THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 48/03 21 November 2020

scottish water

As part of a £2.5 million investment by Scottish Water, a state of the art Transportable Treatment Unit (TTU) made its way under police escort across land and sea to its new, long term home at Torra Water Treatment Works (WTW) on the island.

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In this week's issue:

Small Isles Primary's Children in Need Ramble, Proposed Local Boundary changes, Islay Sessions postponed, Scottish Water investment, Council bus consultations, IHS McCallum Shiled winner, Perry Green heads to Port an Was, School super heroes, Luxury & Rare Whisky Competitions, Eco bunkers at Machrie, Charity begins at home, What have the Neolithic ever done for us?, Museum funding success, Book reviews, Music review.

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ileach calendar 2021

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ISLAY & THE COVID-19 VIRUS: IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Last updated Wednesday 18 November 2020

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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Islay Sessions postponed

Further to our brief article in the last issue of the Ileach, concerning this year's Islay Sessions, organiser, Greig Shaw, told the Ileach that the present COVID-19 restrictions have prevented them getting the team together for this month's online broadcast.
The livestream was due to have taken place from the Port Charlotte Hotel on Saturday 21 November and shown on the Fraser Shaw Trust YouTube channel. The Prize Draw will also take place in January. According to Grieg, "We are now making plans to broadcast live on 9 January 2021. All purchased tickets will still be valid for the new date and will still be on sale up to the event."
"We hope to be back, live on Islay, in 2021."

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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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Eco Bunkers at The Machrie

With the imposition of a lockdown in England until early December, the Machrie Hotel opted to close for the month of November due to several cancellations from English-based customers. In this, they were scarcely alone, both Gleneagles and Hilton Hotels having opted to do likewise.
However, manager, Iain Hamilton told the Ileach, "We're using the time productively to carry out a few upgrades and routine maintenance."
But while the hotel's accommodation is closed, the golf course remains open, with Iain saying that they would be able to open the Golf Shop, should anyone require.
Meanwhile the Machrie Links Greens Team have begun the process of adding around thirty new bunkers and nine new championship tees to the links. The bunkers are being introduced to create a more strategic golf course, creating more risk and reward holes and to visually enhance the links.
The new bunkers will be classic links revetted bunkers (which is the layering of sod), but with a twist. They're being constructed with artificial turf supplied by EcoBunker. The artificial turf comes from old football and hockey pitches and is being recycled to be used in bunker faces, rather than going to landfill.
There are many positives of using the artificial turf; they have a lifespan of around 20 years, unlike natural turf which requires rebuilding the bunkers somewhere every two to five years.
The daily, weekly and monthly maintenance will be significantly less, allowing the greens team to focus on the other tasks which go into maintaining a world class links course.
In these times, where sustainability and the environment are never far from everyone's minds, these EcoBunker bunkers will help reduce the carbon footprint at The Machrie.
The new championship tees will increase the length of the course from 6782 to over 7000 yards and are being added to the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 12th and 15th holes.

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Book review
pocket guide to whisky

The Pocket Guide to Whisky (new edition) featuring the 'Whisky Tubemap'. Blair Bowman with Nikki Welch. Birlinn publishing. 144pp illus. £8.99
Surrounded as we are by nine single malt distilleries, with a tenth currently on hold and the eleventh subject to a planning enquiry, plus another on Jura, I think it would be accurate to state that, though whisky is immensely important to these islands, it's not something we're inclined to obsess over.
You get used to the smoke from the pagodas, the occasional spill of barley at the roadside, and the regular invasions from those who do obsess over whisky.
However, despite author, Blair Bowman's statement that whisky-making is "...a very simple process involving only three ingredients", the art of whisky obsession is, itself, surprisingly complex.
And in order to help simplify this complicated world of wood finishes, cask strengths and blends, Mr Bowman has invented a system he has entitled the 'Whisky Tubemap'.
I cannot deny that, as a non-drinker, I'm unlikely to be the source of any coherent information concerning whisky, but I'm afraid I found the tubemap printed on the inside cover, just a tad confusing.
For starters, though overlaid on a highly stylised map, Bunnahabain and Bruichladdich appear to be in the middle of the sea, while Jura resides south of Islay and remarkably close to Oban.
However, to clear matters, Blair Bowman explains that it's "...a flavour map of whisky, organising styles, types and specific brands from around the world, by taste and texture rather than by geography."
Which does indeed make sense, and at least explains why Jura is so close to Oban. Each colour-coded 'line' features whiskies that bear similarities in taste, so, for example, if you enjoy a Glenfiddich, according to the Tubemap, you might also enjoy an Auchentoshan. And I assume that the two Islay distilleries floating in the water illustrates the contention that these sit midway between their Islay and mainland peers.
There's also a brief paragraph on pronunciation, particularly that of 'ch', which I fear may be a bit overwrought. "So 'Glenfiddich' and 'Auchentoshan', both have the soft Scottish 'ch', which we have represented as 'c': Glen-fidd-ic."
The book's chapters are divided according to the various tube lines, with all the featured distilleries listed at the start. The author proceeds then, to summarise the range from each distillery.
For example, "La-Ga-Vool-In. Despite being a heavily peated Islay whisky, Lagavulin [...] isn't just all peat and nothing else." Concerning 'La-froyg': "A real 'marmite' whisky: you'll love it or you'll hate it!" which would seem to accord with Laphroaig's 'Opinions wanted' campaign.
Despite my status as a teetotaller, there's a great deal of logicality in the 'Pocket Guide', simplifying (should you wish to) the mystery of single malts and blended whiskies.
Yet it doesn't stop there.
At the back of the book, the author waxes lyrical over whisky and food pairings, such as chocolate, cheese, popcorn (?), and ice-cream. There are brief chapters on cocktails, the new era of whisky, buying, storing and investing, troubleshooting (yes, really) and frequently asked questions (a lot shorter than those probably asked on the average distillery tour).
There's an excellent glossary and index, preceded by 'Advanced Manoeuvres', but you'll need to buy your own copy to find out what those are.

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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 5 December 2020

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