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Issue 49 - Just a normal day on Islay

Whisky Magazine Issue 49
July 2005


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Just a normal day on Islay

Yellow submarines, talking horses – par for the course really

It had, apparently, broken loose from a naval vessel and was drifting aimlessly in the sea off the Mull of Oa. It was easily enough spotted though, the fishermen said, being bright yellow and all that. They'd hauled it back to Port Ellen alerting their friends by singing a highly appropriate Beatles song.

“They're on the bottle again” was the immediate reaction.

Now, if a yellow submarine was landed close to your town I'm sure the reaction would be close to hysterical. On Islay it was seen as being fairly normal. For Islay that is. So, like the good citizens they are, the Ministry of Defence was phoned.

“It's not one of ours,” said the man on the other end.

“We think it is. It's got MOD stamped on it!” came the reply.

What was it looking for? Apparently these remote controlled mini subs are used to search for mines “in hostile waters”. That would be Lochindaal then. Or maybe the Kildalton coastline.

The MOD might have caught sight of the paramilitary nature of Ardbeg's Feis celebrations and wanted a closer look.

After all, did this not confirm what the Americans had been telling them for years, that the island is a dangerous hotbed of radicalism? Witness the incident when US spooks decreed that Bruichladdich was a secret laboratory for the production of WMDs.

Like that, the yellow submarine was accepted with a laugh.

After all, on the west coast the surreal is the norm.

Where else in Scotland would you be walking in romantic frame of mind admiring th...

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