Islay

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Islay

(Click on the picture to see a larger one)

One of the larger Scottish islands and most southerly of the Inner Hebrides, Islay lies 15 miles off the west coast of Argyll.   Nowadays it is perhaps most famed internationally for its whisky, but in days gone by Islay's prestige was massive for here was the seat of the Lord of the Isles.

The first Lord of the Isles was Somerled, half Norse, half Scots, who in the mid 12th century waged a savage war against the Norse invaders and eventually carved himself out a kingdom in Argyll.  Over the years this kingdom - the lordship of the isles - expanded until by the 15th century it included all the Hebridean island and virtually all of Scotland's western seaboard.     Islay was the capital, with the administrative headquarters on two islands in Loch Finlaggan and a military base at Dunyvaig Castle on the south coast.   Such was the power of this empire that the Lord would have no qualms in negotiating quite independently with foreign sovereigns.  It was from Somerled's grandson Donald that the present Clan Donald took its name - Mac Dhomhnaill, the son of Donald or, more familiarly, MacDonald.

Today the island's population is about 4000 and its administrative capital is Bowmore, with its famous round church, allegedly built in that shape so that there were no corners in which the devil could hide.  Bowmore is also home to one of the island's eight whisky distilleries.  The Islay malts have a classification all of their own and are among the most distinctive in flavour.   Best known are probably Bowmore, Laphroaig, and (overlooking the ruins of Dunyvaig Castle) Lagavullin, but if you like whisky of character all are worth sampling!

On the cliffs of The Oa, Islay's wildest corner, stands the American Monument, erected in memory of 266 American servicemen who died when the troopships Tuscania and Oranto foundered in two separate incidents off the island in 1918.

Our map of Islay has a stitch count of 142 x 183 and, when stitched on the supplied 27-count Linda evenweave, measures 10 x 13 inches (268 x 345 mm).  There are 14 buildings, a lighthouse, standing stones, ferries, puffer, fishing and sailing boats, place names, compass and The Seal of Islay.  Twenty-eight shades of Anchor stranded cotton are included.

Kit 24.50 UK pounds
Chartpack 11.95 UK pounds



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