Kilchoman Parish Church, Islay, from above

Islay on VideoSorry for the lack of blogging here, no post for a week. Not good. My excuse is that the day job had to take priority. Better get back to it. A rather sad video this evening, filmed by Leon a few months ago. Yet another winter with its winter storms won’t have helped the situation either. Here’s a view of the ruin of Kilchoman Parish Church from the air:

The church was last used several decades ago. At some point (not entirely sure when) it was sold to a private owner. Plans for an alternative use never came to fruition for various reasons, among them the lack of water supply. When I first visited Islay in the late 90s the church still had a roof, this gradually disappeared over the years until the last parts of it collapsed and fell into the church a few years ago.

Sadly I think the building is beyond repair now, at best what remains can be stabilised. I fear if nothing is done the gable or part of the side walls will start to collapse soon.

Brazilian visitors to Islay video

Islay on VideoAs my Portuguese is rather limited (that’s an understatement by the way) I didn’t understand much in tonight’s video (only the few seconds in English to be precise). Still I found this video of Vinicius Bustamante’s visit to Islay quite interesting. They (there seems to have been at least one other couple?) stayed in the Glenmachrie Guesthouse and visited several distilleries:

According to Google Translate’s version of the video description he very much enjoyed Islay, the whisky, the sheep and the beaches, so he hopes to return soon.

Good and bad Islay whisky news

Islay Whisky News & LinksTwo Islay whisky news links this evening, one I consider to be a good news, the other is more bad news. Pour yourself a wee dram of a good Islay single malt whisky and read on:

Let me start with the not so good news: The Times (£ or registration required to read full article, sorry) reports Business Rates – Rises pour misery on island distilleries. For the big distilleries while not nice I should think they will be able to manage. For the smaller independent ones I think a 40% increase will be quite a bit tougher.

Moving on to the good news, where I think this should have never gone to court in the first place. The consumer isn’t as stupid as some lawyers seem to think. The Herald reports (I also saw it in The Sun, but I won’t link to that rag) Whisky distiller wins trademark battle with makers of McEwan’s Lager. The whisky distiller in question is of course Jim McEwan, who is back in business.

A short walk to Islay’s Carraig Fhada lighthouse

Islay on VideoTime for a bit of virtual exercise. And may be it can inspire you to complete the short walk out to Carraig Fhada lighthouse (weather permitting, don’t attempt this walk in a storm…) next time you’re in Port Ellen? Enjoy the video:

Congratulations to the Islay High FilmG winners!

Islay NewsRemember the Vote for Islay High at FilmG 2017 post from a month ago? Some excellent news this evening, as via Twitter I’ve just learned that the Islay High School / Àrd-sgoil Ìle submission has won in the Best Learners (‘The film where the Gaelic dialogue is best orated in a clear and fluid manner, from a class of Gaelic learners.’) category:

A closer look at the award:

I’m not sure at this point how they did in the People’s Choice vote, if I hear anything I’ll add an update below.

A very fast passage through the Sound of Islay

Islay on VideoOK, it’s not really that fast, it’s a timelapse video. But if you’re in a hurry and would like to see how a passage through the Sound of Islay looks this video should be just right for you. Let Jake take you through the Sound on the NLV Pharos:

That is all, I’m afraid.

Heads up: Peatzeria to open on Islay

Islay NewsNo, I don’t know if their pizza oven will be peat fired. I don’t even know when it will open. All I know is that (hopefully soon) a new pizzeria will open on Islay. In Shore Street in Bowmore to be precise, in the building that most recently housed the Holy Coo restaurant.

To be updated about their progress you have a number of options: To start with there’s the Peatzeria – A Slice of Islay website (a holding page as of writing this). Then there’s the Peatzeria Islay Twitter account. And finally there’s the Peatzeria Facebook page. If that isn’t enough I don’t know.

As of now building work is progressing nicely:

If it’s open by the time of my next Islay visit in April I will report back with my impressions then, otherwise after another visit later in the year.

Islay Blogging Roundup NC #2

Islay Blogging RoundupWith a cold and wet weekend approaching (at least in West Berkshire where I’m writing this) I thought I should pull together something for you to read. Or in other words, write the follow up to the Islay Blogging Roundup NC #1 from almost a month ago. Here are a few Islay and Jura related blog posts I found interesting the last few weeks:

Using a photo as inspiration Julia Garner created a nice oil painting of a view from Ardnave Point in the north west of Islay.

On Malted a nice write up of the Bruichladdich #laddieMp5 live online tasting.

Raptor Politics demands Stop the Scottish Government poisoning eagles through the Geese being shot on Islay, creating a lively debate in his comments. (I don’t know enough about this for any judgement, I’m purely reporting what is written out there)

A little bit of Islay history related to Bowmore distillery can be found in James Mutter’s windows.

On a Scottish Tour Guide’s blog we find a number of posts about the Islay distilleries, including Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

For those looking for a nice wallpaper for their computer WhiskyExperts has one of the Loch Indaal lighthouse and Loch Indaal House.

Many (including this blog) have reported on the appointment of Jim McEwan at Ardnahoe, WhiskyCast has it included in his podcast if you’d like to listen to it.

I mentioned Scotch Cinema in NC #1, they have come up with another nice one, Lagavulin in Parks & Recreation.

Explore Argyll has a few blog posts covering places and events on Islay and Jura: You don’t need to do the Jura Fell Race to enjoy the Paps of JuraDistilleries of Argyll and the Isles Map (most of them of course on Islay and Jura) and Everything you need to know about Islay Airport.

Of course I have to mention the ever reliable Islay Birds blog. I’ve picked out a few posts with pictures: Stonechat, waders on the wing and Sanderlings.

Ron announces that he has struck a partnership with Botswana Dave from the RSPB to provide regular updates.

Sticking to the birds theme Holly reports from her bird project on the Our Learning Blog of Port Ellen Primary.

I think that’s enough for this roundup, I hope you found something interesting to read this weekend. More to come whenever I’ve collected enough interesting entries, if you have one you think I should mention please get in touch.

A Contralto Paralegal from Islay

Islay MusicThe music isn’t from Islay and admittedly the artist doesn’t live on Islay any more, but she was raised on Islay and still returns regularly. That’s plenty enough for me. Oh, and paralegal isn’t a musical term, it’s her ‘day job’ where she recently qualified as paralegal.

The artist in question is Marion Ramsay (Marion Ramsay’s website with a lot of information), she recently set up a Marion Ramsay Contralto Facebook page and hopes you can help with a few ‘likes’ (if you’re on Facebook). To hear her performing you can listen to this sample from her repertoire on her YouTube channel:

Having mentioned her day job, here’s Marion’s LinkedIn profile and a mention of her graduation as a paralegal (as well as her musical career) in the Oban Times.

The palm trees on Islay and Jura … that aren’t

Islay FunA few years ago (well, let’s call it a decade ago) I wrote a post about what I believed to be palm trees on Islay and Jura. Except … they aren’t palm trees. Someone corrected me in the comments, but sadly those comments have since been lost. Recently I came across a post discussing these trees, so I thought it’s worth revisiting the topic so that I have something to refer to when it comes up again.

As mentioned in the previous post the trees in question can be found in a variety of locations on both Islay and Jura, including around Port Ellen, in Bruichladdich and also in the community garden in Bridgend (at least back in 2007, when this picture was taken):

Picture of a Cordyline Australis in a walled garden
Cordyline Australis in the Islay Community Garden in 2007

Update:

I must have had a hunch when I wrote this post and mentioned that the picture was from 2007. Sadly the tree has since been damaged in a storm, hopefully it will grow back to its former size. Many thanks to Steve Bavin of Islay Ales for the update!

Picture of a walled garden
The same view with a much reduced cabbage tree in Feb 2017 – picture credit Steve Bavin

End of update, original text continues below:

On Jura some of the best known ones can be spotted near the Jura Hotel garden, outside of the Jura distillery:

Picture of Cordyline Australis near a shore in a coastal village
Cordyline Australis in Craighouse on Jura

So what are these trees really if they are not palm trees? Well, we can read from some people from New Zealand (who should know them, as that’s where these trees are from), when visiting Jura in 2016 they taught the distillery staff about them. The tree is called Cordyline Australis, or cabbage tree. In the UK it is apparently also known as Torbay Palm and Torquay Palm, although that still doesn’t make it a palm tree. Among other things it doesn’t fare well in hot tropical climates, an area where you would expect palm trees to thrive.

So now you know, may be it will be helpful in a pub quiz one day?