Districts, April 2 2021

Crowds enjoying the 2019 Tarbert Seafood Festival.

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Churches pray for people of Vanuatu

Despite being unable to come together as they usually would, members and friends of the churches of A’Chleit, Clachan and Gigha participated in this year’s World Day of Prayer (WDP) from the comfort of their own homes.

WDP is an interdenominational and ecumenical worldwide prayer movement with an annual service, this year prepared by women of Vanuatu, an island country in the South Pacific Ocean.

Leaflets and booklets were delivered to parishioners in West Kintyre and Gigha ahead of the service, during which they heard stories from the women reflecting their history and situation today, based on the theme of ‘building on a strong foundation’.

The women of Vanuatu told of their everyday struggles with production of food, care for the environment and the education of children and how they view those challenges as reasons to praise God for being the source of their strength as they work to overcome them.

As a volcanic archipelago, the country is also susceptible to the worst forces of nature and regularly experiences earthquakes and cyclones.

In April 2020, Vanuatu suffered the devastating winds and heavy rain of Cyclone Harold, which caused more than 20 deaths and led to many people losing their homes.

Efforts to bring relief to the country after the cyclone were badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic because of fears of spreading the virus. People were also forced to gather in evacuation shelters, making it harder to physically distance.

A collection being carried out by A’Chleit, Clachan and Gigha churches will be sent to the WDP committee which has projects in Vanuatu to help with the aftermath of the most recent disasters.

Everybody who participated in the service was given a bookmark to remind them of the country and its people.


Seafood festival cancelled, but hopes music will play on

Organisers of Tarbert Seafood Festival have cancelled this year’s festival in light of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions around mass gatherings.

The 2021 festival was due to have been held over two days from July 3.

While this news will likely disappoint the hundreds of people who flock to Tarbert for this popular, family-friendly weekend, the news is not all bad as organisers are confident this year’s Tarbert Music Festival will go ahead as planned from September 17 to 20.

John Hardie of Tarbert Enterprise Company said: ‘While the recent announcement from the Scottish Government on the roadmap out of lockdown, together with the fantastic work being done by the NHS with its vaccine roll-out is encouraging, unfortunately it wasn’t enough to allow us to hold this year’s seafood festival safely.

‘Even if we are in tier zero, as is hoped, by the end of June, restrictions on numbers of people attending mass gatherings will still apply. The festival is one of Scotland’s friendliest festivals with friends meeting up, milling around our many stalls and enjoying a drink in the sun while listening to live music, not to mention sampling some of the best seafood in the country.

‘This atmosphere is not something we could compromise for 2021, but the 2022 Tarbert Seafood Festival will certainly be an event worth waiting for.’

He added: ‘We very much look forward to meeting friends, old and new, in September for this year’s music festival. It will be good for Tarbert to get back to doing what it does best – entertaining.’

Next year’s Tarbert Seafood Festival is due to be held over the weekend of July 2 and 3 2022.


Island’s ‘rum from lemonade’ idea

A new rum distillery is rising from the ashes of a former lemonade factory and depot on Islay.

The former Hastie’s Lemonade Factory and Dunn’s Depot at Port Ellen closed in June 2016 but has been transformed after standing vacant for years.

Islay Spirits, a subsidiary of the Vintage Malt Whisky Company, has entered into a joint venture with Islay start-up company the High Road Rum Company run by Ben Inglis.

Under the plan, Mr Inglis would run the business having developed his own unique rum recipe and is a keen student of rum production.

Andrew Crook, managing director of the Vintage Malt Whisky Company, said: ‘Islay is the spiritual home of our company and we owe our success in a large part to the land and its people.

‘We now have an opportunity to put some investment back into the island and we hope  the community will enjoy seeing a business emerge and hopefully develop over the years.’

Planning permission for the refurbishment was granted in January 2020 and has been undertaken by a new building company run by Scott Hastie – grandson and great nephew of the factory’s original owners.

Work is nearly completed with the site transformed from ‘near dereliction’ to a great modern workspace, said the Vintage Malt Whisky Company, which praised the construction team and tradesmen for their work.

Mr Crook added: ‘We still have a long journey ahead but we are delighted to be working with Ben and Scott and very encouraged by all the informal support and help we and they have had along the way.’

The project will initially be funded by Vintage Malt which will also provide back office and sales and marketing support.