Sailors do a 'whiskey run' for Portrush and Islay RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

A group of seven men from the North Coast hatched a novel way to carry out some fundraising for the Portrush and Islay RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews recently.


Sailors do a 'whiskey run' for Portrush and Islay RNLI

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.

Ashley Moore, one of the crew, 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.'

On returning home 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’.

Sponsors, including Coleraine software company Spatialest, have already pledged £2,000. This is an opportunity to acquire a ‘one of a kind ‘whisky collection with a unique provenance.

The team created a short film to give a flavour of their adventure and how the cask was made.

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, “This was a really fun way to see the Scottish islands in a different way while helping to raise funds to support the work of the RNLI – and to enjoy some exceptional whisky! 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 really exciting news is that the whisky and the cask are now on their way to Scotland again this time to the Just Whisky Auction House, who have agreed to auction the hoard free of charge from the 8 – 17 November. To register to bid you will have to pay £5 but this will be donated to RNLI.

The link to register your bid is below. You will have to register with the auction house to place a bid. During registration under box number 2 will see a box asking you to leave a message- in this box you must type in RNLI BID, this will ensure that the £5 registration fee comes to Portrush and Islay RNLI. The auction runs from the 8th – 17th November, the link you need is ;-

Everyone at the two Lifeboat Stations are very excited to see who will be lucky enough to end up with this exciting collection!


RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Judy Nelson Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Portrush RNLI on 07736923936 or on email [email protected]

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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