For many years Islay High School / Àrd-sgoil Ìle has been participating in the annual FilmG (GD/EN) awards, 2021 is no different. Many years they were shortlisted, on several occasions they even won one of the awards. This year they submitted two entries, one in the Fluent category and one in the Learners category. The entry in the Learners category, “Easga Bhuidhe na Feidh” got shortlisted, this is their entry:
However, both entries qualify for the People’s Choice award, you can vote for them by going to the respective entry (use the links above to go there directly) and then clicking on the heart above the VOTE HERE / BHÒT AN SEO text. You’ve got until Monday 24/Jan/2022 to submit your vote. So please hurry and get your vote in!
Found two beautiful videos tonight which I’d like to share with you. They are both from the YouTube channel DiveClyde which mainly focuses on narrated scuba dive videos. At least two of their videos (I haven’t gone through all of their videos yet) feature Islay, Jura and Gigha, the topic of this blog. The first one covers a trip from Campbeltown to the Southern Skerries of Islay with some of the wildlife including Seals and Otters:
For the second video we cross over to Gigha and then to Jura for some fascinating scuba diving views and more, including a bonus view of a Sea Eagle:
I hope you’ve enjoyed the videos, I loved the views of the Otters and the various fish under water.
From my own new video of some beautiful waves at Saligo Bay to two Islay lighthouse videos by someone else: Steven Muir has taken a drone to two (there are four in total if you include two smaller ones on Islay and Jura) lighthouses at the Sound of Islay. Let’s start at the southern end:
From the south we move to the other end, to the north:
If the name and the second video ring a bell for you there might be a reason: I’ve blogged another video of Rhuvaal by Steven just over a year ago. I’m not sure if the footage is from the same visit or a different visit, either way I love seeing it again from this different perspective. Seeing it from up in the air just gives some more information you don’t necessarily get from the ground (I’ve walked to both lighthouses several times over the years).
Finally got around to editing another Islay video. My original plan was to edit one of a September sunset, but after reviewing some of the footage that will take a bit more time. So instead just a shorter video of some beautiful waves rolling in under the beautiful light of the gloaming not long after the sunset. Sit back, relax and enjoy for two minutes:
That’s all I’ve got for tonight, I hope you’ve enjoyed the video. I hope to be able to edit and publish the related Saligo Bay sunset video within the next week or two.
Sam Holmes is crossing oceans in questionable sailing vessels (his own words). For this video he didn’t cross an ocean, just the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland. Watch his video and learn what else he did on Islay apart from eating Haggis:
After leaving Port Ellen he continued through the Sound of Islay, stopping at Bunnahabhain (and visiting Ardnahoe):
I hope you enjoyed Sam’s adventures on and around Islay. I always enjoy the different views and perspectives you get from a sailing boat.
Regular visitors to Islay will mostly be familiar with the American Monument on the Oa and the history behind it with the Tuscania and Otranto shipwrecks in WWI. Still, history tour guide Bruce Fummey has created an interesting video about the history and the links between Scotland and the USA, well worth watching:
I hope you found the video interesting and informative, especially if you’re new to this part of Islay’s history.
During my after work internet surfing I came across an interesting video, which then led to another video and also a blog post with more background. So I thought I might as well share it with you as well. As the title says, it’s about paddleboarding, a very popular sport these days, and as in this case it took place on Islay there was also some whisky involved. Let’s start with the second video I found, Meaghan and Neal’s adventures on Islay and Jura:
The other video (the one I came across first) just focuses on Claggain Bay and their paddleboarding there:
Dolphins can be spotted around Islay fairly regularly, in the Sound of Islay where they sometimes play with the ferry and other ships, sometimes in Loch Indaal, or during a ferry crossing. The video I came across yesterday seems to have been filmed from a yacht and possibly also a drone flying above them. Enjoy:
I hope you’ve enjoyed the video, I found it very calming and relaxing, watching the Dolphins as they were swimming, jumping and playing.
Something a bit different today, not just a video with some beautiful views of Islay, but some background on what we’re seeing. Kate Gordon and Nigel Scott take us to Finlaggan and tell us about the history of the Lords of the Isles:
Nigel had contacted me a month ago about using one of my pictures for a video he was editing about Finlaggan. As it was for a non-commercial educational project I was happy to give him permission. While I was away on Islay for my second visit this year (more about that in another post) he sent me an update with the link to the video. Now that I’m back and had time to catch up with a view things I finally had a chance to watch the video and now share it with you.
I quite like it, I think it’s well made and tells the story very well. Quite a lot of information without getting too long and going into too much detail, just right. Hopefully you like the video as well and found it interesting.
Back in March 2020 when I wrote Sadly no Islay visit for me for the foreseeable future I didn’t expect that it would be 22 long months. While Islay was open for visitors in summer 2020 it didn’t feel right for me to travel at that time. Then the winter 2020/2021 lockdowns arrived. Early 2021 finally brought some hope with the vaccine programme rollout gathering pace, as I had decided I would only travel once I was fully vaccinated. I received my second dose in May 2021 (although I only found that out in May, I hadn’t expected expected it until June, making it too late to book for June). July and August I avoided (as usual) as I need to give priority to my colleagues with children (someone has to hold the fort in the office). But two weeks ago, in early September, I finally boarded the MV Finlaggan for my first crossing to Islay since November 2019.
It was emotional. Very emotional. Especially stepping out on to Kilchoman beach, my spiritual home, again the morning after my arrival. Several people have told me they’ve never seen me so happy as in some of the pictures I’ve shared. And they’re probably right. Even when I can’t explain why. Sometimes people ask me why I love Islay so much and why I keep returning after well over 20 years. And all I can say is that there’s something that clicks for me. That’s the best explanation I can give.
I don’t know if they show some of the magic, but I recorded a series of “YouTube shorts” (short 15 seconds clips best watched in portrait mode on a mobile device, but you can also watch them on a desktop/laptop) from some of my adventures during my second week on Islay:
While I didn’t get out as much as I had hoped and didn’t meet as many people as I would have liked for a variety of reasons (weather not being that great especially in the second week, a very annoying blister on my left heel which made longer walks difficult at times, a lingering reluctance to go into busy enclosed spaces like pubs/restaurants and more) I did get to see a few new things and had some interactions I treasured:
One day I drove from Conisby to Uiskentuie beach for a walk. When I left Conisby my car alerted me that it was low on screen wash, so when I arrived I opened the bonnet and topped up the screen wash (might as well get it done while it’s fresh in my mind). Walking past another car parked a bit further down the beach the driver asked me if had a problem with my car and needed help. I reassured him that everything was fine and explained the background. While somebody elsewhere might have asked as well to me this felt very much like an Islay thing to do, people caring about others.
Also at Uiskentuie during my first walk there I passed a woman walking her dog and we had a brief chat about how long the beach was. A few days later (I think it might have been my last walk at Uiskentuie) I met her again and we walked together for a bit, having a nice chat about ferries, walking and more. We didn’t exchange names, so I don’t know who she was, but I really enjoyed our walk and chat. While something like this might happen elsewhere it felt like an Islay thing to me. Hopefully we can catch up on another beach walk at some point.
In regards to new things, I walked the new Loch Indaal path between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte on a beautiful morning. I’ll write about it in a dedicated post, but I think it’s brilliant, a fantastic addition to Islay’s infrastructure and experience. Thank you and well done to everyone involved in making it happen.
I was welcomed online by several of my neighbours during my stay at Conisby, which I really appreciated. Apologies I didn’t come over, I’m still nervous visiting people in their homes at this point. Hopefully there will be another opportunity once the pandemic has settled further.
There were a few more moments, but I think what I’ve captured here covers the most important parts of this visit as well as touches on some of the reasons why I like Islay so much.
My next visit is already booked and assuming everything goes to plan I’ll be back soon, much much sooner than the very long time until this visit. I will do my utmost to meet the people I missed on this visit, most of you will know who. I’ll be in touch.