AUTOPARTS on Island Road, Stornoway, are delighted to sponsor Ali (Nomie) Macleod’s rally car this season.

Ali’s Escort Mk3 BD3 rally car is very rare indeed in that it is actually a rear wheel drive Escort MK3.

Easter Market this Saturday at Castlebay Community School.

Get creative and enter the Decorated Easter Egg competition, just remember to boil or blow the egg before you get decorating! The competition has various gae groups so anyone can enter for the chance to win some great prizes.

If you would like a stall contact Sarah at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01871 817948.

Sailings are still disrupted today (Wednesday 17 April) due to ongoing ferry issues.

Local repairs have been carried out to MV Isle of Lewis, resulting in the ferry able to leave Castlebay pier to allow MV Clansman into Barra.

CalMac have said: "Information and details of the repair to MV Isle of Lewis have been passed to the relevant authorities and we are awaiting feedback on the options for bringing the vessel back into service, next update will be at 13:30 unless we have any information before then."

Meanwhile, the 13:30 sailing from Oban to Castlebay has been cancelled.

Customers booked on the cancelled 7:55am sailing from Castlebay to Oban have the option of travelling from Ardmhor to Eriskay (07:30) and then from Lochboisdale to Mallaig at 09:50 (subject to availability).

Customers booked on the cancelled 13:30 sailing from Oban to Castlebay have the option of travelling from Mallaig to Lochboisdale at 06:00 or 13:50 (subject to availability). For customers travelling on the 0600 sailing from Mallaig, there is the option of travelling from Eriskay to Ardmhor at 10:15, 13:00, 16:35, 18:30 and 19:35 (subject to availability). For customers travelling on the 13:50 departure from Mallaig, there is the option of travelling on the 18:10 and 19:35 sailings from Eriskay to Ardmhor (subject to availability).

For any foot passengers requiring transport from Oban to Mallaig, Lochboisdale to Eriskay & onward from Ardmhor are advised to contact the local office on 01631 700506 (option 2) to make arrangements.

Castlebay is this afternoon (Wednesday April 17th) no longer the focus of disruption on the CalMac network.

With very little advance notice, the Isle of Lewis ferry was returned to service and set off on additional sailing to Oban.

Protests were been made in southern Skye as ferry links from Mallaig to Armadale were cut back because the Lord of the Isles is operating extra services from Lochboisdale to Mallaig.

Meanwhile additional services were operating late into the evening across the Sound of Barra to link up with the Mallaig crossings. 

A helicopter involved in the NATO exercise Joint Warrior sparked an emergency this afternoon (Tuesday April 16th) as it headed for Stornoway Airport with engine trouble.

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The main ferry services from Castlebay – hit in quick succession by bad weather cancellations, the damage done when debris affected propellers and the latest “technical issue” – remain cancelled today (Tuesday April 16th)

Additional sailings are running across the Sound of Barra until late into the evening to connect to sailings to and from Uist via Uig and Mallaig.

MV Isle of Lewis is out of action today (Monday 15 April.)

The sailing originally planned at 1:30pm from Oban to Castlebay has been cancelled.

CalMac cite a combination of weather and technical issues as the reason for the closure.

As yet, it is unknown what is causing the technical issues. A Castlebay sailing had been cancelled earlier this month due to debris caught in the propellers.

The design of a memorial to Eilidh MacLeod has been unveiled.

It is hoped that the bronze sculpture, featuring a young bagpiper holding the hand of a learner player, will be established on Barra in 2020.  

The life-size sculpture was made by artist, Jenna Gearing, and was deliberately not based on Eilidh's own appearance.  The sculpture is said to be a visual representation of the love, unity, resilience and diversity encompassing Eilidh's life and home.  

 

Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team headed to Branahuie Bay today (Thursday 11 April) after reports that the hull of a possible upturned vessel had been spotted.

Representatives of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar met with OFGEM officials today (Thursday Aprill 11) as part of a ‘Final Needs Case’ consultation on a new interconnector to the Western Isles.

OFGEM has stated that they are ‘minded’ to recommend a 450MW cable whilst the Comhairle, developers and SSE have all made the case for a 600MW cable which would offer more capacity for exporting electricity from renewable energy schemes in the Islands.

The Comhairle outlined a robust case to OFGEM including projected figures of the amount of energy likely to be produced through renewable schemes in the next few years. OFGEM are also meeting with Developers during the consultation.

Lewis Wind Power (LWP) is in the process of transferring ownership of the 180MW Uisenis project to the Oppenheim family, owners of Eishken estate where the project is situated.

The firm says: "Although LWP will no longer own the project, we believe the Oppenheim family is in a strong position to realise the potential for a large scale wind farm at Uisenis.

"The change in ownership should not impact on the needs case for the new grid connection with the mainland.

A winter in Lewis and Harris has given charity walker Chris Lewis some of the best experiences of his life – and reminded him of the good to be found in human nature.

Chris told EVENTS newspaper last month that he had ‘fallen in love’ with the islands, their wildlife, landscape and the people who live here, after magical moments in the most extreme conditions.

And on Saturday night (April 13th) at 7.30pm in Stornoway Town Hall, people can come to hear hime talk about this and raise money for his chosen cause SSAFA, the armed forces charity.

More than 13,500 electricity supply customers across Lewis and Harris were affected by major power cuts yesterday evening (Tuesday April 10) - with mobile phone services also affected.

The first power cut began just after 8pm and lasted for an hour before power began to be restored gradually as night fell.

A major Bragar development is set to start after a contractor was appointed.

Urras Coimhearsnachd Bhràdhagair is Àrnoil (UCBA), the Bragar and Arnol Community Trust announced today (Tuesday 9 April) that O' Mac Construction Ltd, of Stornoway, will undertake the redevelopment of Grinneabhat.

Moor fires took hold in several places across Lewis and Harris yesterday afternoon (Tuesday April 9th) 

Drivers were asked by police at 5.20pm on Tuesday April 9th to please avoid the Pentland Road until further notice.

The road was blocked by fire engines due to a grass fire on the moorland on the Carloway side.  (Photograph by Callanish DD on Twitter, above)  The road was declared again open around 11pm

There's growing disquiet among rural GPs over the SNP Government’s new GP contract.

That's view of Highlands and Islands Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron who has questioned the Cabinet Secretary for Health about it.

He told Jeane Freeman that more than 9 out of 10 GPs would reject the contract if they had the chance.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have this morning (Tuesday 9 April) said via social media there will be no public bus services in Barra today or tomorrow due to a bereavement.

Hector MacNeil, former head of MacNeil coaches, has died.  He recently passed the reins onto his son, but naturally all the coaches are off today.

 

The public phone box on the Cross Skigersta road could be removed, if a proposal from BT goes ahead.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are encouraging members of the public to have their say on the proposed call box removal.

The Council has said it is minded to approve the proposal.

The Castlebay to Oban ferry sailing was being delayed today (Tuesday 9 April.)

CalMac reported that debris had been found in the vicinity of the ferry's propellers, resulting in the 07:55 sailing being disrupted.

Meanwhile there is a road warning for those travelling on Monday 22nd April to Friday 26th April.

‘The Western Isles remains your home’, is the message from Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil and MSP Alasdair Allan to all EU citizens living locally, amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

Last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made a commitment to EU citizens that Scotland remains their home - promising to continue making a strong case for their rights to be protected in any EU exit scenario.

Crossroads Harris say they were delighted to receive 'Excellent' grades in their recent Care Inspection Report for the tenth inspection in a row.  

Crossroads Harris is a Scottish Charity which provides respite care in the home to carers of ill, elderly people and people with disabilities and also provide support to vulnerable people living alone in isolated situations.  

It is affiliated to Crossroads Scotland and is registered with the Care Inspectorate, which carries out an annual inspection.  

An Clachan community shop in Leverburgh has reported a successful year of trading in 2018.

Chris Ross, who chairs Co-Chomunn na Hearadh, told shareholders:

“I’m pleased to report on what has been another very successful year for our community shop.”

An Clachan community shop in Leverburgh, south Harris, has reported a successful year of trading in 2018.

Chris Ross, who chairs Co-Chomunn na Hearadh, the community co-operative which controls the enterprise, told shareholders recently:

“I’m pleased to report on what has been another very successful year for our community shop.”

The first live streaming of the P/M Donald Macleod MBE Memorial Competition has been hailed a great success, with around 1,800 viewers tuning into the piping event from around the world.

Viewers of the competition, held in Stornoway on Friday, April 5 and sponsored by Point and Sandwick Trust, came from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

The Lewis and Harris Piping Society, who run the competition, believe the live audience in the Caladh Hotel was also bigger this year, particularly for the ‘light music’ in the afternoon, when the Garry Room had to be opened out at the back, to allow for extra seating.

The inaugural Lewis and Harris Local Industry and Jobs Fair was a huge success, says Anthony Standing, head of Skills Development Scotland for the North of Scotland.

Young people, parents and carers and adults across Lewis and Harris came together on Tuesday 26 March to find out more about career paths and opportunities across the Western Isles at a first-of-its-kind event for the area.

A casualty was evacuated from a visiting cruise ship near Stornoway earlier today (Saturday 6 April.)

The person was taken ill aboard the cruise ship, MS Astoria, which was anchored outside Stornoway Harbour during her visit.

The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) has been named as a finalist in three categories at the prestigious Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2019.

SSC is shortlisted in the Primary Producer of the Year, Business of the Year and Export Business of the Year categories at the annual awards which recognise the highest quality produce and producers in the thriving Scottish food and drink sector.

A new study on the most well-known geographical indication products has ranked Harris Tweed in the top 10 of British products, with the Outer Hebridean tweed being the only product in the ranking from outwith the food and drink sector.

The only other Scottish products in the top 10 were Scotch Whisky and Scotch Beef.

Harris Tweed was also rated as the product with the best customer perception with 45.1% surveyed ranking the product as ‘best in class’.  

A dog had a lucky escape this morning (Friday April 5) after a full-scale emergency turnout in the outer harbour area of Stornoway around 9am.

Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team, Stornoway RNLI Lifeboat and two Coastguard duty officers were involved

Ferry operator CalMac is backing Ullapool in its bid to win £38,000 of funding for its Winter Lights Festival.
Ullapool has been shortlisted for funding by the National Lottery’s People’s Projects and is looking for votes to secure the funding it needs.

The extent of empty homes and how these can be brought back into use is to be investigated by Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee.

National Records of Scotland data from 2017 has shown that 4% of the dwellings in Scotland are unoccupied and the Committee’s inquiry will investigate why.

A new study commissioned by Crown Estate Scotland provides a potential way forward for a more localised approach to offshore renewable energy deployment in coastal and island communities across Scotland.

The study, carried out by specialists Everoze, looked at six scenarios linked to a number of renewable technologies such as floating wind, wave, and tidal energy, and analysed how they could support the development of key industries, including whisky and salmon farming, in coastal locations.

A small fishing vessel ran aground on the east side of Sandray this morning (Thursday 4 April.)

The vessel, which had one person aboard, called Mayday.

The Barra lifeboat was launched to assist.

A local vessel towed the fishing boat back into Castlebay, and both were escorted by the lifeboat.

Traffic is now flowing again on the Lochs Road, south of Stornoway, following a car accident.

This follows a road closure around 11am which also affected the Pentland Road as traffic attempted to bypass the affected section of road near Creed Park industrial estate.

Local Coastguard teams have returned home after assisting with a missing person search on the Isle of Raasay.

Teams from Stornoway, Ness and Bragar joined in the search for missing 72-year-old, Alistair Lovie.

Disadvantaged young people living in seafaring communities are set to benefit from a £5,000 grant from ferry operator CalMac.
It has made the donation to the Sailors’ Orphan Society of Scotland to help fund their work. 
As well as supporting young people living in coastal towns, the charity is also committed to feeding, clothing and educating children of deceased seafarers.

The Hebridean Mustard Company based in Leverburgh is launching three new products, the company has announced.

Mustheb’s founder Heike Winter explains: “8-Pepper-Cèilidh is a pepper mustard. Black, green, white and pink peppercorns sway with allspice, cubebs, Bengal pepper and grains of paradise to the beat of the mustard.  

A search for a person threatening to enter the water near Stornoway Harbour took place late last night (Tuesday 2 April.)

It was reported that the male was on South Beach Street.

Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team and Stornoway RNLI searched the area around 11:15pm.  

Police officers located the man safe and well at home before midnight.  

Water supplies to HS2 postcodes are currently interrupted today (Wednesday 3 April).

Scottish Water have stated that a squad is carrying out emergency repairs in Back and hope to be finished early this afternoon.

A huge community effort for The Leanne Fund has raised £5,000 which will directly support those affected by Cystic Fibrosis.

Workplaces, schools and groups across the region held Rainbow Raiser events in aid of the charity which works to support young people and their families who are affected by the chronic lifelong condition through a range of services.

A number of ferry sailings tomorrow (Wednesday 3 April) are cancelled or liable to be disrupted.

All Ullapool to Stornoway sailings have been cancelled, however the early freight ferry service is still expected to run.

A number of ferry sailings tomorrow (Wednesday 3 April) are cancelled or liable to be disrupted. 

Sailings between Castlebay and Oban are cancelled. Sailings from Ardmhor to Eriskay are operating as normal.

Lochboisdale to Mallaig and Ullapool to Stornoway sailings have also been cancelled.

Were you born on 1 July 1999? If so, the Scottish Parliament is looking for you!

A search has been launched today (Tuesday 2 April) for anyone born on 1 July 1999, the same day that the Scottish Parliament was established.

Were you born on 1 July 1999? If so, the Scottish Parliament is looking for you!

A search has been launched today (Tuesday 2 April) for anyone born on 1 July 1999, the same day that the Scottish Parliament was established.

Horgabost beach is officially the best beach in the Western Isles.

Christine M Morrison's photo of the Harris beach (above) received 284 votes in the final of the Western Isles Weather Best Beach competition.

The beach fought off competition from Eilidh Mackenzie's Reef beach entry, Chris Dickinson's Hosta Beach photograph, Hayley McLay's image of Cula Bay in Benbecula and Jacqueline Murray's picture of Vatersay Beach. The finalists were the winners of earlier rounds where the favourite photograph was voted for each of the Outer Hebridean Islands.

Over 700 votes were cast by followers of the Western Isles Weather Facebook in the final and thousands in the competition itself.

Angus MacNeil has missed an indicative vote on Brexit after his flight was cancelled.

The MP was on a flight between Barra and Glasgow and had hoped to catch a flight from Glasgow to London yesterday (Monday 1 April.)

However, flights from the Western Isles were affected after airspace was restricted during a Joint Warrior military training exercise.  

Every household in the Galson and Carloway estates are eligible to receive free home energy audits.

The project comes from a partnership between Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh.

A car which was stolen from an address in Stornoway has been found and reported to police – 10 miles from its owners’ address.

The blue Renault Clio was taken from outside a home on Lewis Street some time between March 22 nd and Saturday morning (March 30th).

A café run in a community centre in Point celebrated its first birthday and official opening in one day on Saturday (March 30th), with a tremendous turnout of local supporters to share the occasion.

The first operational day of the international military exercise Joint Warrior was marked by a request for civilian emergency help this morning (Monday April 1st).

Stornoway Coastguard received a request for assistance from a military vessel operating in the Minch, after a crew member was injured on board.

Stornoway Coastguard helicopter R948 was tasked to airlift the man from his vessel and brought him to Stornoway airport, from where he was transferred into the care of Scottish Ambulance and onwards to Western Isles Hospital for treatment.

 

Coastguard Rescue Team members from Stornoway, Ness and Bragar have been asked to help with a major search, being co-ordinated from Portree in Skye, for a man missing on the Isle of Raasay.

After a sold-out run in Shetland, Orkney and Argyll, Scottish Ballet brings Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling to Stornoway on Thursday and Friday this week (May 3-4)

The performance is at Lewis Sports Centre but you have to head to www.lanntair.com to buy one of the remaining tickets.

Highland Fling follows the downfall of James, a young Scot with sex, love and rock and roll on his mind.

Lewis Wind Power is in the very early stages of exploring potential changes to its proposed wind farms at Stornoway and Uisenis, it announced today (30th April 2018).

These initiatives aim to make sure that the company looks at all the potential ways to boost the projects’ chances of winning future auctions for low carbon electricity.

The so-called Contract For Difference auction is predicted to take place before June next year, after a Government pledge last autumn to hold it in “spring 2019.”


George and Peppa Pig were joined by over 100 island youngsters for the first ever Stornoway Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Walk

More than 100 children took part in the first Stornoway Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Walk on Saturday (April 28th) raising more than £1,000 for Save the Children.
Starting and finishing at Bayhead Playpark, the island youngsters took on a half mile walk to Lews Castle Grounds, led by mascots Peppa and George Pig.
The walk was the idea of three year old Bethany Macleod from Stornoway, who is huge fan of Peppa Pig and wanted to do something to help children in need across the world.

Parked cars stretched down the road from playpark towards the football pitch at Eoropie in Ness recently as friends and families enjoyed Easter holiday fun at the Eoropie Dunes Playpark.

Yet despite being one of the busiest periods seen at the volunteer run community playpark, the contents of its donation box didn’t reflect the number of visitors.

“We want to encourage young families, but the amount in the donation box is always very, very low,” said Shona Morrison of GAIN, the voluntary group which run the playpark.

The Hebridean Celtic Festival is helping one of Scotland’s finest young ballad singers to take the Next Steps to stardom.

Iona Fyfe, 20, from Aberdeenshire, who combines contemporary folk music with traditional Doric and Scots songs, has a number of high-profile appearances under her belt, including performances at The Royal Albert Hall, Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom, Aberdeen Music Hall and a sell-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.

She has now won a coveted slot on HebCelt’s Islands Stage after winning the festival’s An Ath Cheum (Next Steps) contest, aimed at finding the best young artists or band, aged between 18 and 25, during the Year of Young People.

A series of announcements about the use of and teaching in Gaelic across Scotland were welcomed this week.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the principal public body in Scotland responsible for promoting Gaelic development, has welcomed:

  • the continued cross-party support for Gaelic as demonstrated in the Scottish Parliament debate on Tuesday 24 April
  • the announcement of funding for a third Gaelic school in Glasgow, and
  • backing for Faclair na Gàidhlig, the historical dictionary project.

A solemn ceremony took place by the war memorial at Melbost outside the gates of Stornoway Airport today (Wednesday April 25th) to mark Anzac Day, a key date in the history of Australia and New Zealand.

The event took place because 30 members and two helicopters from the Australian Navy are on exercise for two or three weeks with NATO partners based at the airport. The Australians were joined by local veterans and representatives of local uniformed organisations. Also present at the ceremony was Commander Jon Holroyd, the Commanding Officer of 820 Naval Air Squadron of the Royal Navy, which is hosting 816 Squadron.

The council on the Western Isles has hit out over the ferry crisis hitting isles' services.

The Chairman of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today (Wednesday April 25th)  called for the intervention of the Minister for Transport and the Islands to address significant and growing concerns associated with the performance of Transport Scotland and CalMac Ferries Ltd following a period of unprecedented non-weather-related disruption to ferry services across the Clyde and Hebrides network.

Uisdean Robertson said, “I have personally been inundated over the last several weeks by a huge amount of complaints regarding the levels of service, the extent of disruption and the lack of effective communications by CalMac. 

"The non-availability of a single vessel, the MV Clansman, has had wide ranging implications across the network.  I have received complaints from many members of the public and businesses in the Western Isles and I am aware that the implications have been felt in other communities elsewhere in the network”.

“The lack of resilience and of suitable spare capacity in the fleet is unacceptable and must be dealt with by the Minister as a matter of urgency. 

CalMac has reassured customers that despite unavoidable disruption due to vessel repair overrun, each of its 26 island destinations remain very much open for business.

But disruption is expected to continue until May 23.

The company says its priority has been responding to its customers and has handled over 12,500 calls during the last five days. 

Eight elite athletes from the Outer Hebrides are set to benefit from a scheme designed to support travel costs for island competitors, it was announced today (Tuesday April 24th).

Following the recent introduction of the pilot Islands Athlete Travel Award Scheme by sportscotland 8 local athletes from across the Islands will receive £1,500 to support their travel and accommodation costs in attending training and competitions. The overall aim of this scheme is to help gifted athletes from the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland to gain better access to competitive and developmental opportunities available on the mainland.

Applications were received from 22 individuals covering 7 different sports, highlighting the demand for increased support. The overall standard was high, making the selection process appropriately challenging.

The following athletes will receive an award: -

Gemma Macritchie Athletics
Scott Maciver Athletics
Matthew Hanlon Swimming
Isla Budge Swimming
Amie Ringstead Basketball
Rory Mighton Rugby
Chloe Nicolson Football
Matthew Wright Football

 

NHS Western Isles’ ‘Walk on Hebrides’ will receive £4,300 this year to improve access to Health Walks across the islands.

The walking project has been successful in an application to Paths for All’s 2018/19 ‘Walking for Health’ grant. Walk on Hebrides aims to provide Health Walks in communities across the Outer Hebrides, providing people with an opportunity to be physically active and improve their health through walking.

Karen Peteranna, NHS Western Isles Health Improvement Practitioner and Health Walk Coordinator for the Outer Hebrides, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our application.

The new CalMac Community Board is launching an initiative aimed at cutting the disruption caused by ferry failures in the CalMac fleet.

At their meeting held at Largs and Millport on 19th and 20th April, the Community Board was unanimous in delivering a strong message on behalf of their communities to CalMac's managing director, Robbie Drummond and other members of CalMac's management team.

Overwhelmingly the main concern was that measures being taken to deal with a recent vessel breakdown are failing to prevent major disruption which is bringing significant economic damage and having a detrimental impact on individual and family life in the Islands.

Leverburgh Crew, including Lifeboat Operations Manager and Deputy Launching Authorities, aboard the RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley 13-25

Leverburgh RNLI has welcomed its brand-new Shannon Class Lifeboat, RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley to the station.
The state-of-the-art
, £2.1m vessel arrived in Leverburgh at 1325 hours yesterday (Saturday April 21st), timed in recognition of the boat's side number 13-25.  

All Shannons are given the number 13, as they are 13m in length. The "25" in Leverburgh’s side number shows that their boat is the 25th Shannon to be built by the RNLI.

The arrival of the Shannon at Leverburgh RNLI brings with it a whole host of benefits to the life-saving capabilities of the station.

Complications during the repair to the propulsion system of CalMac’s MV Clansman means the vessel will now be out of service for longer than first anticipated, it was announced today (Thursday April 19th).
However, to minimise any disruption CalMac has agreed an extension to the MV Hebrides’ operating licence with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for a further three weeks.  It was due to enter dry dock. 
Parts of the Clansman’s propulsion system have had to be sent to Denmark for specialist repair. 

Researchers want to hear about tick bites to people and pets in the Outer Hebrides

Two public questionnaires have been launched as scientists seek the help of Western Isles residents as part of research into ticks found in Uist and the Lyme-disease causing bacteria they carry.
In a meeting at Balivanich Hall, Benbecula, this week, NHS Western Isles Health Protection and Screening Nurse Specialist Isabell MacInnes gave details about the awareness raising work that she and colleagues have been doing since launching the Western Isles Tick Awareness Programme last year.
The Programme was established to investigate concerns that the incidences of Lyme disease in Uists being far greater than that on neighbouring islands in the Outer Hebrides.

With less than half of Western Isles CalMac staff resident outside the island chain, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has called on the Scottish Government to ensure that jobs created for the islands are secured within the islands.
Valuable data regarding staff levels across the ferry company network was secured recently by the Comhairle and reveals that only 204 CalMac staff reside in the Outer Hebrides.
This is despite an estimate of between 350 and 455 staff being required at Outer Hebrides ports and on the ferries that serve the routes to and within the Outer Hebrides.

The Western Isles will be represented at the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle on Saturday 19 May by Kerry and Kirsty MacPhee from South Uist, it was officially announced today (Wednesday April 18th).

The sisters have established names for themselves at national and international levels with Kerry having participated in the Scottish, British and European Cycling Championships as well as the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and both have been competitors in the Island Games, representing the Western Isles.

Over 70% of Western Isles homes and businesses are now covered by superfast broadband – but there is still a lot of work to be done on broadband availability in the isles, says Outer Hebrides MSP Alasdair Allan.
Dr Allan today (Wednesday, April 18th) welcomed news that in the Western Isles, Government investment has led to more than 135 fibre cabinets being built, delivering superfast broadband access to more than 12,000 premises and covering around 71% of homes and business.
“More than 71% of homes in the Western Isles now have access to superfast broadband,” said Dr Allan, adding: “This figure was zero before this project started.”

Above: 1st Back Brownies who collected an incredible 90 kg rubbish which included old creels and a rusty old bike and lots of bottles and fishing line from Coll beach.

Volunteers across the islands took part in the Big Spring Beach Clean organised by Clean Coast Outer Hebrides, with 48 mini beach clean-ups and 142 people taking part. The group set a target of 1 tonne but estimates that 1.5 tonnes of rubbish was picked up over the eight days.

[gallery ID=10]

This follows successful beach cleans at Sandwick in Lewis, Hushinish in Harris, Balranald in North Uist and Vatersay and Barra - who also held a Great Nurdle Hunt! Future beach cleans will be organised by Clean Coast Outer Hebrides, who would like to encourage people to continue with their own mini beach cleans too.

This is the link to sign up to their mailing list- http://eepurl.com/dhQDkH, and their new email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Facebook page for anyone wanting more information

 

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Youth Champions, councillors Paul Steele and Norman MacDonald, have welcomed Loganair’s support for the Year of Young People 2018 (YOYP).

Loganair and local authority partners are searching the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney communities for 30 individuals who represent the ‘Spirit of Young People’.

Orkney, Shetland & Western Isles are to identify 10 young people between 8 – 26 years.

Outer Hebrides Tourism is calling on Scotland’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to intervene as the isles’ tourist industry suffers due to CalMac ‘juggling’ of ferry services.
Easy access for tourists to the Outer Hebrides is critical to the islands’ economy, says the group; but that those travelling to and from the Hebridean islands are suffering ‘yet again’ from CalMac’s juggling of ferries services due to ‘operational reasons’.
Outer Hebrides Tourism detail that in the few weeks since the start of the peak tourist season, capacity has been sacrificed at short notice from the ‘Uig triangle’ ferry route, with a vessel too small to even deliver an effective service for pre-booked passengers – and that the ‘Lord of the Isles’ ferry has been removed from the Mallaig-Lochboisdale route until further notice.

Connor on his new trike with classmates during the fundraising cycle event at Sgoil an Rubha.

Photo: Sandie Maciver/SandiePhotos

Inclusion was the watchword when Point and Sandwick Trust gave money to Sgoil an Rubha and Sandwick Learning Centre to help buy specialised cycling equipment for children with additional support needs.

Donating a total of £500, at Sgoil an Rubha, PST were helping pupil Connor Macleod, who received the gift of independent cycling from his classmates.

Western Isles politicians have welcomed today (Tuesday, April 17th) news of investment opportunities which will secure the future of the Arnish fabrication yard.

It follows an announcement that the Scottish Government has brokered an agreement between Canadian company JV Driver, through its subsidiary DF Barnes, and BiFab to support new opportunities at Arnish, as well as BiFab sites at Methil and Burntisland, for the fabrication and construction in the marine renewables and energy sector.

“We are delivering on the commitment I made last year that we would stand by BiFab and work to secure a long term future for the company,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.


Join Bethany at Bayhead Park on Saturday, April 28th, for the first ever Stornoway Peppa Pig's Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children

This Spring will see the return of the UK’s muddiest fundraising event for little ones – Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children.
And on Saturday, April 28th, children in Stornoway will have the opportunity to take part thanks to the idea from Peppa Pig superfan, three year old Bethany Macleod, from Stornoway.
“Bethany wanted to do something to help other children who are in need, those who don’t have enough to eat or somewhere safe and warm to live,” said Bethany’s mum Michelle.


Stornoway RNLI 'y-boat' ashore at the Shiants with the all-weather Severn class RNLI lifeboat 'Tom Sanderson' in the background. Photo: Stornoway RNLI

Stornoway RNLI lifeboat ‘Tom Sanderson’ and volunteer crew launched today (Monday, April 16th) to the aid of an injured person on the Shiant Islands.
The RNLI crew launched at 0915 hours to a report of a person on the Shiants who had suffered a head injury.
The local volunteer crew recovered the casualty from the island with the lifeboat’s inflatable ‘Y-boat’, before returning to Stornoway where they landed the casualty into the care of Stornoway Coast Rescue Team and members of the Scottish Ambulance Service.
The Stornoway RNLI lifeboat ‘Tom Sanderson’ was back alongside, refuelled and ready for service again by 1400 hours today.

A total of 45 riders took part in the Third Harris Tweed Cycle Ride from An Lanntair on Saturday 14th April.
 
Participants included a variety of different sizes and types of bike - including a unicycle - and were led by a musical cycle rickshaw. Sunny weather graced the event which included visits to various local retail outlets - including Charley Barley's.
 
Participants donned their finest Harris Tweed outfits - including one tiny canine participant - and stopping several times for light refreshments and Hebridean delicacies. "This is not a race," it was emphasised at the start.

One of the riders was former councillor and the present chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority, Norman L Macdonald, in a Blue Herringbone jacket. The Gensaidhe Buidhe for the best-dressed rider was awarded to Barbara Ziehm with her stylish Harris Tweed helmet.

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Despite a sunshine weekend, weather conditions are causing disruption to CalMac ferry services from Stornoway to Ullapool this week.
Customers travelling on the Ullapool-Stornoway passenger ferry route are advise to ‘Be aware’ as tomorrow’s sailings (Tuesday, April 17th) are liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice due to forecast high winds.
And the Lewis freight ferry (Ullapool to Stornoway) is also affected with tonight’s sailing (Monday, April 16th) at 10.30pm and tomorrow’s 3am freight service both facing disruption or cancellation at short notice due to forecast high winds.
For further information and service updates, please visit www.calmac.co.uk/service-status. 

Shopping baskets in the Tesco store in Stornoway are no longer available for customers.
An update on the shop’s Facebook page today (www.facebook.com/Stornowaytesco/) advises that baskets are no longer available due to theft – with around 15 baskets a week being stolen.
Stornoway Tesco said: “We are very sorry to say that we are unable to provide our customers with shopping baskets due to them being taken from the store.
“We are losing approx 15 baskets a week due to theft. We have more baskets on order, but they take six weeks to arrive.”
The store added: “If anyone has a basket, can you please return them to the store. No questions asked on return!”, and apologised to customers for any inconvenience caused.

Concerns about speeding are regularly raised by communities in the Highlands and Islands - and is also a contributing factor in many serious collisions.
With this in mind, local road policing officers will be supporting a national safety campaign next week which will raise awareness of the dangers of inappropriate speed.
The campaign - which runs this week (April 16th to 22nd) - will also target drivers using their mobile phones and not using their seatbelts.

Pictured: Iain Hepburn, head gamekeeper at Dunmaglass Estate & 
Alex McKinley, a Wildfire Tactical Adviser for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Gamekeepers are embracing the new Muirburn Code – and sharing their expertise with fire crews who battle wildfires across Scotland's countryside.

Sunday 15 April marked the official end of this year's muirburn season (1 October – 15 April) – a controlled burning technique which has been used for centuries on moorland to regenerate Scotland's famous purple heather on our hills whilst protecting against wildfires.

This season, estate owners and gamekeepers have been working to a revised Muirburn Code, launched by the Scottish Government in September 2017, and have been working in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to ensure that controlled burning is conducted safely and responsibly.

Controlled seasonal burning and cutting is one of the most effective means of reducing the risk of damage from wildfires by providing breaks in continuous moorland cover and reducing the fuel load.

Iain Hepburn, head gamekeeper at Dunmaglass Estate, part of the Loch Ness Rural Communities, and also a part-time firefighter with the SFRS, has been engaging with firefighters to share best practice when it comes to tackling wildfires on moorland.

There were congratulations for Andrew Hughson (above) on winning the Coffee Pot Shield DTL competition at The Harris Gun Club in Aline Forest yesterday (14 April 2018)

Two groups of young people will be doing a sponsored walk tomorrow, Saturday 14 April, to raise funds for a much needed new minibus for the Lewis and Harris Youth Association and Scaladale Centre.

At 9am one group of 17 young walkers will set off from Cameron Terrace and walk to the Scaladale Centre in Harris, the walk is expected to take at least seven hours! Meanwhile a second group of five will set off from Tarbert to also walk to the Scaladale Centre. Both groups will be joined by one of the centres instructors.

Sean Ziehm-Stephen, manager of the Scaladale centre said: "Please take care passing us and please donate."

The routes have been chosen as the most common drive for the now-retired bus that needs replacing, and it also highlights how necessary the bus is to get youth groups and all the equipment to the centre or to more remote areas for the range of activities which the centre runs. 

To donate visit the LHYCA Minibus Fund Virgin Money giving page which gives further details on why the bus is so needed:

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan is calling for Scottish Gaelic to be added to Duolingo, the world’s most popular online language learning service.

Duolingo’s 200 million worldwide users can choose to learn minority languages Welsh and Irish as well as fictional languages from Star Trek and Game of Thrones for free on the app - however, there are no Scottish languages currently on offer. 

In the first two years after the Irish language launched on Duolingo in 2014, 2.3 million people started learning Irish, averaging 3,000 new learners a day. Irish is reportedly one of the top ten languages on Duolingo.

The Scottish Government’s plans for legislative reform of crofting have now been outlined by Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity.

This follows on from The Consultation on the Future of Crofting Legislation which received responses up until 20 November 2017 and the subsequent analysis of the responses published on 21 March 2018.

Mr Ewing, commenting on the analysis report on 12 April 2018, said: “The results made for interesting reading  and the diversity of responses only highlighted the scale of the challenge ahead.

An announcement from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that they have “issued an Enforcement Notice on Advertised Delivery Restrictions and Surcharges” has been welcomed.

The measure comes as the ASA have ruled that adverts which “mislead on parcel delivery and surcharge practices” have been banned, forcing companies to be upfront with consumers from the outset as to how much they will need to pay in delivery costs for goods.

Companies who advertise free delivery on items, yet impose punitive charges well into the purchasing process will be slapped down by the ASA after the 31st May 2018, when the new rules come into effect.

Hebridean Housing Partnership are pleased to announce that they have awarded the following contracts as part of their 2018/19 investment programme:

  • 51 new kitchens to be installed by O’Mac Construction Ltd
  • 71 new gas heating systems to be installed by Alex Murray Construction Ltd
  • 56 new bathrooms with showers to be installed by Alex Murray Construction Ltd
  • 56 houses to receive new fencing to be installed by Alex Murray Construction Ltd

The successful contractors have now started surveying houses and works on site will soon follow.

Almost new Pair of all weather tyres 215 50 R17 

Price new £250, will sell pair for £125.

Phone:  07555 462 3

 

Parkinson’s UK is calling for businesses and organisations across Scotland to make life better for people living with Parkinson’s. Today (Wednesday April 11th) is World Parkinsons Day.

The charity has found that a lack of awareness of the condition and its symptoms can make everyday activities such as shopping and dealing with public services difficult.

Parkinson’s has more than 40 symptoms and many are little known among the wider public. Almost two thirds of people (64%) identify having a tremor as the symptom most commonly associated with Parkinson’s. But tremor is not experienced by everyone - and more than 12,000 people with Parkinson's in Scotland frequently experience other symptoms too.

One particularly distinguished guest at the competition this year's Pipe Major Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition was Rod Macleod, from Calgary. Rod –  who is pictured left with winner Angus MacColl and Kenny Dan Macdonald, one of the directors of Point and Sandwick Trust – has donated ‘memorial medals’ to the competition.

The 25th Pipe Major Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition was held in Stornoway last Friday (April 6) and hailed a great success.

It was particularly successful for piper Angus MacColl, who was crowned the overall winner of the competition, having come first in two out of three sections: Piobaireachd and also March, Strathspey and Reel. Craig Sutherland won the Hornpipe and Jig category.

Pipe Major Iain Murdo Morrison, who organises the competition, said Angus MacColl “really was playing well” – and that it had been “an absolutely brilliant” day. 

With local families and visiting tourists enjoying the Easter holidays and a forecast of fine weather ahead, Clean Coast Outer Hebrides are asking everybody to pitch in to help remove a ton or more of plastic from our beautiful beaches.

Teaming up with Surfers Against Sewage during their official Big Spring Beach Clean running April 7 to 15, the local campaign is encouraging all islanders and visitors to head out to the coast for a personal #MiniBeachClean.

On Saturday 7 April in Castlebay, a Beairteas Bharraigh community clean up filled a whole skip and they are hosting a Great Technicolour Nurdle Hunt (www.nurdlehunt.org.uk) on Saturday 14 April, while North Harris Trust are asking locals to help out with a beach clean at Outend Scalpay, also on 14 April.

There's been quick success in the fund-raising to pay for restoration work on a derelict house on James Street, Stornoway, which is being redeveloped at a mosque/community centre for the local Muslim community.
Less than a week ago a target of £50,000 was set  - and by the end of Saturday, a total of 1135 supporters had raised £54,669. Meanwhile, over the past few weeks the house has been cleared of debris and work is now progressing on creating new roof for the building.
 

Stornoway’s ‘The Lido’ restaurant– opposite the Town Hall in Cromwell Street – is in the running for a national award after a public poll.

The Molson Coors 7th annual Scottish Entertainment & Hospitality Awards received more nominations and votes than ever before with more than 5,000 venues taking part.

There are a whole range of categories and ‘The Lido’ – which was set up last year – is placed in the one for Newcomers.

The tourist industry in the Western Isles has a chance to win government funding for projects to assist local visitor services – but it has less than three weeks to think them up! (as of Saturday April 7, 2018).

The types of projects which can be supported include:

  • Parking and scenic lay-bys
  • Camping facilities
  • Waste disposal points (especially for camper vans)
  • Toilet provision
  • Essential improvement works to paths (where they alleviate visitor pressures)
  • Recycling points

The support comes from the Scottish Government’s £6million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF), formally launched on Friday 30 March.

The Harris Tweed Authority has won £25,000 in damages after a court battle with a chain of shops over the Harris Tweed trademark.

The statutory body established to safeguard the standard and reputation of Harris Tweed went to court after a retail chain infringed its registered marks.
 
The Authority launched the legal action following concerns that a number of retail outlets were using the Harris Tweed ® name and famous Orb device on the outside of their premises without permission, creating a false impression that the Harris Tweed Authority was in some way associated with the outlets.

More than half the target of £50,000 to help build the first mosque-centre in Stornoway has been raised on justgiving.com in just over two days.

Permission for the conversion of a derelict Stornoway house to a mosque and community centre for the Western Isles Muslim community was granted by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar  on Thursday, September 31st, 2017,  at a meeting of the local authority’s planning application committee.

The plans involves a long-disused house in James Street, adjacent to the former Church House premises of ND Macleod Ltd, which are soon to be the base for welovestornoway.com and EVENTS newspaper.

In a statement today (Thursday April 5) from An Lanntair regarding the outcome of its Sunday opening trial, the arts centre says it intends to begin opening on Sundays as soon as operationally possible.

An Lanntair recently ran three trial events to pilot Sunday opening of the arts centre, once a month from January to March.  

Each event included one cinema screening, access to the arts exhibitions and informal arts activities for children and families.  The aim of these trial events was to explore whether audiences would like to see the arts centre open on Sundays, to further An Lanntair's audience research into this question.

The Crofting Commission look forward to working with Scottish Government and other stakeholders to take forward crofting legislation reform. 

The practical approach outlined by the Cabinet Secretary will enable the necessary improvements of phase one to be made in this Parliamentary Session, with more complex issues being held over to a second phase, it says

In particular the Commission welcome the opportunity to work with the Scottish Government in developing a New Entrants Scheme for crofting and to discuss a future promotional role for the Commission itself.

Local people are being called by an HMRC scam caller - imitating a similar campaign being run the USA alleging to be related to the IRS. 

Stornoway-based accountants Mann Judd Gordon report today (Thursday April 5th):

"We had a client calling yesterday as a result of a phone call they had received supposedly from HMRC.

 Stornoway Harbour showing a visualisation of the proposed deep water berth

The public will have a chance to help shape plans for major developments at Stornoway Harbour that will bring significant benefits to the town.

An exhibition on Tuesday 24 April, between 10am-6pm at Stornoway Town Hall will set out the proposals and the methods being used by the Stornoway Port Authority to assess the environmental impact of the projects.

At a second exhibition, on Monday 4 June between 10am-6pm at the Town Hall, the Authority will explain how the proposals have evolved since the first consultation event and provide information about the environmental impact assessments.

Students from the Outer Hebrides and Shetland are about to embark on an exciting inter-island creative industries placement, giving them a great new opportunity to learn and develop their creative practice in a different and inspirational environment.

Devised to encourage collaboration between the creative talent of the Northern and Western Isles, An Lanntair’s Between Islands initiative has produced a number of innovative ventures to date. These have included two musical projects – with a third due to premiere at the Hebridean Celtic Festival this July – and the publication of a book of short stories.

Earlier this year An Lanntair Arts Centre, creators of the Between Islands project, put out a call for film or textile students from across the Western and Northern Isles to apply for this pioneering inter-island exchange scheme. 

Norman A MacIver has been elected to chair the Stornoway Trust.

On Tuesday 3rd April 2018 Trustees of the Stornoway Trust attended the statutory post Election meeting of Trustees, convened to formally declare and accept the five recently elected Trustees and to appoint a Chairperson for the next three years.

West coast ferry operator CalMac has teamed up with 14 conservation bodies in a bid to better protect the environment it sails in.The company’s new Marine Awareness Programme outlines specific actions it will take to help passengers get the most from the environment they are travelling through and to better understand the wildlife in its area of operations.

Speaking at the launch of the Programme, CalMac’s managing director, Robbie Drummond said:‘Knowledge is a major part of protecting the environment for future generations.

"By finding out what wild resources we have, we are in better position to take steps to help conserve them. Our commitment to the monitoring, education and information sharing activity outlined i n this Programme will help ensure we continue to build knowledge about the seas we sail.’

‘The marine environment we work in is among the most diverse in the world, supporting over 6,500 complex and 40,000 single cell species of plants and animals. Our seas are among the richest in Europe for marine mammals. Scotland holds about 70% of Europe's population of grey seals and 35% of common seals along with numerous species of whales, dolphins and porpoises and seabirds.’  

Actions outlined include using CalMac vessels to undertake marine biodiversity monitoring, passenger engagement and education to raise marine environment awareness with both visitors and locals and to facilitate better information sharing between conservation agencies.

CalMac’s 14 partners are Scottish Natural Heritage, Marine Scotland, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, British Divers Marine Life Rescu e, British Trust for Ornithology, Capturing Our Coast, Field Studies Council Millport,Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, MARINElife, ORCA, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network, Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

‘CalMac understands how important the environment we work in day to day is to our communities. The natural environment and the wildlife within it are central to attracting visitors and helping to grow the economies within the areas we serve.

‘We want to help stimulate this economic growth wherever we can by delivering reliable services that people want to use. However, it crucial that we balance this with protecting the very environment that is the driver of this growth. Our new Marine Awareness Programme is a first step in this direction,’ added Robbie.

There is more information and regular updates on the Marine Awareness Programme website.

A tree of thumbprints representing past, present or future midwives in Scotland - known as the Tree of Life - recently visited the Western Isles Hospital, where local midwives added their own prints to the tree.

Heather Gilchrist a second year MSc Student Midwife, launched the UWS (University of the West of Scotland’s) Tree of Life Campaign during her recent remote and rural placement in Dunoon.

Maternity staff from Western Isles Hospital recently hosted an afternoon tea for members of a local knitting group, who donate knitted garments to the Maternity Department for a number of years.

The knitting club, based in Trust Housing on Matheson Road in Stornoway, knit hats, gloves, boots and cardigans for the department; all much appreciated by local mums and babies, especially premature babies who need to be kept extra cosy because of their inability to regulate their own temperatures.

A major meeting took place this week about prospects for the UK Space programme having its launch base in the Western Isles.

Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil, together with representatives from Hebrides range operator QinetiQ and the Leader and officials from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, yesterday (Tuesday April 3rd)  welcomed Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP to Uist to discuss the possibility of having a spaceport located in the Hebrides.

Angus MacNeil MP said:“Uist is the lead site in the UK for a vertical take-off facility to be located…not least because of the local expertise which could launch and successfully guide monitor and control such a rocket. 

A great opportunity for anyone working with young people.

Get in touch with Community Learning Hebrides by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 01851 822716 to book your slot, the closing date to join this course is April 10th.

Emergency services were racing out of Stornoway towards Point on two occasions yesterday (Monday)   Pictured above is the major deployment of fire and rescue vehicles sent to Lower Bayble after wind caught a moorland fire and turned it into a blaze which, at one point, it was feared would spread over the hills to Swordale.   The firefighters brought the blaze under control in the early evening.

Ferry operator CalMac is making further changes to its West Coast services in order to absorb on-going capacity issues resulting from the MV Clansman still in dry dock.

CalMac will be redeploying these vessels to the following routes:

  • MV Hebrides will return to Uig-Tarbert/Lochmaddy tonight and will commence service tomorrow (Tuesday)
  • MV Lord of the Isles will be redeployed to Oban to carry out Oban-Coll/Tiree and Colonsay services
  • MV Hebridean Isles will be redeployed to Lochboisdale to carry out daily Lochboisdale-Oban service

Meanwhile the Clansman is awaiting the return of her propulsion unit sent to Denmark for repairs.

Pupils from The Nicolson Institute headed off from Stornoway Airport this afternoon (Monday April 2nd) for another in the series of US exchanges which began in the 1990s

Confusion, delays and cancellations have enveloped the Bank Holiday ferry services from Tarbert and Lochmaddy which are temporarily being undertaken by the Hebridean Isles ferry, dating from 1985

Isles MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil has contacted Caledonian MacBrayne because of what he termed “the acute situation with the ferry service from Uig to Lochmaddy.”

Mr MacNeil has raised a number of suggestions with CalMac which he believes could help get the MV Hebrides back on the route. 

The Gambia Partnership fundraising shop has moved! It has vacated the temporary premises on North Beach and moved to Church Street opposite Artizan Coffee shop and next to the Colour Centre.  It is opening for the first time today (April 2, 2018)  The formal address is 7-9 Church Street.   It is to be open 11 am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. All funds are spent directly in the Gambia to assist with their schooling project there.

As its summer timetables came into force, CalMac Ferries warned of breakdowns and delays ahead as its ageing ferry fleet faces ever-growing problems finding parts to make essential repairs.

The average age of the ferries serving its routes is just under 22 years old and CalMac’s fleet will again be stretched to its full capacity over the summer months, the firm says.

Any issues with a vessel on one part of the network will have knock-on effects for other routes, as boats need to be diverted or deployed elsewhere to keep the network running.

Today An Lanntair is holding its Fèill Ceáird is Còcairachd: Craft and Cookery Festival – a FREE festival throughout An Lanntair’s building offering a fabulous tour of food and craft from the diverse island communities of the Outer Hebrides.

 

 

 

 

Brue Common Grazings

Formal intimation under the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 

Notice is hereby given that Urras Sgire Oighreachd Bharabhais Community Company has applied to the Scottish Land Court for an Order authorising resumption of 0.03 hectares of the common grazings of the township of Brue.  The purpose of the resumption is to sell the said area to Mr Iain MacRitchie, 7 Merlin Crescent, Inverness, IV2 3TE, to regularise the position whereby the said area is being used as garden and amenity ground for the dwellinghouse 19B Brue.

On 22nd March 2017 the Court appointed this intimation by newspaper advertisement and ordered the Applicant to send to the Clerk to the Grazings Committee copies of the Application, associated productions and the Court’s Practice Note No. 4 (which emphasises the need for crofters to protect their own rights).  The Court ordered any shareholder or other person having a legal interest who opposes the Application or who wishes to claim compensation or a share in value of the land to be resumed, to lodge Answers, including details of any such claim, with the Principal Clerk, George House, 126 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4HH within fifteen days from the end of the period covered by this edition of Events.  Copies of the Application, productions and Practice Note have been sent to Mr Kenneth A. Matheson, Seabhal, 19 Brue, Isle of Lewis, HS2 0QW and these documents may be inspected either there, at the Court’s offices in Edinburgh, or at the offices of the Agents.  Copies of the Practice Note may also be obtained from the Principal Clerk (Tel:  0131 271 4360). It should be noted that any further Orders of the Court, including the Final Order, will be intimated to those persons who have lodged answers to this advertisement and to the Clerk to the Common Grazings Committee.  Copies of any further Orders may be obtained from the Principal Clerk upon request.

Messrs Anderson MacArthur Solicitors

Old Bank of Scotland Buildings

Stornoway

Isle of Lewis

HS1 2BG

(Agents for Urras Sgire Oighreachd Bharabhais Community Company) 

of which intimation is hereby made.

Scotland’s population continued to increase between 2015 and 2016 – but the increase is uneven and the population of the Western Isles is falling faster than anywhere else in the country.
This is because of natural population decline – an excess of deaths over births – combined with a fall in the number of people moving into the Islands.  This reverses the positive trend seen between 2001 and 2011.
The population of Na h-Eileanan Siar was down 0.63 per cent between 2015 and 2016 according to statistics published this week by the National Records of Scotland (NRS).

We have a whole host of job vacancies looking to be filled on welovestornoway.com, with five new posts added this week! Click on the job titles below for more information.

Hebrides Travel are seeking a confident Modern Apprentice with good admin and numeracy skills to join their team from June, for 3 or 4 days per week.

Calmax Construction Limited in Newmarket, Stornoway, are recruiting a Machine Operator.

The County Hotel in Stornoway requires an experienced Shift Manager for their busy bar and restaurant.  The candidate should be flexible, with a positive attitude and excellent communication skills.

Crossroads Lewis are looking for Care Attendants to join their dedicated team.  The posts offer good rates of pay with flexible hours, and training and mileage costs will be covered.  Applicants must have a full driving license and their own vehicle.

Travellers now have more help at hand to plan their Outer Hebridean holidays thanks to the publication of the first ever guide book to focus on these islands alone.

Bradt's new guide to the 'Outer Hebrides: The Western Isles of Scotland, from Lewis to Barra' by experienced writer and journalist Mark Rowe is the only full-size guide to focus solely on the islands of Lewis and Harris; St Kilda; North Uist; Benbecula; South Uist; Eriskay; Barra, and Vatersay.

Rowe, and environmental and outdoor journalist, first visited the Outer Hebrides in 1990 when using up the last few days of an Inter-Rail ticket.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has recorded an introduction as part of a new digital recreation of St Kilda.

St Kilda has been painstakingly recreated on the best-selling videogame Minecraft as part of Scotland-wide World Heritage Day celebrations. This will give gamers the opportunity to explore the archipelago with ever having to step foot there. It will also form part of the learning resources available in both English and Gaelic to Scotland’s schools.

Lews Castle, by Natural Retreats

Lews Castle is proving the place to be today (Friday, April 28th) as island residents and visitors enjoy the opportunity to look around the new luxury accommodation on offer by operators Natural Retreats.

And today there is also a chance to win a free stay for four in Lews Castle by taking part in the Open Day raffle, in support of the RNLI and Bethesda Nursing Home and Hospice.

Opening its doors at 10am this morning, the Castle staff have been kept busy throughout the day with a huge number of visitors, from old to young, excitedly exploring the new look Castle with a selection of the 23 bedrooms planned ready for viewing.

Rooms will remain open to the public until 9pm tonight; and from 4pm there will be displays of Highland Dancing and entertainment from local school choirs, as well as free welcomes drinks and canapes to deliver A Taste of Stornoway until 8pm. And the Lews Castle whisky bar will be open until 1am tonight for visitors and guests.

People in Lewis and Harris with an interest in mental health and in dementia are invited to come along to a World Café event.

You can meet with the team who are redesigning mental health services across the Western Isles and talk with them about what the redesigned services will mean for you.

 

 

 

Angus MacNeil MP with John Murdo Macdonald, Volunteer, St Andrew’s First Aid

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil, after working to assist, has welcomed the introduction of St Andrew’s First Aid Volunteers in the islands to provide Event First Aid.

Last year the British Red Cross took the decision to withdraw from providing Event First Aid in the Western Isles.  Now with the help of St Andrew’s First Aid, volunteers are now able to continue to provide this service.

The winning Sgoil a'Bhac team with Stornoway Rotary President Gavin Woods and Rotarian Kenneth MacDonald

Sgoil a’Bhac were the victors of Stornoway Rotary Club’s Primary School Quiz, held at the Nicolson Institute last night (Thursday, April 27th).

The quizzing pupil of Back now have the chance to go through to the Rotary Area Heat held in Balintore on Saturday, May 6th, and if successful, onto the Highland Final in Aberdeen in June.

In second place last night were Sgoil nan Loch, followed by Laxdale Primary School in third.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has introduced the likes of cullen skink pie, smoked salmon bagels and vegetarian haggis nachos to its menu. 

Served in the Mariners cafés on board its major ships, the food has become a firm favourite with customers – regular travellers and excited tourists alike – as offering great taste, value for money and supporting Scottish produce. 

An appeal – carried on welovestornoway.com – for craftspeople and makers to contact the Stornoway Airport shop about putting their products on sale there has produced great results, says Donald Martin who runs the shop.

Within a few days, several local producers had their products on sale at the airport for the first – and had made their first sales. “There’s some very nice stuff come through,” said Mr Martin.

But he is still looking for more potential craftspeople to join the throng on the main display shelves.

There are no plans to close the Stornoway airport control tower, it was stated today. 

Reports had suggested that HIAL were considering centralisation of Air Traffic Control by relocating the operation to a 'virtual tower' on the mainland.

The late Rev Dr Iain D. Campbell, who passed away in January

Elements of the moral conduct of the late Rev Dr Iain D. Campbell were 'seriously inconsistent with that expected of a Christian minister'.

This was the finding of the Western Isles Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland, who convened in Stornoway yesterday.

Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP) is now an accredited Living Wage Employer.

HHP join Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd, Lewis Builders, OnTime Computing, and Living Wage MSP Alasdair Allan in their commitment to pay the living wage of £8.45 per hour.

The living wage is significantly higher than the government minimum wage of £6.70, and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.50 per hour.

Full-time employees earning the real Living Wage earn up to £2000 per year more than those on the government minimum.

The real Living Wage is an hourly rate, calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK. Employers choose to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis.

WIIGA chair Norrie Tomsh, left, accepts the £1,000 donation from Angus McCormack, chair of Point and Sandwick Trust

Community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust have made it easier for a group of athletes to represent the Western Isles on the world stage this summer with a donation of £1,000.

The donation was made to the Western Isles Island Games Assocation (WIIGA), who are sending a squad to compete in the NatWest Island Games in Sweden in June. 

Norrie ‘Tomsh’ MacDonald, chair of the local games association, was delighted to receive the donation recently from Point and Sandwick Trust chairman Angus McCormack. 

The St Andrew’s First Aid charity is stepping into the gap left on Lewis and Harris by the withdrawal last May of the British Red Cross from providing First Aid cover in the Islands.
The organisation was formed in 1882 as St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association by doctors and businessmen in Glasgow who were concerned with the number of people being injured in the industrial city.

The Cafe facility at Lewis Sports Centre will be closed for good unless it is taken over by independent operators.

The Ionad Spors Leodhais Cafe was in its end being run by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, but closed on March 31st due to financial constraints.

“The Cafe as it was was unable to break even,” said a council spokesperson, adding: “A decision was taken by the Comhairle that the cafe will not be operated by the Trading Operation again.”

Award winner, Mary Gillies, with her husband, John Angus, and children, Jonathan (19), Joanna (17) and David (2)

The first Gaelic Writing for Children Award has been presented to a Western Isles resident, Mary Gillies.

The competition received entries from across Scotland, as well as an entry from Canada.

Mary’s submission - a Gaelic story for 5 to 8-year-olds - beat off the competition to win the award.

Along with a £500 prize, Mary also receives the opportunity to have her manuscript considered by Acair Books, with a view to getting it published.

   

Frances and Michelle

NHS Western Isles has announced Frances Robertson, Senior Charge Nurse at Western Isles Hospital’s Surgical Ward, and Michelle Cameron, Staff Nurse at Ospadal Uibhist agus Bharraigh, as its latest successful graduates for Cohort 7 Dementia Champions.

Over the last nine months Frances and Michelle have committed time and effort to completing the course, which expands the NHS Western Isles team of Dementia Champions to 11 situated across the islands.

In conjunction with NHS Western Isles, Tommy Whitelaw from the ALLIANCE Dementia Carers Voices will be hosting a series of events in the Outer Hebrides aimed at raising dementia awareness for people with dementia and their carers.

Tommy, who lives in Glasgow, was a full-time carer for his late mother Joan who had been diagnosed with vascular dementia. Through supporting his mother, he became a well-known national campaigner raising awareness of the issues surrounding dementia.

He said: “My motivation as a carer came from the love I had for my mum and I would do it all again in a heartbeat, but my experience has shown me just how tough it is to live with dementia and how many struggles it can bring.

The Epic Award winning Barra Bunting will be on display for the festival

A free food festival offers a fabulous tour of food and craft from diverse island communities throughout the Outer Hebrides this weekend.

An Lanntair arts centre launches its Fèill Ceáird is Còcairachd: Craft and Cookery Festival on Saturday, April 29th, taking place from 12pm to 4pm.

During the festival visitors will be able to sample world cuisines from the Minch to Mumbai in a fun filled day of cooking demonstrations, food tasters and Hebridean craft stalls, highlighting the quality of handmade crafts to be found on a journey through the islands.

Isles MP Angus MacNeil  has been contacted by more than 40 constituents who say they have been denied access to Scottish Gas’ cheapest advertised tariff, in the ongoing row between Scottish Gas and its island customer base.

Last month, following a complaint by his constituent - Derek McPherson of Fernlea Guesthouse, Stornoway - Mr MacNeil revealed that he had evidence that island LPG customers were being denied access to advertised tariffs enjoyed by mainland customers.

Scottish Gas has now admitted that Mr McPherson’s failure to access such tariffs may not, as it originally claimed, be an isolated case. In a letter to Mr MacNeil, Scottish Gas has conceded that its call-handlers may have given the wrong advice to island customers regarding these advertised tariffs.

Scotland’s blue badge scheme has been extended to allow people who may have difficulties and pose a risk to themselves or others in traffic to get a badge, provided they meet eligibility criteria.

People who think they might be eligible are being invited to contact their local authority.

The blue badge scheme provides an essential service for disabled people, allowing parking access that can often make the difference as to whether disabled people live their lives as fully as they can.

A whole range of jobs are available in Stornoway and the surrounding areas – all in the vacancies section of welovestornoway.com!
For instance, the Group Practice Health Centre, Stornoway, is recruiting to the following full time posts:  Practice Manager; Medical Receptionist; and Healthcare Assistant.
http://www.welovestornoway.com/index.php/jobs-westside/6512-job-vacancies-the-group-practice

Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) – which is the local Energy and Development Agency for the Western Isles – is seeking a part-time receptionist (22.5 hours p/w)
Mon-Fri - 12:30 pm - 5.00 pm

Outdoors at last!  The Stornoway Bowling marked the start of the new summer season with an initial event at their club premises on Bayhead last night (Friday April 21st).  The club spent the winter months with the indoor version of the sport inside Ionad Spòrs Lèodhas - and now with around 50 active members they are looking forward to a new season - and would be happy to welcome new members.

The first ever Gaelic travelogue is to be officially launched at an event in Ness next Thursday.

Author Maureen Macleod, who is a producer of the BBC Alba’s current affairs programme Eòrpa, will read extracts of her new book 'A Toirt Mo Chasan Leam', roughly translated as 'Taking My Feet With Me'.

A hustings meeting will take place tonight in Uig Community Centre.

The meeting will hear from all four Sgir' Uige agus Ceann a Tuath nan Loch candidates - Ranald Fraser, Norman A. Macdonald, Donald Cudig Macleod, and Angus Morrison. 

Proceedings start at 7.30pm.

 

 

 

Lews Castle College UHI is facing a decrease in funding of around 4.8 per cent for 2017-18, due to a drop in student numbers.

In a report just published, Audit Scotland has highlighted the College's under-recruitment of further education students against targets during 2015/16.

The report clearly states that the College is not in immediate financial difficulty and the accounts have been given a clean bill of health.

Notice is hereby given that Urras Sgire Oighreachd Bharabhais Community Company has applied to the Scottish Land Court for an Order authorising resumption of 0.03 hectares of the common grazings of the township of Brue.  The purpose of the resumption is to sell the said area to Mr Iain MacRitchie, 7 Merlin Crescent, Inverness, IV2 3TE, to regularise the position whereby the said area is being used as garden and amenity ground for the dwellinghouse 19B Brue.

On 22nd March 2017 the Court appointed this intimation by newspaper advertisement and ordered the Applicant to send to the Clerk to the Grazings Committee copies of the Application, associated productions and the Court’s Practice Note No. 4 (which emphasises the need for crofters to protect their own rights).  The Court ordered any shareholder or other person having a legal interest who opposes the Application or who wishes to claim compensation or a share in value of the land to be resumed, to lodge Answers, including details of any such claim, with the Principal Clerk, George House, 126 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4HH within fifteen days from the end of the period covered by this edition of Events.  Copies of the Application, productions and Practice Note have been sent to Mr Kenneth A. Matheson, Seabhal, 19 Brue, Isle of Lewis, HS2 0QW and these documents may be inspected either there, at the Court’s offices in Edinburgh, or at the offices of the Agents.  Copies of the Practice Note may also be obtained from the Principal Clerk (Tel:  0131 271 4360). It should be noted that any further Orders of the Court, including the Final Order, will be intimated to those persons who have lodged answers to this advertisement and to the Clerk to the Common Grazings Committee.  Copies of any further Orders may be obtained from the Principal Clerk upon request.

 

Messrs Anderson MacArthur Solicitors
Old Bank of Scotland Buildings
Stornoway, Isle of Lewis HS1 2BG
(Agents for Urras Sgire Oighreachd
Bharabhais Community Company)
of which intimation is hereby made.

Political parties in the Western Isles are working round the clock to source candidates for the General Election on Thursday June 8.

And, it would appear, some are having more success than others.

The deadline for nominations is Thursday May 11 – one week after the local government elections on Thursday May 4.

So what’s the latest from the parties expected to field candidates here in the Western Isles?

Simon Wetherell, Co-op Director of Facilities Management; Divisional Managing Director John McNeill; Chrisetta Mitchell, The Leanne Fund; Macaulay Road Store Manager, Steven Cooper and Cromwell Street Store Manager Steven Macphail

The Leanne Fund wishes to extend a huge THANK YOU to Co-op customers in Stornoway who have helped raise more than £12,000 for the charity.

As the foremost Cystic Fibrosis (CF) charity in Scotland, The Leanne Fund works with individuals affected by CF and their families across the Highlands, Islands and Grampian to provide vital social, practical, emotional and financial assistance.

The Co-op’s Local Community Fund has allowed Co-op members to support the charity while doing the weekly shop with 1% of spend on Co-op branded products going to the charity, along with money raised from carrier bag sales.

Chrisetta Mitchell, Development Manager for The Leanne Fund said: “We are so grateful to the Co-op and its Members who have raised such a phenomenal amount of money which will make such a difference to the lives of young people with CF.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has written to Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to ask for an urgent update on the future support for island renewables. 

The UK government’s consultation on whether Remote Island Wind projects should be subsidised ended on 31st January.  Following yesterday’s announcement that a General Election will be held on 8th June, concerns have been raised as to what this will mean for island renewables.

As part of MG ALBA’s strategy to provide training and support for Gaelic writers, the Gaelic Media Service (MG ALBA) is offering talented Gaelic writers the opportunity to apply for its coveted scholarship to study television fiction writing at Glasgow Caledonian University.

The MA Television Fiction Writing course is the only dedicated one year postgraduate programme of its type in the UK, providing aspiring screenwriters with the tools to embark upon or strengthen their career in television fiction writing, and MG ALBA are supporting a placement on the course for one Gaelic speaker.  

An option to undertake the course on a part-time basis over two years is also available.

Isles FM presenter Kathleen Maciver accepts a cheque for £2,000 from Simon Pearson, from Lewis Electronics

Isles FM is back on air, and volunteer presenters are delighted to get back to work after a tense wait for funding was finally ended last week.

A £2,000 donation from Lewis Electronic Trade Services Ltd tipped the scale on the funding, with generous donors responding through Justgiving to hit a target of £8,000.

Museum nan Eilean is preparing an exhibition marking the passing of one hundred years since the tragic sinking of the Iolaire on January 1, 1919.

The exhibition will run from late 2018 until early 2019 in the new museum at Lews Castle and is part of a larger series of events by a number of organisations recognising the centenary of the disaster and its impact on the people of the Outer Hebrides.

Commenting on today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that she intends to seek a General Election on June 8th, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil said: “It is a great privilege to serve the people of Na h-Eileanan an Iar in Parliament and I would hope to be re-elected if a snap General Election takes place on June 8th.

“This is a panicked announcement by Theresa May, she knows she isn’t going to get a deal on trade with Europe which means for our crofters, any exports of lambs to Europe will incur a 20% tariff and any fish and shellfish will see a 12% tariff.

“She is doing this so she doesn’t have to face the public after Brexit negotiations when she has nothing, so she is cutting and running now.

Highlands and Islands Tory MSPs should 'stop acting as mere mouthpieces for the UK Government', and show the courage to oppose the Tory Government’s 'shocking and inhumane rape clause'.  

This was stated today by Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan. 

The hugely controversial 'rape clause' limits tax credits to only two children per family – unless the mother can prove that a third child was conceived as a result of rape.

Ballot papers for postal voters in the Western Isles have started arriving on doormats, ready for the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar election on Thursday 4 May.

Malcolm Burr, Returning Officer for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, is reminding postal voters: “For this election you must vote using numbers. You will need to number the candidates in order of preference using 1, 2, 3 and so on – you can make as many or as few choices as you wish.

Stornoway firm ‘Wee Studio’ is to open a brand new recording studio in Benbecula.

The new studio is called ‘Wee Studio’s Bunker’ and is to be housed within the East Trust's nuclear bunker. 

The studio will be directly connected to Wee Studio in Stornoway via internet connection.

St Peter's Episcopal Church on Francis Street was broken into over the Easter weekend.

A small padlock was removed from the donation box inside the porch entrance, and money was taken.

Taking a quick..ish scoot around the Western Isles will take on a whole new meaning after a new exploit by grandmother Dinah Bosomworth.

For the 52 years old plans to do just that, travel the Western Isles – not to mention Isles of Skye and Mull as well - on a two-wheeled scooter!

Starting on Thursday (April 20) the grandmother-of-four, together with a bright orange kick-scooter nicknamed Nerys will depart from Oban before making her way from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis on The Hebridean Way.

As part of their 10-year celebrations, UOG are running a series of monthly evening talks in partnership with University of the Highlands and Islands. 

The next talk for April will be by Catriona Murray on the topic "UHI Talk: The Gaelic Community and the Other World: Folklore and Customs". In this talk Catriona will be exploring the connections between the Gaelic community and the supernatural world, through the religion, folklore and customs of the area. 

It will take place at UOG Business Centre, South Galson, on Tuesday 25th April, 7:30pm. 

All welcome.Free admission, no booking necessary. Tea & coffee provided.

There are jobs on offer from businesses and enterprises in many fields in Stornoway at the moment – all advertised on http://www.welovestornoway.com/index.php/jobs

For instance, there’s a need for a Quality Controller at the Scottish Salmon Company in Marybank. 

Hebridean hen and stag parties are being taken to another level, thanks to the launch this week of a new dancing venture – ‘Hitched and Highlands’.

Run by professional dancer Alexandra Jones and Anna Macaulay, Hitched and Highlands offer bespoke dancing packages for clients – so for instance, if a hen party wanted to recreate scenes from ‘Grease’, Alexandra and Anna will provide a tailor-made routine.

Work has finally begun to extensively restore the Lewis War Memorial.

The £230,000 project had been due to start this time last year, but was put on hold after the company who were awarded the tender went bankrupt.

Another company has now been contracted to undertake the works.

A memorial service will take place in Stornoway this afternoon for one of the victims of the 'Louisa' fishing boat tragedy. 

Paul Alliston, who was 42 and was also known as Paul Macmillan, was lost when the shellfish vessel sank off Mingulay on Saturday April 9, 2016. 

The bitter spat over renewable energy developments in the Western Isles took a new turn last night (Thursday April 13) as Executive Director of Point and Sandwick Power, Calum Macdonald, hit back at comments from council leader Angus Campbell of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
“Mr Campbell makes the strange claim that Point and Sandwick Power was not invited to the meeting with the Secretary of State, Greg Clark, on Monday. 
“He is misinformed.  In fact, we were in receipt of an official invitation from the Secretary of State’s office and did not need an invite from the Council. 
“Perhaps Mr Campbell can explain why the Council did not want any representatives of the local community energy sector at the meeting, despite the local branch of Community Energy Scotland making repeated requests to the Council to be included. 

Ballot papers for postal voters in the Western Isles will be arriving on doormats over the next few days, ready for the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar election on Thursday 4 May.

Malcolm Burr, Returning Officer for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar advises postal voters: “When you receive your postal voting pack, make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully before completing your ballot paper. Don’t forget to include your date of birth and signature on the postal voting statement.  Follow the instructions in the pack to make sure your vote counts.

At loggerheads - Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell and Calum Macdonald, of Point and Sandwick Power

A bitter row has today broken out between Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and community energy company Point and Sandwick Power. 

Earlier this week, Executive Director of Point and Sandwick Power, Calum Macdonald, said that the Comhairle urgently needed to revise its energy strategy to allow for a dramatically-increased community stake in local renewable developments. 

But Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell today hit out: “It is a shame that Mr Macdonald and Point and Sandwick Power seem intent on working against the best interests of the wider community and the local economy.”

Ken MacBrayne

A Tory candidate for election to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has been suspended by his party after posting on social media that Nicola Sturgeon was a ‘silly cow’ who should be kidnapped, adding: “Why can’t someone stick a cattle prod up her nether region?”

Retired seaman Ken MacBrayne (72), is one of eight candidates battling it out for three seats in the Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a’ Tuath ward. 

A massive increase in passenger numbers over the Easter holidays has led to operator Citylink laying on more buses between Ullapool and Inverness. 

Citylink were contacted by Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, who also liaised with CalMac over the issue.

The Executive Director of Point and Sandwick Power, Calum MacDonald, has called for greatly increased community involvement in the proposed Lewis Windpower projects following the visit by the UK Secretary of State for Business and Energy, Greg Clark MP to Stornoway on Monday 10th April.

Mr MacDonald, the former MP for the Western Isles, attended the Scottish Islands Renewable Delivery Forum meeting at the Caberfeidh Hotel at the personal invitation of the Secretary of State, and said afterwards: “Right from the start of the meeting, Greg Clark made clear that his primary interest was the degree of community involvement, ownership and benefit in the three island projects and that maximising the community role was the best hope, indeed the only hope, of getting any of the inter-connector projects funded.

Left to right: - Catherine Ann Macleod (Women’s Football Team Manager), Ann-Louise Stewart (Women’s Football), Iain GG Campbell (General Team Manager), Alan Brown (SSC), Hamish Budge (Athletics Coach), Eric Macleod (Men’s Football Team Manager), Norrie MacDonald (WIIGA Chair), Sian Macdonald (Athletics), Isla Budge (Swimming), Matthew Hanlon (Swimming)

The Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) sponsored by The Scottish Salmon Company have finalised selection for the NatWest Island Games in Sweden this summer.

The week-long International event is this year being hosted by Gotland, one of the 24 member islands, between 24th June and 30th June. WIIGA will take a squad of 90 covering 8 sports to the Games, which includes athletes, coaches, management and medical team. The squad will be accompanied by a small number of family members and supporters.

The SNP has launched a manifesto for the Western Isles which lays out key commitments for an SNP-led Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Nine candidates are standing for the SNP in next month’s elections and the party hopes to create an administration which will lead the Comhairle with a clear strategy.

Donald Manford, SNP Group leader and candidate for Barraigh, Bhatarsaigh, Eiriosgaigh agus Uibhist a Deas, said: "To be in the driving seat of our own destiny and to shape our own future is a natural desire. It is what the SNP believes is right for Scotland.   It is what your local SNP Group believes is right for the Hebrides.

Stornoway South SNP candidate Rae Mackenzie says he will fight for a feasibility study to consider reopening Sandwickhill School if he is re-elected to Comhairle nan Eilean on 4th May.

Mr Mackenzie said:  "Sandwick School should never have closed because it was obvious that Stornoway was going to expand in that direction. Well over 100 houses, many with young families, are on schedule to be built in the Mackenzie Park area near the former school. 

“This means there will be over 300 houses in Parkend, Holm and the Mackenzie Park Estate without taking into account East Street, North Street, and Lower Sandwick.  Potentially pupils may also come from Steinish, Plasterfield and Melbost/Branahuie.”

The University of the Highlands and Islands is inviting applications for 26 fully funded PhD studentships.

The studentships, which are being funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council, offer opportunities in a range of research areas.

Topics include the use of digital technologies in healthcare, the history of distilling and whisky production, eco-tourism, salmon farming in Scotland and the impact of the nuclear industry on British communities.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Lord Dunlop

Building economic activity and providing high quality employment opportunities are two key factors to the Western Isles' future, says Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Lord Dunlop.

The Conservative politician spoke today (Monday, April 10th) as he visited Lewis with Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark MP, who co-chaired the fifth meeting of the Scottish Islands Renewables Delivery Forum in Stornoway.

Discussions included focus on the UK Government's recent consultation for wind projects on the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland. The development of proposed major projects would trigger initial investment of £2.5billion.

1st January 1919 will make 100 years since the Iolaire disaster

The anniversary of the Iolaire disaster on 1st January 2019 will be the final formal event in the official, national four-year programme commemorating the Centenary of The Great War.  

An Lanntair arts centre, with financial assistance from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, commissioned three of the most senior and respected visual artists in Scotland to prepare a range of designs for a bronze sea or land sculpture located on or near the site where the vessel was wrecked – creating a significant memorial that will give the tragedy the national profile and place in history it merits, and create a legacy for the community and those visiting the islands.

And all are invited are invited to join at the arts centre next Monday (Easter Monday, April 17th), 7.30pm, for the opportunity to hear from each artist about the philosophy and intention behind their proposed designs, to comment on them, and ask questions of the designers.

The UK Government must stop stalling and back island renewables now, according to Isles' MP Angus MacNeil.

Mr MacNeil took part in a meeting with Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in Stornoway this morning (Monday) and urged him to make the right decision on future support for island renewables.

Mr MacNeil said the final decision to be made by Mr Clark on this matter will have repercussions for the island economy for many years to come.

Simon Nicol, Fairport Convention, presented the award to Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente

Stornoway songstress Josie Duncan has scooped the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk 2017 award along with musical partner Pablo Lafuente.

The Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 were announced in a ceremony last week (April 5th) held at the Royal Albert Hall.

Now in their 18th year, the Awards are a key highlight of the folk music calendar and serve to raise the profile of folk music.

And helping raise her own profile within folk music, Josie – who is currently studying a BA in Scottish Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – was delighted with the award, saying on her Facebook page: “Delighted to be chosen from such an amazing set of acts.”

Josie and Pablo were presented their award by guitarist, singer, record-producer, and founding member of British folk group Fairport Convention.

Mr. Malcolm Burr, Chief Executive of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has been appointed to the Scottish Government’s Standing Council on Europe.

This is an advisory panel comprising a group of experts set up to advise the Scottish government in the aftermath of the Brexit vote with the aim of protecting Scotland’s interests – legal, financial and diplomatic.

Mr Burr has been appointed particularly because of his expertise in local government and rural communities.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

With only one week to go until the deadline to register to vote in the council elections, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is urging residents to make sure they are registered in time.

On Thursday 4 May voters in the Western Isles will go to the polls for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Local Government elections.  The deadline to register to vote is Monday 17 April.

Anyone not registered to vote at their current address can register online here

With passenger numbers at Stornoway Airport growing and a whole range of new air services available, craftspeople in Lewis and Harris are being encouraged to contact the airport shop to discuss ways they could sell products through the shop.

Donald Martin, who runs the shop and café services in the departures lounge and in the main terminal itself, said: “We are looking to work with local crafts people, in particular those involved in Harris Tweed.  All small craft items will be considered for display and sale.”

He said the arrangements with suppliers could be on a sale or return or a commission basis.   He added: “That is how we would envisage operating , however, depending on the type of business , there are other possibilities."

Donald wants as wide a range as possible to be available to tempt travellers to browse the displays.   He asks craft producers “Please visit the airport café with samples where we will have the opportunity to discuss aspects further.”

Sundays newspapers are available from a handful of outlets in Stornoway this afternoon (Sunday April 9).

As part of the return to airborne delivery for morning newspapers - which started last Monday - Sunday editions were available from around 1.15/1.30pm at the Stornoway Airport shop (see photograph below); Engebret Ltd on Sandwick Road; and the Blackhouse Bakery in Plasterfield.

Each of these outlets normally closes for the day at or shortly after 4pm on a Sunday so there is only a a relatively short time for news addicts to avail themselves of this unusual opportunity.

 

Sandwick Community Council

NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Monday, 10th April

at 7.30pm

at the

Sandwick Community Room

Carhire Hebrides – one of the fastest growing enterprises on the Western Isles – has established a new base in the Stornoway Ferry Terminal, making its cars, vans and personnel far more accessible to customers both at home and away. 

The new base deals with walk-in customers as well as telephone and on-line bookings similar to their established base at Stornoway Airport. 

Co-owner John Cunningham said the venture – which has taken over the space formerly occupied by the Ferry Terminal café – was a logical extension of the standards of customer service they had always aimed for.

The Western Isles Island Games Association aim to take around 100 islanders to Gotland, Sweden, for the 2017 competition in June

As the Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) get set to reveal its final squad next week, the Scottish Salmon Company have confirmed they will continue as main team sponsor.

The week long international event, the NatWest Island Games are this year hosted by Gotland, one of the 24 member islands, in Sweden this summer, June 24th – June 30th.

Craig Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of The Scottish Salmon Company, said: “We are proud to be sponsoring WIIGA for the third consecutive year and supporting the Western Isles team as they prepare for this summer’s event.

Shawbost-based Harris Tweed Hebrides has featured this week in a glittering showcase of British and Italian fashion, held in Florence under royal patronage.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall toured the event which was organised by the British Embassy in Rome and the Campaign for Wool.  Prince Charles is patron of the campaign and all the garments featured were, like Harris Tweed, made from pure wool.

An elite selection of leading British and Italian brands were invited to exhibit at the event which was held in the Sala Bianca of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The spectacular room is described as 'the birthplace of Italian fashion', catwalk shows held there in the 1950s having set the tone for classic Italian brands to flourish.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar candidates have thrown their hats in the ring and will be busy canvassing until council election day on Thursday, May 4th.

In order to have your say on the 4th of May, and vote for the candidates you wish to represent you and your ward in the Comhairle, there are some simple steps to make sure you're ready to vote.

Make sure you are registered to vote – if you are not registered, you cannot vote. For further advice, contact the Electoral Registration Officer, 42 Point Street, Stornoway, 01851 706262, or log on to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. Registration forms must be completed and returned by Monday, April 17th to allow voting in the May 4th election.

Voting by post – voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting and your postal vote can be sent to your home address or any other address you give. To register for a postal vote, contact the Electoral Registration Officer.  And applications for postal votes must be returned to the Electoral Registration Officer by 5pm on Tuesday, April 18th. 

Voting by proxy – if you are unable to attend a polling station you can appoint a proxy who will be someone you trust to vote on your behalf. Again, to register for a prosy vote, contact the Electoral Registration Officer. And the deadline for applying for a proxy vote is Tuesday, April 25th.

Thursday morning - April 6th at 9.30am - marks the start of the closing down sale for three major departments at Murdo Maclean's store in Cromwell Street, Stornoway.

Lews Castle is a final competitor in the title for Great British Buildings Restoration of the Year competition, organised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and featured on Channel 4 television.

With stiff competition from projects across the UK, Lews Castle was named joint winner of the Victorian category, along side Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland.

The RICS judges were 'blown away' by the impressive restoration of the Gothic revival style Castle, saying: “It was such a difficult building that had been out of use for decades so finding a new use was going to be a major achievement.

The Western Isles Association for Mental Health (WIAMH) have received £2,500 from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.
The charity can spend the money as they see fit.  In the case of WIAMH, it will help them run activities at their Catch-23 drop-in service and retain their three support workers.
Del Gunn, WIAMH manager, said: “The timing is fantastic, at the end of the financial year, and the ‘no catch’ is great.  It gives us a level of flexibility.  If we have got a new idea then we can run with it straight away instead of having to chase the money to do so. 
“It’s an absolute godsend because we can plan now.  It enables us to retain staff who are in recovery themselves from mental health issues.”
Western Isles Association for Mental Health is the largest service user group of its kind in the Outer Hebrides and recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary.

Citylink have added extra buses to the Ullapool Inverness bus service from today.

Peter Knight of Citylink said “We have put the following additional seats onto the system today (all additional 49-seaters) -

04 April - 09:50         961         Ullapool – Inverness
04 April - 15:00         961         Inverness – Ullapool
05 April - 09:50         961         Ullapool – Inverness
06 April - 15:00         961         Inverness – Ullapool
07 April - 15:00         961         Inverness – Ullapool
10 April - 15:00         961         Inverness - Ullapool

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan has called on BT to improve their services to the local island communities, after a catalogue of complaints made to his constituency office in Stornoway in the past few months.

In a letter to BT’s head of service in Scotland, Brendan Dick, Dr Allan has called for improvements across the islands, and for BT to address the issues that islanders have been facing, ranging from persistent installation delays to intermittent network service.

It was back to the future for morning newspaper deliveries in Lewis and Harris today as they arrived at 8am by air for the first time in four years.

For the next fortnight, newspapers are expected to arrive first thing via Loganair ending the newspaper drought which has affected trade and customer patterns in Stornoway and other communities.

An artist's impression of life in a fresh water lake around 360 million years ago.   Credit: Mark Witton

Islanders can find out how life on earth began this month with as an exciting touring exhibition – 'Fossil Hunters' – set to be displayed at both Museum nan Eilean Lews Castle and Museum nan Eilean Uibhist agus Barraigh premises.

Brought to the Hebrides in partnership with National Museums Scotland, 'Fossil Hunters' provides a glimpse of life around 360 million years ago when Scotland lay shout of the equator, and reveals the 'missing link' between amphibians and reptiles.

Funds are now in place and there have been three "Lucky to be here" Defibrillators ordered for the Lower Shader to Brue area.

A training night has been booked in the Barvas Hall on Wed 5th April at 7.30pm. Training will be given by the Lucky 2B Here Team and will cover basic life support and the use of a defibrillator.

Anyone who is interested in attending the training should get in touch by calling 01851 840450 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For those that cannot attend this night there will be other training nights in the future. 

 

 

Gaelic books are being represented this week for the first time at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy, the main global trade fair for children's books. Pictured below are Rosemary Ward (right) of Gaelic Books Council, Margaret Anne MacLeod (middle), Acair Books (Stornoway) and Agnes Rennie (left), Acair Books, with signs displayed in Gaelic and English! Cranachan Publishing (Lewis) and Little Door Books (Oban) will also be appearing at the Fair from Tuesday 4th April.  XpoNorth (Writing and Publishing), HIE's trade development network in the creative industries, is very proud to have partnered Publishing Scotland and Jenny Brown Associates in making this happen. 

 

The Easter Fayre Craft Market will be held at Carloway Community Centre between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 15th April, where there will be a range of stalls including local Arts and Crafts for sale. Meanwhile a Soup and Pudding Lunch is being held at Carloway School Annex from 12 noon until 2pm.

Combine the two for a day out of shopping and lunch on the Westside.

A fisherman was airlifted from his fishing vessel after suffering a hand injury off the coast of Stornoway.

The UK Coastguard received a satellite call from the vessel, situated 89 nautical miles from Stornoway, just after 2.30pm yesterday (Sunday, April 2nd) requesting medical assistance.

Stornoway Coastguard Operations Centre undertook a link call with the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where the doctor advised that the casualty should be airlifted as soon as possible.

The Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Stornoway was sent to the vessel and airlifted the casualty to Glasgow Airport, where he was met by waiting ambulance and transferred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

 

The Fisherman and the Seal

Delightful puppet show from Yugen Puppet Theatre, suitable for all ages.  Living in a small Scottish village by the sea a lonely fisherman looks for love, but things don’t quite go according to plan.  Sometimes true love can be found in the most unlikely of places...and with the most unlikely of soul mates!  Using hand crafted puppets and striking shadow silhouettes with music from the past, Yugen Puppet Company puts its own twist on this usually tragic Scottish fairy tale. Touring as part of Puppet Animation Scotland.

Saturday 8th April at 7pm, Breasclete Community Hall.

 

At an undisclosed location on the Isle of Barra there is a small pinery that has been growing pineapple plants for more than two years.

Today, the first two pineapples to be produced on Barra ever will be auctioned off in Buth Bharraigh, the Castlebay community shop,  at 12 noon. 


This is a massive achievement for the crofter who has diversified into pineapples, says the local producers group, Beairteas Bharraigh which translates as the Wealth of Barra.

As yet the undisclosed crofter is not sure how many he will be able to produce in a year but is hoping that it will add significantly to his crofting income. 



Carpet World said goodbye to one of its founding directors yesterday (Friday) as Willie Morrison took retirement after 30 years with the company.

“I'll be sad to leave the place, but life goes on,” said Willie. “And I wish the company all the best for the future. I've seen it go from strength to strength, it employs 15 of a staff now, and the future is bright for the shop with the next generation of salesmen ready to take care of our loyal customers.”

Amidst protests from various parts of the crofting world, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is to invite the Crofting Commission to a meeting of Crofting Joint Consultative Committee "to discuss the wider implications raised by the current discussions within the sector".

Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell said “We are aware of the current issues between the Crofting Commission and Grazings Committees and whilst not wishing to be drawn into the specifics of those discussions, there are wider implications for the whole of the crofting industry that these matters raise.  Principally around the roles and responsibilities of Grazings Committees and their enforcement. With that in mind, we are inviting representatives of the Commission to a meeting of the JCC so that these matters can be discussed in full.”

It is hoped that the JCC meeting will take place during the second week of May.

She's making her musical return to Lewis – and bringing her debut EP 'Peat Bog' with her.

Now living in Glasgow, songstress Miss Irenie Rose has been busy since moving to the mainland, and is delighted to bring the fruits of her hard work to Stornoway with a gig in the Woodlands Centre on Saturday, May 14th.  She is also scheduled to perform at this year's Hebridean Celtic Festival in July.

“I'm really looking forward to playing a gig at home, I've missed it so much!” she said. “It'll be lovely to see everyone.”

The Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Mr Norman A Macdonald, has paid tribute to Murdo Macdonald, former Councillor for the Coll ward.

 

 

Mr Macdonald served two terms on the Comhairle from 1978 to 1986. He was on several Committees including Education, Housing, Social Work and Environmental Services. He served as Vice-chair of Development Services and was also on the Licensing Board and the Fisheries JCC.

 

 

The Convener said: “Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Mr Macdonald at this sad time.  As is our custom the Comhairle flag is flying at half mast as a mark of respect for a former Councillor”

 

STORNOWAY PORT AUTHORITY

STAKEHOLDER PUBLIC MEETING   

Thursday 2nd June 2016 at 7.30 pm, Auditorium, An Lanntair, Kenneth Street, Stornoway

Stornoway Port Authority invites all stakeholders and interested parties to attend our 2016 Stakeholder Public  Meeting.

This year will see the first ever Carnival Midsummer Charity Ball, which will take place on Friday June 10th. The tickets were a sell-out, with people desperate to put on their fanciest clothes and enjoy a night of fine dining, entertainment and cocktails. 

But the night is not just about eating and drinking, and the Carnival Committee would like to encourage everyone to nominate someone for Carnival King and Queen!

Come and join in today for the annual Point 5k and help raise funds for The Leanne Fund.

Setting off from Point Free Church in Bayble at 12pm, the popular family event is open to runners and walkers alike and organisers are hoping this year will see the biggest entry ever!

You can still register online to save time on the day or print off your registration form and take it along with you. Copies of registration forms will also be available at the start.

Majors Ray and Pat Brown, the first officers of The Salvation Army in the Hebrides are returning to lead celebrations to mark 30 years of worship and service to the community from Bayhead, Stornoway.

Majors Ray and Pat Brown will be leading worship at The Salvation Army church on Bayhead on Sunday 8th May at 11am. The current officers Lieutenants Callum and Emma Newton will be leading a celebration and fun evening on Saturday the 7th May at 6pm and want everybody to feel welcome to come to both the Saturday and Sunday. Lieutenant Callum says: ‘If you have had a previous connection to the Stornoway Corps, or indeed if you have never set foot in The Salvation Army, you are most welcome to come and join us in our celebration and worship.’ 

In 1983, the Browns were appointed by The Salvation Army to commence the work of the international church and charity in the Hebrides, forming Stornoway Corps. Initially The Salvation Army worked from various temporary buildings before opening its present church community building in Bayhead in 1986.

The Browns have very happy memories of their time living in Stornoway, particularly the friendliness of the Islanders to them. Major Ray says: ‘We are both delighted to have the opportunity to revisit a place and people that have always been dear to our hearts.’

Major Pat says: ‘I will never forget the wonderful community spirit on the island. We arrived with a new baby and our second daughter was born on the Island. I would often walk into town from our home in Seaforth Road pushing a pram and lost count of the number of times strangers would stop their cars and offer me a lift.'

The Browns moved from the Island in 1987 and since then have held appointments in New Zealand, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Nottingham and London. Their appointments included leading the Regent Hall Salvation Army Corps on Oxford Street, London, whose brass band are currently featured on the BBC television series ‘The Sally Army and Me' in which Paul O'Grady explores the work of The Salvation Army.

As well as being local church leaders the Majors have since served on Divisional, Territorial and International Headquarters. Major Ray has also spent time as the head of the Salvation Army's International Emergency Services, which took him round the world to support local relief efforts by The Salvation Army in natural and man-made disasters, including Iraq, India, Japan and the Philippines.

In June of this year, the couple will take up new appointments as leaders of the Central South Division of the Salvation Army based in High Wycombe. 

MG ALBA, the Gaelic media service, is to participate for the first time in an innovative apprenticeship scheme designed to nurture the next generation of broadcast media talent.
The partnership, run by Glasgow Kelvin College and BBC Scotland, is about to enter its sixth programme, with 11 students participating in the 2016/17 course.
For the first time, one student – with the support of MG ALBA - will have the opportunity to work across Gaelic platforms such as BBC ALBA and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal. 
In doing so, the candidate will have the chance to gain experience in many of the departments providing content to the channel, including children’s, news-gathering, factual and sport.

Scottish Fuels Regional Manager Donald Mackay and Stornoway Depot Manager Angus Maclennan were delighted to deliver a defibrillator machine to Rev Calum I Macleod and Church Officer Donald Stewart of Back Free Church on Thursday, April 28th.
The vital life-saving machine was donated by Scottish Fuels, who work with the Oliver King Foundation to provide defibrillators and training in a bid to raise awareness of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).

The Crofting Counties face "an astonishing assault on crofting by the crofting regulator itself, which recently launched a campaign against grazings committees resulting in the sacking at least two of them," says Patrick Krause, chief executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation.

Both incidents have taken place on Lewis but the implications are far reaching, he says.

In the Upper Coll case, "the commission made an unprecedented demand for five years of audited accounts, though there had been no indication of financial shenanigans. Whatever is actually behind their decision, it is a staggeringly clumsy exercise in public relations.

 

Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris AGM

Tuesday 31st May 2016 at 7pm-9pm

Grianan Centre, Recreation Room, West View Grove, Stornoway. 

New members are currently needed and will be warmly welcomed. Please come along to support us with our work. We need you!!

(Tea/Coffee on Arrival at 7pm)

For more information please contact:

Lewis and Harris Dementia Resource Centre, 18 Bells Road, Stornoway.     01851 70 2123

Staff at CalMac's customer operations centre are on a crash learning course to reach out to more Gaelic speakers through social media.
Six volunteers from the customer team in Gourock are going through a Gaelic beginners course to enable them to start posting service update tweets bilingually.
The team, who are doing the course in their spare time, have reached the level of doing National 4 exams which, they are hoping to sit officially next year.
More than 90% of Scots Gaelic speakers live in the areas CalMac serves.

SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, met on Friday with members of Upper Coll Common Grazings Committee to hear about their concerns over the recent decision of the Crofting Commission to remove the committee from office. 

Alasdair Allan has also met with members of the former Mangersta Grazings Committee regarding their removal from office by the Commission late last year.

Another Lewis crofting village has called for an inquiry into the Crofting Commission after rulings which, it says,  threaten the  "entire system of crofting agriculture".

The Mangersta grazings committee has been dismissed by the Crofting Commission -  for allegedly failing to make payments to a tenant who has claimed a personal share of grants secured by the village over a 15 year period.

In recent days there have been a series of protests about the dismissal of Upper Coll Grazings Committee - coming from the Scottish Crofting Federation and from local politicians.

Màiri Matheson with the Best Radio Sports 2016 award.

BBC Radio nan Gàidheal has been celebrating a double success after winning two awards at the Celtic Media Festival 2016 which was held in Dungarvan near Waterford and which came to a close last weekend.

BUSINESS GATEWAY WORKSHOPS & ONE TO ONE ADVICE SESSIONS

The following workshops have been arranged for May and June in Stornoway:

Understanding Pricing for Profit        Monday 9 May 1.30pm - 4.30pm Comhairle Offices
Implementing Pricing for Profit Tuesday 10 May 1.30pm - 4.30pm Comhairle Offices
Using Digital Photos for Business Promotion Thursday 12 May      9.30am - 12.30pm        Comhairle Offices
Digital Marketing with the Cloud Tuesday 17 May 1.30pm - 4.30pm Highlands & Islands Enterprise
Business Planning and Market Research Friday 27 May 9.30am - 12.30pm Comhairle Offices
Accounting and Record Keeping Monday 30 May 9.30am - 12.30pm Comhairle Offfices
Marketing for Business Friday 3 June 9.30am - 12.30pm Comhairle Offices
Branding, Packaging, Retail, Off Island Selling   Monday 13 June  9.30am - 12.30pm Highlands & Islands Enterprise

We will also be holding the following one-to-one advice sessions, which can be delivered via Skype
for those unable to attend in person:

Marketing & Cloud - Friday 20 May 
Accounts and Finance - Monday 30 May 
Word and Excel for Business - Wednesday 1 June 
HR and Management - Monday 6 June
 
To book a place on any of the workshops, or to arrange a one-to-one appointment, please contact the Business
Gateway office on 01851 822775 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Fiona Harvey, Cancer Research; Catherine Macleod; Joan Stewart; Kay Mackay; and Trudy Stammer, Cancer Research UK

Volunteers from the Cancer Research UK Isle of Lewis Committee visited the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research last weekend to see the world-class research that the money raised on the Isle of Lewis is funding.
With the support of the local community, the Isle of Lewis Committee raised over £75,000 for Cancer Research UK in 2015. Kay Mackay, Joan Stewart and Catherine Macleod all attended Cancer Research UK’s supporter day where they had the chance to meet some of the scientists behind the breakthroughs. They heard about groundbreaking work on new leukaemia treatments being carried out in Edinburgh and the recent advances in pancreatic cancer research in Glasgow.

 

Cherry Campbell has delighted viewers in her role as Katie Morag.

Already multi-award winning, including a few BAFTAS, the Cbeebies TV series Katie Morag has scooped another – this time from across the Atlantic – as it was announced yesterday (Tuesday, April 26th) as a recipient of a 2016 Peabody 30 Award.

The American-based Peabody Awards were established in the 1940s as a radio equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize, and have since grown steadily to recognise excellence in a wide range of electronic media.

Only around 25 awards are presented each year from over 1,000 global entries, and to win a Peabody, a programme must receive the unanimous approval of all sixteen Peabody Board members.

Young fundraisers pictured with Karen MacDonald, community fundraiser for Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris

A group of young pupils from The Nicolson Institute are busy raising funds for Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris.  The group which includes Ishbel Macaulay, Jessica Macaulay, Rachael Smith, Katie Morrison, Andrew Macinnes, Angus Macphail and Jonny Henderson are planning to walk the West Highland Way, 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William, during 5th-12th August this year and collect sponsors to raise money and awareness.

The group have already raised over £1300 with a recent bagpack and through their JustGiving page.  The group are raising money towards supporting community activities such as the Monthly Peer Support Walking Group who they spent time with last month. 

Katie said: “We are really looking forward to doing the walk and to raise money and awareness for such a great charity.  It is going to be a challenge for us but will be so worth it when we will be able to see the money helping people in our communities. 

“In March, we joined in with the Dementia walk and met some of the people that our money will be helping.  It was amazing to meet people that we will be helping and knowing that our help means so much to them.  Many thanks to everyone who has helped and supported us so far!"

Service Manager Marion MacInnes said: “We have been so impressed with this group of young people and their fundraising activities.  They are organised, mature and committed to their goals.  They are real credit to their parents and their school”.

To support the group's fundraising activities please follow the link.

 

 

 

Another cold night is in store, with temperatures on many roads across the Highlands and Islands falling below freezing, according to the Met Office.

Wintry showers will continue to feed in from the north, bringing an ice risk to any untreated surfaces across northern Scotland, especially over higher ground.

Higher routes in particular may also see some snow accumulating, with perhaps as much as 5-10 cm on the northern Grampians above 200m elevation but localised 1-3 cm even at low levels away from north-facing coasts.

SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has described the next Parliament as an opportunity for “legislation to pass real power to island communities”.

Commenting on the SNP’s manifesto commitment to an Islands Bill, Alasdair Allan said: “The Scottish Government has worked closely with the Comhairle and other island councils to ensure that, if re-elected, an SNP government can now legislate on this issue.

Politicians and crofting law experts have commented on the crofting conflict centred on Upper Coll.

Scottish Labour’s candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Rhoda Grant, has backed calls for a full inquiry into the workings of the Crofting Commission and the reinstatement of the local Grazings Committee.

In a letter to the Commission’s Chief Executive, Catriona MacLean, Mrs Grant states that the Commission’s actions in Upper Coll run counter to local democracy and adds: "It is my understanding that this committee has carried out the wishes and instructions of the Commission and complied with all requirements, so in my view they should not have been removed from post".

Regional airport operator HIAL has handled more passengers than ever but the number of passengers through Stornoway Airport plummeted, according to latest figures for the last financial year.

The airport group, which operates 11 airports, handled 1,437,625 passengers in 2015/16, up by more than 6000 on the previous year.

Inverness Airport, the busiest in the group, added more than 13,000 passengers during the year.  Smaller island airports such as Tiree and Barra – this year celebrating its 80th anniversary - enjoyed strong growth, with passenger numbers up 12% and 10.7% respectively.  Dundee, where Flybe is about to launch a new Amsterdam service, also performed well.

Scotland’s fishing industry is ‘at the mercy of a lottery of London priorities’, said Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil this week, as a proposal to support skippers to crew their boats was rejected by the UK Fisheries Minister.

Mr MacNeil and other MPs met with James Brokenshire MP at the end of last year to press the case for Scottish fishing vessels facing crew shortages to be allowed to recruit workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

The plan would allow employers in the Scottish and Northern Irish fishing industries to access, on a quota-limited basis, temporary labour from outside the EEA.

This year Scottish Rural Action is launching possibly the biggest ever conversation held in Scotland about the issues that matter most to rural communities.

The Scottish Rural Parliament’s Manifesto will be a statement of collective ambitions and the actions that are needed to ensure these ambitions are realised for rural communities. Events are taking place all over Scotland and you can get involved by attending an event, holding your own event or just by responding online.

Confirmed events in Harris and Lewis are taking place as follows:

Monday 2nd May 2016 from 6-8.30pm at Tarbert Community Hall, Pier Road.

Tuesday 26th May 2016 from 6-8.30pm at Bayhead Bridge Centre, Stornoway.

All events will start with an update from Scottish Rural Action on their activities since the 2014 event, a whistle-stop tour of how rural policy has changed and the chance to have a really good natter about the issues that you want to talk about.

 

For more information and to book please contact Vanessa Halhead This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Isle of Harris Mountain Festival: 3rd-10th September 

Lewis Carnival: 6th August

Lochs Agricultural Show: 23rd July

Hebridean Celtic Festival: 13th-16th July

Hebridean Maritime Festival: 12th-16th July

Harris Tweed Festival: 2nd July - 13th November

Ness Gala Day: 25th June

Point Show: 16th July

Uig Gala Day: 2nd July

This is a list if the dates we've confirmed so far! If you're organising a show, let us know the date and we'll add it to our list! Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A big exhibition of artworks based around the rocks of the Shiant Isles is on display in Edinburgh.

They are by Jill McManners who has been spending her summers on Harris for the past 30 years.  

Jill is pictured right on the giant scree slopes on Garbh Eilean.

The exhibition is on until Saturday May 7.

Jill used to work in a Fine Art bronze foundry and has always been fascinated by geology and rocks.  She has created large-scale watercolours painted on a heavy rough Italian paper though several layers of colour washes, scraping and gum.  The paintings have architectural titles, or are quotes from poems or rock songs.

Entitled Basalt, the exhibition is on at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.in 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh (EH3 6HZ)

Jill made her first of visit to the Hebrides in 1979 and the Shiant Isles in 2003. Jill’s family took a short boat trip from their holiday home in the Sound of Harris. Having long been inspired by the origins of the world, the corrugations and convolutions of the intimidating cliff faces struck Jill profoundly, she says.

These basalt rocks were formed by volcanic action 60 million years ago; basaltic sills and dykes were created from lava flow which can now be seen above the sea level forming the amazing dolerites cliffs and intimidating coast line.

Hanging alongside these panoramic watercolours are Flowers of Basalt; a series of Giclée prints.  They make up kaleidoscopes of spinning flower faces.  Mother-of-three Jill is a gardener herself and flower shapes and colours merge with the rock faces and their textures.

 

SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, spoke yesterday about the importance of the Air Discount Scheme (ADS) to the Western Isles, and the need to ensure a lid is kept on air fares in future.

Alasdair Allan commented: “As everyone knows, going by plane in the Western Isles is not a cheap business.  The Scottish Government has recognised this, by raising the Air Discount Scheme for island residents from 40% to 50% of fares recently. Without this scheme, it is difficult to imagine these services being widely used.

A second Gaelic poetry competition for ‘The Macdonald of Sleat’ Poetry Prize will be held this year. 

The annual competition was inaugurated by Sir Ian Macdonald in memory of his daughter, Deborah, who passed away two years ago. The competition will be run once again by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture.

The theme of the competition each year relates to trees and this year an invitation is extended to anyone who writes poetry or has an interest in doing so to compose a poem about a sapling. The poems submitted will be considered by a literary panel and a prize of £500 will be awarded for the poem chosen by the panel.  Poems should be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. PA to the Principal, by 3 June.

Please see the Funeral Notices for updates relating to the services tonight for Donald Maciver and Murdo Macleod

Excellent condition, hardly used only 2900 miles

Well maintained and cared for.

MOT till 22.5.16

Excellent learning bike. £520

Stornoway

 

07803595687

 

Ranald Fraser, Scottish Conservatives; Alasdair Allan, SNP, chairman Kenny Maciver; Kenneth MacLeod, Scottish Liberal Democrats; Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour; and  John Cormack, Christian Party

Bring an end to this centralising government, demanded Kenneth MacLeod, the Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate in the May elections for the Scottish Parliament, in a fierce attack which livened up the hustings held in The Nicolson Institute hall last night (Friday April 22)
With an old-style political ferocity which marked him out from the school-debating style of the other candidates, Mr Macleod denounced the way the Government in Edinburgh had sucked the life out of local government with its control of Council Tax rises, and told the voters gathered in the hall that this was the time for them to rebel.

Former procurator fiscal and sheriff Colin Scott Mackenzie yesterday launched his latest book ‘Gael Force on Gallipoli’ at an event in the Lews Castle College UHI Lecture Theatre.
At 2pm on a sunny Friday afternoon, the lecture theatre was packed with local people – crofters, administrators, politicians, members of Stornoway Historical Society and many more – for the launch of a massive book costing £30 in hardback or £25 in softback of which only around 200 have been printed.
You can order your downloadable book as a pdf for £15 directly from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and pay through Paypal.

Community groups planning renewable energy projects across the Western Isles are being encouraged to come forward and join a consortium process that would see a lower grid connection fee and a more co-operative approach to grid reinforcement.

This consortium approach, which has been established by Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) and which is open to communities and commercial projects, helps to share the cost of any network reinforcement required as part of the connection process.

The Nicolson Institute Interact Club members, along with The Rotary Club of Stornoway's President Claire Macleod and Vice-President Gavin Woods present Peigi Macleod, MND Scotland, with their donation.

The Rotary Club of Stornoway and The Nicolson Institute Interact Club enjoyed the gift of giving yesterday when members were delighted to present nearly £5,000 of donations to four very worthy charities.

A total sum of £4,806 was donated to charities CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young); MND Scotland; Stornoway RNLI, and The Gambia Partnership, collected through a series of fundraising events organised by the two clubs.

Murdo MacLeod and Iain Campbell, representing CRY, were pleased to accept a cheque for £703.

Dr You – Health and Fitness DVDs

The Dr You collection of health books, information and resources has now been extended to include a fantastic collection of health and fitness DVDs, thanks to special support from the NHS Western Isles. The DVDs cover a range of different gentle exercise routines, such as yoga, Tai Chi, ballet, Pilates and stretching, as well as some high-energy routines for the more energetic among us. The collection offers a great opportunity for people to try out different types of exercise at home before perhaps making the decision to join a regular class.

The collection also includes a number of routines especially devised for the over 50s. The over 50s series offers something for everyone; from active walking, balance and co-ordination to morning stretching.  At only 30 minutes in length, the routines are clearly demonstrated and easy to make a part of your daily routine.

The Dr You project aims to support people to take control of their health and well-being.  It is a partnership between the Comhairle’s library service, NHS Western Isles and local health organisations, provides books, information and other resources on health issues and concerns, which are all available through the branch and mobile libraries across the isles.

The collections of self-help resources cover a range of mental health issues, such as depression, stress, eating disorders and low self-esteem and aim to provide support and guidance to give sufferers support to manage their conditions. The collections also contain books on physical health ailments such as cancer, dementia, multiple sclerosis and stroke and are aimed at providing information and strategies for coping for both sufferers and families. There are books for children and young people as well, providing support for them and their families in dealing with the challenges of living with autism and other developmental difficulties.

Anyone wanting to borrow one of the Dr You books or DVDs can do so by visiting their local library or arranging a visit from the mobile library service.  It is free to become a member of the library and to borrow books or information DVDs, simply bring along some proof of address when you visit.  If an item isn’t immediately available, it can easily be reserved.  Those wanting to find out more about Dr You and see a full list of the books and DVDs available can visit www.cne-siar.gov.uk/library for more information.

Get into Shape with Nancy Marmorat

Nancy Marmorat’s experience coaching people of all age groups has inspired her to devise a specially-adapted keep-fit programme for people aged over 50. This DVD contains a complete gymnastics session for keeping in good shape. There are several advantages to following this method - to strengthen the density of your bones, to increase your muscle tone, to protect your heart, to practise keeping your balance and coordination, to keep your body supple and to simply make you feel good. 

An Introduction to Tai Chi: Chi Kung with Lucy Lloyd Barker 

  

Tai Chi Chi Kung is a combination of movements and meditation techniques whose fundamental roots can be tracked back to China and it is still widely practised on a regular basis there. Lucy Lloyd Barker explains its history and guides you through a complete Tai Chi Chi Kung routine. Tai Chi Chi Kung can be practised anywhere, with little or no special equipment or assistance making it a versatile and effective way to focus your mind, relax your body and enrich your spirit.    

SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has called the SNP's manifesto a positive vision for Scotland and the Western Isles, and has highlighted a range of policies with particular relevance in the islands.

He commented: "The SNP manifesto is full of new ideas that can have a big positive impact in the Western Isles. From the £5 million fund to support island and regional food products, to the commitment to bring a million acres of Scotland under community ownership, this is a manifesto with rural Scotland at its heart.

Kezia Dugdale chats to an island Labour voter

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale admitted today that much work was still needed in transforming public opinion of the party. 

On a tour of Lewis, she told www.welovestornoway.com: “The result here at the last election was better than other parts of the country, even though we still lost pretty spectacularly. 

“We went from having 41 MPs to one last year, so it was a bad, bad result for the Labour Party.

“But I have never shied away from saying that, and we are learning from it.

A sure marker of summer approaching, Stornoway Bowling Club's Open Season begins this weekend as the Green officially opens for 2016 on Friday, April 22nd.

And it is hoped to see some new faces as all are welcome to play or join as Club Members and test their bowling skills in club competitions.

“It's called the friendly game and I find it a very relaxing,” said Stornoway Bowling Club President Bob Walker.

Parents in Lewis are taking their children to Harris for swimming lessons, as Stornoway is struggling to keep up with the demand for free lessons as part of the ‘Slainte Mhath’ scheme. 

The second of a series of meetings took recently with Scottish Swimming – the national governing body for the sport - with the aim of streamlining access to lessons across the islands. 

Such is the popularity of the swimming lessons, there is currently a waiting list at Ionad Spors Leodhas.

Sottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale visited businesses in Lewis this morning as part of the campaign leading up to the Scottish Parliament elections next month.

Accompanied by local candidate Rhoda Grant, she spent much of the morning at the Harris Tweed Hebrides plant in Shawbost and went on to visit Lewis Crofters in Stornoway.

Captain Neil Murray with the political signed whiskies

 

Generous islanders can raise a dram to Bethesda Care Home and Hospice this year as four bottles of top-notch political whiskies – complete with politician signatures – are up for auction.

Captain Neil Murray has secured the signed amber nectars and is keen to raise as much as possible when they are auctioned on Friday, May 20th, as part of the annual Bethesda celebrity Dinner Action with charity supporter and former football star Dennis Law.

“If I can do this one small bit to highlight the fantastic work of Bethesda, then I will,” said Captain Murray.

A wind of change at the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival will see one of the event’s main arena stages branded by sponsors for the first time in its 21-year history.

Lewis Wind Power, developer of the Stornoway Wind Farm, will have its name and logo adorning the Islands Stage, where artists including Julie Fowlis and John McCusker will perform.

John Buswell, Stornoway Wind Farm Project Director, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this year’s HebCelt and to be the first ever sponsor of the Islands Stage. We can’t wait for the festival to begin, and being a headline sponsor makes it even more exciting.

Scottish Labour’s candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Rhoda Grant, has accused her SNP opponent of “insulting the intelligence of the crofting community” with his comments on major issues that they currently face.

Mrs Grant said: “I am genuinely astonished that Alasdair Allan had the brass neck to speak as he did about the shambles for which the Scottish Government, of which he has been a member, is solely responsible.

“Many crofters are still waiting for their CAP basic payments which have been sitting in Edinburgh for six months because Nationalist Ministers have squandered £180 million on a computer system that does not work.

 

Former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan will stop off in Stornoway as part of the singer-songwriter's Scottish tour this autumn.

Lucy appeared on the X Factor in 2012, and since then her audition video has been viewed 35million times on YouTube.

She was also the most Googled musician of 2012, after she came off the show and immediately signed to Columbia Records.

SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan yesterday attended a meeting in Harris to help pursue the ongoing efforts to create a Marina Hub in East Loch Tarbert.

As MSP in the last Parliament, Mr Allan was involved in helping bring funding agencies together to look at making this project a reality.

Alasdair Allan commented: “I attended yesterday’s meeting as a friend of efforts to bring marina activity to Tarbert and Scalpay. Harris is one of the most fragile local economies in the Western Isles, but a number of new enterprises hold out significant potential for the islands, not least the new distillery, and a revitalised Harris tweed industry.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will be taking part in Gaelic Twitter Day 2016, on Thursday 21st April.

Social Media Scotland wish to increase the number of people using Gaelic on Twitter and hope that ‘#Gàidhlig’ will appear regularly on the social media throughout the day, more commonly known as ‘trending.’

Similar initiatives are ongoing to attract people’s attention to other minority languages such as Gaelige and Frisian.

The Comhairle will be tweeting all messages in Gaelic to demonstrate its continued support for the language.

Alasdair Allan has called for 'significant changes' to crofting law to improve support to crofting communities.  

Speaking from Barvas, where he met with crofter Norman Kerr, Alasdair Allan called for a new crofting Bill and for future CAP payments to be made in a more timely manner.

Alasdair Allan commented: “There is no doubting how complicated crofting law has now become, and I would say there is now a appetite for a further crofting Bill, both to simplify some of this, and also to address anomalies.  

Only a few days to go until an Evening of Exceptional Style and tickets to the Eastgate Centre fashion and beauty extravaganza are sold out.

It's good news for members of the Lewis & Harris Women's Cancer Support Group, the charity being supported by Inverness' Eastgate Shopping Centre's weekend of island events, supported also by Loganair and Macrae and Dick.

But don't fret – there's still a chance to see what's on offer by visiting retailers at the Eastgate Pop-Up Fashion and Beauty Centre on Saturday.

On Friday, April 22nd, the Cabarfeidh Hotel pays host to the Evening of Exceptional Style which will feature a Catwalk Show of the latest Spring fashion trends, as well as Beauty Sampling and Makeover opportunities, the chance to learn how to create the perfect hair for a special event, and styles for a Red Carpet Look.

Stornoway RNLI's all-weather Severn Class lifeboat the 'Tom Sanderson' launched this morning at 0912hours to a full emergency at Stornoway Airport, along with other emergency services HM Coastguard, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Police Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The volunteer crew of Stornoway RNLI were stood down at 0921hours and returned to berth at 0930hours.

The full emergency had been called for a Hawk jet. Stornoway lifeboat is routinely alerted for airport emergencies, as the main runway at Stornoway Airport ends at the shore on the north end, and a southerly approach for aircraft is also over the sea south of Holm.

And the volunteer RNLI crew had attended a full emergency shout at Stornoway Airport on Saturday, April 16th, when another military aircraft, with three persons on board, had suffered a bird strike.

The 'Tom Sanderson' lifeboat launched at 1420hours last Saturday, but fortunately the aircraft was able to land safely and the lifeboat stood-down seven minutes from launch.

Stornoway RNLI lifeboat 'Tom Sanderson'.         Photo:Chris Murray

 

 

Plans for a new church on part of the woodlands next to Smith Avenue in Stornoway have led to on-line protests.

More than 40 people commented on the welovestornoway.com Facebook Page after our report was published on Saturday.

A series of public constituency hustings are being held across the Highlands & Islands for next month's Scottish Elections.

Organised by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB),  they will take place in Stornoway, Inverness, Clashmore by Dornoch, Broadford and Lerwick.

The Hustings for the Western Isles constituency, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, will take place in The Nicolson Institute’s Hall on Friday, 22nd April – 7.00pm for 7.30pm start.  

James Stockan with Cllr John Mackay, the Comhairle's Chair of Transportation

You may never have heard of James Stockan, but he is urging you to vote for him as your regional candidate in next month’s election.

Mr Stockan (58), is standing as an independent candidate for the Highlands and Islands – the first person to do so in 13 years.

Formerly the vice-convener of Orkney Islands Council, James Stockan is currently the chairman of regional transport group HITRANS.

A night of musical entertainment in memory of the late Malcolm Cross is to take place in the Woodlands Centre on Saturday, April 30th.

‘Malcolm’s Memorial Gig’ will raise funds for Stornoway RNLI, as well as see the launch of Lewis band The Shed’s latest EP ‘Always Ask The Question’.

The fundraising gig, which also includes sets from Iain ‘Neosa’ Mackinnon and Battle of the Bands’ ‘Best Cover’ winners 2016, brother and sister Calum and Niamh Blane, has been organised by Malcolm’s daughter Rose Bugler to celebrate the life of ‘quite a character’.

The award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival’s drive to further enhance its green credentials will see it play a pioneering role in the use of electric cars.

HebCelt, which will be held from 13-16 July in Stornoway, is to be the first Scottish festival to partner with E-Car Club to provide a fleet of vehicles discounted for music fans to use during its event.

E-Car, the UK’s first entirely electric pay-per-use car club, will have nine Renault ZOE hatchbacks and a Renault Kangoo van based at Car Hire Hebrides in Stornoway during the four-day festival.

The Spring Gardening Day at Newmarket Playpark today (Saturday April 16) was well-attended, enjoyed good weather, albeit with a brisk breeze from time to time, and was described as a great success by organisers.

The Islands Book Trust’s first event of 2016 is a talk by the writer and journalist Bella Bathurst on the Lighthouse Stevensons with special reference to the Outer Hebridean lights. 
The talk at Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean, Lews Castle at 7.30pm on Saturday 30 April will be introduced by naturalist John Love, himself a lighthouse expert.
Bella is the author of several books, one of which, The Lighthouse Stevensons, published in 2005, won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has demanded that the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry be published on May 2nd as promised by the UK Government.
The long-awaited report into the Iraq War has been delayed several times since the inquiry began six years ago but is expected to be published next month.
A backbench debate took place in the House of Commons on Thursday led by Conservative MP David Davis and was co-sponsored by Angus MacNeil, the SNP’s Deputy Foreign Affairs spokesperson and Labour MP Paul Flynn.

 

Woodland alongside Smith Avenue in Stornoway would be felled under proposals for a new church and car park on land opposite the running and athletics track.

A request for outline planning permission has been made to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for use of the land which is owned by community landowner, the Stornoway Trust.

The application is from Stornoway High Free Church.  At present their Sunday services are held in Stornoway Primary School.  Their midweek meetings are held in the Retirement Centre, Bayhead, with English Prayer meetings on Tuesdays and Saturdays and Gaelic Prayer meetings on Thursdays.

The congregation has been without a permanent home since splitting with the Church of Scotland two years ago.

The congregation is now proposing to erect a church including a large car park to the rear with 77 car spaces.  Documents published on line by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar indicate that Council officials believe the proposal is acceptable. (plans)

If outline permission is granted by the council, a full planning application will be submitted at a later date.

 

 

 

Police, partners and volunteers continued search efforts today for missing fisherman, Paul Alliston.

The co-ordinated coastal searches were based around Mingulay, Sandray, Berneray, and Pabbay.

Further land searches are planned for tomorrow (Saturday 16th April 2016) with volunteers wishing to assist requested to attend at two allocated meeting points at 9am at Ludag Pier, South Uist and Castlebay Hall, Barra.

The 16,144 ton cruise ship ‘Astoria’ officially began Stornoway’s cruise season when it arrived from Tobermory early this morning with 486 mainly British passengers on board.

To mark the beginning of the 2016 cruise season, Stornoway Port Authority’s Harbour Master Tony Morrison presented Captain Filipe Sousa of the Astoria with a handmade Harris Tweed plaque and a hamper with various local delicacies.

The size of the Astoria determined the use of the Sandwick anchorage and passengers who disembarked by tender then toured the town and island.

The vessel will depart Stornoway at 1700 today bound for Kirkwall.

Former Scotland international and British Lion rugby star Doddie Weir is to visit Stornoway next month.

Weir, who played in the lock position, will be the guest of the Stornoway Rugby Club at their annual dinner at the Caladh Hotel, on Saturday May 21.

He will deliver the after-dinner talk, followed by an auction, prize-giving and question-and-answer session.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of snow and ice for the Western Isles. 

The warning is in place from 9pm tonight until 8am tomorrow. 

Popular Stornoway band ‘The Shed’ are preparing for the launch of their brand new EP later this month.

Having been asked to participate in the Holocaust Memorial Day in January this year, the blues-oriented group donated the sales of one their songs - 'Always Ask The Question' - to Amnesty International.

Their new EP, titled ‘Always Ask The Question’ will be unveiled at a show in the Woodlands Centre on Saturday April 30.

For the first time ever, young Scots aged 16 and over will be allowed to vote in their nation’s elections.

We asked a selection of young Western Isles adults, aged between 16 and 17, if they had registered an interest to cast their historic vote on May 12.

And the findings were quite revealing – almost all females had registered, but none of the males had yet expressed an intention to vote. 

A 21-year-old man was taken to hospital last night after coming off his motorbike just outside Stornoway. 

Emergency services attended the scene at around 5.55pm, and conveyed the man to hospital. 

He was treated there for minor injuries and discharged a short time later.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of snow for the Western Isles. 

The warning is in place from 4am until 10am tomorrow (Friday). 

Police in the Western Isles, in partnership with other agencies, are today continuing search efforts for Missing Fisherman, Paul Alliston.

There is a co-ordinated Coastal Search being undertaken around Mingulay, Sandray, Berneray, and Pabbay.

This search will be predominantly co-ordinated by MCA and RNLI with the assistance of a number of fishing vessels from across the Western Isles. 

Paul Alliston was one of the four crew aboard the MV Louisa when it sunk off the coast of Mingulay on Saturday.

The two brothers who own the doomed fishing vessel 'Louisa' have spoken of their devastation following the tragedy. 

Brothers Duncan and Murdo Kennedy, from Marvig, South Lochs, said their thoughts were with the families of those who had died when the boat sank off Mingulay on Saturday morning. 

In a statement, they said: "We are totally devastated at the loss of Paul, Chris and Martin due to the tragic sinking off Mingulay last Saturday.

With the Scottish Parliament election taking place on Thursday 5 May 2016, electors in Na h-Eileanan an Iar are being urged to ensure they are registered to vote before the deadline on Monday 18 April.

The deadline for new postal vote applications or to change existing postal or proxy arrangements is 5pm on Tuesday 19 April and the deadline for new applications to vote by proxy is 5pm on Tuesday 26 April.

Malcolm Burr, Constituency Returning Officer for Na h-Eileanan an Iar said: “Registering to vote is quick and easy. However, if you are not registered by midnight on Monday 18 April, you will miss out on the chance to have your say in the Scottish Parliament election.”

Kara Hanlon has finished 4th in the 200m Breaststroke heat at the Olympic Trials.

Kara placed 4th in her heat swim this morning in a new personal best time of 2.30.3.

Badminton Tuesdays in April 1.30-8.30pm £6 per court including equipment for up to 4 people, Back Football and Recreation Club, book online at www.backfrc.org.uk

Bowls come and try session We will be hosting a drop in "come and try" for beginners on Wednesday 13th April. Members of the local team will be on hand for tips and spectators are also welcome to join us for a demonstration and a cup of tea. 2-4 pm FREE, Back Football and Recreation Club

Barra Bunting Comes to Back  An evening of inspiration from the Barra Bunting Project, all welcome. Wednesday 20th April 7pm, Back Football and Recreation Club

Keep Fit taster session Monday 25th April 7-7.45pm £4 Suitable for anyone over the age of 16.The range of activities on offer will be adaptable for all levels of fitness, whether you are a first timer or an expert. book online at www.backfrc.org.uk

Book Club Our first book will be “The Roundhouse” by Louise Erdrich Wednesday 27th April 7pm £2.50, Back Football and Recreation Club

Islanders have been set the challenge to ‘Drop a Dress Size’ and raise money for Alzheimer Scotland.

As part of the Challenge Dementia campaign, a weekly weight loss group begins tonight (Wednesday 13th April)  and will run until 18th May – and despite the title, men are welcome to join in as well as women.  Sessions will be held at 6pm in Alzheimer Scotland, 18 Bells Road, with a £3.50 donation fee each week.

The meetings will give slimmers the chance to have a cup of tea and a chat with fellow dieters, followed by a group weigh in and half hour walk round town.  The challenge is not just for ladies, with men welcome to come along and join as well.  The sessions have been organised by Karen MacDonald, the new community fundraiser for Alzheimer Scotland.

The Barra RNLI lifeboat crew are organising a full-scale sea and land search for the missing crewman from the "Louisa".

They have appealed for any boat owners in Uist, Barra and Eriskay who can spare the time, and any other persons who are willing to walk the shorelines around the area, to meet in Castlebay Hall tonight (Wednesday 13th April), at 7pm to discuss the plans for Thursday's search.

In addition to the personnel for the search itself, they have also asked If there's anyone willing to donate baking for the search parties and if they can drop this off  Castlebay Hall on Thursday afternoon.

The 18th Annual New York Tartan Parade saw thousands of people descend on Manhattan’s Avenue of the Americas last Saturday (April 9th) – and one of the Western Isles' own award-winning Highland dancers was among them.

Claire Wilson, who teaches at Stornoway Primary School and runs the Claire Wilson School of Dance, joined New York City’s premier dance group, Shot of Scotch, as they danced their way through Manhattan’s streets alongside TV celebrities, American pipe bands, and even Barbour-clad Scottie dogs.

Back Football and Recreation Club have announced the official opening of their all-weather, enclosed Sports Arena at Upper Coll. The ceremony is to take place at the Upper Coll Centre, on Friday 20 May, with the official opening being performed by the Scottish international football legend, Denis Law CBE.

The opening of the Back Sports Arena kicks off another chapter in the history and ongoing development of Back Football and Recreation Club in that it adds yet another facility to the array of resources available at the Upper Coll Centre location.

Police Scotland have confirmed the identities of the fishermen involved when their fishing boat Louisa sank off Mingulay, Barra last Saturday.

Two men were lost, one survived and a fourth is missing after the incident.

The two men who sadly died are:

Martin Johnstone (pictured right), aged 29, from Halkirk, Caithness

Chris Morrison, (pictured left), aged 27, from Leverburgh, Isle of Harris.

The missing crew member is Paul Alliston (formerly MacMillan) aged 42, from Lochs, Isle of Lewis.

The fourth crew member, a man in his twenties who lives locally, did not sustain any serious injuries.

A GoFundMe page has been set up in memory of one of the fishermen lost at sea off Mingulay. 

All money raised will go to his two young daughters, "so that there is always something from their Daddy".

Click here to donate.

The partnership board of HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, is holding its quarterly meeting at Tarbert, Harris, on Friday (15 April).

The meeting is being held in public and starts at 9 am in the Harris Hotel.  HITRANS Vice-Chairman is Councillor John Mackay of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Members will be updated on a wide range of transport issues, including the organisation’s Business Plan for 2016/17

Top Irish rock band The Saw Doctors will play nine concerts across the Highlands and Islands this October as part of the band's comeback tour following their three-year break from live shows.

Starting with a concert on the Isle of Mull on October 6 the Saw Doctors will tour the length and breadth of the Highlands and North of Scotland finishing up in Birnam on Sunday October 16.

Hailing from the West of Ireland, The Saw Doctors are hell -bent on celebrating, observing, recording and sometimes poking fun at their own locality, accent, and idiomatic use of language whilst dressing their songs up in their favourite sounds and styles from their years of musical fandom.

Police will not be officially naming the three men lost following the tragic sinking of the fishing vessel 'Louisa', 'for at least another day'.

It is understood that officers are still liaising with the bereaved families.

Two men who died came from Stornoway and Harris. 

A third man is still missing, while another was rescued after swimming to shore and clinging to rocks.

Joy turned to sadness for Campbeltown piper Willie McCallum at the weekend.

Just hours after winning his ninth Donald Macleod Memorial Trophy, Willie's father collapsed and died at the venue, the Caladh Inn, in Stornoway. 

Willie McCallum Senior was 87-years-old.

Willie McCallum Jnr

 

An extensive search off the coast of Mingulay has continued today for a fisherman who was lost after the 'Louisa' sank.
 
The search has included RNLI volunteers and the Martime and Coastguard Agency carrying out coastal searches of the island.
 
The Police Scotland Air Support Unit are also on scene with the support of Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd who have re-opened the airport in Benbecula to assist in the search.
 
Chief Inspector Alastair Garrow said: “All of the partners are determined to do everything they can to help the family and the commmunity deal with this tragedy. Police Scotland have an enquiry team working alongside other agencies and the known circumstances will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.
 
"There will be further investigations necessary to fully establish what has happened."

The bodies of two men have been recovered from the sea following the sinking of the Stornoway-registered 'Louisa' this morning.

One crew member was taken to hospital by helicopter this morning, and one remains missing. 

Mark Rodaway, National Maritime Operations Commander, for UK coastguard said: “Despite an intensive search including the helicopters, lifeboat and other fishing vessels in the area, we have been unable to locate the missing fisherman. Our thoughts are with all those involved."

The fishing vessel which sank off Mingulay this morning has been named locally as the 'Louisa', a 16-metre vivier crabber owned by Duncan and Murdo Kennedy, from Marvig, South Lochs.

One crew member has been rescued and taken to hospital, but three remain missing.

An emergency distress signal was picked up from south of Mingulay, 12 miles south of Barra, just after 3am. 

A major search is underway after a fishing boat sank off the Western Isles this morning. 

One crew member has been rescued and taken to hospital, but three remain missing.

An emergency distress signal was picked up from south of Mingulay, 12 miles south of Barra, at around 3.45am. 

The Stornoway Coastguard helicopter was tasked to the scene, where one man was airlifted and taken to Western Isles Hospital. 

Additional assistance in the search is being provided by the Barra RNLI, and a search and rescue helicopter from Prestwick Coastguard is also on scene.

All calls to Stornoway Coastguard are currently being diverted to Shetland, so Stornoway can focus their full attention on the incident.

Pictured, the cliffs on the west side of Mingulay

Digital drop-in sessions have been set up at a number of libraries across the Western Isles for those who need a hand with their technology. 

Members of the public can come in with their device and speak with library staff, who will offer help and advice for queries people may have with their electronic equipment. The sessions are free and there is no need to book in advance.

The digital sessions are also ideal for those who don't yet have a smart phone or tablet, but want to find out more information before buying one. 

Laura Maciver and Bryan James France at SignPrint

Local printing specialists SignPrint can now offer a full bespoke design package for customers, with all aspects of the process taking place right here in the Western Isles.

Based at Rigs Road, SignPrint have taken ownership of brand new state-of-the-art machinery which will enable them to produce high quality printing and signage on the island

And to successfully cap their long-held ambition of providing a one-stop-shop for clients, Sign Print have taken on a highly experienced graphic designer in Bryan James France, who joins the team having previously used his expertise at the Stornoway Gazette’s multimedia department.

One of the Western Isles’ best known musicians is looking to start a ladies choir in Harris.

Iain ‘Costello’ Maciver is hoping to form a choir for the National Mod in October, and would like to hear from people interested to join. 

He believes the opportunity may appeal to former Sir E Scott choir members, and posted his idea on the Isle of Harris Facebook page to gauge interest.

Now in its seventh year, the Point 5k will take place on Saturday 30th April at Sgoil an Rubha to raise money for The Leanne Fund.

The charity was set up in 2009 in memory of Leanne Mitchell by her parents Willie and Chrisetta, to assist young people with Cystic Fibrosis and their families in the Highlands and Islands.

The day promises to be a fun, family-friendly occasion, with people of all fitness levels welcome to join in.

Trading Standards are warning both consumers and businesses to be wary when purchasing replacement parts for vehicle repairs; especially when doing so at a distance.  

This follows concerns raised about a number of businesses specialising in the supply of reconditioned and/or second hand engines, to both trade and private customers.

Customers of these businesses are being enticed with cheap deals found on the internet, often with a rebate on the purchase price if an old engine is provided in part exchange against its replacement.

A Stornoway teenager has shaved his head to raise funds for Yorkhill Children’s Charity. Thirteen year old Declan Cunningham went for the chop on Wednesday 6th April, at the White Rooms hairdressers in Bayhead.

   Declan before his haircut                  

Declan was a patient at the children’s hospital in Glasgow over the course of two years, undergoing treatment for a hip condition. After seeing the work carried out by staff for sick children, Declan wanted to raise money as a thank you for the care he received at Yorkhill. After shaving his head, he said: “I feel a bit bald, but I’m pleased to raise money for new equipment and games.”

   Declan…afterwards

While the thought of shaving your head may be daunting, the Nicolson Institute pupil was unfazed and said that it didn’t bother him. He’s raised over £600,” said Declan's mother Anne-Marie Cunningham. “All the family are very proud of him.”

The Gambia Partnership shop in Stornoway has proved popular since opening its doors in October last year. The Christian charity on North Beach Street initially planned to have the pop-up shop for only four weeks.

However, the shop has been well received and continues to remain open to raise funds for those living in Gambia. The organisation sells items donated in by members of the public, and raised over £1,300 in their opening week alone.

In November they closed for a month while the shop was rented out by another business, before re-opening on 17 December 2015. Chloe Campbell and Emma Macleod are volunteers for the charity, and were part of a group that went to Kabekel village in November to help build a school

 

The new nursery block at the school

The girls assisted in installing 35 water filters for the community, to provide clean water for years to come, with another group in March taking out a further 55. This is £3,500 worth of water filters which was helped by donations and charity work to the organisation.

They said: "The shop is going very well and a lot of kind donations are being made. We hope to be there for the foreseeable future. The Gambia Partnership is important to Stornoway as it helps raise awareness, and it’s a place to go for people that want to ask about what we do. This was a life changing experience for us both and we are very grateful that we were given this opportunity."

The shop allows the organisation to pay for the running of a school in Kabekel, including teacher's wages, as well as sponsoring children‘s education.

The charity was founded a decade ago by a small group of Christians on the Isle of Lewis. It featured in a documentary last year, ‘Jonathan’s Army’, which was shown on BBC Alba in October.  More information is available on their website, at www.thegambiapartnership.co.uk 

An unidentified shark has been spotted snatching a seabird at Tiumpan Head. 

Steve Dodd, a member of Tiumpan Head Watchers, happened to see the shark by chance at around 11am yesterday. 

The group, who monitor the presence and absence of whales and dolphins around the Scottish coastline, shared the news on their Facebook page this morning. So far, they have not been able to identify the species of shark.

Tickets to the Carnival Midsummer Charity Ball sold out in less than hour this afternoon. 

The Carnival Midsummer Charity Ball, organised by the Lewis Carnival Committee, will take place on June 10 in the Town Hall to raise money for Hebridean Men's Cancer Support Group, Lewis & Harris Women's Cancer Support Group, Autism Eileanan Siar, and The Gambia Partnership. 

A total of £4m will be invested in services in the Outer Hebrides over the next two years, says Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

The plans include a £1m boost for Education and Children’s Services, £240,000 for new library vans and £800,000 for road improvements.

Other projects involve a further £240,000 for coastal protection works at Craigston on the Isle of Barra and South Ford, between Benbecula and South Uist,  as well as £130,000 on road repairs to the newly renovated Lews Castle.

A support group for anyone who has lost a baby is starting up tonight on Tuesday 5th April, in the Quiet Room at the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway.

The group will be meeting on the first Tuesday of every month and will be facilitated by midwife Joanne Murray-Stewart and hospital chaplain Helen Gallacher. 

Joanne said the baby loss support group – named Sèimh – had been “a long time coming”. The support group is for those whose baby has died at any stage of pregnancy or close to the time of birth, and is also to support those who are planning or going through a new pregnancy.

Many islanders and their pets wait at Bayhead

Islanders were given the chance to get their dogs microchipped for free at the Bayhead Bridge Centre today, as part of a national campaign by the Dogs Trust. 

The event gave pet owners the opportunity to get their dogs registered, with representatives from the welfare charity on hand to give out information. 

As of Wednesday 6th April, all dogs must be microchipped by law as part of new measures to reduce dog abandonment in the UK. Owners are in danger of being fined up to £500 for not registering their pet before the deadline.

Ferry operator CalMac is changing the way it alerts customers to disrupted services following feedback from passengers.

An additional service status of yellow is being added to the existing green, amber and red categories on their website to give passengers clearer information about potential disruption.

“We asked the public what we could do to make their journey easier in the face of weather disruption and the overwhelming response was that they wanted more information,” said CalMac's director of operations, Drew Collier.

The Head of BT Scotland, Brendan Dick has been invited to the islands by Comhairle Councillor Donald Crichton to hear concerns of customers regarding the disruption to services in North Tolsta; along with the wider problems being experienced with the rollout of Superfast Broadband across the Broadbay area.

Cllr Crichton has written inviting Mr Dick to meet, and suggests customers be reimbursed for the delay in restoring services in North Tolsta in the aftermath of the lightning strike in January.  

He also seeks assurances that the financial support committed to the superfast broadband project is being made available to implement the service. 

The Labour Party’s candidate for the Scottish Parliament election next month was in central Stornoway today (Saturday) for the launch of the local campaign office in Cromwell Street.

Rhoda Grant told the crowd of campaigners and supporters at the launch that during their early experience on the doorsteps of the Western isles in this campaign, they had been very positively received and there was the opportunity to make a lot more progress.

Rhoda was born in Stornoway in 1963.  Rhoda Grant’s maternal grandparents were from Portnaguran, in Point, and her paternal grandparents were from Stockinish, in Harris.

In an interview with EVENTS, after she was selected, she said: “Gaelic was my first language, but sadly I can only understand bits of it now,” she said.   Mrs Grant has already been an MSP, having been selected on the Labour list in 2011.  She was also made a list MSP in 1999.

From an early age growing up in Gairloch, Rhoda says she had a sense of social justice.  Seeing that the Highlands and Islands were being ‘left behind’, she joined the Labour Party and was instantly a hit with her colleagues, who themselves were re-energised by her fresh enthusiasm.  Her hard work was rewarded in 1999 when she joined the first ever Scottish Parliament.

“We want councils to have the freedom to raise their own tax and not be penalised. That is local democracy.”

The 75th anniversary of the official inauguration of the Royal Air Force flying bases at Stornoway and Benbecula was marked at 1pm today by a wreath-laying ceremony at the RAF Stornoway Memorial in Melbost, beside the roundabout outside Stornoway Airport.

A Commemorative Church Service will also be held tomorrow April 3rd, in Martins Memorial Church at 11am.

Both the Stornoway and Benbecula airfields were established initially to fulfil a similar role, that of convoy protection from German U-boats in the Atlantic and Minches during World War 11.

They both then went on to become civilian airports.

For a full history of the islands' Royal Air Force flying bases, click here.

On the campaign trail and covering the largest Scottish constituency, John Finnie, Highlands and Islands Green Party candidate for the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, stopped off in the Western Isles today (Friday, April 1st).

Mr Finnie was Highlands and Islands SNP MSP from 2011-2012, resigning from the party in reaction to its decision to support NATO membership for an independent Scotland, and sat as an Independent for the rest of the session.

Now under the Green banner, he is keen to continue challenging the political status quo and calling for 'bolder' moves within the Scottish government on topics such as the transition to renewable energies, carers' welfare and support, and ensuring opportunities for further education and training.

Mr Finnie also campaigns for the public ownership of CalMac ferries and island air services; as well as the need for a 'fundamental review and consolidation' of crofting laws, and an 'ease of tensions' in relation to the designation of Marine Protective areas.

“Across the parties there are areas of common ground. The Green emphasis is simply we can't go on doing things the way we're doing them now,” he said.

 

The Western Isles candidates for this year's Scottish Parliament elections have just been announced. 

They are:

ALLAN,

Alasdair James

Scottish National Party (SNP)

 

CORMACK,

John

Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”

 

FRASER,

Ranald

Scottish Conservative and Unionist

 

GRANT,

Rhoda

Scottish Labour Party

 

MACLEOD,

Kenneth John Baillie Stewart

Scottish Liberal Democrats

A renowned autism consultant is visiting staff and pupils at schools across Lewis today .

Jim Taylor spent 30 years educating children with autism, as a teacher, principal, and finally director of education at New Struan School in Alloa, Clackmannanshire.

Singer Bella Gaffney gets set for HebCelt 2016.             Credit: Rachel Kennan

Yorkshire singer songwriter Bella Gaffney has won a prestigious stage slot in front of an international audience at the 21st Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.

Bella, 22, from Bradford, was one of nine finalists in the CalMac Culture Music contest, run by ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne. 

Each finalist performed two acoustic tracks to judges and a live audience at King Tut’s in Glasgow last night (Thursday, March 31st) with a chance of securing a spot at one of nine Scottish festivals, including HebCelt.

The 75th anniversary of the official inauguration of the Royal Air Force flying bases at Stornoway and Benbecula was marked this morning (Friday, April 1st) with a Flag-Raising ceremony in Perceval Square, Stornoway.

Members of the local branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA), some of whom served at Stornoway post war, and local Air Cadets were joined by Comhairle Convener Norman A MacDonald to recognise the significant anniversary.

An Anniversary Dinner for RAFA Stornoway members and guests will take place tonight in the TA Drill Hall as part of the commemorative celebrations.

And a Wreath Laying ceremony will take place at the RAF Stornoway Memorial in Melbost at 2pm tomorrow, Saturday, April 2nd.

A Commemorative Church Service will also be held on Sunday, April 3rd, in Martins Memorial Church at 11am.

Both the Stornoway and Benbecula airfields were established initially to fulfil a similar role, that of convoy protection from German U-boats in the Atlantic and Minches during World War 11.

They both then went on to become civilian airports.

For a full history of the islands' Royal Air Force flying bases, click here.

 

 

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects approximately 15% of people in the UK. Typical symptoms can include abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating or distension, wind, a change in bowel habit (diarrhoea and/or constipation).  If you think you might have IBS it’s important to speak to your doctor to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions such as coeliac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

Diet and lifestyle changes can significantly improve IBS symptoms and help patients manage their condition.  Specific advice on diet varies depending on what symptoms are but there are some general tips that would benefit all IBS sufferers.

Saturday May 9th at 2pm brings the family event for the Katie Morag exhibition, which will include a free screening in the An Lanntair cinema. Two episodes: Katie Morag and the Dancing Class, and a special 30 minute screening of Katie Morag and the Worst Day Ever will be on for all to enjoy. Tickets are available to book now!

The Family opening event will be followed by the official launch at 5pm, with original artwork, sets and photographs from the Cbeebies production, and Mairi Hedderwick herself!

An Lanntair also have a full package of workshops for adults throughout the Katie Morag exhibition. 

Click here to read about the talks and workshops that are available for adults in May! 

DigiScotFest is coming to Stornoway!

An Lanntair, Thursday 14th May, 10:30am – 3:30pm

DigiScotFest Western Isles is part of a series of festivals to promote digital inclusion across Scotland. Led by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Citizens Online and Hebridean Connections, this one day free event is open to everyone interested in all things digital!

We particularly hope to meet people who are involved with helping others to use the internet, as well as organisations who are embedding the use of digital tools and the internet as part of their wider work.

 

The day will comprise of a mixture of presentations and workshops with plenty of time to share stories, ask questions and network. For further information and to book a place please see our events page or contact Rebecca at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or on 0131 474 8028.

The Lewis Branch of Save the Children marks its 50th anniversary at a time when the international charity seek aid to help nearly two million children feared affected by the Nepal earthquake.

The first AGM of the Save the Children Lewis Branch took place on April 24th 1965; and on May 5th this year, branch members, volunteers and guests will enjoy a lunch at the Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway.

Speakers at the event include Save the Children Regional Humanitarian Director Rob MacGillivary, who will take of his experiences with the charity’s programs in Sierra Leone; and Morag Smith, Save the Children’s North Scotland Fundraising Executive.

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Shackleton disaster, which happened near Northton, Harris in 1990.

All ten crew members of the RAF aircraft were killed instantly when the ageing plane crashed into the Maodal hill during fog.

RAF Lossiemouth's worst peacetime accident left six widows and 12 children.

Shackleton aircraft were decommissioned following the tragedy, replaced with Nimrods.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will be taking part in Gaelic Twitter Day 2015, tomorrow (Thursday 30th April).

Social Media Scotland wish to increase the number of people using Gaelic on Twitter and hope that ‘#Gàidhlig’ will appear regularly on the social media throughout the day, more commonly known as ‘trending.’

Similar initiatives are ongoing to attract people’s attention to other minority languages such as Gaelige and Frisian.

The Comhairle will be tweeting all messages tomorrow in Gaelic to demonstrate its continued support for the language.

The Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has expressed support for those suffering from the effects of the earthquake in Nepal

Convener Norman A MacDonald said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those suffering the effects of the earthquake in Nepal. The scale of this disaster is extensive and the response should be on a similar scale. These people need our help.

"The people of the Western Isles have already shown themselves to be generous with local businesses, schools, voluntary organisations and individuals making considerable efforts of assistance. I commend those efforts and would urge people throughout the Islands to lend further support by donating whatever they can afford."

Donations to the Nepal Earthquake Appeal can be made here

The photo below shows Nicolson Institute pupils fundraising for the Nepalese Earthquake Disaster.

Today, Lews Castle College UHI will host a General Election hustings in its foyer, between 2-4pm. 

Agnes Rennie will chair the event, which will begin with a 2 minute presentation by each of the 5 prospective parliamentary candidates, and then questions from the floor. 

This follows last night's hustings, hosted by the Evangelical Alliance, and chaired by Rev. Ivor Martin, in the Town Hall, which welcomed more than 130 people, and saw the five candidates -  John Cormack, Christian Party; Mark Brown, Conservative; Angus Brendan MacNeil, SNP; Alasdair Morrison, Labour; Ruaraidh Ferguson, Liberal Democrats - discuss topics including assisted dying, same-sex marriage, the use of social media, and Christians in our society.

Islander Shellfish is back in town!

The official opening of Islander Shellfish took place this afternoon (Tuesday) and the shop will be open to the public again on Wednesday.

The Western Isles are due to have an inter-connector to the national grid up and running by December 2020.

Comhairle leader Angus Campbell said he was 'hugely heartened' following a meeting with representatives of Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHE-T), where a timetable of the roll-out was presented.

On Saturday 16th May, the Lews Castle Grounds will play host to the 9th Women’s Cancer Challenge 5k, the biggest sporting participation event in the Outer Hebrides. The WCC is a fundraiser for the award-winning Lewis branch of Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Research UK funds research into a whole range of cancers that affect both men and women.  

The event promises to bring together a big group of ladies in the gorgeous Castle Grounds, for an afternoon of laughter and fundraising. Organiser, Tony Wade, said: “The event is held in the simplest way possible, in order to maximise the contribution to the charity.”

 

Rain or shine, you can always count on it being a special day, “and it is really the sheer fact that so many women have turned up, no matter what the weather, to support it that has made it such a happy and successful event.”

In its ninth year, you might be wondering what keeps driving Kirsty and Tony Wade to devote so much time to organising the race. The answer is quite simple: “We continue to organise the challenge every year because every year we know somebody who has been affected by cancer, or whose family continues to suffer from the devastating effects of losing someone to this disease, and we suspect that is why so many people come to support the event too.”

They really want you to join in again: “come along and walk, run or chat your way around the Castle Grounds course again this year. Your efforts make such a difference.”

Over the years, the WCC has raised over £80,000, which has helped make incredible advances. The Cancer Research UK website states that new figures this year show that death rates for breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer combined have fallen by almost a third in the last 20 years, thanks to research - but more still needs to be done.

A last comment from Tony and Kirsty: “Please come along again on May 16th, with your usual smiles, bringing the cheery atmosphere with you, and please also bring your mum or sister or friend or daughter or neighbour or work colleague, because every single contribution makes a difference.

“Please come even if the weather is bad, because cancer doesn’t stop - even when it’s raining.”

Saturday 16th May, 12noon, Lews Castle College. 

Staff and students at opposite sides of the world are set to benefit from a pioneering antipodean alliance between the University of the Highlands and Islands and Federation University, Australia’s newest university.

The two regionally based education institutions have a lot in common despite their distance apart as University of the Highlands and Islands principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Clive Mulholland explained:

“Neither of us are traditional universities. We are both different and are locally based, regional in structure but with national and international influence. We’re part of a new breed of tertiary institutions encompassing both further and higher education. As trailblazers in our geographical areas, it makes sense for us to establish links with other new generation universities to find opportunities for collaboration and mutual learning.”

Results:

League

Back 3 United 1

Carloway 2 Point 3

Aths 1 Ness 2 

Lochs V Westside pp

Tonight, a General Election hustings will take place in the Town Hall, Stornoway, at 7.30pm. 

All five of the parliamentary candidates for the Western Isles will be present. 

This precedes the Lews Castle College UHI General Election hustings, which will take place tomorrow, 2pm-4pm, in the college foyer.

Stornoway Port Authority has announced the appointment of Mr. Tony Morrison to the position of Harbourmaster.

Mr. Morrison was educated at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, and is a Marine Engineer by profession and is also a certificated RNLI Coxswain currently serving as Depute Cox on the Stornoway Lifeboat. He and his family live in the village of Sandwick near Stornoway.

Mr. Morrison’s working life to date has focused largely around Stornoway Harbour and he already has many years of experience in dealing with a significant number of the Port Authority’s customers and stakeholders.

We've just updated our cinema listings!

Why not pop over and have a look at what's on in an Lanntair in the in the next few weeks?!

Just click here!

Lews Castle College UHI is hosting a General Election Hustings this week on Wednesday 29th April at 2 pm - 4 pm in the college foyer.

All 5 prospective parliamentary candidates will be present and Agnes Rennie will chair the event.

Students, staff and the general public are warmly invited to attend.

Seating is limited to around 250.

Angus Maciver Ltd. has struck a deal with HJ Lea Oakes, which is perhaps the longest established independent animal feed manufacturer in Britain with a lineage dating back to Swettenham Mill in 1675, where the Lea family began milling feeds to supply the Cheshire farming community.

Centuries later, the company has expanded and developed to become one of the region’s most essential assets, supplying the agricultural community with a vast range of quality feeds across the UK.

Working couple looking for a flat close to Stornoway town area for £500 or less pcm

Call 07926159564 with information

League results:

Back 1 Carloway 1

United 1 Point 3 

Lochs 5 Aths 0

Westside 5 Ness 0

Fixtures

Monday April 27, 6.30pm

League

Aths v Ness

Carloway v Point

Back v United

Lochs v Westside

Central Stornoway came to a halt this morning - with long traffic queues in James Street and Newton Street – as the 100th anniversary of the start of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 was remembered.  This formed part of an unsuccessful attack by the Western allies in World War One on the Ottoman Empire, with an assault on what is part of modern-day Turkey.

A solo kayaker aims to raise thousands of pounds for the RNLI by paddling 2015 miles round all the charity’s Scottish lifeboat stations.

Nick Ray, 51, will leave on May 1st and take between three and four months to kayak to the RNLI’s 47 lifeboat stations – including the Western Isles’ three RNLI stations at Barra, Leverburgh and Stornoway.

All visits to Raigmore Hospital have been suspended due to an outbreak of the norovirus vomiting bug.

Dr Adam Brown, Consultant Microbiologist for NHS Highland, explained this decision has been taken to try and reduce the incidence of norovirus within the hospital.

He said: “We have taken the decision today to suspend all visiting at Raigmore Hospital on a temporary basis.

“We currently have a high number of patients in hospital with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting and we also know it is rife in the community. By reducing the amount of traffic coming in to the hospital we hope that will reduce the risk of any more outbreaks of norovirus.

“We would ask members of the public not to come in to hospital to visit any ward unless by prior arrangement with the nurse in charge. Hospital staff will of course be very happy to talk to visitors on the phone so they can get updates on how their relatives are.

“We appreciate your understanding for why we have had to take this decision and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Angus Brendan MacNeil, SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has contacted Brendan Dick, Director, BT Scotland, following reports of slow broadband speeds in various parts of Lewis.

Commenting, Angus MacNeil said:

“I have today been made aware of problems with the broadband speed in various parts of the island, which seems to have been ongoing since the beginning of the week.

“I understand from a number of businesses in Stornoway that the slow broadband speed is making it difficult for them to operate effectively and I have now contacted BT to ask that they investigate and repair the fault.”

We are starting to hear a lot of reports of slow internet speeds all over the island. 

The current situation seems to be similar to that back in September, when hundreds of complaints were made to myriad internet service providers. 

In September (2014) we - EVENTS and welovestornoway.com, on behalf of the island residents - took up the issue with BT to a high level, and we saw things improve, but something appears to have happened again.

If YOU are having problems, let us know, and we'll send the information on to BT. The more numbers we have on the list, the more impact.

Send your telephone number to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you're experiencing slow internet speeds in Lewis or Harris.

The Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) has revealed a brand new title sponsor which has pledged support for the next three years - The Scottish Salmon Company.

The Scottish Salmon Company employs over 230 people across the Outer Hebrides and has a proud history of supporting the local communities.

WIIGA supports talented athletes from across the Western Isles, hosting training camps and supporting skill development, as well as enabling a team to travel to the Island Games, hosted in alternate years by member islands across the world. 

Chelsea Football Club are more popular in the Outer Hebrides than they are in London, according to a new study. 

The survey, conducted by Twitter, shows the levels of support for every Premier League team in each region of the UK based on the number of followers of the clubs' official Twitter accounts.

Chelsea are the third most popular team in London behind Arsenal and Liverpool, securing only 13.4 per cent of the vote. 

They are more popular in the Outer Hebrides, where 14.8 per cent of fans supported the Blues.

 

The Rotary Club of Stornoway and The Nicolson Institute Interact Club, are delighted to be presenting the charity ‘500 Miles’ with a cheque for £2,600 raised through the Stornoway ‘Big Dinner’ event.

500 Miles is a charity established in 2008 by Olivia Giles which helps people with mobility in Malawi and Zambia to live independent lives by providing artificial limbs and braces for people with disabilities of the limbs and spine.

The Big Dinner event took place on March 7th and was one of hundreds which took place on the same night across the country.

The Rotary Club of Stornoway’s Big Dinner event raised £1,300 – and a further £1,300 was raised by The Nicolson Institute Interact Club through raffles and musical entertainment at Stornoway’s Tesco store.

Thanks go to MG ALBA and Tech Mobile who assisted with live link-ups during the Big Dinner event, to MC Derek ‘Pluto’ Murray, musicians Stephen Drummond and Mairi MacLennan who performed on the evening, photographer Leila Angus, and Eleven Restaurant and Bar for making the event such an amazing success.

Angela Murray and Marina Macleod, former employees of Stornoway Shellfish, present Stornoway RNLI Coxswain Murdi Campbell and Stornoway RNLI LOM John MacDonald with a donation of £1,240.

The funds were raised through the 2015 Stornoway Shellfish staff reunion dinner and raffle, which saw staff reunite for an evening of fun eight years after the Stornoway Shellfish factory closed.

Result:

Acres Boys Club Cup Semi Final

Lochs 6 United 0

As part of Police Scotland’s ongoing recruitment campaign for Police Officers, the Highland and Islands Division will host a condensed three day selection event from Tuesday 30 June to Thursday 2 July 2015 at the Divisional Headquarters in Inverness.
This event is a unique opportunity for applicants, primarily who live in the Highlands and Islands area to undertake the main components of the selection process over just three days. This is the first time such an event has been run locally.

Normally musicians go on the road to promote their new work. But for three island-based musicians who are involved in a unique collaboration, going on tour means taking to the air.
The ‘Between Islands’ project, featuring three singer-songwriters from the Northern and Western Isles, will be taken to outlying audiences this year with the help of Flybe franchise partner Loganair.

The 'Isle of Lewis' is broken down in Stornoway.

The ship, which is being used to carry cars and passengers from Stornoway to Uig, as works begin at Ullapool Pier, suffered a mechanical failure this morning. 

The company say they hope to have the ship ready to sail from Stornoway to Uig at 5pm tonight.

Hotels in Lewis and Harris are not being negatively impacted by changes to Caledonian MacBrayne’s timetable structure.

On the contrary, some hotels are struggling to cope with the amount of tourists needing a room.

Essential improvement works to the linkspan at Ullapool pier mean that traffic from Stornoway is being diverted via Skye for a period of four weeks.

The new diversion began operation on Monday.

The Crofting Commission is launching new application forms and information leaflets to help crofters understand crofting regulation.
The Commission is asking for more detailed information from crofters in their regulatory application forms to reduce the processing time of applications by limiting the requests for further information.

Children from across the Islands will join international children to document their “School Run” as an Lanntair brings new international audiences to the Outer Hebrides.

As part of Uncharted, an Lanntair’s ongoing youth engagement project, the art centre is launching its new “School Run” project.

Uncharted is an  island-wide youth engagement programme run by an Lanntair and funded by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine – Scotland’s first National Youth Arts Strategy”.

Uncharted will engage young people from primary school age upwards in a programme of arts projects, commissions and curatorial opportunities in four locations around Lewis and Harris.

As an Lanntair's new Katie Morag exhibition opens next month, their Education & Outreach team have programmed a truly unique and inspiring programme of talks and workshops designed specifically for adults who want to learn and gain experience from the writers, designers, producers.

All at an Lanntair are delighted to be welcoming a variety of experts from the team who brought us the BAFTA award winning CBeebies series Katie Morag.

Click here for more information on the workshops an Lanntair have on offer! 

Result:

Acres Boys Club Cup Semi Final

Ness 1 Carloway 1 

(Carloway win 4-1 on penalities)

Fixtures:

Wednesday April 22

Acres Boys Club Cup Semi Final

Lochs v United

 

Firefighters battled to put out a moor fire near Ranish yesterday. 

The alarm was raised at 6pm, and the two-and-a-half mile blaze was eventually extinguished by 9.30pm. 

Earlier in the day, another moor fire was reported at Keose. 

Members of the public are reminded to be vigilant during hot weather, as most moor fires happen as a result of human error.

The Comhairle's 2015 roads surface dressing programme is commencing on the 11th May with two weeks of work in the Barra and Uist area. 

It is expected that the mobile works will then transfer to Harris on or around the 25th May for an approximate 1-2 week period, after which works will transfer to Lewis for a further 2-3 week period. 

All works are weather dependent and may be subject to delays and alteration. Most areas of the Western Isles will be affected by the works.

The Comhairle would like to thank the public for their continued patience and cooperation during this period and are advised to take notice of all signage, speed limits and traffic management on the sites. 

The travelling public are encouraged to heed the temporary speed limits through the sites and have due consideration for vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.

The Comhairle and SNH are working hard on the Hebridean Way Cycling and Walking routes, and they plan to launch these this summer. Further visitor related information is being developed at the moment, and the Hebridean Way web resource on the destination website www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk will be launched shortly.

It is believed that these two routes will be a key visitor attraction for the Outer Hebrides over the coming years, and will add enormously to the appeal of the Outer Hebrides to outdoor enthusiast visitors.

The future development and sustainability of the Hebridean Way is critical to its value to our tourism industry, and the Comhairle and SNH are looking into the feasibility of establishing a Countryside Trust.

Further details are available here, and everyone involved in tourism is being encouraged to make their views known.

You can participate by:

  • Completing a very brief online survey here
  • Attending one of the public consultation meetings being held next week, as follows:

 Stornoway Town Hall, 6pm, Monday 27th AprilBays Community Centre, Harris, 6pm, Tuesday 28th AprilBalivanich Hall, Benbecula, 6pm, Wednesday 29th April; Castlebay Hall, Barra, 6pm, Thursday 30th April.

Outer Hebrides Tourism urges everyone to go along or fill in the survey - its important that the views of the industry are taken into account if a Countryside Trust is to be established.

 

Members of the Carloway community got together on Saturday (April 18) morning to try to clean up some of the rubbish that collated ‎after the winter storms, in association with Clean Up Scotland. 

It turns out that litter picking is a fantastic way to spend the morning with the kids, who were delighted to discover some interesting finds including a giant polystyrene ball, old tyres, a football, an old go kart, and a traffic cone. 

 

After a couple of hours rubbish collecting, from which the skip was left over flowing, the group gathered at the hall where Cathie Mary McIver had some delicious soup and refreshments waiting.

Who would have thought litter picking could be so much fun?! 

Members of the Carloway community got together on Saturday morning to try to clean up some of the rubbish that collated ‎after the winter storms, in association with Clean Up Scotland. 

It turns out that litter picking is a fantastic way to spend the morning with the kids, who were delighted to discover some interesting finds including a giant polystyrene ball, old tyres, a football, an old go kart, and a traffic cone. 

 

After a couple of hours rubbish collecting, from which the skip was left over flowing, the group gathered at the hall where Cathie Mary McIver had some delicious soup and refreshments waiting.

Who would have thought litter picking could be so much fun?! 

Local communities are being encouraged to contribute to NHS Western Isles' review of its Communications Strategy.

The aim of the Strategy is to develop a culture of effective two-way communication at all levels.

The Communications Strategy details the methods the health board uses and aims to develop to communicate both internally and externally.

A singing duo from Keose were viewed by millions on TV over the weekend, as they auditioned for Britain's Got Talent.

Acqua Jane and Dolores, real names Jane and Dionne Murrell, performed their self-penned song 'You Defrost My Heart at a Million Degrees' in front of Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Alesha Dixon, and Amanda Holden. 

And while David and Amanda voted to send them through to the next round, Simon and Alesha were distinctly unimpressed, meaning the singing duo would go no further.

See their audition here.

 

Sunshine and joy…central Stornoway under Mediterranean skies…lively conversations…smiles…a veritable second day of sunshine dispels the gloom of winter!

League

Point 3 Westside 1

Carloway 0 Lochs 1

Ness 2 United 0

Aths v Back (Postponed until April 29)

A special pink boat gifted to the Lewis and Harris Breast Cancer Support Group has proved to be a real hit with youngsters across the islands.

And today, staff of the Langavat Medical Practice, in Lochs, donated three brand new pink lifejackets to go along with the new sailing vessel.

The boat was bought by Fallon Macarthur at an auction in London, and he in turn gave it to the support group. 

The temporary suspension on admissions to the Blar Buidhe care home has been lifted.

A review was launched last month following a number of concerns raised over the dietary programmes of residents.

That review has now been completed.

A South Uist councillor has called for an inquiry into how the returning officer for the Western Isles constituency came to attend a meeting "which broke every law in the electoral book" and from which he was excluded.

The meeting, about ferry services, was held at the offices of Storas Uibhist in Daliburgh and attended by the SNP candidate for the Western Isles, Angus Brendan MacNeil, as well as the Scottish Goverment  transport minister, Derek MacKay and the local MSP, Alasdair Allan. Council representatives, including chief executive Malcolm Burr were also present.

Councillor Ronald MacKinnon, who has been prominent in the campaign to improve ferry services for South Uist, was not invited. He said: "When I learned of the proposed meeting, I phoned Transport Scotland in Edinburgh to ask why I had not been invited and whether I could attend."

Lews Castle College UHI will host a General Election Hustings on Wednesday 29th April at 2 pm - 4 pm in the college foyer. It is expected that students, staff and the general public will be in attendance.

Agnes Rennie will chair the event which will begin with a 2 minute presentation by each of the 5 prospective parliamentary candidates, and then questions from the floor. Students and staff can also submit questions in advance, and the Chair will make a selection from these. Candidates will each be given 1 minute to sum up at the end.

Lews Castle College UHI looks forward to welcoming the candidates to the Stornoway campus, and staff, students and the public are encouraged to attend.

The family of the victims of the storm in 2005 have repeated calls for a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

And the SNP's Angus MacNeil has spoken out in regard to issues surrounding the South Ford Causeway, between Benbecula and South Uist.

The Comhairle this week ruled against opening out the causeway by 250 metres.

Archie Macpherson (36), his wife Murdina (37), and their children Hannah (5), and Andrew (7), together with Murdina's father Calum Campbell (67), all perished in the storm, ten years ago.

Stornoway clothing store Murdo Maclean & Sons Ltd is to be put on the market.

An employee told www.welovestornoway.com that the business is expected to be put up for sale 'in the next couple of weeks'.

The employee added that store staff - comprising 10 both full and part-time - had not been informed of any potential redundancies.

Management of the shop were unavailable for comment.

 

 

This summer, Stornoway Harbour will become a vibrant, colourful and creative hub full of tasty food, organic, freshly picked fruit, vegetables, plants, new & second hand books, local arts & handmade crafts, live music, performances and many interesting workshops for everyone. 

For one day, all visitors will be given a unique opportunity to browse and stroll around the harbour with fresh coffee and grab a taste of Hebridean delights, regional cuisine, and homemade patisserie in the wonderfully beautiful and bustling setting of Stornoway Harbour. Additionally, Stornoway Marina will be open to all visitors who wish to have a closer look at the boats and yachts docked in the harbour this season, while RNLI Lifeboat station will organize interactive workshops and sessions for youngsters.

Harbour Open Day, perfectly located, will allow retailers, artists, entertainers to trade and/or promote their products/services to all visitors within the available space, so please don’t wait until the very last moment to book! Participation in the event and registration is completely free and will become available online from 30th April until 1st June 2015 at: www.stornowayportauthority.com

Harbour Open Day has been prepared with the intention to celebrate Stornoway Port Authority’s 150th Anniversary as well as the Scottish Year of Food & Drink Festival, which highlights and promotes local cuisine, products. Harbour Open Day is a great way of spending your Saturday afternoon with the whole family or friends, if not for the food then just to browse and soak up the atmosphere. Please see the enclosed leaflet and get your business involved. 

The Harbour Open Day will take place on Saturday 27th June 2015 from 10am-6pm at Cromwell Street Quay.

Stag Bakeries has landed a bumper deal with retail giant Marks & Spencer.

The Stornoway firm will supply all 411 Marks & Spencer stores across the UK with its Stornoway Water Biscuits with Seaweed, and its Stornoway Oatcakes with Seaweed.

Both retail at £3 for a 125 gram pack.

 

Residents of the Western Isles are being warned to be on their guard, following reports of a phone scam.

NHS Western Isles was recently made aware that some local people have been contacted by telephone by an individual claiming to be from their local health centre/GP Practice, trying to sell them medication and requesting bank account details.

The NHS is keen to stress to patients that these telephone calls are not being made by healthcare professionals, and that patients should never provide their bank details, when requested, over the telephone. NHS staff will never ask for your bank details.

Fèis Taigh Dhonnchaidh 2015 took place from the 6th to the 11th April.

 

This year, 17 children from Barvas to Ness, Stornoway and Point attended the main Fèis in Taigh Dhonnchaidh, in Ness, with a further 16 younger children participating in Fèis Nis based in Comunn Eachdraidh Nis.

Tutors this year were Anne Louise Stewart (Melodeon), Louisa Maclean Barron (Fiddle), Eleanor Sinclair (Highland Dancing), Calum Murdo Maclean (Chanter), Catrìona Mackay (Guitar), Màiri Macleod (Keyboard & Gaelic Singing), Domhnall Smith (Drama), and Catrìona Mackay and Mary Duff (Fèis Nis).

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The week ended with a concert on Saturday evening in the Clan Macquarrie Centre, where the children performed some of what they had learned during the week for their friends and family. Performances were also given by the tutors, and the Ness Melodeon Band offered plenty of opportunity for people, young and old, to get up on the dance floor.

Craft Fair/Table Top Sale at the Barvas and Brue Community Centre on Saturday 16th May!
12.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. 
To book a table, please phone Peggy 840400 / Maureen 850262

 

Rugged yet disciplined, heartfelt whilst rousing and anthemic, refreshingly contemporary but rooted in tradition, all-together punch-packing… Rura are at the forefront of Scottish folk.

Internationally renowned – and in demand – for their powerhouse mix of highland pipes, whistle, flute, fiddle, bodhran, guitar and voice, Rura are one of the most sought-after bands of their generation. Steven Blake, Jack Smedley, David Foley and Adam Brown create hard-hitting, muscular, yet intricately arranged and lyrical, instrumentals to match singer/songwriter Adam Holmes’ haunting songcraft – a perfected mix that has seen them rise to headline status at festivals throughout the UK and Europe.

Since bursting on to the scene in 2010, as award winners at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival, Rura have firmly established themselves as a major force. The release of their heralded first album, Break It Up, in 2012 (produced by Lau and Kan fiddler, Aidan O’Rourke, no less) was accompanied by multiple award wins and nominations – including the running for the BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award 2013 – and now the five-piece’s second release is just around the corner. Due for release in spring 2015, it is one of the most hotly-anticipated, feverishly requested albums in recent years – and from a band of the very same.

“Rura are just what every festival needs. Barnstorming instrumentals and songs of exceptional quality. The Scottish music scene has never been stronger and these guys are right out in front!” Bruce MacGregor, BBC Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk

“The young Highland-rooted five-piece Rura, combining tremendously tight, brilliantly multi-hued pipes- and fiddle-led instrumentals with Adam Holmes’s huskily affecting vocals, unarguably affirmed their reputation among Scotland’s hottest folk prospects.” Sue Wilson, The Scotsman

Book your tickets online here or call an Lanntair Box Office on 01851 708480

Stornoway swimmer Kara Hanlon shattered her personal best at the British Swimming Championships in London yesterday.

At the event held in the London Olympic Aquatic Centre, Kara shaved two seconds off her breaststroke record, recording 2.30.92, and finishing 11th overall.

She has two events yet to race at the Championships over the coming days.

You can now keep track with what your councillor is saying in the debating chamber, after Comhairle nan Eilean Siar started a new online live stream of its meetings.

The new service started this week, and you can access the audio stream here.

Today sees a meeting of the Health and Social Care committee, starting at 2pm.

To raise money for CLIC Sargent - which supports children with cancer - the staff at Scottish Hydro, 32 Cromwell street in Stornoway, are holding a 'Coffee, Cake and Chatter' week running from May 20th until May 23rd.

They will also be participating in "WIG WEDNESDAY", which is on the 20th, but just for fun - and, of course, to raise funds for CLIC Sargent - they will be sporting their wigs for the four days of 'Coffee, Cake and Chatter' week. 

During 'Coffee, Cake and Chatter' week, the staff at Scottish Hydro invite you to drop into their store, have a chat, and enjoy some warm drinks and professional home baking - made and donated by the owner of Hebridean Oaties, Laura Macdonald.

To donate through JustGiving, click here

 

The Cancer Research event 'Coves Climb the Clisham' will take place on Saturday May 2nd, and this is the last week for entries

Entry forms can be picked up from the Events shop, Lewis Sports Centre and Harris Sports Centre. 

The organisers need to know how many coves are going to be on the Clisham that Saturday in order to make the necessary arrangements.

Please return completed forms along with entry fees to Events or the Sports Centre receptions in Stornoway or Tarbert by Friday 17th April.

The Cancer Research event 'Coves Climb the Clisham' will take place on Saturday May 2nd, and this is the last week for entries

Entry forms can be picked up from the Events shop, Lewis Sports Centre and Harris Sports Centre. 

The organisers need to know how many coves are going to be on the Clisham that Saturday in order to make the necessary arrangements.

Please return completed forms along with entry fees to Events or the Sports Centre receptions in Stornoway or Tarbert by Friday 17th April.

 

 

A new Gaelic parent and toddler group has been established in South Harris providing five spaces for children from birth to 4 years of age.

Bord na Gaidhlig awarded Somerville Enterprises CIC, a not for profit social enterprise, a grant for resources and a Gaelic worker to establish a bilingual parent and child group in the Leverburgh area. This is a positive step towards establishing a permanent and dedicated early years service for children and their families, thus creating a solid long term foundation for Gaelic Early Years provision in South Harris.

The Obbe Parant is Paiste is based in Kerri Ramsaidh’s home, where she and the newly appointed Gaelic worker provide a gentle and nurturing environment for pregnant mothers and children from birth to four years of age accompanied by a parent or caregiver. The group meets weekly throughout the year on Mondays, 9.30 - 11.30am.

As a Steiner inspired group, the session begins with creative free play while parents engage in simple craft projects and snack preparation. A healthy snack is then shared together which consists of organic whole grains, fruits and vegetables when available. The group then gathers to form a circle for songs, nursery rhymes, finger plays and simple games. The morning ends with a short story or puppet play before singing a goodbye song. The children and their parents are then free to play outside in the garden for as long as they like.

Obbe Parant is Paiste intends to provide additional support for parents and caregivers through friendships, study groups, one-to-one conversations, parenting workshops, a small lending library and a calendar of festivals and community events.

This peaceful and relaxing homely environment provides a natural introduction to Gaelic through the use of songs, stories and general conversation. Thereby supporting the children to have a happy, smooth transition from home to the local Gaelic medium education school.

This is a timely development for this geographical area. With Leverburgh ranking no 1 for service deprivation in Scotland and the recent suspension of baby and children health visitor services for the Western Isles, it is essential that the children and their families of South Harris receive the support they are entitled to.

Obbe Parant is Paiste is hosting an open day event for all interested parents and carers. This is a great opportunity for families to look around, meet with Kerri Ramsaidh and the Gaelic worker, talk to other parents and find out more about what Obbe Parant is Paiste has to offer. Everyone is welcome and there is no need to book. The open day is being held on Saturday 9th May 10 - 12pm, 18 Northton, South Harris. Children and their families are welcome from 10am , as are friends, colleagues and the simply curious from 11am onwards. Tea and refreshments will be provided. 

A new Gaelic parent and toddler group has been established in South Harris providing five spaces for children from birth to 4 years of age.

Bord na Gaidhlig awarded Somerville Enterprises CIC, a not for profit social enterprise, a grant for resources and a Gaelic worker to establish a bilingual parent and child group in the Leverburgh area. This is a positive step towards establishing a permanent and dedicated early years service for children and their families, thus creating a solid long term foundation for Gaelic Early Years provision in South Harris.

Now in its fourth year, the annual 5 Latha residential experience for secondary school children returned to Garenin Blackhouse Village last week. A group of young folk from across the Western Isles, Glasgow and Inverness took part in the event run by Fèisian nan Gàidheal from the 6th - 11th April. 

Under the tuition of Norrie MacIver, Mary Smith and Iain MacFarlane the young folk participated in music and song workshops, exploring Gaelic language and culture. They were also given the chance to experience several aspects of Hebridean life hands on, from helping with lambing, cutting peats, traditional weaving, a SeaTrek excursion and plenty of baking, Duff being a particular favourite.

The week concluded with a lively concert in Carloway Community Centre, showcasing the musical highlights from the week.

Now in its fourth year, the annual 5 Latha residential experience for secondary school children returned to Garenin Blackhouse Village last week. A group of young folk from across the Western Isles, Glasgow and Inverness took part in the event run by Fèisian nan Gàidheal from the 6th - 11th April. 

Under the tuition of Norrie MacIver, Mary Smith and Iain MacFarlane, the young folk participated in music and song workshops, exploring Gaelic language and culture. They were also given the chance to experience several aspects of Hebridean life hands on, from helping with lambing, cutting peats, traditional weaving, a SeaTrek excursion and plenty of baking, Duff being a particular favourite.

The week concluded with a lively concert in Carloway Community Centre, showcasing the musical highlights from the week.

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

The timetable for the temporary ferry service between Stornoway and Uig on Skye is available on line at

https://www.calmac.co.uk/article/3171/Ullapool---Stornoway--Uig-Diversions-Timetables

Monday-Saturday next week is included below.

 

 

The front door window of a home in Heatherhill, Barvas had its glass shattered by a stone between the hours of 1700 and 2100 on Friday 10th April, say the police in Stornoway.
 
Anyone with any information that can lead to identifying the person or persons responsible please contact Stornoway police on 101 or crime stoppers on 0800 555111 anonymously.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is inviting submissions of ideas for Planning Issues and Development Sites for the new Local Development Plan (LDP). The LDP sets out the Comhairle’s land-use strategy to encourage and guide future development in our area over the next 20 years.

The Comhairle is seeking to identify suitable sites for a range of uses including economic development and affordable housing provision.  The Comhairle is also initiating a ‘Call for Sites’ process in order to inform the Local Development Plan Main Issues Report. It will also inform the Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for 2015/16 – 2019/20 for affordable housing and the Housing Land Audit (HLA), scheduled for completion by the end of 2015.

The establishment of a new Countryside Trust is being considered by the council.

In partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage, the Comhairle has commissioned a study into the potential for establishing a Countryside Trust in the Outer Hebrides.    

The Trust could be formed as a vehicle for the management and maintenance of the Hebridean Way and could potentially support other outdoor access, marine, coastal, and biodiversity projects.

Hot on the heels of its successful community share offer, Urras Energy Society has raced ahead with site preparation works for its two new wind turbines at Baile an Truiseil on the west side of Lewis. 

Foundation build for the new turbines is due to get underway imminently.

Despite the poor recent weather, the civil engineering contractor, Borve-based North West Aggregates, has risen to the challenge and great progress has been achieved in forming the access and hardstanding structure for one of the turbines located close to Loch Sminig. 

The Stornoway Sea Angling Club E.G.M. will take place on Thursday 30th April 2015, at 7pm, in the Clubhouse.

The Stornoway Sea Angling Club would like to assure its members that it is working in partnership with its fishing-side to address the current situation with the SYSAC boat.

The background is that the same few fishing members have been using the SYSAC boat for a number of years now, and with these fishing numbers who use the boat dwindling, the Club simply cannot afford to continue paying for a boat running at a loss, for only a few members.

However, the new Committee are working with its fishing-side members on a plan which will hopefully save the boat, increase renewed interest in fishing-side, and make better use of the boat overall in the future.

These issues around the boat haven't happened overnight, but over a number of years, and the new Committee and fishing-side will hopefully be able to turn things around - as they have done already with the bar-side, which made a small profit last financial year, despite falling bar trade.

Another E.G.M. has been organised to take place on Thursday 30th April at 7pm in the Clubhouse, where voting will be held to discuss funding options and/or potential sale of SYSAC II boat. PLEASE NOTE This meeting is only open to current members (current = memberships paid/approved from November 2014) and life members, due to meeting including voting options.

As you may know the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar 'Slàinte Mhath!' Sports Facility Access scheme is the cheapest of its kind in Scotland, and has been used as an example of good practice by Audit Scotland of how a local authority has made their community more physically active and increased income by reducing prices. 'Slàinte Mhath!' prices have remained unchanged since the scheme was introduced over five years ago, and the 'Slàinte Mhath!' prices will not increase at present. However, the 'Pay As You Go' prices will increase slightly, by around 2%, on Monday 20th April. The prices are aimed to be around the middle of the Scottish average, even for customers who are not part of the 'Slàinte Mhath!' scheme. This increase in 'Pay As You Go' prices makes the 'Slàinte Mhath!' scheme an even better deal. So, if you are using the Lewis Sports Centre facilities regularly, why not take out a membership?!

Football results

Acres Boys Club Cup 1st Round

United 2 Back 1

Ness 1 Athletic 0

Lochs 4 Westside 2

Carloway 0 Point 0 (Carloway win 4-2 on penalties)

League fixtures:

Friday April 17, 6.30pm

Athletic v Back

Carloway v Lochs

Ness v United

Point v Westside

 

Western Isles Kidney Patients Association

The Annual General Meeting of the Western Isles Kidney Patients Association will be held within the Grianan Centre, Westview Terrace, Stornoway, on Thursday April 30th at 8pm.   You are welcome to join us.

 

'Walk on Hebrides' is the local health walks project that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in the islands by delivering regular led walks at various locations throughout the islands.

To do this we rely on a pool of volunteer walk leaders and, on Wednesday 22nd April, we will be delivering a one day training course that will give participants the skills and knowledge to lead health walks in their local patch.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Walk on Hebrides, to find out or book a place on this training course, contact Chris Ryan, Paths for Health Coordinator on 01851 762016 or 07743 507982. email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Training will take place on 22nd April from 9.30am - 4pm at The Shed, Francis Street, Stornoway, and a buffet lunch will be provided.

For further details contact:

Maggie Fraser

Communications Manager

01851 708060

07810527457

With an increase in the seasonal prevalence of norovirus across Scotland, NHS Western Isles is issuing advice to the public, in particular when visiting friends and family in hospital.

With cases of norovirus (commonly known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’) currently confirmed across several areas in Scotland, it is vital that members of the public take precautions to help prevent them catching or spreading the infection to others.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus. The first sign of norovirus is usually a sudden sick feeling, followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Symptoms usually last a couple of days, although this can be longer in elderly people. People are most likely to spread infection when they have symptoms, and for up to 48 hours after your symptoms have gone. It is more serious and even more easily spread among people who are already ill. 

Visitors to hospitals and care homes in the Western Isles are therefore specifically being asked to wash their hands with soap and water before and after visiting, and to ‘Stay at Home’ if they have experienced any norovirus symptoms (for 48 hours after the last symptom).

NHS Western Isles Infection Control Manager, Jennifer Macdonald, said: “Winter may be over, but unfortunately the winter vomiting bug remains with us in Scotland. Norovirus is the most common stomach bug in the UK, affecting people of all ages every year. The virus is easily spread by contact with an infected person, especially through their hands. Health professionals across NHS Scotland are working to minimise the likelihood of outbreaks arising and members of the public are being asked to play their part too. As the infection is so contagious, we would urge members of the public to ensure they follow infection control practices, and good hand hygiene is key to preventing the spread of infection.

“To help reduce the risk of outbreaks in hospitals, care settings and the wider community, we are again asking members of the public who think they might have norovirus to ‘Stay at Home’ until at least 48 hours after any symptoms have stopped.”

 

Preventing the spread of norovirus

Ms Macdonald also highlighted steps to minimise the spread of norovirus:

·                 Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet.

·                 Wash your hands with soap and water, not just alcohol gels.

·                 Don’t share towels, flannels and toothbrushes.

·                 Keep household surfaces clean.

·                 Rinse fruit and vegetables well before eating them.

  

Additionally those with symptoms should

·        Drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated – water is best.

·        Stay at home, avoid cooking for others, and don’t visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after your symptoms have gone.  You may still be infectious.  

·        Keep your hands clean.

·        Eat foods that are easy to digest.

The first tranche of community benefit monies has now been lodged with Western Isles Development Trust, and the company’s directors, drawn from local agencies, community bodies and the general membership of WIDT, will soon be considering applications for funding.

WIDT is a community based organisation established to invest income from local renewable energy generation schemes in the wider island community.  

While community or private landowners stand to benefit, in the first instance, from community benefit payments arising from renewable energy installations on their own land, WIDT exists to ensure that a proportion of that benefit is distributed across the wider Western Isles community, from the Butt to Barra.

The SNP opened its election campaign 'hub' at the weekend.

SNP Candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Angus Brendan MacNeil said: "It was fantastic to see so many SNP Members turn out to the opening of our Campaign Hub in the very heart of Stornoway.  It is heartening to see so many people enthused and willing to take part in political campaigning.

"Polls and TV news bulletins are telling us that Scotland could take centre stage after this election but only if we vote SNP.  We have an opportunity to end the austerity cuts and take the economy back to growth, which will put money in people’s pockets and see jobs and businesses thrive."

A total of 125 DEXA scans have already been carried out in the Western Isles since the new ‘gold standard’ fracture liaison service was launched around five months ago.

The service, officially launched by NHS Western Isles in November 2015, means that patients at risk of osteoporosis no longer have to travel to the mainland for scans.

At the heart of the new service is a new piece of equipment that is able to measure the strength of bones and identify patients with, or at risk of, osteoporosis, known as a Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scanner.

It is anticipated that between 200 and 250 Western Isles patients a year will benefit from the new scanner.

As a result of the recent downturn in sales over the bar at Stornoway Sea Angling Club’s clubhouse, the club says it cannot afford to get its sea angling boat, the SYSAC 2, ready for this years fishing as it would normally do.

Sadly this means that the only option will probably be for the boat to be sold off, that is unless the club can find at least £6,000 to make the boat a fully licensed and safe sea angling boat for this year.

However, an idea to generate the required £6,000 needed for the boat is to offer people life membership to the club at £200 each. This money would help towards generating the £6,000 needed to get the boat ready for this coming year.

The remains of Hercules the bear are to be re-interred under his life-size statue in Uist.

Owners Andy and Maggie Robin dug up the bones of the bear as they put their home in Clackmannanshire on the market.

In the next few weeks, Hercules will be reburied under the huge statue at Langass community woodlands in North Uist.

The 22nd annual Pipe Major Donald Macleod Memorial Competition took place in the Caladh Inn on Friday 10th April. The competition hosted by the Lewis and Harris Piping Society is a prestigous event on the annual piping calendar in which a small selection of world class pipers are invited to compete. Following the last minute withdrawal of Douglas Murray  and P/M Gordon Walker, this year's competitors were Iain Speirs, Finlay Johnston, Callum Beaumont, Glenn Brown, Gordon MacCready, and, in his 22nd appearance, William McCallum. Judges were John Wilson, Iain MacFayden and William Morrison, and Fear an Tighe, Dr, John Smith.

Competitors participated in three events throughout the day, featuring many of Donald Macleod’s own compositions, Ceol Mor (Piobaireachd), March, Strathspey & Reel, and Jig & Hornpipe. The competition was viewed online through a live stream to a global audience and will feature on radio Scotland’s Pipeline over the coming weeks. This year’s competitors kindly decided not to accept their appearance fees, which will now contribute to the fund for next year’s competition.

Donald Macleod, born in Stornoway in 1916, was renowned througout the piping world for his skills in playing, teaching and composition.

The day concluded with a formal dinner attended by the pipers, judges and members of the Lewis and Harris piping Society, which was followed by a lively ceilidh later in the evening.

 

Results

Ceol Mor

1st Willie McCallum

2nd Iain Speirs

3rd Finlay Johnston

4th Glenn Brown

 

March, Strathsepy & Reel 

1st Willie MacCallum

2nd Iain Speirs

3rd Gordon McCready

4th Callum Beaumont

 

Hornpipe & Jig (not included in overall)   

1st Gordon McCready

2nd Glenn Brown

3rd Callum Beaumont

4th Iain Speirs