The 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 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.
As 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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
- Port Ellen buoy
- Port Ellen lighthouse
- Port Ellen warehouse
- Port Ellen houses with passing Islay Coaches
- Port Ellen Maltings
- Port Ellen pier/marina and village
- Laphroaig approach from loch
- Laphroaig smoking pagoda
- Laphroaig stills
- Dunyvaig castle and Lagavulin
- Lagavulin distillery
- Bowmore distillery approach from sea
- Bowmore Main Street
- Round Church
- Barnacle Geese in front of Port Charlotte
- Barnacle Geese at top of Loch Indaal with Paps of Jura
- Bruichladdich approach from sea
- Bruichladdich over distillery
- Bruichladdich spirit safe (making Port Charlotte spirit)
- Past Loch Indaal lighthouse to Port Charlotte
- Port Charlotte pier from above
- Port Charlotte Main Street towards Port Charlotte Hotel
- Loch Indaal lighthouse with breaking waves
- Waves breaking over Port Charlotte pier
- Saltire flying in Portnahaven
- Rhinns of Islay lighthouse and fishing boat
- Seal in Portnahaven
- Waves breaking near Port Wemyss
- Single track road towards Kilchoman
- Approaching Kilchoman Church
- Ruin of Kilchoman church from the air
- View of Machir Bay
- Beach view in Machir Bay
- Otter in Machir Bay
- At the wreck in Machir Bay
- Above the wreck in Machir Bay
- Breaking waves in Saligo Bay
- Waves blown back by wind in Saligo Bay
- View towards Sleeping Giant / Opera House Rocks in Saligo Bay
- Saligo Bay from the air
- Barnacle Geese feeding at Gruinart
- Barnacle Geese lifting off at Gruinart
- Barnacle Geese over the Gruinart marshes
- Barnacle Geese over grazing cows
- Approach to Finlaggan from the air
- View of the house ruin at Finlaggan from the air
- MV Hebridean Isles arriving in Port Askaig
- 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.