Recently a quite interesting visitor was spotted around Islay and Jura, the Thunder Child II, a very impressive boat. The first XSV20 built by Safehaven Marine in Co Cork, Ireland. Unfortunately it had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but they hope to set a new record for a trans Atlantic crossing soon. This week they didn’t go that far, but visited one of the local attractions where they filmed a great video of the famous Corryvreckan whirlpool:
I’m pretty sure Thunder Child II could have easily coped with even wilder conditions, but even here the waves and views are impressive. I also found their way to “land” their drone after filming them quite interesting (you’ll have to watch the video to see how they do it), first time I’ve seen it done that way.
I can only recommend a boat tour to the Corryvreckan, I went with Jura Boat Tours in June 2019 and enjoyed every minute of it. Seeing the whirlpool up close is a great experience, even if it is running at less than half of its full strength.
Just enjoying a wee dram of Laphroaig Cask Strength (Batch 009) Islay single malt after a few Scottish real ales (from Drygate, Harviestoun and Fyne Ales. Unfortunately Islay Ales don’t ship to the mainland at the moment) earlier. So there’s nothing better than watching a nice video from an Islay visit with plenty distillery tours in December 2019:
I hope you’ll enjoy the video as well, maybe with a wee dram or two?
While we don’t know when, if it’s going to be this year or next year, at some point we will be able to go walking in the beautiful wide open spaces of Islay, Jura and Colonsay again. Until then we have to watch videos like this, showing walking on mainly Islay, but also Jura and Colonsay, in all weathers, from beautiful sunshine to pouring rain:
There are many ways to walk on Islay: you can go on organised walking holidays like in this video with About Argyll, you can come for the Islay walking week or you can go just for yourself whenever you want and wherever you want.
Well, that didn’t entirely go to plan. When the Coronavirus lockdown started I had high hopes and plans to blog here more often and share all kinds of things. Initially that went reasonably well. And then I kind of lost my mojo as the weeks dragged past. Haven’t posted here since late April. But I’m feeling like I’m slowly getting my mojo back, so let’s give it another go. Starting with a long video hopefully helping you to wind down after a long day, best watched in full screen mode with a drink of your choice:
This video was filmed at the start of the lockdown, but even with some of the easing of the restrictions most of us won’t be able to watch a sunset like this for a while. Thanks to Scott for sharing.
Regular readers might remember me writing about Gráinne Brady’s debut album just over a year ago, launched at the Islay Sessions 2018. Hopefully there will be Islay Sessions 2020, be it live on Islay or virtual (Fèis Ìle 2020 is moving online), as I’m hoping we will get to hear more from her there. Why? Because Gráinne is currently finishing her second album. I should have posted it earlier as now there are only a few days left, but if you’re quick you can still support her in fundraising to finalise and launch the album:
If you’re interested in supporting her go to Gráinne’s Indiegogo campaign for Newcomer and make your choice which goodies to pick (depending on your contribution). They range from digital downloads over signed CDs and/or launch tickets to a house concert.
If it hadn’t been for the Coronavirus I would have been out and about this weekend, warming up for the Islay walking week in a week’s time. But obviously neither of that is happening or will happen. So I thought I should have at least some treat. During my last shopping trip I decided to raid the Easter egg aisle even though the chocolate is vastly overpriced in comparison to a normal bar of the same chocolate. But I found something I thought a bit different. Yesterday evening I decided to let some of my Twitter followers pick which one of two Bruichladdich valinches I should open. Here’s the outcome, here’s what I enjoyed today:
The whisky is a Bruichladdich Port Charlotte heavily peated Islay single malt, SHC: 01, 2006. Cask 2134, first fill sherry. Distilled 4/Oct/2006, aged 11 years. My bottle is number 918 of 1,134.
The chocolate is a “single origin dark chocolate teardrop”. Or to be precise, “an intense dark chocolate decorated egg in a golden shimmer using Fino De Aroma cocoa beans sourced from Colombia”.
I’m not going to bore you with tasting notes, my taste buds aren’t developed enough to do much good there. But I can say the whisky tastes fantastic, nice and fiery (that’s as far as I go). The chocolate is nice as well, although I didn’t taste anything different with the golden shimmer (which if I interpret the ingredients list correctly isn’t real gold anyway, but Iron Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Sorry to disappoint you on that side).
Oh, and for those of you interested in the result of the poll, the SHC won with 17 votes out of 29. If I remember correctly it had an even higher lead earlier on, but the VOC pulled back a bit in the later stages (the poll was open for about 13-14 hours). I haven’t decided when yet, but there’s a good chance the VOC will also be opened at some point during or shortly after the lockdown.
The cousin of a friend of mine has an uncle who works in the White House who has a colleague who has access to the innermost circle of the American president. From him we’ve just learned about this most fascinating development:
Donald Trump is planning to buy Islay. All of it. The whole island.
Remember the story about Donald Trump wanting to buy Greenland? As you probably know that plan failed. So now Trump has set his sights elsewhere. And picked Islay. In a secret transcript Trump says:
Islay is such a tremendous island, it has the bestest whiskey in the whole world, Americans love it. Islay is hugely popular! When there’s a feature about Islay on the TV the ratings go up in England, it’s bigger than a Premier League game or Dance Off!! Amazing!!! So I’m going to buy it for America.
secret White House transcript
Trump is understood to have reached out to the Scottish and British government to negotiate the deal, believed to be worth in the trillions if Trump is successful with his outrageous bid. Trump also said:
This will be an amazing deal we will offer Scotchland. And once we’ve completed it I will proclaim my beautiful daughter Ivanka as the first queen of Islay. We will also introduce the proper spelling of whiskey to Islay and teach everyone how to best enjoy a stiff Islay scotch, with a nice big lump of fresh Alaskan ice!
secret White House transcript
This will certainly be a developing story to watch…..
Let’s visit some Islay beaches from the air. Stuart Lewis visited Islay in 2018 and filmed a variety of beaches ranging from the Singing Sands over Kilchoman beach to the small beach at the pier in Port Charlotte from his drone. Take a look:
I hope you enjoyed this aerial tour of some of Islay’s beautiful sunny beaches. Which beach is your favourite?
An Gleann was founded by Jane Mitchell almost 15 years ago as a small cottage business on the Rhinns of Islay a couple of miles outside of Port Charlotte on the road to Portnahaven. As the name says, they make tablet, a Scottish speciality. Being on Islay there’s of course a connection to the famous Islay whisky with the Whisky Connoisseur series. I hope you’ll find something you like.
It’s time for another nice Islay video, I think. This time created by Naoki Otsuki from Japan (and Canada). The video takes us around Islay, showing various kinds of scenery. It’s a bit different than many other videos, looking closer at the finer details and sometimes taking a different perspective. I very much enjoyed it, I hope you will as well:
Naoki spent five days on Islay, check out the video description on YouTube for the details of what they did while on Islay.