Colin and Mairi Maciver of Laxay received an exceptionally generous wedding anniversary gift recently – a night’s accommodation at Lews Castle by Natural Retreats, courtesy of a lucky win by Colin’s brother Ruaraidh.

Ruaraidh was the first prize winner in a fundraising grand prize draw run by the North Lewis Maritime Society, Falmadair, who exist to promote sailing and to protect the unique sailing heritage of the Western Isles.

Falmadair’s committee members were raising funds to help with the running costs of the group, including with the maintenance and insurance costs for their four Sgoth Niseach – the distinctive red-sailed boats which belong to the Lewis sailing tradition.

Fundraiser Brenda Jones said: “Our oldest boat is the Jubilee, which was built in 1935 by John Finlay Macleod, the man who came ashore from the Iolaire with the rope on January 1st 1919. His son, John Murdo Macleod, built Callicvol in 1974 and An Sulaire in 1994 and we also have the Broad Bay, an Orkney vessel which has been refurbished in the Sgoth Niseach style.”

The prize draw winners were announced on January 15th and included winners of the second prize trip to the Shiants with Seafari and a voucher from Digby Chick restaurant. A total of £1,360 was raised and Brenda said: “We would like to thank everyone who supported us, both by donating the prizes and by buying tickets.

“Anyone is welcome to come out sailing with us and can join via our website at http://www.falmadair.org/  or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/218928228209545/ Day membership costs £10 or £30 for a family and you don’t need to have any sailing experience – there are always experience sailors on board on our trips.”

The next events run by Falmadair are a knot workshop at the community room at Museum nan Eilean on Friday 22nd February at 7.30pm. This is a follow-up workshop allowing those who attended the first session a chance to move onto more advanced knots and to consolidate previous learning, but it also accommodates newbies that missed the last workshop, giving them an opportunity to learn basic knots.

That’s followed on Friday 22nd March by a workshop on basic chart work led by David Skelly. Entry to both events is by donation.

The picture shows (left to right) Falmadair treasurer Alasdair Macleod, Colin and Mairi Maciver of Laxay who will be enjoying the night’s stay at Lews Castle and Colin Maciver, general manager of Lews Castle by Natural Retreats.