THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 48/07 21 January 2021

bruichladdich distillery

Bruichladdich Distillery, one of the stars of 'The Water of Life' film, offering whisky fans a unique way to experience this year's Burns Night celebrations. The virtual online programme will include a screening of the film, followed each night by an hour-long session featuring the stars of the film. There is also an option to purchase a limited-edition one-off tasting kit to accompany the film.
www.wateroflifefilm

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In this week's issue:

Lessons online for now at Islay and Jura schools, Keeping the islands safe, Bruichladdich investigates use of hydrogen in its production process, Cllr. Robin Currie asks why the papers are late, Interview with Professor Steven Mithen, That Was The Year That Was, a look back at 2020, RSPB's 'Corncrake Calling', RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, Islay Drone Photography, Perry Green rambles to Glen Astle, Mair McGillivray releases her first EP, Art on the Edge discussion features Jura's Amy Dunnachie

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ISLAY & THE COVID-19 VIRUS: IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Last updated Saturday 9 January 2021

Prepared for the benefit of Islay residents, this downloadable PDF file offers general information along with details of the Islay Volunteer Network and the state of play with regard to local businesses and services. Please check this page regularly.

DOWNLOAD HERE

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Safeguarding the islands

With only essential travel allowed in either direction between Islay and Jura (level three) and the Scottish mainland (level four), Council Leader, Robin Currie, held a meeting with the Depute First Minister last week. Cllr. Currie told the Ileach, "I said to him that there should be more control at ferry ports in Argyll and Bute regarding people travelling to the islands, and suggested that those travelling on ferries should be required to produce proof as to why they are travelling.
"He said he would be 'surprised' if CalMac weren't putting in place the procedures in effect at last year's lockdown, but would take up the matter with Transport Scotland. He added that it was really important that the islands were shielded as much as possible."

At the same meeting, Councillor Currie also brought up the issue of financial help for businesses in the Argyll islands in Level 3.
"Businesses here are suffering just as much as those in Level 4, where there is assistance available, so I put the point across that island businesses should qualify for similar assistance. This is now being looked into."
(Additional government financial support for businesses on the islands was announced on Tuesday.)
Meanwhile, the Ileach received reports of police checks on essential travel at Kennacraig last week, following a high level request to the police by Islay Community Recovery Group. This was following concerns about the number of visitors allegedly occupying holiday homes and holiday lets over the festive period.
With the Scottish Government insisting 'You must not travel into or out of Level 3 and 4 local authority areas', the area Commander and Lochgilphead police had both reacted positively.

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This is Islay
this is islay podcast

A new monthly podcast featuring individuals, personalities and features of Islay and Jura. Listen now at https://anchor.fm/thisisislay

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High hopes for 'HyLaddie'

Bruichladdich Distillery have announced they will receive support from the Small Business Research Initiative Green Distilleries Competition in their search for alternative fuels.
More than £70,000 has been awarded to the distillery's project partner, Protium Green Solutions, in order to complete a feasibility study on incorporating innovative hydrogen combustion technology at Bruichladdich.
They have ambitious plans to decarbonise their production process by 2025, with investigations into the feasibility of several renewable energy sources having been underway for some time. However, alternative options, including wind, solar, electrification, biomass and fuel switching (HVO), will also continue to be explored.
The feasibility project, named 'HyLaddie', must also consider the preservation of centuries old equipment, the safeguarding of spirit quality and the impact on the local community.
Intended for completion in spring this year, the study is included in Phase One of the Green Distilleries Competition. Positive results would see Bruichladdich target Phase Two funding in order to install the mechanism and assess its industrial application. This proof of concept could be the vote of confidence required for similar-sized distilleries to elect for hydrogen alternatives.
The project marks the inaugural deployment of a revolutionary technology, generating high temperature steam, using only oxygen and hydrogen combusted in a vacuum. The process creates water, which can be recycled and crucially, eliminates any emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide or sulphur dioxide.
Allan Logan, Production Director at Bruichladdich, said, "We understand that there is real potential for a hydrogen?based solution to decarbonise our industry. We are thrilled to have support to help us assess the feasibility of employing a green hydrogen fuel switching solution for our distillery, a move we hope benefits the broader industry."

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In My Mind
mairi mcgillivray

Mairi McGillivray, daughter of Catriona and John McGillivray, released her debut EP on Friday 15 January. Featuring four tracks, two sung in Gaelic, two in English, she is accompanied on this release by Seàn Gray (guitar), Isla Callister (fiddle), Graham Rorie (mandolin), Charlie Stewart (double bass) and Paul McKenna (backing vocals).,br /> The EP's production is impeccable, allowing Mairi's clarity of voice the space it deserves, while the guest musicians provide excellent musical support. The four tracks are: 'Tha Fadachd orm Fhìn', 'Kelvin's Purling Stream', 'Tàladh na Beinne Guirme' and 'Sea of Men'.
The EP is available from Port Askaig Stores and the Gaelic College, Bowmore, while a digital download and CDs can be ordered online from Bandcamp.
In My Mind - Mairi McGillivray

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Book Review

brian palmer writes
the glen n goy distillery - david gibson Despite the oft repeated claim that Islay was once almost a well-kept secret, nowadays that can scarcely be seen as a credible claim. It's difficult to know whether to lay blame or apportion credit for this state of affairs, but whichever way you look at it, Islay's present day fame is predominantly due to the existence of its nine distilleries.
Both Ardnahoe and the proposed distillery at Farkin owe their very existence to the fact that Islay's whiskies are in great demand across the world. And that interest is sated not only by personal visits, but often through magazine and newspaper articles, plus the inevitable slew of whisky books.
There can be few of the island's distillery managers who have not been approached several times, by would-be authors, keen not only to get the inside line for their 'forthcoming' publications, but just possibly the taste of a dram not on offer to the ordinary man or woman in the visitor centre.
But the majority of printed matter concerning Islay's distilleries is factually based. Though Islay has been the backdrop for several works of fiction, David Gibson's 'The Glen na Goy Distillery' is the first I've come across in which a (fictional) Islay distillery is central to the plot. The 'Glen na Goy Distillery' is situated at Black Rock, overlooking Loch Indaal in the direction of Bowmore. When asked the reason for setting his narrative on Islay at this specific location, author, David Gibson, a retired accountant, told the Ileach, "Basically, I wanted to convey my love of the island and its contrasts to the reader, set around my own, and others' experiences of the island over the years.
"Staying at Blackrock for several holidays, I'd always imagined it could be a small village in itself and have a distillery where the river runs into Loch Indaal, at the junction of the B8017 and A847. The ordnance survey map calls the river there 'Uisg an t-Suidhe', which is a bit of a mouthful, so I chose Goy instead!"

This, Gibson's first published work, is set in 1977, and initially paints the Glen na Goy Distillery in a bit of a quandary. Sales are not what they could be, the warehouses are overstocked and profits are on a downward slope.
This has allowed American multi-national drinks company, ASD, the opportunity to schedule a buyout, one apparently favoured by distillery owner John MacDonald. But the sale is opposed by several members of staff and, in particular, his grand-daughter, Fiona, who is studying at Glasgow, but working in the visitor centre for the summer holiday.
Douglas Cuthbertson, a recently qualified accountant at Baird and Ogilvie, based in Glasgow's Renfield Street, is sent by the senior partners to Islay, on behalf of ASD Chief Executive, Clay Waldfaber. His job is to appraise the financial situation and ensure that the accounts and stockholdings are in order, should the sale go ahead. And he has 21 days in which to do so.
Though it would surely undermine the need for you to purchase and read your own copy of 'The Glen na Goy Distillery', in essence, the story is a romance, in which I have already identified Romeo and Juliet. The author has, however, done his homework. When Cuthbertson goes for a run around the surrounding countryside, accompanied, as always, by 'Keltie Dog', the geography is pleasingly accurate. And his observations of local idiosyncracies are just as on point.
Outside the first house an elderly gentleman rested against the garden wall. He was dressed in a frayed black suit, white shirt and was smoking a pipe. A black and white sheep dog lay beside him.,br /> […]'Aye', the old man said, more as a statement than a question, nodding at Douglas as he passed by. 'Aye', said Douglas, in a similar response.
Said it all really."

And not only is due reverence paid to Islay's whisky reputation, but to that of its golf course at the Machrie. The author told me, "I'm a very average golfer, but I always thought it was a pity the island didn’t have more 18 or even ninehole courses."
Whether the sale was concluded, or the romance has a happy ending, I couldn't possibly say, but I will pay testament to the delight of Gibson's writing. I read all 190 pages in a single sitting, and enjoyed every one of them. The outcome, however, leaves the way open for a sequel which, Mr Gibson tells me, is just under 50% complete.
He said, "There's certainly plenty of time to do so, with other activaties curtailed or stopped by the pandemic."
'The Glen na Goy Distillery' by David J A Gibson, is available in paperback only from Amazon, priced at £4.99.

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Still here

The Ileach, now in its 48th year, has weathered more than just a few economic downturns in its time, local, national and global. However, the current situation is unprecedented in our lifetimes.
We have every intention of continue to produce the newspaper for as long as is practical and possible. And just as in previous times of difficulty, we would appreciate your support in making this happen.
Although the office in Main Street, Bowmore is closed to the public, there will still be staff in the office Monday - Friday, 10am - 1pm. If you have stories to tell, articles to submit or need to advertise your services, please call on 01496 810 355, or e-mail theileach@ileach.co.uk
To keep up to date with important local information, please check our twitter feed @theileach or check this page regularly.
If you're staying at home and unable to pick up a paper copy, why not consider a PDF subscription? Annual cost is £27. We thank you and appreciate your continued support.
Stay safe.

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE, Saturday 30 January 2021

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