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:
Another one is this one, although I hope nobody will miss their boat on the way to Islay:
Next on my list are Eabhal, some of the members I know from previous Islay Sessions. Here’s a nice taster for their music:
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!
Probably one of the most popular walks on Islay, the walk out to Soldier’s Rock on the Oa. Some great views to be enjoyed, in this video enhanced by some drone footage. After leaving the Oa there are also views from the south coast around Lagavulin.
One thing I would have done different though, I wouldn’t have walked through the cows with their calves. I have a very healthy respect of cattle, in particular when with calves, and if at all possible give them a wide berth. Simple self preservation.
Obviously a bit of rain isn’t going to stop the Islay Pipe Band from performing, plenty enough rain on Islay to be used to it. Here they are playing for almost a quarter of an hour in a rainy Buchanan Street in Glasgow, recorded by Eric Traynor during Piping Live 2019:
PS: I noticed there’s a man (blue jacket, green backpack) going round doing something with some kind of instrument at the drones of the pipers while they are playing. What is he doing there? Is he helping them or distracting them?
First Friday evening in October 2019. It’s been a long and busy week in the day job, so I’ve decided to treat myself tonight with a dram or two from one of my favourite Islay distilleries (if you read this post you should be able to figure out which ones they are). Here’s a picture of the dram for tonight:
Enjoying it with some nice 85% dark chocolate while pondering that I should probably blog here more again. I’ll try my best.
This isn’t strictly speaking an Islay post, although I came across it because someone mentioned Islay in a comment to it. I’m not even sure if Rachel has ever been to Islay. Either way, Rachel makes birds from stained glass and I think they look absolutely amazing. The birds include Choughs and Hen Harriers, birds frequently spotted on Islay. If you know your birds you will spot the Chough in her tweet immediately:
For more of Rachel’s work including the already mentioned Hen Harrier and also some Greenland White-fronted Goose head over to Rachel’s website. It is being rebuilt as of writing this, but you can page through two excellent albums of her work.
While I don’t know much about golf and have never played it I can appreciate its appeal to many people. If I was playing it I think a links course would be my favourite, like the Machrie on Islay. Even on a dreich day like when this video was filmed it has a great atmosphere:
I think even on a dreich day it looks impressive, also remember that you can enjoy a wee dram or two or three of Islay single malt once you’ve finished your round successfully…
Some great breaking Islay news this morning, which should be exciting for both IT nerds and whisky buffs alike. The Scottish Government is announcing that Islay has been chosen for the trial of the roll-out of both AlbaCoin and AlbaContracts. This will put Islay and Scotland truly on the map for the new exciting blockchain technology. They will revolutionise how business as well as everyday transactions will be conducted on Islay and soon all over Scotland and even the world.
AlbaCoin and AlbaContracts are based on the blockchain technology, the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies and more. AlbaCoin is an electronic cryptocurrency which will replace physical banknotes and coins with fully electronic and safe currency. It is also likely to be the new currency of an independent Scotland should Scotland gain independence in the near future. AlbaContracts are intelligent e-contracts based on the blockchain technology, allowing secure and trustworthy transactions and tracking in the digitalised economy.
Some information about the technology from Lead Project Manager John Holland:
AlbaCoin and AlbaContract both use the newly developed and extremely secure 512 byte P.E.A.T. (Petaflop Excentric Algorithmic Triangulation) method, which is impossible to break. Leading cryptographic experts were involved in its development.
The technology is supported by all major banks and law firms as well as the major technology giants and will be integrated in all major technology platforms and operating systems.
The technology will be rolled out to all households and businesses on Islay and Jura with training and information sessions starting soon. The trail is funded by the government and will not cost the users anything, while bringing plenty of benefits.
AlbaContracts will provide huge benefits to the distilleries, who through the blockchain technology of AlbaContracts will be able to trace all the ingredients from source to bottle, e.g. barley from field through maltings to mashing, distilling, maturing and bottling. The ultimate in trace-ability. Bruichladdich wasn’t available for comment, but it is believed they will implement the technology to support their provenance and terroir ambitions until their new local Islay maltings are complete.
Certainly exciting and interesting times for Islay!
The Scottish west coast is probably one of the best places in the world for a sailing holiday. Stunning landscapes, beautiful bays and lochs to anchor, ever changing views (and weather), what more could you want? Charlie Hitchen did just that and recorded their adventures in a nice video. The first couple of minutes cover Islay, Jura, Oronsay and Colonsay:
Lots of traditional music in the video, including some recorded during a session at the Islay Hotel in Port Ellen (with some of the usual suspects….).
Just a quick heads up tonight, the details for the 2019 WalkIslay Islay walking week have been announced/published today. I’ll write up a more detail personal preview over the coming days with some pictures and thoughts which walks I’ll probably participate in.
To read up on the walks head over to www.walkislay.co.uk for the details of all of them (well, as of writing this less one, where the details are still being finalised).
Having had to miss out on the 2018 edition through my leg injury I’m very much looking forward to catching up this year (fingers crossed nothing goes wrong this time…).
Most people who have travelled to/from Islay via Port Askaig will at some point have noticed the ruins on Am Fraoch Eilean on the Jura side at the southern end of the Sound of Islay. This is Claig Castle, once a quite important castle on the west coast of Scotland. Someone from Cine Gate has flown a drone over it for a closer look:
It is probably around 500 years old, dating back to medieval times, and once was a Macdonald stronghold. Certainly an excellent position to control the area and any traffic passing through the Sound of Islay!