Video from a walk on the Oa, Islay

Islay on Video

Haven’t blogged here for far too long again. So let me take you out on a walk on the Oa in the south of Islay. Cavavaux (not sure if that’s his name or if it means something else) has a good number of hillwalking in Scotland videos on his channel, including some from Islay and Jura. Here’s the first one I thought worth sharing:

Some great views from the American Monument and from Beinn Mhor, the highest hill on the Oa at 202m. Brought back some nice memories. I hope you’ve enjoyed the video as much as I have. Thanks for sharing, Cavavaux.

Nice Islay 360° video from Sail Scotland

Islay on Video

My first Islay 360° videos covered Lossit Bay and Kilchoman beach. But of course there are others recording those type of video as well: Sail Scotland has just published a whole series of 360° videos from a variety of coastal locations around Scotland. Of course there’s one of Islay as well, visiting distilleries and lighthouses, going kayaking and more:

While not in 360° there’s also an interesting video of a sailing yacht in the famous Corryvreckan whirlpool just north of Jura:

I hope you enjoyed both videos, I’m hoping to add another 360° video to my collection soon as well. Not entirely sure yet where it will take you, either to a popular beach or to one of Islay’s largest villages.

New Year’s brunch with Islay whisky and Viennese waltzes

Islay Whisky News & Links

Happy New Year! The new decade is under way, although some things haven’t changed: Same as the last two decades or so I’m starting my new year with a brunch with an Islay single malt while listening to the New Year’s Concert from Vienna. Here’s what I’m eating and drinking today:

Picture of a breakfast table with scrambled eggs, salmon, fresh made bread and Port Charlotte Islay single malt whisky
New Year’s Islay whisky brunch

This is what is (or as I’m writing this mostly was) on the table:

Very enjoyable, the food, the drink and the music.

I wish you and your families a great new year, hopefully with many Islay visits and many nice Islay drams!

New Year’s Eve (and soon Day) Islay whisky

Islay Whisky News & Links

On Christmas Eve (and Christmas Day) it was a Laphroaig, now it’s time for a different Islay whisky for New Year’s Eve (and New Year’s Day once it has arrived). On my personal blog I wrote about the music I’m listening to this evening and what I’m eating, but of course the Islay whisky belongs on this blog. For tonight we’re travelling over to the Rhinns of Islay, for a special Bruichladdich:

Picture of a Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Bourbon Cask 2003 Valinch Islay single malt whisky
New Year’s Eve (and soon Day) Islay whisky

I’m not entirely sure how long I’ve had this bottle, but as it was distilled in 2003 and according to the label aged for 14 years I must have filled and bought it some time in 2017. It is cask no 917, a bourbon barrel, distilled 15/Oct/2003. My bottle is no 221 of 323, bottled at 56.8%.

It’s very nice, so I’m going to enjoy some tonight and some more on New Year’s Day while listening to the New Year’s Day Concert from Vienna as usual. What’s your New Year’s Islay dram?

New Islay video: Kilchoman beach in 360°

Islay on Video

In addition to enjoying some nice Laphroaig with some smoked nuts last night I also got busy with a little “Christmas present” for you: Another Islay video. Another 360° Islay video to be precise. Last year I shared a 360° video of Lossit Bay with you, the new video is of Kilchoman beach and Machir Bay. We start at the car park, walk through the dunes and end up on the beach at low tide, where we visit the wreck of the Patti. While you’re watching the video you can look around in the video in whichever direction you want. Ahead, back, left, right, the choice is yours. Just move the view by dragging with your finger or mouse. If you’re on a mobile device and go full screen you should also be able to just turn/move your device and the view will change. And here’s the video, seven glorious minutes on Kilchoman beach:

I hope you enjoyed the video and looking around in all directions. Hopefully you didn’t get scared too much if you spotted me on occasion, one of the perils of 360° video, it’s almost impossible to not be in the picture at some point. I know the image quality / resolution isn’t the best at times, this was filmed with a fairly basic beginners camera bought at a discount about two years ago. Once I’ve learned more about filming 360° videos and if you like this type of video I’ll consider investing properly into a much higher quality camera.

Smoky Christmas Eve with an Islay whisky

Islay Whisky News & Links

May be a slightly unusual combination, but this is what I’m enjoying on Christmas Eve 2019: A Laphroaig Càirdeas Triple Wood with some Hickory Smoked Nuts (Almonds, Cashew and Macadamia). Just because I can and because I like it.

Picture of a Laphroaig Cairdeas Triple Wood with a Hickory Smoked Nut Selection
Smoky Christmas Eve with an Islay whisky

And that is pretty much all for tonight. Only thing left to say is: Merry Christmas to you, your family and friends and whoever you’re celebrating with!

The view from Islay’s Rhuvaal lighthouse (video)

Islay on Video

It’s quite short (only 25 seconds long), but as this is a view most of us won’t get I thought it is worth sharing. It’s a view from the top of Rhuvaal lighthouse in the far north of Islay, taking in Jura, the Sound of Islay, the Isle of Mull and some of Colonsay:

While it’s possible to walk to the lighthouse (from Bunnahabhain) and enjoy the views from the foot of the lighthouse for everyone fit enough the several hours walk, getting to the top isn’t that easy.

New video: Sanderling on an Islay beach

Islay on Video

Just a simple video this evening. A Sanderling running along the waterline on Kilchoman beach on a November afternoon on Islay. I love watching these small waders whizzing over the beach, their legs going so fast they are just a blur.

That is all. I hope to have another video ready for Christmas, if all goes to plan.

Islay Sessions 2019, a look back

Islay Music

Three weeks ago I listened to a lot of very nice music during the Islay Sessions 2019 at the Port Charlotte Hotel and Bruichladdich Hall. After that the day job and a few other things got in the way, so I only now get a chance to look back at it. Those who follow me on Twitter might have seen the clips already (individually), but here’s a video with a few impressions I’ve pulled together (all recorded on my phone, so it’s not studio quality. But I think it’s good enough to give you an idea):

The Sessions took place over three days from 22-24/Nov/2019. The Friday kicked off the event with a concert by newly formed VOX in the conservatory of the Port Charlotte Hotel. They played a variety of songs, with Laura-Beth and Kim (as well as on occasion the audience) providing the vocals. After the concert most went to the Port Charlotte Hotel bar for the informal part of the evening. Members of Eabhal and VOX joined forces and played a variety. Later during the evening Grahame Allison (owner of the Port Charlotte Hotel) sang a Gaelic song he performs regularly, what made it even better was Kaitlin Ross (of Eabhal) and Kim Carnie at times joining in.

Saturday saw the main concert at Bruichladdich Hall. After an introduction by Greig Shaw (brother of the late Fraser Shaw, who started the Islay Sessions) the Charlie Stewart Duo warmed up the audience with a variety of tunes on fiddle and guitar. Once they finished their set they stayed on stage to support Kim Carnie who sang some beautiful songs in Gaelic and English for us. Again there was some audience participation after a crash course in Gaelic for some. After the break and the Islay Sessions raffle of CDs and whisky Eabhal took the stage, mainly playing songs from their debut album This Is How The Ladies Dance. Again some beautiful tunes including some with rousing pipes. I headed back to the cottage after the concert as I was tired, but I hear their was more music in the Port Charlotte Hotel bar until early in the morning.

Sunday evening I finally got to see and hear the concert I had been waiting for for a year (she had to cancel the previous year as she had lost her voice, but this year all went to plan): Claire Hastings gave a wonderful solo performance with guitar and ukulele and of course her wonderful voice. Among other songs Fairweather Beggar and I Missed The Boat got an outing as well as a new song she wasn’t even sure it was finished just yet.

I had a great weekend and straight after their sets bought two albums online (Eabhal and Kim Carnie’s In Her Company). Angus was of the same opinion, as he writes in the Oban Times, Thrills and spills at Islay Sessions. If everything goes to plan I’ll be back for the 2020 Islay Sessions, scheduled for 20-22/Nov/2020. May be see you there?

Islay Sessions 2019 coming up

Islay Music

Just over a week to go until the Islay Sessions 2019, taking place 22-24/Nov/2019 (Fri-Sun). As of writing this I believe there are still some tickets available, but not for all events (I think the Friday is sold out). So who will be there this year?

The one I’m most looking forward to is Claire Hastings. Claire was scheduled to perform last year, but unfortunately had to cancel as she lost her voice, rather important for a singer. I’ve bought both of her albums and have listened to them many times. Here’s one of my favourites:

Fair Weather Beggar by Claire Hastings

Another one is this one, although I hope nobody will miss their boat on the way to Islay:

I Missed the Boat by Claire Hastings (here with Jenn Butterworth)

Next on my list are Eabhal, some of the members I know from previous Islay Sessions. Here’s a nice taster for their music:

Eabhal performing at Showcase Scotland 2019

The one I know least about is Kim Carnie. I will find out about her during the Saturday concert as well as on Friday where she will be performing with Laura-Beth Salter, Innes White (which I both know from previous sessions) and Calum MacCrimmon as VOX (no website I know of).

Very much looking forward to a great weekend with lots of great music, meeting old and new friends!