District News, May 21 2021

Examples from each of Islay's eight single-malt producing distilleries are being auctioned.
Examples from each of Islay's eight single-malt producing distilleries are being auctioned.

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GIGHA:

Home testing kits available from island fire station

Gigha Fire Station is offering testing to anyone on the island with Covid-19 symptoms.

In partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and the Scottish Government, anyone with symptoms who is within walking or driving distance of the station can book a test there by calling NHS Highland on 01463 706015.

Dr Tim Allison, director of public health with NHS Highland, said: ‘I’m delighted this service will now be offered from Gigha Fire Station. We’ve had excellent partnership from the start of this project and it’s good to see that continuing.’

Assistant Chief Officer Stuart Stevens, director of service delivery for the SFRS, said: ‘We are pleased that 22 of our sites across Highland and Argyll and Bute are participating in this programme, which means many more fire stations can assist rural communities to access Covid-19 tests closer to home.

‘Our staff have shown a real commitment to providing this service, whilst maintaining a capability to respond to emergencies, and I thank them for their ongoing efforts.

‘We will continue to support the Scottish Government, our partners and communities wherever possible through this pandemic.’

ISLAY:

Treasure trove of Fèis Ìle Islay malts go to auction

When it comes to whisky, few celebrations are as eagerly anticipated as Islay’s festival of music and malt – Fèis Ìle.

Established almost 30 years ago, the festival draws visitors from across the globe to the island each year to experience its community, culture and its world-renowned whisky.

Now, the most extensive and complete collection of whiskies produced by the island’s legendary distilleries to commemorate the festival is being sold by Whisky Auctioneer with a proportion of the proceeds from the sale being donated to Islay-based charities and projects.

Between Friday May 14 and Monday May 24, more than 240 limited-edition Fèis Ìle expressions from distilleries including Port Ellen, Laphroaig, Bruichladdich and Ardbeg are going under the hammer.

The treasure trove of bottles is part of Pat’s Whisky Collection – the largest private collection of whisky to come to auction. Known only to the world mysteriously as ‘Pat’, he decided to part with his 9,000 bottle library last year, through a series of auctions, with a mission to share his passion for whisky with the world by passing his bottles on to new owners.

Joe Wilson, head of auction content at Whisky Auctioneer, said: ‘Fèis Ìle is an iconic celebration of whisky and Islay culture that draws people back to the island year after year.

‘From Port Ellen to Bowmore and Bruichladdich to Ardbeg, this collection of Fèis Ìle bottlings is without a doubt the largest and most complete we have ever encountered.

‘The auction presents the rare opportunity for collectors and whisky drinkers to acquire some incredibly scarce malts that have been produced to celebrate the history of this iconic whisky region.’

Examples from each of Islay’s eight single-malt producing distilleries feature in the sale, including complete collections of every single limited edition festival bottling from distilleries including Bowmore, Laphroaig and Lagavulin.

The sale also features bottles that have been donated to the Fèis Ìle committee by distilleries to raise charitable funds for the island through their Islay Wave Project, which will focus on ways to support culture, artists and youth.

Included in the charity lots is the oldest and rarest release directly from the iconic Islay distillery, Port Ellen. The Port Ellen 40-year-old ‘9 Rogue Casks’ is the second release in the ‘Untold Stories’ series, which explores the intriguing history of the Islay distillery ahead of its re-opening after closure almost three decades ago.

Florence Grey, chairperson of the Fèis Ìle committee, said: ‘Fèis Ìle was delighted to be given the bottles in this charity auction from Diageo, plus a signed bottle from the legendary Islay whisky maker Jim McEwan.

‘All the proceeds raised from these bottles will benefit our island community as the funds will kickstart our Islay Wave Project – an ongoing project that will begin after this year’s virtual festival.

‘Focusing on ways to support our island’s culture, artists and youth, The Islay Wave Project concentrates on everything we celebrate throughout Fèis Ìle. We are grateful to Whisky Auctioneer for its support in bringing these bottles to auction.’