THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 47/25 26 September 2020

darcey bussell with ella edgar's dancers

Ella Edgar's Highland dancers with Ella and Darcey Bussell inside Islay House. Darcey Bussell was on islay and Jura filming for the four-part 'Darcey Bussell's Wild Scottish Coasts'

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In this week's issue:

Strictly Highland dancing, The continuing saga of the Rest and Be Thankful, Bruichladdich Distillery to remain closed to visitors until 2021, Bowmore distillery opens by appointment only, Islay Golf Open, Staying at home to attend university, An Islay jazz festival appreciation, Postcard of a Puffer at Port Ellen appearing in Maritime Museum exhibition, Current thoughts - electric cars on islay and Jura, Perry GreenŐs ramble to Carraig Fhada, Islay Archery continues under restrictions

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ISLAY & THE COVID-19 VIRUS: IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Last updated Monday 28 September 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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Robin Currie appointed as new Council leader

Argyll and Bute Council's new leader is Councillor Robin Currie, councillor for Kintyre and the Islands, and Policy Lead for Housing, Roads and Infrastructure Services.
He was appointed leader at Thursday's Council meeting, following Councillor Aileen Morton's decision to move on from the role.
Councillor Currie has served Argyll and Bute as a councillor for more than 30 years, in roles as wide-ranging as planning and housing, and leisure, islands and roads services.
Robin said, "I am passionate about Argyll and Bute. It is an amazing area that deserves the best. Becoming leader of its council is an honour.
"We have to be realistic about the challenges we face, primarily budget gaps that mean continued change to what we do and how we do it, and a falling population that means we must attract people and jobs to the area.
"Perhaps it's because I am an islander, but steering a ship safely into harbour is the best analogy for me in describing my role as leader. I know where we want to be, and I am clear on what we have to do to get there: we must progress Argyll and Bute to the population and economic growth that will deliver a successful future; achieving this will be a team effort, so as leader, I will draw on the expertise of my colleagues, locally and nationally, as well as on the priorities we agreed together for the council.
"We have a skilled, dedicated council workforce. We have a beautiful area offering envied lifestyle opportunities. And we have investment in place to support the economy of Argyll and Bute.
"There will be more difficult decisions to be made, but I am confident that by working together we will also have progress to celebrate for Argyll and Bute."

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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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Laddie remains closed to visitors

According to a statement issued last week, after careful consideration, Bruichladdich Distillery maintained there are significant operational and safety complications preventing the re-opening of their visitor centre, while the current Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.
They continued, "We are also mindful that our Islay operation is a full production site and is home to everything from distillation to maturation to bottling. Therefore, with a necessarily large team of 85 Laddie crew on-site, the safety of our team and the community, followed by the on-going supply of our product, remain the number one priorities."
The current situation prevents the distillery from offering the standard of service they would wish to provide. And, indeed, it may result in visitors being subsequently disappointed. Therefore, Bruichladdich will sadly, remain closed to visitors until next year.
However, between now and the Spring of 2021, they intend to use the period of closure to carry out maintenance and renovations to their visitor centre. This should mean that, on re-opening, visitors will be welcomed back to new, improved facilities.
"In the meantime we will continue to run our Distillery website shop with all products and merchandise available and will also be launching a local 'click & collect' service for those visiting Islay and who wish to purchase items."
Visitor Centre Manager, Ailsa Hayes told the Ileach, "The feasibility study into re-opening produced some real areas for concern. Had we gone ahead, we would have compromised on staff welfare and also customer experience. We were not prepared to do that. I'm grateful that the Executive Board backed our recommendation to remain closed and use the time to renovate the Visitor Centre."
When asked what this would mean for staff employed in the Visitor Centre, Ailsa said, "All VC team members will be fully retained throughout this period.
"Some of us will remain with the shop to manage the distillery's e-Commerce business, develop the 'click & collect' service for Islay, and oversee the renovations. The rest of the team are being re-deployed to other areas of the business."

Manager Allan Logan said, "It's been a very challenging year for us !
"We reviewed the situation and looked at what we could offer in terms of a visitor experience in these trying times. Unfortunately, due to the layout of the distillery, limited capacity and the high number of staff we have on site every day, it would prove very difficult for us to offer any visitor experiences that live up to our reputation and remain within the government guidance.
"It wasn't an easy decision to make and one that wasn't taken lightly."

Meanwhile, one of the items you might wish to 'click & collect', is the new, 2020 Octomore 11 series, offered in three, 'organoleptic' variations. The release brings a refreshing of their heavily-peated single malt range that features Islay grown barley in the recipe.
Bottles will be arriving on retail shelves from 1 October. However, the distillery has said that Octomore 11.2 will only be available online at bruichladdich.com, which may become the default means of buying Laddie whisky for a few more months.

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MV Spartan in Maritime Museum exhibition
mv spartan at port ellen

An historic photograph of the puffer MV Spartan berthed at Port Ellen between 1960 - 1979 features in a new exhibition at the Scottish Maritime Museum on Irvine Harbourside, North Ayrshire.
The Museum has welcomed visitors back for the first time in almost five months with this major new exhibition.
For the first time, visitors can now step inside the hold of the Spartan, the last surviving Scottish-built puffer in Scotland, and immersing themselves in the story of the hundreds of puffers which performed a lifeline service delivering everything from cows, cars and cabbages and barley to Scotland's islands, distilleries and remote coastal communities for over a hundred years.
The permanent 'Spartan: Inside Out' exhibition, charts the evolution of the puffer, which came to dominate cargo trade around Scotland from the mid 1800s.
David Mann, Director of the museum, said, "As well as making the necessary changes to ensure public safety, we wanted to open with a compelling and exciting offer for visitors of all ages to pack in over coming months."

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Still here

The Ileach is now in its 47th year and 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.
With every intention of heading towards forty eight years and beyond, we will 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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to subscribe or advertise, contact ileach@ileach.co.uk

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE, Saturday 10 October 2020

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