THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 48/21 31 July 2021

padlle boarding

James and Declan Stewart of Bowmore, honing their paddle board skills during the recent spell of fabulous weather. However, the Coastguard and RNLI have advised caution. Photo: Rae McKenzie

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In this week's issue:

RNLI and Coastguard advise caution in the water, A& B Council support for Covid recovery, Government support for Seafood industry, Natasha's Law, Covid status on Islay, A& B Council's campaig to end dog fouling, Cybercafe receives lottery funding, Former policeman, Simon McLean to feature in book signing at Roy's Celtic House, The Virtual Islay Show, The campervan conundrum, Port Ellen Playing Fileds update, Islay's new and improved Field Centre, Islay's water feature, Goodness gracious great Bolsa fire, Mactaggart Leisure Centre's digital connectivity programme, Laggan to restore peat at Duich, My favourite bike ride, Tragedy at Blackrock

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The campervan conundrum

According to figures from CalMac, the combined total of shipped motorhomes and caravans on the Islay route increased from 34 in April, to 299 in May and then to 453 in June - a 50% increase in June over May.
Islay's formal camping site space is simply not large enough to accommodate such numbers, so overnight parking in the wild is inevitable.
In April of this year, the council announced a total of £500,000 available to spend on facilities to encourage those intending a 'staycation', to head to Argyll and Bute. Given the inevitability of the increase in the number of such vehicles shown by CalMac's carrying figures, Islay Community Council has pressed the council for more and larger bins, along with signage to encourage visitors to respect the environment by not littering.
A Community Council spokesperson told the Ileach, "Signs asking visitors to take their litter home, after perhaps a two-week stay, may not be so practical here. Those are probably more effective for day trip destinations."
Council Leader, Robin Currie and Councillors Alastair Redman and Ann Horne have all indicated their support for such measures.
Meanwhile, the Ileach has received several reports of indiscriminate parking by motorhome, campervan and caravan owners, often with apparently scarce regard for Islay residents living nearby.
As a result, ICC have just published a leaflet advising motorhome and campervan owners/renters of suitable sites on the island, along with helpful tips to make their visit more enjoyable.

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ISLAY & THE COVID-19 VIRUS: IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Last updated Monday 19 July 2021

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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Port Ellen Playing Fields update

Rosie MacLellan writes:
South Islay Development would like to say a big 'Thank You' to everyone who attended the Public Meeting Day on Saturday 17 July, and to everyone who took the time to fill in and return a ballot paper. SID were delighted with the number of people who attended, and who have engaged with the Port Ellen Playing Fields project.
The returned ballot papers were counted on Wednesday 21 July, in the presence of the chair of Islay Community Council as an impartial adviser, and two individuals from the Port Ellen community. All three were content that the vote was counted in a fair and transparent manner.
Discarding any duplicate votes and spoilt/comment only ballot papers, 307 valid votes were received and the following results were gathered:
In favour of the Community Hub: 79% Against the Community Hub: 20% In favour of the expansion of the Motorhome Site: 57% Against the expansion of the Motorhome Site: 41%
Of the 307 valid votes, a small number related to only the Community Hub, or the motorhome expansion, accounting for the reason the above figures do not equal 100%. Of the 307 votes cast, 78% were from those living within the Port Ellen Community, 15% from the wider Islay community and 7% were from further afield.
Following the results of the ballot, the next steps for SID are to submit a revised planning application for the Community Hub to Argyll & Bute Council, then to move forward into the technical design stages, finalising the appearance of the building and the internal spaces. In the meantime, we will continue finalising the remaining funding gap, with potential funders already lined up, and move forward with plans for income generation, through the expansion of the existing motorhome site.
We intend to report back regularly to the community, giving updates through SID's mailing list, Ileach reports and newsletters.
As well as the completed ballot papers, SID has received a wealth of comments and suggestions relating to the Playing Fields project. These are invaluable and will be further reviewed in depth as the project progresses. SID looks forward to working constructively with the community during the next stages, and once again thank you to everyone who has taken part in the recent public meeting, and voted in the ballot.
Don't forget to follow SID's Facebook page or join SID's mailing list (email outhislaydevelopment@gmail.com) to receive the most up to date Playing Fields information.

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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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Laggan peat restoration project
peat

Following our article 'For peat's sake' in the last issue, the Ileach has learned that Laggan Estate recently submitted a planning application to restore the peatland at Duich Moss.
The site stretches from the Laggan River to Duich Farm, between the Low Road and High Road and includes the Torra Water drinking water catchment area, making it essential to protect the water quality and comply with Scottish Water requirements. Additionally, there are SEPA water quality monitoring stations downstream, and the area is designated for special and important habitats and species under SSSI, SPA, SAC and RAMSAR designations.
It is proposed that the requirements of the scheme will be funded by NatureScot's Peatland ACTION.
A feasibility study has already been undertaken with Peatland ACTION, the results suggesting the main impact on the peatland's condition would be the network of artificial drainage ditches and grips across the area.
The project proposes that restoration efforts target blocking grips, to reduce drainage and increase the height of the water table across the site. Restoration will focus on areas where peat depth exceeds 0.5m, which should subsequently reduce the dominance of purple moor-grass, increase the habitat suitability for Sphagnum mosses, and reduce the area's fire risk.
Where there is evidence of historical peat cutting, the cut edges of the peat banks will be reprofiled to reduce the risk of future erosion. Current peat cutting areas will not be reprofiled until they cease to be in active use.
Reports indicate that there are no extensive areas of bare peat to be seen, and it is anticipated that reducing water flows and raising the water level will allow the vegetation and Sphagnum levels to recover naturally. Additional planting or seeding is not considered necessary.

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Ileach calendar 2022

Though recent temperatures have done their very best to convince it's summer again, providing the very light and colours beloved of the intrepid photographer.
As a result, we'd once again like to invite readers to submit photographs for inclusion in the Ileach calendar of 2022. Subject matter should clearly reflect recognisable locations or aspects of Islay or Jura, and be submitted in landscape format (as opposed to portrait). We'd prefer images to be e-mailed at a resolution suitable for reproduction at A4 size, but we're also happy to receive prints through the post, providing they're of a quality that will allow scanned reproduction.
The closing date for submissions is Friday, 8 October 2021. e-mailed images should be sent to calendar@ileach.co.uk and postal submissions to Ileach, Main Street, Bowmore, Isle of Islay PA43 7JH.

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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.
The office in Main Street, Bowmore is open Monday - Friday, 10am - 1pm. If you have stories to tell, articles to submit or need to advertise your services, please call in or phone 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.
Why not consider a PDF subscription? Annual cost is £29. 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 14 August 2021

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