Jeremy Hastings is passionate about Islay and its wildlife and he runs Islay Birding as well as Islay Bushcraft. We had the pleasure of joining Jeremy already two times for a birding trip on Islay and both times were absolutely amazing. I have made a report from our first trip and from our most recent trip in May 2007. These reports will explain how a trip with Jeremy looks like and why he is the first "wildlife experience" in Britain to receive 5 stars from VisitScotland. Jeremy found the time to answer the questions I presented him in the autumn of 2007 and you can find his answers below:
What is your name and what is/are your past/current occupation(s)?
Jeremy Hastings Wildlife Guide/Wilderness Living Teacher
Have you been born on Islay or have you moved there later in life?
What was the most important reason for your move to Islay? Why particularly to Islay?
It is beautiful and it is one of very few places in the whole world that I can do my job and fantastic place for a family.
Are your ancestors from Islay? How far do your roots date back?
No, my ancestors first moved to Scotland in 1172 from France!
How important is the preservation of Islay's past, tradition and culture
Very, however Islay is dynamic so all things move on.
How does the fact that Islay is an island affect your daily life? Which
advantages and disadvantages do you see in it?
Limited human visitors, plenty of migratory birds, geographically remote - what a mix!
What do you appreciate most on Islay?
The wildness and the kind people
What do you miss most on Islay?
What is your favourite place/area and season on Islay?
They all have there place and their wonder at particular times of the year.
Do you leave Islay quite often? For private or professional reasons?
Probably no more than four times, once for holidays - other times for courses
Where do you spend your holidays?
Are you involved in any committees or charity organisations on islay? What is your motivation?
With my wife (Tink) we run the Young Adventurers - part of the INHT for children. Also I am an active member of VC d'Ardbeg' the local cycling club.
What do you do in your spare time?
All my time is used in being alive!
How do you see the economic situation on Islay? Is it getting better/worse? Why? How does it affect you?
Better, and therefore better for all!
What is your opinion about the fact that young people are moving away from Islay?
Difficult for them to find a long term future here. (it's a growing up thing!) but hopefully there will be a time when they return.
Do you think Islay needs more holiday homes and more tourists? Also if it drives up the house prices even more?
No. The beauty of Islay is that it is well balanced.
Are you happy with the current Ferry services provided by Caledonian Macbrayne? If not, what should they improve?
We can always find fault but it is fine with me.
Are you planning to spend the rest of your life on Islay? Are there enough facilities for elderly people?
Depends upon how long I have...
What is the most impressive, most special story, experience or event that has happened to you on Islay?
In no particular order: Watching the geese arrive, cycling with my pals, being with my family camping, fishing on a loch, birding, sharing this magical isle with visitors, managing our woods' too many really!
Jeremy stopped his business and he and his family no longer live on Islay.