Excerpts from issue 44/03 26 November 2016

islay sessions

Musicians on stage in Bruichladdich Hall during last weekend's islay Sessions.

Photo: Sean Purser

A weekend well spent

This year's Islay Sessions which took place 18 - 20 November, proved as popular as ever.
Kicking off the weekend of events was Laura-Beth Salter & Friends, with an intimate concert in the Port Charlotte Hotel conservatory. The singer and mandolin player is a well kent face on the Glasgow Folk and Roots scene, a founding member of renowned folk band The Shee and was nominated for the MG Alba Composer of the year award in 2013 after the success of her Celtic Connections commission and debut album Breathe.
Laura-Beth was joined by Calum MacCrimmon & James Lindsay on this occasion for an eclectic blend of sassy tunes and songs.
Breabach, Talisk and The Routes Quartet's concert in Bruichladdich Hall proved to be a sellout.
James Brown of Octomore said the concert was brilliant. He hadn't enjoyed himself so much since getting top dollar at a cattle auction.
Breabach delivered a thrilling and unique brand of contemporary folk music. They rightly deserve their international recognition as one of the UK's most dynamic and exciting bands on the world and roots music scene. With two pipers in the line-up, the audience found their set toe-stompingly exciting.
Talisk, a fiddle, concertina and guitar trio showed why they were the worthy winners of the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award.
Islay's Scott Currie was impressed by this year's offerings. He said, "Another great weekend showcasing the wonderful young talent we have in this country. Every year I seem to find something new and this year it was the Routes Quartet, who describe themselves as a string quartet (two violins, viola and cello) who╩combine contemporary compositions and arrangements of traditional music, bridging the gap between classical and folk music - quite a challenge."
They are led by Grainne Brady, who manages to pull together the whole music side of the Islay Sessions weekend in her spare time.
Scott advised those who missed the Islay Sessions to find out about the Routes Quartet. "Look them up!"
Celia Todd summed up the general feeling about the weekend, "Vibrant young musicians; excellent sound; friendly welcome; superb many styled 'traditional music' played with care yet gusto: in other words the Islay Sessions. A weekend well spent."

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Loganair announces extra Islay to Glasgow flights

On Wednesday, Loganair, Scotland's Airline, announced an additional daily service from Islay to Glasgow as part of its 2017 summer schedule. A new lunchtime flight will be introduced on weekdays together with a second flight on Sundays, increasing the overall number of seats between Glasgow and Islay by 50% and opening up a wide range of new flight connections for travel to and from Islay.
The new service will depart Glasgow on weekdays at 12:10, landing in Islay at 12:50. The new return flight will leave Islay at 13:20, arriving in Glasgow 35 minutes later. Scotland's Airline has timed the new service to offer convenient onward connections to points including Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Dublin, Southampton and London where customers from Islay have previously endured a significant wait at Glasgow before taking their next flight.
Fares from Islay to Glasgow start from only £31.52 with the Air Discount Scheme 50% discount, including all taxes and charges plus a complimentary checked baggage allowance.
Loganair Managing Director Jonathan Hinkles said, "Islay is one of Loganair's longest-standing destinations, and it's a pleasure to announce this increase in services to and from the island. The extra flights will provide more seats at lower fares than before, and will make onward travel from Glasgow far easier as part of our strategy to grow Glasgow as our main hub airport."
Hinkles continued, "Our summer schedule is a statement of intent as we announce our transition from the Flybe franchise arrangements to become an independent operator from 1 September 2017. As Scotland's Airline, Loganair is strengthening its network and adding more seats and more flights than ever before."
Tickets for the services go on sale from Wednesday, 23 November and the new timetable commences on March 26. To book seats visit flybe.com

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calendar 2017

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Setting the heather on fire

"Many people on Islay are unaware of the positive impact heather burning has on maintaining biodiversity on moorland," claims Donald James MacPhee.
A recently study published in the New Journal of Botany confirms the benefits of heather burning.
The long-term research, conducted on four Scottish moorland sites by the Edinburgh-based Centre for Ecology & Hydrology allows them to conclude that "to maintain diversity, timely burning is recommended".
The research was welcomed by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.
Dr Colin Shedden, BASC's director Scotland, said, "This long-term study, over an impressive 43-44 years of observation, tested the hypothesis that without prescribed burning and with only moderate grazing there would be a decline in the number of plant species recorded.
"The conclusion reached by the author was that 'to maintain floral diversity in heathlands there needs to be regular burning'."

He also suggested that regular burning, on a 20-year rotation as happens elsewhere, is also required to ensure the heather does not become so tall and dense that it becomes a real risk for wild fire.
BASC's chairman Peter Glenser said, "Those who manage moorlands know that the burning of heather is beneficial. This report should be welcomed for adding more evidence to that weight of knowledge."
Donald James MacPhee, who is skilled in the work required to burn heather in a controlled and safe fashion is happy to discuss with landowners their burning requirements. He can be contacted on 01496 850643 or at dj@islayoutdoors.com

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE 10 December 2016

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islay info

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islay community council

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Islay Diary 2016

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