Leon Murphy’s Islay from the air pictures

Islay PicturesI’ve mentioned Leon before, sharing some of his Islay videos filmed with his drone (Wreck of the Wyre Majestic, MV Finlaggan arriving in Port Ellen). He has also shared some nice still pictures on his Instagram account, some of my favourites here:

Carraig Fhada Lighthouse, Islay. #islay #calmacmoments #visitscotland

A post shared by Leon Murphy (@murphwiz) on

The Big Strand, Islay. #islay #calmacmoments #visitscotland

A post shared by Leon Murphy (@murphwiz) on

Sanaigmore Bay, Islay. #islay #calmacmoments #visitscotland

A post shared by Leon Murphy (@murphwiz) on

I hope you like them, for more including other Islay pictures from the ground check Leon’s Instagram account.

Another Islay ferry from the air video

Islay on VideoYesterday I shared a video of the MV Hebridean Isles leaving Port Askaig, filmed from the air with a drone. Today a different location, a different ferry and a different activity. Leon filmed the MV Finlaggan arriving in Port Ellen on a beautiful sunny day on Islay:

Also in view the ‘barley boat’, bringing barley for the Port Ellen maltings and ultimately the famous Islay whisky distilleries.

Islay Blogging Roundup NC #3

Islay Blogging RoundupI had hoped to write this a bit earlier (it’s exactly month again since the Islay Blogging Roundup NC #2), but a variety of things got into the way. Time to catch up now then, here’s the latest collection of Islay (and Jura) related blog posts I found interesting:

Not on the RSPB Islay blog but on the RSPB Liverpool blog I came across an entry about a birdwatching visit to Islay: Holiday to Idyllic Islay, 19th to 23rd February 2017 – Led by Aquila Ecology.

The iLaddie decided to perform an experiment: Blending Bruichladdich LaddieMP5. He claims it was successful.

I’ve mentioned Kate’s (who I haven’t met in person yet) work and Islay visits as well as Anna (who I’ve met a couple of times while she was working and living on Islay) a couple of times, now Anna writes about Kate’s work: Inspired by Islay.

An interesting write up about a Bruichladdich whisky tasting in Ireland: The sound of Islay (no, not the Sound of Islay, that’s something different).

As if by coincidence the next one is a quick jump across the Sound of Islay to Jura for A day in the life “Rachael jones”.

Heiko is a regular visitor to Islay and also quite fond of burgers (I like that man, Islay whisky and burgers, he’s certainly in my good books). He has recently published a burger book and is celebrating with a Surf’n’Turf Burger.

Jake on the Distiller Blog claims The Debate Over Terroir Rages Away on Islay. Which side are you on?

Gordon Yates has been back on Islay again, you can read about it in Forty Shades of Grey and Hunter and Hunted.

Lynne writes about her visits to Ardbeg Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland and Caol Ila Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland. She also visited the Finlaggan Cross, Eileen Mòr, Isle of Islay, Scotland as well as The Kildalton High Cross, Isle of Islay, Scotland.

Julia Garner has a bunch of posts about her Islay visit in February, including Islay beach findsSaligo Bay – two versionsIslay wildlife highlights and Singing Sands and otters.

On the Port Ellen Primary School blog we can read about the My Place Photography Competition. They also celebrated Burns Day.

I’ve watched them many times on Islay, in particular at Ardnave and at Kilchoman. Scotland’s Nature writes Why the chough needs a champion.

An Islay blogging roundup wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Islay Birds blog (which by the way will be 10 years old in two months). While Ian (who writes the blog with the help of dozens of contributors, even I have been able to contribute a few times I’m immensely pleased to say) was away for three weeks James ran the blog for him. Some of the highlights include a Cackling Goose, a possible Gyr Falcon and a variety of birds including a Glaucous Gull.

And that’s it for this Islay blogging roundup. Hopefully I’ll get the next one out a bit earlier than in a month…

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:

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.

Mark visits the Port Ellen Maltings on Islay

Islay on VideoMark Gillespie of WhiskyCast is probably mainly known for his whisky related podcasts. However, he also produces videos and I think I probably have shared one or two of his videos before. Recently he published a video about a visit to the Port Ellen Maltings, a place not many get to see, although he kind of picked the wrong day (for reasons explained in the video):

In the video Mark mentions that today only a handful of distilleries do any of their own malting. If memory serves me right there are only about six or seven distilleries left in Scotland who do this, three of them are actually on Islay: Laphroaig, Bowmore and Kilchoman.

Donald and Lady experience winter storms on Islay

Islay on VideoAs during every winter Islay is being battered by storms again. Donald and his dog Lady were visiting over Christmas, just as two storms were passing over. So Donald picked up his camera and went out to film some of the action. And Lady just enjoyed being out to investigate what the storm brought:

Preparing for an Islay invasion in WWII?

Something a bit scary today. I’m not sure how I came across these in the David Ramsey Historical map collection a while ago, but essentially it looks like there was at least some material covering Islay for plans by the German Wehrmacht to invade Britain during WWII (known as Operation Sea Lion, which would have mainly focused on England, but they also seem to have prepared information about Scotland). The material seems to be from 1940 and 1941, i.e. still during the early years of the war. A search for Islay initially turns up three results:

Screenshot of Islay related information by the German Wehrmacht during WWII

The first one is a drawn coast profile of entrances into Loch Tarbert (on Jura) and the Sound of Islay. The second is called south coast of the Isle of Islay (showing mainly Port Ellen and around). The third one is called north coast of the Isle of Islay and shows the north coast near Rhuvaal.

After a bit of digging around I found a bit more (which for some reason doesn’t show up in a search for Islay):

Luckily the plans were abandoned quite quickly but now provide us with some interesting historical pictures.

Two old Islay videos (1973 and 1983)

They were filmed 10 years apart, but both are a bit older, showing Islay 33 and 43 years ago respectively. The first one seems to be some old TV footage filmed in 1983, showing Port Charlotte and a few other places on Islay in a short clip:

Going back a further decade to 1973 we can watch some fascinating old footage with some long gone history, starting with the MV Arran ferry (not to be confused with the MV Isle of Arran, which was much later) leaving from the old West Loch Tarbert pier:

The rest of the film shows a variety of familiar places, some in a way now gone: The Oa with the American Monument I believe before it became an RSPB reserve (not sure which year that happened?). Port Askaig long before it was redeveloped to what it is today. Ardbeg distillery with smoking pagodas. A brief glimpse of what I think is Western Ferries’ MV Sound of Jura. An excursion to Jura with of course plenty of deer.

The filmer seems to have also had some interest in birdwatching. I think there were a number of Whooper Swans (the quality of the footage isn’t great, making it difficult to see) and there’s some footage of the Barnacle Geese as well.

New Islay video: A Whirlwind Tour of Islay

Announcing the relaunch of the blog this morning I hinted there might be a second ‘Christmas present’ coming up. Having only finished editing it late in the evening on Christmas Evening I still had to upload it this morning. But it all worked out and I can proudly present my latest Islay video. It’s a bit different from the videos I’ve made previously. To start with it has music. Then it’s monochrome. And it’s quite fast paced. A bit of an experiment, I’m very curious to see what people think. Here it is:

In 4.5 minutes I’m taking you on a quick journey around Islay, taking in as much as possible in such a short period. Admittedly some of the selections were influenced by the availability of footage, in other areas I had to make difficult choices what to show and what to omit. Here is a list of the places you can see in chronological order:

  1. Port Ellen buoy
  2. Port Ellen lighthouse
  3. Port Ellen warehouse
  4. Port Ellen houses with passing Islay Coaches
  5. Port Ellen Maltings
  6. Port Ellen pier/marina and village
  7. Laphroaig approach from loch
  8. Laphroaig smoking pagoda
  9. Laphroaig stills
  10. Dunyvaig castle and Lagavulin
  11. Lagavulin distillery
  12. Bowmore distillery approach from sea
  13. Bowmore Main Street
  14. Round Church
  15. Barnacle Geese in front of Port Charlotte
  16. Barnacle Geese at top of Loch Indaal with Paps of Jura
  17. Bruichladdich approach from sea
  18. Bruichladdich over distillery
  19. Bruichladdich spirit safe (making Port Charlotte spirit)
  20. Past Loch Indaal lighthouse to Port Charlotte
  21. Port Charlotte pier from above
  22. Port Charlotte Main Street towards Port Charlotte Hotel
  23. Loch Indaal lighthouse with breaking waves
  24. Waves breaking over Port Charlotte pier
  25. Saltire flying in Portnahaven
  26. Rhinns of Islay lighthouse and fishing boat
  27. Seal in Portnahaven
  28. Waves breaking near Port Wemyss
  29. Single track road towards Kilchoman
  30. Approaching Kilchoman Church
  31. Ruin of Kilchoman church from the air
  32. View of Machir Bay
  33. Beach view in Machir Bay
  34. Otter in Machir Bay
  35. At the wreck in Machir Bay
  36. Above the wreck in Machir Bay
  37. Breaking waves in Saligo Bay
  38. Waves blown back by wind in Saligo Bay
  39. View towards Sleeping Giant / Opera House Rocks in Saligo Bay
  40. Saligo Bay from the air
  41. Barnacle Geese feeding at Gruinart
  42. Barnacle Geese lifting off at Gruinart
  43. Barnacle Geese over the Gruinart marshes
  44. Barnacle Geese over grazing cows
  45. Approach to Finlaggan from the air
  46. View of the house ruin at Finlaggan from the air
  47. MV Hebridean Isles arriving in Port Askaig
  48. Passing McArthur’s Head lighthouse

I still think that’s quite impressive for 4.5 minutes, also a sign of how much Islay has to offer. It might be too fast and hectic for some, but then it might be exciting and fresh for others. I’m normally not a big fan of music for videos (certainly for my videos) and prefer more natural sounds, but here it felt appropriate so I used some. To avoid any rights issues (not to mention that the lyrics I feel often don’t really fit) I didn’t use any big hit(s) known to many but used some free music offered by Google. No lyrics, so no risk of conflict there either. The style of music will probably not be to everyone’s taste, I like the speed and energy in it.

Now it’s over to you, I hope you enjoy and like the whirlwind tour of Islay. Let me know what you think.