For various reasons didn’t get around to blog it earlier (one reason being that YouTube for some reason took ages to make it available in full resolution, even though it told me it had fully processed it for some time): Last weekend I uploaded yet another Islay 360° video. This one takes you to Port Charlotte pier and beach. Not much happening apart from the waves lapping on the pier and beach, also I’m loitering on the scene at times. Still, I hope you’ll enjoy a relaxing few minutes looking around:
Remember, as this is a 360° video you can look in any direction you want, you can either use the buttons in the top left corner or just press and hold your mouse button to drag and move the viewport. And if you look in the right direction at the right time you’ll see me appearing out of thin air at some point (not telling you when, you’ll have to find that yourself), this is due to the way I cut the footage I had available.
That’s all I have for today. If everything goes to plan I hope to upload another new Islay video this weekend. Not a 360° this time, possibly a drone video of another Islay village.
If you like your Islay videos ‘interactive’ I might have a little treat for you: After Kilchoman beach in 360° and Lossit Bay in 360° I’ve just uploaded my third 360° Islay video. This one takes us to Islay’s largest village and administrative centre, to Bowmore. You can take a look at the village from various places, from the Square, from the beach, from just outside the Round Church and from the pier. Because it’s 360° you can decide where you want to look (this is where the ‘interactive’ bit comes in), with your mouse you can move the camera angle in whichever direction you want, left, right, up, down, up to you.
If you look closely you can also spot me loitering in the background in various places. That’s the beauty (?) of 360° video, you can’t hide behind the camera (although on occasion you can hide behind objects like a wall or a car). I hope this doesn’t put you off watching the video.
I haven’t decided yet what my next Islay video will be, but I’m hoping to upload another one in a week or two. What do you think of 360° videos, like them or loathe them?
Back in March 2020 when I wrote Sadly no Islay visit for me for the foreseeable future I didn’t expect that it would be 22 long months. While Islay was open for visitors in summer 2020 it didn’t feel right for me to travel at that time. Then the winter 2020/2021 lockdowns arrived. Early 2021 finally brought some hope with the vaccine programme rollout gathering pace, as I had decided I would only travel once I was fully vaccinated. I received my second dose in May 2021 (although I only found that out in May, I hadn’t expected expected it until June, making it too late to book for June). July and August I avoided (as usual) as I need to give priority to my colleagues with children (someone has to hold the fort in the office). But two weeks ago, in early September, I finally boarded the MV Finlaggan for my first crossing to Islay since November 2019.
It was emotional. Very emotional. Especially stepping out on to Kilchoman beach, my spiritual home, again the morning after my arrival. Several people have told me they’ve never seen me so happy as in some of the pictures I’ve shared. And they’re probably right. Even when I can’t explain why. Sometimes people ask me why I love Islay so much and why I keep returning after well over 20 years. And all I can say is that there’s something that clicks for me. That’s the best explanation I can give.
I don’t know if they show some of the magic, but I recorded a series of “YouTube shorts” (short 15 seconds clips best watched in portrait mode on a mobile device, but you can also watch them on a desktop/laptop) from some of my adventures during my second week on Islay:
While I didn’t get out as much as I had hoped and didn’t meet as many people as I would have liked for a variety of reasons (weather not being that great especially in the second week, a very annoying blister on my left heel which made longer walks difficult at times, a lingering reluctance to go into busy enclosed spaces like pubs/restaurants and more) I did get to see a few new things and had some interactions I treasured:
One day I drove from Conisby to Uiskentuie beach for a walk. When I left Conisby my car alerted me that it was low on screen wash, so when I arrived I opened the bonnet and topped up the screen wash (might as well get it done while it’s fresh in my mind). Walking past another car parked a bit further down the beach the driver asked me if had a problem with my car and needed help. I reassured him that everything was fine and explained the background. While somebody elsewhere might have asked as well to me this felt very much like an Islay thing to do, people caring about others.
Also at Uiskentuie during my first walk there I passed a woman walking her dog and we had a brief chat about how long the beach was. A few days later (I think it might have been my last walk at Uiskentuie) I met her again and we walked together for a bit, having a nice chat about ferries, walking and more. We didn’t exchange names, so I don’t know who she was, but I really enjoyed our walk and chat. While something like this might happen elsewhere it felt like an Islay thing to me. Hopefully we can catch up on another beach walk at some point.
In regards to new things, I walked the new Loch Indaal path between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte on a beautiful morning. I’ll write about it in a dedicated post, but I think it’s brilliant, a fantastic addition to Islay’s infrastructure and experience. Thank you and well done to everyone involved in making it happen.
I was welcomed online by several of my neighbours during my stay at Conisby, which I really appreciated. Apologies I didn’t come over, I’m still nervous visiting people in their homes at this point. Hopefully there will be another opportunity once the pandemic has settled further.
There were a few more moments, but I think what I’ve captured here covers the most important parts of this visit as well as touches on some of the reasons why I like Islay so much.
My next visit is already booked and assuming everything goes to plan I’ll be back soon, much much sooner than the very long time until this visit. I will do my utmost to meet the people I missed on this visit, most of you will know who. I’ll be in touch.
Some impressions of Islay from a variety of places on the island, filmed with a drone. Some very nice weather, some not so nice. Some great footage, some not so good. Pretty good for a first serious attempt during a holiday I’d say. I hope you’ll enjoy it: