A cohort of new firefighters completed their training and were welcomed into the Scottish fire and rescue service at a passing out ceremony at Stornoway fire station this afternoon (Friday November 15th).

Seven new officers demonstrated their newly acquired skills to their families, serving fire officers and community representatives, before accepting their badges and celebrating a new role in their communities.

Lead instructor watch commander David Stewart told welovestornoway.com: “The new firefighters have undergone an intense two weeks of training which ensures that they are able to continue their development as firefighters safely. We congratulate them all for the hard work they have put in and for the service they are prepared to offer to their communities.”

The new recruits are Calum Mackay, who will be based at South Lochs, Rhiannon Teather of Great Bernera, Stornoway recruits Errol Chalmers and Sean Laing, Michael Macmanus from Benbecula, John MacLean of Bayhead, North Uist and Donald Morrison, who will serve at Tarbert fire station in Harris.

They are pictured here with instructors David Stewart and crew commander Alan Saunders before their final exercise and presentation ceremony.

Western Isles area fire service are still recruiting for all stations, but especially for rural locations, with the next round of applications open at https://www.myjobscotland.gov.uk/emergency-services/scottish-fire-and-rescue-service/jobs/rds-firefighter-western-isles-66816. Applications close in mid-January and the next round of entry tests is in February 2020.

Fire Scotland’s group commander for the Western Isles, Gavin Hammond, said: “I’d encourage anyone with an interest in firefighting or who is thinking they might like to offer their skills, especially if you live in a rural area, to contact us at our district offices and find out more.”

Group commander Gavin Hammond can be contacted at Stornoway Fire Station on 01851 705051.

Fire fighters were called to the main road near Coll this morning, where a car had caught fire.

The BMW car had caught light on the main B895 road between Tong and Coll around 12 noon, with the driver alerted to his predicament by other motorists.

A fire crew from Stornoway were despatched after an emergency call, to find that the fire had already been extinguished using powder extinguishers which were being carried by passing van drivers.

No-one was injured and the car was removed from the carriageway. The fire crew were stood down by 12.40pm.

Eilean Siar Foodbank is to continue with its normal arrangements for supporting people in need, as the separation of the local organisation from national charity the Trussell Trust is completed today (Friday November 15th).

The foodbank will continue as an independent organisation, providing food support to families and individuals experiencing a crisis or who are in food poverty.

A spokesperson for the foodbank said all the referring organisations, which include health and social support services, now have new contact details to reach them and that the distribution of food will continue as before.

The New Wine Church on Point Street will be operated by volunteers and open for people to collect food supplies on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 11am and 2pm.

Trustee Catriona Stewart told welovestornoway.com: “If people need food support they can go to a referring agency or just come to the foodbank, in which case we will also direct them to agencies that can provide further support.

“Our current focus is on the Christmas boxes, which last year were provided to over 300 families. We are working on those at the moment and will be distributing them based on referrals from the agencies.”

Food for local distribution continues to be collected at the Co-op and Tescos supermarkets in Stornoway, with other public collecting points open during the Christmas period – the Caberfeidh Hotel, for example, is running a collection as part of their Santa’s grotto.

Catriona also paid tribute to the Trussell Trust, which has offered to continue providing informal support even though they are no longer officially connected to the island foodbank.

The Arnish BiFab yard will see the departure of 35 workers today (Friday November 15th) – with 15 more workers to lose their jobs next week.

The yard’s owner, DF Barnes yesterday confirmed that 50 jobs were going from the company, but said they were confident about future contracts.

Workers union GMB challenged politicians to come down and face the workers losing jobs before Christmas, rather than continually talking about possible future contracts.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty and GMB Scotland Scottish secretary, Gary Smith said: “This latest development in Arnish is part of a long running and sorry saga regarding the abject failure of the Scottish and UK governments to ensure working-class communities benefit from the so-called green revolution.

“To date minimal work and minimal jobs have been directly created in Scotland by the billions of pounds being invested into the renewables sector. It’s a national scandal and politicians must be held to account.”

Labour’s candidate for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency in the current General Election, Alison MacCorquodale, said today that there was a real risk of the Arnish yard being mothballed unless urgent action is taken.

She said it would be "a miserable Christmas present" for the Arnish workforce to have job losses and the threat of further pay-offs hanging over them. She added: "I am in close touch with the unions and will support any action they can take".

The Arnish workers have been working on the construction of 100 pin piles for the Moray East Offshore Wind Farm since March, with regular shipments leaving Stornoway and the contract expected to be completed by the second week of December.
Project manager Ian Potts told welovestornoway.com last week: “We have also taken on a very small bit of work for Quinn Drilling who are doing work on the new marina, but it is very minor ¬- four small piles to be modified.”

GMB spokesman Gary Smith told the industry newsletter Energy Voice today: “We’ve got politicians of all stripes on the campaign trail telling us about the jobs of the future. I’d ask them to come to Arnish and tell our members who are facing unemployment for Christmas all about it.”

Picture: BiFab Arnish

The CalMac ferry Loch Seaforth is set to return to service tonight (Friday November 15th) after successfully completing sea trials from Stornoway harbour this morning.

She’ll take up the freight run tonight and is due to resume her usual duties between Stornoway and Ullapool thereafter.

Loch Seaforth has been receiving engineers’ attention at the pier since returning from her annual overhaul last weekend, with three separate faults needing to be addressed.

A specialist engineer from Denmark who has been working on the pitch control, and another from Germany who has been directing work on the generator control system, have both left from Stornoway airport today, having seen repairs completed.

MV Isle of Lewis, which has been operating on the Minch crossing for almost a month, will tie up in Stornoway tonight and is expected to head south tomorrow, ready to return to the Castlebay route from Sunday onwards.

Today’s service between Stornoway and Ullapool has been running late due to the northerly swell affecting the passage, according to CalMac.

The picture shows an unusual night-time view of the Loch Seaforth during her round-the-clock repairs (Chris Murray).

A new Gaelic plan for the North of Lewis was presented to Bòrd na Gàidhlig this week. 

In partnership between Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Comunn Eachdraidh Nis, the plan was prepared in accordance with the relevant priorities, aimed at encouraging and assisting the community in using Gaelic.

Shona Maclellan, CEO of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “It is great to see an updated version of the Gaelic plan for the North of Lewis to deliver against the outcomes of the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-23 in an area so important to the language.

"It is promising to see the partnership between Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Comunn Eachdraidh Nis having a positive effect, with the aim of having Gaelic spoken and used by more people in the North of Lewis.

"We held some important and interesting conversations with people and groups involved in Gaelic and community development and it is clear there is already plenty happening to support this plan.”

Annie MacSween, Chair of Comunn Eachdraidh Nis, said: “Comunn Eachdraidh Nis is delighted to be involved in a Gaelic language plan for a community where Gaelic is still spoken.

"It is important that communities in which Gaelic is spoken daily are supported.”

Shona Macmillan, Gaelic Development Officer at Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn, said: “It is hugely important that we increase Gaelic’s status and visibility in this area, and we hope that other communities take similar action by working in partnerships to protect and promote the language in future.”

Agnes Rennie, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn, added: “It is a big step to publish this plan at such a challenging time but with new opportunities for us as a community.

"The plan arose from cooperation and that is what will allow us to deliver.”

To see a copy of the plan, please get in touch with Shona Macmillan on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01851 850 393.

Plana Gàidhlig airson Ceann a Tuath Eilean Leòdhais
Chaidh plana Gàidhlig ùr airson ceann a tuath Eilean Leòdhais fhoillseachadh an t-seachdain sa nuair a thadhal Bòrd na Gàidhlig air an sgìre.

Ann an com-pàirteachas eadar Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn agus Comunn Eachdraidh Nis, chaidh plana ùr ullachadh a tha a’ freagairt air prìomh bhuilean a’ phlana nàiseanta aig Bòrd na Gàidhlig 2018-2023, ag amas air buidhnean sa choimhearsnachd a chuideachadh agus a bhrosnachadh gu bhith a’ cleachdadh na Gàidhlig.

Thuirt Anna NicSuain, Cathraiche Chomunn Eachdraidh Nis: “Tha Comunn Eachdraidh Nis toilichte a bhith an sàs ann am plana Gàidhlig airson coimhearsnachd far a bheil an cànan làidir san latha an-diugh. Tha e cudromach gun teid taic a chumail ris na sgìrean sin far a bheil a’ Ghàidhlig fhathast air a cleachdadh mar chànan làitheil.”

Thuirt Shona Nic a’ Mhaoilein, Oifigear Leasachaidh Gàidhlig aig Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn: “Tha e air leth cudromach gum bi sinn a’ togail cliù agus inbhe na Gàidhlig anns an sgìre seo fhèin, agus tha sinn an dòchas gun gabh coimhearsnachdan eile an ceum seo cuideachd le bhith ag obair còmhla gus a’ Ghàidhlig a dhìon agus a bhrosnachadh san àm ri teachd.” A’ cur ri seo, thuirt Agnes Rennie, Cathraiche an Urrais, “’S e ceum mòr a th’ ann am plana seo fhoillseachadh aig àm a tha dùbhlanach ach le cothroman ùr dhuinn mar choimhearsnachd. Dh’èirich am plana à co-obrachadh agus ’s e sin a leigeas dhuinn a choileanadh.”

Thuirt Shona Niclllinnein, Ceannard Bòrd na Gàidhlig: “Tha e fìor mhath faicinn gun deach ùrachadh air a’ Phlana Gàidhlig saor-thoileach airson Ceann a Tuath Leòdhais, gus na prìomhachasan anns a’ Phlana Nàiseanta Cànain Gàidhlig 2018-23 a chur air adhart ann an sgìre a tha cho cudromach dhan chànan. Tha e math faicinn cuideachd gu bheil an co-obrachadh eadar Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn agus Comunn Eachdraidh Nis a’ leantainn air adhart gu soirbheachail, leis an t-amas gun tèid Gàidhlig a chleachdadh nas trice agus le barrachd dhaoine ann an Ceann a Tuath Leòdhais. Bha còmhraidhean air leth feumail agus inntinneach againn le daoine agus buidhnean a tha an sàs le leasachadh na Gàidhlig agus leasachaidhean coimhearsnachd san sgìre agus tha e follaiseach gu bheil tòrr a’ tachairt mu thràth gus am Plana seo a chur an gnìomh.”

Airson lethbhreac dhan a’ phlana fhaicinn, cuiribh fios gu Shona Nic a’ Mhaoilein air This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no air 01851 850 393.

Anns an dealbh (L-R) in the photo (L-R)
Anne NicLeòid, Comunn Eachdraidh Nis Anne Macleod, Comunn Eachdraidh Nis
Iain Gòrdan Dòmhnallach, Comunn Eachdraidh Nis Iain Gordon Macdonald, Comunn Eachdraidh Nis
Shona Nic a’ Mhaoilein, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn Shona Macmillan, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn
Agnes Rennie, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn Agnes Rennie, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn
Anna NicSuain, Comunn Eachdraidh Nis Annie Macsween, Comunn Eachdraidh Nis
Daibhidh Boag, Bòrd na Gàidhlig David Boag, Bòrd na Gàidhlig
Steven Kellow, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Steven Kellow, Bòrd na Gàidhlig
Ailig Greumach, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Alex Graham, Bòrd na Gàidhlig
Peadar Morgan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig Peadar Morgan, Bòrd na Gàidhlig