THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 51/10 24 February 2024

Snowdrops
snowdrops

At this time of year, Bridgend Woods features a carpet of snowdrops, stretching from Bridgend village all the way towards Dail farm. Photo from Mark Unsworth's photo book 'Coast to Coast'

Photo: islay studios

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Redundant

According to local reports, staff at The Machrie Hotel have experienced several redundancies recently, including senior staff responsible for the golf course.
Junior golf instruction has currently ended due, apparently, to the departure of David Foley, the hotel's golf professional.
Management issued the following statement. "The Machrie Hotel and Golf Links is committed to a successful and sustainable future and takes the responsibility of being a key employer within the Islay community very seriously.
"The economic uncertainty following the Covid pandemic has meant, like many other hospitality businesses, it has suffered significant business disruption. This has unfortunately necessitated a handful out of over 80 full-time jobs being at risk of redundancy.
"As we are currently in a consultation process with the small number of team members impacted, we cannot comment further.
"We look forward to offering our normal service to all of our guests in 2024 and in future years and we are fully committed to the continuation of the junior golf programme in April."
The Ileach has also received reports of potential staff redundancies at Bruichladdich Distillery's bottling hall. These confirmed reports state that distillery management is looking for voluntary redundancies and discussions are ongoing.
These possible redundancies have surfaced only a matter of weeks since the news of several proposed redundancies at Ardnahoe Distillery.

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In this week's issue:

Fèis Òigridh 2024, Redundancies at The Machrie and Bruichladdich Distillery, Council's budget woes, Lack of progress at Rest and be Thankful, Unexploded WWII grenade, Unexplained death on the Strand, Carbon Neutral online, Richard Lochhead MSP fails to live up to his vow, Lord Donald Cameron, Potholes on the Oa, Woolly hat for Bowmore post box, Living Well on islay and Jura, Dancing into 2024, King Creosote to appear at Islay Music Festival in April, Two Islay lads ascend Mt Kilimanjaro, Charlène Busalli reviews recent book releases, Bonnie Wood of Islay Prints, Coastguard awards, Sharon McHarrie's Grumble from Gruinart, No port in a storm - disruption to ferry services due to works at Kennacraig

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Ascent of Kilimanjaro
kilimanjaro

William Corson writes:
It gives me great pleasure as an uncle and father, to report a successful climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) by Islay's Scott Lindsay and Liam Corson. Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest point and the world's highest free standing mountain.
Setting off from Machame gate at an altitude of 5380 metres in the early morning of Wednesday 31 January, the boys acclimatised over the next few days, before reaching Uhuru peak summit of 5,895metres, (19,341ft) at 6:30am sunrise on Sunday 4 February. "It was literally breathtaking", Scott acknowledged.
Talking to them on their return, and listening to their mountain top experiences above the clouds, the extremes of air pressure, altitude/nauseous feelings and headaches sounded like a hangover to me (just kidding!) The service and attention to detail from the male and female porters, not forgetting the guides, was exceptional, from tent setup to preparation of meals. They agreed that they "ate like kings."
The guides' attentiveness and awareness, while keeping an eye on their physical condition due to the altitude, was amazing and humbling all at the same time.
The humour and camaraderie within their group also helped tremendously with the motivation to reach the ultimate goal.
Highlight: traversing a narrow ledge with a drop-off not for the faint hearted, was named, would you believe it, 'the kissing wall!'
To top it all off, they spent two days on a safari trip, up close with a diverse range of wild animals like never before, Pumbaa, Mufassa, Zazu and Timon...Hakuna Matata!
Well done to both of you.
Onwards and upwards.

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Possibly maybe, but probably not at all

In the report published in our last issue concerning the recently held Tourism Summit in Kilchoman Distillery's visitor centre, organised by Explore Islay & Jura, it was stated that, following a request by co-chair, Emma Clark, the Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade, Richard Lochhead MSP, vowed to "... bring together all those involved in the provision and running of our ferries to get them talking."
Since doing so would be a welcome step forward, the Ileach contacted Mr Lochhead's office at Holyrood to ask if he could advise where and when such a meeting might take place?
A Transport Scotland spokesperson replied, saying, "Programme partners are working hard to ensure that all users of ferry services to and from Islay are kept informed and updated, with further engagement events planned in the future.
"Transport Scotland, CMAL, Argyll and Bute Council and CalMac most recently held joint engagement sessions on the new Islay vessels enabling works on Islay and Jura on 10 and 11 January 2024. These were well attended, giving the opportunity for the community and interested parties to receive an update on the planned works and discuss any issues.
"CMAL also held a drop-in session in Port Ellen on 13 February and sought feedback and answered questions on the Port Ellen Harbour Revision Order which provides statutory consent for the construction works to progress."
It wouldn't take Sherlock Homes to note that those are answers to a different question than the one we asked. Which would tend to suggest that Mr Lochhead's vow given at the Tourism Summit, may have somehow, slipped his mind.

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This is Islay
this is islay podcast

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

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE, Saturday 9 March 2024

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