My first 360° Islay video: Lossit Bay

Islay on VideoWell, that went better than I thought. When I posted the video exploring Islay’s Lossit Bay I mentioned that I was hoping to share my first 360° Islay video over the coming weeks. After reviewing the 360° footage I have of Lossit Bay on Friday evening and editing it during the Saturday (followed by a long upload and processing over Saturday night) I’m now ready to share it just a week later.

Here are three minutes of 360° views of Lossit Bay on the west coast of Islay, filmed on a beautiful June evening:

Assuming you have a modern browser or are viewing it on a mobile device you should be able to move around in the video, looking into whatever direction you want. Out to sea, along the beach, over to the dunes, all as if you’re there and turning around. You can either move the view with your mouse (or finger on a mobile device) or by using the controls in the top left corner. If you’re watching it on a mobile device you should also be able to change the view by simply moving your mobile device around, left, right, up, down, whichever way you want.

The resolution/video quality isn’t as good as from my other cameras, but then this is early days, my first attempts with a fairly new technology. Over time the technology will improve and become more affordable (I only have a fairly low spec 360° camera which was on special offer, just right for me to learn and experiment with the technology), improving video quality over the coming years. I hope you’re still able to enjoy the video and the opportunity to look around.

I’m hoping to edit more 360° Islay videos over the coming weeks, Machir Bay, Bowmore, Port Charlotte and some of the distilleries are among the options. Bowmore will most likely get the nod first.

New Islay video: Exploring Lossit Bay

Islay on VideoAlmost three months ago I posted a short video June evening in Lossit Bay, promising there was more to come. I’ve already posted a few pictures in recent weeks, this week I’m planning a series of Lossit Bay pictures on my Islay pictures photoblog, starting with the original of the cover picture of the video. Talking of video, here is the very much extended 10x longer director’s cut of the footage I shot in Lossit Bay, I hope you enjoy it:

No music, just the sound of the waves breaking and the birds calling, in particular the noisy oystercatchers. It’s the way I like it. Just like it is when you’re there.

PS: Assuming I can work out how to edit and upload it I’m hoping to share a 360º video of Lossit Bay some time over the coming weeks. Fingers crossed…

Flying to Islay as a wheelchair user

Islay on VideoIt’s been a while since I last posted here, I blame the heatwave in the UK which cost me a lot of energy (I don’t deal very well with hot weather). Still need to write up a quick summary from my Islay visit in June, but before I do that I’d like to share a video from another recent Islay visitor:

Doug Paulley (Doug on Twitter) flew to Islay in July (his first flight since becoming a wheelchair user if I understood it correctly) and decided to document his experiences as a wheelchair user as a help to others. A very interesting and informative video.

In addition Doug has also created a playlist of the views from the flight, for those who’d like to view what you can see from the window. And on Twitter he shared a video of a travel companion going for a swim at Bunnahabhain.

New video: June evening in Lossit Bay, Islay

Islay on VideoI spent a wonderful late afternoon and evening on a beautiful sunny June day in Lossit Bay on the west coast of Islay. Filming video, taking pictures and just generally looking around. Here’s a first taster of it, a one take one minute clip of walking along the beach and then turning around for a glimpse of the approaching sunset:

There’s plenty more to come, both pictures and video.

How not to discover Islay (and how to do it better)

Islay LinksYesterday I came across what I thought was a rather strange article about Islay. Having spent two weeks on Jura Alexander from South Africa thought he could visit and get to know five (yes, 5) Islay distilleries in two (yes, 2) hours. It wasn’t very successful for him, as he writes in A whisky without peat is like soup without salt, but Islay visit is bland.

Assuming I read it correctly he crammed driving from Port Askaig to Bowmore, visiting Bowmore distillery, driving on to the south coast, visiting Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg, driving all the way back to Caol Ila, visiting Caol Ila and then driving back to Port Askaig into two hours. 2 hours. I estimate driving from Port Askaig to Ardbeg via Bowmore takes approx 45 minutes. Returning via the High Road should be slightly faster, may be 40 minutes. That’s a total of almost 1.5 hours. Which leaves just over half an hour for five distilleries. Or in other words about 6-7 minutes for each distillery. Where it seems he expected they just drop everything for him as soon as he arrived without any warning or preparation (otherwise he would have known that Ardbeg gets rather busy at lunchtime).

Seriously?

Do you turn up at Johannesburg’s busy top restaurants without a reservation and then expect them to serve you a five course menu over 15 minutes and enjoy that experience?

Here are my (personal, others might differ) suggestions on how to discover Islay: Spend a little time on preparation, plenty of websites and travel guides out there to learn about Islay. Allow yourself a few days to immerse yourself in the island, I’d say at least two full days excluding arrival and departure. Restrict yourself to may be 2-3 distilleries. That’s plenty enough. Get out of the car, walk around a bit, experience the peace and quiet directly, not through the windows of a car. Feel, view, hear and smell the wild and rugged landscape. Spend an hour or two walking along one of Islay’s beautiful beaches. Go out to one of the pubs/bars in the evening, especially if there’s live music on. Good chance you meet a distillery worker there. Visit some other places like Finlaggan or the Woollen Mill, get a feel for the rich history. And most importantly, don’t rush it, you’re on Islay time.

Rough Guides I think do it much better in their video, they take their time to really discover Islay, the multiple facets and what it is about:

Of course there are many more reasons to visit and discover Islay, but these five are already pretty good.

Do you have anything to add, any further thoughts on how to best discover Islay? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments.

Dan visits the wild north west of Islay

Islay on VideoTime for a nice Islay video again. Today Dan Bell takes us out to the far north west of Islay. I think he pitched his tent just south of Mala Bholsa, I believe I recognise some of the caves and arches as well as the waterfall. But now over to the video:

PS: I’m not so sure about some of his hacks though. Freezer bags to ‘waterproof’ your boots?

Video of a stag swimming along the Islay coast

Islay on VideoSome Islay wildlife not in their usual setting on dry land, but in the water at the south coast of Islay. Deer are good swimmers, they swim across the Sound of Islay between Islay and Jura quite regularly (I think someone even told me that occasionally they even swim across the Gulf of Corryvreckan, but I’m not sure of that). This stag was spotted by Jean Connor swimming near Kildalton:

Nice video about the Museum of Islay Life

Islay on VideoWell, I had planned to share a short video from the Islay Sessions tonight, together with a mention that the artists in said video will soon be visiting the south of England. But then I spotted an error in the video, so it will have to wait for another day. Meaning I’m going to pull forward a video I had saved for another day, a very nice video about the Museum of Islay Life:

I hope you enjoyed the video and if you haven’t been yet (or even if you have been) it encouraged you to visit the museum (again).

Two Islay drone videos, Port Askaig and Portnahaven

Islay on VideoThought I’ll take you up in the air above Islay again today with two drone videos I’ve come across. The first one according to its title was more of a test, but as it has some very nice views of the snow capped hills of Jura (including the partly cloud covered Paps of Jura) I thought it was still worth sharing:

For the second video we travel across the island to the southern end of the Rhinns of Islay, to Portnahaven:

I hope you’ve enjoyed the videos from across Islay and Jura.

Islay High School wins award at FilmG 2018

Islay NewsRemember a few weeks ago I mentioned voting for the Islay entries at FilmG 2018? Unfortunately neither of the Islay entries won the people’s choice award but at least one prize returns to Islay again. Yes, you read that right, returns to Islay again. Same as last year Islay High has won the Gaelic Award for Learners:

Congratulations! Will they get to keep the prize if they win it again next year?

Highlights of yesterday’s awards ceremony will be broadcast on BBC Alba at 21:00 on Sunday 11/Feb/2018 (and I believe be available on the iPlayer afterwards).