Ellen Distillery is a historic whisky distillery that dates back to the 19th century. The distillery is now closed, but the buildings have been preserved and can be visited by tourists.

There are many other historical sites on Islay, including churches, standing stones, and ancient burial cairns. Visitors to the island can learn more about the island’s history by visiting these sites and exploring the island’s rich cultural heritage.

Armin: Now I’m getting hungry, where can I go to eat on Islay?

AI Assistant: Islay is home to many excellent restaurants and cafes, offering a range of cuisine to suit all tastes. Here are a few of the most well-known dining options on the island:

  1. The Harbour Inn: Located in the village of Port Ellen, The Harbour Inn is a popular restaurant that serves traditional Scottish food and locally-produced seafood. The restaurant has a cozy, welcoming atmosphere and offers both indoor and outdoor seating.
  2. The Bowmore Hotel: Located in the center of the island, The Bowmore Hotel is a historic inn that serves a range of food, including traditional Scottish dishes and locally-sourced seafood. The hotel also has a bar and a whisky shop, and is a popular destination for visitors to the island.
  3. The Ardview Bistro: Located in the village of Port Charlotte, The Ardview Bistro is a casual restaurant that serves a range of food, including sandwiches, soups, and salads. The bistro has a friendly, laid-back atmosphere and is a great place to relax and enjoy a meal.
  4. The Islay Hotel: Located in the village of Port Ellen, The Islay Hotel is a popular hotel and restaurant that serves a range of food, including traditional Scottish dishes and locally-sourced seafood. The hotel has a bar and a whisky shop, and is a popular destination for visitors to the island.
  5. The Kildalton Hotel: Located in the south of the island, The Kildalton Hotel is a popular restaurant that serves a range of food, including traditional Scottish dishes and locally-sourced seafood. The hotel has a cozy, welcoming atmosphere and is a great place to relax and enjoy a meal.

No matter where you decide to eat on Islay, you’ll be sure to find a wide range of delicious food to choose from. Whether you’re looking for traditional Scottish cuisine or something more international, you’ll find something to suit your taste on the island.

Armin: It’s coming to the end of the day, where are good places to sleep on Islay?

AI Assistant: Islay has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Here are a few of the most well-known places to stay on the island:

  1. Hotels: Islay has several hotels, ranging from small, family-run inns to larger, more modern properties. Hotels on the island offer a range of amenities, including en-suite rooms, bars, and restaurants.
  2. B&Bs: There are many bed and breakfast (B&B) options on Islay, ranging from small, family-run guesthouses to larger properties with multiple rooms. B&Bs on the island offer a more personal and homely experience, and are a great way to get to know the local community.
  3. Self-catering cottages: Islay has a wide range of self-catering cottages, which offer the freedom and flexibility of your own space. Cottages on the island range from small, cozy properties to larger houses, and are a great option for families or groups of friends.
  4. Campsites: Islay has several campsites, which offer a range of facilities, including pitches for tents and caravans, and sometimes cabins or yurts. Campsites on the island are a great option for budget travelers or those looking for a more outdoor experience.

No matter where you choose to stay on Islay, you’ll be sure to find a comfortable and welcoming place to rest after a day of exploring the island.

Armin: Thank you for all this information about Islay, Assistant

AI Assistant: You’re welcome! I’m glad I could help. Islay is a beautiful and fascinating place, with a rich history and culture, beautiful natural surroundings, and many interesting things to see and do. I hope this information has been helpful and that it inspires you to visit the island and explore all that it has to offer. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m here to help!

OpenAI / ChatGPT

So what’s my verdict?


Mixed. I’m impressed by how human like and confident it answers. While a bit bland and repetitive most of it sounded well written. But I’m also concerned by the various mistakes in the answers. Some are easily spotted, some not so easy and could in worst case arguably even be dangerous. Of course same as with any information you find on the internet you should check, but a lot of people don’t do that and in some cases it might be difficult to check.

Let’s take a look at some of the mistakes and issues:

Starting with the potentially dangerous advice: It confidently states that Machir Bay (Kilchoman beach) is a “great spot for swimming”. That’s not something I’d say. There are dangerous undercurrents (there’s even a sign at the track leading to it warning about them) and I know swimmers have gotten into trouble here. Sure, some people have gone swimming here and were fine, but I wouldn’t call it a great spot for swimming.

Then the various weird and wonderful and plain wrong points:

  • “Alternatively, you can drive to the island via the bridge at Tarbert, which connects Islay to the Kintyre Peninsula on the mainland.” Huh? What? I think that’s news to pretty much everyone, probably even to many people who have never been to Islay.
  • On the birdwatching answer I’ve got mixed feelings. Islay being home to Puffins to my knowledge will be news to most people. Maybe I’ve been unlucky, but the only Puffin I’ve ever seen on Islay was dead (I’ve seen live Puffins in Shetland). For the geese I’m not sure if saying Islay is the home for them is entirely right, despite them wintering on Islay. I also would have focused on their huge numbers and the amazing sight of them much more. In regards to raptors, Eagles get a mention, but no mention of the plenty Hen Harriers? Also no mention of the Choughs?
  • Answering on the history question it mentions the Kilnave Cross in the south. That sounds rather odd. Kilnave is more north-west, also it’s much less interesting and much less known than the Kildalton Cross which is much better and actually in the south of Islay. Also Port Ellen distillery having been preserved and being open for visits is a bit of a stretch (it’s currently being rebuilt and will be open at some point, but that is something rather different).
  • Looking at the answer for places to eat I’m a bit baffled. The Ardview Bistro? Sure, there’s the Ardview Inn, but I wouldn’t call that a bistro, it’s a pub. But much more weird, the Kildalton Hotel in the south of the island? Maybe I’m missing something, but I’ve never heard of a Kildalton Hotel. Yet no mention of the Peatzeria, the Port Charlotte Hotel and a variety of other places known for their restaurants.

I’m sure my Eagle-eyed readers will spot many more strange things (feel free to point them out in the comments).

My conclusion? AI is making huge strides and can probably soon write bland travel articles without much help from human editors. But when it comes to real knowledge and understanding as well as writing engaging articles I feel humans don’t have to worry yet for some time.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments (or let an AI bot write them for you?).

My Islay (and something else) look back at 2021

Islay Events

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.

An Islay whisky tour video

Islay on VideoThe Adventure Bound Bumpkins visited Islay this year and among other things went on the Laphroaig Water to Whisky tour. They documented their visit and in particular the tour on video (and wrote about it on their website), first pour yourself a wee dram and enjoy the video:

To read more here are three posts about their Islay visit:

For even more you can also read about On the Way to Islay: A Scenic Drive From Edinburgh to Kennacraig.

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…

Islay Blogging Roundup NC #2

Islay Blogging RoundupWith a cold and wet weekend approaching (at least in West Berkshire where I’m writing this) I thought I should pull together something for you to read. Or in other words, write the follow up to the Islay Blogging Roundup NC #1 from almost a month ago. Here are a few Islay and Jura related blog posts I found interesting the last few weeks:

Using a photo as inspiration Julia Garner created a nice oil painting of a view from Ardnave Point in the north west of Islay.

On Malted a nice write up of the Bruichladdich #laddieMp5 live online tasting.

Raptor Politics demands Stop the Scottish Government poisoning eagles through the Geese being shot on Islay, creating a lively debate in his comments. (I don’t know enough about this for any judgement, I’m purely reporting what is written out there)

A little bit of Islay history related to Bowmore distillery can be found in James Mutter’s windows.

On a Scottish Tour Guide’s blog we find a number of posts about the Islay distilleries, including Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

For those looking for a nice wallpaper for their computer WhiskyExperts has one of the Loch Indaal lighthouse and Loch Indaal House.

Many (including this blog) have reported on the appointment of Jim McEwan at Ardnahoe, WhiskyCast has it included in his podcast if you’d like to listen to it.

I mentioned Scotch Cinema in NC #1, they have come up with another nice one, Lagavulin in Parks & Recreation.

Explore Argyll has a few blog posts covering places and events on Islay and Jura: You don’t need to do the Jura Fell Race to enjoy the Paps of JuraDistilleries of Argyll and the Isles Map (most of them of course on Islay and Jura) and Everything you need to know about Islay Airport.

Of course I have to mention the ever reliable Islay Birds blog. I’ve picked out a few posts with pictures: Stonechat, waders on the wing and Sanderlings.

Ron announces that he has struck a partnership with Botswana Dave from the RSPB to provide regular updates.

Sticking to the birds theme Holly reports from her bird project on the Our Learning Blog of Port Ellen Primary.

I think that’s enough for this roundup, I hope you found something interesting to read this weekend. More to come whenever I’ve collected enough interesting entries, if you have one you think I should mention please get in touch.

Islay Blogging Roundup NC #1

Islay Blogging RoundupWhen I relaunched the blog I mentioned that I was thinking about bringing the Islay blogging roundup back (but retiring the Friday Islay picture). Well then, here we go. It won’t be the regular Sunday every week as I used to do it, instead it will be whenever I find it’s suitable and I have come across enough interesting posts. And I will restart the count, which is why this is the Islay Blogging Roundup NC (for New Count) #1. Here we go:

The Scotch Cinema has been around for quite some time and is still going strong. Recently the had not just one, but THREE Laphroaig Sightings in One Movie. Some older Laphroaig sightings are also mentioned in their related links.

From a German music blog we learn that Amy Macdonald isn’t a whisky drinker but her father is partial to a wee dram and in particular a Bruichladdich from Islay.

Malted (a whisky blog in its day job) has a very interesting post with old Islay pictures in Islay Photographs 1902-1960. On the same blog we also find Islay and RAF Port Ellen.

Heiko from Switzerland documents his visit to Laphroaig with lots of pictures.

Sometimes I find Islay references in rather unexpected places like a post Sleep inducing molecules: Propofol, for January 2017 on the Liverpool Life Sciences UTC Innovation Labs. I didn’t fully understand it, but there’s some kind of link between Propofol and the Phenols Islay whiskies are famous for.

I’m not sure if it’s the type of book I’d read, but may be some of my German readers are interested in reading Die verhexten Zombiekarnickel and report back what they think? Apparently zombies, witches and distilleries are involved.

For daily updates about the bird sightings on Islay you of course still have to go to the Islay Birds blog. Posts that caught my even recently were a Whitefront with a neck ring, the New Year’s day post with the annual rainfall figures and a flock of Twites. In addition to that the RSPB Blog also has a great entry about Twite on The Oa.

I’ve stopped the Friday Islay picture, but how about you instead take a look at the Friday fold: Smaull Graywacke at Saligo Bay, Islay? Or the Friday fold: Machir Bay I and Friday fold: Machir Bay II?

The iLaddie Whisky Nerd from the Netherlands visited Islay late last year (I helped him a bit during his preparations), he has a whole Islay Trip category on his blog.

Marc Calhoun takes us to Cashels of the Hebrides, which includes one on Nave Island just off Ardnave on Islay.

Alaina and Philip visited Islay mainly for the whisky distilleries, you can read about their visit in ISLAY, SCOTLAND: A TRAVELOGUE.

Henryk visited Islay as part of a Scotland trip, you can find some great pictures in Urlaub 2016 Schottlands Nordwesten – Teil 3: Isle of Mull, Islay Scotland und JuraUrlaub 2016 Schottlands Nordwesten – Teil 3.5: Kilchoman Distillery and Session @ Port Charlotte Hotel Islay.

I think I’ll leave it at that, the Islay Blogging Roundup NC #1 is done. The next one will appear as and when I’ve come across enough good blog entries worth mentioning. If you have one (or know of one) you think I should mention by all means send me the link.

Armin’s 2017 New Year’s Greetings on New.IslayBlog.com

A bit stuttering, a bit improvised, but I hope it gets the message across. My first attempt at New Year’s Greetings in video format. I think they call it a vlog (from video blog). I hope it’s not too embarrassing:

Happy New Year 2017!

A New.IslayBlog.com for Christmas

Islay NewsWell then, there we are, here is my Christmas present for you, a new.islayblog.com for your perusal. After 10 years of blogging ‘manually’ on www.islayblog.com I’ve decided to move on to a new blog with a real CMS. With my recovery from my heart surgery progressing well I thought it was finally time for something new here as well.

The header remains the same (well, OK, I had to tweak it slightly to fit in here), it’s still the familiar view of the Loch Indaal lighthouse with the Paps of Jura in the distance, one of my favourite views on Islay. The content of the blog will largely remain the same as well, as will the categories. I’m going to retire at least one of them though, with the Islay Pictures Photoblog going strong I’ve decided to retire the Friday Islay Picture. I’m undecided on the Islay blogging roundup, time permitting I might revive that one. In a way I’m still fond of the idea. Apart from that I’m going to blog about essentially the same as before, anything Islay (or Jura, Colonsay, Gigha and may be even Kintyre) related I come across. Videos, pictures, news, stories, fun things, events, businesses, short snippets, longer texts, links, updates and whatever else crosses my path.

I hope you will join me here on the new blog if you were a reader of the old blog and I hope to may be gain a few new readers as well. I’m keen to make it a dialog as well, the comments are open for everyone, so don’t be shy and make your voice heard (within reason of course, you’ll be in my house after all).

That’s all for now, enjoy the new blog. Oh, and if everything goes to plan I’ll have another Christmas present for you later today. Watch this blog…