Water pressure to homes in Tong dropped dramatically on Sunday morning (September 30th) as a main burst in the garden of a home in the village.

The fault left villagers staring in dismay at soupy brown water as they prepared their Sunday dinners.

Cinema-goers who use the RBS Screen Machine are being asked for their views on everything about the mobile auditorium.

The big blue bus brings an 80-seat digital cinema to the islands, calling in Tarbert, Castlebay and locations the length of the Uists. Screen fare includes box-office blockbusters, family entertainment and small-budget art films, carefully selected to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

Now Screen Machine are asking for viewers to tell them what they think on everything from accessibility to zombie films, with an online survey about the Screen Machine experience.

Plastic waste could be reused in future as part of resurfacing work on the islands roads network.

SNP Councillor John A Maciver (Loch a Tuath) has asked Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to research the possibility of a plastic roads scheme in a bid to re-use waste and cut costs.

Two iconic brands, Triumph Motorcyles and Harris Tweed Hebrides, have teamed up to create a video which charts the spectacular journey between their respective headquarters – all in aid of the fight against prostate cancer.

In advance of Sunday’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, when motorcyclists around the world - many wearing tweeds - take to the open road in aid of men’s health charities, Triumph commissioned a special bike called The Dapper Bonnie which incorporates Harris Tweed into its design.

The announcement today )Friday September 28th) that the Castlebay Branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland has been saved is good news for the people of Barra, says local MP Angus Brendan MacNeil.

Mr MacNeil has been at the forefront of the campaign to save the Castlebay Branch and secured and hosted a visit to Barra by the Economic Secretary to HM Treasury, John Glen MP.

Angus said: “This is indeed very good news for the Isle of Barra and a victory for common sense.

Power engineers worked into the early hours of this morning (Friday September 28th) to get power reconnected to the Back district, after last night’s road-closure and power-cut crisis.

On a wet road, with standing water, a single car hit a power pole near the Golden Sands caravan park around 9.20pm last night (Thursday September 27th), bringing down the pole, transformer and power lines across the main road near Back Football Club and plunging more than 700 homes into darkness.

The finalists in the prestigious Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards have been announced with more than 40 businesses and individuals shortlisted for honours – but only one representative from the Outer Hebrides.

In the running for Best Cultural Event or Festival there’s the Purvai Festival, held at An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway, as well as Oban Live and the Isle of Jura Music Festival.

Motorists using the pedestrian area in central Stornoway are facing a continued crackdown from Police Scotland.

Western Isles police report on Twitter that: “ We have been carrying out checks at the pedestrian area between Point Street and Francis Street, Stornoway.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan raised the issue of social security assessments in island communities duringWednesday’s [26 September] sitting of the Scottish Parliament.

The islands MSP was questioning the new Cabinet Secretary for Social Security, Shirley-Anne Somerville about how assessments will be delivered in island and other rural areas to meet their distinctive needs. 

Certain powers on social security are now devolved to the Scottish Parliament, with legislation being passed earlier this year to set out how 11 benefits, such as Winter Fuel Payments and Personal Independence Payments, will be delivered.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus Brendan MacNeil fears the impact of a 'no-deal' Brexit, described by UK Prime Minister as the only alternative to her 'Chequers deal' which has been rejected by both the European Union and the Brexit-supporting MPs in her own party.

Commenting on reports in the Guardian newspaper that the National Farmers Union in England has warned of ‘catastrophic’ consequences for the farming export industry for six months after March 2019 if there is no Brexit deal, Angus Brendan MacNeil said:

“This is obviously worrying for many people in our islands, but it is no surprise in some circles as it is what the UK Government has been hearing from farmers and veterinary bodies for some time. 

Hundreds of people in the Coll and Tong area were tonight without power following a car crash (around 9.20pm Thursday September 27) - and the main road into the district is also closed. 

It is understood that power is off at 709 properties in the area of Upper Coll, Tong and the surrounding district.

The Carloway Mill has been showing off its traditional Harris Tweed craftsmanship in Venice

The boss of the Carloway Mill - pictured above in the mill - has returned from a major craftsmanship exhibition in Venice after being invited to be an exhibitor.

Brexit could result in a “traumatic failure” to deliver medical isotopes on time to cancer patients, MSPs heard yesterday (Wednesday September 27)

 Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart, who is also Scottish Labour’s shadow health minister, explained how the UK leaving the European Atomic Energy Community – known as Euratom - as part of Brexit’s Article 50 process could affect patients under-going treatment.

He was speaking at his Members’ Debate in Scottish Parliament.

Harris Gun Club members and brother, John and Andrew Hughson are weighing up the gains of their successes, as their trophy cabinet bursts at the seams.

Most recently, John finished second in Britain as junior skeet shooter at the home international in Doveridge, England.  

Andrew became the top junior DTL shooter in Britain at the home international.

The prospect of further significant cuts to local authority budgets is causing great concern for the UNISON Western Isles Local Government Branch.

In a statement released this morning (Wednesday 26th) the Branch calls upon Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Scottish Government "to explain to our communities why the Western Isles – which has one of the most fragile local economies in the country – is being forced to endure the highest level of budget cuts in Scotland.

"The impact of disproportionate cuts to local government funding by the Scottish Government means that councils are suffering more than other public service providers. UNISON’s view is that this has been a conscious choice by the Scottish Government, which cannot be blamed entirely on the Conservative Government’s ongoing austerity agenda."

A 12-page display of photographs and text about the Western Isles is published this month in the magazine, GEO Germany, which has a format of using photographs and expert text similar to the US-published National Geographic.

Harris Guides and Rangers are fundraising for their first ever international trip.  A group will be spending 9 days at the World Guiding Centre 'Our Chalet' in Adelboden, Switzerland (pictured above), where they will share Western Isles culture with other Guides from across the world and take part in some extreme challenges including hiking and climbing.

To raise the money needed for their Swiss adventure the Harris Guides and Rangers are running two evening events in Leverburgh over the next month:

  • Friday 28th September 7.30-9.30 p.m. Games Night at Leverburgh Hall: Like a quiz but rounds of team challenges that get you laughing as well as thinking. Come as a team or join a pot luck table. Adults £5, 10-17s £3.  Nibbles provided.  BYOB. 
  • Friday 26th October 7.30-9.30 p.m. Quiz Night at Leverburgh Hall: Come as a team or join a pot luck table.  Adults £5, 10-17s £3.  Nibbles provided.  BYOB.  

Everyone is welcome to come along, for more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

All major ferry routes to and from the Outer Hebrides are today cancelled or suspended due to gale force winds predicted to gust up to 58mph, with warnings of disruption or late notice cancellation on some inter-island routes.

Sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool are cancelled for most of the day but the 17.30 saling from Ullapool to Stornoway is currently expected to go ahead.

Ferries between Oban and Castlebay and Leverburgh and Berneray are cancelled for the day. Services between Tarbert, Uig and Lochmaddy are currently suspended but will be reviewed later today. The Ardmhor, Barra to Eriskay ferry is liable to disruption/cancellation at short notice.

For up to date information visit: https://www.calmac.co.uk/service-status

 

Police in the Highlands & Islands are to adopt a new initiative aimed at improving safety on the roads.

Operation CEDAR (Challenge, Educate, Detect and Reduce) will build on established practices and will focus on various agencies working in partnership to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured in the area.

In 2017, 17 people were killed on the roads in the Highlands and 74 seriously injured.  However, in 2018 to date, 18 people have died in road traffic collisions in the Highlands.

Motorists using the road between Stornoway and the Airport and Point have been expressing surprise at the sudden appearance of a 30mph limit at Parkend – where, until September 10th, a 40 mph order was in force.

No publicity was given to the implementation of the change, where the existing 40 mph signs were either removed or replaced, although motorists report police checking speeds in the area recently.

Council services face greater threats than ever as national spending cuts bite deeper…and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is a launching an Islands-wide effort to find ways to keep services alive while spending less on them.

Councillors this week are considering a radical programme of Service Redesign to take account of this enduring climate of financial austerity which threatens services.

CnES says that all Local Authorities in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom are faced with significant financial challenges and possible cuts to local services.

The last cruise vessel of the season has cancelled her planned call to Stornoway tomorrow (Tuesday September 25th) due to a forecast of strong winds and heavy rain tomorrow.

The Silversea Silver Wind was due to bring just under 300 visitors tomorrow, on her way from Ireland to the Faroes.

Some of the ever-changing story of what lies beneath the sand dunes in Vatersay will be investigated at a book event at Búth Bharraigh on Friday evening (28th September).

The Annie Jane was wrecked 165 years ago on Vatersay, with 350 emigrants from Scotland drowned that night. Most of them are buried in a mass grave among the sand dunes.

Come along and join in with a new weekly Health Walk in Castlebay. All abilities. All welcome

The weekly walk series will start on Wednesday 26thSeptember at 4.30pm, meeting at Castlebay Fire Station.

Island horse riders are speaking out in support of a police safety campaign that highlights the vulnerability of horses and riders on the road.

Western Isles police recently issued a warning urging drivers to be aware of horses, after concern from local riders about cars passing their animals too close and too fast.

Now island riders have explained their fear for their own safety – and that of other road users – with impatient drivers who don’t understand horse behaviour.

A 17-year-old dancer from Back has become the second island girl to be selected for the Scotland team, who’ll be heading to the dance and cheer world championships in Orlando, Florida.

Abbie Morrison, a pupil at the Nicolson Institute and dancer and coach with the island dance group North West Allstars, has been chosen for Scotland’s senior jazz dance team, as they rehearse for competition in Florida next April.

Labour in the Western Isles has called for immediate action to charter a freight vessel for the Stornoway-Ullapool route in order to ease pressure on the Loch Seaforth and the wider CalMac network.

Prospective Parliamentary candidate, Alison MacCorquodale, has pointed to reports in the maritime media that cargo vessel, Clipper Ranger, which was formerly deployed on the Stornoway-Ullapool route, is “resting” at the Cammell Laird yard on Merseyside.

Two in court over domestic assaults

Two men are to appear at Stornoway Sheriff Court on Tuesday (25th September) after two separate incidents of domestic assault over the weekend.

A man aged 43 was arrested in Stornoway at 7.20pm on Friday (September 21st) following a call for police assistance.

He was charged with domestic assault and has been in custody since then, from where he’ll be taken to court on Tuesday.

In a second incident in Tong, a 49-year-old man was arrested and charged with domestic assault at 1am on Sunday (September 23rd).

He was released from custody under bail conditions, on an undertaking to appear in court on Tuesday.

Drink driving charge

A man was charged with drink-driving after being stopped by police in Sandwick at 4.25pm on Saturday (September 22nd).

He’s been kept in custody at Stornoway police station since then and will appear in court from custody on Tuesday (September 25th).

A solitary spruce tree on the Isle of Eriskay is one of six contenders to become Scotland’s tree of the year for 2018 – if it gets enough support from islanders.

Netty’s Tree, battling the elements near Netty MacDonald’s croft in Eriskay, was planted more than 100 years ago by the poet, priest and land rights activist Father Allan McDonald and was until a few years ago the only tree on the island.

A special remembrance poppy pin designed to commemorate the centenary of the Iolaire disaster is to go on on sale on Monday October 1st.

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A NEW schools resource which celebrates the contribution Runrig have made to the Gaelic language and culture has been launched by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig.

The unit is a significant addition to the Gaelic resource corpus and part of Stòrlann’s Fileanta suite of resources for fluent Gaelic speakers in secondary school, although it can also be used with some learner classes.

The Outer Hebrides are starring on TV tonight (Friday, 21 September) in the final episode of Channel 5’s Britain By Bike series with Larry and George Lamb – and it’s thanks to an alliance of island bike hire and bike repair companies that they were able to complete their journey.

In the last episode in the series, the father and son undertake the 185-mile Hebridean Way, from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis…. but run into trouble early on, when Larry’s gears stop working.

Teenage footballer Rachael Johnstone has achieved her goal this week, helping Scotland’s U16 women’s football team achieve a 2-2 aggregate draw over two friendly international challenges in Poland.

The Isle of Harris Distillery won the biggest award of the night at the Scottish Gin Awards in Glasgow last night (Thursday September 20th).

The ultimate award, Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, was presented to Isle of Harris Distillers, whose mission to create a “social distillery” bringing jobs and increasing tourism to the island was praised. 


School captains for the new academic year have been named at The Nicolson Institute. The captains were elected by their peers, the other school students as well as by members of staff.  The picture shows (left to right) Jessica O’Loughlin, vice-captain; Annie Barber, captain; James Mutch, vice-captain and John Alasdair Bain, captain.

The Norwegian cargo vessel Fame made her way to Stornoway late last night (Thursday September 20th) tying up at west no. 1 pier in Stornoway harbour just after 10.30pm.

It’s not known why she ran aground in East Loch Tarbert early on Sunday morning, given that there were no exceptional tidal or weather conditions.

Hebrides Energy’s partner Our Power has recently given its local customers the opportunity to get Smart Meters installed.

This is the first time that smart meters have been rolled out to island homes.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has hit out at the UK Government’s handling of Brexit negotiations and says exiting the EU will impact the economy even if a deal is struck.

Mr MacNeil, who is also Chair of the House of Commons International Trade Committee, has repeatedly questioned the Tory Government including the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU on what lies ahead, but has not been given any satisfactory answers.

Kisimul Castle features poetically in a new film by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), as they launch their updated Gaelic language plan for 2018-23.

A huge gap in the island market is set to be filled next month, as the first batch of home-produced milk from Brogaidh’s Dairy in Bragar lands on doorsteps on October 1st.

CalMac faced a new headache on the Uig triangle ferry route, with a new delay this morning (Thursday September 20th) keeping the ferry away from the berth in Uig, Skye.

As part of BBC ALBA’s tenth anniversary debate in the Scottish Parliament yesterday (Wednesday September 19th)  SNP MSP Alasdair Allan called on the BBC to “deliver more for Gaelic broadcasting with better parity of resources between the UK nations.”

BBC ALBA’s BAFTA-winning current affairs programme Eòrpa attracts both Gaelic and non-Gaelic speaking audiences – demonstrating the success the channel has had in delivering for the whole of Scotland, not just the minority language community.

Ness runner Charles Young has reached the halfway point in his challenge to complete two great runs to raise funds for Ness Charities.

Charles, of 7 Fivepenny, completed the Great North Run half-marathon in Newcastle on the 9th September and is keeping his training up ahead of the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on September 30th.

All flight departing and arriving into Glasgow International and Edinburgh Airport are currently suspended until further notice as Storm Ali brings winds gusting up to 63 knots (70mph approx).

Staff at the airports will keep all customers up to date and customers can also view live status updates of their flights using the following link.
https://www.loganair.co.uk/travel-information/flight-status/

Meanwhile, there are ferry cancellations the length of the islands today (Wednesday September 19th). CalMac is reporting south-westerly winds gusting up to 52 knots and high swell conditions.

The battle between community landowner The Stornoway Trust and several crofting townships over the sites for wind turbines reached a new level today (Wednesday September 19th).

First the Stornoway Trust welcomed the long-awaited decision from the Crofting Commission not to consent the Section 50B application submitted by the Grazing Committees of Melbost and Branahuie, Sandwick and Sandwick East Street, and Sandwick North Street.

In a detailed judgment issued to each applicant who had sought consent to establish wind turbines on the site of the already consented Stornoway Wind Farm proposed development, the Commission explains it considered and accepted, as a matter of fact, that the proposed use would be detrimental to the interest of the Stornoway Trust as set out in Section 50B (2) of the 1993 Crofting Act.

Friday September 28th sees the big annual chance to support cancer care and treatment with the "World's Biggest Coffee Morning"

And Highlands & Islands Regional MSPs Rhoda Grant (above) and David Stewart (below) raise a cup to help people with cancer live life as fully as they can.

Western Isles Citizens Advice Service is urging local people to take part in a national survey on issues relating to food, including cost, choice, access and quality.

The Food on the Table survey will run for the next month. It is available online at www.cas.org.uk/foodonthetable and paper copies will also be available at the local Citizens Advice Bureau offices in Stornoway, Tarbert, Balivanich and Castlebay.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has demanded that the Tory government steps in to save island banking services in a Scottish Parliament debate highlighting the negative impact of branch closures on communities across Scotland.

The debate follows a damning report by Holyrood’s Economy Committee which investigated the impact of local bank closures across Scotland.

The report found that:

The Maritime Department at Lews Castle College will be offering the following Short Courses at the Stornoway Campus from October 2018 until April 2019. Please note that all one-day classes run on Fridays, from 9am to 5pm.

Sea Survival/Personal Survival Techniques. Held on 5th October, 9th November, 7th December, 1st February, and 15th March.

Emergency First Aid at Work/STCW First Aid. Held on 21st September, 2nd November, 11th January, and 2nd March. (The three day “First Aid at Work” is available on request.)

RYA SRC / VHF. Held on 12th October, 16th November, 14th December, 18th January, 15th February,  and 22nd March.

Efficient Deckhand. Held on 12th—16th November, and 4th—8th March.

Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities. Held on 16th November and 8th March.

VHF Evening Class. This two-hour class is held on Wednesdays for 6 weeks from 24th October.

For more information, please contact:

Iain Angus Macaulay: 01851 770287  |   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alistair Macleod: 01851 770284  |   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lews Castle College: 01851 770000

A 47-year-old man was appearing in court today (Tuesday September 18th) for the third time in 36 hours.

The man was taken into custody at the weekend and charged with drink-driving and with a number of breaches of bail conditions.

He was kept in custody and appeared at Stornoway Sheriff court on Monday, and at Inverness this morning.

His third appearance was this afternoon.

Man charged with shoplifting

A 61-year-old man was traced by police after a report of shoplifting from the Co-op superstore in Stornoway at 11.23am on Saturday (September 15th).

Police were called by staff after alcohol was taken from the shop without payment. The man was traced, cautioned and charged with theft and will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

Car on roof on Barvas moor

Police were called to Barvas moor just after 4am on Sunday (16th September) after reports that a car had left the road, hit a wall and was on its roof beside the road.

An 18-year-old man was found to be alone in the car and had suffered lacerations and other non-life-threatening injuries.

He was taken to hospital by ambulance after being treated by paramedics at the scene.

Blood tests were taken and charges may follow the incident depending on the outcome of the tests.

The ferry service into Tarbert remains suspended, with services cancelled and diverted via Stornoway and Ullapool, affecting timings of the Loch Seaforth.

This follows the weekend incident where a fish-farm vessel was damaged and is now moored at the Tarbert ferry terminal pier.

Now Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil is pressing the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to remove MV Fame from the Tarbert ferry berth as a matter of urgency and allow vital ferry services to resume.


A team from the Isle of Harris Distillery are heading off the island on Thursday (September 20th) in the hope of coming home with a clutch of awards for the Tarbert business.

The gale force winds forecast for tomorrow have now officially been named as the first storm of the season, Storm Ali.

An updated Met Office weather warning at 10am today (Tuesday September 18th) covers the period from Wednesday (September 19th) between 6am and 10pm.

The latest data published by sportscotland that Active Schools is going from strength to strength with national figures at an all-time high and 7.3 million participant sessions delivered in 2017/18, an increase of 6% from 2016/17.

Contributing to the national figures, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar ran 45,397 participant sessions in the last year, and 1,597 individual children and young people took part in a whole range of sports and physical activities in those sessions.

There has been a 2% increase overall in the percentage of the school roll now participating in Active Schools sessions nationally, and a 6% increase in the number of activity sessions, 2,081 of those sessions delivered in the Western Isles. 

Mel Young, Chair of sportscotland, said:  “It’s really encouraging to see the continued growth in participation in Active Schools activities across the country. 

 

Two young local badminton players returned from Orkney with more than their fair share of trophies.

In a field of more than 90 players from Orkney, Shetland and throughout the Highlands, Beth MacPhail, aged 13, of Newvalley and Keith Bray, 12, of Aird Tong, had a successful trip during the second weekend in September.

UPDATED: 1500hrs, 18/9/2018

Road traffic is now flowing between north and south Harris, albeit in a single lane - but the ferry service remains diverted to Stornoway. 

The debris from last night (seen above)  has now been removed from the road.

The main inter-island road between Tarbert and Ardhasaig in Harris was completely closed on Monday September 17th, following a landslide affecting the section between the Harris Hotel and the Health Centre.

Western Isles Police and members of the Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene, pictured above by Innes Morrison.

A Yellow Warning for wind on Wednesday in the Highlands & Eilean Siar regions has been issued by the UK Met Office.

Already ferry services in the Southern Hebrides have been affected with some cancelled.

Police in the Western Isles are urging drivers to be aware of vulnerable road users, particularly horses.

Officers in the islands have recently received concerned from local riders about cars passing their animals too close to too fast.


Horses and their riders are considered to be vulnerable road users - as are cyclists and pedestrians - and that should be taken into account if passing them.


Tarbert pier update, Monday 5pm

Ferry disruption looks set to continue into a third day at Tarbert, with the pier out of commission while a stricken fish-farm cargo vessel is tied up awaiting safety clearance.

CalMac has advised that ferry services will continue to run between Uig and Stornoway tomorrow (Tuesday 18th September), with an amended timetable as follows:

Depart Uig 09:30
Arrive Stornoway 12:30
Depart Stornoway 12:55
Arrive Uig 16:00

There will be a review on Tuesday regarding the 18:30 departure from Uig to Tarbert.

The damaged vessel Fame this afternoon (Monday 5pm) remains at the pier with a second vessel, Harvest Caroline II, alongside.

She’s capable of carrying the same cargo as the Fame, which offloaded her cargo of salmon food onto the pier on Sunday as part of the attempt to raise her in the water for repairs.

UPDATE: 10am Monday 17 September

Maritime and Coastguard Agency inspectors are heading for Tarbert from Glasgow today (Monday September 17th) to inspect the fish-farm cargo vessel Fame, which is tied up alongside the ferry pier after running aground yesterday (Sunday September 16th).

The damaged vessel is now blocking all ferry traffic to Tarbert, causing CalMac to re-route the MV Hebrides for the whole of the day today. The full revised service – now operating between Uig and Stornoway – is at https://www.calmac.co.uk/service-status.

Whether the disruption continues will depend on the outcome of the inspectors’ visit, with the damaged vessel unable to move until passed safe. It has been holed below the water-line, and locally-based commercial divers yesterday carried out a temporary repair in the harbour at Tarbert after the Fame and another fish farm vessel had pumped a substantial amount of water out.

UPDATE: 10am Monday 17 September

Maritime and Coastguard Agency inspectors are heading for Tarbert from Glasgow today (Monday September 17th) to inspect the fish-farm cargo vessel Fame, which is tied up alongside the ferry pier after running aground yesterday (Sunday September 16th).

The damaged vessel is now blocking all ferry traffic to Tarbert, causing CalMac to re-route the MV Hebrides for the whole of the day today. The full revised service – now operating between Uig and Stornoway – is at https://www.calmac.co.uk/service-status.

Whether the disruption continues will depend on the outcome of the inspectors’ visit, with the damaged vessel unable to move until passed safe. It has been holed below the water-line, and locally-based commercial divers yesterday carried out a temporary repair in the harbour at Tarbert after the Fame and another fish farm vessel had pumped a substantial amount of water out.

Warmth and companionship were the hallmarks of the 60th anniversary reunion weekend held in Stornoway on Friday and Saturday (14th and 15th September).

There were 98 participants at the reunion, travelling from far and wide to pack into Stornoway Golf Club on Friday night.

 
An island-born chef who has become a TV celebrity has returned to his Lewis roots this week (Sunday September 16th) for his last ever cooking show.

Lewis singer-songwriter Rosie Sullivan is preparing for a performance of a lifetime, as well as a long journey!

Rosie , 16 , has been chosen to play one of her own songs at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Wednesday November 7.

The Stornoway Trust has responded to critics of its windfarm plans with Lewis Windpower (LWP) by saying that its schemes are key to building the Interconnector to the mainland, without which it is likely that no further sustainable power-generation schemes can proceed.

In a statement this week the community landowner said that: “With the 2019 Contract of Difference auction date fast approaching, Scottish & Southern Energy Network’s (SSEN) long awaited submission of the subsea 600MW cable Needs Case to the Energy Regulator (Ofgem) has been warmly welcomed by the Stornoway Trust. 

“Not only because it offers renewed hope that investment in the link will be approved, but that its stated case, backed up by well-informed independent advice, clearly recognises the importance of LWP and Forsa Energy’s already consented schemes in helping to underpin the strength of their submission.

A memorial bench in Portnaguran has triggered a flood of memories for local residents.

The new bench has been placed at the foot of croft number 5, where the family of Alexander (Sandy) Campbell lived.

Sandy passed away in 2017 and the bench has been placed by his widow, Rose, looking out over Broad Bay and the small village harbour in Portnaguran.

There has been a drastic shake-up in VisitScotland's plans for tourist advice in the Outer Hebrides - which last year saw all the remaining Uist and Barra offices close and a plan to close either Stornoway or Tarbert as well.

Outer Hebrides Tourism says: "We have been working with VisitScotland on visitor information provision. The proposal has come a long way from the initial position of having one hub in Lewis or Harris to service all the islands and we feel this is a better outcome."

VisitScotland says: "The way visitors get information has changed significantly over the past decade with two in three visitors now accessing information online. Research has shown that we might now seek information at the breakfast table, in the pub and whilst out at visitor attractions.

Lewis and Harris Auction Mart once again broke records yesterday (Wednesday 12th September) with the top price ever paid for sheep.

A pen of five gimmers from Murdo Campbell, 11a Portnaguran, sold for £125 each and Donald Macleod, 5 Shulishader, made the same high price per head for three gimmers.

Mart director Kenny Macleod said: “The previous record was around £100 per head, so this was quite exceptional. Overall prices were not bad, a wee bit down on the same sale last year and a couple of pounds per head on average down on the August sale.”

Crofter Donald MacSween of Ness has been shortlisted for a new award to be made by the Scottish Crofting Federation, it was announced today (Thursday September 13th).

He’s one of two finalists in the category Young Crofter of the Year, celebrating the Year of Young People and the role of young people in crofting.  

The awards will be presented by Mel Irivine, one of the stars of BBC TV’s This Farming Life, during a dinner at Grant Hall, Rothes on October 5th.

All pupils of the Nicolson Institute had to leave the building earlier today (Thursday September 13th) when a science experiment triggered the alarm system.

The experiment in one of the science labs set off detectors and a full evacuation was set in motion, in accordance with the school’s fire procedures.

Fire service officials checked the building and pupils were allowed back into the building after a short time.

The school said: “Parents and carers can be reassured that there was no danger to pupils, staff or the building. Pupils co-operated well with staff throughout the procedure.”

Balallan teenager Rachael Johnstone has her eye firmly on one goal – and she’s not about to let anyone put the ball into it.

14-year-old Rachael is heading to Poland next week (Monday September 17th), after being selected to join the Scotland women’s U-16 national football team. She’ll be one of two goalkeepers and is almost certain to get playing time, as well as her first national caps.

The S4 pupil at Sir E Scott School has been chosen as part of the squad for two friendly matches between Scotland and Poland u-16s, on September 19th and 21st. It’s a tremendous accolade for a young player, especially one who lives so far from Scotland’s national training facilities.

Balallan teenager Rachael Johnstone has her eye firmly on one goal – and she’s not about to let anyone put the ball into it.

14-year-old Rachael is heading to Poland next week (Monday September 17th), after being selected to join the Scotland women’s U-16 national football team. She’ll be one of two goalkeepers and is almost certain to get playing time, as well as her first national caps.

The S4 pupil at Sir E Scott School has been chosen as part of the squad for two friendly matches between Scotland and Poland u-16s, on September 19th and 21st. It’s a tremendous accolade for a young player, especially one who lives so far from Scotland’s national training facilities.

North nursing students had the opportunity to meet Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer when she visited the University of the Highlands and Islands’ nursing department in Inverness on Monday 10 September.

Professor Fiona McQueen spoke to students and staff in person at the Centre for Health Science and addressed students in Stornoway via a video conference link.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am (Thursday September 13th) for the island return of the popular Scottish folk pop band Tide Lines.

Tide Lines have announced that they will play Stornoway Town Hall on December 12th, Tarbert Community Centre on the 13th and Castlebay Hall on the 15th, with a mid-way stop on December 14th at Iochdar in South Uist. After Castlebay they take a short Christmas break before a return to Ullapool on December 30th, followed by Inverness for the Red Hot Highland Fling to bring in 2019.

Their 27-date UK tour runs from Hallowe’en to Hogmanay at venues from Aberdeen to Hampshire and launches a new EP, Let’s Make Tonight, which is released on October 26th.

The band posted on their Facebook page: “We’ve tried to squeeze in as many gigs as we can and some unlicensed gigs that will facilitate the attendance of U18’s. 

“Tickets for these shows go on sale online at 10am on Thursday morning so be quick! The rest of the UK tour is selling well and the Scottish gigs are close to selling out. So get in fast and we’ll see you all in October, November, and December.”

Links for ticket sales can be found via http://www.tidelinesband.com/gigs/

Three arrested after town disturbance: 

Police were called to Ross Terrace in Stornoway on Saturday (September 8th) at 10pm, with reports of a disturbance involving a number of youths.

A 17-year-old boy, a 19-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman were all arrested and taken to Stornoway police station, where they were searched. A small quantity of drugs was found in the possession of one youth.

All three will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal for a statutory breach of the peace and possible other charges.

Castle grounds assault: 

A 16-year-old youth has been charged with assault after an attack on another youth in the Castle grounds on Saturday (September 8th).

Police intervened in the disturbance at 10.30pm on Saturday, and the 16-year-old was cautioned and charged and will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal and the Children’s Reporter.

Drink driver in West Harris: 

A car which was driven off the road and abandoned caused concern on Monday afternoon (September 10th) in West Harris.

The vehicle was spotted off the main A859 between Luskentyre and Seilebost at around 4pm.

Police were called and a 47-year-old man was traced in connection with the accident.

He’s been charged with drink-driving, careless driving and other offences related to the incident and will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

Point and Sandwick Trust was cheering on the Under-13s of Point Football Club on Saturday (September 8) as the youngsters took part in the first league of the Manor Dairies Cup – their first outing in their new strips, which the community wind farm charity was proud to sponsor.

The wee Reds looked great in their new gear and made it through to the next stage of the cup, having come second in their group.

CalMac warn of delay to the Oban - Castlebay sailing this afternoon, Tuesday 11 September, with an expected ETA of 8pm tonight instead of 6.15pm.

Due to strong winds and a large swell of 4.5 + metre in the open Sea of the Hebrides MV Isle of Lewis will route round the inside of the Small Isles. MV Lord of the Isles sailing to Lochmaddy is also taking the same more sheltered route for reasons of Safety and public Comfort. .

CalMac also warn of possible disruptions to ferry sailings on the Ardmhor, Barra - Eriskay route from this afternoon, Tuesday 11 September, onwards.

For up to date information visit https://www.calmac.co.uk/service-status

 

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Gale force south-westerly winds forecast today (Tuesday September 11th) mean possible disruption once again to ferry services for Tarbert and Lochmaddy.

CalMac said that all sailings on the Uig-Tarbert-Lochmaddy route are liable to cancellation or disruption from 11:40 onward, possibly at short notice, due to a forecast of winds up to 42 knots. 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has voiced his hopes for the future of the Arnish yard.

The islands MSP was speaking after meeting with Sean Power, Vice President for Business Development of DF Barnes, to discuss the company’s vision for the future of Arnish.

DF Barnes acquired BiFab – the company most recently operating at Arnish - earlier this year in a deal brokered by the Scottish Government.

Stornoway police have issued an appeal for witnesses after someone removed a rope from a fishing vessel berthed at the inner harbour, opposite Pointers and the Royal Bank of Scotland on North Beach Street.

The rope was removed some time between 8pm on Saturday (8th September) and 11am on Sunday (9th September), causing the vessel to drift away from the pier.

Police said that, if there had been adverse weather at the time, damage could have been caused to the vessel and to other vessels nearby.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Stornoway police on the non-emergency number, 101 or at Stornoway police station, quoting reference NH1841/18.

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Saturday (September 9th) turned out to be a beautiful day for making memories, as the Lewis and Harris branch of Alzheimer Scotland put their best feet forward on the annual memory walk.

A total of 94 adults, 12 children and four dogs were in high spirits setting out from the Bridge Centre to walk around the castle grounds in the sunshine. Marion MacInnes of the local Alzheimers group said people had varying motivations for getting involved:

“Some people walk to support the cause, for the company or in memory of someone dear to them who has or had dementia. We were so pleased with the numbers – almost double the turnout of last year, and the weather certainly helped!”


Airport staff who set out to cycle from Eilean Glas lighthouse to the Butt of Lewis on Saturday (September 8th) believe they may double the money they hoped to raise for cancer charities.


Airport staff who set out to cycle from Eilean Glas lighthouse to the Butt of Lewis on Saturday (September 8th) believe they may double the money they hoped to raise for cancer charities.

A convoy of vehicles carrying 15 cyclists, their kit, cycles and support staff left Stornoway airport at 6.30am on Saturday, headed for an epic 135k trip to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care and Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative (WICCI).

Once they reached Scalpay there was a three-mile walk to make sure the challenge really did start at Eilean Glas lighthouse, but it soon became obvious that there was a good reason for a quick getaway. Challenge team leader Donald Macmillan said: “The midges were horrendous in Scalpay, so we were glad to get on the bikes and get underway!”

Isle of Lewis dancer Kayleigh Nicolson set out with determination at the weekend for the first step on her road to making a dream come true.

Kayleigh has been selected to join team Scotland in the world dance and cheerleading championships in Orlando, Florida next April.

There are more cancellations for travellers to and from Tarbert and Lochmaddy today (Sunday 9th September) and tomorrow (Monday 10th September) – but this time due to the weather.

Strong south-westerly winds forecast for tonight mean today’s 20:40 sailing from Lochmaddy to Uig and tomorrow morning’s 5:15am sailing from Uig to Tarbert have been cancelled, although the 7.20am sailing from Tarbert to Uig will be as timetabled tomorrow (Monday 10th September).

Police Scotland has officially launched "Trauma Teddies" in the Highlands & Islands with partners from the charity Safe, Strong and Free.

It follows the generous donation of more than 800 teddies, which have been hand knitted and crocheted across the region.

It’s the end of an era for daytime eating out in south Harris as Skoon Art Cafe will soon become Skoon Gallery and abandon its long-established mixed menu of art and food.

Hosts Andrew and Emma Craig say: “We are coming to the end of our 14th season and we feel the time is right for a change.

“We plan to run winter cafe days as often as we can from November to March each year, but from April 2019 we will only be offering tea/ coffee and scones in the Gallery.

At the start of 2018, Mairi ‘Ord’ MacKenzie found herself aiming to raise £500 for brain cancer research after her husband Michael was diagnosed with the condition.

By August, she had far surpassed those early expectations and is overwhelmed by the response her appeal received.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant queried the funding deal struck by the Government and CMAL for MV Loch Seaforth with the newly appointed Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday (September 6).

The MSP says she “has been fighting to get the Scottish Government to be transparent with regard to the funding and ownership of the MV Loch Seaforth.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil has contacted the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAC) seeking details of why First Responder teams are not being called to assist at as many local incidents as in the past.

First Responders are trained volunteers who are available to be dispatched by an ambulance control centre to attend calls in their local area and assist until the arrival of the Ambulance.

Stornoway RNLI lifeboat launched last night (Wednesday, September 6th) at 2115 hours to reports of red flares being spotted between the Point Peninsula and the Shiant Islands.

The RNLI lifeboat launched at the request of Stornoway Coastguard and, along with fishery protection vessel ‘Minna’, commenced a search from the Shiants in a northerly heading towards Point.

Protests have erupted following the latest major disruption to ferries across the Hebrides – with the Hebrides ferry off the Tarbert-Lochmaddy-Uig route and knock-on service disruption from Stornoway to Oban.

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday September 5th) CalMac announced that: “Repair work to MV Hebrides has been successful” after almost three days of being marooned in Uig.

And cancelled services were suddenly rescheduled. “The previously-cancelled 1410 Uig-Tarbert will be delayed until approx 1600 and the previously-cancelled 1620 Tarbert-Uig will be delayed until approx 1815.”  Knock-on disruption continues today on services between Mallaig, Armadale and Lochboisdale.

Video-conferencing to link island some patients and their doctors based elsewhere is set to become an everyday event at Western Isles Hospital.

Although NHS Western Isles has utilised video conferencing for clinics in the past, a dedicated NHS ‘Near Me’ room has now been established at the Hospital with appointments for island haematology patients now being booked.

 Final preparations are underway for the fifth Hebrides International Film Festival – taking place throughout the Outer Hebrides with films being shown at Vatersay Community Hall on Wednesday, 19 September and Thursday, 20 September.

 

The festival, which is supported by Creative Scotland, HIE and other agencies has developed into a high-quality event, which brings the latest in world cinema to the islands.

 

Only films made within the last three years are eligible to be included in the programme, which is curated by Muriel Ann Macleod, director of the Rural Nations Community Interest Company, with the support of Paul Taylor, the cinema programmer at Eden Court Theatre.

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Time-lapse pictures showing a special milestone for Sgoil an Rubha mark the very first intake of pupils to pass through the new district primary school for Point.

Point and Sandwick Trust yesterday (Monday September 3rd) yesterday revealed their sentimental project to record time passing.


Beinn Ghrideag wind farm, as seen from Point - photographed by Sandie Maciver

Community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust is continuing its awards streak and has been shortlisted for three more accolades – this time for innovation and success in social enterprise.

The Trust, which operates the biggest community wind farm in the UK at Beinn Ghrideag just outside Stornoway, has been listed as a finalist in both the Scottish and UK Social Enterprise Awards for its work in operating a commercial business for social good.

A Harris tweed designed by a six-year-old boy from Scalpay will be swinging through Edinburgh on Sunday September 16th – and it’s already raising money for charity straight from the loom.

The tweed is this week (Tuesday September 4th) being woven by Tarbert weaver Heather Campbell as a commission for an island couple taking part in the Edinburgh Kilt Walk.

There will be a whole lot of pedal power on the roads on Saturday 8th September when 18 Stornoway airport staff leave behind their usual modes of transport and take part in the Lighthouse2lighthouse 135 Km charity cycle.

The wild rabbit population of Lewis and Harris is being decimated by a new outbreak of myxomatosis, with reports of dead and dying animals around the islands.

The news comes as no disappointment to gardeners, who have increasingly suffered from crop raids as the rabbit population boomed in recent years.

But wildlife-lovers have been distressed by the sight of ‘myxy’ rabbits dying in dunes and across machair, with afflicted animals also seen on roads and in gardens.

A tourist who drove off the ferry while over the limit found herself in Stornoway Sheriff Court this morning (Monday September 3rd).

The 59-year-old Swedish woman left the ferry having drunk too much on Saturday lunchtime and was immediately stopped, tested and charged by Stornoway police.

She appeared in court today and was fined for the offence of drink-driving.

In youth league football, Kevin Macmillan was awarded the Willie Reid cup on Saturday night (September 1st) for his services to junior football.

The presentation followed a season of late school nights, washing football strips every week and constant support for young footballers from the sidelines.

The impressive sight of the offshore supply vessel Gary Chouest will please ship spotters this week after she came into Stornoway this morning (Sunday September 2nd).

The Leverburgh RNLI Chaplain, Rev Mark Macleod, offered prayers today (Sunday September 2nd) after a sad outcome to a lifeboat launch on Saturday (September 1st).

Stornoway Coastguard ops room were called at 1.15pm on Saturday, after concerns were raised about an unmanned recreational fishing boat, drifting off the pier at Loch Dunvegan in Skye.

Other boats in the area had reported a fishing boat with two lines out and a dog on board but no person to be seen.

Point Community Council were asked by ‘Seafarers UK’ to fly a Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day which is 3 September each year and did so on behalf of all the retired and serving seafarers from the Point area, using the pole at the Seaview football pitch.

Young Scots have the chance of extra help to realise their potential thanks to £18m funding from Young Start.

Voluntary sector organisations which involve young people in the design, running and evaluation of projects can apply for grants ranging from £10,000 to £100,000 for activities that focus on changing the lives of children and young people between eight and 24 years of age.

 The funding is available for projects that:

Fishermen in Stornoway clubbed together with Islander Shellfish on the Cromwell Street quayside to raise £1000 for the Western Isles Kidney Patient Association.

More than 50 tourism businesses have taken a step nearer being crowned the best in the Highlands and Islands after being named as finalists in the industry’s annual ‘Oscars’ yesterday (Friday 29 September).

Competition to win a coveted Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) trophy has reached an unprecedented level with entries and nominations this year surpassing previous record-breaking levels.

In the Outer Hebrides, finalists include Hebridean Celtic Festival as Best Cultural Event or Festival (a title it won in 2014) and Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd, Tarbert as Best Visitor Attraction.

At CnES…Calum Iain Maciver, Director of Development; Councillor Roddie Mackay, Council Leader; Lord Duncan; and Chef Executive Malcolm Burr.

Scotland Office Brexit Minister Lord Duncan flew out of Stornoway today (Friday September 29) after a series of meetings across Lewis and Harris aimed at building links between the Western Isles and those involved in organising the UK exit from the European Union.

Yellow weather warnings for Sunday and Monday have been issued for the Eilean Siar area by the Met Office today (Friday, October 29th) highlighting high winds and rainfall to come this weekend.
A Yellow warning has been issued for the area between midnight on Sunday, October 1st, until 6pm that day as spells of heavy and persistent rain are expected, accompanied by strong winds at times.
The Met office forecast warns that flooding of a few homes and businesses is possible; and that spray and flooding on roads could make journey times long and could affect some bus and train services as some 15-25mm of rain is likely in places.

A new role in HIE for David Oxley

A new Director of Business and Sector Development has been appointed at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
David Oxley, originally from County Durham, joined HIE in 2004 as head of operations in Lochaber, before moving to Forres with his wife and son in 2011 to take up the role of area manager in Moray.
Before joining the organisation, David worked as an accountant in the private sector, primarily in brewing.

The Hebridean Celtic Festival’s record-breaking year in 2016 has put it in line for another major award.

Last year’s event, headlined by Runrig, has been shortlisted in the Best Cultural Event or Festival category in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA), a title it won in 2014.

A total of 14 police personnel "will return to operational duties in Highlands & Islands Division"  as a result of major changes at the Police Scotland centre in Inverness, approved yesterday (Thursday 28th September 2017) 

When the Scottish Police Authority Board met in Inverness yesterday, permission was given for the closure of the Inverness Area Control Room (ACR) and Service Centre, with the transfer of ACR functions to  Dundee and call handling transferred to the Police Scotland Service Centre (PSSC).

Assistant Chief Constable John Hawkins also presented a proposal for the creation of a new National Database Enquiry Unit (NDEU) based in Inverness and Govan, and this was approved.

As the Comhairle called for fairer gas tariffs for Stornoway customers yesterday, energy regulator Ofgem is to continue its investigation into Stornoway gas customers being denied access to cheap tariffs.
Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, together with Stornoway guesthouse proprietor Derek McPherson, met with Ofgem this week to discuss the historical issue which has seen Stornoway customers potentially pay thousands of pounds more than mainland residents.
Mr MacNeil brought the case to Ofgem earlier this year, and Anthony Pygram, Partner, Consumers and Competition, and Shona Fisher, Senior Manager, External Relations from Ofgem confirmed they are continuing to investigate the situation.

SNP MP Angus B MacNeil

Western Isles MP Angus B MacNeil is disappointed with the response received from the Minister of State for Immigration, Brandon Lewis MP, regarding the crew shortage crisis in the West Coast fishing industry.
“I invited Mr Lewis to meet with representatives of the West Coast of Scotland fishing industry so as he could see the damage the UK Government’s rules on migrant workers is having on fishing communities,” said Mr MacNeil.
“The response from the Minister of State for Immigration shows a clear lack of understanding about the crisis in the West Coast of Scotland fishing industry.”

CalMac’s environmental manager Klare Chamberlain collects the award from comedian Marcus Brigstocke and Deputy First Minister, John Swinney  

Efforts by CalMac to build better environmental partnerships across the west coast have been recognised by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.
The trade body awarded the ‘Crown Estate Scotland Award for Excellence in a Marine Business’ to the ferry operator for its work in building up working relationships with wildlife groups.
CalMac approached Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Marine Scotland last year to see how the company could help capture a range of environmental and scientific observational data.

The PAMIS Pamiloo will be situated outside Stornoway Town Hall for those interested to have a look around

Scottish charity PAMIS (Promoting A More Inclusive Society) are taking their new mobile Changing Places toilet to the Western Isles next week.
And while in the islands, the charity will deliver Postural Care taster sessions, to encourage councillors and planners to form a Changing Places strategy, ensuring that people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their families have a better, more inclusive life.
One of the main barriers families face in getting out is the lack of accessible toilets and at the moment there are no Changing Places toilets on the Western Isles.

Tourism related to archaeology is worth approximately £4m and the equivalent of 80 full-time (FTE) jobs in the Western Isles, but has the potential to be worth £8m and 160 FTE jobs, the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development Committee heard today (Wednesday September 27th).  

The findings are in an economic impact assessment of the value of tourism by those with an interest in archaeology commissioned by the Comhairle.

Analysis of data contained within the Outer Hebrides Visitor Survey and consultation with key stakeholders were the main sources of information for the study.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) has confirmed membership of its new twelve member Community Board – ensuring every community CalMac serves is represented.
It was announced recently that the chair of the new board would be Lewis based businessman and ex leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Angus Campbell.
The creation of the independent Community Board was a key element of the company’s winning bid for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract last year and will be a strong community voice on strategic ferry issues.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are calling on British Gas to consider fairer tariffs for Stornoway customers.
Councillor Donald Crichton has written to Mark Hodges, British Gas Chief Executive, asking the company to consider more fair and competitive energy prices for Stornoway customers which would give them the cheapest possible deal available to help alleviate the high levels of fuel poverty.
The Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee said there were a number of areas where the Comhairle would welcome further information and discussion with the company.

The Marine Scotland seafarers’ dispute has finally been settled, says Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant.

The long-running dispute, over fair pay for Marine Scotland seafarers, has been settled with Unite members voting for an enhanced deal.

Although union officials agreed the deal in August, averting a planned strike, it took until this month for Unite members to come back supporting the settlement. Members of Nautilus International had also voted in favour of action if an acceptable solution was not achieved.

An exciting and experimental photography exhibition is being shown in An Lanntair arts centre which draws the Western Isles into a new international festival of Photography – FLOW Photofest – taking place across the North of Scotland.

Opened in Inverness on Saturday, September 2nd, FLOW Photofest presents a programme of exhibitions and events featuring work by over 40 photographers from, or working in, the North, from Scotland, Norway, Finland, Iceland and beyond.

Festival founder and organiser, Matt Sillars, said: “FLOW festival will give the people of the Highlands a unique opportunity to experience work by internationally acclaimed photographers.

Community Groups from the Butt to Barra will see their share of the Western Isles Lottery being returned to their Communities this weekend.

A spokesperson for Western Isles Community Society, who run the Lottery, say they are delighted to be returning such a large sum after only six weekly draws having been made and thank everybody who has already joined.  The Society said:

A major development in university education on the Western Isles was marked yesterday (Monday 25 September) when the chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, HRH The Princess Royal visited Stornoway.

Princess Anne went to repeat the event in Inverness to welcome UHI’s first intake of nursing students at both the centres involved.  

The Princess visited both the Western Isles Hospital and the Centre for Health Science in Inverness, ending the events by talking to the new students and presenting each of them with a commemorative pen.

The e-Sgoil programme at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has been hailed a success.

The first year of operation was designated a ‘Proof of Concept Year’. However, due to demands on the programme internally and externally it has, in effect, been fully operational all year.

An independent review of the first 12 months, stated: “It is very commendable how the leadership team at the Comhairle have looked for opportunities to test the e-Sgoil platform during the setup year, but also their active desire to help other authorities and schools in difficult situations has been impressive.

HRH The Princess Royal visited Stornoway today (Monday 25 September) to welcome the University of the Highlands and Islands’ first intake of nursing students.

A road traffic accident took place on the Lochs Road south of Stornoway shortly before 5pm today (Saturday September 23).

A silver-coloured car veered off the carriageway and through a fence ending up on the moor not far from the turn-off to Ranish, according to an eye-witness report.

The vehicle was carrying passengers and members of the public were attending to them until ambulance and police arrived.

A trans-Atlantic tug of war is going on about the true location of the Isle of Lewis – at least in cyberspace!

This means total confusion between Lewis County, Missouri, USA and our very own Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, 3,679 miles away.

We are one and the same in the eyes of Facebook – and other websites which use a Facebook link to establish location.

A call for a tax on motorhomes visiting the Western Isles has this week sparked a heated debate.

This came after Alasdair Allan MSP asked Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf MSP, what consideration can be given to a “motorhome levy”, the proceeds of which could be used to improve local infrastructure according to local priorities.

Alasdair Allan said: “The numbers of motorhomes using island ferry routes has shot up nearly tenfold over the last decade and issues associated with motorhomes have been repeatedly brought up.

Outer Hebrides Tourism, the destination organisation for the Outer Hebrides, today (Thursday September 21) said the call by Dr Alasdair Allan, MSP for a levy or tax on motorhome visitors was “misguided, ill-informed and damaging to the tourism economy.”

Tourism contributes over £50m to the economy of the Outer Hebrides annually and sustains well over 1000 tourism-related businesses.

“It is an enormously successful industry and is critical to the islands’ financial sustainability. We are renowned for our people, landscape, hospitality and the warmth of our welcome.

 

Councillor Kenny John MacLeod is the new chairman of the Integration Joint Board overseeing health and social care services in the Western Isles

The Integration Joint Board which oversees many Health and Social Care services in the islands has welcomed a new leader to its team.

Councillor Kenny John MacLeod, chairman of Communities and Housing at the Comhairle, has been appointed as its new Chairman.   Joining him as vice-chair is long-term IJB member and NHS Western Isles non-executive Director, Ian Burgess

Check your pockets, piggy banks and jars of change and spend your old pound coins before they cease to be legal tender on October 15.

The revolutionary new 12-sided £1 coin entered circulation on 28 March 2017, March to September has been the "co-circulation" period, during which both old and new £1 coins have been accepted in shops. However, from October 16th the old round coins will no longer be accepted in shops, restaurants and other retailers.

The public are being urged to use their old £1 coins or bank them before they lose their legal tender status. The UK Government estimated around a third of the £1.3 billion worth of coins stored in piggy banks or saving jars around the UK are the old £1 style.

Any unspent £1 coins after October 16 can be traded in at banks or Post offices - but this is only a temporary option – so it is a good idea to spend or exchange the coins now.

If you are being handed back old £1 coins in retail outlets, you have the right to ask the cashier to give you a new £1 coin instead, if they have any. However businesses don't have to comply.