Islay Travel Update and Government Advice Covid-19

The entire world has changed in the course of a couple of weeks. Everything what was normal is no longer so due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

I can spend a lengthy article on the ins and outs of the virus outbreak but the long and the short of it is that most businesses, hotels, and tourist attractions on Islay are closed for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, all events are cancelled for the months ahead. Also Calmac announced that there are travel restrictions in place. The Scottish Government announced today that:

ferry companies will no longer take non-essential travellers. Ferries will be for those who live on our islands, who have an essential need to travel to or from the mainland and for essential supplies or business. Nothing else.

VisitScotland posted the following advice:

In light of the current situation, we encourage you all to stay safe. We know your travel plans have been affected, but Scotland will welcome you with open arms when it's safe again in the future. For now, please stay at home.

For the latest information from the Scottish Government please visit www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/

Everyone on Islay is looking forward to welcoming you all as soon as the situation has returned to normal. Let's all use our common sense, stay at home, follow government guidelines, care about the folk in your community and hopefully we can leave this behind us as soon as possible.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Change of Plans for New Islay Distillery

It has been quiet now for some time re the new planned distillery near Farkin, between Port Ellen and Laphroaig. The first plans for the new Distillery were officially presented in April 2018. Since then it has been quiet. The new owners had submitted their plans to Argyll and Bute Council for approval and there has been some local consultation as well. Not everyone was pleased with the new distillery. Some folk didn't like the exterior design of the buildings and others were opposed to a new distillery altogether, especially in that particular location.

A couple of weeks ago however new plans were submitted to the council showing a rather different design of the buildings with a more traditional exterior, more or less in line with the other distilleries. It's another step forward for Elixir Distillers who are keen on starting their venture on Islay. Continue reading...

Bruichladdich to Port Charlotte Footpath

A few weeks ago work has commenced on the long-awaited foot and cycle path between the villages of Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte. This will be a great asset for locals and others visiting the Rhinns. At present you'll need to walk and cycle on the road which can be a dangerous undertaking, especially for the younger ones. If the new path will be anywhere near as good as the distillery path, and the signs point in that direction, it will be wonderful.

Gordon Currie from Port Ellen is doing all the work and at this stage they are preparing the ground for the path and laying the foundations for the bridges. The planning is that the path will be finished at the end of the year. Fingers crossed.

More photos here

Starting a New Chapter

After having spent most of our life in the Netherlands, our wee family came to Islay some six years ago to actually live on the island about which I’d been writing so much on my website www.islayinfo.com since 2004.

Some time ago, however, we’ve decided that the time has come for us to begin a new chapter in another country, Germany.

Living the dream to stay, work and bring up our daughter on a remote Scottish Island was fantastic, it couldn't have been any better. We have learned so much about Islay and its fantastic people and we are still learning. It really takes time to properly understand how it all works here and some things will always remain a mystery to us. We feel very privileged and grateful that we had the chance to experience life on Islay and that we’ve been welcomed and accepted by the locals in such a wonderful way. We’ve made some really good friends whom we’re hoping to keep, even if we’re 900 miles away, as the crow flies.

All things considered, now is a good time for us for the “big move”: We’ll be moving to a place which brings us closer to our family and friends who are (just like us) not getting any younger and whom we've missed a bit too much in recent years. And we’ll be moving on to pursue new dreams and do other, and new, exciting things.

Annika will attend a bi-lingual High School and Ela has been offered a good job at her old playground, the gym, as a trainer, nutritionist and Yoga teacher.

For myself work won't change all that much. I will keep doing what I’ve loved doing all those years: promoting Islay as well as maintaining and building websites through Braveheart Web Design. Working in the digital world has the advantage of being able to work from any place on the planet, providing there is an internet connection!

Of course, we'll be coming back often to stay in touch and for our "Islay Fix". However, we are not gone yet. The official move will be somewhere in June or July but we will leave Islay at the end of March for a month or so to start the preparations for our new life.