THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 46/20 20 July 2019

In this issue: Loganair ground service falls short, Fèis Ìle fishing results, Bowmore Sports in the sunshine, MSP switched on to Port Charlotte lighting debate, Port Askaig road works delayed, Bridgend and Port Ellen bowling competitions, Cantilena Festival review, Highland dancing results, CalMac employee's returing shot across the bows, SCO concert preview.


Jura beach clean
Another 'rubbish adventure' on Jura!

On Saturday 13 July 26 adventurous souls headed out to Jura's wild side for what can only be described as a 'rubbish adventure'.
The objective was to clean a little-known bay just north of Ruantallain bothy. Brein Phort is one of the more accessible of Jura's west coast beaches, only an hours boat trip and half an hour walk. From this bay no human habitation is visible, and the nearest road is six and a half miles away across open hill.
However, depressingly, the influence of humans is apparent. The bay was littered with fish boxes, netting, buoys, plastic bottles, tyres to name just a few of the larger items. The volunteers collected seventeen large bulk bags of litter from this beach in four hours!
Apparently, they still need a hand removing the bags from the beach so if you are in possession of a large robust boat or even a helicopter they would be very interested to hear from you!
The plight here was twofold. Firstly, this wild coast is precious to the community and they wanted to make a difference; returning this wild place back to as near pristine state as possible is important to many people.
Secondly, the beach clean also enabled many who do not get an opportunity to venture off the beaten track to come and appreciate this remote and dramatic place.
The Wild Side of Jura group was created in reaction to the proposal for an industrial fish farm on the west coast of Jura, and the participants of our rubbish adventure, alongside the large majority of our community are still in rejection of this proposal.
On Thursday 1 August the group will be holding an information evening in Criaghouse village hall, at which they hope to solidify this message as well as setting out a more positive future for Jura's wild side.
They will also hear more about the Coastal Community Network and Argyll Coast & Islands Hope Spot. The group are interested to hear your views and offer a welcome to locals and visitors.
Jura has a special community and without the help from the following they would have never managed a 'rubbish adventure'.
Thanks go out to Ruantallain Estate for their boat and skipper and likewise to Jura Boat Tours; Robert Henry at Islay Buildbase for the one tonne dumpy sacks (Ed Note: is this available with prawn crackers and fried rice?), the Jura Coastguard for ensuring safety; the Jura Hotel for contributing towards the BBQ; and finally, the Jura Development Trust for covering advertising costs and general support. If you want to get involved or to find out more please contact wildsideofjura@gmail.com or follow on social media.

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The Tuscania Flag returns to Islay
usa flag

Jennifer Jones, Curator of the Armed Forces History at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington DC, has delivered the Tuscania Flag to the Museum of Islay Life / Taigh-Tasgaidh Muinntir íle for display until October.
As part of last year's WW1 Centenary commemorations the flag was displayed in the Museum in Port Charlotte and the Museum is delighted that the flag has returned home to Islay to allow more people to view it.
In February 1918, the people of Islay went to painstaking lengths to gather the bodies, identify them if they could, and bury them with dignity and honour. The day before the first funeral service it was realised that there was no American flag on Islay to fly in honour of the soldiers. Late that afternoon four women, Mary Armour, Jessie MacLellan, Mary Cunningham and Catherine MacGregor, began sewing a Stars & Stripes. They worked until 2am the following morning, to a plan scaled up from a picture in an encyclopaedia by John MacDougall, the Islay Estate joiner, using cloth they obtained from the local shop. The flag was carried at the funerals by an American survivor of the disaster. Michigan born Private Arthur Siplon, of the 100th Aero Squadron, recalled:
"When the last mournful note of 'Taps' floated away the ceremony came to an end. The folds of the homemade flag whipped smartly in the winter's chilling wind. Proudly it flew on a foreign shore, an unusual flag - made by the kindly hands of Scotch mothers to honour the sons of mothers they never knew."
Shortly after the funerals, Islay's hand-made Tuscania Flag was taken to America and presented to President Woodrow Wilson who gifted it to the Smithsonian Institute.
The Museum is grateful to Dr Richard Kurin, Ambassador-at-large at the Smithsonian Institute, for supporting this extension of the loan as well as the funders who made the initial loan possible. The Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am to 4.30pm and on Sundays from 1.00pm to 4.30pm.

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Port Askaig works dismay

Repairs scheduled for August moved to next Easter
Following reports in the Ileach of the scheduled resurfacing work to take place before the next onset of winter, at Port Askaig in August, Argyll and Bute council has decided to move the works into the next financial year, straight into the month of April.
This creates the prospect of massive disruption for all during the month of the busy Easter holidays and of course, just weeks before the Fèis Ìle 2020 and the Jura Fell Race; by far the busiest weekend in the Islay and Jura tourist calendar.
This topic was discussed at the recent Islay Community Council meeting, when it came to light that Argyll and Bute council had changed its plans after input from CalMac.
This met with unanimous disapproval from the Committee as (a) this is another winter to be endured on an already unacceptable surface condition, (b) the weather is almost likely to be worse, and wetter in April than August, (c) Easter is right in the middle of April next year, and (d) this puts the expenditure into next years financial budget for Argyll and Bute, when there is commitment to spend this as part of the £1.6million allocated and scheduled for this financial year.
The Ileach has seen correspondence between the Ferry Committee, CalMac and Argyll and Bute where the Ferry Committee has highlighted the benefits of undertaking the work in August. Not only is the weather less likely to be a disruptive factor, but the pressure will not be so severe on Port Ellen, as August is traditionally the distilleries production lay off period.
One would think CalMac would have this seasonal data at their fingertips, to enable a considered and sensible suggestion to Argyll and Bute, who own the Port Askaig port, and at the same time make Port Ellen, the port which CalMac owns, less chaotic.

Argyll and Bute Council has agreed on nine distinct projects, across the area, that will benefit from an allocation of £1.24million from the Scottish Government's Town Centre Fund.

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE, Saturday 3 August 2019

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Islay Diary 2019

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  • Saturday 20 July
  • Port Ellen Sports
  • Strawberry Tea, Port Ellen
  • Port Ellen Sports Dance, Ramsay Hall
  • Tuesday 23 July
  • Craft Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Kilmeny Ceilidh, Ballygrant Hall
  • Heat from the Sea, INHT, Port Charlotte
  • Chit Chat Strollers, Islay House Square
  • Thursday 25 July
  • Craft Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Friday 26 July
  • Scottish Chamber Orchestra, IHS, Bowmore
  • Saturday 27 July
  • Strawberry Tea, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Sunday 28 July
  • MLC Car Boot Sale, Uiskentuie
  • Tuesday 30 July
  • Craft Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Chit Chat Strollers, Port More Centre
  • Thursday 1 August
  • Craft Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Friday 3 August
  • Sale of Work, Rhinns Hall
  • Sunday 4 August
  • Ride of the Falling Rain, Debbies, Bruichladdich
  • RNLI Open Day, Port Askaig
  • Monday 5 August
  • Sick ChildrenŐs Fund AGM, Service Point, Bowmore
  • Tuesday 6 August
  • Kilmeny Ceilidh, Ballygrant Hall
  • Thursday 8 August
  • Annual Islay Show, Bridgend
  • Sunday 11 August
  • Beginners' Archery, Port Mor
  • Sunday 18 August
  • Beginners' Archery, Port Mor
  • Sunday 25 August
  • Beginners' Archery, Port Mor
  • Sunday 1 September
  • Beginners' Archery, Port Mor

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