THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 45/23 1 September 2018

In this issue: Catriona Black's Sly Cooking, Argyll & Bute's depopulation crisis, Soft opening for the Machrie, Long John retires, Islay's volunteers rewarded, The Islay Smoker, The Islay Wave, The Otranto distaster remembered


machrie hotel

Now open for business, the Machrie hotel opted for a 'soft opening', rather than arriving in a blaze of glory.

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Argyll and Bute's depopulation crisis

Following recent reports from the Scottish Rural Affairs Committee, Argyll and Bute is set to lose around 4% of its population by 2026 and eight other local authorities in the west of Scotland face similar challenges.
With projections forecasting a greater than average decrease in economically active adults and younger people, there are serious concerns about the sustainability and future economic growth of communities across Argyll and Bute.
In an attempt to address this crisis, MP Brendan O'Hara and Argyll and Bute Council's Chief Executive, Cleland Sneddon are proposing to pilot a Regional Immigration Scheme to help ensure that businesses and public services in Argyll and Bute have access to skilled labour to support the economy and its ambitions for growth in the future. The pilot scheme would adopt a flexible approach to immigration, as happens in Canada in Australia, where specific work visas are approved for areas of specific need, a scheme that has been proven to work.
In the face of growing depopulation concerns, Brendan O'Hara asked the Prime Minister if she would meet with him and the Chief Executive of the council to discuss, or at the very least, examine the merits of a devolved or regionalised immigration strategy. She has failed to respond.
"Rural Scotland is facing a serious crisis of depopulation and it is a crisis that is only going to be exacerbated by Brexit," said Brendan.
"Rural communities, like Argyll and Bute, rely heavily on inward migration, particularly EU citizens, who want to come to work in many of our economic sectors and it is deeply disappointing to hear that the Prime Minister is not willing to tackle this issue.
"If the population of Argyll and Bute continues to decrease, we'll all feel the effects as fewer people means less money spent in our local shops, fewer kids in our schools, a shortage of staff in our hospitals and less demand for essential services, all leading to cuts in services for those of us who remain."

"But it doesn't have to be this way and that is why I asked the Prime Minister to meet with me and the Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council to discuss the proposal that Argyll and Bute becomes a pilot for such a scheme. To be snubbed at this early stage and for the PM to simply dismiss these concerns is outrageous and shows scant regard for the future welfare of this constituency.
"I will continue to pursue this policy and make the case for devolved or regional immigration."

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Geothermal energy rocks!

Kirsten Gow writes:
Using the heat stored in the earth's surface is nothing new. Humans have been bathing in natural hot springs for centuries and many of you reading this will have heating in your homes powered by a heat pump.
As part of the GeoAtlantic project the Islay Energy Trust is looking at the potential for using ground heat pumps and geothermal technology for heating and hot water in homes and businesses on Islay, Jura and Colonsay. It's part of a wider project involving partners in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal France and Belgium, and we're hoping that putting our heads together and sharing what we learn will benefit us all.
As Project Co-ordinator for IET the first thing I'd like to do is find out who is already using ground source, air source or water source heat pumps or geothermal energy on the islands so I can understand how what works well and what doesn't. I can then build up a better of picture of what is suitable in our neck of the woods and use this to help other people identify options which would improve energy efficiency, save money, reduce our impact on the environment and, potentially, generate income for the community.
So, if your home, business or the place you work uses geothermal energy or ground/air/water source heat pumps I'd love it if you could fill in our brief online survey at http://bit.ly/IET-geosurvey
You don't have to provide any personal info you don't want to (feel free to just put the name of your village under 'address' if you like) and we won't share details of your specific location or installation with other people, unless you give us permission to write a case study on you.
I am happy to chat about this project further or answer any questions feel free to call me on 301 413 or email kirsten.gow@islayenergytrust.org.uk. You can also find out more about the project on the project website:http://geoatlantic.eu/?lang=en

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The loneliness of the long-distance runner

Tam McNeil came home as winner of the 2018 Islay Marathon, held on a damp and often blustery Sunday morning (9 September). He took a mere 3 hours and 34 minutes (8 minutes faster than his personal best) to run from Portnahaven to the Ramsay Hall in Port Ellen.
Tam is the brother of Fiona McTaggart and a former Islay High School pupil. His victory also gained him both the Local Male and Overall Male categories. In second place was Germany's Tobias Tiller in 3 hours 40 minutes, also beating his personal best time by 14 minutes. Third place was taken by Islay High School head teacher, Stephen Harrison. The men's category featured twelve runners, but only one in the corresponding female section, which was won in a time of exactly 5 hours. Additionally, there were three female relay teams, top spot being taken by the Hare Trotters (Michelle Roberts, Heather Priestley and Rebecca Gibson, all of whom are teachers in the High School) in a time of 4 hours and 19 minutes.
Finally, there were two mixed teams, the winners consisting of Cheryl MacIntyre, Marie Wiggins, Gavin Campbell and Romy Mitchell, finishing in a time of 4 hours and 4 minutes.

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE 29 September 2018

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islay info

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Islay Diary 2018

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  • Saturday 15 September
  • Islay Jazz Festival
  • Sunday 16 September
  • Islay Jazz Festival
  • Scottish Country Dancing, Bowmore Hall
  • Monday 17 September
  • Islay Quilters AGM
  • Substance Misuse Forum AGM, ICCI
  • Tuesday 18 September
  • Timebank Stroll, Dunlossit Sawmill
  • Thursday 20 September
  • Badminton, IHS
  • Kilmeny Community Meeting, Ballygrant Hall
  • Friday 21 September
  • Jura Music Festival, Craighouse
  • Saturday 22 September
  • Islay Quilters Workshop
  • Jura Music Festival, Craighouse
  • Sunday 23 September
  • Jura Music Festival, Craighouse
  • Scottish Country Dancing, Bowmore Hall
  • Tuesday 25 September
  • Timebank Stroll, Nancy's Path, Bridgend
  • Two, comedy drama, Bowmore Hall
  • Wednesday 26 September
  • Baptist Church Walk
  • Thursday 27 September
  • Ileach AGM, ICCI, Bowmore
  • Islay Book Festival
  • Friday 28 September
  • Islay Book Festival
  • Harvest Praise, Port Ellen Baptist Church
  • Peatzeria MacMillan Coffee Morning
  • Saturday 29 September
  • Celebration Ceilidh, IHS
  • Islay Book Festival
  • Islay Beef Herd Competition
  • MacMillan Coffee Morning, Columba Hall
  • Sunday 30 September
  • Islay Book Festival
  • Scottish Country Dancing, Bowmore Hall
  • Badminton, IHS
  • Thursday 4 October
  • Badminton, IHS
  • Friday 26 October
  • Cairdeas Social Gathering, ICCI
  • Badminton, IHS
  • Thursday 1 November
  • Badminton, IHS
  • Thursday 8 November
  • Badminton, IHS

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