Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is urging people to go out and vote in today's (Thursday’s) European Election – which he says is one of the most important elections ever held.

Mr MacNeil said: “While our islands in numbers may be small, we are big on the map."

Here's the places to vote…

https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/european-parliament-election/polling-places/

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is urging people to go out and vote in today's (Thursday’s) European Election – which he says is one of the most important elections ever held.

Mr MacNeil said: “While our islands in numbers may be small, we are big on the map."

Here's the places to vote…

https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/european-parliament-election/polling-places/

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is urging people to go out and vote in today's (Thursday’s) European Election – which he says is one of the most important elections ever held.

Mr MacNeil said: “While our islands in numbers may be small, we are big on the map."

Here's the places to vote…

https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/european-parliament-election/polling-places/

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is urging people to go out and vote in today's (Thursday’s) European Election – which he says is one of the most important elections ever held.

Mr MacNeil said: “While our islands in numbers may be small, we are big on the map."

Here's the places to vote…

https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/european-parliament-election/polling-places/


Stornoway airport emergency vehicles were called to the runway just before noon today (Wednesday May 22nd) after a technical issue emerged just after a plane landed.

The Loganair Saab 340, inbound one hour later than scheduled from Edinburgh, with 28 passengers aboard, was forced to stop on the taxiway immediately after landing because of a technical issue, and all passengers were disembarked on the spot.

The unmistakeable sound of Second World War aircraft is due overhead above North Lewis this afternoon (Wednesday May 22nd) with at least three vintage planes heading this way from Iceland.

The 75th Anniversary of D Day on June 6th this year is bringing a collection of vintage Douglas C47s to Prestwick, on their way to commemorate the liberation of France in Normandy. They’re navigating from Reykjavik in Iceland, using the air traffic beacon at Bayble in Point, and there are currently three of the squadron airborne between Reykjavik and Scotland – ‘Miss Virginia’, squad leader ‘Placid Lassie’ (pictured above) and the famous ‘That’s All Brother’, pictured below (Photograph by Eric Pagelu)

The largest ever vessel to enter Stornoway Harbour visits the port today (Wednesday 22nd May).
At 285m long the ‘Zuiderdam’ is almost the length of three football pitches and has around 2000 passengers on board.

Stornoway police have put out an appeal for information, after an incident of vandalism on Stornoway Golf Course.

Path repair work is under way at the old gun site and a digger was parked near the bunker over the weekend.

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Breasclete and Miavaig were called to Breasclete pier at 4pm on Friday when an elderly passenger aboard a small cruise vessel fell ill and needed medical attention.

Stornoway RNLI Lifeboat was in action last night (Saturday May 18th) when a local yacht called for help near the Witches Pool in South Lochs.

The sailing vessel Mistress Quickly, with two people aboard, had suffered engine failure and, in calm conditions, was unable to make progress by sail.

A 38-year-old man is to appear in court tomorrow (Monday May 20th) after being caught drink-driving on Saturday evening.

The man was traced by police after a report about his driving at Parkend at 8.30pm on Saturday and has been in custody since being arrested and charged.

RANGERS goalkeeper 17-year-old Chloe Nicholson is a trailblazer for talent from the Western Isles, says an article on the Rangers Football Club website this weekend.

The youngster was identified by Scotland’s National Team coaches and then recommended to Head Coach Amy McDonald and the Rangers Academy, the article explains.

A squad of young Lewis football players were up early this morning (Friday May 17th) to catch the ferry for the mainland on the first leg of their journey to Kirkwall in Orkney.

Two drivers have been charged with offences as police in Stornoway continue to actively target driver behaviour as part of Operation Cedar.

A woman aged 42 was stopped on Macaulay Road at 4.35pm yesterday (Thursday May 16th) after being seen using a mobile phone while driving.

At least two days of flights will be lost next week as the Air Traffic Control dispute hits Stornoway Airport even harder.

Highlands and Islands Airport staff rejected requests to amend closures on Tuesday, May 21st, to avoid disrupting Loganair's flight schedules.

Now the airline faces soaring costs, reduced revenue and the prospect of cutting services in the future if the dispute continues to affect so many flights. 

The future of ferry services between Lewis, Harris and the mainland is to be mapped out next week (Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st May) as a Transport Scotland research contract moves into its next phase.

Public drop-in sessions at the Bridge Community Centre in Stornoway on Monday and at Tarbert Community Centre on Tuesday will give people a chance to find out what conclusions are emerging from a study which has been under way since last year, and to contribute further opinions.

Seahog 15-foot boat with 20hp Tohatsu and auxiliary 4hp

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Government must intervene in the air traffic controllers dispute to protect the Western Isles economy, says MSP

Donald Cameron MSP (Highlands and Islands – Scottish Conservative), Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, has expressed grave concern about the effect of the continuing dispute on the Western Isles economy, given that both Benbecula and Stornoway airports will be closed by strikes on Thursday 23rd May.

A bitter new row has erupted involving college lecturers across Scotland – including Lews Castle College UHI – after employers claimed the lecturers were now pressing for a four-day week.

Representatives for colleges held the 19th dispute meeting with the Educational Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) in Stirling on Monday, 13 May 2019, where the EIS-FELA rejected calls to suspend strike action and action short of strike action.  Strikes hit colleges yesterday (Wednesday, 15) and today.

The Isle of Barra Distillers company today (Wednesday May 15th) announced that the first island distilled Barra Atlantic Gin is due on sale soon, with £1 from every bottle supporting an important charity.
 
An announcement is expected tomorrow on the launch date of the first batch of gin entirely distilled on the Isle of Barra, and the nominated charity being supported by the company is MND Scotland, supporting people affected by the neurological condition Motor Neurone Disease.

The final turbine in the Beatrice wind farm, in the Outer Moray Firth, has been completed today (Wednesday May 15th), with the Arnish yard in Lewis playing a part in a monumental renewable construction project.
 
A total of 84 wind turbines, each standing 188m from sea level to blade tip, go to make up a renewable development capable of generating enough power to light 450,000 homes. As Beatrice’s majority shareholder, SSE Renewables led on the construction process and will manage operations and maintenance from a new base in Wick, where up to 90 members of staff will soon be employed.
The Gael Force group yesterday (Tuesday May 14th) announced further expansion, with the purchase by their subsidiary Gael Force Fusion of the former Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary at Oban.
 
The visitor attraction closed in October last year, citing falling visitor numbers as the reason for closure. In January this year, Gael Force acquired Oban-based Fusion Marine, continuing its business as a marine and aquaculture equipment manufacturer, but operating under the new Gael Force Fusion name.

Crofters in the Western Isles are “badly let down” by the Tories and food producers are suffering from ongoing Brexit uncertainty, SNP MSP Alasdair Allan says.

The failure of the UK government to pass on money from the EU owed to Scotland underlined the danger of a Tory power-grab after Brexit.

Scottish crofters and farmers receive £580 million annually through the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Highlands and Islands youngsters may get the chance to use a specialist playcentre for those with severe disabilities and learning difficulties, if plans go ahead.

The Inverness project is the brainchild of Elsie Normington of the Elsie Normington foundation.  Elsie stated: “A specialist, bespoke playcentre is really crucial to serve the Highlands’ most severely disabled children and young people who have complex needs.”

A 32-year-old man is on his way to Barra today (Tuesday May 14th) from far out in the Atlantic, for an unscheduled visit to get medical help.

A 32-year-old man is on his way to Barra today (Tuesday May 14th) from far out in the Atlantic, for an unscheduled visit to get medical help.

Stornoway police are appealing for information after a car was vandalised in a residential area of Stornoway at the weekend.

A 36-year-old man was in court yesterday (Monday May 13th) after being arrested in Stornoway town centre late on Sunday evening.

Police stopped the man on Bayhead at 10.55pm on Sunday, knowing him to be in breach of bail conditions from an earlier charge.

Stornoway’s coastguard helicopter R948 was sent to meet the cruise ship Marco Polo yesterday afternoon (Monday May 13th) to evacuate a passenger who had fallen ill.

The helicopter was called to a position 30 miles west of Barra after the woman was reported sick and in need of hospital treatment, just after 4pm yesterday.

Exceptionally dry weather has led to a high risk wildfire warning from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – and the islands are among areas of highest risk.

Stornoway station manager Craig Lauder told welovestornoway.com today (Tuesday May 14th) that the week to May 17th has been identified as a time of high and extreme risk for wildfire, with the potential for the dry conditions and brisk winds to lead to rapid spreading of any fire over a potentially large area."

North Harris Trust’s new ranger, Michael Hunter, found himself up at great heights within days of beginning his job this month.

On Saturday, 11th May, more than 50 choir members from Sir E Scott (junior and senior choir), Laxdale Primary, Stornoway Primary and The Nicolson Institute came together at Studio Alba on Seaforth Road, Stornoway, to record the Dìleab EP which is due to be available to buy in the summer.

In Parliament today….

Here’s our Western Isles youngsters, just arrived at the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood in Edinburgh for the finals of Euroquiz 2019 this afternoon (Monday May 13th).

Two days of competition at the North district athletics championships in Inverness on Friday and Saturday (May 10th and 11th) saw a shower of medals for Stornoway athletes.

A squad of 31 athletes did the island proud, with excellent performances across the board and podium places showing the rewards.

Point’s community magazine The Rudhach has today (Sunday May 12th) issued a plea to the community to help ensure the survival of the publication.

The monthly magazine was founded almost 20 years ago and has twice won Community Newspaper of the Year at the Highlands and Islands press awards and has been commended by one of its regular columnists, Professor Matthew Maciver CBE, of Portnaguran, for showing a new face of community engagement.

A 21-year-old man is to appear in court after being detected driving while over the limit at 3.30am today (Sunday May 12th).

Police on patrol in Leurbost spotted a car which was stationery on the carriageway on the A859 to the south of the village, and after investigation identified the driver nearby.

Stornoway Coastguard’s Maritime Operations Centre are this afternoon (Sunday May 12th) co-ordinating a safety operation in Lochmaddy marina, where a yacht is aground.

The 11.4 metre sailing yacht’s two passengers called for help at 4.30pm, when she grounded as the tide fell.

Donald Cameron, Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has lent his support to those trying to improve the lives of people in Scotland living with terminal illness. 

Meeting recently with representatives from the Marie Curie charity, Donald heard about their efforts to ensure that everyone should get the care and support they need at the end of life. 

Current EU environmental principles should be formally translated into domestic law after Brexit, according to Scottish Land & Estates.

Responding to a Scottish Government consultation on environmental principles and governance, the rural business organisation said adopting the principles would ensure Scotland kept pace with international best practice.

Dominating the Atlantic horizon today (Saturday May 11) - in clear sunlight off West Lewis - was the Rio Blackwater, en route from Hamburg in Germany to Tuxpan in Mexico, where it is expected to arrive in 11 days time. 

The 275m long vessel was travelling at 15-20 knots on the eastern edge of the Atlantic deepwater passage past the Hebrides.

A well-known figure in the life of the Point community, Donnie Mata Graham, passed away yesterday (Friday May 10th).

Originally from Portvoller, Donnie was married in Upper Bayble, where he was a good neighbour to many.

Two ex-British canoeing athletes are near completion of a marathon paddle around the islands of Lewis and Harris – in a bid to raise awareness of the impact of plastic in the sea.

Tommy Brady and David Bain want to promote a more sustainable future through their ‘Waves of Sustainability’ initiative, which has brought them from their homes in London to the Western Isles.

Ballot papers for postal voters in the Western Isles have started arriving on doormats, ready for the European Parliament election on Thursday 23 May 2019.

Malcolm Burr, Local Returning Officer, said: “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. 

Loganair sent out messages to would-be passengers this afternoon (Friday May 10th)  warning of "HIAL Industrial Action: Stornoway Flight Cancellations" on Monday and Tuesday 13th/14th May. 

They say that "due to ongoing industrial action by HIAL air traffic control, we regret to advise that the following flights to and from Stornoway have been cancelled on 13th and 14th May."

A spokesperson for Highlands and Islands Airports said: “There will be times when tactical closures at airports are required in order to comply with regulatory requirements governing controller working hours.

A day of strike action affecting Highlands and Islands Airports was confirmed yesterday (Thursday May 9th), following the breakdown of talks between HIAL and the air traffic controllers’ union Prospect.

And the union says strikes will be repeated "throughout the summer" unless the Scottish Government intervenes. 

The all-out strike on Thursday May 23rd means Stornoway and Benbecula airports will be closed on that day, as will other airports including Inverness.

A team of P6 pupils from Sgoil an Rubha are heading off to Edinburgh at the weekend, ready to tackle teams from all over Scotland as they represent the Western Isles at EuroQuiz.

Team members Ava Maclean, Adam Cay, Isabella Macleod and Odhran MacKay and reserve member Lydia Macdonald (all pictured) beat off stiff competition to win their place as Western Isles representative for the fourth year out of the past five.

A film made by school pupils with help from an independent film-maker from Scalpay is to represent Scotland at a major international film festival on May 24th.

The Gaelic short film ‘Origami’, made by pupils from Lochaber High School, won the Best Youth Film at the 2019 FilmG Awards. 

Independent filmmaker Dòmhnall Eòghainn MacKinnon supported the school as the pupils wrote, starred and directed the film.

The UK Government should abandon its planned cuts to Pension Credit, said Alasdair Allan MSP during a Scottish Parliament debate on the subject.

Pension Credit is a benefit designed to help low-income pensioner households.

From Wednesday 15 May onward, newly retired pensioners will be barred from claiming Pension Credit if they have a younger partner, and will instead be forced on to Universal Credit.

Three communities in the Outer Hebrides have launched competitions to find a flag to represent their islands, with entries accepted from now until the closing date on 7th June.

Counties across the UK have run contests to find official flags in recent times and, with the launch of competitions to determine the design of their respective flags, the next areas to follow will be Eriskay, Benbecula and North Uist.

Tarbert-based Essence of Harris has won recognition as business of the year in the North of Scotland.

After an awards ceremony in Glasgow, Essence of Harris stated on their Facebook Page: “We’re over the moon. We won!

The Croft Woodland project in the Western Isles is to be extended for a further five years after its first phase resulted in 100,000 trees being planted in 51 villages.

The community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust has now committed to funding a second phase with a budget of £400,000 over five years.

More than 100 Peppa Pig fans joined a charity walk in Stornoway on Saturday May 4th raising over £700 for Save the Children.

And Peppa fans can look forward to a further Peppa-themed event on May 18th with screening of the new film at An Lanntair which will include a collection for Save the Children which will be added to the Stornoway walk’s fundraising total.

Someone with a passion for football – even if they aren’t a player – is urgently needed to help players fly the flag for Lewis and Harris.

Lewis and Harris Select team’s usual manager, Eric Macleod is managing the Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) squad this year and two competition dates have clashed, leaving the post of manager of the Select team vacant.

Western Isles police have been actively enforcing road traffic legislation in a bid to improve safety on island roads.

There have been three road traffic collisions over recent days – two on Tuesday (7th May), on Matheson Road at 10.30am and on Perceval Road at 11.18am, and one this morning (Thursday May 9th), when a collision occurred on Matheson Road at the Goathill Road junction.

Ships in the harbour at Stornoway today (Thursday May 9th) include the five-star German-flagged Hanseatic Nature at pier no 3, making Stornoway one of her first calls on her maiden season – she was officially launched only this month.

Air passenger duty should be eliminated from all Island air fares.

That’s the plea from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Traffic delays were taking place on Matheson Road, Stornoway this morning after 8am following a traffic accident at the Church Street/Goathill Road/Matheson Road junction.

Police were directing traffic and pedestrians through and across the junction.

Several police vehicles and an ambulance were in attendance at the scene.

 

 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan yesterday (Wednesday May 8th) questioned the Scottish Government on how proposals for a Deposit Return Scheme will apply to island communities like the Western Isles.

A campaign group aiming to bring accessible horse-drawn beach transport to Lewis and Harris is gathering pace.

Paisley-based Simon Mulholland has teamed up with Traigh Mhor Pony Trekking in Tolsta to bring a wheelchair-accessible beach buggy to the islands this summer.

R151 above Stornoway airfield during the rescue transfer. (Picture by Peter Shearer)

Stornoway Coastguard’s Maritime Operations Control Centre co-ordinated an extreme-range rescue yesterday (Tuesday May 7th) when a crewman was injured far out in the North Atlantic.

The Peterhead-registered fishing vessel Benarkle 2 was working far out to the west of Rockall, 139 nautical miles west of St Kilda, when the crewman sustained a hand injury while working.

Lewis couple Stacy Easton and Murdo MacIver were delighted to present charity SiMBA with a donation cheque for £6,580, raised in memory of their son James Murdo MacIver.

SiMBA is a charity which supports the needs of those affected by the loss of a baby during pregnancy or close to the time of birth; and sadly Stacy and Murdo first became aware of SiMBA’s services following the stillbirth of baby James.

Perceval Road is now open after an overturned vehicle resulted in its closure.

A road traffic collision took place at Manor roundabout earlier today (Tuesday 7 May.)

Anyone travelling on the Tarbert to Leverburgh road today (Tuesday 7 May) should expect delays.

The CNeS surface dressing team are working on the road at A859 Diraclete Harris.

Traffic management and control will be in place.

The economic and environmental benefits of planting trees on crofting ground will be in the spotlight this week, when the Croft Woodland conference takes place on Thursday and Friday in Boat of Garten.

Organised by The Woodland Trust and and Scottish Forestry, formerly the Forestry Commission for Scotland, the conference will start by celebrating the impact of 25 years of crofter forestry following the Crofter Forestry (Scotland) Act of 1991.

With European Parliamentary Elections scheduled to take place on Thursday 23 May, Bill Gillies, Electoral Registration Officer for the Highland and Western Isles area is urging voters to make sure they are registered to vote in time.

He said: “To vote in the European Parliamentary Election, anyone who has never registered or has recently moved must register by midnight on 7 May. [today]  The quickest and easiest way to register to vote is online at www.gov.uk/registertovote - it only takes five minutes.”

Expect delays if you plan to travel through Skye in the next eight weeks.

A maintenance project is scheduled to take place on the two bridges that make up the Skye crossing.

The £600,000 project will see expansion joints replaced on both the Skye Bridge and the smaller bridge.

Work is expected to start on Monday 13 May.  Temporary traffic lights will be in place at various periods throughout the project.

Those people using the Bank Holiday as an excuse to visit the Castle Grounds in Stornoway for the first time in a while, will find extensive changes in the area around the Castle itself, where the formal gardens are starting on a programme of renewal which means extensive restoration and development of pathways.

Plans for a new attempt on swimming across the Minch are gathering pace, as the first possible window of dates for the Big Minch Swim 2019 draws closer.

Endurance swimmers Colin S Macleod of Stornoway and Harris’s Paul Finnegan plan to swim the breadth of the Minch, from Gairloch to Lemreway, with the first possible dates set at 25th to 27th May.

Hundreds of very young people along with their parents and carers joined in the second Stornoway Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Walk yesterday morning (Saturday May 4th)

They set off from the Bayhead Play area in a circular walk via the Porters’ Lodge and the Bridge Centre bridge.

As summer looms, so do air traffic control strikes and disputes.

That’s often been the situation in France, Spain and Italy…and now it is looming over the Highlands and Islands.

This comes after talks – organised by the conciliation service ACAS – broke down yesterday (Friday May 3rd).

The world’s most travelled man is in the Western Isles this weekend, as he hopes to add Stornoway and St Kilda to his list. 

Robert Bonifas, who is aged 82, is Number One on the ‘Most Travelled People’ website’s Hall of Fame. 

He’s visited 862 of their specially-assigned global locations, and has 29 more to go.

Photographs of people and places in the Outer Hebrides by Laetitia Vançon are to be on display in three different European capital cities following her latest award success.

French-born, Munich-based photographer Laetitia – who spent much of 2016-17 in the Western Isles – has been awarded third place in the 27th international Prix Roger Pic 2019 for her At The End Of The Day sequence of photographs from the islands.

A major push for a bigger interconnector project came this week with a high-voltage delegation sent from the Western Isles to London

Representatives from Stornoway Trust and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Joint Venture initiative travelled to London this week to meet with energy regulator, Ofgem.

Homes and businesses in the Back area are without power today (Friday May 3rd) after tree branches caused an interruption on the main overhead supply.

A spokesperson for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said that the fault was reported at 10.06am this morning, with engineers now on site carrying out emergency tree-cutting.


Two men will combine an expedition to circumnavigate Harris and Lewis with a series of beach cleans.

Former Team GB athletes, David Bain and Tommy Brady, who form the Waves of Sustainability team, are aiming to kayak their way around the islands, cleaning as they go along, during their 10-day expedition.    

 

Two x 5 Drawer Pine Cabinets

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Phone 07483 864 099

 

 

 

Highlands and Islands Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron has urged the Scottish Government to strenuously back calls for the interconnector for the Western Isles to have enough capacity to benefit local community groups.

During questions in the Scottish Parliament yesterday (Thursday 2nd May), he asked the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, to call on OFGEM to strongly reconsider the case for a 600mw interconnector.

Some of the youngest athletes from the islands are sitting in top spot after last weekend’s first match in the eight-team North East division YDL athletics meet in Aberdeen.

Seven athletes from Stornoway Running and Athletics Club joined team-mates from the Uists, Orkney and Shetland on Sunday (April 28th) in an Island Select team which took on teams from all over north Scotland, including Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness.

The Isle of Harris Mountain Festival is well under way today (Thursday May 2nd), with events over four days encouraging people out to enjoy the hills and trails of North Harris.

A children’s activity day at the Scaladale Centre tomorrow (Friday May 3rd) is already sold out, with 50 children aged eight and over set to enjoy water sports, archery and abseiling.

Stornoway police are asking for public help after a car was vandalised while parked in the town on Tuesday evening (April 30th).

The black Renault Clio was parked on New Street between 8.15pm and 9pm on Tuesday, when damage was caused to the driver’s door.

Anyone who saw anything or who knows how this may have occurred is asked to contact Police Scotland on the non-emergency number 101, quoting incident number NH556/19.

 

Organisers of Lewis music festival Stramash are celebrating after securing a five-year sponsorship deal from Point and Sandwick Trust, which will help with running costs and allow them to expand.

The community wind farm charity has pledged a total of £7,000 to the festival, comprising £3,000 this year – £2,000 towards the purchase of an extension to the marquee and £1,000 for running costs – with a further £1,000 a year for the following four years.

Last weekend offered moments with heroes for some island youngsters, with exceptional chances to catch up with sporting and musical icons on the mainland.

Members of Lewis and Harris Youth Pipe Band were at the Tynecastle stadium in Edinburgh on Saturday (April 27th) playing with none other than the show-stopping band, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

Work has begun to complete a major renovation of Eilean Glas lighthouse on Scalpay, and mariners are being advised of changes to the appearance of the iconic red and white tower while the work is going on.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan is calling on all pensioners living on a low income with a partner of working age to urgently check their eligibility for Pension Credit and Housing Benefit and put in a claim before the Government changes the rules on 15th May.

The UK Government change, made during the first ‘meaningful vote’ on Brexit in January, will see the right to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit withdrawn from future claimants who have a partner who hasn’t yet reached their own pensionable age.

This move will have severe financial consequences for all those affected. 

A major search began in the Minch today (Wednesday May 1) after an Aircraft Emergency Beacon was activated in the area around the Skye Bridge and Plock of Kyle. 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil has welcomed the announcement that the Scottish Government is again tendering for the PSO route from Barra to Glasgow but is asking for more action to ensure the community can access lifeline flights at short notice.

Mr MacNeil said: “It is ironic that on the day of this announcement, there were no seats available between Glasgow and Barra for the next fortnight.

Sandwick Bay Candles of Stornoway achieved some national recognition this week after being recognized by Theo Paphitis, well-known for his appearances as one of the “dragons” on the BBC business programme Dragons' Den.

Company founder Megan Macdonald joined in Theo Paphitis’ ‘Small Business Sunday’ event on Twitter – and was one of six businesses recognised from across the UK on Monday night (April 29th) .

The award-winning North Harbour Bistro in Scalpay had more national success after Creative Oceanic announced the list of The Top 100 Restaurants in Scotland.  

Representatives of restaurants that operate in Scotland gathered on Monday, April 29th at The Marriott Hotel in Glasgow for a huge celebration of the best restaurants that provide us with incredible food and service.

Charles Macleod Ltd Butchers - 'Charlie Barley's' - have been given an Eat Safe Award.

The Eat Safe Award is granted by the Environmental Health Service of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in conjunction with Food Standards Scotland.

The award is available to all establishments selling food directly to consumers.

Police Scotland is encouraging residents in the Highlands & Islands to sign up to a free app which provides community alerts of a person with dementia has been reported missing.

Purple Alert was launched by Alzheimer Scotland last year and creates a way of sharing information which could help return vulnerable people home safely.

The app - endorsed by Police Scotland - works best if a number of people in a community have downloaded it in order to share details and possible sighting of the missing person.

Lewis singer-songwriter Colin Macleod heard the phone ring…

But it wasn’t to be an everyday phone conversation for a Lewis crofter – it was one informing him that he was set to perform with music legends Van Morrison and Robert Plant.

And this added to the excitement and celebrations of the recent launch of his debut album ‘Bloodlines’.

A Holyrood Committee has welcomed the Scottish Crown Estate Bill in a report published yesterday (Wednesday May 30), while also suggesting ways it could be strengthened.

The Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee made a series of recommendations followings its examination of the Scottish Crown Estate Bill.

The Bill sets out the long-term management of Crown Estate assets, including 37,000 hectares of land, seabed, coastlines and rural estates.

The Islands (Scotland) Bill was unanimously passed by MSPs in yesterday afternoon’s Stage 3 debate in the Scottish Parliament.(Wednesday May 30th) and pictured above, just after the vote, are some of those involved in the campaign for the Bill - Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan; Derek Mackay MSP; Humza Yousaf MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands; CnES CE Malcolm Burr; former Council Leader Angus Campbell; and CnES Convener, Norman A. MacDonald

The Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament last summer and the key provisions of the Bill enjoyed widespread public support.
 
Alasdair Allan said: “This historic legislation seeks to meet the unique needs of Scotland’s islands now and in the future, helping to create the right environment for sustainable growth and empowering communities.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited is to extend concessions and exemptions ahead of July's implementation of Stornoway airport car parking charges.

HIAL announced new concessions and exemptions for travellers affected by charges being introduced at its airports in Shetland and Orkney as well as Stornoway.

The airports will follow HIAL airports at Inverness and Dundee, where parking charges are already in place, when the charges are introduced on July 1.

Young people across the Outer Hebrides are being offered the chance to become volunteer event coordinators as part of this year’s Big Fit Walk.

NHS Western Isles is recruiting 16 young people between the ages of 16 and 26 who will plan, oversee and evaluate Paths for All’s Big Fit Walks which are set to take place in Lewis, Harris, the Uists and Barra in the next four weeks.

During Tuesday (May 30th) Niall Iain Macdonald had a close encounter with a passing cargo ship.

Alex Dan’s siblings, pictured on May 28, 2018, at the family home in Breasclete on the 50th anniversary of his death. They are, from left to right: Margaret Campbell, Norman Smith, Mary Ann Spence, Chirsty Mairi Macleod, John Smith, Catherine Macleod, Kenny Smith and Dolina Monaghan.

The family of Alex Dan Smith, who underwent the first lung transplant in Europe 50 years ago in a bid to save his life after accidental poisoning, have called for opt-out organ donation to be brought into effect as a matter of urgency.

The brothers and sisters of Alex Dan made the call after marking the 50th anniversary of his death on Monday, May 28.

In response to the growing demand for employment within creative industries, Lews Castle College UHI will offer the NC in Fashion Design and Manufacture as part of its new course provision for academic session 2018/19.

The College strives to meet local and regional demands and annually refreshes its curriculum offer, a spokesperson said.

"Do you have an interest in fashion or textiles design? 

Alasdair Allan with Ruth Nicolson, General Manger, MacDuff Shellfish

Islands MSP and Minister for International Development and Europe, Alasdair Allan, visited MacDuff Shellfish in Stornoway on Friday morning [25th May] to discuss concerns around Brexit.

The local MSP heard directly from employees about their concerns around EU Citizens Rights in the context of Brexit. He also heard about what the main questions are for the business, in terms of maintaining their workforce.

The latest message on Twitter from Niall Iain Macdonald shows him being accompanied by dolphins.

An earlier message stated: "Sorry for the lack of contact. Battling the ocean & myself these last few days. #NY2SY #SAMH"

The Western Isles have been treated shamefully by the Scottish Government over the funding of council services, the islands Labour Party said tonight (Monday May 28th) .

Figures published by the Scottish Parliament’s research centre show that the Western Isles has suffered the most extreme cut in funding over the past five years, among all Scottish local authorities.

It leaves Comhairle nan Eilean Siar £504 worse off for every man, woman and child in the Western Isles than was the case in 2013-14.

Today (Monday May 28th) was the warmest of the year so far, according to local weather expert Dr Eddy Graham.  The thermometer peaked at 22.5C - the highest since May 26th 2017, just over 12 months ago.

The photograph above appears in https://www.instagram.com/welovestornoway/?hl=en and was taken this evening by Marie Anne Macdonald

Dr Graham is a lecturer at Lews Castle College UHI

 

 Forestry Forum picture by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos

The Highlands and Islands Regional Forestry Forum, a group of 16 delegates who advise the Forestry Commission on policy and practice in the region, visited the Isle of Lewis recently – their first forum field visit to the island for 15 years.

They toured new plantations and sites of interest and spoke of how impressed they were with the enthusiasm shown by islanders for creating new woodland.

Niall Iain Macdonald is keeping in touch with the world beyond his boat from time to time…
On Sunday evening (5.50pm, Stornoway time) he had been travelling for four days and about eight hours.  He had covered 29 nautical miles in the previous 24 hours, and a total of 99 nm in all. He was travelling at 0.65 knots, compared with an average for his journey so far of 0.54 knots.
"It's almost four years to the day that I set off from Liberty Landing Marina on my first attempt to row solo across the North Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Stornoway.
"As most of you already know, my row lasted just nine days before I had to abandon it and request to be rescued after suffering an accident on my boat in which I sustained a back injury.

Click on the image or follow this link - the image shown dates from around 1300hrs today, Stornoway time.

https://www.followmychallenge.com/live/NY2SY/

There has been a very positive outcome for An Cotan Nursery in Lews Castle grounds following a recent inspection by the Care Inspectorate which said there was an excellent quality of experiences and care and support provided to the children there.

In a message on Twitter overnight (Stornoway time) Niall Iain Macdonald said:

"Feels great to be back out on the ocean. Thanks for your support. #NY2SY #SAMH goo.gl/AqTzFs

Stornoway Half Marathon takes place during this morning (Saturday 26th May)

A temporary road closure order will be in effect between approximately 1000 and 1015 hours on this date, and applicable to Cromwell Street, Bayhead, Matheson Road, Sandwick Road and James Street (see road closure link below for map).

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan celebrated the funding that local charities in his constituency have received thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery at a reception held at Holyrood recently.

Alasdair attended the event on Wednesday 23 May, 2018 to mark the £301 million raised for over 4,000 good causes by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and was joined by Dame Ellen MacArthur who was backing the call to increase fundraising limits for society lotteries.

The management committee of Advocacy Western Isles

Ernie Garden recently stood down from his role chairing Advocacy Western Isles at the group’s Annual General Meeting in Stornoway and handed over to Emelin Collier, former Head of Planning and Development at NHS Western Isles who was also involved with setting up Advocacy more than 16 years ago. 

The AGM was held in the Newton community rooms on Tuesday, May 22, where there was an emotional goodbye to Ernie, who set up Advocacy in 2001, along with Emelin and John Maclean. 

Friends of the organisation were also there, including Donald John MacSween, general manager with community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust, which is about to hand over its latest tranche of funding to Advocacy. 

A new report has called for more promotion of Scotland’s aquaculture sector and supply chain as a rewarding long-term career choice, particularly for young people and for women.

The ‘Skills review for the Aquaculture Sector in Scotland’ was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) on behalf of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group (AILG), and in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland.

Carried out between July 2017 and January 2018, the study included consultations with stakeholders and employers in the sector and the supply chain, and an online survey of employers.

With almost 150 editions under its belt, EVENTS newspaper has emerged on to the main streets of Stornoway, after years of nurture in the Newton industrial area.

EVENTS – along with HEB Magazine, welovestornoway.com, The Skye Magazine, www.hebevents.com and various other local websites – was developed by Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd in its former base in Clinton’s Yard.

Police in the Western Isles are urging people not to buy alcohol for youths following recent concerns about underage drinking.
It follows a number of bottles of alcohol (pictured) being seized from a group of youths in the Coll Beach area near Stornoway on Saturday, May 19th.
Sergeant David Fraser said: "We know there is concern in our communities about underage drinking which can often be at the root of anti-social behaviour and other issues.

Road users are advised that the Pentland road link is closed midway across the island, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar announced this morning (Thursday May 24th)

The closiure runs from today, 24th May until Friday 29th June for essential bridge replacement works between the Achmore and Breascleit branch road junctions.

Local access will still be available up to the bridge location at Abhainn Grioda from both the Stornoway and Carloway sides.

The Comhairle apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Lews Castle College UHI is offering NC Electrical Engineering Level 5 as a new course for 2018/19.

The College says it strives to meet local and regional demands and annually refreshes its curriculum offer.

Falkirk and Fort William have been voted among the most charming towns in Scotland in a survey by TravelMag.com.

And Portree, Ullapool, Stornoway and Tobermory figure in the top 20.

The online travel magazine invited more than 300 travel writers, photographers and selected professionals to name the three towns in Scotland they consider the most appealing.

The Home Office has failed to offer a lifeline to the West Coast fishing industry over the ongoing crew shortage crisis despite repeated pleas for urgent action.

Isles MP Angus B MacNeil, the SNP’s Fisheries Spokesperson at Westminster - together with three other MPs from different parties - met with UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP this morning (Wednesday May 23) to press the case for the reintroduction of a scheme to allow non-European Economic Area workers to fill labour gaps.

Island adventurer Niall Iain Macdonald has begun a new attempt to row solo across the North Atlantic.

Niall Iain, 44, left Norfolk, Virginia, at 6am today (Wednesday May 23) local time (10am GMT/11am BST). He hopes to complete his 3,400 rowing challenge in three to four months and will be rowing for 12 hours a day, every day, on a two hour on/off rotation.

Niall Iain signalled the start of his challenge with a simple post on Twitter and Facebook – “How long should you try? Until. 36°55′17″N 76°11′19″W”

Proposals for mandatory fire sprinklers in new-build social housing have been met with overwhelming public support.

Consultation responses for David Stewart’s member’s bill proposal showed that 94 per cent of respondents were supportive of the plan.

On the strength of this consultation result, Mr Stewart will pursue his bill for new-build social housing and has lodged a final proposal with Parliament.

The Iolaire Member Officer Working Group is continuing to progress plans for events taking place later this year to mark 100 years since the Iolaire tragedy, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar announced yesterday (Tuesday May 22)

The Council stated: "As part of that ongoing process, a Timeline of Planned Events has been prepared and community groups are encouraged to let the Group know of any events they plan to hold.

"The Timeline will be continuously updated and can be referred to over the course of the next few months: https://tinyurl.com/y96bvv83

A busy and successful year for Stornoway Port Authority showed a strong underlying financial performance despite challenging economic conditions, the SPA reports today (Wednesday May 23rd).

The Authority’s 2017 annual report highlights improvement in many aspects of the business as it plans a series of ambitious developments in line with its 20-year Master Plan.

The report, to be discussed at the Port Authority’s annual public meeting tonight in Stornoway (Wednesday, 23 May), shows total vessel movements grew by nine per cent on 2016 to 908, with the number of ferry passengers up by five per cent (to 276,088) and cars by eight per cent (to 92,999).

Isles MP Angus B MacNeil will meet with UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP tomorrow (Wednesday May 23) for crunch talks over the future of the West Coast fishing industry.

Mr MacNeil, the SNP’s Fisheries Spokesperson at Westminster, will press the Minister on the need for urgent action to address crew shortages by allowing non-European Economic Area (EEA) workers to fill the labour gaps which have left local boats tied up at the pier.

Last night, the issue was the subject of a report on Channel 4 News with Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson visiting the Isle of Barra to hear from local fishermen who are struggling to crew their boats. The report also referred to Northern Ireland where the industry has been hit by the same issue.

The Scottish Crofting Federation has welcomed the announcement that Scottish Government will continue to support the National Rural Mental Health Forum with a grant of £50,000.

"Mental health is something we don't talk enough about," said Patrick Krause, chief executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation, "and perhaps especially so in rural communities. Yet our mental health is of course just as significant to our well-being as our physical health.

The National Rural Mental Health Forum (NRMHF) has been raising awareness of mental health issues with great success and it is good that this work is recognised and supported by the Scottish Government."

Anyone can be a victim of a bogus caller or rogue trader – so don’t let your doorstep be their marketplace.  That’s the message to every single homeowner and tenant in Scotland, as Police Scotland run a two-week campaign to raise awareness under Operation Monarda.

Between April and September 2017, 336 victims of doorstep crime were defrauded out of around £420,000. While most victims were considered vulnerable in some way (54%), or were of pensionable age (79%), a significant proportion were outwith these groups which are traditionally targeted by such offenders.

Bogus callers will visit a property claiming to be from perhaps a utility company or a charity in order to gain access and steal from within. Rogue traders offer services typically carried out to a poor standard at over inflated prices, and may use violence or threats to get payment or consent to carry out work – sometimes they will just take the money and do no work whatsoever.

No, it's not a new stage at HebCeltFest…it's the performance area in front of a temple in Sha Lo Wan, a village on an island in the Hong Kong region of China - but there is a connection!

The success of the multi award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival has made it a model for other community-rooted events across the world.

This summer, organisers of HebCelt, will welcome representatives from the Hong Kong village who plan to hold an inaugural festival this year to help regenerate the area.

Pictured left to right are Angie MacDonald, Suzanne Macaulay, Alasdair Allan MSP, Kirsty MacDonald, Bellann O'Brien, Christine McKee, Sonja MacLeod

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, today (Monday May 21) presented Volunteer Centre Western Isles with a plaque from the Living Wage Foundation recognising them as the latest employer in the Western Isles to commit to paying the Living Wage.

Police in the Highlands and Islands are again appealing to the public not to drink and drive - with 12 motorists already having been charged with alleged offences this month.

Eight men and four women from across the Highlands and Islands will be the subject of reports to the Procurator Fiscal in relation to drink driving offences.
Five of these incidents occurred over the last weekend alone.

A new research report into the work of sportscotland has found that participation programmes supported by the national agency for sport are having a life-changing effect on those who are taking part.

The independent research, published by sportscotland in the weeks after it was confirmed participation levels on national programmes in Scotland are at record high, praised several programmes including Active Schools for making children and young people feel healthier (98%) and more confident (92%).

During the last academic year (2016-2017) there were 48,000 visits made to Active Schools sessions in the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar area – a rise of 39% over the last two years – underlining the significant impact the programme is having on children and young people.

A mysterious digital totem pole has appeared, guarding the entrance to Bayhead. Stornoway.

This is the work of Sustrans (Sustainable Transport) which has installed a Danish style digital cycle counter in Stornoway, the first of its kind in one of the Islands, with grant funding from the Scottish Government.

PLANS for a new academy to address the growing need for a highly trained, professional and sustainable workforce within the Outer Hebrides care sector are being developed by Lews Castle College UHI.

The plans will assist with education and training in the care sector set against increasing demand and a growing elderly population.

According to the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership 2017 it is anticipated that 31.1 % of island inhabitants will be aged sixty-five and over by 2028. This suggests a significant impact for health and social care provision across the Islands.

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Coll Pottery in Back was yesterday (Thursday May 17) brought back to life as a craft centre business by the Whittle family.

After months of renovation and preparation, the café and gift shop areas were opened to the public at 11am – with a whole range of new products on show, along with some old favourites.

Based for years in Stoneybridge, South Uist, Stella and Alan ran studios creating glassware and ceramics and this work is available from the new centre.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan yesterday (Thursday May 17) waved off three local firefighters on their way to deliver a refitted fire engine to Moldova.

Pictured above are Ian Murray, Alasdair Allan, David Campbell and Alex MacLennan.

Visitor-spend in the Outer Hebrides rose by £11.5 million to £65 million in the four years to 2017, says the latest Islands Visitor Survey.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in partnership with VisitScotland, commissioned the Islands Visitor Survey to provide robust and up-to-date estimates of visitor and volume, information on their experiences, motivations, behaviours and perceptions.

Ian Fordham, who chairs Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT), said: “Tourism in the Outer Hebrides is growing faster than for Scotland as a whole – a true testament to the quality of the tourism industry and our local tourism businesses right across the Outer Hebrides, reflected in our exceptional product and warm Hebridean welcome!

Protests have come from Highlands and Islands representatives about the planned disruption and cancellations of CalMac services in June.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, said she was outraged by the refusal of Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, to listen to the pleas of the Island communities who are continuing to suffer from an overstretched and underfunded ferry provision.

And Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan said: “Given that Calmac's CEO and North Area Manager were in Uist just last week to listen to the concerns of those in Uist over the chaos caused by previous redeployment decisions, it is particularly disappointing that the latest changes result in Uist bear the brunt of disruptions to services again.

Just over two weeks to go until the 9th Point 5k takes place on Saturday June 2nd.

The event, which raises funds for The Leanne Fund, sets off from Point Free Church at Bayble at 12 noon and is a popular family event, open to runners and walkers alike.

Online registration is now open at http://www.theleannefund.co.uk/point-5k-2018.html or participants can register to take part on the day.

Communities should have a stronger voice in planning what their neighbourhoods look like, says a Holyrood Committee today (Thursday May 17) .

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee sets out recommendations to strengthen the Planning (Scotland) Bill in a report published today, while recognising that it has the potential to improve the planning process overall.

The Bill aims to streamline the system of development planning, support delivery of planned developments and includes a new right for communities to produce their own plans for their local areas called Local Place Plans.

CalMac ferries sailed into another storm of protest yesterday (Wednesday May 16) as the company announced an emergency service for June 1-12 while the Clansman ferry is fitted with an new propellor shaft

The underlying problem is that the company no longer has a large back-up vessel and can’t cope when one vessel is out of service.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar spoke of anger and frustration over the implications for the travelling public, local and visiting, at one of the busiest times of the year.

Outer Hebrides Tourism says it is disappointed to have heard nothing back from Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands following its call for him to intervene on the CalMac ferries issue.

“We had an acknowledgement from the MSP’s office on 19th April that we “should expect to receive a response within 20 working days”. That deadline has passed.

“The low priority suggested by such a response window concerned us as much as the critical issue that caused us to write to Mr Yousaf in the first place.

One of the biggest social groups for the elderly in the Outer Hebrides has given its full backing to community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust, as the Friday May 18 deadline approaches for voting in this year’s Scottish Charity Awards.

Point and Sandwick Trust, which runs the wind farm at Beinn Ghrideag, just outside Stornoway, has been shortlisted in this year’s Charity Awards, in the Celebrating Communities category.

They are also up for the People’s Choice award – and all those involved in Cairdean Og Allt nan Gall are urging people to vote online for Point and Sandwick Trust.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and regional transport partnership, HITRANS are developing a strategy for more walking and cycling by people living and working in the Outer Hebrides.

Public engagement events will take place between Wednesday 16th May and Monday 21st May.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) is working together with HITRANS and will be assisted by Ove Arup & Partners in the preparation of the project.

The Western Isles work of award-winning Munich-based photographer Laetitia Vancon - entitled At The End Of The Day – is forming part of the first International Woman Photography Award exhibitions this month in Japan's capital city, Tokyo.

It is being held at the Canon Marketing Japan Gallery, Tokyo – Shinagawa, until May 28th.

Laetitia, pictured above in the Foyer Project in Stornoway - is one of 60 women photographers from across the world shortlisted for an award. More then 600 photographers entered their work, from 82 countries.

From left, Alexander Burnett MSP, Dr. Anja Garritsen, Prof. Dominic Mellor, Donald Cameron MSP, Dr Roger Evans and Lyme Disease patient Janey Cringean

A roundtable meeting focussing on the science and awareness of Lyme Disease was held in the Scottish Parliament.

Organised by Scottish Conservative MSPs Donald Cameron and Alexander Burnett, the event heard from expert speakers who spoke about issues including; existing and developing treatments and diagnostics, the debate over how to raise awareness, and a personal account of the disease and the impact that it has on the lives of sufferers.

Speakers included Lyme Disease experts Dr. Roger Evans of NHS Highland and Prof. Dominic Mellor, as well as the CEO of Innatoss Laboratories from the Netherlands, Dr Anja Garritsen, and Lyme Disease patient, Janey Cringean.

Stornoway Amenity Trust has announced how it intends utilising the next pot of Western Isles Lottery proceeds.

The Committee are embarking on a “Power Washing Campaign” and have identified priority areas of need from The Lewis Retirement Centre to Stornoway Sea Angling Club to start the campaign.

This will be undertaken very shortly by local contractor Donny’s Cleaning Services. All businesses and residents throughout the Broadbay area and beyond, are encouraged to have a look at their external walls and walkways and consider having them cleaned to brighten the area.

'How are you?' It's the polite greeting we use without much thought. But maybe we should be asking 'How is your wellbeing?'

Neuro Hebrides invites you to get in touch with your whole self, by attending their Wellbeing Open Day today (Saturday 12th May) from 10am until 4pm at Grianan Day Centre, on Westview Terrace, Stornoway.

Travellers on the Glasgow Subway are being enticed to get a taste of the Outer Hebrides.  

Outer Hebrides Tourism hopes “our OH! Poster campaign has informed and inspired travellers as they have headed up and down the escalators at St Enoch, Buchanan St and Shields Road stations over the last few weeks.
 
“This poster campaign aims to create surprise, joy and discovery – emotions that are experienced when visiting the Outer Hebrides. We hope this will entice new and return visit to the islands to experience these emotions for themselves, with their loved one, family or friends. It is a reminder that the Outer Hebrides is accessible by air and sea, all year round.

Eastern Airways and Flybe are at the centre of a new row over their twice-daily weekday service between Stornoway and Aberdeen.

There have been a barrage of complaints from users about the reliability of the service with would-be travellers stranded by last-minute cancellations.

Now the airline has told local MP Angus MacNeil that it plans to cut the service back to one a day in the summer anyway.

'How are you?' It's the polite greeting we use without much thought. But maybe we should be asking 'How is your wellbeing?'

Neuro Hebrides invites you to get in touch with your whole self, by attending their Wellbeing Open Day today (Saturday 12th May) from 10am until 4pm at Grianan Day Centre, on Westview Terrace, Stornoway.

Communities in the north of Scotland are being urged to apply for grant-funding of up to £20,000 to improve their resilience from its Resilient Communities Fund before the closing date next week on Tuesday 15 May.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) opened the 2018 round of its Resilient Communities Fund earlier this year with £220,000 available for non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities working in the area covered by SSEN’s distribution and transmission networks in the north of Scotland.

SSEN is keen to make sure as many eligible groups as possible apply, with the deadline date of 15 May fast approaching. Applications of up to £20,000 will be considered with an independent panel deciding which projects are to receive grants from this round of funding

There have been reports of a cold calling scam where the caller claims to be calling from HMRC., say Trading Standards at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

“The caller states that you have underpaid tax and imminent court action is threatened unless the outstanding amount is paid immediately over the phone.

The University of the Highlands and Islands has awarded the title of professor to a leading nurse academic.

Professor Annetta Smith has been awarded a personal chair (professorship) in recognition of her expertise in nursing leadership and related research in health service delivery and access; remote and rural healthcare; sensory impairment and nursing education.

Professor Smith has been head of the department of nursing at the University of Highlands and Islands since August 2017.

The department has campuses in Inverness and Stornoway.  Professor Smith works between both sites, with her main home in Stornoway.

The Tolsta Chaolais community plan to renovate the war memorial in the village but are looking for help to raise the funds needed.

The project is going to cost £1600, this is to clean, renovate and re-letter the war memorial. Contributions towards the costs from anyone local or further afield would be gratefully received by the end of the month.

Any one wishing to contribute can contact Morag Macleod (01851 621278) or Murdo John Macdonald (01851 621 281)

Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd, the parent company of EVENTS newspaper, welovestornoway.com, HEB Magazine, welovetheisleofharris.com, The Skye Magazine, welovethewestside.com, magazinehebrides.com, welovebarraandvatersay.com and other related websiteshas moved office!

We are now operating from The Stornoway Media Centre, based alongside SignPrint Ltd at Church House, 16 James Street, Stornoway, HS1 2QN

Contact us via email at cThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call 01851 705749 / 705743 or come in and see us!

The Scottish Gin Society has revealed the public’s favourite Scottish gin – and it’s from the Isle of Harris Distillery.

At the end of April, the Society launched a survey for its members and social media followers, to get them to vote for their favourite of the many wonderful Scottish gins on the market. 

Their recently-launched Scottish Distillery Map and online A-Z of Scottish gin highlights the amazing choice consumers have.

Public voting for the Poppyscotland Places and Spaces competition is now live – and people have until Friday May 11th to vote for Laxdale School as one of the six finalists.

Poppyscotland provides life-changing support to our Armed Forces community. They reach out to those who have served, those still serving, and their families at times of crisis and need by offering vital, practical advice, assistance and funding.

Lewis Crofters Ltd, one of the longest-running and most successful co-operatives in the Highlands and Islands is preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary this July - and it’s appealing to customers to help it mark the occasion with photographs to highlight the changes since the business first started.

Established in 1958, Lewis Crofters Ltd started as a co-operative supported by the crofters of Lewis and Harris. It was set up to supply crofters with everything from animal feed to fencing staples. Over the years the range of products has grown to include animal health medicines, hardware, footwear, clothing, tools, pet and garden supplies

Niki Church is appealing on the Western Isles Noticeboard Community Page for help in finding the off-duty nurse and the couple who stopped to help at a road traffic accident on Thursday last week near Laxay.

The post says: "My son and I would like to thank you wholeheartedly for being there whilst waiting for emergency crews to arrive and to the person who called for an ambulance.

Tim Hill and Martyn Riley are taking on an epic 10,000-mile challenge to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and conservation charity Cool Earth in a 1977 Rickman Ranger kit car which had been rusting in a shed for nearly a quarter of a century.

Keen sailors, Tim and Martyn, who have homes in Lewis and Harris, were working on a boat at Stornoway marina when the idea to drive from the Hebrides to Mongolia in the Mongol Rally was first floated.

“Tim mentioned the rally to me when we were working and I, naively, asked what it involved,” said Martyn. “He replied that you had to find an old car and drive it unsupported all the way to Mongolia!”

The Western Isles Police have put out a Witness Appeal on Twitter asking: "Did anyone witness the alleged dangerous driving of a white Audi at the Braighe at 6:15pm on Thursday May 3?

"If so, we'd like to hear from you!"

Call 101, Quote ref NH1032/18

A community consultation begins today (Saturday, May 5) in Point over plans to redevelop the Old Knock School

Community group Urras Stòras an Rubha are looking for public feedback before they start applying for funding.

It is a second attempt to redevelop the building. The first set of plans failed to win cash from the Big Lottery’s Growing Communities Assets fund. The new plans are scaled down and have been costed at approximately £1million.

Tell us how the recent ferry disruptions have impacted your business, asks Outer Hebrides Tourism.

"Following a meeting with Transport Scotland earlier this week and ahead of a meeting with Robbie Drummond, Managing Director of CalMac next week, we are keen to capture how the recent ferry disruptions have affected Outer Hebrides tourism businesses.

"We estimate the disruptions have had a huge impact, but we are keen to have hard evidence to back this up.



The Fishermen’s Mission has launched a campaign to highlight the number of fishermen lost at sea in the last decade.

Called the 100in10 Campaign, they hope to raise awareness of the dangers of being a fisherman and the devastating impact on families and communities when fishermen are lost at sea.

They are asking people to buy a pair of yellow fishermen’s wellies (with their logo attached) from them.  For every pair that is sold they will be tying a yellow ribbon to the flagpole outside their Head Office in Hampshire.  When they have sold 100 pairs these will be used for a photograph that will be released nationally.

A new Harbourmaster has been appointed to help steer Stornoway Port Authority through a period that will be transformational for the island community.

From Portnaguran, Scott Campbell takes on the newly-revised role of Harbourmaster/Operations Manager at a time when the Port Authority is working on a series of major developments in line with its 20-year Masterplan.

Mr Campbell, 35, a master mariner with more than 17 years’ experience in various roles in the marine/offshore industry, was recently promoted to Master after serving as Chief officer for Prosafe Offshore on board the Safe Scandinavia for the past 5 years.

He takes up his role with the Port Authority as it seeks to progress ambitious proposals, including the creation of a deep-water port which will bring major economic benefits to the island.

The entrance to Beinn Ghrideag, the wind farm owned and operated by Point and Sandwick Trust   Picture by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos Photography.

Community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust is delighted to have been shortlisted in the Scottish Charity Awards, announced today (Friday, May 4).

Two years ago, PST won a Green Energy Award from the renewables industry for its community-owned wind farm at Beinn Ghrideag on the outskirts of Stornoway.

This time, the nomination is for charity work – for its funding and support of community projects with the profits from the wind farm – and the Trust is particularly proud to be a finalist in the Celebrating Communities category.

Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd, the parent company of EVENTS newspaper, welovestornoway.com, HEB Magazine, welovetheisleofharris.com, The Skye Magazine, welovethewestside.com, magazinehebrides.com, welovebarraandvatersay.com and other related websites is moving office today.

From next week, we will be operating from The Stornoway Media Centre, based in the former ND Macleod HQ, Church House, 16 James Street, Stornoway, HS1 2QN

Our news and information services will be disrupted by this transfer.

 

NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles and the University of the Highlands and Islands are highlighting the opportunities available to those considering a career in nursing ahead of International Nurses Day on Saturday 12 May,

There are a number of training and employment options around the Highlands and Islands region, with the university providing BSc nursing programmes in Inverness and Stornoway and NHS health boards offering a range of career paths to choose from.

The Lido restaurant in Cromwell Street was in the final of the Scottish Entertainment and Hospitality Awards last weekend.

Almost half a million pounds' worth of fraud has been prevented in Scotland in the past eight weeks, thanks to a new partnership between the banking industry, law enforcement and Trading Standards.

The Banking Protocol was introduced in Scotland on 5th March, after a national rollout across the UK began last May. 

The fraud prevention scheme enables bank staff to contact police if they suspect a customer is in the process of being scammed, with an immediate blue-light response sent to the branch.

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) - and, after a slow start for ticket sales, they sold out here, too.

But now more seats haver been added to the layout for the two performance is at Lewis Sports Centre but you have to head to www.lanntair.com to buy one of these remaining tickets.

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


2018 is lining up to be a year to remember for Point singer/songwriter Colin

The internationally-acclaimed Hebridean Celtic Festival has added Colin Macleod to its line-up during a landmark year for the local singer songwriter.
The Lewis crofter, who releases his debut album ‘Bloodlines’ on May 18th, will share the bill at HebCelt this summer with headliners Deacon Blue, The Fratellis, Eddi Reader, Skippinish and Roddy Woomble.
In October, he will perform at BluesFest in London and Dublin alongside music legends Van Morrison and Robert Plant.

Road policing officers in the Highlands have once again highlighted the dangers of speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone while driving.

This follows a big rise in the number of offences detected during April - which included a dedicated operation across Scotland targeting all three offences.

In the Highlands and Islands area, 33 drivers were detected in relation to seatbelt offences - while 34 were detected using a mobile phone while driving.  These represent a rise from 23 and 27 respectively in the same period in 2017.

The Comhairle was scheduled to advertise the 2017 apprenticeship programme this week and to commence community meetings throughout the Western Isles beginning the week of the 5 June 2017.

Given recent events it has been decided to postpone both the recruitment and the meetings until further notice.

     

'Come and join us' - LTC Piers Strudwick

‘Amazing opportunities’ – including up to 20 part time jobs - are being offered to young men and women in Stornoway, according to Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Piers Strudwick, Commanding Officer of the 7 SCOTS Army battalion. 

C Company 7 SCOTS is the British Army’s traditional Highlanders company, headquartered in Inverness.

The Western Isles platoon is based in Stornoway and currently manned at 10, including a Platoon Commander and Platoon Sergeant.

However, said LTC Strudwick, there had now arisen the potential for a number of additions to the platoon.

A national project encouraging thousands of people to cycle for everyday journeys is coming to Lewis.  
The Big Bike Revival, an award-winning programme developed by Cycling UK and funded by Transport Scotland, helps people in Scotland to bring their bikes back into use by providing bike checks, sharing maintenance know-how and giving people more confidence in the saddle.  
Partnered by 100 community groups and bicycle recycling centres across the country, the Big Bike Revival aims to reach thousands of people to encourage them to get cycling again and to replace short car journeys. 

The SNP will give Scotland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar the voice it needs at Westminster says Angus B MacNeil.

As the SNP launches its manifesto today (Tuesday), SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon has outlined that SNP MPs will focus on tackling inequality and pursue a plan to end Tory cuts and protect Scottish jobs against the prospect of a hard Brexit.

Figures compiled by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) show that businesses and communities supported by the development agency achieved a strong performance in 2016/17 despite uncertain economic conditions.

Investments by HIE during the year supported businesses and social enterprises across the region to create or retain 1,688 full time equivalent jobs in the region, 169 of these in fragile areas.

Heading for the hills - Chrisetta, Jimina, Chrisell, Mina, and Donna

Five fearless friends are taking on their biggest challenge yet in aid of The Leanne Fund.

The team from the Isle of Lewis are currently in training to climb seven Munros in under 24 hours – The Magnificent 7 on July 7th.

Having already walked 500 miles (5 ladies - 100 miles non-stop) for The Fund in 2013, the determined group are now ready for another epic journey to mark the seventh birthday of the growing charity.

The Lord-Lieutenant of the Western Isles, Donald Martin has urged islanders to nominate local voluntary groups for The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) 2018.

The QAVS, which was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen's coronation, is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar sent out a news release late yesterday afternoon (Monday May 29th) which stated:
In a letter sent last week to Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Comhairle Convener, Norman A MacDonald, said:
“People throughout the Outer Hebrides were deeply saddened and shocked to hear about the terrible event in Manchester on the evening of Monday 22nd May 2017.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar sent out a news release late yesterday afternoon (Monday May 29th) which stated:
In a letter sent last week to Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Comhairle Convener, Norman A MacDonald, said:
“People throughout the Outer Hebrides were deeply saddened and shocked to hear about the terrible event in Manchester on the evening of Monday 22nd May 2017.

In the first media release since local campaigning for the General Election was put on hold after the Manchester atrocity, Ealasaid MacDonald, Labour's candidate in Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has underlined the importance of all organisations and representatives across the islands working together with the primary focus of securing our islands' future.

Ealasaid MacDonald said:'It is clear that action is needed to ensure the long term stability of our islands' economy.

Judges on the panel for the Marketing Star Awards have selected Caledonian MacBrayne, together with the agencies it worked with, for no less than six nominations at the 2017 ceremony.

All three of the company’s major campaigns in 2016 have been recognised, including Mates Rates, the Two Eejits and Your West Coast.

In addition, CalMac’s campaign manager Amanda Burns has been nominated as Rising Marketing Star.

In muggy conditions, a total of 110 competitors ran in the Stornoway Half Marathon on Saturday.

First past the finish tape was Ewan Crawford, of Hunters Bog Trotters, with a time of 1:18:22.

The first female was Gilian Carr of Corstorphine AAC, who finished with a time of 1:37:26.

From the Islands…that was the theme of the launch of Islewear, Handmade Hebridean Jewellery, in An Lanntair arts centre last night (Friday 26th May).
Jordane Symington handcrafts designs inspired by the landscape, from precious metals, pearls and gemstones – and her work was dramatised for the show – and future events planned on the mainland – with photographs by Jade Starmore from Gress using model Emma Macrae from Point.

A primary school in North Lanarkshire which teaches Gaelic as its third language is in the running for a top Gaelic education award, alongside schools with Gaelic Medium Education units.
Gartcosh Primary School is up for the Gaelic Award in next month’s Scottish Education Awards, alongside Ardnamurchan High School in Lochaber and Sgoil an Taobh Siar on the Isle of Lewis.
And staff have praised Go! Gaelic, the online programme of resources from Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig, for enabling them to teach some Gaelic in confidence within ‘mainstream’, or English Medium Education.

Katie Ann was presented with gifts by Ken Macdonald

A legal secretary in Stornoway has reached the milestone of having worked 50 years for legal firms in the town.

Katie Ann Macdonald, from Lower Sandwick, only took time off to raise her family.

Today, friends, family and colleagues enjoyed a meal at Digby Chick restaurant in honour of Katie Ann’s milestone achievement.

Swimmers from the Western Isles have been in busy competition for the last number of weeks.

The last weekend in April saw one of their largest group trips, with 17 swimmers attending the Inverness Graded meet.

Back at HebCelt for the first time in five years - the ever evolving, and expanding, Skerryvore

With a new line-up in place and another album on the way, Skerryvore are continuing to evolve after 12 years of entertaining fans around the world.
Earlier this month the now eight-strong line-up played their first gigs with new full-time member Scott Wood, who has also been adding his piping and whistle-playing skills in the studio as the band record their seventh album.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduate and 2013 BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist is no stranger to Skerryvore, having first guested with the band as a 17-year-old in 2010.

NHS Western Isles reassurance and advice following 'Critical Threat' level alert

The UK Prime Minister, following the incident in Manchester on Monday 22nd May took the decision last night (Tuesday May 23rd) to raise the UK Terrorist Threat Level to Critical.
Whilst there is no known specific intelligence of a threat to Scotland, patients, visitors and the general public are asked to note the following security restrictions which have been put in place locally:

 

An inspiring schoolboy from Point has had a haircut, after growing his hair for a year to raise money for charity.

Charlie had his hair cut by Moira Matheson, Attic Hair Studio, Stornoway yesterday (Tuesday).

He has chosen to support The Princess Trust who make wigs for children with cancer and is also fundraising for The Leanne Fund at the same time.

A final version of the Port Masterplan outlining a 20-year vision for the development of Stornoway Harbour has been published by Stornoway Port Authority.

The Port Authority has also published its Annual Report for 2016 and will be holding its annual public meeting tomorrow (Thursday, May 25) in An Lanntair at 7pm.

A visit to the Western Isles by a Regimental Shetland Pony has been cancelled in the wake of the Manchester terrorist attack.

A message from 4 Scots (The Highlanders) and 7 Scots (the Reserve Army Infantry Unit for the Highlands and Islands) read: 'Due to the tragic incident that happened in Manchester the Pony Major who is first and foremost a soldier has been deployed with his unit. I hope people will understand the reason for this late cancellation.

'I know many of you were looking forward to meeting the Regimental Mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.'

The Nicolson Institute Under 15 boys team are the North of Scotland champions, after defeating Fraserburgh Academy at Clach Park, in Inverness.

The final was a repeat of the U14 final from last year and both teams were evenly matched and produced a fantastic standard of football.

In a statement this morning, (Wednesday May 24)  Phil Gormley, Chief Constable of Police Scotland  said:

“My thoughts and those of everyone at Police Scotland continue to be with those who have lost loved ones or who were injured in the attack in Manchester.

“With the threat level now at 'Critical', we have now established a multi-agency co-ordination centre to lead and co-ordinate the response across the country along with key partners.

As part of the of the continuing restoration of the Lews Castle Designed Landscape, the Stornoway Trust are carrying out mechanised mulching between the 23rd of May to the 6th of June.

There is an exclusion zone of 200m around the operational site which will be marked with threshold signs and policed by a banksman at all times, to ensure continued safe access within the grounds.

On Thursday (May 25th) Labour’s David Stewart, Regional MSP for the Highlands & Islands, is holding a Public Advice Surgery in the new offices at 34 Cromwell Street, Stornoway HS1 2DD from 1pm – 2pm.

All constituents are welcome and no appointment is necessary. Contact details are telephone: 01851 709822 and e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

At the Comhairle’s offices in Stornoway, the Comhairle flag and the Scottish Saltire are flying at half-mast as a mark of respect for all those who lost their lives in the Manchester attack.

An operation to raise awareness of doorstep crime will be taking place across Highland and Islands this week.

Operation Monarda is a national campaign being held across Scotland to highlight doorstep crime and to promote how the public can protect themselves from becoming a victim of this type of offence.

Doorstep crime affects some of the most vulnerable members of local communities, with perpetrators mainly targeting victims due to a perceived vulnerability, such as age, gender or disability.

NHS Western Isles has a new campaign to raise awareness of the Healthy Start scheme for pregnant women and families of young children up to four years old.  

In association with Argos, every time a purchase is made, buyers will receive their till receipts carrying a colourful eye-catching promotion for the Healthy Start scheme.

The Healthy Start scheme was set up to ensure pregnant women, new mothers and young children, particularly those living on low incomes, can get free healthy foods and supplements. There are two separate entitlements: vitamins and vouchers. 

Ealasaid MacDonald, Labour's General Election candidate in Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has welcomed the announcement that the Comhairle are to create over 40 apprenticeships.

Ealasaid said: 'This is a very positive step by the Comhairle and should be warmly welcomed. They have chosen to invest in our young people, looking to the future and seeking to ensure our economy has the skills available which will help them, and our islands, to flourish.

Members of different military units are up in Stornoway right now – both Regular and Reserve, male and female – and they will soon be joined by a Shetland pony with the rank of Lance-Corporal and a key role as their regimental mascot.
This display is to try to show the wide variety of skills, jobs and trades available to those interested – both as a Regular soldier or as a paid part-time volunteer Reservist.
The teams are up until Saturday, mainly in and around Stornoway with the main effort being in Perceval Square although they will also be appearing in Tesco,  the Co-op, Lews Castle College UHI and the sports centre.  

The Western Isles annual party, the Hebridean Celtic Festival, on Lews Castle Green. Photo: Daibhidh Martin

Some of Gaeldom’s finest singers and musicians will showcase the Outer Hebrides to an international audience at a major Celtic music event in France this year.
The islands’ language, culture and heritage will play a leading role when Scotland is celebrated at the annual Interceltique de Lorient during ten days of events being held from August 4th to 13th.
Scotland is this year’s ‘Country of Focus’ at the gathering, the largest Celtic festival in Europe, and a team from the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival is organising the opening concert on August 5th, which will kick start a number of events featuring Scottish artists throughout the ten days.

 

The building in the children's playpark at Aline Community Woodland was vandalised sometime in the last week.

Walls inside the building were damaged, possibly by being kicked in.

Photos on the Aline Community Woodland Facebook page show the extent of the damage.

Charlie Macmillan

An inspiring schoolboy from Lewis is using his hair to help other children.

Twelve year old Charlie MacMillan from Point has gone without a haircut for more than a year and plans to donate his long locks to charity.

He has chosen to support The Princess Trust who make wigs for children with cancer and is also fundraising for The Leanne Fund at the same time.

Following a successful pilot in 2016, customers on the Ullapool-Inverness coach route should once again benefit from extra capacity following an agreement by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Scottish Citylink and the Highlands and Islands Regional Transport Partnership (HITRANS).

The St Andrew’s First Aid charity which recently established a branch on the Western Isles, was providing First Aid cover at the rain-affected Women's Cancer Challenge 5k event in the Castle Grounds on Saturday.

The group 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.  In 2008 it was rebranded as St Andrew’s First Aid to avoid confusion with the Scottish Ambulance Service.


Further trike action by lecturers at Lews Castle College this week has been averted.
The industrial action was suspended late on Friday (19th May) when the lecturers' union, EIS FELA and the employers agreed a deal whereby the money owed to teaching staff would finally be paid.
Following a period of intense negotiations, agreement has been reached between the employers and the union. This led to the immediate suspension of strike action by the EIS and will enable college management to implement the March 2016 Agreement.

Labour candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Ealasaid MacDonald, has welcomed the Conservative manifesto commitment to support remote island wind projects "where they directly benefit local communities" and has promised to work "across party lines" in order to see it delivered.

Ealasaid said: "This positive development highlights the continuing success of the community energy movement in the Scottish islands who have played a vital role in persuading the Government to include this wording in their manifesto.  The key phrase 'directly benefits communities' underpins the vital role the community energy movement must have in delivering this going forward.

Labour candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Ealasaid MacDonald, has welcomed the Conservative manifesto commitment to support "remote offshore wind" and has promised to work "across party lines" in order to see it delivered.

Ealasaid said: "This is a tribute to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's unstinting pursuit of its renewable energy objectives for the islands with little help from other quarters.  However, there is still a long way to go before this is turned into jobs and investment.

Vodafone UK has this week started introducing 4G to its network in the Stornoway area as part of its multi-billion UK network modernisation programme. 

According to the telecoms company, customers in the town area can now enjoy a much more reliable mobile data experience, faster data download and upload speeds as well as better video quality.

The SNP’s Angus B MacNeil has expressed disappointment at the lack of concrete commitment from the Tories to support renewables in Na h-Eileanan an Iar in their manifesto, but points out that mention of island projects may indicate they are finally getting the message that action is needed now.

Mr MacNeil has been pressing the UK Government to support island renewables for many months now and has had one to one meetings with Energy Minister Greg Clark on this specific issue.

Trading Standards are warning residents that there is currently an INTERNATIONAL FIFA WORLD CUP ONLINE LOTTERY scam letter circulating in the Islands.

Highlands and Islands MSP, Donald Cameron, has welcomed the Conservatives’ General Election manifesto commitment to 'support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland'.

The manifesto promises to offer support to future wind projects giving real hope for the development of projects in the Western Isles and other Scottish islands.

Following a Scottish Parliament vote yesterday, backing the SNP’s call for all powers on fisheries to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament after Brexit, the SNP’s Angus B MacNeil, has challenged the Scottish Tories to respect the will of Holyrood – or be complicit in Westminster selling out Scotland’s fishing industry once again.

A majority of MSPs from all parties except the Tories voted in favour of devolving full powers over fisheries to enable the design of a management framework best suited to Scottish needs and the interests of Scotland’s fishing industry and sector.

The economy is at the heart of our very survival according to Ealasaid MacDonald, Labour's candidate on the Western Isles in the General Election.

Speaking shortly after unveiling her key pledges in Barra, Ealasaid said:  'I am shocked and concerned at the clear decline in the economy across the whole of the islands.

"Over the past 12 years our islands have gone backwards. Where are the apprenticeships that used to keep our young people here? Where are the jobs which enabled people to stay and raise a family?

"Without investment and a long term economic plan, the islands' very survival is under threat. I appreciate that time changes but it is clear that little has been done by our MP to assist in stemming this tide of instability and ensuring that we have control of the key economic drivers which would breath life back in our economy.'

Ealasaid is standing on a platform that the islands need change and a new, credible voice in order to achieve the support that it needs. She is committed to campaigning for:

  • An economic deal for the islands, mirroring the current city deals, which would include a commitment of financial investment which will provide economic stability and deliver growth.
  • The monies raised by the Crown Estate to be transferred to benefit our communities. Money which has been raised as a result of our assets, as well as the policy and administration of the Crown Estate, should be devolved to the Comhairle.
  • Delivery of the interconnector which has the potential to revolutionise our islands
  • A tourism fund which will allow the development of vital facilities which would provide stability to this increasingly important sector.
  • Improvement of transport links across the islands which are vital to our economic potential with a particular focus on the double tracking of the main roads through the islands.

Ealasaid added: 'I believe that stimulating our economy will go a long way to addressing a number of the issues we have in our islands. In order to provide our young people with opportunities and be in a position to care for those in need and our elderly, we must have the foundations of a varied and active economy creating jobs, investment and long term stability.

"Stability encourages growth which in turn attracts business and people. We have loads of assets we just need some action. I believe that our MP has had enough chances. It is time for a fresh approach. I am willing to work across party lines and with all organisations for the good of our islands.'

The Class of '67 held their 50th reunion over the weekend of 28th and 29th April 2017 in the Golf Club and they all had an great time catching up with old friends, many of whom hadn't met for over 30 years.

An official statement has been issued in the controversy surrounding the collapse of Hebridean Sea Salt in Lochs. 

This statement was circulated by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to councillors this evening but was issued by the national agency, Food Standards Scotland.

This followed allegations made to national newspapers by the company’s founder Natalie Crayton in which she blamed the Council for being heavy-handed and claims made by her to welovestornoway.com about the behaviour of officials at Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Calum MacDonald, previously the Labour MP for the Western Isles and now Director of the Point and Sandwick Power, has welcomed the commitment in the Conservative manifesto published today to ‘support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland where they will directly benefit local communities.’ (page 22 of the Manifesto).

The new chair of the Comhairle's Sustainable Development committee has highlighted declining population, a response to Brexit, renewables, and localised economic development as the main factors which need to be addressed by the committee.

Cllr Donald Crichton, Loch a Tuath, said he believed that Sustainable Development was 'a crucial committee with a wide ranging and diverse remit to help address the big economic challenges that we face in the Outer Hebrides'.

Comhairle Leader Roddie Mackay, and Convener Norman A. Macdonald

The newly elected Leader and Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have vowed to work together with colleagues for the benefit of communities across the Outer Hebrides.

Leader of the Comhairle, Cllr Roddie Mackay, said: “I am committed to working on behalf of communities across the Outer Hebrides. As is the norm in the Islands we will not be forming an administration but I, the Convener, the Chairs of Committees and indeed all Members, will work on behalf of all our communities and I believe this system offers a better way of doing so than under the label of a political grouping.  

Randy Laursen, Andrew Aitken and David Bradley from The Scottish Salmon Company’s Cairndow site with their new defibrillator

The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) has installed defibrillators across all of its sites after a life-threatening situation was averted by quick-thinking teamwork.

When Randy Laursen, Processing Operative at the SSC Cairndow Processing Plant in Argyll, suffered a major cardiac arrest while at work in June last year, the actions of his colleagues saved his life.  The team swiftly implemented emergency procedures which included CPR and the use of an onsite defibrillator, and Randy has since made a full recovery.

The Scottish Salmon Company has now installed defibrillators at all 60 of its sites across the West Coast of Scotland and Hebrides and at its head office in Edinburgh.  

With 220 SSC staff in the Outer Hebrides, the company has made a significant investment on the crucial equipment and in a programme of specialist training for its teams throughout the islands. Staff will be trained on how to use the defibrillators in the event of any life-threatening emergency situations.  

Following his election as Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Cllr Roddie Mackay now automatically assumes the role of chair of the Policy and Resources committee. 

Yesterday, Cllr Alasdair Macleod was elected vice-chair of P&R.

Meanwhile, Cllr Angus Morrison is the new chair of the Audit and Scrutiny committee. 

The vice-chair is Cllr Iain M. Macaulay. 

The Butt of Lewis lighthouse

Researchers in the Western Isles have completed a year-long trial of a new system which could transform the way waves and currents are measured.

A team at Lews Castle College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, installed a maritime radar system at the Butt of Lewis lighthouse on the northern tip of the Isle of Lewis.

The system employs a standard marine radar, used by ships to detect obstacles, which has been modified to maximise the data it can return from the surface of the sea.

Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris Branch is raising money through the Co-op Membership scheme.
The money is to sustain existing activities and build on their volunteer base to allow 1-1 support for people living with dementia.
In all, £3,310.84 has been raised so far - see https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/7816/
Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris Branch say: “We run as many different activities and groups as we possibly can to allow maximisation of social inclusion for those living with dementia and their families.

The Hebridean Tea Store is relocating from Church Street to 22 Cromwell Street over the next fortnight.
The shop itself will be closed next week – from Monday May 22  - and they are planning a special opening event on Saturday, May 27th – just some tea, coffee and cake when they hope all the work will be done.
The new premises are the former offices of Derek Mackenzie solicitors – and longer ago, a hairdressers and a flower shop.

Councillors today elected chairs and vice-chairs to each of the four Comhairle committees. 

The Salvation Army in Stornoway are launching a new 'Baby Bank' to help support families with the cost of having a child. Commanding officer Lieutenant Emma Newton explains, ‘In recent months we have had an increase in requests for help from families who are struggling with the costs of having a child. Due to the level of availability of baby clothes, toiletries and equipment on the island, together with the high cost of such items, families are struggling financially. The Baby Bank will be able to supply key items for children between 0-36 months.'

Through generous donations of clothes, nursery equipment, nappies, wipes and toiletries, The Salvation Army has already assisted a handful of families. But there is an ongoing need which it is hoped the Baby Bank will be able to meet, and they are working closely with other agencies who will be able to refer parents to the Baby Bank.  If anyone is requiring assistance in the meantime, they are very welcome to just drop in to the Baby Bank any time during opening hours.

Cllr Roddie Mackay has been elected as the new Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. 

Cllr Mackay  - a member for Steornabhagh a Tuath - takes over from Angus Campbell, who stood down at the recent election. 

A bid to review the current constitutional arrangements of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has failed.

Cllr Donald Manford, leader of the SNP group on the Comhairle, said that the election of 15 new councillors meant that there was a mandate for change. 

Cllr Norman A Macdonald has been re-elected as Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. 

At the first meeting of the Comhairle since the elections, Clr Macdonald was proposed by Cllr Uisdean Robertson, and seconded by Cllr Charlie Nicolson. 

Natural talent - Don 'Sewer' Macleod

For years during the 1990s, Don ‘Sewer’ Macleod was best known for refereeing football matches in the Lewis and Harris league.

But now Don is making a name for himself in another sporting arena – that of Rallycross.

Stornoway Police are asking the public for help after receiving a report of suspicious activity in Steinish relating to horses. 

If you have seen anything suspicious, they ask you to please contact then on 0800 555111.

 

 

 

If you’re a woman over 50, the combination of checking your breasts yourself and attending your regular breast screening appointments gives you the best chance of being diagnosed early - and surviving breast cancer.

In the last round of screening for Western Isles women which took place three years ago only 4 out of 5 women took up the opportunity of being screened.  

NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Dr Maggie Watts said: “Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in Western Isles women but it’s also very treatable when caught early.  Taking up your breast screening appointment is important. The appointment takes only a few minutes. It involves having X-ray images taken of your breasts (mammograms).”

To accommodate traffic for the Hebridean Celtic Festival, the timetable for Sunday 23 July has been changed to the following:

NHS Western Isles was not badly affected by the cyber attack at the weekend, it has just confirmed.

A spokesperson said: "Contrary to earlier uninformed media reports, NHS Western Isles was not affected significantly by the cyber attack. Patient care has not been adversely affected and all activity is continuing as normal.

The 8th Point 5k event will take place on June 3rd 2017.

The event, which raises funds for The Leanne Fund, sets off from Point Free Church at Bayble and is a popular family event, open to runners and walkers alike.

Local Labour candidate Ealasaid MacDonald is pledging to campaign for a tourism top-up fund.

She says the fund would 'take account of the unique contribution our islands are making to the national tourism industry'.

 

The SNP’s Angus B MacNeil launched his General Election campaign for Na h-Eileanan an Iar this evening (Friday) with the opening of his Campaign Rooms.

The rooms at 33 Bayhead Street, Stornoway will now be the centre of activity for the campaign and will be open Monday to Saturday until June 8th.

The opening event follows Mr MacNeil's visits earlier in the day to Lews Castle College to meet with EIS members and then to Tighean Innse Gall to hear more about their work to combat fuel poverty and improve homes in the Hebrides.

Kezia Dugdale and Ealasaid Macdonald

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is in Stornoway today, lending her backing to Western Isles candidate Ealasaid Macdonald.

Among her engagements here are a visit to Charlie Barley's, as well as supporting UHI lecturers on the picket line at Lews Castle College. 

Tonight she will address local Labour Party members at a function in Stornoway.

Dan McCroskrie

The Conservative candidate for the Western Isles says that if he is elected, he will ensure the islands aren't sold short during Brexit negotiations in Westminster. 

Daniel McCroskrie (26), currently works as an office manager to Highlands and Islands Tory MSP Donald Cameron.

He previously worked as the Scottish Head of Ground Campaign for Vote Leave during the EU referendum last June.

Stuart MacLeod, Director Opus Carpentry, Chrisetta Mitchell, The Leanne Fund; and Melanie Love, Howdens Inverness

Building support services for young people affected by Cystic Fibrosis has attracted support from two construction firms who have donated to The Leanne Fund.

Opus Carpentry Ltd, Stornoway and Howdens Inverness have both generously donated to the Fund which will go towards projects in the current development programme.

Five Western Isles candidates have thrown their hat into the ring for the General Election on Thursday June 8. 

Angus Brendan MacNeil of the SNP will be up against Ealasaid Macdonald, of the Scottish Labour Party, and Daniel Stephen McCroskrie, representing the Conservatives. 

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, today raised the EIS strike - going into its fourth day today - with Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister’s Question Time. 

Commenting afterwards, Ms Grant said: “The college lecturers are being forced to strike for a fourth day today, due to the dispute brought about by the Scottish Government’s pledge to harmonise pay and conditions in the college sector following the mergers of many colleges across the country.

“After weeks of negotiating between Colleges Scotland and EIS, the terms being put forward are completely unreasonable and don’t take into account the hard work the lecturers are already doing – so much of which is not being negotiated. The Scottish Government have confirmed that the money has been made available but Colleges Scotland are still refusing to acknowledge the already unmanageable workload of lecturers."

Trading Standards Officers from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are aware of doorstep sellers currently in Lewis who may be offering various home improvement services.

Residents are reminded to say 'no' to doorstep sellers and that Doorstoppers signage from the Doorstoppers Campaign can be printed off from the Comhairle’s website here - http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/doorstoppers/documents/sticker.pdf.

Doorstep sellers ignoring the displayed signage may be committing an offence.

To report Doorstep sellers contact Trading Standards on 01851 822 694, Police Scotland 101 or Faire Community Careline on 01851 701702

HHP will host their annual lunch event for Lewis and Harris tenants on Friday 19th May 2017 between 12 and 2.00pm.  

The event will be held in the Stornoway Town Hall.

This year the event will have a particular focus on energy efficiency and HHP partners such as TEAS will be in attendance to provide help and advice on how to reduce energy costs and save money.

As part of the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places initiative, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is delighted to be working with Cycling Scotland to hold Essential Cycling Skills training for adults.

As well as a 2-hour training session Essential Cycling Skills (ECS) has a suite of resources available to help boost the confidence of those new to or returning to cycling and give them the necessary skills to negotiate on-road journeys or commutes.

This training is COMPLETELY FREE but you must have a bike in good working order and a helmet.

Left to right - Matt Bruce, TIG Board Member, Holly Magee, Project Administrator, Sally Reynolds, Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh Development Manager, Agnes Rennie, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn, Kenneth Maclennan, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh, Lisa Maclean, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn Development Manager, Amy Kapherr-Diament, Project Officer, Finlay MacLennan, Project Officer

An exciting new partnership project is ready to launch this summer, funded by the Climate Challenge Fund.

The project partners are community landowning trusts Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh working with local energy experts Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) who will deliver the project by supporting households within the two estates to take practical steps to become more energy efficient.

Tamzene 

Scottish singer songwriter Tamzene has won a prestigious stage slot in front of an international audience at the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.

The 20-year-old multi-instrumentalist from the Highland village of Cromarty in the Black Isle, was one of the winners of the 2017 CalMac Culture Music contest, run by ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne and aimed at finding the best emerging singers and musicians.

Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente

A rushed, last minute collaboration brought Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente together, and sent them on a new and award-winning musical path.

Josie, a singer, songwriter and clarsach player from the isle of Lewis, teamed up unexpectedly with Pablo, a guitarist and fiddler from Spain via Stirling, at last year’s Celtic Connections.

“I got a very last minute call from the festival because someone had cancelled and they needed a slot filled”, said Josie. “I had a few ‘go-to’ guitarists and Pablo at the time wasn’t one of them.

We have a wide range of interesting and diverse jobs vacancies here on www.welovestornoway.com at the moment, with 11 new positions added since the start of the month!  Click on the titles below for more information.

Natural Retreats have a variety of exciting opportunities to work at the newly refurbished Lews Castle, and are looking for a Food and Beverage Manager to support the General Manager in delivering an exemplary level of service and standards in this unique first-class venue, hosting up to 300 guests.  They also require enthusiastic and positive Housekeepers, Night Porters, Kitchen Porters and a Chef De Partie to join the team.  

Due to the current post-holder retiring, Autoparts have an excellent opportunity for a Shop General Manager, to lead the team and be responsible for managing stock, organising staff and building great relationships with customers and suppliers. A full, clean driving licence is required.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has again met with Citylink senior management regarding the ongoing issues suffered by passengers travelling between Stornoway and Ullapool and those requiring access to the vital bus link onwards to Inverness. 

This meeting was further to initial meetings and discussions where the MSP followed up on complaints from constituents who had suffered due to the lack of seats on the vital route and in some cases became stranded in Ullapool.

Anne Lundon

A new BBC ALBA series is to explore Scotland’s very own route 66 – the iconic North Coast 500.

Presented by BBC ALBA and BBC Scotland reporter and presenter Anne Lundon, viewers are taken on a journey around the circular route which offers visitors a spectacular array of mountain ranges, lochs, glens, castles, ruins, beaches and wildlife - not forgetting a range of memorable locations to sample some of the best of Scotland’s food and drink.

In less than three years, the route has become so popular it regularly ranks among the world’s top ten road trips.

Argos has launched its first ever online Hebrides delivery service, bringing more than 30,000 products direct to the doors of over 15,000 homes on islands including Lewis, Harris Uist and Barra.  

Available on a wide range of items from Bose headphones and Lego toys to Dyson vacuum cleaners and televisions, and up to a maximum weight of 30kg per item, orders will be delivered in as little as two days at the standard UK delivery cost of £3.95.

Highlands and Islands Greens have today confirmed they will not be contesting the forthcoming General Election. This means there will be no Scottish Green candidate on the ballot paper in any of the five constituencies the branch covers on the 8th June.

Instead the party will be focussing on supporting their newly-elected councillors, and getting down to making a difference locally.

Detailed results reports from the Comhairle elections are now available to view on the Comhairle’s website here

 

 

 

A Stornoway masterplan is being developed which aims to develop a clear vision for the physical development of Stornoway, and sets out proposals to address the key strategic challenges and opportunities facing the town.

This has been identifying small, medium and large level strategies to improve the local environment and infrastructure for residents and visitors, making Stornoway a better place to Visit, Live, Work, Study and Invest.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is issuing a call for more foster families to come forward, as Foster Care Fortnight 2017 begins across the UK.

According to The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity which runs Foster Care Fortnight, over 7,000 more people with the right skills and experience are needed to offer loving, stable and secure homes to children and young people across the UK.

Labour’s candidate in the Na h-Eileanan Iar constituency has called on her opponents to join a series of public debates 'to focus on issues vital to the future of the Western Isles'.

Ealasaid MacDonald said: “There should be no hiding place in this campaign for any candidate, and particularly the sitting MP.  The electorate deserve more than slogans, tweets and empty claims.

 “The issues at stake for our islands, and the quality of representation which emerges, are too important to be left to chance.  Every voter is entitled to the offer of a proper debate”.

There's an Open Day on today at Beautify in Bank Street, Stornoway - don't miss your chance for some free eats and drinks and the time to find out the huge range of beauty treatments now available at the salon.  The event started at 11am and lasts until 4pm - and you can try out some treatments at half price - or get vouchers for longer treatment on other days.

Change your lunchtime routine today and pop into Beautify!

Fundraising for Alzheimer Scotland in Lewis and Harris is really getting into its stride with the approach of Dementia Awareness Week which begins on Monday May 29.
One volunteer in Lewis is even planning to run five half-marathons in six weeks to raise money and awareness.
And they have set up JustGiving pages to assist their fundraising efforts.

The SNP group in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have declared their intention to form an administration, following their success at today’s council election, after standing on a pan-island agenda.

The SNP Group returned 7 councillors from the Butt to Barra, making them the largest group and giving them the right to form an administration and bring new governance to the Comhairle’s way of doing things.  

Already, they say, a good number of independent councillors respect this mandate and are positively engaging with the SNP group.

Ward 1 – Barra, Vatersay, Eriskay and South Uist – Donald Manford (SNP), Calum Macmillan (SNP), Iain Archie MacNeil (Independent), Paul Francis Steele (Independent)

Ward 2 - Benbecula and North Uist – Uisdean Robertson (Independent), Iain Murdoch Macleod (Independent), Roddy Mackay (Independent)

Ward 3 – Harris and South Lochs – Finlay Cunningham (Independent), Paul Finnegan (Independent), John G. Mitchell (SNP).

Ward 4 - Uig and North Lochs – Angus Morrison (Independent), Norman A. Macdonald (Independent), Ranald Fraser (Conservative)

Ward 5 – Point – Norrie Tomsh Macdonald (Independent), Alasdair Macleod (Independent), Finlay Mackenzie Stewart (Independent).

Ward 6 - Stornoway South – Charlie Nicolson (Independent), Rae Mackenzie (SNP), Angus McCormack (Independent), Keith Dodson (Independent).

Ward 7 – Stornoway North – Gordon Murray (SNP), Roddie Mackay (Independent), Iain Macaulay (Independent), Neil Mackay (Independent).

Ward 8 – Broadbay – Donald Crichton (Independent), John A. Maciver (SNP), Calum Maclean (Independent).

Ward 9 – West Side and Ness – John Norman Macleod (Independent), Kenny Macleod (SNP), Kenny John Macleod (Independent), John Mackay (Independent).

 

The first councillors elected in the 2017 Western Isles local government elections are Finlay Cunningham, Paul Finnegan, and John G. Mitchell, in the Na Hearadh agus Ceann a Deas nan Loch ward. 

Finlay Cunningham collected most votes, with 381. 

Paul Finnegan was next, with 189, and John G. Mitchell grabbed the third spot with 172. 

Catherine Macdonald missed out on re-election by a mere six votes. 

There was a 63.2 per cent turnout, and there were 28 spoiled papers.

Na Hearadh agus Ceann a Deas nan Loch result - 

Finlay Cunningham (Independent) - 381

Paul Finnegan (Independent) - 189

Catherine Macdonald (Independent) - 166

Fiona Macleod (SNP) - 47

Sheena Macleod (Independent) - 80

Donald John Macrae (Independent) - 42

John G. Mitchell (SNP) - 172

Alex Dan Smith (Independent) - 7

Denise Wilson (Independent) - 64

Elected councillors are Finlay Cunningham, Paul Finnegan, and John G. Mitchell. 

Counting is underway at the Lewis Sports Centre. 

An army of staff are sifting through the votes, and it’s reckoned announcements will be made around 1pm. 

Sixty island residents have thrown their hat into the ring – aiming to secure one of 31 councillor positions. 

We’ll have a new Comhairle Leader, as Angus Campbell did not stand. 

The Western Isles Kidney Patients Association marked the tenth anniversary of the Renal Unit in the Western Isles Hospital with a special lunchtime event on Wednesday (May 3) in the unit.
There was a lunch for all and a special birthday cake was created for the occasion.

Aberdeen is well known for oil, fishing and granite but what about Gaelic?  

It is the third largest city in Scotland but why is it not as ‘Gaelic’ as Glasgow and Edinburgh?

A new and insightful documentary marks the 25th anniversary of Gaelic medium education provision in Aberdeen, and asks whether the city’s community of Gaels are thriving or just surviving in an area not known for its Gaelic speakers.

Polling stations across the Western Isles have been open since 7am today. 

The polling stations will close at 10pm, but the count doesn't begin until around 9am tomorrow morning.

We will, of course, be present at Lewis Sports Centre to give you all the very latest updates, and we'll let you know who your councillors are as soon as the final figures are announced.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) must take immediate action to address island concerns over theory test delays, says Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil.

Mr MacNeil had contacted the DVSA on behalf of constituents who had to wait more than 14 weeks before they could take the theory driving test.  These delays impact on car tests, motorcycle tests and the vocational tests for a Category C & D licence.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil and MSP Alasdair Allan earlier encouraged people to use their vote in today's council elections.

Mr MacNeil said: “It is very important that people come out and vote in the council elections. I would encourage them to rank all candidates in order of preference and I would advise them to use all numbers so that their vote holds value throughout the process.

“Obviously I would urge people to vote for SNP candidates if applicable in their ward. We have some fine candidates standing for the SNP.

As the Tolsta Community Hall is temporarily unavailable, the polling station for 4 May 2017 has been changed to the Tolsta Community Development Limited, which is just across the car park from the Hall. Signage will be in place to direct voters

In a statement issued at 10.40pm last night, Donald Manford said this on behalf of the SNP group on the Islands:

"In advance of tomorrow's election, the SNP group is making clear our intentions towards the future administration of the Comhairle. 

"Following democratic elections, governments nationally and locally are formed by the organisation or group obtaining the overall majority.

An online resource package has been designed to help practitioners support children in Gaelic Medium Education when they need extra help with speech and language.

The Collective Resource Document has been created by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Naiseanta na Gàidhlig and pulls together papers on the subject from a wide variety of experts.

There are a number of papers within the document and it can be found at www.storlann.co.uk/feumalachdan-taic

Women for Mission are holding a soup and pudding lunch in M A Macleod Memorial Hall on Saturday 13th May 2017 from 12-1.30pm.  As well as a range of delicious soups and desserts, there will be home baking and local crafts and produce stalls, so you will have the opportunity to take tasty home with you!  This will be followed by a live video link to the the Women for Mission Annual General Meeting in Glasgow. All welcome - donations at the door. 

A visitor to Stornoway over the Bank Holiday weekend is the 'MS Midnatsol' cruise ship, which arrived yesterday from Iona.

MS Midnatsol is an ice class 1C ship, equipped with advanced technology that makes her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Antarctica.

The ship sails along the Norwegian coast from May to September, and is part of global explorer sailings during the rest of the year.

Ealasaid Macdonald

The Western Isles Labour Party candidate for the General Election will be Ealasaid MacDonald. 

Ealasaid lives in Lewis but is originally from South Uist and Eriskay. 

Bernera Iron Age House and Museum will be open to the public on Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th of May, from 12noon to 4pm, as part of the Festival of Museums weekend. It is not usually open at weekends, so this will be a good opportunity for locals and visitors alike to visit the Iron Age house, which was featured during 2016 on several television programmes. For further information call 01851 612331 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Caravan for Sale

Coachman, VIP 390/2

2 Berth

1996 model.  Very good condition for year.  No damp.  Excellent 1st caravan.

£1,200 ono

Tel:  07775 317 498 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has written to Crofting Minister, Fergus Ewing MSP, regarding the ongoing issues between the Grazings Committees at Mangersta and Upper Coll and the Crofting Commission, where both committees have been put out of office.

Mr MacNeil said: “Having met with some of the people that have been involved in this dispute, I am astonished at the way that the Commission have handled  these matters, and it also sends out the wrong message for all the active Grazings Committees in the Crofting Areas. Both voluntary Grazings committees at Mangersta and Upper Coll were very active and were involved in a number of schemes that were of benefit to their respective villages and the individual shareholders.

“Along with many others I feel that the Crofting Commission have handled these issues badly, and if Grazings Committees that were active can be treated like this, then there are huge issues to deal with as regards the rules and regulations currently in place for Grazings Committees.

Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT) have today launched a newly refreshed industry-facing website.  

Thanks to matched funding from HIE and Coastal Communities, the site has been built using mobile first technology to offer a quality user experience for business browsers across desktop, mobile and tablet. 

The new site highlights what OHT does to promote the Outer Hebrides as a world-class visitor destination, to champion tourism businesses and provides new tools and resources to support the organisation's tourism business members.

The Nicolson Institute Junior Girls' football team have been crowned North of Scotland champions, just a week after the Under-14 Boys' team won their own competition. 

The girls played Mintlaw Academy in Alness, and came away with a 1-0 victory. 

The goalscorer was Holly McEwan. 

Pic courtesy of Elaine Mackenzie

 

 

Almost half of the 200-mile long Caledonian MacBrayne network is now live with free public access wifi – and the remainder will be completed in early July.

In total, 88 vessels and land-based locations will be switched on.

It's hoped that all CalMac ports in Lewis and Harris will be switched on in the week commencing June 13. 

Making a return to Lewis later this year, comedian Mark Steel is taking his 'Who Do I Think I Am' tour on the road to the Highlands and Islands.

Beyond Presents are delighted to bring Mark and his newest stand up show to venues throughout the Highlands and Islands – including a stop at An Lanntair on Friday, November 11th.

A surprising and enthralling story, told with aplomb, Mark said of his new show: “It never really bothered me that I'd never met my mum.

Over 70% of the population of the Western Isles now live on community owned land generating economic development throughout the Islands, the Community Land Conference in Stornoway heard at the weekend.

Speaking at the conference, the Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Norman A Macdonald, said: “The driver behind community land buy outs has been to reverse a decades long decline in our rural areas. It is encouraging to see the evidence that shows us just how successful the various trusts have been in stimulating economic development. The trusts represented here today have progressed projects ranging from renewable energy generation to housing and tourism developments, investing millions and employing significant numbers of staff in the areas where good jobs are needed most.” 

Mr Macdonald also stressed that there is a real challenge to make housing projects work in peripheral areas.

He said: “Community Land Owners working together together with public and private sector providers and national and local government need to find a way to make affordable housing available to retain and attract young families in particular to their areas.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has requested an urgent meeting with incoming Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, to discuss the future of crofting in the Western Isles. Specifically, he will raise the question of Common Grazings Committees’ ability in future to hold funds.

This follows the removal of Grazings Committees and appointment of Grazings Constables in Mangersta late last year and Upper Coll earlier this year. 

Alasdair Allan commented: “There is clearly a real concern amongst crofters about what has happened in Upper Coll and Mangersta and the impact these decisions by the Crofting Commission will have on the future of crofting.

The group's two pigs - Charlie and Barley

With 135 chickens, six ducks and two pigs to look after, as well as a brand new walled rose garden to maintain, the students in Lews Castle College's Community Interest Company Hebridean Castle Trading are certainly being kept busy.

And the hard work in gaining qualifications and life skills being made by students with additional support needs on the Alpha course and the Learning and Working course will be shown off to friends, family and staff at their Open Day on Friday, June 10th.

“It gives the students a real sense of purpose and self worth,” said course auxiliary Coleen Campbell. “The students care for all the animals and run the egg business; they're learning new skills all the time, like making deliveries and working with money.”

Following last week’s overwhelming vote in the Scottish Parliament to back a 'remain' vote in the EU referendum, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has set out the benefits of EU membership for rural Scotland. 

He urged people in the Islands to vote for Scotland to stay in the EU on June 23rd.

The Scottish Parliament voted by 106 votes to 8 for a motion backing 'Scotland and the rest of the UK remaining part of the EU'.

Taking the oral tradition of the Western Isles forward is the inaugural 'Stornowords' Open-Mic Poetry night, making its debut on Saturday, June 11th in Artizan Café, Church Street, Stornoway.

The brainchild of poet and spoken word artist Matthew Nicholson, Stornowords – which hopes to become a regular fixture at Artizan – will feature guest poet Peter Kerr.

Well known throughout the islands' literary scene as member of the Uist Writer's Group, with regular appearances at Taigh Chearsabhagh's monthly live poetry evenings Taigh Ciuil, Peter is looking forward to the first Stornowords event.

The first archive related talk to take place in the new Lews Castle Museum and Archive takes a look at a topic still very much a talking point in the islands – the weather!

Entitled 'Extreme weather on the edge of the world: School logbooks and Hebridean Life', the talk details the role old island school logbooks can play in investigating the effects of extreme weather and will be delivered by Dr Simon Naylor, a historical geographer based at the University of Glasgow; Dr Neil Macdonald, a physical geographer at the University of Liverpool; and James Bowen, a historian based in the Department of Geography and Planning within the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Liverpool.

Last year the three members of the Weather Extremes project team visited Lewis in February to view school log books held in Stornoway Library.

The Jeremiahs are back – and with new piper Calum Stewart, the band and its sound are stronger than ever.

Formed in early 2013, the Irish based band first brought their unique combination of traditional and contemporary sounds to An Lanntair in August 2014.

And the four-strong group of music-makers return their brand of Urban Folk music to the Stornoway arts centre stage this month with a not-to-be-missed show on Tuesday, June 7th.

There are a limited number of appointments available on Business Gateway one-to-one Meet the Adviser sessions.  The topics are:
Word & Excel for Business - Wednesday 1 June
HR & Management - Monday 6 June
Business Gateway offer individual one-hour appointments which will allow you to discuss your requirements in confidence.  The adviser will be based in the Highlands and Islands Enterprise office in Stornoway but Skype and telephone meetings are also available if you are unable to attend in person. To book an appointment, please contact the Business Gateway office on 01851 822775 or byThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Recent water samples taken at Loch Branahuie, on the Braighe isthmus near Stornoway, have indicated the presence of blue-green algae, which can be a health threat.. 

The bloom has the potential to discharge on to Melbost Beach.  Dog walkers using the beach should take care that their dogs do not come into contact with the algal scum.

Swallowing the water or algal scum can cause stomach upsets or more serious health effects.  Contact with the water or algal scum can also cause skin problems.

A new road map for assisting the sale of land from private landowners to communities was launched in Stornoway this afternoon.

The special ‘Protocol for Negotiated Sales’ was announced by Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land at day one of the annual Community Land Scotland Conference, held in An Lanntair today and tomorrow

She commented: “I fully support this protocol for negotiated sales that has been developed jointly by Scottish Land and Estates and Community Land Scotland.  It is a great example of what can be achieved with a spirit of co-operation and a willingness to address the issues that can arise from a lack of understanding between owners and communities.

Running until 2pm this afternoon, Friday, May 27th, is the Hebridean Housing Partnership Annual Tenant event, being held in Stornoway Town Hall.

All HHP residents have been invited and HHP staff are on hand to respond to queries.

The event also offers residents the opportunity to find out more about other services available, with local partner representatives from: Advocacy, the Comhairle, Western Isles Foyer, Tighean Innse Gall, FES, JobCentre Plus, Cothrom, Eilean Siar Foodbank, the Scottish Fire and Rescue service, AMC Renewables, Homelessness services, Nessglaze, Hebrides Alpha and Health Promotions.

Dubbed the ‘Scottish Superwoman’ of music, one of Lewis’s finest musical exports is readying herself for a return to the Hebrides this month.

Elsa Jean McTaggart (36), is a multi-instrumentalist, songster and storyteller, and a great grand-daughter of the renowned Scottish painter William McTaggart.

She grew up in Aberfeldy, before her family moved to Lewis.  Elsa is a self-taught musician – she is an accomplished vocalist, fiddler, guitarist, and also plays the penny whistle.

If you have not yet received a poll card for the EU referendum, there is still time to register as an elector. 

Poll cards have been issued to all registered electors in the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar counting area. I

If you are voting in person the poll card will detail the location of your polling station or, if you are a postal voter, the address to which your postal pack will be sent.

Leverburgh RNLI Lifeboat

Leverburgh RNLI lifeboat was called by Stornoway Coastguard at 2105hours last night (Wednesday, May 25th), to assist a broken down vessel off Gallan Head, on the west coast of Lewis.

The vessel, which had one person on board, had lost power and was anchored 200m from the shore, in a heavy swell with north east 20knt winds.

A cruise ship which had been sailing in the area stood by while Leverburgh RNLI Lifeboat made its way to the casualty.

Cathy Ann MacPhee looks forward to returning home for HebCelt 2016

She may have lived in Canada for the last 15 years, but for Cathy Ann MacPhee the call of home still comes in Gaelic.

The Barra-born singer has been performing all her life in the native tongue and today still travels from her base in Ottawa to teach Gaelic singing at workshops from Toronto to Seattle.

And this summer she will be back in Scotland to join other leading traditional vocalists from the islands in a celebration of the female voice in a sold out show that will open the 21st Hebridean Celtic Festival.

She may have lived in Canada for the last 15 years, but for Cathy Ann MacPhee the call of home still comes in Gaelic.

The Barra-born singer has been performing all her life in the native tongue and today still travels from her base in Ottawa to teach Gaelic singing at workshops from Toronto to Seattle.

This summer she will be back in Scotland to join other leading traditional vocalists from the islands in a celebration of the female voice in a sold out show that will open the 21st Hebridean Celtic Festival.

The Carnival Committee has announced its Carnival King and Queen finalists for 2016.

Carnival King finalists are: Calum Campbell (AKA Shen), Charlie Nicolson and Tom Strathmore.

Carnival Queen finalists are: Alison Carty, Amy McClements and Carol Morrison Maclean.

All finalists will be attending the Carnival Midsummer Charity Ball, and the Carnival King and Queen will be chosen by the those in attendance.

King and Queen finalists were chosen from a number of nominations put forward by the public, for their contribution to the community and/or charity. 

One of Stornoway's premier music festivals has been awarded £10,000 from Awards for All Scotland. 

'Stramash', which takes place this year on 2 and 3 September, is the brainchild of local music legend Paul Matheson, and raises vital funds for the Leanne Fund. 

The event is held at Lews Castle Green, and provides an opportunity for local musicians of all ages to hone their creative talents and performance skills whilst getting the invaluable experience of playing their music to a live audience.

The Nicolson Institute Under-14 boys' team have been crowned North of Scotland champions. 

The team travelled to Dingwall Football Academy yesterday to take on Fraserburgh in the final. 

History is set to repeat itself on Saturday as toddler Lily Mai Walker, aged two years and five months, takes on the Stornoway Family Fun Run to raise funds for charity – just like her mum Natasha did when she was a similar age.

“Lily Mai's mum ran the same fun run when she was the same age in the 90s and raised funds then for the Fisherman's Mission,” said Lily Mai's grandmother Tracey Walker, who lives in Stornoway.

“We thought it would be a great idea if Lily Mai could do the same race now and she'll be raising money for Yorkhill Hospital,” she continued.

AUSTIM EILEANAN SIAR AGM

*New date* Monday June 20, 12.00 to 2pm.

Newton community association 

Seaforth Road, Stornoway.

All welcome!

Support us with our work in the community.

Tea/ coffee served.

For more information please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07444425322

A video celebrating the launch of a new Hebridean cycling trail was launched today by Outer Hebrides Tourism.

Mark Beaumont, a record-breaking endurance cyclist, took on the challenge to ride the Hebridean Way Cycling Route (National Cycle Route 780) in 24 hours, to launch this new long distance cycling route.  

Starting the cycle in the south of the islands, in Vatersay on Thursday 10th March 2016, 185 miles, ten islands, six causeways and two boat trips later, he made it to Butt of Lewis finishing on Friday 11th March, with only 12 hours in the saddle!

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar was today presented with a defibrillator by Cllr Angus Morrison, a Volunteer Trainer and local Co-ordinator with the Lucky2BHere charity.

Lucky2BHere supplies lifesaving defibrillators and trains users in emergency life support (ELS) -  the training course lasts for about two and a half hours. The fundraising initiative was set up in 2009 by Ross Cowie of Portree, following his survival from a sudden cardiac arrest. His life was saved only by the quick response and the skills of the crew on a passing ambulance.

To help the people who helped him, Ross set up Lucky2BHere to raise funds to help reduce response times, particularly in rural areas and hopefully to save more lives.

Staff from Stornoway's TESCO store out in support of this community event

Hundreds of people turned out for the 10th annual women's cancer 5K run and walk in the Lews Castle Grounds today.

Dementia Awareness Week for this year runs from 30th May to 5th June.
This year the theme is challenge. Set a challenge and make a change to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers. The challenge is to scope and identify ways to reach and support people with dementia at later stages who are not able to access support services or community activities and to reach and support carers that are not able to come along to carer support meetings (or prefer other options for accessing support including use of technology).

 

An array of projects throughout the islands were recognised at the Outer Hebrides Design Awards held last night  (Friday 20 May) in the Woodlands Centre, Stornoway.

There were awards given in four different categories – these were Housing – Self-design, Housing – Architect or Designer, Business/Non-domestic, and Conservation. 

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar planning officer Helen Macdonald introduced the event and the main speaker, architect Gordon Anderson, who until recently was the president of the Highlands and Islands chapter of the RIAS, The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. 

The new all-weather arena at Back Football Club was officially opened this afternoon. 

In the absence of Denis Law, who had to cancel his appearance due to ill-health, the stunning new venue was instead opened by Honorary President of Back FC, Calum Iain 'Duff' Graham MBE.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has appointed Mr Angus Maclennan as Headteacher of E-Sgoil.

Mr Maclennan is currently Depute Rector at The Nicolson Institute in Stornoway and has previously worked at Sgoil a’ Bhac, The Nicolson Institute and as Education Officer at Museum nan Eilean.

Following school education at Sir E. Scott and The Nicolson Institute, Mr Maclennan attended the University of Glasgow, Jordanhill College of Education and the University of Aberdeen.

The former committee members and clerk to Mangersta Common Grazings have expressed “profound concern about the implications for the whole crofting system, arising from actions now being pursued by the Crofting Commission”.  

The statement from the group – who were removed from office on the orders of the Commission – followed a meeting convened by the Commission to explain its position.  

Following the meeting, attendees said: “This is no longer about Mangersta or any other specific village which the Commission has intervened in.  It is about the very existence of the crofting system on any kind of viable, community basis.  

Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has hit back at allegations he misused parliamentary expenses to pay for a hotel during an affair with Serena Cowdy, a political journalist at Westminster.

Scottish Conservatives Deputy Leader Jackson Carlaw has written to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson, alleging Mr MacNeil had breached an MP’s Code of Conduct. 

Mr Carlaw said: “The SNP says there is no financial impropriety - but at the same time it is widely reported that Angus MacNeil stayed with Ms Cowdy at a hotel in London and put the bill on expenses. 

Denis Law has had to cancel a scheduled visit to Lewis tomorrow, due to illness.

The football legend (76) was due to officially open the all-weather, enclosed Sports Arena at Upper Coll.

That duty will now be performed by Calum Iain ‘Duff’ Graham, who will also be made Honorary President of Back Football and Recreation Club.

CalMac Ferries Limited has been announced as the preferred tenderer for the next contract to operate the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) network by the First Minister.

CalMac’s bid makes almost 350 commitments to improve the service, aiming to help drive economic growth, improve customer service and make sure the company delivers value for money.

A packed schedule during the forthcoming festival season confirms that RURA are one of Scotland’s most exciting and most sought-after live bands.

The five-piece, voted Live Act of the Year at the 2015 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, have lined-up 16 festival appearances, including three in one weekend, during current tours.

It will take them across the country and to Denmark and Belgium, while another series of dates are already scheduled in the UK and in Germany later in the year. They have already confirmed dates next year in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada. In addition, a recent gig at an industry showcase in Cape Breton will also have put them on the wanted list of other festival organisers.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP, Alasdair Allan, is named as Europe and International Development Minister in the new Scottish Government.

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, asked Alasdair Allan, who until today served as Minister for Science, Language and Scotland’s Languages to take on his new role in Fiona Hyslop’s department for Culture, Europe & External Affairs, subject to Parliament’s approval of the appointment tomorrow.

Mairi MacLennan, P7 Sgoil nan Loch and Hamish Scott, S1 Sir E Scott School, attended an awards ceremony at the House of Lords on Monday the 16th of May.

They had taken part in a poetry and art competition commemorating the First World War organised by the charity Never Such Innocence.  

Mairi won first prize for art in her section and was awarded with a certificate and a £500 prize fund, half for herself and half for her school.  

Hamish, who wrote a poem about Scapa Flow and the First World War, received a certificate and a special commendation, and he will attend the Royal Navy Battle of Jutland Commemorations in Edinburgh at the end of this month.

An unwavering commitment to buying, serving and selling local produce on board a fleet of ferries has won a nomination at Scotland’s Food and Drink Awards.

Operator of the UK’s largest ferry network, Caledonian MacBrayne is a major supporter of many small and medium sized producers across its 200-mile network, which has seen it listed for the Scottish Sourcing award.

From serving local and, more broadly, Scottish produce in its dishes, through to stocking food, drink, artisan skincare and craft products, and local interest books and newspapers in its on board shops, the company has shown long term commitment to helping businesses in some of Scotland’s most fragile economic areas.

Rhoda Grant is saying ‘YES’ to Epilepsy Scotland’s call to action to do more for people with epilepsy.  

Newly elected MSPs are being asked to help and pledge their vote of support starting from National Epilepsy Week (16-22 May).  Scottish politicians can also back the leading charity’s campaign for greater investment in epilepsy services which could save lives and NHS resources. 

Speaking this morning Rhoda Grant said “I agree with Epilepsy Scotland’s campaign that we provide the best health and social care possible for those who need it.  There are over 700 people of all ages living with epilepsy in the Highlands & Islands.  Research findings suggest that while just over half of people with epilepsy have seizure control, seven in ten could become seizure free if they received optimum care.  I want to do what I can to see this treatment gap addressed.”

Teams from Shawbost, Daliburgh, Portree, Inverness, Acharacle and Mount Cameron, East Kilbride schools will be competing in the Finals of this year’s Cuach na Cloinne competition, after winning their respective regional competitions.

For the past couple of weeks, 50 teams from 28 schools across Scotland have been participating in regional competitions in Lewis, Uist, Skye, Inverness, Ardnamurchan and Glasgow resulting in the six successful teams qualifying for the national Finals which will be held next month.  The Finals will be held at Bunsgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abair on 7th June.

Cuach na Cloinne is a national football competition, which creates an opportunity for young people from schools across Scotland who attend Gaelic Medium Education to meet and compete against each other and combines their Gaelic linguistic and footballing skills in an inclusive and entertaining manner. The competition is held entirely in Gaelic.

The doomed fishing vessel 'Louisa' has been raised from the seabed. 

The boat is now being taken to Glasgow via barge, and is expected to arrive there later today. 

Marine Accident Investigators will now set about to establish why the vessel sank in the early hours of April 9, while anchored off Mingulay. 

Offering online booking and e-ticketing for ferry passengers is a significant step forward, said Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil.

Commenting on the announcement by CalMac of a pilot project on the Stornoway-Ullapool route offering online booking for foot passengers and e-ticketing for those with or without vehicles, Mr MacNeil said CalMac had listened to representations on this matter.

He said: “I have been calling for the introduction of e-ticketing on ferry services for some time and I am delighted that CalMac are carrying out a pilot project locally with a view to rolling this out across the network.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs Rhoda Grant and David Stewart are supporting a demonstration on Thursday (19th May), held by shipping union RMT and involving CalMac members, outside the Scottish Parliament.

Private operator, Serco, is challenging CalMac for the £1 billion subsidy to run the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) network, with concerns about its extremely troubled history in relation to its public sector contracts.

A previous report by Jeanette Findlay, an economics lecturer at Glasgow University, said that CalMac had “operated in an efficient, innovative and strategic way in the conduct of the CHFS contract and has shared with the Scottish Government all the benefits of cost saving.”

Fresh from her performance at the Thornhill Music Festival near Dumfries earlier this month, young Lewis songstress Rosie Sullivan prepares to take on the An Lanntair stage as she releases her debut EP on Wednesday, May 25th.

At the age of three Rosie wrote her first song entitled 'Dollies on the Road'; aged 12 she got her first guitar; and earlier this year, at aged 13, she sang in front of a crowd the equivalent of Stornoway's population on the world famous Wembley arena stage.

“I really enjoy song-writing,” said Rosie. “I think it helps to express what you're feeling, I find it best to write it all in a song.

A £19m initiative by the University of the Highlands and Islands, to develop a school encompassing health, social care and wellbeing, has secured a £4 million investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The new school will enable the university to develop and align its curriculum and research at all levels to meet the needs of the health and social care sectors across the region, but also including areas of life science and health service management and administration.

The university will work closely and develop educational and research ideas in partnership with the NHS, HIE, local authorities, the Scottish and UK governments, and business as well as other universities and colleges and international partners.

Photo by Jim Hope

Party at the Pictures presents: Chasing Zero, with musician and composer CJ Mirra, and multi-award-winning filmmaker Chris McClean. 

Also featuring films by Lewis-based filmmakers, Mark Lumsden, Colin Macleod and Jim Hope.

A live audio visual performance of original soundtracks to some of Chris McClean’smost stunning cold water surf films.

Event will take place on Friday 20th May at An Lanntair, 8pm-1am. 

Click here for more information. 

Passengers on CalMac’s Ullapool to Stornoway route will be the first to trial new enhancements to the company’s ticketing system.

The pilot begins later this month and is expected to last approximately four weeks. During this period all elements of the new upgrades will be trialled – passenger feedback will be warmly received and patience is also sought should any teething problems which may arise.

Returning to Lewis and the An Lanntair stage in August is Scottish songstress KT Tunstall – and tickets go on sale this Friday.

Beyond Presents is extremely proud to announce a tour of the Highlands and Islands with KT Tunstall as she prepares to launch her fifth album.

KT chooses to live and create in the moment. This impulsivity courses through her catalogue and performances, defining classics like the GRAMMY Award®-nominated 'Black Horse & The Cherry Tree'; 'Suddenly I See'; 'Hold On'; 'Saving My Face', and many more.

The Crofting Commission has reaffirmed its commitment to working with Upper Coll shareholders following this morning’s decision by Inverness Sheriff Court to refuse the orders for interim interdict which had been sought against the Commission by Calum Maclean and Kenneth Macdonald.

Said a statement: "The interim orders sought would have, if granted, had the effect of preventing the Commission from fully carrying out its statutory functions in relation to this matter.

"The Commission intends to update Upper Coll shareholders on the situation at the earliest opportunity to ensure they are fully informed about matters directly affecting them.  

"In the meantime the Grazings Constable, who was appointed last week, will continue his investigations and he will also be available to provide shareholders with the opportunity to deal with any concerns or urgent matters relating to the grazings that they may have."

 

A team of 12 took on the Baker Hughes 10K in Aberdeen at the weekend, raising more than £1,200 for The Leanne Fund.

The funds raised will be used specifically for the project to introduce Leanne Fund services across the Grampian region, providing vital support for a further 100 individuals affected by Cystic Fibrosis and their families.

The Leanne Fund currently supports Cystic Fibrosis sufferers and their families across the Highlands and Islands.

The charity was set up in 2009 in memory of Leanne Mitchell from the Isle of Lewis.

A new scam – this time by mail - is threatening to hit Islands businesses.

A letter and form from 'UK - Data Control Scotland Business' is being sent to businesses on the islands which give the impression there is an obligation on businesses to respond.

But if they did sign and return the forms, the small print includes the cost of an ‘advert’ which will exceed £2000.

Trading Standards are again warning local businesses over a scam letter headed “ UK-Data Control” Scotland Business.

The letter is headed “Missing information about your VAT registration Number” and is designed to look official.  The correspondence includes a form for the business to sign, in order to verify that their details are correct and to then return to an address in Hamburg. The letter also contains a deadline for the submission of the information.

The small print states that by responding to verify their VAT registration number, businesses will be agreeing to a charge of £790 a year, for a minimum of 3 years, for entry onto the publishers website.

Economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has reported a successful year of investment and job creation in the region for 2015/16 - the 50th anniversary of its predecessor.

An estimated 855 jobs are expected to be created or retained in the region as a result of HIE’s investments last year, 130 of them in the Outer Hebrides area.

A summary of the organisation’s year-end figures shows turnover among supported businesses and social enterprises in the Outer Hebrides will increase by £4 million as a result of HIE’s investments.

AUSTIM EILEANAN SIAR AGM

Wednesday 25th May 12.00 to 2pm.

Newton community association 

Seaforth Road, Stornoway.

All welcome!

Support us with our work in the community.

Tea/ coffee served.

For more information please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07444425322

Inksters Solicitors, with offices in Glasgow, Forfar, Inverness, Portree, Wick and a visiting base in Lerwick, today announced that their crofting law team is strengthened by the addition of three new team members.

Derek Flyn joins Inksters as a crofting law consultant. Derek is one of the best known and most highly respected crofting law experts in Scotland. He co-wrote the first book on crofting law in 1990 and is currently writing a new up-to-date book on crofting law with Keith Graham. He was in recent years the Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation and continues to be their Parliamentary Spokesman.

HHP will host their annual lunch event for Lewis and Harris tenants on Friday 27th May 2016 between 12 and 2.00pm at Stornoway Town Hall.

As in 2015 the event will have a particular focus on energy efficiency and HHP partners such as TEAS will be in attendance to provide help and advice on how to reduce energy costs and save money.

Tenants can drop in, have lunch and chat to staff and also view the latest range of kitchens, windows and doors and heating systems being offered to tenants.

 

Photographed are (from left to right): Major Ray Brown, Lieutenant Callum Newton, Lord Lieutenant, Mrs. Matheson, Lieutenant Emma Newton, Malcolm Burr and Major Pat Brown.

Stornoway Corps of The Salvation Army held celebrations last weekend (May 7 and 8) to mark 30 years of worship and service to the community from Bayhead, Stornoway.

Majors Ray & Pat Brown, the first Salvation Army officers for the island, were special guests for the whole weekend but were joined by special guests Lord Lieutenant and Mrs. Matheson and Comhairle Chief Executive Malcolm Burr on Saturday evening.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has been sworn in as MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, taking his oath in Gaelic. This followed the Kirking of the Parliament in St Giles Cathedral on Wednesday evening, which Dr Allan also attended. 

Along with his SNP MSP colleagues, Dr Allan wore the white rose of Scotland, made famous by Hugh MacDiarmid in his poem “The Little White Rose”. The rose has been worn by SNP members as they are sworn in at Holyrood since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999, and is a reference to Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem “The Little White Rose of Scotland”.

Alasdair Allan commented: “It’s good to be back at work again, and there is no shortage of things to do in my in tray, now the election campaign and the formalities of being sworn in are over.

A major challenge lies ahead to secure the future of BBC Alba. 

MG ALBA (The Gaelic Media Service) today welcomed the commitment to Gaelic broadcasting in Scotland published in the White Paper on the BBC Royal Charter and appealed for a firm commitment to be made in the renewed Charter to enable BBC Alba to build on its success.

The White Paper, which will form the basis of the Charter to be renewed prior to the end of 2016, states that the BBC should maintain its commitment to Gaelic language broadcasting through its partnership with MG ALBA.

The biggest ever selection of rugs in the Western Isles is now available to customers in Stornoway. 

This morning heralded the official opening of ‘World of Rugs’ situated just behind the Carpet World showroom on Keith Street. 

Previously ‘Floor It’, the new business incorporates 70 per cent rugs and 30 per cent wood floorings. 

The advertised line dancing session at Back Football and Recreation Club which was scheduled for 11am on the 17th May has been moved to 7pm on 17th May.

Tuesday night saw Back Football and Recreation Club turn into a foot stomping, rocking dance hall as more than 33 people turned out for a line dancing taster class.

Participants were taken through the basic steps of 4 dances by expert dance tutor Dave Phillips. There was a lot of laughter, some tripping over our own feet but in the end the hall was all moving in time to the music.

Everyone enjoyed themselves so much, there are plans to do it again over the next few weeks, classes cost £2.50 and will run from 7-8.30 at Back Football and Recreation Club, so if you missed it last week, now's your chance.

Line dancing is a great way to have a fantastic time and to also keep fit. The class is suitable for all fitness levels and abilities. Children aged 11+ are welcome but must bring an adult with them - cowboy hats are optional.

The next line dancing session will take place on the 17th May at 7pm. Booking is not necessary, for more information please contact Terri on 01851 820745.

Trading standards are warning local businesses to be aware of charity publishing scams which ask for sponsorship for booklets which they claim are going to be distributed to local schools.

Scammers, often based in the North West of  England usually with 0151 or 0161 telephone numbers, phone and ask businesses to sponsor school books on topics such as road safety, drug awareness, child safety initiatives or similar. 

In order to make the scam sound more convincing the caller may say that the books are being published on behalf of a Police or a Fire Brigade charity.

After 11 years, Willie Campbell and Charlie Clark had much to catch up on. A meeting in Los Angeles last year led to a collaboration that produced 30-40 songs, and now they are ready to release a new album and will be back on the road together this summer as a re-formed Astrid, the band they founded in the mid-90s.

Together with fellow Lewisman Gareth Russell, and Gareth Thom, they made three albums and toured Europe and America before splitting in 2004 at the end of a tour supporting Snow Patrol.

The intervening years has seen them work on solo projects and with other bands. Campbell is a founding member of the Reindeer Section, featuring Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, and has released two albums with The Open Day Rotation.

Volunteers and staff at Bethesda Hospice Charity Shop did something a little special for the Queen's 90th birthday, and decorated their window to mark the momentous occasion - they even wrote to the Queen herself to let her know that people in Stornoway are celebrating with her.

Volunteers Janet and Agnes came up with the idea, Catherine, the manager, told welovestornoway.com.

And the decorating of the window was all down to the "fantastic" volunteers at Bethesda charity shop, who put it all together, with helpful donations from friends, including the donation of the cake from Karina's Cakes. 

Bethesda's Chrissie Macrae (AKA Dodo) went that step further, sending the Queen a birthday card and a couple of photographs of the window display, "she even used a first class stamp!" Catherine told us. 

A new BBC documentary follows a year in the life of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison – and catches the moment First Minister Nicola Sturgeon jokingly tells the Moderator that his collection of jewellery is superior to her own.

From Minister to Moderator, an hour-long programme to be broadcast on BBC ALBA on Thursday evening, provides a unique insight into the appointment that sees Rt Rev Dr Morrison move from parish minister into the high-profile role of Moderator of the General Assembly, a position first established 454 years ago. From Minister to Moderator will be on BBC ALBA – Thursday 12 May 9.00 – 10.00pm

The programme follows Angus as he attends a diverse range of appointments across his moderatorial year, from making history as the first Moderator to speak at the Church of England Synod, to visiting local Boys' Brigade companies and opening the Royal National Mòd.

World of Rugs is Carpet World's new venture, and will be open to the public from Thursday (12 May).

On their Keith Street premises, to complement Carpet World's array of carpets, World of Rugs will stock a large range of rugs and laminates.

To be in with a chance of winning £50 towards a new rug from World of Rugs, visit their Facebook page

 

Young participants aged between 14 and 24 are being sought for two exciting murder mystery events at the new MnE Lews Castle this Saturday. 

Two events - one in Gaelic and one in English - are being held, as part of the Festival of Museums this weekend. 

Angus Murray, Museum Heritage Officer, said: "The theme is all things Hebridean from the Chessmen to Whisky Galore! Volunteers will explore the castle grounds and use parts of the new museum in order to find out Who Dunnit? 

With preparations for Mòd 2016, Western Isles well underway, An Comunn Gàidhealach would like to remind any potential senior and junior piping competitors that the entry deadline for Mòd 2016 piping competitions is Friday 8th July 2016.  Any late or incomplete entries submitted after this date will not be accepted.

This is the sixth time that the Mòd will have been held in the Western Isles and junior and senior piping competitions will take place at Sgoil Lionacleit in Benbecula on Saturday 15th October 2016.

Pauline Craib, secretary for Comunn Phìobaireachd Uibhist agus Bharraigh said, “We very much look forward to hosting the Mòd piping competitions at this year’s National Mòd. Uist has a proud piping history and there is a wealth of talented young pipers throughout the islands, so it is fitting that the Mòd 2016 piping competitions return here.”  

The Board of the Crofting Commission has appointed a Constable to replace the Grazings Committee of Upper Coll, Isle of Lewis, which has been out of office since 14 April this year.

 

The Commission, as the regulator, is required by the Crofting (Scotland) Act 1993 to follow up allegations made by shareholders in a township of financial irregularities and, until suitable explanations are provided, the Commission will continue with their investigations.

 

This decision mirrors the action taken in other situations where Constables have been appointed to replace committees in similar situations.

Research is being carried out to explore the feasibility of the Scottish Government reintroducing the Air Discount Scheme for all types of business users and extending the scheme to include local authority personnel, as well as individual travellers.

HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, has commissioned a study to examine the benefits and costs of the scheme, which significantly reduces the cost of air travel for those living in eligible geographical areas of the Highlands & Islands.

The Scheme was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2006 to benefit businesses and individual travellers from air dependent communities. In April 2011, the scheme was restricted to non-business trips. Flights made as part of an individual’s work for the private, public or third sectors was no longer deemed eligible for a discount.

Five people were stopped by police in Lewis over the weekend, and later charged with speeding offences.

Three of those stopped were issued fixed penalty notices, while the other two will be the subject of reports to the Procurator Fiscal.

Stornoway Police have just concluded a week-long campaign targeting speeding motorists in Lewis and Harris. 

The Europe Direct Information Centre – Outer Hebrides plans to provide information about the policies and institutions of the European Union on the 13th of May in Stornoway Library from 10am to 1pm.

There will also be a Europe Day window display in the library cafe for the week preceding the event.

Europe Day is recognised on 9 May each year.

 

 

 

Do you know a fantastic community wind project?

 

Have you been involved in a wind energy project which has shown outstanding commitment to local people?

 

Nominations are open NOW for the best community wind project in Europe!

 

WISE Power is seeking to award the title of Best Community Project in Europe, and wants to hear from you if you know an onshore wind project which demonstrates:

 

•        Innovative engagement and participation methods

 

•        Community ownership and financial involvement in a commercial scheme

 

•        Collaborative partnership approaches to project delivery

 

•        Transformational impact on a local area

 

•        Positive reception and local acceptance of a wind project

 

Deadline for nominations is end July 2016. For more information on the selection criteria, and to nominate a project which you feel has shown exemplary community involvement, please click here

 

WISE Power aims to significantly improve local engagement and support for wind turbines through increasing local community participation in the site selection, planning and implementation of wind energy projects.  The project has developed and launched an online tool - WE Engage – which aims to foster public support for onshore wind power through information and advice to communities, Transmission System Operators, developers and local authorities; supporting stakeholders to learn from best practice when designing social engagement strategies for onshore wind projects. 

WISE Power spans 13 EU countries - Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK. UK partners include Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Scottish Government.

Do you know a fantastic community wind project?

Have you been involved in a wind energy project which has shown outstanding commitment to local people?

Nominations are open now for the best community wind project in Europe.

The number of objections to proposals to remove an area of woodland to build a new church and large car park has doubled in a week.
Woodland alongside Smith Avenue in Stornoway would be felled under plans for a Stornoway High Free Church building and 77-space car park on land opposite the running and athletics track.
The Stornoway High Free Church has submitted a request for outline planning permission to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for use of the land, which is owned by community landowner the Stornoway Trust.

The former tenant in the crofting village of Mangersta, whose activities led to the disbandment of the Common Grazings Committee, has withdrawn all of his financial claims.

The committee was shut down by the Crofting Commission after months of dispute about these claims after which it was asserted that the grazings committee had failed to organise their finances properly.  During the dispute, payments were made on two occasions to the tenant but the cheques were returned.

The outcome of the Scottish Parliament election in the Western isles shows the Labour Party’s lowest number of votes, or share of the votes, in any Holyrood or Westminster election in the islands since 1974, according to the SNP.

The SNP's Alasdair Allan was returned as MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar having received 6,874 votes, more than all of the other parties combined.

Stornoway Depot Manager for Scottish Fuels, Angus Maclennan recently presented a cheque for £300 to Crossroads Lewis from the company.

Crossroads Lewis is a registered charity and aims to relieve stress on families and carers by providing home-based respite.

Mr Maclennan explained that the company, part of Certas Energy, tried to support good causes whenever it could as part of its corporate giving programme.  It had supported Crossroads last year as well.

Crossroads Lewis manager Rhoda Macdonald, centre, and treasurer Margaret Smith accepted the donation on behalf of the charity.

Rhoda Macdonald said the group was partly supported from public funds but still needed to raise between £40,000 to £50,000 a year in addition.  A lot of the money comes in from families and individuals who are grateful for the way in which they are or have been supported by the charity but wider fund-raising goes on all the time as well

Click here to view the latest Back Football and Recreation Club newsletter!

STORNOWAY PORT AUTHORITY

Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31st December 2015

The Chairman’s Report, Report of the Board and 2015 Audited Accounts of the Authority were approved on 28th April 2016 and may be seen on-line under the Port Development section or alternatively printed copies may be obtained at the Harbour Office.

Alex Macleod, Chief Executive

 

The SNP’s Alasdair Allan has been re-elected to the Scottish Parliament, with a 52 per cent share of the vote. 

Dr Allan secured 6,874 votes, while his nearest rival, Labour’s Rhoda Grant, gained 3,378 votes. 

The SNP's share of the vote was reduced by 13 per cent from 2011.

Ranald Fraser, of the Scottish Conservative Party, gained 1,499 votes while the Scottish Christian Party candidate, John Cormack, secured 1,162 votes. 

Ken Macleod, of the Liberal Democrats, lost his deposit, garnering only 293 votes. 

Polling stations across the country have just closed, and here in the Western Isles the counters are in place and ready to start processing the votes.

The local result is expected to be announced here in Lewis Sports Centre between 1.45am and 2am, with the regional results an hour later. 

The SNP's Alasdair Allan is hotly tipped to regain his seat, which he first won in 2007 when he wrested the constituency away from Labour's Alasdair Morrison. 

He was successful again in 2011, increasing his majority from Labour by 18.7 per cent.

Keep up to date with all the news, both locally and nationally, right here at www.welovestornoway.com 

The Hebridean Cycle Challenge is not far away and gives you the perfect excuse to put work aside for a while and get outside in preparation for the event on 18th June 2016.

The Challenge raises money for nominated local charities. This year the organisers are "thrilled" to continue their support of the ‘Andrew Macleod Memorial Fund’, which raises money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), a charity which aims to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death.

Andrew Macleod was a 21 year old trainee marine engineer, in the final year of his studies, when on 21st Oct 2011, he suddenly died on board ship in Hong Kong, from a cardiac condition, of which he had no warning or symptoms whatsoever.

Tickets for the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival are selling faster this year than at any time during the event’s 21-year history.

With ten weeks still to go, organisers have reached 80 per cent of their sales target and are fast running out of weekend tickets for the four-day festival. The opening show is sold out and closing show tickets are in hot demand.

Overall sales have already surpassed those for the 2014 and 2015 festivals, with 65 per cent of tickets being snapped up by fans living outside HebCelt’s base in the island of Lewis, confirming its reputation for attracting huge numbers of visitors.

A call has gone out for more islanders to join their local coastguard team.

A short film, 'To Rescue', shows a cliff rescue from the perspective of a person who has fallen down a cliff and documents the moment that the coastguard rescue officer arrives with the casualty and gets them to safety.

The film is the third in a series of short films giving a brief insight into the work of the Coastguard Rescue Service. 

As the counting begins at Lewis Sports Centre later this evening, www.welovestornoway.com will be in the building to keep you up to date with everything going on. 

From the cheers to the tears, every bit of breaking news and opinion will be updated on this site, as well as our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

So be sure to log in from 10pm to get right to the heart of Western Isles Election 2016!

Point was the place to be on Saturday as 180 runners and walkers took on the Point 5k – one of the largest entries in the event’s seven year history.

Organised by The Leanne Fund, the popular family event raised over £1,700 which will go towards supporting cystic fibrosis sufferers and their families across the Highlands and Islands.

From the fastest runners who competed the course in no time to those taking a more leisurely pace, the challenge was met by those of all age groups and included some interesting characters like Darth Vader, a speedy witch and even Batman turned out to take part.

Voting starts at 7 am today in the latest Scottish Parliament elections.  The polls remain open until 10pm.  And this is the first Scottish Parliament election where 16 and 17-year-olds are allowed to vote.
The candidates in the Western Isles are Alasdair Allan (SNP); John Cormack, Scottish Christian Party; Ranald Fraser, Scottish Conservative and Unionist; Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour Party; and Kenneth Macleod, Scottish Liberal Democrat.
On the second (regional) ballot paper there is an independent standing - James Stockan, from Orkney.

Some polling questions
 
I've lost my polling card - will I need it to vote?
No. If you have your polling card it makes it easier for staff at the polling station, but they have a register and you don't need your card to vote.
Who's allowed to vote?
To vote in a Scottish Parliament election you must be registered to vote in Scotland and aged 16 years or over on the day of the poll.
Ballot papers
When you turn up to vote, you will receive two ballot papers: a constituency paper and a regional paper.
Constituency ballot
On the constituency ballot you vote for the candidates to represent your local constituency.
Regional ballot
On the regional ballot you vote for a party which has already ranked their candidates in order to represent your region

 

Former Grazings Committee members in Mangersta, Lewis, (pictured above by Elsie Mitchell) have expressed “astonishment at the continuing unprofessional and misleading behaviour of the Crofting Commission” following a public announcement.

Mangersta is one of two crofting villages in Lewis where the Grazings Commmittee has been dismissed by the Commission over management issues. Crofting law expert, Brian Inkster, earlier condemned the Commission’s actions as both “unreasonable” and “illegal”.

As more becomes known about various types of additional support needs children have (i.e. Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyslexia), it can feel bewildering for parents, carers and a child’s extended support network to know how to best support their child. They can feel that they don’t want to do anything in case it is the wrong thing and makes matters worse.

However a range of excellent books aimed at parents and carers of children with additional support needs is available within the Western Isles and Callum Urquhart, an Educational Psychologist, will be visiting a number of libraries across the Western Isles to discuss the collection and provide examples of how some of the books can be used by parents and carers to support their children.

After a fortnight of heavy criticism - and demands for a public inquiry – the Crofting Commission met today and issues a defiant media release, refusing to accept that there was any valid criticism of its actions.

Following the dismissals of the Grazings Committees of Upper Coll and Mangersta Common Grazings, the Commission issued the following statement at its Board meeting:

"The Commission wishes to reassure shareholders that it is committed to assisting all common grazings committees and clerks to self-regulate within the provisions of crofting legislation and will work with them to do so."  The commission had earlier been accused of being heavy-handed and bureaucratic.

Communities across Na h-Eileanan an Iar who wish to mark the Centenary of World War 1 through local projects could benefit from funding made available by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Angus MacNeil MP was briefed by the Heritage Lottery Fund recently on their support for projects right across the country which focus not just on the events of 1914-18 but also on the lasting changes the war brought about.

Many island groups, including several Comunn Eachdraidh, have already secured funding for very successful projects to explore the contribution and impact of WW1 on their communities.

Hebrides Dance and Wellbeing Studio has secured funding from Health Improvement to run a series of dance and movement classes aimed at encouraging active ageing in Over 60s.
Throughout May there will be a series of free taster classes designed to give new participants a chance to see what is available, and to help decide what classes will be offered over the next year.  All classes will be in Hebrides Dance & Wellbeing Studio based at Stornoway Golf Club and will be taught by tutor Kirstie Anderson.

The major exhibition in the new museum at Lews Castle opened last night as part of the low-key development of public involvement in the project.

Using the Special Exhibition gallery – rather than the main galleries which remain closed to the public – the exhibition by Ian Stephen and Christine Morrison is entitled ‘grammar of wavelength…responses to journeying: land and sea.   It is open until 30 June, Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm with free admission.

As an unintended consequence of the upgrade of our Welovestornoway.com websites at the weekend, a number of recent posts have vanished.   We are working to remedy this.  Apologies for any inconvenience caused or failure in service

Some unusual visitors to the island have migrated from another North Atlantic island, The Azores, to make Lewis their home until early May.Ness based artist, Sofi-Ona Hamer, has been busy 'swarming' a variety of locations and metallic objects with beautiful magnetic cyanotype butterflies, as part of global art installation project, 'Swarm the World Migration'.

Direct flights from Inverness Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport restart today (Tuesday May 3) after an almost 20-year gap with the introduction of a daily service to Heathrow Airport by British Airways. 

This comes on top of enhanced easyjet services from Inverness to London Gatwick and London Luton airports. 

The British Airways will fly every day to and from Inverness using London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 with ticket prices starting from £38 each-way. 

Crofting lawyer Brian Inkster has taken up the case of the Mangersta Common Grazings Committee.

This followed revelations that both it and the Upper Coll Common Grazings Committee, had been removed from office by the Crofting Commission.

And now Mr Inkster has spoken out concerning the Mangersta situation following his appointment by the former clerk and four former committee members to represent their interests.

CnES have recently begun a crackdown on dog fouling in Stornoway and the surrounding area, painting “clean up after your dog” reminders on our streets, and charging people £80 when found leaving their dog mess behind.

A spokesperson from CnES said: “There has been a lot of feedback from the campaign so far with lots of support via social media, and officers have been patrolling areas highlighted.  Requests have been made for more dog waste bins however owners are reminded that bagged dog waste can be put in any residual waste bin.”

And it’s not all about how unsightly the mess is – it also poses health risks to people and other animals.  Dog faeces can contain campylobacter, salmonella and other potentially harmful organisms, which can contaminate wounds and broken skin, as well as causing other serious illnesses in humans.  Dog faeces can also be detrimental to livestock, causing the disease sarcocystosis, which can cause neurological disease and death in sheep, as well as the disease neosporosis, which can cause abortions in cattle. 

Although the focus is largely on the Town Centre as a problem area for dog fouling, beaches and pathways have been highlighted, too.  Dog mess is often left on the sand and pathways; some owners appear to be bagging the faeces but then leaving the bag lying around rather than putting in a bin. 

Charlie Nicolson, Councillor for Stornoway South and Chair of the Outer Hebrides Community Safety Partnership, stated: “Dog fouling is becoming an issue in the town of Stornoway and other areas of the islands.  We even had the issue raised at one of our recent meetings of the OHCSP.  The majority of pet owners behave responsibly but I would please ask the minority of dog owners who are causing the issue of dog fouling with their pets to please look after the environment of the town, beaches and pathways, and clean up after their dogs, and keep our islands free of this issue.

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CnES urges the public to look out for instances of dog fouling, and report them.  You can get in touch with Consumer & Environmental Services by calling 01851 822694 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tonight's sold-out showing of the film The Fast and the Furious at An Lanntair has also been cancelled, following the cancellation of the show on Thursday evening.   A spokesperson emphasised this was the result of a "distribution problem."

The spokesperson pledged that "as of next week we have new systems in place to ensure this shouldn’t happen again."   The venue has done its best by phone and e-mail to get the message about the cancellations out to customers, the spokesperson said.
 

Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday 2nd June at 07.30 pm in the Coastguard Station.

 

Speaker:  Angus Morrison BSc.

Subject :  Deep Sky Images

Hope to see you all there.

 

Please note - This will be our last meeting before the summer break and also our last meeting in the Coastguard Station.

From September, we will be meeting in the Grianan Centre, Westview Terrace, Stornoway.

 

I will issue a revised schedule shortly as there are many changes from September onwards.

Tonight’s screening of the film, The Fast and The Furious, at An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway has been cancelled as a result of a distribution problem.
 
A spokesperson for An Lanntair said:  "People can call our box office for a refund and we will arrange and we will let everyone know about re-screening the film as soon as possible."
 

The body of a man reported missing from the Broadbay area has been recovered. 

A massive search was initiated yesterday after the man failed to return home, having set out in a home-made craft from Brevig Pier at 7am.

The man's identity has not yet been revealed, but next of kin have been informed.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has appointed Mr Bernard Chisholm to the post of Director of Education and Children’s Services.

Mr Chisholm is currently Head of Children’s Services with the Comhairle. He has previously worked with a number of local authorities nationally and is a former Educational Psychologist.

He has held a number of remits with the Comhairle including Head of Primary Education and Inclusion and Head of Education and Resources.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has appointed Mr Bernard Chisholm to the post of Director of Education and Children’s Services.
 
Mr Chisholm is currently Head of Children’s Services with the Comhairle. He has previously worked with a number of local authorities nationally and is a former Educational Psychologist.

He has held a number of remits with CnES including Head of Primary Education and Inclusion and Head of Education and Resources.
 

Following this year's AGM, held last night at the Caladh Inn, the date of the Lewis Carnival has been confirmed as August 1st. 

The next meeting for the Lewis Carnival 2015 will be held on Monday June 1st, at 5.30pm in the Caladh Inn.

New members are encouraged to come along to help make this year's Carnival a success. 

And clubs, committees and businesses are encouraged to start thinking about their float entry for this year!

A search operation is underway after a man was reported missing at sea from Broadbay.

Stornoway Coastguard received a call yesterday reporting that a small boat had left Brevig at 7am, but had not returned.

An extensive search is now underway, with the Stornoway lifeboat, auxiliary coastguard teams, and the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter all involved.

At Lochside Arena, Friday 22nd May saw a Working Hunter event followed the next day by The Lochside Spring Show.

This year’s show was one of the biggest ever, with almost 140 entries and overwhelming support from local organisations and individuals by way of sponsorship. Classes on both days were qualifiers for various mainland shows including The Caledonian Showing Championship and Blair Atholl Horse Trials.

A storage building at the Stornoway Trust's sawmill in Lews Castle Grounds was destroyed by fire in the early hours of this morning. 

Three appliances attended the incident, two from Stornoway and one from Shawbost, at 5am.

There were around 22 fire and rescue personnel involved in the incident, which involved a fire in a storage building measuring 40m x 10m.

Results

Jock Stein Cup Semi Final

Westside 4 Aths 2

 

Wind energy construction works for Urras Energy Society are continuing apace on the west side of Lewis. 

The wind turbine bases at Ballantrushal were completed last week as Urras Energy gears up for arrival of two Enercon tubines at the end of June.

Enercon’s  sub-contractors made good progress with excavations, fixing steel reinforcement and concrete pouring over the last six weeks, despite some  wet and windy weather. 

Welovestornoway.com is launching a new, simple recruitment service that is FREE for applicants and is 100% confidential…

We have companies of all sizes get in touch with us about advertising job vacancies in Lewis and Harris, which we then advertise, with much success, on our website and various Social Media spaces.

Our Job vacancies page has proved such a success – often finding relevant applicants within hours! – that we’ve decided we want to use our resources,  and get a little more involved, to provide an even better service to everyone.

In order to do this, we need to build up a database of contacts – people who are looking to find work or change their job in the near future.

Whether you’re currently unemployed or just looking for a change, this service promises to take a lot of the effort out of finding work!

If you’re looking to move on in your career, and would like us to keep an eye out for relevant job opportunities for you, get in touch!

Just send us your CV and a little information about the type of job you would like, your details will be treated with the strictest of confidence, and we will store them until such a time as we find a job that might appeal to you – at which point, we will contact you directly.

Appropriate job vacancies from businesses that wish to use our recruitment service will be advertised to those in our database first, before being made public, so you’re guaranteed to never miss an opportunity!

For all enquiries, or to be placed on our database, contact Melissa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01851 705749

 The Lewis and Harris branch of Alzheimer Scotland/ Action on Dementia recently received a cheque from Karen Macdonald who ran the London marathon in aid of the charity, raising a total of £2084.75p.  It was presented at the branch's AGM held at the Grianan Centre and pictured with Karen are Sonja MacLeod, Branch Secretary Alzheimer Scotland - Lewis and Harris Branch and branch chairperson Rev Iain D Campbell.

 

From Monday 1 June,  the Comhairle’s Homeless Services Team moves from their present location in the Hebridean Housing Partnership’s offices at Creed Court, Willowglen Road, to join the rest of the Comhairle’s Housing Team on Sandwick Road, Stornoway.

The Homeless Services Team has been based in HHP’s offices since 2006, but an opportunity has arisen to move to the main Comhairle offices and to be closer to the rest of Housing Services.

Rev Esther Jamieson made history last week as she became the first-ever woman minister to represent Church of Scotland congregations from the Isle of Lewis at the General Assembly.

Lewis Presbytery has never had a woman attending on their behalf at the Kirk’s annual gathering in Edinburgh – spanning all the way back to the Reformation in 1560.

Women elders have been legal in the national church since 1966, and women ministers followed two years later.

Ladies of the North Harris Free Church held a cafe in Tarbert Community Centre on Saturday, to raise funds for the Nepal Earthquake Disaster Fund.

With money still coming in, the tally currently stands at an amazing £3,435.

 

Results

League

Aths 5 Back 1

Highland Amateur Cup 2nd Round

Westside 7 Point 3

Athletic 4 Southend 2

Iochdar Saints 4 Ness 1

 

The Lighting and Electrical shop in Cromwell Street is running a two-week advertising campaign on STV in co-operation with its suppliers.  It is being broadcast at a mix of times during the day, evenings and weekends. The aim is to make the point that the Stornoway shop has the ability to serve local customers in the same way that bigger groups serve their markets on the mainland.

Lochside Arena is all set to play host to a wide variety of events this summer.
Lochside Arena, on the Lochs Road south of Stornoway, is a community run facility and the volunteer board who are entrusted with the management of the operation are thrilled to be able to work with the members and other volunteers to offer a series of exciting events over the next few months.

More than 200 delegates from three continents will gather in Inverness next month (10-11 June) for the Scottish Social Enterprise Summit; the first event of its kind to be held in the Highlands.
The summit will give social enterprise practitioners from across the country the opportunity to learn about, network and trade with third, public and private sector organisations from the UK and overseas.

Blar Buidhe Care Home has gone on the market.

Admissions to the care home, situated on Simons Road, were temporarily suspended in March, following a number of concerns raised over the dietary programmes of residents.

Owners, HC-One, commented: “After careful and considered planning we have taken the difficult decision to sell Blar Buidhe care home, Stornoway. This is part of a broader process which involves 24 homes nationally. For each home, we will work hard to find a local provider who is well placed to continue to operate the home and who shares our commitment to providing high quality and kind care.

A young woman was hospitalised with smoke inhalation following a house fire on Springfield Road last night. 

Firefighters were alerted to the scene at around 9.50pm, eventually bringing the blaze under control two hours later. 

The road was cordoned off during the incident, with police and ambulance services also in attendance.

 

Rev Iver Martin is set to leave Stornoway Free Church after accepting the post of full-time Principal of Edinburgh Theological Seminary.

For the past two years Mr Martin has been undertaking the duties of Principal on a part-time basis, juggling it with his existing commitments and duties with the Stornoway congregation.

Following a review, Edinburgh Theological Seminary were able to produce a business plan to support a full-time appointment for Principal.

The Stornoway minister was the unanimous nomination for the role from the Free Church’s six Scottish Presbyteries, and accepted the post in person at the General Assembly last night.

Talented local artist DK Macleod is launching his fortnight-long exhibition 'Hebrides through my eyes' at Old School, Bragar on 29th May between 7 and 9pm where all are welcome to attend.

DK, originally from Shawbost, studied at Taigh Chearsabhagh, Lochmaddy, working with oils on canvas to create stunning landscapes and spectacular seascapes in his own unique style.

He is thrilled to be able to launch this exhibition, and is particularly proud that it is from his own studio at Old School Bragar.

A future exhibition is anticipated at the Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther Fife in September.

Note - opening dates and times are as follows:

29th May launch evening through until 19 June.

Opening times Monday- Thursday- Friday  - 10am - 2pm  - Tuesday and Wednesday - 2pm - 3pm 

All very welcome to attend. 

Horshader have appointed Don Macdonald from South Shawbost as the new minibus driver/handyman.  The aim of the project is to enable the community to enjoy a better quality of life through the community minibus facility and the handy person service.  Don commented, “I am delighted to be part of this innovative project and look forward to assisting with delivery of this service.” Also shown in the photograph is Finlay J Maclennan, who will provide Admin Support for the Project.

Horshader are working with a focus group in the community to ensure that a range of needs are considered in delivering this service.  It is hoped that with support from volunteer drivers, that the service will be as flexible as possible, ensuring that the bus in fully utilised for community benefit.  The handyperson service will carry out basic DIY jobs in the community, with priority given to the most vulnerable.  Horshader are very pleased to be able to offer this service to the community and look forward to rolling out the service on the 1st of June 2015.

For more information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 01851701225. 

 

This project received funding from the People and Communities Fund; The Big Lottery; and Horshader Community Development Trust Fund.

Cala Hotels’ Nepalese chefs, from left to right;  Raj, Dhakendra, Deepak, Thapa, Amir, Tek and Bandari

The recent disaster in Nepal has affected families and friends of the eight Nepalese chefs and other staff working in the Caladh Inn, Royal and Cabarfeidh Hotels, as well as others in the sizeable local Nepalese community.   Some have lost family members, while other relatives have become homeless following the earthquakes.
Immediately after the first ‘quake, collection buckets were placed in the hotel restaurants and guests donated just over £800 in the first two weeks – for which thanks are due to local residents and visitors.

The enthusiasm of the Natural Retreats team proved contagious as an excited buzz swept an audience in Stornoway Town Hall this afternoon (Tuesday May 19).

Natural Retreats is the company coming to Stornoway to turn part of the previously disused Lews Castle into luxury accommodation for people looking to explore the island. 

Natural Retreats has been introducing people to beautiful parts of Europe and the USA since 2006.

A major row has erupted within days of the last £1.7m of funding to complete the renovation of Lews Castle being awarded.
Kenman Holdings Ltd, the holding company for the Cala Hotels Group, announced today it was seeking a judicial review of the tendering process relating to the accommodation aspect of the project.
In response, the Leader of the Comhairle, Councillor Angus Campbell, said: “We have every confidence in our processes and procedures regarding the Lews Castle Museum and Archive project, including the appointment of our operator partner.

Shops and tourism providers in Harris got an unexpected boost yesterday when the cruise ship 'Saga Pearl 2' moored in East Loch Tarbert.

Tenders took passengers ashore, and they milled around Tarbert, later taking a bus tour around Harris. 

The ship, which is registered in Malta, departed Tarbert at 7pm, destined for St Kilda.

This year’s memorial lecture on Thursday 22nd October at Pairc School, Gravir, will be given by John Norgrove of Uig, Lewis, who knew Angus ‘Ease’ Macleod through his involvement in the project to build memorial cairns in honour of the heroes of the Land Struggle.

John will use slides to illustrate his lecture and will start by describing Afghanistan: its geography and environment, its diverse peoples, cultural wealth and rich history. He will explain how Afghanistan’s singular geographical location as Asia’s crossroads led it to be a buffer between expanding Victorian empires and subsequently resulted in the global ideological conflicts of the cold war and jihad being played out by superpowers and richer neighbours on Afghan soil.

John will explore how a childhood on a croft in rural Lewis helped his daughter Linda to acquire the independence and self sufficiency that enabled her to both study and travel so extensively.

Osteoporosis awareness-raising events were held for both patients and healthcare professionals in Stornoway this month, by the National Osteoporosis Society.

The events, held in the Caberfeidh Hotel on May 6, were planned to coincide with the launch of National Guidance on the Management of Bone Health and the Prevention of Fragility Fractures (SIGN 142). This document gives health and social care professionals clear advice and guidance on how best to manage the growing problem of osteoporosis in Scotland.

The reality that one in two women and one in five men with osteoporosis will suffer a fragility fracture, and that treatment can reduce this risk by 50 per cent, helped to focus the messages delivered during the day from a wide range of speakers.

Police are appealing for information after windows were smashed at two Stornoway businesses on Saturday night. 

At around 11.25pm, a window at the Clydesdale bank on South Beach street and a window at Cambies Tea room on Cromwell Street were smashed by a person or persons unknown.  

The town was busy at the time, and police anticipate that someone will have seen who is responsible.  

If you have any information that could assist in the enquiry, please contact local police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111.

Results

League

Point 0 Lochs 3

Carloway 0 Westside 3

Aths v United (postponed)

Back v Ness (postponed)

Laxdale Primary School Parent Council Community BBQ

Laxdale Primary School

Friday May 29th

6-8.30pm

To celebrate National Walking Month (May), NHS Western Isles has launched the ‘Walk on Hebrides’ Walk Pack, to encourage independent walking within the Western Isles.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to increase your general fitness and improve your health, and it is also a great way to stay trim and keep your heart healthy. Further benefits are savings on petrol and bus fares, as well as helping our environment.

Each ‘Walk on Hebrides’ Walk Pack offers eight beautifully designed leaflets, each leaflet folding out into an A3 size information poster, containing maps of each area, community areas of interest, and descriptions of walking routes.

Western Isles Greens are meeting for the first time!

Tuesday 19th May

Caladh Inn,

Stornoway

7pm-9pm

Open to members and prospective members.

It is believed that a light plane from Iceland caused the full-scale emergency alert at Stornoway Airport earlier.  The plane landed safely around 19.20.  After that, the emergency services including Coastguard, fire brigade vehicles, ambulance teams, police teams, and RNLI lifeboat returned to their bases. 

After being closed for more than 30 minutes, the main road by Stornoway Airport reopened about 19.25.  Police and airport staff refused to explain the cause of the full emergency alert.

There is a major alert at Stornoway Airport tonight.

The road to Point has been closed. The RNLI lifeboat has been alerted.  Coastguards have been alerted.  The area is cordoned by police.  The road is  expected to be closed for an hour.  Queues are building on each side of the closure.

The exact cause of the alert is not known. 

Results

Acres Boys Club Cup Final

Carloway 1 Lochs 2

Co-op Cup 1st Round

Benbecula 1 Point 9

Invited guests of the new Harris distillery celebrated World Whisky Day in Tarbert this afternoon.

The drinks and barbecue event was held to mark the one day in the year when whisky is given a special recognition across the globe. 

The Isle of Harris Distillery is scheduled for completion in July, and will employ 10 full-time and eight seasonal staff.

Currently, its administrative base is the former police station in West Tarbert.

As latecomers straggled towards the start of the 2015 Women's Cancer Challenge outside Lews Castle College at midday today (Saturday)  the sky darkened and rain started to fall…but then it stopped and the sun came out again, enabling the many hundreds of participants, running and walking, to complete the course and stay dry!  All ages were involved – with the leading runners coming in a long time before the walkers.

 

Around 100 people gathered at the M&Co store in Cromwell Street, Stornoway, tonight for a fundraising fashion show in aid of Bethesda.  Being modelled were clothes for men, women and children - with performers aged from a few months to over 70.  Master of ceremonies for the night was Tom Maciver.  Pictured below are many of the models before the start of the show…and the event under way  ( http://www.mandco.com/    )

Thanks from An Lanntair to everyone who took part in the Grinneas nan Eilean exhibition this year and congratulations to: -
John Norgrove and Simon Rivett. Joint winners of the Best Work in the exhibition;
Kenneth Burns for winning the Harris Tweed Hebrides Purchase Prize;  and Christine Davidson for winning the Community Prize for gathering the most votes from the public.
Roddy Murray, Head of Visual Arts & Literature at An Lanntair, said it was a big ask to strip the gallery, pack the works and clear the decks for the Katie Morag installation but one that we answered.  "If you still have work to collect, whether it’s your own or bought, please come in for it."

As well as information stalls at Western Isles hospital, Library and CnES reception, the local branch of Alzheimer Scotland have the following planned events:
 
Tues 2nd June
Big Sing A Long
Town Hall
1pm-2pm
Join us for a sing a long with support from Stornoway Singers and Laxdale boys choir.
 
Weds 3rd June
NEW Dementia Café
Comunn Eachdraidh Nis
Cross School
1.30pm-3pm
For people with dementia and their carers and families.
 
Thursday 4th June 2015
Harris Dementia Group
Awareness Event
Leverburgh Community hall
1pm-3pm
Light lunch and photo slideshow of Harris people and scenes.
 
Saturday 6th June
Volunteers on Tour!
Keep an eye out for our group of 20 volunteers as they visit various places in Lewis – they will be easy to spot as all will be dressed in purple.
 
Saturday 6th June
1-3pm
Pop in for a cuppa and say hello to us at the Solas Day Centre, Westview Grove, off Westview Terrace.

Children from across the islands are flocking to the special Katie Morag exhibition currently on display at An Lanntair.

The hugely impressive exhibition features the actual set of the smash hit programme, and visitors can take a tour around Katie Morag's house exactly as it is on Struay.

The exhibition also features real manuscripts by Katie Morag author Mairi Hedderwick, as well as numerous photos and cuttings about the franchise.

The 2015 Annual General Meeting  of the Lewis & Harris Branch of Alzheimers Scotland takes place on Tuesday 19th May

It will be held in the Grianan Centre, Recreation room, West View Terrace, Stornoway (HS1 2LD)  from 7.30pm-9pm

Please come along and find out more about our work.

Contact Sonja MacLeod - Branch Secretary for further information on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pairc Trust, who have been trying to buy the Pairc Estate in south-east Lewis on behalf of the local community for the past 11 years, have now concluded missives for an amicable estate transfer from the current private landlord, it was announced at the Trust’s AGM on Thursday 14th May.

The date of entry is expected to be later this year, depending on a decision on the landlord’s expenses claim for professional fees.

A large donation from a member of the Trump family, together with funding from the Scottish Government to the local Health and Social Care Partnership, will create nine new care home beds in Bethesda Care Home in Stornoway.
Maryanne Trump Barry, a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United states Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit and sister of property magnate Donald Trump, has donated about £160,000 to Bethesda, in memory of her mother, Maryann Macleod Trump, originally from Tong.
The Scottish Government has provided a one-off funding allocation of £200,000 to the Western Isles Health and Social Care Partnership, to contribute towards the capital costs of the new care home beds.

Two paintings were stolen from the Skoon Art Cafe in Geocrab, Harris last Friday (May 8).

The pictures are described as: 

1 - 25CMX13CM - SEAVIEW, SKY IN TOP HALF AND SAND IN BOTTOM HALF.

2 - 13CMX13CM -  SHORE VIEW, PURPLE HEATHER IN FOREGROUND

If anyone has any information, they are asked to contact Stornoway Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Jamie McGrigor, Highlands & Islands Conservative MSP, today praised the vibrant media sector throughout the Highlands and Islands and the hard work of local newspaper editors, reporters and staff.

Jamie was speaking in a member’s debate in the Scottish Parliament on media, society and democracy initiated by Independent Highlands & Islands MSP Jean Urquhart where he also talked about newspaper regulation following the Leveson Inquiry.

Angus MacNeil MP is one of four SNP MPs who have today called on the Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, requesting a meeting to raise the needs of the fishing industry on the West Coast, to enable migrant seafarers to come and work on fishing boats in the area.

The four MPs, Angus MacNeil, Brendan O’Hara, Ian Blackford and Dr Paul Monaghan have all recently been lobbied by fishing interests within their constituencies.

Results

Jock Stein Cup 1st Round

Ness 0 Westside 3

Point 8 United 0

Fixtures

Friday, 15th May

Acres Boys Club Cup Final, Goathill Park, 7pm

Carloway v Lochs

The blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan is searching for more local heroes in the Western Isles to join its bone marrow donor register and help in the fight against blood cancer.

The charity has revealed today that, in the Highlands and Islands, there are more than 5,469 selfless people willing to donate their stem cells, or bone marrow, to save the life of a stranger. More than 550,000 people are currently on the Anthony Nolan register and the average per constituency is 790.

Anthony Nolan was the world’s first bone marrow register. The charity has been saving lives for four decades by matching remarkable people willing to donate their bone marrow to patients in desperate need of a transplant.

As Shooglenifty prepared to take the stage for their concert to close the first ever Hebridean Celtic Festival there was just one thing missing; the audience.
The globetrotting ‘acid croft’ band had travelled to Stornoway to take part in the inaugural HebCelt in 1996 but the initial signs were not encouraging.
“We played in the town hall - this was long before the big tent - and the venue seemed strangely deserted when the time came to play”, said James Mackintosh, the band’s drummer. “But the caretaker assured us that as soon as we started the crowd would arrive, as they were nearby … in the pub.

The Newmarket Playpark and Riverside Gardens are appealing for help with votes from the public, as they seek a grant from the Aviva Community Fund.

The project was set up in 2004 with a view to providing a safe, accessible area for young and old along with those who have special needs. A local waste ground was chosen and transformed into the Newmarket play area and Riverside Gardens. 

It is an evolving project, which needs constant maintenance and new ideas to keep it relevant with ever changing needs, but at its core is always the bringing together of the community.

To register your vote, click here

Entries are now being sought for the Stornoway Family Fun Run on Saturday May 23.

The 2K event will start at the Lifeboat Station on the pier at 9.30am.

Medals will be provided for all finishers, and prizegiving will take place after the race at 10.30am.

For more info, see here.

The first ever meeting of the newly formed Western Isles Green Party takes place next week.

The party will gather at the Caladh Inn in Stornoway on Tuesday May 19 at 7pm. 

Then the next night, Wednesday May 20, meetings will be held in Lochmaddy Hall - 2pm-3pm for members only, and 3pm-4pm for members of the public.

For more info, see:

facebook.com/westernislesgreens

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NHS Western Isles has launched a new dedicated webpage, offering a wide range of locally produced health information materials on health conditions and illnesses, as well as a number of its own local NHS services.

Having access to accurate information and treatment options about a health condition or illness is an important part of the patient journey. This can help contribute to the likelihood of a positive patient experience, and instill public confidence, awareness and understanding of a particular health condition.

Patients, carers, and members of the public are assured that each NHS Western Isles title has been written by local health professionals, and has undergone consultation with patients/carers of its intended audience, before being approved for use.

A fashion show to raise funds for Bethesda is taking place in Stornoway this Friday.

The show will be held in M&CO on Cromwell St, starting at 7pm. 

Hosted by Tom Maciver, tickets for the event cost £6 and are available from M&CO, Bethesda Charity Shop, Bethesda Hospice, and at the door on the night.  

Comunn Eachdraidh Nis are looking to develop land outside their premises - and need your help to do it.

An application has been lodged with the Aviva Community Fund, and requires votes from the public in order to be successful.

CEN would like to develop a bit of waste ground next to the building and have a landscaped garden with a sheltered seating area and polytunnel with raised beds which would be easily accessible to day club members and also local special needs children who use the centre on a regular basis as part of their weekly curriculum. The centre is set in a crofting community and many of the day club members have crofting backgrounds. 

Churches across Lewis are being invited to hold a special retiring collection this Sunday, where proceeds will go to those affected by the Nepalese earthquakes, and to a Maltese charity which provides relief to migrants having crossed the Mediterranean to escape oppression in their home countries.

Over 8,000 people have lost their lives since the disaster in Nepal, and over 14,000 people are injured, many still cut off from help.

More than 3,000,000 desperately need food and water, and there is an imminent danger of disease.

Results

Jock Stein Cup 1st Round

Back 0 Aths 1

Lochs 1 Carloway 0

Point v United pp

Ness V Westside pp

A project to restore and transform Lews Castle took another major step forward today as Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) announced £1.7 million funding to complete the project.
Led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES), the £18 million project involves the transformation of the category-A listed building which will deliver significant cultural heritage and economic benefits.

 

 

Deepak Gurung

Following the first devastating earthquake experienced recently in Nepal, local communities in the Western Isles came together to raise funds to help those affected. 

In Tong last Friday, a takeaway curry night was organised by a local Nepalese chef and his family and friends.  Deepak Gurung who is originally from Pokhara, Nepal and now lives in Tong said “Fortunately all my family in Nepal are safe, but seeing the devastation back home and feeling so helpless, we decided we needed to do something to try and help.”  

Shadow Transport and Islands Minister, David Stewart, has welcomed the announcement that CalMac Ferries is to embark on a major tour of Scotland’s west coast communities to ask ferry users how the customer experience can be improved on their lifeline services. 

Board members and senior executives from CalMac’s parent company David MacBrayne Ltd will host 24 public meetings in mainland ports and on more than a dozen Clyde and Hebridean islands over the next few weeks. May 26 is the big day for Lewis and Harris.

Stornoway Port Authority has announced the appointment of Mr. Alexander D. Macleod to the post of Chief Executive.

Mr. Macleod (46) brings a wide range of managerial and practical skills to the Port and is currently Commercial Manager with a well known local Civil Engineering company. In that role he gained considerable experience around Stornoway Harbour and has been involved in a number of major infrastructure projects at the port over many years including the recently upgrading of Number 3 Pier.

He was also involved in a major Harbour infrastructure project connected with the America’s Cup viaduct basin in Auckland, New Zealand.

Details of the four new additional sailings linking Stornoway and Ullapool over the summer have now been published by ferry operator CalMac.

The two extra return journeys on Fridays and Saturdays will run from Friday, June 26 to Saturday, August 29 and will provide a significant boost for tourists getting to and from the the island and relieve pressure on the Uig routes.

Details of the new sailings can be viewed here.

The 20th anniversary of the internationally-acclaimed Hebridean Celtic Festival will be celebrated with the creation of a new musical composition by one of the islands’ most famous sons.

Alasdair White, the renowned fiddle player with the Battlefield Band and a musician with a long association with HebCelt, has been commissioned to write ‘An Iuchar’ (The Key) which will be premiered at the festival in Stornoway in the island of Lewis this summer.

Alasdair, who grew up in Stornoway, first appeared at HebCelt as a 13-year-old in 1998 when he was invited on stage with celebrated fiddler Alasdair Fraser to perform before the festival main stage audience.

At some point in our lives, we may all be faced with an issue or concern that affects our health or wellbeing. It can be a worrying and isolating time, but having easy access to information, and gaining a greater understanding of the condition, can make all the difference.

Dr You is a new initiative aimed at supporting people to take control of their health and wellbeing.

The project, a partnership between NHS Western Isles, the Comhairle’s library service, and local health organisations, provides books and information on health issues and concerns, available through the branch and mobile libraries across the Isles.

The initiative was launched  at Stornoway Library, by Dr Maggie Watts, Director of Public Health, NHS Western Isles.

Results

Jock Stein Cup 1st Round

Back 0 Aths 1

Lochs 1 Carloway 0

Point v United pp

Ness V Westside pp

Hebridean Connections, a pioneering digital archiving project involving comainn eachdraidh (local historical societies) and other heritage organisations in the Outer Hebrides, has received external funding of £145,000 for a further twelve-month period through to the end of March 2016.  

The funding package will support the extension of Hebridean Connections’ activities and website (www.hebrideanconnections.com) to new geographical areas.

Key to this is the addition of a training officer post based in the southern part of the Outer Hebrides.

Construction work has started on the new West Harris Community Enterprise Centre at Pairc Niseaboist, Horgabost, Isle of Harris. 

The 500m² centre will incorporate a community venue and meeting place, restaurant, office space, business/studio space and exhibition area. 

This is a major project for the West Harris Trust to provide 21st century facilities for the local community. 

Several ferry services are disrupted as gale-force weather approaches the Western Isles. 

All Isle of Lewis sailings between Stornoway and Uig are cancelled. 

Next scheduled sailings (weather permitting) are: Tuesday 12th May departing Stornoway at 17:40 and departing Uig at 16:40.

Due to high winds, the 14:00 sailing from Stornoway to Ullapool and the 17:30 from Ullapool are on amber alert and may be disrupted or cancelled at short notice. 

For more info, see here

Results

Highland Amateur Cup 1st Round

Carloway 1 Point 4

Lochs 3 - United 0

Ness 4 - Back 1

Benbecula 3 - North Uist United 0

Fixtures

Monday May 11, 7pm

Jock Stein Cup 1st Round

Ness v Westside

Athletic v Back

Point v United

Lochs v Carloway

 

As a result of the demands of producing our other two publications, HEB Magazine and The Skye Magazine, the office of EVENTS and welovestornoway.com will be closed today and tomorrow (Tuesday) .   Facilities for making payments will resume on Wednesday morning.  Email replies will resume on Tuesday evening.  We apologise for the inconvenience this will cause and any delays on placing adverts on the website. 

The Katie Morag exhibition will open in An Lanntair tomorrow (9th May)

The exhibition family opening will take place tomorrow at 2pm.

The official opening will follow at 5pm, where there will be a drinks reception followed by speeches from Mari Hedderwick and the Move on Up team.

The St Kilda swim attempt has been postponed due to poor weather forecasts.

Nine hardy swimmers had hoped to swim from Hushinish to to St Kilda to raise money for The Leanne Fund, The Fishermen's Mission, Yorkhill Children's Charity & Aberlour Child Care Trust. 

The team had a window of this week and next week, but are now refocusing on dates later in the summer.

Dr Ron Culley has been appointed to the post of Chief Officer, Health and Social Care, Western Isles.

The post is a new position which will provide overall strategic leadership to the Integrated Joint Board in delivering integrated health and social care services within the Western Isles.

Ron is currently Chief Officer, Health and Social Care, with the local authority organisation, COSLA.

The first AGM of the Lewis Carnival 2015 will take place on Tuesday 26th May at 5.30pm in the Caladh Inn.

The committee is calling out for more volunteers to make sure that this year's carnival can go ahead. 

Scalpay singer Dol Eoin Mackinnon is to feature in a new promotional advert for Caledonian MacBrayne, which will be aired for this first time during the interval of Coronation Street next Monday (May 11).

Dol Eoin's band Macanta perform their twist on the Supergrass song 'Alright' in the commercial, which also involves various representatives from some of the communities Cal Mac serves.

Last year, Caledonian MacBrayne carried 4.65million people, 1.1million cars, 11,000 coaches and 93,000 commercial vehicles to the 24 islands served by its ferries on 130,000 separate sailings the length and breadth of the 200-mile network.

The campaign will also feature strong social media presence across Cal Mac’s channels and more ‘surprise’ online videos will be launched throughout the summer months, investigating different aspects of the islands from across the whole network – from heritage and history, through food and drink, to wildlife and the great outdoors.

 

AUTISM/ASPERGERS GROUP 

 

The next meeting of Autism Eilean Siar will be held on Monday 11th May at Newton community association, on Seaforth Road, at midday. All who have an interest in Autism/Aspergers are welcome - parents, carers, people affected by the condition. Teas and coffees will be served. For more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Richard Oliver DipWCF

Registered Farrier & Blacksmith

Now resident on the Western Isles, and taking on all horse and pony breeds for shoeing and trimming. 

Please contact 077163 58843 for more information, or to book. 

A pensioner who reversed over former Stornoway minister Rev Tom Sinclair, killing him instantly, has been tagged and banned from driving for four years.

Kelman Edwards (78) will also have a curfew enforced, meaning he will not be able to leave his home at night for the next six months.

Rev Sinclair, who was 76, was in Edinburgh at the Church of Scotland General Assembly when the accident happened on May 19 last year.

Stormy weather has forced the cancellation of island ferry services.

The 4pm sailing from Stornoway to Uig, and the 8pm sailing from Uig to Stornoway have both been cancelled.

The 11pm freight sailing from Stornoway to Uig is currently on amber alert.

The Stornoway to Ullapool passenger-only service is operating as normal.

For more info, see here.

 

Ever fancied trying your hand as a photographer?

Or are you intimidated by the vast array of technological components on the market today, coupled with seemingly unintelligible camera-related jargon?

Then a new course in Harris, run by a professional photographer, will suit you down to the ground.

Darren Cole is an established photographer, having taught photography for over 15 years at the University of West England, in Bristol.

Now based in Ardhasaig, he and his partner C