Seven men from the North Coast hatched a novel way to carry out some fundraising for the Portrush and Islay volunteer Lifeboat crews recently.
As a group of keen sailors and avid supporters of the RNLI and the Scottish islands, they wanted to marry the two passions together and have some fun along the way.
The team decided to row to Islay to recreate a journey made over the generations using only manpower to raise money for the Lifeboats.
The team was fortunate to be able to borrow ‘Home to Portrush’, the famous local boat that had crossed the Atlantic in record time in February 2018. Their challenge was to visit all the coastal distilleries on Islay and collect some whiskey from each one.
Crew member Ashley Moore said: “We left from Ballintoy at 3am in idyllic conditions in order to reach Port Ellen and not be swept around the headland as the tide turned. Thankfully we made it in nine and a half hours and over the next three days went on to visit Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Coal Ila, Bunnahabhain, Bowmore and Bruichladdich collecting whisky bottles along the way.
“We were blown away by the warmth of the welcome across Islay and the distilleries, we were given many offers of food and accommodation and each distillery presented us with a bottle of whisky and a stave from one of their barrels to allow us to create the Islay Sea Collection.”
Team member and local architect Graeme Montgomery then set about using a stave from each distillery to design and create a unique cask to display the bottles of whisky. The source of each stave is marked and the overall effect is a truly unique display of Islay whisky called the ‘Islay Sea Collection’.
This is an opportunity to acquire a ‘one of a kind ‘whisky collection with a unique provenance.
Keith Gilmore Lifeboat Operations Manager at Portrush Station said: “This is a really exciting and novel way to raise funds for the two stations. We often have to work with Islay, and this is a great way to work with one of our neighbours and local supporters to raise funds for the RNLI.”
Ashley Moore added: “As sea lovers each one of our team never takes for granted the exceptional and brave work of the Lifeboat crews and we are so grateful to know they are there whenever needed.”
The whisky and the cask are now up for auction via the Just Whisky Auction House, www.just-whisky.co.uk until November 17. The cost to register to bid is £5 which will be donated to RNLI.