A Fyne Venison Weekend

Islay Fun

On my journeys to Islay I usually stop at Fyne Ales to buy some of their beers and if available some meat. For obvious reasons that isn’t happening at the moment and hasn’t happened for a while. I’ve previously ordered some of their beers online, last week I decided to add something else, some meat.

Picture of vension burgers, sausages and steaks from Fyne Ales
Fyne Ales venison selection

I ordered a Venison Sizzle Box, which was dispatched and arrived this week, just in time for this weekend. The box includes steaks, burgers and sausages. Of course I also ordered some of my favourites beers, namely some Jarl, Avalanche and Easy Trail.

While most of the box went into the freezer for later consumption I kept one of each for a “Fyne Venison Weekend” this weekend. I started with the steak, which turned out very nice. Lean yet juicy, very tender. Great taste. Tomorrow I’ll have the burgers and I’ll finish on Sunday with the sausages.

Videos by Islay Drone Photography

Islay on Video

In his day job he’s a taxi driver on Islay, but when he’s not behind the steering wheel Stuart is on the controls of his drone. As his job takes him all around Islay he has some opportunities to film all around island, showcasing some of the best of Islay. You can find his pictures on his Islay Drone Photography Facebook page. Not everyone is on Facebook, so luckily he’s also sharing some of his videos on YouTube. Like this one of the Laggan river:

Isle of Islay, Laggan river

Or this great 360° view of the Rhinns of Islay lighthouse on Orsay:

Islay lighthouse ( Portnahaven )

Or an Otter hunting for food on the wild shores of Islay:

Otter in the wild on The island of Islay, scotland

I hope you enjoyed these picks, you can find plenty more on the Islay Drone Photography YouTube channel. Videos of Islay’s distilleries, beaches, roads, landscapes, villages and more.

Help fund a new walkway to Finlaggan, Islay

Islay News

The wooden walkway to Eilean Mòr at Finlaggan, the ancient seat of the Lords of the Isles on Islay, has gone through a few iterations over the decades. Because of the harsh conditions at Loch Finlaggan the wood starts to decay and the wear and tear at some point makes the walkway unsafe. Over the years there have been different walkways, this is how it looked in 2006:

Picture of an old wooden walkway to a small island
Finlaggan walkway in 2006

In 2007 it was replaced by a new walkway built by the Army 39 Engineer Regiment after removing the old rotting walkway. Visitors soon enjoyed good access to Eilean Mòr again:

Picture of a group of visitors next to a information board, a new wooden walkway in the background
Visitors after crossing a new walkway in 2007

In 2008 the visitor centre also saw some significant renovation and extension, making it the valuable place to learn about Islay’s history it is today:

Picture of a visitor centre extension under construction
Finlaggan visitor centre under construction in 2008

The walkway built in 2007 has now aged so much that it needs to be replaced to ensure continued access to the site. To do this the Finlaggan Trust needs support. The Finlaggan Trust writes:

We have already secured partial funding from a number of sources and are able to contribute a certain amount ourselves, but there remains a £30,000 shortfall in the £86,000 total nonetheless. If successful in our fundraising we hope to begin work in September/October 2021, with a five- to seven-week timescale for completion of the build, C-19 restrictions and weather conditions permitting.

The Lordship of the Isles needs you – Tha feum aig Rìoghachd nan Eilean ortsa

If you want to support the Finlaggan Trust you can make a donation at The Finlaggan Walkway Project JustGiving campaign. As of writing this in the early days of the campaign 8% of the target have been reached, hopefully that will jump up soon and continued access to Finlaggan can be secured:

Picture of a small island with ruins in a lake, a walkway leading to it
Finlaggan from the air, walkway bottom right

Rock climbing on Islay video

Islay on Video

Rock climbing isn’t something I’ve heard of much on Islay, as far as I can tell there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity to do it. Nevertheless Roger Brown did just that (with a stopover on Skye for some more rock climbing) and made a video about it:

Rock climbing trip to Islay 2019

Some of it seems to be near Port Wemyss on the Rhinns of Islay, not sure where the rest was. May be on the Oa or at Sanaigmore? There are certainly some steep and impressive cliffs at both locations.

I hope you enjoyed the video, I found it very interesting (and a bit scary) to see them climbing above the waves rolling in at the steep cliffs.

Drone video of the Rest and Be Thankful (Route to Islay)

Islay on Video

While we obviously can’t travel to Islay when I’m writing this I hope there will be some travel possible in H2 2021. Until then we have to enjoy videos in the safety of our homes. Here’s one of the well known Rest and Be Thankful on the A83, the main route to Islay. It doesn’t mention any of the troubles with landslides and other problems, so if you want to forget about all that this is a nice enjoyable view:

Rest and Be Thankful

I hope you enjoyed the video and it gave you a bit of an escape.

Thank you for the online Islay Sessions 2020 (in January 2021)

Islay Music

As mentioned previously the Islay Sessions 2020 had to move online due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Originally the plan was to hold them on the original weekend in November, but for various reasons that didn’t work out and the event had to be pushed out. Two days ago as of writing this it finally happened and the live stream went ahead. I put on my finest tartan, poured myself a wee dram and sat down in front of the computer to watch. While of course not as good as a real live event it was still a great evening! All credit to the organisers and the musicians for making this such an enjoyable event.

Greig Shaw was our host, I believe from his garden shed, which he had very nicely decorated for the event. Greig led us through the evening, talking about his late brother Fraser in whose honour the Sessions are now being held and very ably introducing the musicians. The musicians were be Daimh, Maeve MacKinnon, LB Salter & Jenn Butterworth and David Foley & Jack Smedley. Of course there was also a prize draw with some rare whiskies and other goodies.

The individual concerts were pre-recorded, which I think was a wise move. I’ve attended other online concerts, which were plagued with problems, sound and image being out of sync and more. Here the stream worked well and it was a joy to hear the musicians play as well as talk about their music.

As I had hoped the live chat was available, which I found very enjoyable. A lot of people I know personally as well as virtually were chatting while listening to the concert, many of the musicians joined in as well. Memories were exchanged, virtual rounds bought and more.

If you missed it or would like to see it again the Fraser Shaw Trust has made the whole event available on their YouTube channel (don’t forget to subscribe, if you haven’t yet):

Islay Sessions Complete Show

Thanks again to the Fraser Shaw Trust, all the organisers and all the musicians for such a wonderful evening. Hopefully we can see each other again in person soon for some real live music!

Nice drone video of Rhuvaal lighthouse in the north of Islay

Islay on Video

From Peru in my previous post back to Scotland with this post, to the far north of Islay. A year ago I shared a view from the lighthouse, this time I’ve found a nice drone video of Rhuvaal lighthouse. Some nice views of the lighthouse, the surrounding coastline and down the Sound of Islay:

Rhuvaal Lighthouse, Islay

Some nice work by Steven Muir, who has a few more nice Islay videos on his channel. I’m sure I will come back to his channel and share a few more videos.

Cleaning beaches at the other Islay

Islay on Video

As many will know there are two Islays (at least), the Islay in Scotland this blog is mostly about and then there’s another Islay in the Arequipa region in Peru. It looks like they’ve got a similar problem with litter and rubbish washing up on their beaches and people having to go on beach cleans to tidy it all up. While I don’t speak any Spanish I’m pretty sure that’s what a good part of this video is about:

HOMENAJE A ISLAY 2020.

Looks like they picked up at least two big sacks of rubbish, some good work there! I hope that you’ve enjoyed this view of the other Islay and learning that they share some of the same issues.

The Islay Sessions 2020 go online

Islay Music

Same as so many other events this year the Islay Sessions 2020 will take place online. They will also be a bit shorter this year, taking place on Saturday 21/Nov/2020 in the evening. However, the line-up is as good as ever with some familiar faces (as in, they have performed at previous sessions) and some new artists. Today the organisers uploaded a short teaser:

Fraser Shaw Trust – Sessions 2020

This years sessions will be broadcasted live on the Fraser Shaw Trust YouTube channel, starting at 19:30 on Saturday 21/Nov/2020. The musicians performing this year will be Daimh, Maeve MacKinnon, LB Salter & Jenn Butterworth and David Foley & Jack Smedley. I hope we will be able to use the live chat function, while not the same it would allow us to chat with the musicians and listeners, something I’ve always really enjoyed at the real live sessions.

Get your tickets and with it entries to the prize draw (including for a rare Bruichladdich valinch) online, I understand you can get as many as you want. For more information follow @TrustFraser and @IslaySessions on Twitter, if you’re on Facebook you can like TrustFraser on FB and Islay Sessions on FB.

Hope to “see” you there!

Beautiful Jura fell running video

Jura Excursions

Time for a visit to Islay’s neighbour Jura. I first spotted this on Facebook, then looked if I could find it on YouTube, which I did. The video in question is called “Across The Sound” and was created by Alfie Smith and Louis MacMillan. It shows Louis taking the Jura Passenger from Tayvallich to Craighouse and then going fell running on Jura, covering the famous Paps of Jura and Corra Bheinn. Just under 9 minutes well worth watching:

Across The Sound – Trig Point Films

The scenery is stunning, beautifully filmed by Alfie with Louis doing all the running. Not only that, there’s also some beautiful music by Talisk and Fourth Moon. I hope you’ll enjoy the video as much as I did.