Tag: whisky

Whisky (and Projects) Galore!

The residency so far
The residency so far

As the dust settled after the hectic days of Spy Week 2016 and OER16 came to a close and the university exam period came and went, I was left thinking… what’s next?

Projects in development (from the University of Edinburgh Wikimedia residency page)

  • History of Veterinary Medicine edit-a-thon – Event for Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies staff to research & create articles relating to the history of veterinary medicine. 4th July 2016
  • Euro Stem Cell Editathon at Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Edinburgh. Editathon for UoE staff and Eurostemcell partner labs in Europe & at the Wellcome Library.
  • Wikidata (& WikiSource) Showcase (with Pauline Ward & Histropedia’s Navino Evans) at the John McIntyre Conference Centre JMCC – 1st & 2nd August 2016
  • Reproductive Medicine Edit-a-thon (with Dr. Chris Harlow) – 21 September and 28 September. Partnering with West Virginia University.
  • Vet School Wikipedia research session – Edit-a-thon event for Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies students to research & create new Wikipedia articles on Veterinary Medicine. Proposed for October 5th 2016.
  • International Alumni project – Celebrating the international students who studied at Edinburgh University and gone on to have a huge impact abroad (including simultaneous editathons, hopefully, in Singapore & Hong Kong to create a global edit-a-thon). Mooted for early October 2016 for Black History Month.
  • Ada Lovelace Day – Tuesday 11th October 2016 – celebrating the achievements of Women in STEM with a particular focus on female mentors given that Mary Somerville will grace the new £10 note. Truly noteworthy.
  • Day of the Dead editathon – Monday 31st October 2016 – using the obituaries from Scottish & UK newspapers to recognise & celebrate the lives of those sadly passed away.
  • Edinburgh Gothic (agreed a partnership with the National Library of Scotland) – Saturday 12th November. Marking the day before Robert Louis Stevenson Day, the National Library of Scotland will join us to celebrate the best of Edinburgh Gothic, releasing Robert Louis Stevenson images into the public domain to Wikicommons (wherever possible) and any additional material not yet transcribed onto Wikisource. Looking to see if we can combine efforts in gothic art, gothic history, gothic costume design, gothic music, gothic film, gothic literature etc. to fill any gaps on Wikipedia… in the most macabre way.
  • The Kelvin Hall relaunch (in Glasgow) – mooted for late November / early December 2016 (again in collaboration with the National Library of Scotland). The idea is to create an edit-a-thon based on the Moving Image Archive by showing participants short films from the archive on the Video Wall there, creating Wikipedia articles for the films & filmmakers, and showing a longer film afterwards at the Hunterian cinema.
  • Translate-a-thon – Reaching out to bilingual and multi-lingual students to translate articles from English Wikipedia to their own native language Wikipedia (& vice versa) using Wikipedia’s new Content Translation tool.
  • Festival of Architecture 2016 – An architecture-themed editathon to celebrate the achievements of architects for the Festival of Architecture 2016.
Whisky Galore
Whisky Galore

And the whisky? It seems my less than unsubtle hints following my trip to Skye in April resulted in my getting a fair few bottles for my birthday.

Projects and whisky galore. Lots to be excited about and lots to get on with!


Skye – (A Wikipedia tour of the Isle of Mists)

As mentioned earlier, I went on holiday for a week to the Isle of Skye.

Took lot of pics and looked up a lot of Wikipedia articles….



The Quiraing – is a landslip on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach, the northernmost summit of the Trotternish on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. DSCN2167

From Wikipedia:The whole of the Trotternish Ridge escarpment was formed by a great series of landslips; the Quiraing is the only part of the slip still moving, the road at its base, near Flodigarry, requires repairs each year.

The single track road leading up the Quiraing where I mistook the intentions of a hitchhiker by returning their thumbs up... with my own thumbs up.


Giant Angus MacAskill

Then there is the intriguing case of 7’9” giant Angus MacAskill as evidenced at the Giant Angus MacAskill Museum in Dunvegan, Skye.

Angus MacAskill (on the left)

From Wikipedia: “Angus Mòr MacAskill[pronunciation?], frequently referred to as Giant MacAskill or Black Angus (1825 – August 8, 1863), was a Scottish-born Canadian giant. The 1981 Guinness Book of World Records posits Angus as the tallest non-pathological giant in recorded history (7 ft 9 in, or 2.36 m), as well as being the man with the largest chest measurements of any non-obese man (80 inches, or 200 cm).

Then there is the MacAskill who isn’t even on Wikipedia at all. In the Tongadale public house in Portree, we saw hanging on the walls some absolutely stunning maritime photographs of the golden age of sailing. When I enquired who took the photos I was amazed that the photographer in question, Wallace R. Macaskill, had his own dedicated museum in Nova Scotia but did not have his own page on Wikipedia… as yet.

Bluenose sails away 1921 by W.R. MacAskill
Bluenose sails away 1921 by W.R. MacAskill

Talking of sailing away. I traipsed further North than Dunvegan along the white coral beaches of Skye and considered a trip to the fascinating (& ultra remote) island of St. Kilda… until I discovered the trip would cost me a princely £235.

Skye's white coral beaches near Dunvegan
Skye’s white coral beaches near Dunvegan
Looking out towards St. Kilda
Looking out towards St. Kilda

From Wikipedia: “St Kilda (Scottish Gaelic: Hiort) is an isolated archipelago 64 kilometres (40 mi) west-northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic Ocean. It contains the westernmost islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.[6] The largest island is Hirta, whose sea cliffs are the highest in the United Kingdom; three other islands (Dùn, Soay and Boreray) were also used for grazing and seabird hunting. The islands are administratively a part of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar local authority area.[7]

The origin of the name St Kilda is a matter of conjecture. The islands’ human heritage includes numerous unique architectural features from the historic and prehistoric periods, although the earliest written records of island life date from the Late Middle Ages. The medieval village on Hirta was rebuilt in the 19th century, but illnesses brought by increased external contacts through tourism, and the upheaval of the First World War contributed to the island’s evacuation in 1930.[8] The story of St Kilda has attracted artistic interpretations, including Michael Powell‘s film The Edge of the World and an opera.[9]

The last of the native St Kildans, Rachel Johnson, died in April 2016 at the age of 93, having been evacuated at the age of 8.”

The Black Cuillins and whisky
The Black Cuillins and whisky

Then there is the geography of the Black Cuillin range itself.


From Skye’s entry on Wikipedia: “The Black Cuillin, which are mainly composed of basalt and gabbro, include twelve Munros and provide some of the most dramatic and challenging mountain terrain in Scotland.[9] The ascent of Sgùrr a’ Ghreadaidh is one of the longest rock climbs in Britain and the Inaccessible Pinnacle is the only peak in Scotland that requires technical climbing skills to reach the summit.[16][26] These hills make demands of the hill walker that exceed any others found in Scotland[27] and a full traverse of the Cuillin ridge may take 15–20 hours.[28] The Red Hills (Gaelic: Am Binnean Dearg) to the south are also known as the Red Cuillin. They are mainly composed of granite that has weathered into more rounded hills with many long scree slopes on their flanks. The highest point of these hills is Glamaig, one of only two Corbetts on Skye.[29]”

The local whisky distilery, Talisker, a favourite of Robert Louis Stevenson, claims it is the nature of the Black Cuillin’s volcanic past that gives Talisker whisky its character.

Talisker and the Cuillin range
Talisker and the Cuillin range


Whisky barrels
Whisky barrels

Apparently, there are around 20 million barrels of whisky in Scotland at any one time. And this brings us all the way back to Spy Week which commences tomorrow as spy writer John Le Carre’s protagonists were apparently always partial to a drop of Skye whisky.

The Wikimedian who came in from the cold
The Wikimedian who came in from the cold

Strangely, even when it rained in Skye on our last day there, there were little reminders that Spy Week was just around the corner.

Amazing holiday.

Fascinating isle.

Now on to ‘Spy Week 2016‘.