Excerpts from issue 42/22 22 August 2015

land rovers
Islay: ancestral home of the Land Rover

With Land Rover ending production of the Defender, several of the early models paid a recent visit to Islay in celebration of the vehicle's birth at the behest of Spencer Wilks on Laggan Estate. A film of their visit can be viewed here

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Islay Book Festival

Diana Buller writes:
The Islay Book Festival will be ten years old this year. As crime has proved the most popular genre at our festivals over the years, the Festival have invited not one but three crime writers to this year's event, to feature alongside authors of other genres. And each will have a completely different style.
Christopher Brookmyre's style is unique. Described as 'funny, electric and captivating' his use of the Glaswegian vernacular entertains and sometimes shocks. He has been much requested and should provide an entertaining session. His latest book,'Dead Girl Walking, is partially set on Islay.
Shirley McKay is a writer of historical crime. She sets her lively books in 15th century St. Andrews, charting those turbulent times with great authentic detail. 'Queen and Country' is the fifth in the series and deals with the aftermath of Mary, Queen of Scots' execution.
Denzil Meyrick is another thrilling read, but this time his book is set within todays policing in Argyll. A native of Campbeltown, a setting which is thinly disguised in his books, Meyrick brings a fast pace and exciting mysteries in a location which many will recognise.
This year's Islay Book Festival takes place on 3 and 4 October. It'll be an attraction where murder is as much on the menu as those famous cakes produced by St John's.

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Islay House Hotel
islay house hotel

The Ileach was interested in how new hotel developments are progressing at Islay House, so we asked co-owner Steven Haag for an update.
He told us, "We have been making great progress on converting Islay House in order to bring it up to a world-class hotel standard. This has involved not just cosmetic upgrades to the property, but also a number of significant infrastructure improvements that are made especially challenging by a house of this age, listing status and sheer size. This process has involved the first upgrade to the drainage system since 1910, and the very complex installation of a life safety fire sprinkler system within a Grade A listed 17th century building.
"We are nearly complete with the infrastructure and have begun progressing the cosmetic refurbishments. These things take time to get right, and we are keen to do a job that is respectful of the house's history and importance, both to the island's past and future.
"While the renovations have been ongoing, we have also been hiring operational staff, adding a number of permanent jobs to the local Islay economy. We are still looking to fill out our last remaining staff needs, and anyone interested should get in touch with info@islayhouse.co.uk.
"We look forward to welcoming guests this year for overnight stays, including non-resident guests, to our Peat Cutter Bar and our afternoon tea service. We will also be expanding into our second phase of development over the winter ahead, ready for the full grand opening of our hotel and restaurant in 2016. Thank you for your continued support and interest in our project here at Islay House."

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Gently out to sea

Well done to all the Islay rowers who took in the Ullapool regatta last month. A great result for our team with joint 6th place on overall points out of 18 teams from across Scotland featuring some of the best rowers in the country. The boys took home a bronze medal in the men's open and were a very close (1 sec) second to home team Ullapool in the 250m sprint.
The girls also did brilliantly and took the bronze medal in the ladies' open. In the other competitions the Islay teams were well up the field and the consistently high scores from each race contributed to clinching such a good placing in the overall club ranking. It's fantastic to be holding our own against such stiff competition so very well done to everyone and a great big thank you to all our supporters. On the first weekend of September the club will be hoping to put on an equally good show as we compete at the Mull regatta in Tobermory.
The local race calendar is almost at an end, with only two more events remaining. We'll hope to see a lot of rowers and spectators today at the Ryan Hock row in Port Charlotte starting at 5pm. Teams will be mixed so anyone can come along and be part of the racing and there will be a BBQ on the beach by the pier. The final competition will be held at Lagavulin on the 19 September followed by the prize-giving for the season.
So far this year, the ladies' competition has been led by the Damsels who have won all races but one and the gents competition is being led by Portnahaven, again winning all but one of the races. It would be great to get a few more teams on the go and more people getting out on the water recreationally too, so if you're keen to give it a shot come along to one of the open rowing nights: Wednesday in Port Ellen at 6pm, Friday in Bowmore at 6pm and Sunday in Bruichladdich at 5pm.
Islay Rowing Club are also delighted to announce that we have recently been awarded £7,000 from the BIG Lottery Awards for All programme to support the growth of grassroots maritime sport on Islay. This money has been ring-fenced to provide a new trailer for transporting boats around sthe island and to mainland competitions, (These are sorely needed, but big thanks to those who have kindly allowed us to borrow trailers over the years), training for club members in coaching, safety and technique and a new skiff build project to be based again in Port Ellen.

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Ileach Calendar 2016

Though summer is allegedly only half-way through, it's already time to consider the Ileach Calendar for 2016. Once more we'd like to invite readers to send their photos of Islay for inclusion in the calendar, preferably in digital format and landscape shape as opposed to portrait.
Please indicate where the photo was taken and append a full postal address. All those with photos included will receive a copy of the calendar when published. Please send all entries to calendar@ileach.co.uk.

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

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE 5 September 2015

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islay info

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islay community council

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Islay Diary 2015

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