THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 46/23 31 August 2019

In this issue: Davina's home delivery, Loganair stops Edinburgh flights, Food Festival preview, Book Festival review, Big Breakfast without Batty, Sandy Mactaggart Award, Museum Art Competition winners.


islay jazz

As tribute to this weekend's Jazz Festival, we print an Islay Studios image taken atop the empty casks at Ardbeg distillery

Photo: islay studios

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Rhinns all-rounders pitching for your support
rhinns playing fields

Kevin Miller, Chair of the Rhinns Playing Field Association, reports on the progress as the field is brought back into life again by the community:
The Rhinns Playing Field Association (RPFA) was reformed in March this year with a view to bringing the pitch back to a usable state for all to enjoy.
Great progress has been made so far with the pitch looking fantastic, our thanks to the local community for working hard to restore the pitch, helping to contribute to fundraising events and digging deep into their pockets. Local businesses have also played a massive role in getting us to where we are today. To date, we have purchased a set of goals, a sit on lawnmower and a shed. So, a huge thank you to all that have contributed thus far.
It's great to see the pitch being used by so many over the summer. which included a rounders game between Portnahaven and Port Wemyss which ended in a competitive draw, but most importantly brought the community of all ages, out together.
We have momentum and enthusiasm so would like to move forward and improve facilities further over the coming years to have more community events. We are now an official Scottish Charity, so once our priorities have been established, we can apply for funding and are also happy to receive any donations along the way!
We would like to hear from as many people as possible with their thoughts and opinions. We are conducting a public consultation, which involves questionnaires being posted in the Portnahaven area or you can access the survey online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RCTQVS7.
On request, the link or a paper copy can be sent to you if you contact us via our facebook page 'Rhinns Playing Field Association' or email either emacmi11@hotmail.com or kevinmiller1511@gmail.com
If all completed questionnaires can be returned by 20 October, we will collate all the responses and thereafter feed the results back to the community. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Food, glorious food (plus drink and foraging)!

Well, we've heard about it for quite a while now, and at last it's here. The new Taste Islay & Jura Food, Drink and Foraging Festival will be taking place next weekend, from Friday 20 to Sunday 22 September, with events taking place throughout our islands.
The festival starts on the Friday on Jura at Lussa Gin for a special 'Taste of Lussa Tour'. This special, one hour session, discovers how the three women of Lussa create their gin and you can enjoy it paired with locally-sourced venison and shellfish, all with a juniper influence.
If you are feeling energetic then head back over to the Machrie Hotel on Islay, where Kayak Wild Islay are offering an unforgettable 'Fat Biking Experience' along the Big Strand. They'll be stopping for a wild 'Kelly Kettle' brew with Argyll Coffee Roasters coffee en-route. After a bike on the beach, it's time to head back to the Machrie Hotel to enjoy some exquisite local food.
Friday evening, it's over to Islay House in collaboration with The Botanist Gin for a Taste of Wild Islay. Enjoy a five course taster menu with gin cocktails before enjoying the Scottish premier of The Botanist's Wild A State of Mind mini film series.
Saturday is Market Day in Bowmore Square and The Harbour Inn from 10am to 4pm with a traditional market with an 'Islay twist'. This local market will bring together local food and drink producers and shoppers can buy local meats, vegetables, herbs, cheeses, preserves, coffee, seafood, pre-cooked foods and meals, as well as enjoy some fantastic lunch offerings.
A huge welcome to Islay and Jura will be offered to Colin Hinds, Patron Chef of The Kilted Lobster in Edinburgh, who will be here cooking up a storm with a sumptuous Lobster Barbecue during the market.
At the Harbour Inn, beverage delights will include three gins, whisky, wine, ale, rum and cocktails all under one roof. Drams, tastings, pairings and demonstrations will be running from 11am. Find out how to prepare syrups from foraged plants with The Botanist Gin, and get a lesson in cocktail making with the Harbour Inn team.
The organisers are hugely excited to welcome writer, broadcaster and food anthropologist, Ghillie Basan, who will be creating paired canapes utilising the wonderful local food and drinks offerings including; oysters, scallops and lobsters; venison, lamb and beef, and smoked, preserved and roasted produce. Ghillie will also be talking about her new book, 'Spirit and Spice' so come along and enjoy a dram or two.
If you're a chocoholic (Ed Note: Hands up!), then listen up. There's a two hour Chocolate Making Session at Islay High School on Saturday, with chocolatier and tutor Chris Wolfe. Learn about chocolate, its history and then make your own truffles to take home.
Plus, over the three days, Bowmore Distillery are offering a special tour at 2:30pm each day with specially selected drams paired with exquisite chocolates from The Oban Chocolate Company.
You've got choice too. Laphroaig are also putting on a special 2:30pm daily Laphroaig Food Pairing Tasting Tour, with some fantastic locally sourced appetizers, created by local chefs paired with four Laphroaig drams.
Saturday night, and it's over to The Port Charlotte Hotel in partnership with food and whisky connoisseur Martine Nouet, as Martine hosts a Whisky Tasting Dinner with each local produce course paired with Islay and Jura whiskies.
Sunday, there's no rest. Islay Sea Adventures are offering a special Islay seafood tour, with a unique chance to enjoy the scenery and wildlife from the sea whilst sampling some of the best local produce available. Hand dived scallops will be the star of the show and guests will have the opportunity to try and catch a fish for the onboard barbecue.
For those staying on dry land, head over to the Islay Nature Centre at Port Charlotte and enjoy a Celebration of Seaweed. Learn all about the different seaweeds that can be found around our islands' coasts with tips on how to forage for seaweed safely and sustainably. A session will run from 11am- noon, where the team will prepare and cook seaweeds.
The Botanist Gin's professional forager, James Donaldson is leading an unforgettable walk through Bridgend woods, as he points out some wild edibles on our doorstep, including the ones to avoid, culminating in a Botanist and tonic with your own foraged garnish.
Family fun will be over at Port Ellen Playing Fields, with 'Star Baker' (Ed Note: I always break into that Boney M tune when someone says that - you're singing it now too!) and sandcastle building competitions. There's a local produce barbecue and mocktails for all from 12 - 4pm.
The Tartan Spoon Food and Drink Blogger will also be welcomed to the event, which all in all sounds like three days of Scotland's finest. To find out more details and to book events visit www.tasteislayjura.com and follow on social media @tasteislayjura.

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Edinburgh - Islay flights prove terminal

After only just five months of service, Loganair has announced that the Islay-Edinburgh route is ending at the end of this summer season 2019.
Launched with the fan fare of a pipe band on 31 March this year, the company now says it will be "discontinuing its Islay - Edinburgh service as demand is lower than expectation."
Loganair says that demand for the Edinburgh-Islay service has been lower than anticipated and despite a fifty percent increase in seat capacity to Islay this summer and availability of more seats at lower fares than ever before, passenger numbers have only increased by twelve percent.
However, in order to ensure that an appropriate level of seat capacity and connectivity is maintained to Islay, Loganair will be adding a small number of flights to the Glasgow route including the addition of a third flight on Thursdays in Summer 2020.
A spokesman for Loganair said, "A small number of routes unfortunately have not sustained the required level of demand to be viable. It's really disappointing that the link hasn't worked out as everyone would have hoped, but success inevitably involves some failures along the way.
"We remain resolutely committed to Islay and we hope that the extra flights to Glasgow next summer in place of the Edinburgh link will truly demonstrate that commitment."

Reservations can be made at www.loganair.co.uk, by calling Loganair's Customer Contact Centre on 0344 800 2855.

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE, Saturday 28 September 2019

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islay info

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Islay Diary 2019

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  • Saturday 14 September
  • Highland Dancing Competition, Bowmore Hall
  • Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival
  • Sunday 15 September
  • Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival
  • Scottish Country Dancing, Bowmore Hall
  • Tuesday 17 September
  • Craft Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Chit Chat Strollers, RSPB
  • Wednesday 18 September
  • T in the Church, Portnahaven
  • Thursday 19 September
  • Craft Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Friday 20 September
  • Taste of Islay & Jura Food Festival
  • Saturday 21 September
  • Taste of Islay & Jura Food Festival
  • Bowmore Baptist Church celebrations
  • Sunday 22 September
  • Taste of Islay & Jura Food Festival
  • Scottish Country Dancing, Bowmore Hall
  • Bowmore Baptist Church celebrations
  • Tuesday 24 September
  • Craft Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Chit Chat Strollers, Woollen Mill
  • Wednesday 25 September
  • Baptist Church Walk
  • Thursday 26 September
  • Craft Market, Bruichladdich Hall
  • Friday 27 September
  • Iomart Chille Chomain, AGM, Port Mor
  • Jura Music Festival
  • Saturday 28 September
  • Islay Beef Herd competition
  • Jura Music Festival
  • Coffee Morning, St. Columba Hall, PE
  • Sunday 29 September
  • Jura Music Festival
  • Scottish Country Dancing, Bowmore Hall
  • Wednesday 2 October
  • Bowmore Primary AGM

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