Some great breaking Islay news this morning, which should be exciting for both IT nerds and whisky buffs alike. The Scottish Government is announcing that Islay has been chosen for the trial of the roll-out of both AlbaCoin and AlbaContracts. This will put Islay and Scotland truly on the map for the new exciting blockchain technology. They will revolutionise how business as well as everyday transactions will be conducted on Islay and soon all over Scotland and even the world.
AlbaCoin and AlbaContracts are based on the blockchain technology, the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies and more. AlbaCoin is an electronic cryptocurrency which will replace physical banknotes and coins with fully electronic and safe currency. It is also likely to be the new currency of an independent Scotland should Scotland gain independence in the near future. AlbaContracts are intelligent e-contracts based on the blockchain technology, allowing secure and trustworthy transactions and tracking in the digitalised economy.
Some information about the technology from Lead Project Manager John Holland:
AlbaCoin and AlbaContract both use the newly developed and extremely secure 512 byte P.E.A.T. (Petaflop Excentric Algorithmic Triangulation) method, which is impossible to break. Leading cryptographic experts were involved in its development.
The technology is supported by all major banks and law firms as well as the major technology giants and will be integrated in all major technology platforms and operating systems.
The technology will be rolled out to all households and businesses on Islay and Jura with training and information sessions starting soon. The trail is funded by the government and will not cost the users anything, while bringing plenty of benefits.
AlbaContracts will provide huge benefits to the distilleries, who through the blockchain technology of AlbaContracts will be able to trace all the ingredients from source to bottle, e.g. barley from field through maltings to mashing, distilling, maturing and bottling. The ultimate in trace-ability. Bruichladdich wasn’t available for comment, but it is believed they will implement the technology to support their provenance and terroir ambitions until their new local Islay maltings are complete.
Certainly exciting and interesting times for Islay!
Just a quick heads up tonight, the details for the 2019 WalkIslay Islay walking week have been announced/published today. I’ll write up a more detail personal preview over the coming days with some pictures and thoughts which walks I’ll probably participate in.
To read up on the walks head over to www.walkislay.co.uk for the details of all of them (well, as of writing this less one, where the details are still being finalised).
Having had to miss out on the 2018 edition through my leg injury I’m very much looking forward to catching up this year (fingers crossed nothing goes wrong this time…).
Haven’t blogged here as much recently as I would have liked, so I’m going to try to get better again. Today I thought I’d share a mix of links to articles and other things I found interesting recently. I hope you’ll find something of interest to you as well:
Western Ferries had long gone from the Islay route by the time I first boarded a ferry to Islay, so I don’t have any real memory of them (apart from the pictures and articles about them I’ve seen). This might be changing again at some point, as reports indicate they are interested in (re-)starting a freight only service to Islay.
Just a quick update on the Vote for Islay at FilmG 2019 entry from December: One of the three entries from Islay has been shortlisted for an award. The entry from Islay High School in the Youth category, ‘Am Bruadar’, has been picked in the FilmG Award For Gaelic – Learners category. Congratulations, and fingers crossed you will be announced as winners at the awards ceremony in Glasgow in February.
In addition, voting for the People’s Choice award is still open. You can vote once a day. Here are the entries from Islay again, so that you can vote for them:
It’s that time of year again, same as last year it’s time to vote for Islay’s entries at the FilmG competition. For this year I’m aware of three entries from Islay so far, from the High School, from Bowmore Primary and from the Islay Voices. Same as last year everyone can vote in the ‘People’s Choice Prize’, to do that all you need to do is to go to the page for the entry you want to vote for (linked below the videos) and click on the ‘Vote’ button. Simple as that.
Let’s start with the entry from Islay High School, titled ‘Am Bruadar’. In it a ‘Hipster couple camp at view of Rhinns lighthouse, fall asleep and dream past, present and future there. There’s a surprise in store for them both!’:
Next to the younger students from Bowmore Primary in their second competition entry (I believe their premiere at the competition was last year). For them ‘the children’s bad behaviour leads in the blink of an eye, to jump in time to a school in a hundred years, where wooden desks have been replaced with ipad tables and there is no need for a teacher as Alexa runs the class‘:
The voting is open until the end of January, the winners (including hopefully one from Islay) will be announced at the annual awards ceremony at The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow on 08/Feb/2019. If you’re on Facebook also follow the CnaG Ìle group for more.
From my recent Islay visit I returned with a quite large souvenir which is now hanging on one of my walls. A few weeks ago Pat Farrington announced on Facebook that she had some maps of Islay, Jura and Colonsay in Gaelic for sale. I contacted her that I was interested and if I could pick one up during my Islay visit in November (they were sold pick up / delivery on Islay only).
We agreed to meet in Bowmore, where £10 and in return the map changed hands. From Bowmore I drove over to Islay House Square, where I dropped it off at Islay Studios to be framed. Mark had mentioned that they had framed another copy, I decided to do the same to keep it in prime condition and make it easier to hang up. I picked a light coloured wood as most of my furniture is pine and I wanted them to go together.
Here’s how it looks with the map hanging above my ‘Islay Shelf’ (where I keep my Islay single malts, my Islay books and various souvenirs):
I’m very happy how it turned out, I think it fits very well above the shelf. The map looks very nice in the frame, it covers many places including villages, hills, mountains, lochs and more. Of course all in Gaelic, as that’s the whole point of the map. The speech bubble is a lamp (hence the cable), but it didn’t look very nice switched on for a picture, so I turned it off (it looks very nice otherwise and is lit while I’m typing this).
Last week a very nice new sign/board popped up at the start of the track through the dunes to Kilchoman beach. A few weeks ago I wrote about a way to help keeping Islay’s beaches clean, Fiona MacGillivray has taken this idea further and written a poem about it. That poem has now been printed on a sign/board and the first one has been put up at the entrance to Kilchoman beach:
The poem reads (for the benefit of those with a screen reader, in case they can’t read text in pictures):
Three pieces of rubbish!
Make this beach plastic free, Oh what a sight that would be!
Plastic litter on the beach is a scourge to man and beast.
It floats on in, off the sea, in a relentless tide of mans debris.
Piled high we throw up our hands & cry How can we just let this lie?
But with visitors and walkers each day we reduce it day by day.
Pick up three pieces of rubbish each and this beach will be a peach.
There is a bin that sits just here pop it in and you can cheer
Then this beach will just be Sand and sea and clutter free!
As it says in the poem, there is a convenient bin right here:
I understand there are plans to put up signs at other beaches on Islay as well. Hopefully they will encourage more people to help with keeping Islay’s beaches clean, so that we can all enjoy pristine beaches (of course it would be even better to avoid the plastic rubbish in the first place, but that’s another topic).
Some good news for Islay visitors planning to arrive by plane. So far most scheduled flights to Islay (i.e. not the Colonsay/Oban route) were from Glasgow Airport (GLA) only. That’s about to change: From March 2019 travellers will also be able to fly to Islay International Airport (ILY) from Edinburgh Airport (EDI). From the Loganair press release:
A 34-seat Saab 340 will fly the Edinburgh to Islay route – the capital city’s first ever scheduled air link to the Inner Hebrides. The service will commence on 25 March and will operate up to daily, offering new links from Edinburgh to the “Queen of the Hebrides”, which is experiencing significant growth in tourism and business following the opening of new hotels and growth in the golfing and spirits distillery sectors.
I think this should open up some new routes and opportunities in particular for visitors from further afield, I believe from some countries there are no direct flights to Glasgow, but there are to Edinburgh.
I don’t know more than what it says in the screenshot, but it looks like after the Southern Islay distillery footpath we will soon see a Rhinns of Islay equivalent between Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich. Many thanks to Ross Coutts for spotting and sharing:
We all would like our beaches pristine and clean. Sadly modern reality gets into the way more and more often. Plastic and other rubbish everywhere, destroying the beauty of the nature we so enjoy. So why don’t we all contribute a bit to help keeping the beaches clean? Apart from avoiding littering as much as possible we can all do our bit to help to keep the beaches clean. It’s not my idea, I read about it somewhere else:
From every beach walk aim to bring back at least three pieces of plastic (or other rubbish, e.g. bottles) and dispose of it responsibly.
During my last visit to Islay in June I decided to do my bit. When staying at Kilchoman during the second week of my stay I went for a walk on Kilchoman Beach in Machir Bay every morning. During the last return leg (I typically walked up and down the beach twice) I picked up as much as I could carry, often helped by a bucket or something similar I found to allow me to collect and carry it.
Quite a few of the findings almost certainly travelled all the way across the North Channel, as they clearly came from Ireland. There was a plastic milk bottle from Donegal Creameries and a Tayto crisp bag. And a few items with Euro pricing. But also various other plastic and other items, like a pen and tennis ball. Not to forget a few bottles (both glass and plastic).
I know a number of others are picking up plastic on their beach walks. Also while I was doing it I got chatting with a couple on their beach walk and they joined as well and picked up plastic.