The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has issued an amber flood warning for the Western Isles tonight (Monday July 22nd).

The warning, issued at 3.44pm today, says: “A period of heavy rain may affect the area on Monday evening and overnight, which could cause flooding impacts from surface water and small watercourses. This could include flooding to low-lying land and roads with difficult driving conditions.

Sixteen customers in Vatisker Park have been without power since 6am this morning (Monday July 22nd) and could be waiting until early evening before their power is restored.

An underground cable fault was reported to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks at 6.06am and the cable repair team is still trying to pinpoint the exact location of the fault. Engineering teams are already on site ready to tackle the problem once it’s located.

Stornoway police are asking for public help after a car was damaged in Stornoway town centre on Friday (July 19th).

CalMac is struggling to put together a service for passengers leaving or arriving on Barra this week, after the MV Isle of Lewis was shipped off to Clydeside for urgent repairs.

The timetable between Castlebay and Oban has been patchy over past days, with technical problems on the ageing ferry scrambling the timetable.

CalMac is struggling to put together a service for passengers leaving or arriving on Barra this week, after the MV Isle of Lewis was shipped off to Clydeside for urgent repairs.

The timetable between Castlebay and Oban has been patchy over past days, with technical problems on the ageing ferry scrambling the timetable.

A thin blue line of youth volunteers helped the Hebridean Celtic Festival run smoothly this week.

HebCelt has once again teamed up with Loganair to help ensure one of the festival’s main acts makes it to the stage on time.

The airline has had a long-running association with the award-winning festival and this year as part of its sponsorship flew members of Hudson Taylor from Dublin to Stornoway ahead of appearing at 6.15pm today on the main stage today (Saturday July 20th).

Peat & Diesel's astonishing climb to local stardom saw more packed and overflowing venues at the Hebridean Celtic Festival yesterday (Friday July 19th).

In the evening, the band totally redefined the meaning of 'acoustic' as huge queues snaked across the field from their scheduled performance in the 'Acoustic Tent'.  Large numbers had to listen from outside what is the smallest of the three covered venues.

Inverness Airport will be closed tomorrow (Sunday July 21st), cutting off the Highland capital from its crucial air links across Scotland, England, Ireland and the rest of Europe. 

This is part of intensifying industrial action by air traffic controllers, which will see Stornoway and Benbecula airports closed on Tuesday.

HIAL Managing Director Inglis Lyon has apologised for the disruption this further round of strike action will cause and urged the Prospect union to get back round the table and help deliver a solution to its long-running pay dispute.

Travellers leaving the island from Sunday (July 21st) after the weekend’s festivities at Hebridean Celtic Festival could find themselves battling the odds to get home.

Bad weather forecasts, full ferries and strike action at airports could combine to cause changes to travel plans, with flights especially subject to unexpected disruption.

Award-winning singer songwriter KT Tunstall took a ride in an electric car to support HebCelt’s drive to improve the environment which also includes working with Lewis Wind Power and Essence of Harris.

HebCelt Festival is pleased to announce that Peat & Diesel will be playing an additional gig today (Friday, 19 July) at 2.15pm on the main stage.

This will be a 30-minute show and open to all main arena ticket holders.


Point Agricultural Society issued an urgent call for help yesterday (Wednesday July 17th) after strong winds took hold of one of their marquees and blew it into the community centre at Aird.

Tiumpanhead Community Centre’s gable end wall took the brunt of the impact as the large marquee flew across the showground. When it was spotted by neighbours, it was wrapped round the centre and across the roof.


Highland dancers from all over Scotland are heading for Lewis this weekend, as the biggest ever Hebridean Celtic Dance Festival kicks off on Saturday (July 20th).

Hosted by the Lynn Maclean School of Dancing, the annual event has been drawn into the HebCelt fringe programme and has attracted the highest number of entries since it began in 2012.

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has hit back at a claim that Scottish island flights could be axed under Liberal Democrat proposals to tackle climate change.

Yesterday (Tuesday July 16th) he defended comments from one of two contenders in the Lib Dem leadership race, Sir Ed Davey, who had called for a ban on domestic flights within the UK in a bid to reduce environmental damage.

A new water treatment works that will serve three small communities in North Harris was safely delivered yesterday (Tuesday July 16th) – by sea, beach and road.

The new Scottish Water plant was loaded on to a specialised barge at Kishorn on Monday, before crossing the Minch and sailing through the Sound of Harris to lie offshore at Huisinis.

'Blasasd Fèis Uig' was held in Uig Community Hall on the afternoon of Friday 12th July.

It was run to gauge demand for running a full Children’s Fèis through the medium of Gaelic in the future. And the answer was…a resounding yes!

'Blasasd Fèis Uig' was held in Uig Community Hall on the afternoon of Friday 12th July.

It was run to gauge demand for running a full Children’s Fèis through the medium of Gaelic in the future. And the answer was…a resounding yes!

Newton Faulkner is currently taking his music on tour, but he is also on the road to a new stage of his career.

The singer songwriter, who plays at the Hebridean Celtic Festival which opens tomorrow (Wednesday, 17 July), has sold more than 1.5 million records, with 180 million streams, making him one of the UK’s most successful singer-songwriters so far this millennium.

Fundraising for Bethesda is taking place on football fields and with music events this summer.

There is a charity football event involving Back Football Club and an XI from Ross County on Friday July 26th at the Back Football and Recreation Club ground, starting at 7pm.  There’s a buffet afterwards at the Caladh Inn in Stornoway. 

A former Scottish Office minister has called for an independent review of “current and future issues affecting west coast ferry services”. 

Brian Wilson, who lives on the Isle of Lewis and chairs one of the island’s largest employers, Harris Tweed Hebrides, says: “It is completely unfair on CalMac Ferries and the people who work for them that they are at the sharp end of every crisis while the causes are largely outside their control”

He said the review should take place “outside the political arena”.


A sweet-seller from Skye has created the ultimate HebCelt delicacy – a stick of rock that says HebCelt right the way through!

Inga Bonk of Inga’s Sweet Treats has been a long-time fan of Hebridean Celtic Festival, attending every year from her home in Skye and this year selling her sweet treats not just at the Town Hall craft market but from her stall at the festival arena itself.

A call by one of the contenders for the Liberal-Democrat party leadership to end domestic flights in the UK has been derided as ‘out of touch’ and isolationist for Scotland’s islands.

Kingston and Surbiton MP Sir Ed Davey is contending with East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson to become leader of the Lib-Dems. On Sunday (July 14th) he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on that he stood by previous calls for domestic air travel to end.

A couple from Nottinghamshire have completed the project of a lifetime in Harris.

80-year-old Peter and 79-year-old Pat Dixon have spent the last 40 years visiting the 708 villages listed in the Reader’s Digest Book of British Villages.

Peter told welovestornoway.com: “We bought the book from a book club and went to visit a village that was quite near to where we lived.

A couple from Nottinghamshire have completed the project of a lifetime in Harris.

80-year-old Peter and 79-year-old Pat Dixon have spent the last 40 years visiting the 708 villages listed in the Reader’s Digest Book of British Villages.

Peter told welovestornoway.com: “We bought the book from a book club and went to visit a village that was quite near to where we lived.

A 45-year-old man was arrested at an address in Stornoway in the early hours of Thursday (July 11th) and charged with domestic breach of the peace.

Police were called at 1.53am to an incident at the address and took the man into custody, from where he appeared in court and was released on bail.

A man has been disqualified from driving after police found him to be driving with alcohol in his system in the early hours of last Wednesday (July 10th)

The 54-year-old was stopped while driving in Bunavonader at 4.05am on Wednesday, and appeared in court from custody the same day. He pled guilty and was handed the ban on the spot.

A review of all fishermen's training and certificate regulations is being carried out.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency are aiming to update and modernise the training and examination system for fishermen.

The Western Isles Island Games Team landed at Stornoway airport on Saturday afternoon (July 13th) to a heroes’ welcome from family, friends and supporters, after a week of truly memorable sporting action in Gibraltar.

The 31 cyclists who completed the 2019 Butt to Barra charity cycle reached Castlebay in sunshine, after enduring headwinds, heavy rain and thick mist during their three day epic challenge.

The 31 cyclists who completed the 2019 Butt to Barra charity cycle reached Castlebay in sunshine, after enduring headwinds, heavy rain and thick mist during their three day epic challenge.

The MV Loch Seaforth is to be transformed from Monday morning (July 15th) when it becomes the HebCelt Ferry for a week, as the influx of visitors builds for the start of Hebridean Celtic Festival week.

Earlier this month CalMac announced a new, three-year sponsorship deal with the internationally-renowned festival, which includes launching the HebCelt Ferry with a pop-up information and ticket office on board and a festival-themed menu in its restaurant.

Three Coastguard Rescue Teams were called into action at 10pm on Friday (July 12th) after reports of a person missing on Conostrom Hill in Uig.  Breasclete, Miavaig and Stornoway CRTs responded to the call from the Stornoway Coastguard operations centre, but were almost immediately stood down when the casualty was located safe and well.  Teams were off-duty once again by 10.24pm.

 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has today commended the Western Isles team following on from their participation in the 2019 NatWest Island Games.

The Island Games are held every two years. They allow athletes from different island groups across the world to compete internationally and help to forge links between different islands.

Great news from Leurbost…the wanderer returns, none the worse for wear but anxious to replenish his energy reserves.

The best theory is that he had been accidentally shut in a shed somewhere nearby.

It was on Wednesday July 10 that Hilary Heggie was asking for help to find the family's missing cat.

She stated: "Our beautiful black boy has been missing since Monday 8th July from Leurbost, old school/telephone exchange area.

Recent samples taken in Loch nan Ritheanan, Keose indicate the presence of blue-green algae.

The Comhairle have advised the public to avoid contact with the algal scum or water close to it.

A wedding was under threat from the cancellation of all sailings between Oban and Castlebay today (Friday July 12th)  and Saturday due to a technical fault with the MV Isle of Lewis.

Angus MacNeil MP was in touch with Calmac this morning regarding this "unacceptable situation."

Latest news: Due to the delayed ferry Buth Bharraigh will close at 18:30 this evening and reopen at 23:30 to assist travellers disembarking from the late ferry.

Also today they have some Uist treats just in. @ampaipear and MacLean’s meat

This was announced on Twitter

A wedding was under threat from the cancellation of all sailings between Oban and Castlebay today (Friday July 12th)  and Saturday due to a technical fault with the MV Isle of Lewis.

Angus MacNeil MP has again been in touch with Calmac this morning regarding this "unacceptable situation."

Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington MP flew out of Stornoway airport this morning (Friday July 12th) after an unannounced visit to Lewis and Harris yesterday.

Mr Lidington, who is MP for Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, visited island businesses and briefed the island’s Conservative Party executive committee during a whistle-stop tour of the Highlands and Islands. He flew in yesterday afternoon after a visit to Moray and is today in Oban.

Residents from the Goathill and Springfield roads area of Stornoway gathered in force last night (Thursday July 11th) to celebrate the contributions to community life made by local residents.

This evening (Thursday July 11th) has started with a one-two-three of medals for Western Isles athletes at the Natwest Island Games in Gibraltar  - and appropriately two out of three have come in the triple-jump.

Mary Macleod jumped a silver medal distance of 11.14m tonight, with Heather Marie Mackinnon close behind her for the bronze with 11.10m.


The Anchorage restaurant in Leverburgh has today (Thursday July 11th) announced the launch of an art and photography competition for all ages.

It’s the second year for the competition, which drew tremendous enthusiasm from visitors and locals alike last summer.


The Butt to Barra charity cyclists are battling the odds today (Thursday July 11th) on the second and longest day of their top-to-bottom challenge.

Thirty cyclists left the Butt of Lewis lighthouse yesterday morning, with cloudy conditions failing to dampen spirits for day one. Led off by Hector Mackay, the posse stopped for a break at Barvas filling station and Alistair Glover of Bespoke Bicycles helped make some minor adjustments before setting off again for Stornoway at lunchtime.

The Sound of Harris ferry is being delayed by sea fog today (Thursday July 11th).

CalMac earlier warned that the 10.25am from Berneray and 11.40am from Leverburgh would be running late, because of slow passage on the early morning crossings, caused by poor visibility.

The Sound of Harris ferry is being delayed by sea fog today (Thursday July 11th).

CalMac earlier warned that the 10.25am from Berneray and 11.40am from Leverburgh would be running late, because of slow passage on the early morning crossings, caused by poor visibility.

A community shop is up for an award in the Retail Industry Awards.

Uig Community Shop could be awarded the Independent Community Retailer of the Year title.

The Retail Industry Awards aim to celebrate excellence in grocery retail, giving recognition to both small retailers and large supermarket groups.  

Lewis swimmer Isla Budge took her place on the medallists’ podium in Gibraltar yesterday evening (Wednesday July 10th), with the fourth medal of the NatWest Island Games for the Western Isles.

With a bronze medal for her powerful race in the women’s 400m freestyle, she joined fellow swimmer Kara Hanlon, who almost immediately topped off her total with a third gold medal, this time in the women’s 100m breaststroke – Mairi Maclennan was 5th in the same race with a new PB.

Are you dynamic, diplomatic and able to act as a link between national tourism strategies and local delivery?

If so, you could be the new Development Manager for VisitScotland in the Outer Hebrides.

Work has started on the vast £46m project for new homes on Perceval Road, Stornoway.

The project includes a 52-bed care home, 50 extra-care units, and 74 houses (58 for rent and 16 for purchase through the shared equity scheme) and is due for completion by autumn 2022.

Leaving the Hub in Willowglen around lunchtime today…more than 30 cyclists (not all pictured) heading for Tarbert, Balivanich and Castlebay over the next three nights.

The group were aiming to raise £10,000 for charities - and have already passed £11,500 in total.

Western Isles athletes put in maximum effort at the NatWest Island Games in Gibraltar yesterday (Tuesday July 9th), to achieve a raft of firsts for the team across their competitions.

The team are competing in the badminton event for the first time this year, and had something to celebrate when first Beth Macphail, and then the men’s doubles team of Kedar Paul and Davie Fraser notched up first wins for the islands.

Another huge day is expected for the port of Stornoway tomorrow (Thursday July 11th) as one of the biggest ships cruising British waters is scheduled to call into port.

Cunard’s Queen Victoria will be making her maiden visit to the islands, bringing 1,959 passengers and 964 crew for a full day in Lewis and Harris. She’s en route from Reykjavik in Iceland to her home port of Southampton, on a voyage which has already taken in two weeks of fjordland scenery in Norway and around Iceland.

A complex operation to put a new water treatment plant in place will close part of the road to Huisinis in North Harris next Tuesday morning (July 16th).

Scottish Water are installing a new Transportable Treatment Unit (TTU) at Bedersaig water treatment works, using sea-going transport as well as large road vehicles.

Project manager Kathy Auld says the TTU itself simply looks like ‘a big green shed’ and has been planned in conjunction with land owners the North Harris Trust as part of a £4.5 million investment by Scottish Water to provide a single, improved water supply for Gobhaig and Huisinis. Planning consent for the development was granted by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in February this year, with work beginning on site soon after. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The business of publishing is no mystery to Lewis author Gary Ross-Jordan, since intrigue, suspense and action are the raw materials of his trade.

And 45-year-old Gary had his business head on when he set the local launch of his latest novel for tomorrow (Thursday July 11th). The book’s mainly set on a cruise ship, and Thursday is the day that more than 2,000 cruise passengers are set to inundate the town of Stornoway.

Island music-lovers are being urged to pick up their tickets for the Hebridean Celtic Festival – before the big influx of visitors begins to swamp the shop.

Off-island festival-goers – both visitors and homecomers – are expected to begin arriving from Saturday, making the most of a holiday week in Lewis while the festival is on. That means Buth HebCelt will soon see queues forming and longer waits to pick up tickets.

Poster Boards promoting the annual Point Show have been placed in various places across the district.

Point Agricultural Society engaged in a community involvement initiative with the children in Sgoil an Rubha to create poster boards with an agricultural theme.

Tape recordings of the New Testament read 30 years ago in Gaelic are to be digitised and preserved for all time.

The recordings, made by members of the congregation of Knock Free Church, now merged with Garrabost Free Church, in the late 1980s. There were 40 sets of 17 tapes and they will be made widely available – online and hopefully in CD format – once the digitisation and restoration is complete.

Point and Sandwick Trust donated the remaining £1,800 needed for the project, which has been organised by David Murray, the session clerk to Garrabost Free Church.

 
Mirror dinghy with trailer and launching trolley.
Complete and working, could do with a little TLC.
 
£350 
 
West Side
 
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Organisers of the 2019 Butt to Barra charity cycle have made a plea for care from drivers, over the three days of their annual epic cycle the length of the Western Isles.

A group of 32 cyclists will set off from the Butt of Lewis lighthouse at 8am tomorrow (Wednesday July 10th), heading for the pier in Castlebay, Barra over a three-day cycle. The 175-mile route is split down into sections, with dedicated rest and overnight stops, and is all on main roads – hence the plea for driver patience.

Organisers of the 2019 Butt to Barra charity cycle have made a plea for care from drivers, over the three days of their annual epic cycle the length of the Western Isles.

A group of 32 cyclists will set off from the Butt of Lewis lighthouse at 8am tomorrow (Wednesday July 10th), heading for the pier in Castlebay, Barra over a three-day cycle. The 175-mile route is split down into sections, with dedicated rest and overnight stops, and is all on main roads – hence the plea for driver patience.

Police are appealing for information after a charity shop window was damaged.

The incident took place on Kenneth Street some time between early evening on Friday 28 June and mid-morning on Saturday 29 June.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 101 and quote NH/848/19

Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, Donald Cameron, has denounced SNP ministers for failing to get on top of an ongoing air dispute that is causing harm to the Western Isles economy.

Mr Cameron said: “The first duty of the Scottish Government should be ensuring that the essential transport services linking our island communities to the mainland are fit for purpose and running smoothly.

Kara Hanlon has earned the first Western Isles gold medal of the NatWest Island Games, touching the pool end first in the women’s 50m breaststroke this evening (Monday July 8th).

In dazzling Gibraltar sunshine, Kara swam her best, covering the 50 metres in 31.08 seconds.

Western Isles Island Games team are all systems go today (Monday July 8th), beginning a second day of intense competition at the NatWest Island Games in Gibraltar.

There have already been successes both in the pool and on the badminton court today. 14-year-old Beth Macphail (pictured) has won the Western Isles’ first ever badminton singles victory 21-11 against Ynys Mon, and Kara Hanlon placed first in her first outing of the games, the preliminary round of the women’s 50m breaststroke.

The public have been advised not to eat shellfish from the East and West Loch Roag areas.

Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in East and West Loch Roag.

Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter R948 was sent to the rescue of an elderly lady who had fallen ill aboard a cruise ship in the Minch yesterday evening (Sunday July 7th).

Barra RNLI lifeboat was yesterday (Sunday 7th July) sent to assist a fishing vessel grounded on a reef north-east of the island.

The lifeboat was called at 5.29pm to the assistance of the Castlebay-registered trawler Grianan Oir, with seven people aboard, grounded near Rubha Bhruairnish in Northbay. After awaiting the rising tide to refloat, Barra lifeboat took her under tow to the pier at Northbay.

Drivers dropping off passengers at Stornoway airport are being asked to use the designated drop-off and pick-up area, rather than trying to ‘beat the system’ by parking on access roads.

Spaces have been designated for drop-off and pick-up, but you do need to go through the parking barrier to get to them.

Consultation events in relation to the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 for the National Islands Plan are being held on: 

  • Tuesday 16 July – Stornoway – Town Hall - Doors open and refreshments served 7.15pm – 7.30pm event start – 9.45 event finish
  • Wednesday 17 July - South Lochs – Balallan School - Doors open and refreshments served 7.15pm – 7.30pm event start – 9.45 event finish
  • Thursday 18 July – Leverburgh - Leverburgh Hall - Doors open refreshments served 1.45pm - 2.00pm event start - 4.15pm finish

The Labour Party has challenged “the Western Isles silent men” to defend the way the islands' local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has been more harshly treated than any other in Scotland.

The islands have suffered by far the most severe cuts of any local council in Scotland over the past five years.

Stornoway Golf Club last night (Sunday July 7th) joined in the public row over whether waste bins should be removed from the Castle Grounds.

On their Facebook Page, they stated:"One bit of positive news, folks.

"Stornoway Golf Club has just managed to secure grant funding in the main for 14 new litter bins (general waste/dog waste).

Following public reaction to the Stornoway Trust's proposal to remove all waste bins from the Grounds, we are publishing their social media statement of Friday 5 July at 14:58 in full.

  • At the June meeting, Trustees were updated on progress with the Castle Grounds Regeneration by Project Officer, Jo Bagrie.

The Stornoway Trust is facing a backlash from dog-owners and walkers, after using social media to announce the removal of all waste bins from the Castle Grounds.

A statement issued by trustee Catriona Murray on Friday (July 5th) included reports on progress with the major works in the grounds, but also detailed a decision to remove every bin in the grounds as a move towards eradicating litter.

Scottish Ambulance and Coastguard teams were called to Luskentyre beach this morning (Sunday July 7th) after a visitor suffered a broken ankle.

Scottish Ambulance requested Coastguard assistance at 11.15am, after being called to help the 63-year-old woman, who had broken her ankle while walking on the beach.

Barra lifeboat is currently (Sunday July 7th 6.30pm) standing by to assist a fishing vessel which is grounded on a reef north-east of the island.

The lifeboat was called at 5.29pm to the assistance of the vessel, with seven people aboard, grounded near Rubha Bhruairnish in Northbay.

Western Isles athletes raised the yellow banner of the islands with pride on Saturday evening (July 6th) as the Gibraltar 2019 NatWest Island Games got under way.

Carrying the flag for the Western Isles in the opening ceremony on Saturday night was assistant team manager Eve Carrington, who is at her eighth consecutive Island Games and who will compete in the women’s shot put and hurdles this week.

Over the next three years, the land adjacent to Goathill Farm on the edge of Stornoway and Broadbay will be transformed providing a new care facility for the Isle of Lewis and more affordable homes - and above is a vision of what the view will be from Perceval Road by late 2022.

The development includes a 52-bed care home, 50 extra-care units, and 74 houses (58 for rent and 16 for purchase through the shared equity scheme) and is due for completion by autumn 2022.

The air traffic control pay dispute is being stepped up with rolling strikes to hit different airports on different days.

Earlier this week Prospect tabled a counter-proposal to Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd.

This was rejected by the company following a meeting on Thursday.

The Postman’s Walk must have been a lonely walk for postmen like Kenny Mackay, the former Rhenigidale Postman. 

But on the 29th June 81 people did the same walk together in aid of Cancer Research in an event organised by the Isle of Lewis Cancer Research Committee.

The Postman’s Walk must have been a lonely walk for postmen like Kenny Mackay, the former Rhenigidale Postman. 

But on the 29th June 81 people did the same walk together in aid of Cancer Research in an event organised by the Isle of Lewis Cancer Research Committee.

A Market Assessment and Feasibility Study for the North Harris Trust (NHT) into the provision of new business premises in North Harris is under way.

It was recently announced that Highlands & Islands Enterprise is supporting the study.

Lifeboat charities across the UK can now bid for Government cash for life-saving equipment.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani visited Oxfordshire Lowland Search and Rescue Service (OxSAR) yesterday (July 4) as part of Maritime Safety Week and to launch this year’s £1million Rescue Boat Grant Fund.

The fund is open to search and rescue teams in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to buy new boats, engines or other equipment.

Bosch cordless drill

14.4 volt with 2 batteries and charger

In good working order

Surplus to requirement

£25

tel/text: 077 867 702 67

 

 

The University of the Highlands and Islands is leading 30 island universities from across the world in an open letter to the United Nations, European Union, Scottish Government and the UK Government.

The letter calls for urgent action on the threats posed to the world’s islands, in particular, by micro plastics in our oceans.

Catering facilities at Stornoway Airport are set to reopen before the end of the year.

The previous café closed in March and it is understood that the new facilities will be up and running at some point in August.

A new development will see a 52-bed care home, 50 extra-care units and 74 houses built.

The development is planned for the land adjacent to Goathill Farm.

58 of the houses will be for rent and 16 for purchase through the shared equity scheme.

The Loch Seaforth ferry will become a floating cèilidh house for thousands of music fans heading to this year’s Hebridean Celtic Festival.

CalMac Ferries, operators of the Ullapool-Stornoway service, have agreed a new, three-year sponsorship deal with HebCelt, which is being held for the 24th time in Lewis and Harris this summer.

Almost £1 million in Government funding will be spent cutting deaths in fishing which is the UK’s most dangerous industry, it was announced yesterday afternoon (Wednesday July 3).

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani announced during a meeting with safety experts and coastal MPs that an additional £700,000 will be provided to give more fishermen potentially lifesaving training.

  • £1m Government investment in fishing safety
  • Free training and hundreds of new life vests for those working in the UK’s most dangerous industry
  • Part of the first Maritime Safety Week, run by the Department for Transport

Almost £1 million in Government funding will be spent cutting deaths in fishing which is the UK’s most dangerous industry, it was announced yesterday afternoon (Wednesday July 3).

An appeal has been issued to find an adult grey seal that needs urgent assistance.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) Hebrides say the female seal was last seen on 28 June at the Shiants.

The seal has rope and plastic filament around her neck, causing a deep, strangulating wound.

CalMac have a new mobile maintenance team, ready to assist in keeping the vessels operational.  

The engineers and hydraulic specialists have been given campervans to help them travel to where they are needed on CalMac's west coast network.

The new seven-member team will carry out specialised inspections, monitoring and "proactive maintenance" while working with onboard engineering and vessel management teams.

The company said it was part of its effort to find "flexible and effective" ways of meeting challenges in the running of the fleet.

Mrs Stacey Macdonald has been appointed as project manager to drive forward the case for a Business Improvement District (BID) to be established in and around Stornoway.

A Steering Group has been working with a wide range of businesses on the case for the past 18 months, but the appointment will take the project to the next level, expanding the range of engagement with all businesses. 

Stacey, from Timsgarry, Uig, has 25 years’ experience in business, mainly in customer facing and consultation roles; and will be responsible for the project management of the initiative.

A writer from Ness is taking part in an Art Residency in Gibraltar.

Award-winning author, Donald S Murray, is one of seven visiting artists taking part in the Gibraltar 2019 Natwest International Island Games, Art Residency.  He is pictured above with two young Gibraltarians, Gabriela and Zoe.

The visiting artists are joined by a number of Gibraltar-based creatives.  Together, they are exploring a range of topics and sites in Gibraltar aimed at stimulating creative production.

 

 A Lewis chessman bought at a 1960s antique sale for £5 was today (Tuesday July 2nd) sold for £735,000 at the prestigious Sotheby’s auction house in London. The price set a new auction record for a medieval chess piece.

Sotheby’s threw their weight behind a marketing campaign to help sell the piece when it was listed for today’s sale. A video, which can be viewed here, borrows TV drama production values to inspire excitement, and the piece was displayed at Sotheby’s Edinburgh offices for a day before being taken down to London, where it has also been on display for the past week.

Eligible families in the Western Isles will receive an extra £10 a week for every child under 16.

The new social benefit is designed to help lift children across Scotland out of poverty and it is hoped this will be in place by the end of 2022.

Low income families with children under the age of six will be fast-tracked to receive the benefit in early 2021.

A community garden on the outskirts of Stornoway is growing well, thanks to support from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust and a lot of time and energy on the part of local residents.

Bayview Community Gardens, organised by Mossend Residents Association, is looking more mature with every year that passes since it was established on derelict waste ground more than a decade ago.

It has been awarded grant funding of £2,239 from Point and Sandwick Trust, the community wind farm charity which runs the three turbines at Beinn Ghrideag, and this year’s money will go towards shed repairs and new maintenance equipment.

The Western Isles Island Games Team donned their team colours for the first time today (Monday July 1st) at a send-off event hosted by their sponsors at the Harris and Lewis Smokehouse.

The kit, packed into individual kit bags for each athlete, was presented by the Scottish Salmon Company, who are sponsoring the team for the fifth consecutive year, reaffirming the company’s commitment to the communities where they work and the health and wellbeing of the islands’ people.

A 20-year-old woman reported for drink-driving on Sunday morning (June 30th) was one of ten drivers reported in connection with drink driving offences in the Highlands and Islands during the last week.

Nine men - aged from 18 to 60 – also have been, or will be, reported in connection with alleged drink driving. The 58-year-old man will be reported in connection with two incidents within the week.

The tall ship Lady of Avenel is providing a fine sight in Castlebay this week, offering short trips out from the village during her short stay en route between St Kilda and Mallaig.

The 20th anniversary Barrathon was run in bright sunshine and with an abundance of good humour on Saturday (June 29th).

The popular summer event draws homecomers and visitors alike to the island and this year set a pre-registration record, with all 300 places for the half-marathon run snapped up within three minutes of opening in January.

A new centre for cancer patients and their families is to be supported by this year’s emergency services charity football match, scheduled for Saturday 10th August.

Western Isles Community Care Initiative (WICCI) announced the new initiative last month, as a partnership with Macmillan Cancer Care. The new premises will offer a space for group activities and individual continuing support, including counselling and complementary therapies, and the fitting out costs will be supported by this year’s 999 match.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has today (Monday July 1st) issued further information in relation to the Redesign of Public Bus Services.

Last week, Members unanimously agreed a Redesign process aimed at protecting front line transport services in partnership with the communities of the Western Isles in the context of Service Redesign.

Services for older people in the Western Isles have greatly improved, according to a new repport.

A Care Inspectorate progress review of services for older people in the Western Isles, undertaken in May 2018, indicated that the Western Isles Partnership had delivered “an impressive amount of improvement” since the inspection team last visited in 2015.

In particular, the report highlights the benefits of a modernised homecare service, the introduction of a more coordinated approach to managing discharge from hospital and more robust community engagement structures.

The man who supported the Isle of Barra flag campaign is entitled to wave his own flag this week, after a prestigious appointment with Scotland’s official heraldry body.

Philip Tibbetts is already communities vexillologist with the Flag Institute, a UK-wide charity which supports development of flags.

He campaigned alongside Barra community councillors, MSP Alasdair Allan and Barra and Vatersay Voluntary Action to get recognition for the Barra flag, a white cross on a green background.

A baby who was feared seriously injured after falling on board the MV Loch Seaforth has been discharged from hospital and returned home to the mainland on yesterday’s morning ferry (Monday July 30th).

The 17-month-old had been on holiday, staying with family in Lewis, and was leaving at 7pm on Sunday evening (July 29th) when the child fell on deck.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas was passing Lewis and Harris this morning (Tuesday July 31st) on her way south towards Glasgow.

She was distinctly visible from Point as she headed down the Minch.

Youngsters from Stornoway Running and Athletics Club were in action at Grangemouth Stadium yesterday (Sunday July 29th) as part of the Islands Select team competing in Scottish Athletics finals.

Police are appealing for information from anyone who was out and about on Westview Terrace in the early hours of this morning (Monday July 30th), after a glass door panel was smashed.

The pane of glass was broken in the front door of a house, sometime after 12.30am today. The resident reported the incident to police, but saw and heard nothing and could not say exactly when it took place.

Police are asking anyone who may have been around the area and seen anyone acting suspiciously to contact them on the non-emergency number, 101.

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There was fun galore at the Lochs Show 2018 in Laxay yesterday (Saturday July 28th) as the threatened change in the weather held off allowing all the fun possible for young and old alike with new and traditional events, stalls and displays.  

Swimmers, runners and cyclists showed tremendous endurance and speed in challenging conditions, as they took part in the Hebrides Triathlon (HebTri) on Saturday (July 28th).

The triathlon was open to individuals, duathletes and triathletes, with some completing the newly re-designed course as individuals and others working as a team.

A party from Lewis and Harris were among up to 14,000 people who marched in Inverness on Saturday (July 28th) in support of a new Referendum on Scottish Independence.

Crofters and others in North Lewis are being invited to find out more about polycrubs and crop diversificaton at an event in August.

Rob Black – SAC Consultant Lewis & Harris - says: "Looking for some croft diversification options? Are you a prospective vegetable grower? Do you want to add a fresh enterprise onto your current crofting business?

"In the face of Brexit and the ever changing agricultural and economic climate the need for executable and viable ideas are more important than ever.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has invited the Chief Executive of NHS Western Isles to discuss the Health Board’s system of approving NHS-funded patient escorts.

In March NHS Western Isles announced a new system for approving requests for NHS-funded escorts, with the Health Board’s Medical Director now making the decision where this had previously been the responsibility of the patient’s GP.

The University of the Highlands and Islands - including Lews Castle College -  has received its highest-ever rating from satisfied students.

The National Student Survey 2018 results issued yesterday (Friday July 28th)  place the university fifth in overall satisfaction in Scotland, with an increase of six per cent  in overall satisfaction.

The university has performed above the Scottish sector in almost all measures and this high level of student satisfaction can be found across all areas of the partnership.

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In its first year back at the Barvas and Brue community centre show ground, the Westside agricultural show was once more a well-attended event today (Friday July 27th) 

The show was opened by Agnes Rennie of Urras Oighreachd Gabhsainn, who hailed the effort of volunteers who had again come together to make the successful show happen.

Scotland Office Minister Lord Duncan held a major meeting today (Friday July 27th) about Hebridean fisheries prospects in the premises of Islander Shellfish on the Cromwell Street Quay.

The meeting was described as focussed, constructive and realistic by others present, including Duncan Macinnes, secretary of the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association; Ronnie Scott of Islander Shellfish; and Alasdair Macleod, vice-chair of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Policy and Resources Committee, all pictured above.

A rare ‘blood moon’ and possible lightning flashes could be competing for the attention of Stornoway skywatchers tonight (Friday July 27th).

The long-expected blood moon – a total lunar eclipse during which a red shadow from the earth itself is cast over the full moon – will rise over the south-east horizon in Stornoway at 9.48pm, with 24 minutes of total eclipse left before the shadow of the earth moves slowly away.

A show of scarecrows in Tong in the first days of August will draw visitors, raise funds and keep the children of the village busy.

The idea’s been launched by the committee of Tong Village Hall, looking for ideas to raise much-needed funds to fix the roof of the village hall. Committee member Isobel Ann Macdonald spotted the trend of village scarecrow shows on the mainland and decided to give it a try in Tong.

There's a passport missing in Stornoway…and the holder needs it for travel on Monday!

This is the plea this morning (Friday July 27th) from the Francis Street Post Office.

Fish of the week at Harbour Seafoods: well this week it's crustacean and mollusc of the week with fresh lobster and mussels!

Locally grown mussels and lobster caught off the Hebridean coast, we are spoilt up here with the best seafood - what more could you want on a summer's evening with a glass of crisp, cool white wine to wash it down.

At the Fisherman's Co-op: all you need to freshen up the boat before taking it out to (hopefully) get your own supper.

Being a chandlers you expect to find lots of bits for boats but with a vast array of paints and varnishes you can brighten up the boat and anti-foul below the water-line while the sun is shining, replace any worn ropes and anything else you need. The catch is up to you but at least you'll have a vessel any old sea-dog would be proud to sail in.

And if you don't have a boat many there's metal paint, wood stain and plenty more for those DIY projects.

Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in Loch Leurbost in Lewis.

Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles, or razor fish from these areas may pose a risk to human health and notices to warn the public and casual gatherers have been posted at various locations on the shore.

A 26-year-old man has been arrested after a car was left burning in the Willowglen area of the Castle Grounds on Monday evening (July 23rd).

The same car, a Vauxhall Corsa, had earlier been involved in a collision on Matheson Road.

Police issued an appeal on Monday for two men seen running from the scene after the car was set alight.

Yesterday (Wednesday July 25th) the man was arrested and charged with a variety of road traffic offences, related to both the collision on Matheson Road and the abandoning and burning of the car. He’s to appear in court at a later date

Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar has been fined and told to improve its health and safety practices after a boy suffered chemical burns while playing on the pier at Valtos last summer.

A spokesman for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said: “"The Comhairle pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and promptly investigated the incident and reported it to the Health and Safety Executive. 

An island football referee has resigned and his colleagues are boycotting club matches in a row over an assault which threatens to overshadow the climax of the island football season.

Tomorrow’s (Friday July 27th) Eilean an Fhraoich cup final and some other matches have already been postponed.

The referee was assaulted by the 32-year-old man in Stornoway town centre in the early hours of Sunday July 15th.

An island football referee assaulted by a Lochs FC player has resigned and his colleagues are boycotting club matches, in a row which threatens to overshadow the climax of the island football season.

Tomorrow’s (Friday July 27th) Eilean an Fhraoich cup final and other matches have already been postponed and there’s no agreement between island footie supporters on what should happen next.

The referee was assaulted by the 32-year-old player in Stornoway town centre in the early hours of Sunday July 15th. The player was arrested, charged with assault and kept in custody over the weekend. He appeared in court the following day and was fined for the offence, which is no longer a police matter.

But the referee also raised the matter with the Lewis and Harris Football Association, who yesterday (Wednesday July 25th) issued a full account of their position. They expected action by the disciplinary committee of the Scottish Amateur Football Association (SAFA) and said they could not force a suspension of the player in question.


The 'Tom Sanderson' RNLI lifeboat. Photo: Sty RNLI

Stornoway lifeboat launched last night (Wednesday, July 25th) to complete a medical evacuation from the cruise ship MV Oriana, anchored outside Stornoway Harbour.
The ‘Tom Sanderson’ lifeboat launched at 1953 hours and was on scene within 10 minutes. The casualty, a family member, and two medical staff from the cruise ship were transferred onto the lifeboat and transported ashore.
The volunteer RNLI crew landed the casualty into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Stornoway Coastguard Rescue team; and once the transfer into medical care was complete, the lifeboat returned to the cruise ship with the two crew members.
The MV Oriana, a P&O passenger liner, is the second largest cruise ship to visit the Western Isles this season, with 1,700 persons on board.
The ‘Tom Sanderson’ lifeboat and volunteer crew were back alongside and ready for service again at 2100 hours last night.

Harris Tweed Hebrides has announced the appointment of two island women to key positions on its board. Both are current employees of the company.
Elaine MacRury becomes Finance Director while Margaret Ann MacLeod takes over as Sales Director. 

Police are urgently seeking information about a man thought to be connected with an assault on a young woman in the early hours of Sunday (July 22nd)

The 19-year-old woman was assaulted on Point Street in Stornoway just before 2am on Sunday.

The man police are looking for is described as about 5ft 11ins tall, with short dark hair and a short beard or stubble, and was wearing a black and red checked shirt with dark jeans.

Anyone who can help providing information is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, or via Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Police in Stornoway are looking for a man thought to have carried out two thefts from Stornoway shops yesterday (Tuesday July 24th).

At 11am after-shave was taken from Boots in the town centre, and just before 2pm electrical goods were taken from the Co-op on Macaulay Road.

Police believe the same man was involved in both incidents.  They say they are following a positive line of enquiry, but have yet to trace the man

Daniel Macalpine, pictured with his mother Ruth, has already signed up at Stornoway Library to be a Mischief Maker.

Libraries in the Western Isles are calling for children to sign up to read six books this summer as part of Mischief Makers, the Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge Scotland 2018. 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan recently visited the Shiant Isles to see for himself the work that has been done to improve conditions for nesting seabirds.

The Shiant Isles are one of the most important breeding colonies for seabirds in Europe and play host to one of Britain’s largest puffin colonies.

The culture minister has led a chorus of praise for the record-breaking Hebridean Celtic Festival which ended at the weekend after its most successful year.

The 23rd HebCelt, headlined by Deacon Blue, The Fratellis, Eddi Reader, Roddy Woomble and Skipinnish, was held from 18-21 July in Stornoway and sold out on all four days.

Fiona Hylsop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “HebCelt is a marvellous example of how a well-organised event, supported by its community, can be an international success economically, culturally and socially.

A family spending their summer in Lewis have praised islanders for rallying round to help them out of a tight spot.

Emma Tilley, her husband John Officer and three young daughters are visiting from Glasgow, staying with family in Back for the summer.

Yesterday (Monday July 23rd) they planned a short trip to the beach to let the girls, aged two, five and six, burn off some energy before lunch.

Fans late to book air tickets for the last ever gigs by Runrig will have to look for other options, according to Loganair.

Air tickets to reach the mainland cfrom Stornoway for the weekend of August 17th and 18th are almost completely sold out, and Loganair say there will be no more services laid on once they are gone.

Western Isles fans plan to travel in force to the mainland for the Last Dance, billed as the final concert ever by the Gaelic supergroup. The two farewell concerts at Stirling’s City Park sold out within minutes of going on sale.


Police in the Western Isles are appealing for information following a vehicle fire in the Castle Grounds in Stornoway.
The car - a silver/grey Vauxhall Corsa - was found on fire shortly after 6pm on Monday, July 23rd, in an area of the grounds close to Willowglen Road .
The fire was extinguished by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and nobody was injured.
Officers are treating the fire as suspicious and are seeking to identify two men seen leaving the area in the direction of Bennadrove Road.

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Action shots from the Point FC’s summer football school, Donald John MacSween with prize winners Alexander Macdonald, Samuel Maclennan,  and Daniel Macleod.   All pictures by Sandie Maciver at SandiePhotos photography. 

The Point FC summer football school was held at Ionad Stoodie on Thursday and Friday afternoon last week (July 19 and 20) and was open to youngsters from across Lewis – and further afield too – although the majority came from the Point area.

It was open to boys and girls from primary two to S2, with priority given to the juniors who play on a Thursday night at the Point Astroturf pitch.

A total of 65 youngsters took part this year – an increase on last year, when they had between 40 and 50 – and prizes were given for the best players, although everyone got a T-shirt and a water bottle at the end as a memento, plus a certificate for taking part. 

The rapid rise in the number of apprenticeships across the Islands is one of the success stories of Community Learning and Development within Comhairle nan Eilean Siar on Lewis and Harris, says HM Inspector Alona Murray in a report issued yesterday (Monday July 23rd).

Community Learning and Development (CLD) partners within Comhairle nan Eilean Siar across Lewis and Harris were inspected by Education Scotland during May and June this year.

Education Scotland staff talked to children, young people, adults and community organisations. They worked closely with local CLD managers, CLD providers, partners, paid staff and volunteers.

Air tickets to reach the mainland for the final two concerts by Runrig are almost completely sold out, despite extra flights laid on by Loganair for the weekend of August 17th and 18th.

Runrig are to play two farewell concerts at Stirling’s City Park on Friday August 17th and Saturday 18th, having added the Friday gig when tickets to the Saturday sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Western Isles fans plan to travel in force to the mainland for the Last Dance, billed as the final concert ever by the island favourites.

The P&O cruise ship Oriana headed for Stornoway on Wednesday (July 25th) will bring more than 2,500 visitors to swell the town’s population. 1,746 passengers are expected to disembark, most British, but including visitors of 20 other nationalities. The ship also brings 788 crew, many of whom will come ashore during the full-day stop.

They’re part of an adults-only cruise, travelling between Southampton and Rejkjavik in Iceland, and taking advantage of one of the ship’s last British Isles calls before she leaves P&O in August 2019, after 24 years with the fleet.

A major support package for UK industry to power millions more homes and businesses over the next decade is also being announced today (Monday July 23rd)  by Energy & Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry.

Offshore wind and, for the first time, remote island wind providers will be able to bid for contracts to power up to four million homes from Cornwall to the Shetland Isles. These clean electricity auctions will be held in 2019 and every two years from then on, signalling support worth up to £557million for the industry.

Announcing the significant package on a visit to the Offshore Renewables Catapult in Newcastle, Energy & Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry will say: “The UK renewables sector is thriving, with more offshore wind capacity here than anywhere else in the world and 50% of electricity coming from low-carbon sources last year in what was our greenest year ever. 

The four Citizen's Advice Bureau offices in the Western Isles dealt with client contacts totalling 4398 who raised 6532 issues during the last financial year.

The top enquiries of 36% related to Welfare Benefits and debt related problems were at 29%. 

The remaining 35% of enquiries related to such matters as education, employment, housing, financial products and services, health and community care, immigration, legal, NHS concerns and complaints, relationships, tax, travel and utilities.

An intensive road safety campaign around Lewis and Harris over the weekend of July 20th to 22nd left numerous drivers facing penalties.

The Road Policing Unit were on the islands having travelled over from their base at Dingwall and were on the lookout for a variety of offences.

An upbeat festival weekend in Stornoway showed the town and islands off at their best, with police reporting the town centre in a good humour and with very little trouble in the streets.

Just two incidents at the arena site itself needed emergency action.

At 6.30pm on Saturday (July 21st) police were called to the entrance of the arena where a 66-year-old man was causing a disturbance. He was arrested and taken into police custody, where he has remained since. He’s been charged with breach of the peace and issued with a fixed penalty, and is expected to be released soon.

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Festivalgoers at Heb Celt 2018 are asking each other “did the earth move for you” after the mighty beat of Niteworks from Skye shook the Castle Green to its pre-Cambrian foundations.

Playing in the Islands Tent, the “Jurassic schploom-schploom” of their beat –  a festival-goer’s comment referencing the Tyrannosaurus footsteps of the film Jurassic Park – made an unforgettable impact on the last evening of Heb Celt 2018.

The sold-out festival has been the most successful event in its 23-year history, say organisers.

Headlining acts for Hebridean Celtic Festival were caught up in ferry delays last night (Thursday July 19th), after a road accident closed the road south of Ullapool.

Passengers heading for Stornoway on yesterday afternoon’s 5.30pm sailing of the Loch Seaforth were brought to a halt after a fatal motorcycle accident. Police confirmed that a 50-year-old man died following the two-vehicle collision, on the A832 at Corrieshalloch Gorge, just south of Ullapool, yesterday at 2.30pm.

Representatives from Stornoway Amenity Trust, Western Isles Lottery and Willowglen Garden Centre at the new flower beds at Manor Roundabout.  All photographs by John Dyer

Stornoway is in full bloom thanks to a project by the Stornoway Amenity Trust.

The Trust, which is a non-profit making organisation, led by a team of volunteers, made it its mission to brighten up the town for the summer.

This year’s Hebridean Celtic Festival is set to become the most successful in its 23-year history after selling out all four nights of the event photographed by Colin Cameron, above.

Festival-goers have snapped up the few remaining tickets for the multi award-winning event, which started on Wednesday and closes on Saturday evening.

A total of 18 drivers will be reported for offences relating to driving under the influence of drink or drugs in the Highlands and Islands during a recent safety campaign.

Detections were made across the region during the national summer initiative, which ran from Friday, June 29 until Friday, July 13.

During the weekend immediately after this - from Saturday, July 14 until early hours of Monday, July 16 - a further six drivers were stopped with reports to be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in connection with alleged drink or drug driving.

A new method for people with diabetes to measure their glucose levels is coming into use in the Western Isles.

Flash Glucose Monitoring FGM) is the newest method of glucose testing.  The Abbott FreeStyle Libre is currently the only flash glucose monitoring product available, and it is currently only approved in Europe

Libre became available for prescription on the Scottish Drug Tariff on 1st November 2017.

Well, you never know…it has been known to rain in Stornoway…and suppose that were to happen, the Fishermen's Co-op is just ready and waiting to provide some cover!  From head to toe, if need be!

Photo: Chris Murray

Stornoway RNLI launched yesterday (Wednesday 17th July) at 1150hours to the aid of a 23ft yacht aground just off Balallan, Lewis.
The casualty vessel had hit rocks and run aground, and on arrival, the Stornoway RNLI volunteer crew established a tow line between the yacht and the ‘Tom Sanderson’ lifeboat.
The Stornoway RNLI lifeboat then towed the vessel safely off the rocks and continued to tow the casualty to berth in Lemreway.
The ‘Tom Sanderson’ and local volunteer RNLI crew returned to berth in Stornoway around 1730hours.


Photo: John Dyer

Western Isles Libraries in Stornoway have won a national competition for the best Golden Man Booker library display!

The Booker Prize Foundation  launched the Golden Man Booker Prize to mark their 50th anniversary. This special one-off award was tocrown the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public.

Libraries were asked to participate in the promotion and send in photographs of their displays.

Angus Macleod, chair of the Western Isles Kidney Patients Association, pictured outside Ospadal nan Eilean in Stornoway, where the renal unit is located

The mum of one young kidney transplant patient in Lewis is organising a fun day so that children and families affected by renal problems can get together and give each other support. 

The event, being planned for September in Stornoway, is being made possible by community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust, who have donated £1,000 to the Western Isles Kidney Patients Association to help towards the costs.

It should be good fun for the young kidney patients, as well as an informal occasion for their families to get to know each other and share experiences.

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan; Dr Vicki Ooi; Steve Taylor; festival site manager Iain Macphail; Oscar Fung  

The Hebridean Celtic Festival opens for the 23rd time tonight (Wednesday July 18th) and has already proven inspirational for some overseas visitors.

A delegation from Sha Lo Wan, a village of just 50 people in Lantau Island, Hong Kong, has travelled to Stornoway to learn from HebCelt ahead of hosting its first music, dance and drama festival in November.

 

The Iolaire Working Group has announced that tickets can be reserved for the Iolaire Community Remembrance Event from 9am on Monday 10th September . 

The event, hosted by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, will take place at 9:30pm on Monday 31st December 2018 in the Lewis Sports Centre, and is the civic event to mark the centenary of the Iolaire tragedy, featuring military and school band performances, poetry readings and songs, drama in addition to spiritual elements.

An iconic artwork marking 100 years since the ed of the Great War may add a new date to its anniversary programme by ending its centenary tour in Stornoway.

Three London-based members of the planning committee organising the 14-18 Now Centenary Art Commissions were in Stornoway yesterday (Monday July 16th) studying possible sites for a river of red poppies, flowing from a landmark building.

A 32-year-old man appeared in court yesterday morning (Monday July 16th) charged with assault. He’d been arrested in Stornoway town centre in the early hours of Sunday morning and kept in custody until his court appearance. He was released following the court appearance and has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

A 49-year-old man spent the night in police custody at the weekend, after being arrested in Stornoway town centre in the early hours of Sunday morning (July 15th).

He was charged with abusive and threatening behaviour, and was kept in custody until sober, when he was released. He’s been reported to the Procurator Fiscal over the incident.

An incident of domestic violence in Stornoway on Sunday lunchtime (July 15th) led to a 55-year-old man being arrested and charged with assault with domestic aggravation.

The man appeared in court on Monday and has been remanded in custody, pending a future court appearance.

International artists from the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival will take part in BBC Radio nan Gaidheal's free shows in Stornoway Town Hall on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 July. The events will be presented by Emma Lamont and will be broadcast on BBC Radio nan Gaidheal this week.

On Thursday, from 2pm-4pm, the show will feature Canadian trio Vishtèn; Glasgow-based trad band TRIP; Scots fiddler and American cellist duo Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas; as well as performers from Blasta, which brings together a group of multi-talented Gaelic singers - Anna Murray, Mischa Macpherson, Ceitlin Smith, Josie Duncan and Calum Alex Macmillan.

On Friday, from 3pm-5pm, performances will come from Kinnaris Quintet; Lewis singer songwriter Iain Morrison; Yves Lambert Trio, from Quebec; and London-based Pilgrim's Dream, the project of former Royal Marines Commando Rob Ouseley.

BBC Radio nan Gàidheal music producer John Murray said: "We are keen to welcome folk along to enjoy the programme and the music.  It's free entry and a great chance to hear an intimate performance from some fabulous singers and players."

Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: "Radio nan Gaidheal is a great supporter of HebCelt and these free, live shows give people in Stornoway and those listening on the radio a real taste of the festival."

 

Heb Celt Site Manager/Director Iain Macphail, Cal Mac Staff: Callan Sloan, Robert Urquhart, George Lightbody, Dot Wisniewska, Dolanna Macleod with HebCelt Director Caroline Maclennan

 The Ullapool-Stornoway ferry is being temporarily renamed in honour of the flagship Hebridean Celtic Festival that opens on Wednesday July 18 and is heading for a sell-out.

During this week, the Loch Seaforth will be known as the HebCelt Ferry as it carries thousands of festival-goers to and from the award-winning event.

Ferry passengers arriving from today (Monday July 16th) to participate in Hebridean Celtic Festival must have a ticket before they arrive at Ullapool, according to an online warning this morning from CalMac.

The ferry company has already published a similar warning on their website for the period from Wednesday July 18th to Sunday, July 22nd, when ferries are expected to be at peak capacity. They’re insisting that even foot passengers must book ahead if they want to travel to or from Stornoway anytime this week.

It has been announced this morning (Monday July 16th) that the a’Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland will be the site of the UK’s first spaceport, confirming rumours that proposed locations in the Western Isles had not been favoured.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil called the decision ‘hugely disappointing’, since it means that North Uist has missed out on selection as the site of the UK’s first spaceport. North Uist had been identified as a possible spaceport site due to the existing rocket range, with exercises in long-range missile firing seen as a good advert for the site’s potential.

The only rocket ever to reach space from UK soil was launched from the Uist rocket range in October 2015, as part of the NATO military exercise Joint Warrior. The rocket, which had been shipped to Uist from the US, reached space before being shot down by USS Ross, the US Navy’s guided missile destroyer.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Late on Saturday night, teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were asked to man a helicopter landing site in Scalpay, to support the evacuation of a sick child from the island. The child was taken by helicopter to Western Isles Hospital, with the Stornoway volunteer team also manning the helicopter landing site in Stornoway in the early hours of Sunday (July 15th).

Coastguard volunteer teams from Griminish and Benbecula were called at 5.10pm on Saturday (July 14th) when a report was called in of a drifting liferaft near Linacleit. The object was found to be a red tent which had blown out to sea, and was classified as a false alarm with good intent.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Late on Saturday night, teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were asked to man a helicopter landing site in Scalpay, to support the evacuation of a sick child from the island. The child was taken by helicopter to Western Isles Hospital, with the Stornoway volunteer team also manning the helicopter landing site in Stornoway in the early hours of Sunday (July 15th).

Coastguard volunteer teams from Griminish and Benbecula were called at 5.10pm on Saturday (July 14th) when a report was called in of a drifting liferaft near Linacleit. The object was found to be a red tent which had blown out to sea, and was classified as a false alarm with good intent.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Late on Saturday night, teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were asked to man a helicopter landing site in Scalpay, to support the evacuation of a sick child from the island. The child was taken by helicopter to Western Isles Hospital, with the Stornoway volunteer team also manning the helicopter landing site in Stornoway in the early hours of Sunday (July 15th).

Coastguard volunteer teams from Griminish and Benbecula were called at 5.10pm on Saturday (July 14th) when a report was called in of a drifting liferaft near Linacleit. The object was found to be a red tent which had blown out to sea, and was classified as a false alarm with good intent.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Late on Saturday night, teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were asked to man a helicopter landing site in Scalpay, to support the evacuation of a sick child from the island. The child was taken by helicopter to Western Isles Hospital, with the Stornoway volunteer team also manning the helicopter landing site in Stornoway in the early hours of Sunday (July 15th).

Coastguard volunteer teams from Griminish and Benbecula were called at 5.10pm on Saturday (July 14th) when a report was called in of a drifting liferaft near Linacleit. The object was found to be a red tent which had blown out to sea, and was classified as a false alarm with good intent.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Late on Saturday night, teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were asked to man a helicopter landing site in Scalpay, to support the evacuation of a sick child from the island. The child was taken by helicopter to Western Isles Hospital, with the Stornoway volunteer team also manning the helicopter landing site in Stornoway in the early hours of Sunday (July 15th).

Coastguard volunteer teams from Griminish and Benbecula were called at 5.10pm on Saturday (July 14th) when a report was called in of a drifting liferaft near Linacleit. The object was found to be a red tent which had blown out to sea, and was classified as a false alarm with good intent.

Food retailer Iceland has come under fire after a national discount for emergency workers specifically excluded customers in the Hebrides.

The national chain, Iceland Foods, launched a UK-wide promotion on Twitter on Friday (July 13th) offering 10% off any shop for police, fire, NHS, coastguard and RNLI workers, saying: “Because you do so much for us… we want to do something for you.” But it was the small print which caught the attention of some, as the footnote read: “Offer available in the UK only, excluding the Hebrides.”

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Point Agricultural Show held yesterday (Saturday, July 14) found itself defying poor weather yet again as low cloud and rain enveloped much of Point while Stornoway remained dry.

Nonetheless the Point Show, held for the first time in 2003, attracted hundreds of visitors to the showground on the site of the former Aird School, whose school hall once hosted the varied displays of art, crafts and foods now covered by large marquees.

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The official naming ceremony took place today (14th July 2018) of Leverburgh’s new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley 13-25, just over 2 months since the brand-new £2.1m lifeboat arrived in Leverburgh on 21st April.

The special ceremony, held on Leverburgh Pier, was attended by a large crowd despite the some-what damp day. Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band, who had travelled over especially for the occasion, started the days events followed by an opening song from local ladies choir, Coisir Bhan Na Hearadh, under the instruction of Iain “Costello” MacIver.

[gallery ID=38]

The official naming ceremony took place today (14th July 2018) of Leverburgh’s new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley 13-25, just over two months since the brand-new £2.1m lifeboat arrived in Leverburgh on 21st April.

The special ceremony, held on Leverburgh Pier, was attended by a large crowd despite the somewhat damp day. Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band, who had travelled over especially for the occasion, started the day's events followed by an opening song from local ladies choir, Coisir Bhan Na Hearadh, under the instruction of Iain “Costello” MacIver.

 

 What about engineering studies at Lews Castle College…look and listen with some of those involved

https://youtu.be/HNESlciSL2o

https://youtu.be/MKdaFywGCRU

https://youtu.be/FJ7fGYoqeps

Two homes in Stornoway were searched for drugs between Tuesday and Thursday this week (July 10th to 12th) after police were issued with warrants to carry out the searches.

Officers found a quantity of possible illegal or controlled substances at both addresses and these have been sent for testing.

If the items found test positive, reports will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

A 32-year-old man was in court yesterday (Thursday July 12th) after being arrested on Plantation Road, Stornoway, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

He was charged with threatening and abusive behaviour after swearing and shouting aggressively, causing alarm to people nearby.

He was kept in custody at Stornoway Police Station until his court appearance and has now been released on bail.

The Arnish yard of BiFab has been left with a skeleton staff of maintenance workers, with workers union the GMB yesterday confirming that all BiFab’s sites are ‘effectively closed.’

Isles MSP Alasdair Allan yesterday (Thursday July 12th) raised the situation with minister for business, fair work and skills Jamie Hepburn MSP, after hearing from the union that hopes for a resurgence in the company had been dashed.

The BBC’s flagship programme, The One Show, is coming to the Hebrides next week as part of a unique partnership with Scotland’s Gaelic Media Service (Seirbheis nam Meadhanan Gàidhlig), MG ALBA.  

  • Two-night special with Alex Jones and Matt Baker will come from Harris, then Lewis
  • Programmes will feature a range of content about life in the Western Isles
  • Project only possible because of unique partnership delivered with MG ALBA
  • Face of BBC ALBA, Fiona MacKenzie to join the One Show team as a presenter
  • The team will look at the impact of the Castaway TV programme on the Isle of Harris

 Donald Martin and Matt Bruce with Foyer service users, staff and committee members. 

Western Isles Foyer, the charity which supports homeless and other vulnerable young people in the islands, is celebrating a double recognition – the award of Investors in Young People status and a very good report from the Care Inspectorate.

To mark the occasion, Foyer hosted a tea party in the sun at their premises in Bayhead, Stornoway, for all of their service users, staff and committee members. 

The Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles, Donald Martin, attended the event to present the Investors in Young People award to Foyer, and was full of praise for the work they do with young people aged 16 to 26. 

The number of households in the Western Isles is set to fall over the next 25 years, against a national background of increasing household numbers.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar is one of just four local authority areas in Scotland expected to see a reduction in household numbers, reflecting not only a lower population but also more households headed by people aged 70 or over, many living alone.

The figures were released yesterday (Wednesday July 11th) by National Records of Scotland, in a report called ‘Household projections for Scotland’.

 

Fresh Salmon steaks or fillets at Harbour Seafood's - Poached, pan fried or grilled, marinate in honey and garlic and serve with new potatoes, or bake with Chilli and lime for an oriental flavour - this popular fish is versatile and good for you!

 

Going on a camping trip with the family or friends? Got all you need? The Fisherman's Co-op can help with tents, sleeping bags, lanterns and portable stoves. They also have a wide selection of gas canisters, you don't want to run out when the kettle hasn't quite boiled! And don't forget the midge repellent.

Taking a picnic to the beach? Grab a picnic blanket, flasks, mugs, cutlery, or a cool bag to keep your food fresh (or the beer cool). 


The cruise ship MS Gann arrived in Stornoway harbour last night (Wednesday July 11th) with an unusual payload both of passengers and crew.

MS Gann is a Norwegian ‘Skoleskipet’, a training vessel owned by a sail training school in Stavanger, which provides real-life training for deck crew, cruise caterers and officers.

During the summer it offers training cruises both to raise funds for the school and to give experience to student crew-members.

Departing today Stornoway harbour at 9am today (Wednesday July 11th) and heading north up the Minch was the sleek Archimedes, reportedly worth $100 million and owned by US billionaire businessman and philanthropist James Simons.

It’s not known whether the owner was on board, but a private jet flew passengers into Stornoway airport yesterday (Tuesday).

And the luxury sailing yacht Farfalla came into port this morning.  She’s a 102ft five-star sailing vessel built in 2014 and costing $81,500 per week, plus expenses, to charter. 

A landmark moment has been reached at Cross School, the headquarters of Comunn Eachdraidh Nis where a major rebuild is under way.

The Salvation Army in Stornoway issued an urgent doorstep scam warning on Tuesday July 10th, after reports that people are going door-to-door in the Stornoway area claiming to represent the charity and asking for credit or debit card details to set up regular donations.

And members of the public reported that there were two people on Monday around Maclean Terrace, Stornoway and in Parkend with red tabards but it was for the Red Cross that they were claiming to be collecting.  They were wanting bank details for direct debit payments to help elderly people in Stornoway who can't get out and about.

However, legitimate charity collectors currently working in Lewis should not be confused with potential doorstep scams, say the Comhairle’s licensing department.

Alasdair Allan MSP signing the pledge with Susan Lowes, Marie Curie Policy & Public Affairs Manager Scotland

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has lent his support to helping improve the lives of people in Scotland living with terminal illness. 

Meeting with representatives from Marie Curie, the terminal illness charity recently, Alasdair was interested to hear about efforts to encourage people to think about their wishes for the end of their life and discuss preferences with loved ones.

Power supplies have been turned off in parts of South Harris today (Tuesday July 10th) as major upgrading work is carried out to the main supply network.

Properties in parts of Leverburgh, Strond and Borrisdale are without power from 10.30am until 4pm, as maintenance and upgrading work is carried out by a large team of engineers, including 10 linesmen from the mainland who have come to Harris for the day to join island teams.

A project led by the Comhairle’s archive service, Tasglann nan Eilean, has brought together and catalogued the entire archive of the Harris Tweed Authority.

The Harris Tweed Authority Archive Project, funded by the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives and the Harris Tweed Association Educational Trust, enabled the recruitment of a Project Cataloguing Archivist and the transfer of the portion of the Harris Tweed Authority (HTA) archive held by the Highland Archive Centre to Tasglann nan Eilean in Stornoway.

The HTA archive contains a wealth of material covering more than one hundred years of the history of the unique Harris Tweed industry. From photographs to limericks, and advertising to stamping books, the full collection has been opened up to the public for the first time via a new online catalogue.

Coastguard officers from three Western Isles teams were presented with long-service medals for their role as volunteer officers within local coastguard teams on Thursday (July 5th).

Job Vacancy at Bayhead Bridge Centre

Cleaner required

Permanent contract
20 hours a week
Monday to Friday mornings generally

Application forms available from the office or by phoning (01851) 705808 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Closing date Friday 20th of July

 

An assault in Era nightclub, South Beach, Stornoway late on Saturday night (July 7th) left a young woman needing medical attention.

Police have asked witnesses to step forward after the 19-year-old was assaulted around midnight.

Four cars on Plantation Road, Stornoway, were badly damaged around lunchtime on Saturday (July 7th).

Police received reports that the cars, which were all parked on the road, had been deliberately damaged, leaving deep scratches in their bodywork.

It’s believed the damage was caused in the late morning or early afternoon, and anyone who saw or heard anything is asked to call the non-emergency number, 101.

A driver is being asked to contact Stornoway police after they responded to a report of a vehicle off the road at 11.20pm on Saturday (July 7th)

The Citroen Berlingo had left the carriageway at Soval bend in Lochs, 13 miles south of Stornoway on the Harris road.

There was no-one at the scene and the driver has not been traced.

The Big Minch Swim ended in drama in the early hours of this morning (Monday July 9th), with emergency services scrambled to find Stornoway swimmer Colin Macleod, declared missing at sea less than a mile from the shore.

Stornoway Coastguard received a call at 11.45pm from the skipper of the support vessel Harvest Moon, saying that Ullapool swimmer Norman Todd had been pulled from the sea exhausted and Colin had gone on alone, but the support kayaker had lost sight of him and he could not be seen from any of the support vessels.

Stornoway Coastguard scrambled Stornoway rescue helicopter R948 and Stornoway RNLI lifeboat, at the same time issuing a general call for assistance.  

Colin, Norman and Colleen's supporters at the quayside see them off

Stornoway open-water swimmer Colin Macleod can see the end of his biggest challenge to date, with the Rubha Reidh lighthouse in his sights as he heads across open sea on the Big Minch Swim.

Colin and his fellow swimmers Norman Todd (Ullapool) and Colleen Blair were forced to postpone their attempt to make history’s first swimmer crossing of the North Minch until today (Sunday July 8th) because of strong south-westerly winds on Saturday. They left Stornoway harbour in the early hours of this morning (Sunday July 8th)  on board a support vessel for a 4.30am start from Lemreway.

Lews Castle College UHI reaches another landmark in its history of delivering construction industry-related training this year.

This comes with its recruitment of two new Joinery and Construction lecturers James Maclennan (pictured with retiring Joinery and Construction Lecturer Brian McKelvie) and Mr Calum Mackay.

This comes at a time when the college marks its Sapphire Anniversary.

The following is from the Facebook Page of Point FC  today (Saturday July 7th):

“It is with deep sadness that the club announce the passing of Donald “Tuff” MacDonald.

There is considerable confusion at Stornoway Airport about the operation of the new parking charges.

Welovestornoway.com went down to the airport yesterday afternoon (Friday) to see for ourselves.

Among other things we saw:

  • A driver searching for the ticket from the new ticket machine entering the car park…but the machine is exposed and the ticket had been blown away in the wind.
  • Drivers confused by the lack of detailed signage when you approach the new turning to the car park, so people did not know whether to go there for drop-offs, and blocked the entrance while trying to decide
  • Drivers confused about paying because there is no signage at all to point out that the first two hours of parking are free

There’s been a change of team at Stornoway’s Comunn na Gaidhlig office this week as director of development Calum Iain Macleod retires after 11 years.

Calum Iain has held a national remit from the Stornoway office of CnaG since March 2007.


Big-hearted bikers handed over a cheque for well over £5,000 to Action for Children at Stornoway Golf Club on Thursday July 5th.

Chrisetta and Willie Mitchell, from Point, were at the Palace of Westminster on Thursday July 5th as Chrisetta received her British Citizen Award for the work she does with the Leanne Fund. The award recognises individuals who do extraordinary things in their local community, and is run by a committee including patron Sarah, Duchess of York.

The Leanne Fund was founded in 2009 in memory of Chrisetta and Willie’s daughter Leanne, who died from Cystic Fibrosis when she was 21 years old.

The Big Minch Swim team has attracted high profile support today (Friday July 6th) ahead of their departure in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Swimmers Colin Macleod of Stornoway, pictured above, and Norman Todd of Ullapool will leave Lemreway in Lochs at 4.30am, heading for Rubha Reid in Gairloch, 24 miles away across open sea. No-one has ever completed a solo swim across the North Minch, so if any or all of the team succeed they will be setting a new record.

They’ll be joined by a late addition to the team, marathon swimmer Colleen Blair, Scotland's most accomplished marathon swimmer and one of the greatest Scottish athletes of her generation.

Stornoway police have appealed for information after a number of unrelated vandalism incidents in the town over the past few days.

Between Thursday June 28th and Tuesday July 3rd damage was caused to a door at the depository at 8 Marybank, and police would like to hear from anyone who may know how it was caused or who may have witnessed the damage.

A Volkswagen Golf car was damaged while parked in Tesco’s car park, between 10am on July 3rd and 10.30am yesterday (Wednesday July 4th).

Protests have followed the decision announced today (Thursday July 5) that air traffic control in the Highlands and Islands will be centralised in Inverness.  

Responding to HIAL’s announcement that Inverness is the preferred location for a proposed remote towers control centre, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure, Councillor Uisdean Robertson, said:

“Whilst it comes as no great surprise it is nevertheless disappointing that Inverness is the preferred location for the remote towers control centre. 

Pop down to the Fisherman's Co-op to find all you need to make the most of the summer weather by the sea.

Choose from a large range of wet-suits for adults and children, along with neoprene boots, hoods and gloves. Just what is needed for splashing around in Hebridean waters - for extra fun grab a body board and hit the waves!

 And for those wanting something more relaxing where they don't have to get wet; grab some fishing gear. The Fisherman's Co-op has all the lures, hooks, lines and rods you may need whether your aiming to catch Mackeral and Cuddies from the rocks or heading out for some deep water fishing, the staff are on-hand to advise what's best suited. 

Island weatherman Eddie Graham set out on a 500-mile cycling challenge from the Butt of Lewis yesterday (Wednesday July 4th) – and he picked the hottest day of the year to start.

Eddie is raising money for the BEAT (Beating Eating Disorders) charity, and plans to visit every inhabited island in the Outer Hebrides, a total of 175 miles, before crossing to the mainland to complete the 500-mile cycle.

Scottish Water has thanked island customers for ‘sensible and water-wise’ behaviour during the current long spell of dry weather.

Dry, warm conditions are forecast to last to the end of the month and Scottish Water has issued a plea nationally to be careful with water as demand across the country rises.

Drugs with a combined street-value of almost £100,000 were removed from communities in the Highlands & Islands during June.

Police Scotland officers have been carrying out targeted enforcement under Operation Ram resulting in seizures of Class A drugs worth approximately £36,500 and Class B drugs valued at around £56,700 being taken off the streets.

In addition to the drugs seizures - worth in excess of £93,000 - sums of cash totalling approximately £25,500 have also been seized.

Yesterday (Tuesday July 3) the family of renowned Lewis cancer research campaigner Kay Mackay was in Edinburgh for the presentation of her MBE awarded in the Queens New Year's Honours List for 2018.

Sadly Kay passed away in early February to the great grief of the community.

Attending this week’s event in her stead were husband Jackie Mackay, twin sons Gregor and Roger, and Roger’s wife Sophie.

A 36-year-old man was to appear in Stornoway Sheriff Court from custody today (Wednesday July 4) charged with assault to injury, following an incident on Tuesday afternoon.

The alleged assault happened on Newton Street in Stornoway at 4.30pm on Tuesday, and the man was kept in police custody until his court appearance today.

Stornoway lifeboat was called out at 11pm yesterday (Tuesday July 3rd)  after a man issued a call for help on channel 16.

He was alone around Tiumpan Head on a small motor boat and had become disorientated after losing power to his navigation instruments, with the thick fog making it impossible even to see the lighthouse beam.

Western Isles probationer teacher Abigail Treffry is seen with her recent award presented by Deputy First Minister John Swinney and General Teaching Council Scotland’s Chief Executive Ken Muir.

Calanas, this year’s history exhibition in Scalpay, turns the spotlight on the homespun wool industry when it opens on Tuesday July 10.

During the Second World War herring fishing, on which the island depended, went into decline.

This was due in part to the lack of crews and also to a change in fishing methods.

Police Scotland confirms the body of the young child discovered on Monday (July 2) in a wooded area in Ardbeg Road, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, is that of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail.

Following a post mortem examination which has been completed "within the last few minutes", said the news release which went out at 10.55pm yesterday (Tuesday) "we can confirm that the death is being treated as murder.     

"Forensics officers have been conducting enquiries at several locations in Rothesay and officers are continuing to carry out door to door enquiries and gathering any private or public CCTV footage for review. They are also carrying out signifcant door to door enquiries in an effort to establish what may have happened to Alesha.

A COUNCILLOR who failed to register his interests in a company has been sanctioned by Scotland’s ethics watchdog.

Councillor Finlay Cunningham, an independent member for Na Hearadh agus Ceann A Deas nan Loch on Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, has been censured by the Standards Commission for Scotland (SCS) for not notifying the council of his 33% stake in a company, JRFC Properties, which he shares with two family members.

A three-strong panel of SCS members formally reprimanded Councillor Cunningham at a Public Hearing in Edinburgh on Tuesday 3rd July.

Plans are under way for the relaunch of a Chamber of Commerce for the Outer Hebrides, almost a decade after the demise of the previous one.

The aim is to model it on mainland examples like Caithness Chamber of Commerce which also serves a widely dispersed area with a low density of population which, like the Outer Hebrides, totals around 26,000.

Caithness Chamber of Commerce was first established in the 1970s by a group of local businesspeople. In late 2008 a new company limited by guarantee was formed and, with initial funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise of £150,000, the Caithness Chamber of Commerce was relaunched with a full-time Chief Executive and a new structure.  Further staff were recruited with a three-year £120,000 funding award from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority dealing the Dounreay plant.  It now has a total staff of eight.

MSP’s are being asked to support the initiatives being taken by the Outer Hebrides Community Safety Partnership and their partners to improve road safety and understanding during the tourist season.

Alasdair Allan, MSP for the Western Isles, was recently contacted by the Cross Party Group on Accident Prevention and Safety Awareness about the road safety initiative aimed towards overseas visitors.

He has now lodged a parliamentary motion on this saying: ”That the Parliament commends the work undertaken by the Outer Hebrides Community Safety Partnership, Police Scotland and Road Safety Scotland to promote safe road travel in the Western Isles.”

"An amazing £1630.37 was raised by the wonderful Artizan team for their recent cupcake fundraiser," the local Alzheimers Scotland branch has announced.
Pictured above are Caron, Joan, Marie and Eve from the café on Church Street, Stornoway.

Nine drivers are to be reported for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs over the past weekend in the Highlands and Islands.
 
The detections came during the first weekend of a national safety campaign aimed at removing drink drivers from the roads.
 
The nine drivers to be reported include seven relating to drink drive offences, with the other two related to driving under the influence of drugs.


Malcolm and Janet Paterson present the Lottery funding cheque to Lucy, Eilidh and Alison

Funding from the Western Isles Lottery is to be used to by the young people of North Lochs to set up a monthly Soup and Pudding Café for the more mature members of their community.

Malcolm and Janet Paterson from the Western Isles Lottery Team were delighted to recently present the North Lochs young people with a cheque for £760.80 towards the new venture in the area's community centre.

The beach at Bayble Pier on Point has been affected by drunken behaviour and careless discarding of rubbish over recent weeks, beach users report on the Western Isles Noticeboard Facebook page.

One writes: “There are a number of items of clothing and shoes that have been left behind at the beach over the last few weeks.”

The page shows pictures of the items in case anybody is looking for them.

 Steven Munro, Kirsty Baird and Karen Pickard of Lewis Sports Centre with Callum Ian Macmillan, Lews Castle College.

Finding your ideal way to get fit has just become easier with the publication of the updated Lewis and Harris Sports & Leisure Directory – listing all the sports and recreation clubs, and their contact details, available on the islands.

The publication of the glossy 16-page Directory came about following a need identified by the Lewis and Harris Sports Council, and was sponsored by Lews Castle College UHI.

The blocking of Shell Street in Stornoway by traffic queuing to get on the Ullapool ferry is sparking top-level reaction - and pleas to travellers to arrive earlier for their ferries, rather than all bunching up in the last few minutes before the deadline.

Plans are being developed by the Stornoway Port Authority, CalMac and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to reduce congestion around Stornoway ferry terminal.

The introduction of the Loch Seaforth on the route saw an increase in traffic around the Stornoway ferry terminal, and this together with later arriving vehicles, has seen traffic jams during the early morning and lunchtime check-in periods.

Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland has identified that the high levels of shellfish toxins identified in Seilebost Sands in Harris on 17 July 2017 have returned to safe levels.
 
The warning against eating shellfish from this area has now been lifted by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris needs your help between now and 31st August by voting!

But no need to visit the polling booths again!  You can do this while shopping at Tesco Stornoway!

One of Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris' goals for 2017 is to start up a Men’s Club, with snooker and other activities on offer for men in Lewis & Harris living with dementia to benefit from.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan attended an event in Stornoway yesterday (Friday July 28th) aimed at raising awareness about technological advancements for supporting people living with dementia and their families.

The road show event was organised by NHS Western Isles RemoAge and Alzheimer Scotland Western Isles.

Alzheimer Scotland’s Technology Team were represented by Gillian Anderson, Senior Technology co-ordinator who showcased the work they have designed and are delivering through  a new national learning programme for all practitioners, delivery partners and front-line staff who support people living with dementia and their families and carers.

Dougie Maclean (Photo: Josh Cameron)

Organisers of the 22nd Hebridean Celtic Festival are celebrating another resounding success for the four-day event which has delivered lasting positive economic and cultural impact for its host community.
Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: “Our 22nd festival was a great success. The beautiful weather added to the wonderful atmosphere in and around the arena and the feedback from the artists, audience and traders has been extremely positive, demonstrating the enormous benefit to the community the festival undoubtedly brings.
“It is a relaxed, chilled out occasion and, with the kids running around enjoying themselves too, it provides a superb family experience.

Agnes Munro

Earlier this year, after a period of deteriorating health, much to her surprise Agnes Munro, from Point in the Isle of Lewis, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and advanced heart failure.

After a period of treatment on the mainland she returned home and is now under the supervision of the NHS Western Isles nurse-led Heart Failure Service team in Stornoway, through the use of the Florence programme (or Flo as she is better known) for home health monitoring.

‘Childsmile Week’ has become a popular event on the summer holiday calendar in the Western Isles and this summer has proved the most popular yet, with record breaking numbers flocking to their local dental clinic.

All five dental clinics, from Stornoway to Barra, held a week specifically to see children where they get their teeth checked and enjoy lots of fun and games at the same time. 

The 'probable cause' of the sinking of the fishing vessel 'Louisa' was flooding of the hold.

Lifejackets used by the crew were faulty, and had the emergency services not been unnecessarily delayed, there could have been more survivors. 

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has just published the findings of its investigation into the sinking off Mingulay in April of 2016.

Over two-thirds of businesses across the Highlands and Islands believe membership of the European Single Market is important to the Scottish economy, according to new research and Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil says only the SNP will represent that view in Parliament.
The Tory UK Government is focused on a hard Brexit which includes leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union – a move which is also supported by the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.
The Ipsos MORI survey of 1,014 Highlands and Islands businesses and social enterprises, commissioned by development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), found that 70% of businesses said Single Market membership was important to the Scottish economy.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar SNP Group Leader, Gordon Murray, have raised concerns about the future of the mobile library service in the Western Isles.

This comes as the council appear not to be proceeding with the replacement of the existing mobile library vans, despite approving funding for this purpose in March of last year.

The NFU Mutual office in Stornoway has moved from Francis Street to Cromwell Street Quay.

Previously based above the Edinburgh Woollen Mill shop (formerly Maciver and Dart), the new office is a great step forward for staff and customers, says Duncan Macintyre, who runs the Western Isles arm of the NFU Mutual operation.

Western Isles Commissioner Iain MacIver congratulates Dennis McGonnell

The Crofting Commission has successfully let five vacant croft tenancies to new entrants, who have vowed to use the land and ensure it is not neglected.

"We terminated four tenancies in the Western Isles and one in Glen Torridon, as the tenants were not complying with their duty to be resident and the landlords failed to let the crofts within the necessary timescales," said a spokesman.

The Lochs Agriculture Show 2017 was a great success in the sun on Saturday July 22nd.  The Vauxhall Viva Car prize was won by Ali Williamson of South Bragar. The show was opened officially by TV and radio star Sanjeev Kohli who was introduced by show committee chair Peter Maclennan. 

A major last-minute funding appeal is being made to the public and Hebridean businesses to support the production of a dramatic new play which shows what life was really like for Hebridean women a century ago – by telling their actual stories.
Deeds Not Words is a new bilingual play that reveals the achievements of Hebridean women during World War One and the struggle of these women in the fight for women's right to vote.
But its local tour throughout the Islands cannot take place unless more than £6,000 is raised in the next week as match funding for money from the public sector.  
An appeal is being made for individual donations through http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/deeds-not-words-a-hebridean-womens-play

The recent death of Michael Robson, of Callicvol at Port of Ness, means a unique opportunity has arisen to acquire his important collection of rare and important books.

His lifetime of collecting and commitment to creating a full-scale historical presence in remote places means there is a significant library available for someone with the interest in maintaining it for themselves and others.

If an individual purchaser cannot be found - and efforts have been made unsuccessfully to achieve this over the past few years - then the collection (which can be seen on www.scottishbookcollection.com) will be broken up through an auction saleroom.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is to visit the Western Isles, it has just been announced. 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has voiced concerns over the future of agriculture subsidies, after UK Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, appeared to threaten future funding levels in a speech earlier today.

While the UK Government has stated its intention to continue current levels of farm subsidies until 2022, there is a huge question mark over what financial support system will be in place after that.

Donald Maclean

The Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has paid tribute to former Councillor Donald Maclean who has passed away at the age of 85.

Mr Maclean was a North Uist Councillor who served on the Comhairle from 1994 to 2007.

He served as Vice-Chair and then Chair of Development Services/Sustainable Development Committee, and also served on the Northern Joint Police and Fire Boards and as Chair of the Licensing Board.

Professor Frank Rennie at the HebCelt Acoustic Stage

As a volunteer ambassador at this week’s Hebridean Celtic Festival, Frank Rennie has a good perspective on how important the event is to both visitors and the community.
His on-the-ground role gives him a valuable insight that is also useful in his day job, as Professor of Sustainable Rural Development at Lews Castle College UHI in the festival’s host town of Stornoway.
Prof Rennie, who is an assistant principal at the college, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, has been a festival volunteer for many years and this week is working with the team to ensure crowd safety.

Alex was piped across the Scottish/English border to the tune of Scotland The Brave

On Wednesday (July 19th), RNLI charity walker Alex Ellis-Roswell completed the Scottish leg of his walk round the coast of Britain and Ireland.
It took nearly a year and over nine million footsteps to complete Alex’s 4,500 mile walk around the coast of Scotland – and he began 2017 walking the Outer Hebrides, from Barra to the Butt of Lewis and back down again.
When Alex reached the English/Scottish border six miles south of Eyemouth on Wednesday, he said: “Scotland has proven to be one of the most challenging years of my whole walk. I was up in the Outer Hebrides this winter where winds reached over 100mph. I’ve fallen and fractured my ankle. I’ve walked through hurricanes and through the vast Highlands landscape.

Complementing the musical expertise of the Hebridean Celtic Festival are the artisans of this year’s Craft Tent.

The draw of the crafts – from glass painting to tin guitars, ceramics to jewellery, tweeds to soaps – was easily seen tonight, with makers kept very busy as festival goers enjoyed some beautiful wares on offer.

Lewis Pipe Band piped up to the Lews Castle Green before local songstress Eleanor Nicolson took to a packed Islands Stage to open the HebCelt 2017 main arena tonight.
Other performances included Tide Lines on the Island Stage; with headliners Dougie MacLean and Peatbog Faeries on the Mainstage.

Hailyu Zhang

East is meeting west this week as a Chinese journalist takes in HebCelt as part of a visit to the Outer Hebrides to explore the Celtic culture.

Hailyu Zhang, who works in Beijing and his home town of Kunming, writes on travel and cultural issues and is a regular visitor to film and music festivals around the world.

Chief Inspector Gordon Macleod

Police Scotland is looking forward to supporting two major musical events in the Highlands and islands this weekend with the HebCelt Festival on the Isle of Lewis and Olly Murs performing in Inverness.

HebCelt gets underway today in the grounds of Lews Castle in Stornoway until Saturday - while Olly Murs will perform at Bught Park in Inverness on Saturday evening.

Police are committed to making the experience at both events a safe and enjoyable one for all.

Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil has written to the Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis asking him to go and meet with fishing groups in the West coast of Scotland to deal with crewing issues.

Mr MacNeil said: “Yet again we have seen another boat lose a perfectly capable fisherman from Ghana due to the spurious argument that they are not fishing outside the 12 mile limit which the UK Government calls international waters.

"Calling out with the 12 mile limit, international waters is a very interesting concept given that post-Brexit the UK Government wants to have control of waters up to 200 miles.

Donald Cameron MSP is urging residents and organisations across the Western Isles, to take part in the consultation on a Member’s Bill proposal to implement Frank’s Law- the removal of charges for free personal care for people under 65 with life limiting conditions like dementia.

The consultation runs until early October and can be completed online.

Valentine Clot
A Celtic connection has brought French student Valentine Clot to the Hebrides this week to add some Gallic flavour to the indigenous Gaelic language.

The 18-year-old from Brittany, who is learning Gaelic, is visiting Scotland on a scholarship and has joined the army of volunteers that helps run the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival as part of a study of the language and those who speak it.

Thousands of people have already looked at the new website for Borgh Pottery in north Lewis.

Within a couple of days of the website - www.borghpottery.co.uk - being launched last week, almost 1,000 people had looked at the new front page while several hundred people had progressed to other pages of the new website.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has welcomed the news that BASF Pharma has expanded its Lewis site following £2.8m worth of investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Caledonian MacBrayne has ruled out a suggestion that they employ more crew to staff the overnight freight ferry, which would in turn allow them to take more passengers on that service.

Following a report on www.welovestornoway.com, one reader asked: “How about hiring extra staff for the night shift freight sailing then they could take more cars and passengers?

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is conducting a survey to gather views regarding the provision of play parks across the Western Isles.

The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/38QKPLR

The closing date for responses is Friday 28th July.

The Outer Hebrides is estimated to have had the highest population decline in Scotland over the last 12 months.

The population is estimated to have decreased over the last year primarily because of what’s known as ‘negative natural change’, which was -107, due to 336 deaths and 229 births.

HRH The Princess Royal is scheduled to visit Lewis next week. 
 
The Princess Royal will officially open the major extension of the Harris Tweed Hebrides mill in Shawbost, on Friday July 28.

Lewis Pipe Band have been given £1000 by community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust to help keep them in the championship game.
The band are heading for the Scottish Championships in Dumbarton on Saturday, July 29, and were relieved to have the equivalent cost of their coach hire covered by Point and Sandwick.

Three crofting townships in the Outer Hebrides are making a plea to their local MP to support their community development aspirations as they remain locked in battle with multinational giant EDF over the right to develop wind turbines on the common grazings used by the crofters.

The Western Isles already host a number of community-owned wind farms, including the UK’s biggest operated by the Point and Sandwick Trust outside Stornoway, which return £1 million a year profit back into the local communities to support social and environmental projects such as funding the local hospice, planting community woodlands, helping young people with special needs, etc.

The aim of the three townships plan is to develop similar community schemes on their common grazings with all the profit being similarly recycled back into the community.

Stornoway welcomed two new eateries this weekend as the Nice ‘n’ Chilled café at The Hub in Glen House, Willowglen Road opened, as did The Blue Lobster coffee and gift shop at Perceval Square.
The new venture of Jane Macritchie and husband Innes, The Blue Lobster offers a selection of barista coffees, teas, hot chocolate and soft drinks alongside delicious home bakes, from its location just off Perceval Square car park.
And the Lobster’s large windows not only create a bright and airy atmosphere, but offer stunning views of Stornoway harbour and across the water to Lews Castle.

Resurfacing work at Stornoway Airport is due to begin next month.

Breedon North have been announced as the preferred bidders for the £1.7 million contract, which involves resurfacing, drainage works and the upgrade of taxiway lighting to LED.

The total value of the contract, which is set to last for six weeks, is £1,695, 265, with the work prolonging the life of the taxiway, which leads to the runway, for another 15-20 years.

Western Isles Citizens Advice Service (WICAS) has entered the third week of its Scams Awareness Month, a campaign that aims to help people become more vigilant about fraud and scams.
“All of July we have been spreading the message to local people that they should spot, avoid and report scams,” said a WICAS spokesperson.
“We are now past the half-way mark of the campaign and we have already distributed information to lots of local people. Just by raising awareness of scams and making people more vigilant we believe we are saving local people from the misery and hardship that scams can cause.”

Bunting purchased by the Lewis Carnival Committee is currently being put up around Stornoway by Hebrides Alpha.

With a combination of funds raised by previous carnivals, money donated by the Stornoway Councillors, and a donation from the Stornoway Amenity Trust, the Lewis Carnival Committee were able to purchase the bunting to decorate the town for the next three weeks - for the Hebridean Celtic Festival and Carnival Week.

Hebrides Alpha offered their time and equipment as a donation to the cause.  

Fingers crossed the bunting is strong enough to survive the wind so it can be used for years to come! 

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) is inviting applications from residents of the rural communities covered by the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) contract to form a Community Board which will have the primary purpose of being a voice of the communities on strategic issues.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil plans to fight for the rights of refugee families when he presents his Private Members Bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday 19th July.

Mr MacNeil was one of 20 MP’s drawn in the Private Members Bill ballot which allows MP’s to bring forward their own piece of legislation.