Excerpts from issue 44/10 4 March 2017

Coastguard helicopter

Islay Coastguard recently held an exercise at Islay Airport with the Search and Rescue helicopter. The exercise concentrated on safely getting stretchered patients on and off the aircraft when conditions are less than clement.

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Islay Gathering impresses

Hugh Smith writes:
Angus MacTaggart & Janette MacArthur Those in attendance at the 155th annual gathering of the Glasgow Islay Association in the Glasgow University Students' Union on 3 March were greatly impressed by the high standard set by the chairman, the programme content and the efficient organisation behind the well attended event. Local GP Dr Angus MacTaggart proved an amiable and encouraging fear an taighe who spoke on local medical issues, shared in his delight in Gaelic singing and referred to a non-academic family involvement in Glasgow University which also happens to be the chairman's alma mater. The recently appointed secretary of the Rural GP Association of Scotland has worked hard over the past four years to integrate and raise the profile of medical care on his native island and has been awarded the title of Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in Remote and Rural Medicine by the seat of learning where the gathering took place.
The guest chairman was welcomed by association president Janette MacArthur, now entering the closing months of her four-year term of office. Janette's welcome encompassed representatives from kindred associations, those who had travelled from Islay for the event, the honorary patrons Lord Robertson and Sir William Stewart and their wives, and the hard core of support from the Glasgow Ilich.
Following Dr Angus' splendid address he was presented with a token of appreciation by eleven year old Sophie Gillies whose father, Gordon, chaired last year's gathering and is a former director of the Association. Opening the concert in rousing fashion was the Association's pipe major Andrew McCowan Jnr., followed by Bowmore vocalist and local and national Mòd prizewinner Ryan Johnston whose song selection, ranging from Cainnt Mo Mhàthair Gàidhlig Bharraidh to Duncan Johnston lament Tuireadh nan Treun, and Kilchoman bard Duncan MacNiven's An t-Eilean Uain' Ileach had the audience clamouring for more.
Equally well received was the input from Clare Campbell whose song input included Eilean mo Chridh, An Tig Thu, with A Thousand Years added for good measure. Clare is the daughter of immediate past president Malcolm Campbell and his wife Elizabeth, and her sister Alison was among the performers at the 154th gathering.
The award-winning duet singing of Port Ellen twin sisters Eilidh and Anna MacDonald is ever pleasing and their harmonic renditions of  Thoir mo shoraidh thar Ghunnaigh, Faisg air Gloir and The Praise of Islay did not fail to enchant the supporters.
Last year's National Mòd gold medal winner Hector MacKechie included Duncan Johnston's Sine Bhàn, along with Mo Chailin Donn Òg and the bilingual MacDonald's first visit to Glasgow in his vigorous song choice.
The Rowan Brothers, with Islay and Tiree blood coursing through their veins, never fail to go down a treat, and their lively piano and accordion selections certainly upped the tempo.
Pianist Kirsteen Grant was on hand to accompany the singers when required and Lord Robertson, in affable form, heaped deserved praise on the guest chairman, the performers, the organisers and the appreciative audience before the traditional Soraidh leibh brought the curtain down on another successful Soiree nan Ileach.
And while all those was going on, those less long in the tooth, along with those who should know better, were heading downstairs in the university venue, where the award-winning Trail West provided for their terpsichorean needs far in to the night.

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Scanning Kildalton Chapel

Steve Mithen writes:
Followers of Islay Heritage islayheritage.com will have seen pictures of laser scanning at Kildalton Chapel, the work in progress and the 3D image. What are these for? Well, Kildalton is an absolutely beautiful chapel to visit today and of huge historical significance for Islay. But what did it look like in the 14th century? What type of roof did it have? How was the interior organized and decorated?
With generous funding provided by the Ian Mactaggart Trust, Islay Heritage is undertaking a 3D digital reconstruction of KIldalton. With this, one can enjoy the beauty of the site today but also gain a glimpse of how it had looked centuries ago. The model will be hosted on the Islay Heritage website and, if technicalities allow, will be downloadable to your own devices to look at as you wander in and out of the chapel. This will take some time; we hope the model will be ready in September.
The Ian Mactaggart Trust is also enabling the on-going support of Islay's Primary schools by Islay Heritage. Readers of the Ileach will recall the children from Port Ellen, Keills, Bowmore and Port Charlotte Schools visiting the Giant's Grave excavation last August. Their outstanding follow-up work can be seen on the Primary Schools page on the Islay Heritage website.
During the week commencing 20 March the children will be in archaeology mode again, now surveying their own chosen monuments in the vicinity of their Schools with the support of Islay Heritage archaeologists. So huge thanks to Ian Mactaggart Trust for enabling Islay Heritage to reconstruct Kildalton Chapel and building an team of young archaeologists on Islay.

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Islanders to appear in Ardbeg whisky movie

A number of islanders were extras in an advertising film being shot last week by Eyeboll, a film company whose headquarters are in Edinburgh. The company were creating an advert for a new Ardbeg bottling which will hit the market in September.
The finished advert will feature on Ardbeg's website and will introduce the new expression of the iconic distillery's much sought after product. A spokesman from Glenmorangie, who own Ardbeg Distillery, was enthusiastic about the project, but would not furnish the Ileach with much information about the distillery's latest addition to its range.
"All will be revealed in September," he said.
Some of the scenes were shot on School Street and later in the afternoon the crew moved down to Frederick Crescent to shoot some more. They needed a number of extras for this scene and quickly found some willing volunteers. Helen from Laurie's, Debbie, Thomas and Netta from the Co-op, Alan from the Post Office, Barry, Gibby and recently retired Ileach editor, Calum, all agreed to add some local colour.
They were dressed in suitable fifties type clothing and looked the part. David MacLellan was there with his old Rover 100 to give an air of authenticity and modern signs not in keeping, like the Post Office logo, were covered up. A smoke machine was used to add atmosphere.
It took three or four takes to get things right. Debbie, more animated than she ever is behind the Co-op counter, had to tone down her exuberance ever so slightly, but was pleased with her performance.
The director was soon happy and called it a day. The extras returned their costumes to the wardrobe van and went on their merry way, some back to work and a lucky few into the local hostelry to quench their thirst.

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE 1 April 2017

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islay community council

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Islay Diary 2017

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