Issue 41/19 12 July 2014

islay & jura youth connection

On 10 June at the Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Islay and Jura Youth Connection won the YOUNG STAND 2014 (Scots Tackling Alcohol and Drugs) Award for their continuous hard work and dedication to volunteering in the community.

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Subsea power cable to be replaced

Islay, Jura and Colonsay's electricity supply will be provided by the back-up power station at Bowmore until the subsea cable from the mainland is replaced. The cable developed a fault on 20 June, engineers were sent to locate the fault and a decision was taken to replace the cable. A spokesman said that permission had to be sought from Marine Scotland whose responsibility the seabed is before the work can be carried out, but that he did not foresee any problems in that area.
On the last Sunday of June the power to the islands was cut off for more than nine hours after a failure at the Bowmore substation. The energy company flew four engineers to Bowmore by helicopter and managed to restore the supply by 7pm. They apologise for the failure but do not anticipate any further problems with supply.
Alistair Redman, Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Argyll and Bute, said, "We were assured that spare parts for the generator would always be on hand but we have been let down." He added that the supply workers on the island, "do a wonderful job and were not to blame."
Alan Reid MP has called on SSE and Ofgem to ensure that proposed work to lay new submarine electricity cables to Islay goes ahead as soon as possible. He said, "The frequent power cuts on Islay are unacceptable. Following the 2012 power cuts I chaired an inquiry in these. During the course of the inquiry I was able to grill SSE senior management on their failings regarding Islay. The inquiry found SSE's performance 'unacceptable', and called for action. SSE responded by proposing to the regulator Ofgem that they construct a second 33kV circuit from Lochgilphead to Port Ellen which would effectively establish a ring network on Islay. This would include two new submarine cable crossings duplicating the existing radial circuit and so significantly improving the security of supply to the island.
"I have written to both SSE and Ofgem stressing the importance of this work being carried out as soon as possible."

An SSE spokesman said that an additional power cable was indeed on their plan for future investment. Subject to regulatory approval work would start in 2015. The subsea cable was damaged in 2010 when their was speculation that the problem had been caused by a clam dredger.

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Island freight charges rocket

Councillor Robin Currie has called for a special meeting of the Argyll Ferry Users Group to be convened as soon as possible, after CalMac last week introduced new charges for small vans. CalMac have said that they have re-classified such vehicles, which means a steep hike in fares.
Councillor Currie said, "It is incredible that CalMac/Scottish Government have introduced this new regime overnight without any consultation. Without going into the complex details of the charging system, the end result means yet higher charges for people living on the islands. I do not condone overladen╩vehicles but a better mechanism has to be put in place that ensures that freight charges aren't going through the roof."
One carrier serving Colonsay has said that their fares will rise from £71 to £375 and inevitably the cost of living on the island will rocket. Increases on the Islay run will hit 145%.
Robin Currie said, "I'm pleased that my request for a meeting has been accepted as we on the islands simply cannot bear those astronomical fare increases."


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Slainte!

In a ceremony at Rosyth dockyard last week HRH Queen Elizabeth officially named The Royal Navy's largest and newest warship. The 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth had a bottle of Islay malt whisky smashed on its hull in a ceremony watched by over 3000 people.
More specifically, it was a bottle of Bowmore, "The Taste of Islay", produced in the distillery on the shores of Loch Indaal.
Mike Keiller, CEO of Morrison's Bowmore, told me that the choice of Bowmore for the naming ceremony came after a conversation between himself and the Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers of which he is a liveryman.
He said, "I was delighted to support the Master by providing a bottle for the launch ceremony and also for her majesty whose idea it was to use whisky rather than the more traditional champagne.
"He thought it was particularly fitting because Bowmore was the first whisky distillery the Queen visited in an official capacity, on 9 August 1980."

While at the distillery, a special cask of Bowmore Whisky was laid down in HRH Queen Elizabeth's name. Now bottled, this elegant single malt is handed╩out by Her Majesty as a gift to visiting royalty and dignitaries.
Eddie MacAffer, the manager at the distillery , said, "All the workers at the distillery were delighted that our whisky had been chosen for the naming ceremony. It's a great honour."
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said, "As someone who grew up on Islay I know how much it will mean to the community to have their whisky playing a central role in such an important occasion.
"World class whisky and world class shipbuilding are two of Scotland's finest products, so Friday was a special day when we blended the two of them."

Addressing those present, the Queen described the warship as "innovative and first class" and said it ushered in an "exciting new era."
"In sponsoring this new aircraft carrier, I believe the Queen Elizabeth will be a source of inspiration and pride for us all,"
she said. "May God bless her and all who sail in her."

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to subscribe or advertise, contact ileach@ileach.co.uk

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE 26 July 2014

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bothy media

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Islay Natural History Trust Blog

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islay community council

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Additional information is available on the Isle of Islay
and Isle of Jura websites.

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Islay Diary 2014

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