One of the most iconic wartime planes of the recent D-Day landing commemoration is due to touch down at Stornoway airport at 1.30pm today (Wednesday June 26th).

The DC3 (Dakota) troop plane That’s All, Brother (N47TB) led the main airborne invasion of Normandy on June 6th 1944. Piloted by Lt. Col John Donalson, the plane led a force of more than 800 planes that dropped over 13,000 paratroopers into battle on the beaches of Normandy.

Alasdair Allan MSP is encouraging Islanders to take part in the Community Conversation events being run by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar regarding their planned redesign of the bus services.

 He has also written to the Comhairle to raise the concerns people have expressed to him about the short time people have been given in which to give their views.

Alasdair Allan MSP is encouraging Islanders to take part in the Community Conversation events being run by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar regarding their planned redesign of the bus services.

 He has also written to the Comhairle to raise the concerns people have expressed to him about the short time people have been given in which to give their views.

Alasdair Allan MSP is encouraging Islanders to take part in the Community Conversation events being run by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar regarding their planned redesign of the bus services.

He has also written to the Comhairle to raise the concerns people have expressed to him about the short time people have been given in which to give their views.

A yellow warning is in place for Eilean Siar on Sunday 23 June and Monday 24 June.

The Met Office say the warning will come into effect at 9pm on the Sunday until midnight on the Monday.

Heavy, thundery rainfall is to be expected, especially on Monday.  

The Met Office warn this could lead to flooding and travel disruption.  

A 75-year-old male was rescued at Eoligarry Beach on Wednesday 19 June.

The man had sustained a fractured femur on the beach.

Barra Coastguard Rescue team were called out to help carry the man via stretcher to the waiting ambulance.

 

Child poverty in the Western Isles was the main topic of a meeting yesterday (Wednesday 19 June.)

Comhairle members were given information on the Anti-poverty and Local Child Poverty Strategy at the meeting of the Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee.

At the Community Conversations held during April/May 2019, it was agreed that further Community Conversations would be scheduled once the transport tender contracts were returned and evaluated.

The Comhairle held a Members’ Seminar on Thursday 23rd May 2019 to consider the tender outcomes and the financial and service implications.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil has written to Transport Minister Michael Matheson MSP asking him to act and bring changes to the booking system to address capacity issues on air services – as his colleague Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP has indicated he will do for ferries.

Mr MacNeil has suggested the introduction of different time windows to the booking system of lifeline air and ferry services which would allow a percentage of seats/deckspace to be retained for booking within a shorter window of 2-4 weeks during peak times.  

SNP Group Leader at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Councillor Gordon Murray, has written to Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP asking her to assist the local authority in hitting its green targets.

Currently the council is footing an annual bill of over £100,000 to transport recyclable waste to the mainland while at the same time trying to increase levels of recycling and reduce waste going to landfill.

Councillor Murray is asking the Scottish Government to consider allowing the additional export costs to be reclaimed from the landfill tax.

Writer and poet Donald S Murray has been nominated for The Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2019. 

Donald – from the Ness district of Lewis but now living and writing in Shetland – is nominated in the Outstanding Literature category.

A new project is demonstrating that population decline in the islands is not inevitable.

The project is raising the profile of "green shoots" of demographic recovery on islands in Scotland, with an ‘Islands Revival’ blog gathering observations.

The project is inviting contributions to the Islands Revival blog at https://islandsrevival.org and is looking for evidence of population turnaround, or examples of local policy or action that is reversing population decline.

Spending the longest day of the year on a motorbike might seem like no hardship for some, but when the distance to be travelled is from Land’s End to John O’ Groats, even the hardiest biker might quail.

Stornoway man Martin Pitt is taking on the challenge, though, heading off today (Tuesday June 18th) to reach the mainland and join a group of bikers planning on doing the whole length of Britain in a single day.

Over 100 people turned out on Saturday (June 15th) to mark the first anniversary of the opening of the Stornoway Masjid, the first mosque serving the Muslim community of the Western Isles.

A constant stream of visitors kept the party going until 7pm, with huge quantities of food provided by donations from local businesses and individuals, including 50 naan breads and a huge vat of vegetable curry, cooked at Bangla Spice restaurant.


Two community-owned homes are almost ready for occupation in Gravir, South Lochs, with applications open for tenants until July 1st.

The two-bedroom, semi-detached homes in Carn Aonghais have been fully renovated with full insulation, underfloor heating and brand new kitchens and bathrooms by Pairc Trust – with support from a huge range of individuals and organisations.

Stornoway town centre has recently become home to a set of three very special benches.

The Western Isles Lottery Team are trialling a set of Children’s Board Game Bench Sets. 

Two are located in Perceval Square and one in An Lanntair's forecourt.

Police in Stornoway are currently investigating the theft and damage of a car from the area near Reef beach in the early hours of Sunday June 6th.

The silver 2008 Ford Fiesta was last seen by the owner around 5am on Sunday 6th, near the campsite where it had been parked. It was re-discovered several hours later, with significant damage, in a different part of the Uig area.

Police Scotland are appealing for anyone who may have seen the vehicle’s movements around the area, or anyone who has any other information to contact them on the non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if they wish to remain anonymous, quoting incident number NH 784/19.

Missing girl Sophia Veart who vanished in Edinburgh on Saturday (June 15th) is report to have returned home today.

This came after police, family and friends appealed for help to find her.

Over 2,000 households in the Western Isles have had a reduction in council tax, according to new figures.

The SNP Government’s Council Tax Reduction scheme helps provides financial support to low income households.

Every week in March, £25,600 of savings were made to the total Western Isles Council tax bill.

A beach clean has been planned for tomorrow (Saturday 15 June.)

The clean up comes from CNES, ParleyAIR, Clean Coast Outer Hebrides and Surfers Against Sewage.

It has been planned for 11am and will be held at Swordale beach in Point.  



Doors will be thrown open at Stornoway Masjid tomorrow afternoon (Saturday June 15th) as the community celebrates one year since the building opened for the first time.

Stornoway Mosque was opened after a massive community-driven operation to refurbish and prepare a derelict building, creating a new place of worship for the islands’ Muslim community.

In the 12 months since, the building has seen events, celebrations and regular meetings for prayer, as well as open afternoons such as this, to welcome the wider community in.

The fourth annual Midge Biters Rally starts at Stornoway Golf Club tonight (Friday June 14th) with a full line-up of activities for bikers.

Last year over 100 bikers joined the annual ride-out on the Saturday, the furthest distance travelled probably never to be beaten as a visitor from Australia joined the run.

Ferries today will be full of bikes which return to the island each year for a bike rally quite unlike those on the mainland – stunning landscapes and wide open roads in the day complemented by great company and music in the evenings.

CalMac have received recognition for their innovative Modern Apprenticeship partnership with City of Glasgow College.

The partnership picked up the top prize in the Training & Employee Retention category at the CIS Excellence Awards.

CalMac and City of Glasgow College created a 'Maritime Hospitality' Modern Apprenticeship in 2016, the first in the UK, after recognising that there was no formal training path for retail crew to get started in the industry.

A vision for cancer care in the islands is set to be realised, with a dedicated centre for cancer patients to be opened in Stornoway town centre.

Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative (WICCI)  yesterday (Wednesday June 12th) launched a GoFundMe page (https://www.gofundme.com/wicci-cancer-support-centre-setup-costs) to help with the costs of fitting out the new centre, which they plan to open for service in September this year.

With the cut of a ribbon NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson officially opened the redeveloped Central Decontamination Unit (CDU) at Western Isles Hospital yesterday, Wednesday June 12th.

The CDU is responsible for the cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of reusable medical instruments to make them safe for use on patients.

Mr Jamieson said: “As we look to the future we plan and take the necessary steps to improve the quality and sustainability of our facilities. To that end, we have extended and modernised our Central Decontamination Unit.

A ‘capable and dedicated’ Coastguard officer was recognised yesterday (Wednesday June 12th) with the award of a long-service medal after twenty years of service.

HM Coastguard’s Coastal Operations Area Commander Murdo Macaulay has responsibility for area 18, which includes the Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber.

Neolithic pottery found underwater in the lochs of Lewis will prove to be of worldwide importance, according to the diver who first uncovered the finds.

Stornoway diver Chris Murray has been diving freshwater sites in Lewis and Harris for years, convinced that evidence lies on the bed of the loch that will explain the significance of the crannogs which are scattered across the island landscape.

Now Chris’s work is drawing increasing attention from the world archaeology community, with a paper published yesterday (Wednesday June 12th) in the journal Antiquity, which credits his finds with bringing about significant change in opinion about the islands’ Neolithic history.

A joint proposal from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Galson Estate Trust could give the local community more say on what happens in their area.

The proposal is one of four projects which will see applicants take responsibility for more decisions relating to seabed, coastline and other land.

Crown Estate Scotland launched the Local Pilots Management Scheme in 2018 to create opportunities for communities to get more involved in managing parts of the Scottish Crown Estate. 

Over 30 years of search and rescue flights from Stornoway were celebrated today (Wednesday June 12th) at Bristows’ newly-renovated SAR base at Stornoway airport.

An assembled crowd of press, civic representatives and serving Coastguard officers and volunteers gathered to recognise the work carried out from the base, and the teamwork which links helicopter SAR with land and sea-based services.

The helicopter service, operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd on behalf of HM Coastguard, has a long and proud history of saving the lives of those in need on land and at sea.

Search and rescue volunteers from Lewis and Harris were reunited today (Wednesday June 12th) with the man at the centre of one of the most exceptional rescues in the history of Stornoway Coastguard service.

Rescuers and rescued came together at an award presentation at the Bristows SAR base at Stornoway airport, as island teams received the Department for Transport’s Rescue Shield in recognition of quick-thinking, decisive action, technical skills and teamwork during the rescue, which happened on June 26th 2018.

Edinburgh hill-walker Robin Scott, then 87 years old, had fallen while walking in St Kilda and was stranded on a steep scree slope above cliffs. He remained, slipping slowly downwards and teetering over a 300-foot drop, for nearly 30 hours before rescuers pinpointed his position and came to his aid.

Endurance swimmer, Colin MacLeod, has been recognised in the Scottish Parliament.  

Colin became the first man to swim solo across the Big Minch between the Mainland and the Isle of Lewis. 

Colin completed the crossing in 21 hours, setting off from Gairloch just after 4am on 10 June 2019, and arriving in Lemreway, South Lochs, just after 1am on 11 June, having swum an impressive 33 miles. He has so far been able to raise over £7,500 for Cancer Research UK, smashing his original target of £5,000.

A new book on crofting law was launched this week in Glasgow.

The book, A Practical Guide To Crofting Law, has been written by expert, Brian Inkster, and was launched at a reception held in the main law library of the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow.

The Western Isles were represented at the event by Alasdair Allan MSP and Iain M Maciver, Factor of the Stornoway Trust.

A new book on crofting law was launched this week in Glasgow.

The book, A Practical Guide To Crofting Law, has been written by expert, Brian Inkster, and was launched at a reception held in the main law library of the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow.

The Western Isles were represented at the event by Alasdair Allan MSP and Iain M Maciver, Factor of the Stornoway Trust.

North Uist will become home to the UK's first ever vertical launch commercial space port.

The consortium behind the Spaceport 1 project, which includes major players in the UK and international space sector and is led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), is proposing to build a new Spaceport at Scolpaig on the north-west coast of North Uist. 

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has agreed to invest around £1 million to purchase the land where the launch facility will be constructed.

Stag Bakeries makes the best loaf of bread in the country – something that island customers have always known – but now it’s official.

Stag’s plain loaf was designated ‘best bread in Scotland’ in the Scottish baker of the year competition, winners announced at a ceremony in Glasgow on Saturday (June 8th).

Not only that, but Stag’s iconic water biscuits also carried away a regional bronze award in the Highlands and Grampian region, and the bakery itself was named wholesale baker of the year 2019.

Industrial strikes affecting the college sector are now set to end.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers' Association (EIS-FELA) have voted to approve a total package offer from colleges.

The vote brings to an end strike action which has involved lecturers at Lews Castle College and at Benbecula over several months of this year.

Colin Macleod has become the first man and the only islander to conquer the Minch, after touching the shore at Lemreway at 1.08am this morning (Tuesday June 11th).

He’d been swimming for 21 hours, setting out from Gairloch shortly after 4am yesterday morning, and covered 33 miles of open sea on his way to becoming the first person ever to to swim both the big Minch and the Little Minch (between Harris and Skye).

Kayaker Robert Emmott was alongside Colin as his feet touched ground in South Lochs. Robert, together with Brian Wilson and his daughter Nelly, had also been on the water for the whole 21 hours, providing safety support and encouragement throughout the whole feat.

A play about four royals resulted in a win for Stornoway Primary.

Stornoway Primary won the Council Award at the Local Mod Concert on Friday 7 June.

The group won the award for their play, which was about William, Kate, Harry and Meghan going to a restaurant.  

TIG have a new project kicking off next week with their Energy in Transition - Energy Advice surgeries. The roadshow will be travelling around the islands offering free energy advice, information about how to minimise your contribution to climate change and their new Tesla electric car.

The TIG team will be in Barra at the Fire Station on Monday 17th June, 2.30 - 4.30pm, pop in for a chat and to see if you can save money on your energy bills! 

Over 3,000 island pensioners could face an additional household bill as the BBC confirms plans to scrap free TV licences for over 75's.

The Government announced in 2015 that they would cease funding the free TV Licences for over 75's.

Following a public consultation, the BBC Board has decided that from 1 June 2020, anyone aged 75 or over who receives Pension Credit will still be eligible for a free TV Licence.

 

The National Secondary Schools’ Gaelic Debate Committee today (Monday) announced that Loganair, Scotland’s Airline, will sponsor this year’s competition.  

The airline will transport around 100 pupils from across Scotland’s Highlands to Edinburgh for the 21st edition of the competition.

Commenting on the announcement, Loganair Commercial Director Kay Ryan said: “As Scotland’s Airline, we are delighted to sponsor this excellent initiative. Gaelic is a crucial element of Scottish Heritage, and we are proud to show our support to events which give young people to develop their language skills.”


Ferry travellers passing between Stornoway and Ullapool could have been sailing over a massive asteroid impact crater, left in the earth’s crust millennia ago, according to scientists from Oxford and Aberdeen universities.

A paper published yesterday (Sunday June 9th) in the Journal of the Geological Society explains how rock types from a large area of Scotland’s North West coast point to an impact, with the impact location gradually being narrowed down as geologists research further.

The paper’s authors, led by Oxford University’s Dr Ken Amor, say that none of the volcanic theory explanations for specific rocks around the west coast of Scotland and in Lewis itself adequately explain the exact composition of the rocks. The way in which the rock formations fold and fan out point to a process of movement in a “blanket surrounding an unidentified asteroid impact crater.”

Although the Westside Club missed out on 3 League points this week, their spirits were lifted at the end of the match by being presented with a cheque for £1,830.60 from Malcolm Paterson of the Western Isles Lottery Team.

The club applied for funding to repair their current goal nets, purchase line flags and also to purchase a set of quality mobile goals for use by organisations throughout the Westside Community. The sum presented was recently raised by Supporters of the Lottery in the Ness/Westside Area bringing the total distributed in the area to £8,430.00.

Previous recipients have been Eoropie Playpark, Balantrushal and Carloway Community Associations,  and the Westside Agricultural Show.  All current proceeds raised to end July 2019 will be received by Comunn Eachdraidh Nis to support them with the final stage of their extensive upgrades which includes the landscaping of the area.

Organisers of the Hebridean Celtic Festival ended Volunteers Week with a glowing tribute to the band of volunteers who help to run the biggest event of the island year.

Over 180 volunteers keep the HebCelt show on the road each year, many returning year after year and using their own annual holidays to make sure they can lend a hand.

HebCelt co-ordinator Caroline Maclennan told welovestornoway.com on Friday (June 7th): “More than half of our volunteer team travel home to help us and they do this every year. Volunteers underpin the running of the event and we couldn’t do it without them.”

Consultation on four new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) opened on Friday (June 7th) – and two of the areas are in the Minch east of the Isle of Lewis.

Marine Scotland says that the protected features of the proposed sites include basking shark, minke whale and Risso's dolphin, together with seabed habitats and geological features.

Whales and dolphins, collectively known as cetaceans, as well as basking sharks are protected wherever they occur throughout Scottish waters. The four possible MPAs would offer additional levels of protection to locations important for the various life stages of these species.

 

Update 12.00 Monday 10 June: Endurance swimmer Colin Macleod has reached the halfway point in his bid to become the first man to swim solo across the Minch.

With his back-up team of kayakers and supporters, Colin boarded the support boat Endeavour, skippered by DK Macdonald, soon after midnight and set off from Gairloch at 4.07am today (Monday June 10th).

Morning progress on the 25-mile solo swim route was excellent, with smooth conditions and a warm sea temperature of 10 degrees. Donna Macleod, Colin’s wife and chief supporter, reported that he was stopping every 30 minutes for food and drink and that his biggest problem was fighting off the birds who came after his jaffa cakes!

Endurance swimmer Colin Macleod will be swimming the first strokes of the Big Minch Swim soon after 3am tomorrow morning (Monday June 10th) – hoping to become the first man to conquer the Big Minch.

The Big Minch Swim 2019 starts from Gairloch on the west coast of the mainland, heading, in as straight a line as Colin can manage, for Lemreway in Lochs, a total distance of 25 miles.

A war of words has broken out between Western Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar over the immediate future of Eoligarry school in northern Barra and the job of the school’s cook.

The MP has claimed:

  • Council treatment of the cook was ‘shoddy and awful’
  • This is fast turning into a farce, the Comhairle would be wise to withdraw the threat to Eoligarry canteen.
  • A dinner lady with nearly 30 years service has been threatened with losing her job

The Council rejects this.  They say:

A fault in an underground high-voltage power cable has still to be detected, after 300 properties were left without power late yesterday evening (Thursday June 6th).

The properties in Arnish and Newvalley lost power around 9.30pm and engineers re-routed supplies to restore the last homes around 11.30pm.

But Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) now have 4.5km of moorland to traverse in the search for the fault itself, before it can be fully repaired.


Pupils of Sir E Scott school spent three days in the company of some of the most experienced personnel in the Royal Air Force this week (4th and 5th June).

Over 200 primary and secondary pupils were led in activities designed to engage them and offer team-building, insights into employment and STEM projects.

Among the activities, pupils had piping and drumming workshops with members of the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Air Force, tried on pilot uniforms, spoke to RAF pilots and learnt about their local connections with the RAF through a presentation on the crash of an RAF bomber in Harris during the Second World War.


Scotland’s most senior Royal Air Force officer was at Stornoway airport on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, (Thursday June 6th) to cement and commemorate the historic links of the RAF with the town.

Air Vice Marshal Ross Paterson CB OBE ADC DL presented airport managers with the crest of the former RAF Stornoway base, which will be displayed in the terminal building.

Air Vice Marshal Paterson told welovestornoway.com: “The crest marks the history of RAF Stornoway and will be displayed here in the terminal so that those passing are aware of the important role Stornoway has played in the history of the RAF.”

 

There will be no Loganair flights from Stornoway or Benbecula airports today (Wednesday), despite the fact that strike action by members of the public service union Prospect has been suspended.

Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL said on the suspension of the strike action:  "Following a productive meeting with Prospect, we have received confirmation that all industrial action, including the work to rule, will be suspended from today, Wednesday 12 June, pending the outcome of the ballot on our revised offer."

Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) were expected to strike on Wednesday, continuing the long-running dispute with employers Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL). The strike was called off following a new offer from HIAL, in which Inglis Lyon, MD of Loganair, said the skills of ATCs and the importance of air traffic management services had been recognised.

A power cut is currently affecting part of the Western Isles this evening (Thursday 6 June.)

The fault was reported at 9:52pm and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) have said they expect power to be restored at 1am.  

Engineers are currently on site.

The Scottish Government has indicated it will take action to retain space on lifeline ferry services for short-notice bookings during peak times.

In a recent discussion with Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil highlighted the difficulties faced by island communities in accessing ferry services during the busy tourist season.

For people trying to leave Stornoway today (Thursday June 6th), vehicle bookings were available for this morning's early ferry - but none for the next few days at all. 

Medical help was needed for a passenger aboard the Stornoway-bound ferry yesterday (Wednesday June 5th).

Stornoway Coastguard operation control centre took a call from the skipper of the Loch Seaforth at 11.55am, saying that a passenger was suffering severe abdominal pains and requesting advice.

A new central decontamination unit (CDU) is due to open at Western Isles Hospital later this month, bringing to an end a period of disruption to some surgical procedures at the hospital.

The newly extended and modernised Central Decontamination Unit is positioned next to the two operating theatres at Western Isles Hospital, providing a modern unit for cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of medical equipment and ensuring cleanliness on items for use in wards and health centres.

New tests starting at Stornoway harbour today (Thursday June 6th) will provide a more detailed guide to the design of a planned deep-water port which will bring significant economic benefits to the islands.

Stornoway Port Authority has agreed the further investment to provide additional information, manage risk and ultimately make savings on the overall budget.

A series of geotechnical boreholes were drilled into the seabed in 2017 to determine the depth of rock and the soft material above it as part of plans to create the deep-water facility. The boreholes revealed an extremely complex geological sequence with very little consistency.

A total of more than £1800 was raised for the Leanne Fund after Point became a hub of activity on Saturday afternoon (June 1st) when more than 150 runners and walkers took on the 5k and 10k courses.

It was the 10th anniversary of the 5k event and the community were out in force to support it despite the dull and damp weather conditions.

This year a new 10k race was also held.

More work is being done on the possibility of creating a multi-million-pound community campus on Barra to provide hospital, care, school and community services for the people of the island and of Vatersay.

Representatives of NHS Eileanan Siar and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar recently met in Castlebay with stakeholders from Barra and Vatersay to provide an update on the development and delivery of two major infrastructure projects for the islands.

There are currently two separate major investment projects being proposed for the islands.  

Scottish Crofting Federation has commended the Scottish Government on its announcement of more land having been made available for new start-up farms and stresses that land must also be made available for croft new entrants.

“It is good news that Scottish Government is recognising the need to make more land available to new entrants to agriculture,” said Donald MacKinnon, vice-chair of SCF.

Volunteer Week has been a time to celebrate for two Harris volunteers, each receiving awards yesterday (Tuesday June 4th)

Kelly Mackay from Cliasmol was at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh yesterday, to receive a Saltire Award certificate, acknowledging 200 hours of volunteering with Girlguiding Harris.

Two men have appeared in court in Stornoway this week (Monday June 3rd) following separate incidents of assault over the weekend.

A serious assault at a house in Stornoway just before 1am on Saturday (June 1st) led police to arrest and charge a 56-year-old man.

He appeared at Stornoway Sheriff Court from custody on Monday and was remanded in custody.

Willowglen Garden Centre delivered 30 large, beautifully planted, ceramic pots to some of the members of Girlguiding Harris in Tarbert this week.

The displays are now brightening up spaces around the village, pleasing to the eyes of local and tourists alike.

Willowglen Garden Centre delivered 30 large, beautifully planted, ceramic pots to some of the members of Girlguiding Harris in Tarbert this week.

The displays are now brightening up spaces around the village, pleasing to the eyes of local and tourists alike.

Stornoway Coastguard operations centre took a call for help from a luxury cruise ship passing through the Minch yesterday afternoon (Tuesday June 4th).

The Seven Seas Explorer, a Bahamas-registered top-end cruise ship, was between South Uist and Skye at 1.30pm when a 71-year-old Canadian passenger suffered a heart attack.

Airports in the Highlands and Islands will now be open on Wednesday June 12th, instead of being closed by an air traffic control strike day. 

Passengers are urged to contact their airline regarding flights and travel arrangements on the 12th. 

Volunteers Week will be remembered for a long time by Western Isles Weather’s Richard Cooke, who was surprised today (Tuesday June 4th) with an award for his dedication to volunteering.

One of the most unusual-looking cruise ships to enter Stornoway harbour is making her first visit to the port today (Tuesday June 4th).

The AIDAaura is part of a 13-ship German-owned cruise fleet described as ‘one of the most modern and eco-friendly fleets in the world’. The exterior paintwork marks each of the ships with the AIDA personality – an upbeat and personable ‘face’ adorning the prow.

A cheque for almost £9,000 has been presented to Bethesda Hospice as a tribute to the men lost in the tragedy of the Iolaire.

The cheque for £8,810.32 represents the first six months of royalties from the sales of ‘The Darkest Dawn’, the most complete factual account ever published of the events and context surrounding the wreck of the Iolaire on January 1st1919.

The Scottish Crofting Federation says today (Tuesday June 4th) that is pleased to see the publication of the sea eagle management plan by Scottish Natural Heritage last week, accompanied by an unequivocal admission that healthy lambs are killed by the birds.

SCF chair, Yvonne White, commented, “SCF is closely involved in trying to address the sea eagle issue, which results in sometimes devastating losses to crofters all along the western seaboard. So it is useful for all to see the sea eagle management plan published.

Floral displays and other environmental improvements around Stornoway are ensuring the town is looking its best for the busy summer season ahead.

Working hard to improve the town, Stornoway Amenity Trust are urging the whole community to help keep the town tidy and are asking that all posters and cable ties put up are also removed after events have taken place.

The chance to chat with professionals about your child’s development is on offer to parents and carers in Barra as the NHS Western Isles Allied Health Professional (AHP) team invite all to a free and informal Child Development Drop-In session.

The Child Development Drop In service has been established to improve access to professional advice/support and promote early intervention. 

Police in Stornoway have appealed for help after an incident involving vandalism in the town centre.

A Ford Kuga parked in the long stay car park on South Beach, Stornoway was vandalised between 1pm and 9pm on Thursday May 30th.

A senior art expert at one of the world’s top auction houses has today (Monday June 3rd) spoken of the ‘thrill’ of holding a rediscovered Lewis Chessman in his hand, after it was brought in for valuation by an Edinburgh family.

Alexander Kader, senior director of Sotheby’s Auction House and the company’s head of European sculpture and works of art, is heading for the company’s Edinburgh office from London today, ahead of a showing of a piece from the Lewis chess set tomorrow.

 

An ambitious project to map emigrants from the islands and tell their stories was launched on Friday evening (May 31st) in Harris.

Isle of Harris Distillery has linked up with Bill Lawson of the Seallam! visitor centre in Northton to start the project, which will link personal memories with interactive technology to chart the settlement of Hebrideans worldwide.

The Donald Stewart Memorial Trust award for 2019 has been won by Hannah Macleod, from Tarbert, Harris, a 6th year pupil in Sir E Scott School.  

Despite a number of extremely strong nominations for the Award, the Trust decided unanimously that this year’s award be made to Hannah. 

The Donald Stewart Memorial Trust award for 2019 has been won by Hannah Macleod, from Tarbert, Harris, a 6th year pupil in Sir E Scott School.  

Despite a number of extremely strong nominations for the Award, the Trust decided unanimously that this year’s award be made to Hannah. 

A busy day of social events in and around Stornoway on Saturday (June 1st) had Coastguard Rescue Teams (CRTs) at full stretch helping marshal and protect all those taking part in outdoor activities.

Volunteers from Stornoway CRT were beside the water as the rowing regatta got under way at 11am and at Stornoway Primary School’s fun day, which started at 1pm. With Ness and Bragar Coastguards they took part in the Hebridean Pride march through the town centre, using their all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to help provide safety cover.

Comunn Eachdraidh Nis and Gàradh a’ Bhagh a’ Tuath are among the 281 groups in the UK  to receive this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can achieve in the UK.

Representatives from both groups will attend the Royal Garden Party in Edinburgh on Wednesday 3 July along with other recipients of this year’s award. 

The awards will be presented to the groups in Ness and Northbay by HM Lord-Lieutenant of the Western Isles Donald Martin at ceremonies later this summer.  

Gàradh a’ Bhagh a’ Tuath is among  281 groups in the UK  to receive this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can achieve in the UK.

Representatives will attend the Royal Garden Party in Edinburgh on Wednesday 3 July along with other recipients of this year’s award, with include Comunn Eachdraidh Nis.  

The awards will be presented to the groups in Ness and Northbay by HM Lord-Lieutenant of the Western Isles Donald Martin at ceremonies later this summer.  

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has secured funding from National Lottery Heritage: Now and Then fund for the Sìth 19/ Peace 19 Project.

This is following last year’s focus in Island schools and communities on commemorating and learning about events related to World War One.

The new project involves CnES Heritage Apprentices working with local historical societies (Comainn Eachdraidh) throughout the Outer Hebrides and youth programmes run by the Community Learning and Development team, examining the local response to – and significant events following - the peace treaty in 1919.

Constituents problems with booking ferry trips to the mainland at short notice have been raised with the Scottish Government by Islands MSP Alasdair Allan.

On Thursday 30 May the Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP met the Scottish Government Minister with responsibility for ferries, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, and representatives from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to discuss capacity issues with ferries serving the Western Isles.

Alasdair Allan MSP said afterwards: “This was a useful meeting and I am grateful for the opportunity to raise the concerns of many of my constituents as we begin to experience pressures on ferry services that are more akin to what you would expect for the height of the tourist season than for May.

Representatives for the college sector have welcomed an agreement reached in principle with the Educational Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) following the 20th dispute resolution meeting on Wednesday, 29 May 2019 in Glasgow.

Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association will meet on Wednesday, 5 June 2019 to determine whether to ratify the terms of the pay, terms and conditions deal, while the EIS-FELA Executive will ballot its members with a recommendation to accept.

Airline Loganair hit back at Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant yesterday (Friday May 31st) after she publicly accused the airline, and the management of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd, of “drowning out” the voices of protesting air traffic controllers.

Glen Scaladale - photograph by Gordon Macdonald

 The first Golden Eagle Challenge for runners and cyclists will take place in the Isle of Harris on Saturday July 14th.

The challenge, which is raising funds for The Leanne Fund, consists of a 10.6 mile off road run and a 19.7 mile cycle.

Three motorists - two men and one woman - were stopped by police in the Isle of Lewis, Inverness, and Easter Ross areas yesterday (Thursday, June 28) and all three will be reported for drink driving offences.

Now police in the Highlands and Islands are warning motorists to plan their trip home in advance if they want to enjoy a drink this summer.

Road policing officers will be involved in a national road safety campaign aimed at detecting drivers who are under the influence of drink or drugs.  Despite several high profile campaigns highlighting the dangers of drinking and driving, officers continue to stop motorists who have ignored the risks and got behind the wheel while under the influence.

Membership of the SNP in Na h-Eileanan an Iar has risen by 15% in the last two weeks.

This follows the Westminster power-grab protest which saw SNP MPs walk-out of Prime Minister’s Questions in protest.

Meanwhile, ministerial responsibility for the Islands and for Gaelic has been confirmed following the recent reshuffle.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has agreed to continue funding for the Macmillan benefits uptake service for people with cancer and other long term conditions.

The Comhairle’s Policy and Resources Committee agreed to allocate £25,000 to match fund investment from Macmillan Cancer Support in the service. The Committee heard that the service has secured £3.2m in additional income for people with cancer living in the Western Isles since it started in 2010.

Award winner Anil Thapa along with Margaret Martin, Chair of The Donald Stewart Memorial Trust and Dr Frances Murray, Rector, The Nicolson Institute. 

This year’s Donald Stewart Memorial Trust award has gone to a pupil of The Nicolson Institute.  The Trust decided unanimously that this year’s award be made to Anil Thapa who has just completed 6th year..

The Award, which is presented annually in memory of the long and distinguished service provided by the late MP for the Western Isles, was presented to Anil at The Nicolson Institute Prize-giving earlier today (Thursday 28th June 2018)

Lewis Pipe Band are in the final stages of practising for their summer competitions on the mainland, which begin this weekend with the European Championships in Forres.

The band aim to attend two of the five major championships every year and will be taking part in the World Championships in Glasgow in August, as well as the European competition.

However, the costs of attending these events are huge – and the band were delighted to receive support from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust, who have given £1,000 for the second year to help towards travel and accommodation.

Chris MacLeod and Donald MacInnes from Alzheimer Scotland Western Isles were successful in scooping up £5000 at the Lens intrapreneurial finals in Stirling on Tuesday June 23 .

The Lens develops intrapreneurship – that is acting with the mind-set of an entrepreneur, but within existing organisations. Already a feature of leading companies such as Google and 3M, The Lens adapts this highly effective way of working and makes it relevant for mission-driven organisations.

Island emergency services rushed to St Kilda yesterday to the aid of an elderly man who had fallen from cliffs. All photos: HM Coastguard

An 87 year old man was airlifted from St Kilda yesterday (Wednesday, July 27th) following a fall of considerable distance down a steep rock face.
The Stornoway Coastguard Rescue helicopter, Coastguard Rescue Teams from Stornoway, Tarbert and Scalpay, and Leverburgh RNLI were all called to the incident on St Kilda, the remote archipelago situated some 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides.
The man – who had suffered leg lacerations during the fall – was brought to safety by two Coastguard Cliff Rescue technicians before being airlifted by Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Helicopter to Western Isles Hospital for treatment.

Delegates from across Europe are gathering in Lews Castle College today (Wednesday June 27th) for the GENCOMM 2018 Conference.

It is organised by the hydrogen fuel, renewable and energy storage company, Pure Energy Centre.

Around 15 people are attending from Italy, Germany, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Shetland and elsewhere.

This year’s winner of the Natural Retreats - Jewellery Competition award is Claire Dedman – a student on the Lews Castle College UHI Jewellery course .

This is the second year that Natural Retreats have sponsored the award.

The award was presented by Mr Colin Maciver from Natural Retreats and is another example of how Natural Retreats are committed to support Lews Castle College UHI as it continues to develop its range of Creative Industries courses and Summer Schools.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has today (Tuesday June 26th) stepped down from his role as Minister for International Development and Europe in the Scottish Government.

The change comes as part of a reshuffle and reshaping of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Government, with the new Cabinet pictured above.

The islands MSP has served as a Government Minister since 2011, first as Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages in the Government under former First Minister Alex Salmond before being appointed his latest role after the 2016 Holyrood elections. 

Yes, it's that win-a-car time of year with Lochs Agricultural Show ploughing its way towards us - it's on Saturday July 28th from midday at the Lochs Showground in Laxay - but there's a new twist to the car story...you can win one for the kids, too. Seen above in the Stornoway Co-op today (Tuesday June 26th) is the wee car based on Audi’s Q7 range, it has the iconic Audi rings on the front grille and its look mirrors that of the full size Q7.  

The coves and blones of Stornoway Historical Society have joined the technological age, thanks to a £6,000 grant from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.

The grant – from the profits from the Beinn Ghrideag wind farm – mean the society were able to buy a suite of new computers, monitors and printers for their premises in Stornoway Town Hall.

Young people in the Highlands and Islands are being urged to tell the Scottish Parliament about what inspires them to be in with an opportunity to come to Holyrood or for the Presiding Officer to come to them.

To celebrate the Year of Young People, the Parliament has developed a number of activities designed to give young people a stronger voice at Holyrood.

Childsmile weeks are about to take place in dental clinics all over the Western Isles. 

‘Childsmile Week’ has been running every summer in the Western Isles since 2010. 

A specific week where mainly children are seen by dentists and dental care professionals kick off in the Western Isles Dental Centre in Stornoway and Liniclate Dental Clinic in Benbecula on the 2ndof July. 

A chance to see some the vast range of items within the Stornoway Fishermen's Co-op shop…a veritable treasure trove of surprises!

HebCelt customer Iain Maclean is seen today (Monday June 25th) picking up his tickets from the newly-opened HebCelt shop in Stornoway town centre.

The countdown to this year’s Hebridean Celtic Festival is now well under way with the opening of the festival’s pop-up shop in Francis Street.

The Western Isles Labour Party has selected a North Uist woman with a strong history of community involvement as the party's candidate for the next Westminster General Election.

Alison MacCorquodale, from Paiblesgarry, currently works as an Economic Development Officer for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. An Honours law graduate from Aberdeen University, she is also secretary of UNISON’s Western Isles Local Government Branch.

Western Isles Citizens Advice Service is bringing its Scams Awareness Month to an end this week with a final message to look out for each other as well as protecting yourself from scams.

The Scams Awareness Month campaign has been running throughout June, with the Western Isles Citizens Advice Service joining with other CABs across the country as well as partners like Police Scotland, Age Scotland and Trading Standards Scotland, to warn people about scams and help them fight them.

 Fiona Mackenzie and Brian O hEadhra

Delegates to XpoNorth 2018, Scotland’s leading creative industries festival, will see and hear about some of the leaders in the Gaelic language at the festival which takes place throughout Inverness on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 June.

The Gaelic Angle (Wednesday 27 June) will hear from multi-award winning singer and musician Julie Fowlis; Iseabail Mactaggart, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at MG ALBA and Agnes Rennie, Manager at Acair Publishing in Stornoway and who also chairs the community-owned Galson Estate Trust.

The session will centre around the challenges facing the Gaelic sector and the subject of what makes the Gaelic language and culture so alluring to many around the world. Wednesday 27 June @ 10am in Eden Court – Free Entry.

Trading Standards officials at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are reminding residents in the Outer Hebrides to contact Home Energy Scotland on 08088 082282 when considering buying energy saving measures including solar panels, insulation and new boilers.

Home Energy Scotland will give impartial, independent, free advice.

Stornoway RNLI landed the casualty into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service and Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team.  Photo: Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team

Stornoway RNLI volunteer crew launched yesterday afternoon (Thursday, 21st June), at 1605 hours to complete a medical evacuation from a cruise ship anchored outside Stornoway Harbour.
The casualty was transferred onto the ‘Tom Sanderson’ lifeboat and taken ashore, landed into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team.
The Stornoway RNLI lifeboat was alongside and ready for service at 1715hours.

This summer will see the launch of the first Library Lego Club in the Western Isles, thanks to a donation of Lego bricks and parts from the Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery. 

The Lego Club will take place in The Space, the new MakerSpace area in Stornoway Library, formerly the location of the Library Café.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is bringing the issue of reuniting refugee families back to the House of Commons today (Thursday) when he leads a backbench business debate on his Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill.

Coinciding with Refugee Week, Mr MacNeil is also very pleased to have been able to assist in the reunion of a refugee family in his own constituency – making him even more determined to push for changes to the laws which are currently keeping families apart.

Mr MacNeil said: “Under the Home Offices’ rules, adults with refugee status in the UK are able to sponsor their spouses/partners and their children under 18 to join them. It’s hard to imagine just how much joy and relief must come at that moment of reunion.

MSP Alasdair Allan met with the team at the Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery (WILL) this week to learn more about the Lottery’s success and how proceeds have already benefitted every age group across Na h-Eileanan an Iar. 

The picture shows Alasdair Allan with WILL’s Tony Robson, Janet Paterson and Emma Fraser

The SNP MSP also became the latest islander to sign up for regular tickets via the Lottery website www.westernisleslottery.co.uk.

MSP Alasdair Allan met with the team at the Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery (WILL) this week to learn more about the Lottery’s success and how proceeds have already benefitted every age group across Na h-Eileanan an Iar. 

The SNP MSP also became the latest islander to sign up for regular tickets via the Lottery website www.westernisleslottery.co.uk.

Since its launch in August 2017, support has steadily increased and an average of 1,650 tickets are currently purchased for each Saturday night draw. 

Labour’s policy to install sprinklers in all new build social housing is to be taken forward by the Scottish government.

Over the past year Labour MSP David Stewart has led a campaign for greater fire safety measures in Scottish social housing.

His proposed member’s bill would have required fire sprinkler systems to be installed into all new-build social housing across Scotland, as a method of tackling Scotland’s high rates of fire death and injury.

Labour’s policy to install sprinklers in all new build social housing is to be taken forward by the Scottish government.

Over the past year Labour MSP David Stewart has led a campaign for greater fire safety measures in Scottish social housing.

His proposed member’s bill would have required fire sprinkler systems to be installed into all new-build social housing across Scotland, as a method of tackling Scotland’s high rates of fire death and injury.

Scottish Water is asking customers in Stornoway and Point to use their water wisely as a result of prolonged dry weather affecting the area.

The dry conditions over the past two months - including more than three weeks with no rain at all - have caused lower than normal water levels in Loch Mor an Stairr, which supplies Stornoway Water Treatment Works.

As a result, Scottish Water will supplement this with water from nearby Loch Scarabhat Mhor.

Stornoway publishers Acair are joining in events marking the 25th anniversary of the Assynt Crofters’ Trust formally taking possession of the North Lochinver Estate in 1993.

To mark this anniversary, the Trust is organising a week-long celebration of Crofting – Past, Present & Future, from Saturday 30th June.

Hebridean Books sellers of Second Hand Scottish, Highlands and Islands, Gaelic, Football and Sport books at reasonable prices.

Catalogue 20

June 2018

pastedGraphic.png

Hebridean Books

19 Eoropie, Ness

Isle of Lewis HS2 OXH 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: 07810 448911

Postage will be charged at second class rate

Please allow 14 days for delivery.

If you are unhappy with any book/books I will fully refund the cost of the book and pay for any postage incurred. 

  1. Dictionary of the Gaelic Language. 1. Gaelic and English. II English and Gaelic. First Part Comprising A Comprehensive Vocabulary of Gaelic Words with their different significations in English and the Second Part comprising A Vocabulary of English Words with their Various meanings in Gaelic. By the Rev Norman Macleod and the Rev Dr Daniel Dewar. H.B. Slight tears at top of spine. Published in 1909. 1005 Pages. £65

Community-based sport and physical activity projects in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have a chance to share in a £1million cash investment thanks to a new programme aimed at changing lives and creating a more inclusive and healthier nation.

The Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity (CLTSPA) Fund is being launched in partnership between the Scottish Government, sportscotland, the Robertson Trust and Spirit of 2012, and will support organisations to deliver positive change in communities across the country.

Training in a wide range of Microsoft Office applications is being offered by Lews Castle College from next week.

There is a range of flexible courses priced at £30 per subject area - all are at beginner level and start from Monday June 25th. They run throughout the year.

People in the Western Isles aged over 70 are being urged this week to look out for scams which target their age group and which can lead to people losing thousands of £s.

Western Isles Citizens Advice Service says over-70s have the highest reported detriment from a wide range of scams, including cold callers using landlines, postal scams like ‘you have won a prize’ letters and doorstep scams like fake tradesmen. 

The CAB is urging people to be vigilant and sceptical of any offers that seem too good to be true, and to report any scams they do come across.

Today, Monday June 18th, Police Scotland launched its Firearms Surrender Campaign – allowing people in who have firearms and ammunition for which they do not hold a valid certificate to surrender them to police without fear of prosecution for possession.
The gun amnesty will run until Sunday, July 1st, and both Police Stations at Stornoway and Benbecula are Surrender Locations, where people can hand over firearms and ammunition, as well as replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, imitation firearms, component parts and other ballistic items.
Assistance Chief Constable, Bernard Higgins, of Police Scotland, said: “Protecting the public sits at the heart of everything we do and the purpose of the Firearms Surrender Campaign is to remove firearms from criminal availability, thereby reducing the risks of harm to the public and our communities.


Stornoway RNLI lifeboat 'Tom Sanderson'. Photo: Sty RNLI

Stornoway RNLI launched last night (Sunday, June 17th) at 2050hours to the aid of a yacht in difficulties with fuel problems.
On passage from Iceland, the yacht was struggling to make headway near Cellar Head when the Stornoway ‘Tom Sanderson’ RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch to assist.
The lifeboat arrived by the casualty at 2145hours and a tow line was established between the two vessels.
The volunteer crew of Stornoway RNLI then towed the stricken yacht to Stornoway harbour where she was safely secured alongside at 0125hours this morning (Monday, June 18th).
And Stornoway RNLI lifeboat was refuelled and ready for service again at 0150hours.

 

Just a few short years ago, no one could have imagined the Isle of Harris would become widely renowned for making beautiful gin. 

Yet today on her Instagram account, internationally renowned celebrity chef Nigella Lawson says Harris gin is the best. 

Larry Lamb, Wendy Brown, Marianne Brown, and George Lamb in Stornoway today. 

Former Eastenders star Larry Lamb and his TV presenter son George were out and about in Stornoway this Saturday (June 16). 

They are cycling through the islands for their TV series, Britain by Bike, for Channel 5, and happily posed for photos with fans. 

Donald John MacSween receives the Celebrating Communities Award on behalf of Point and Sandwick Trust from event host Sally Magnusson and Ashley Pringle, chair of the CLD Standards Council for Scotland, sponsor of the award.

 

Community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust won a major accolade at the Scottish Charity Awards on Thursday night (June 14) – taking the ‘Celebrating Communities’ trophy.

The award is for their charity work, funding and supporting community projects with the profits from their wholly community-owned wind farm at Beinn Ghrideag. 

Visitor numbers for the Outer Hebrides have remained almost static since 2013, after a big rise between 2006 and 2013, according to statistics presented to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Sustainable Development Committee on Wednesday June 13

But councillors were told that the findings of the 2017 Islands Visitor Survey showed the amount spent by visitors has soared by 20% from £53.5m to £64.5m.

However, the proportion of people “very satisfied” with their trip to the Outer Hebrides fell from 87% in 2013 to 82% last year.

Solo ocean rower Niall Iain Macdonald, 44, has been rescued from his boat, ALBA, today (Friday) after his cabin was swamped and his systems started to fail during heavy seas.

The Gaelic broadcaster from the Isle of Lewis, who was more than a quarter of the way into his North Atlantic challenge, was battered by severe weather during the night and forced to make a Mayday call before abandoning ship.

He was picked up from his liferaft this morning by a Dutch cargo ship, the DOLFIJNGRACHT. His boat, which has suffered extensive damage, has been abandoned at sea.

[gallery ID=30]

This afternoon, Friday 15 June, people gathered at the Lewis & Harris Horticultural Producers (LHHP) allotments site at the back of Lews Castle College to see what has been going on recently – there has been some good progress with more people working the allotment sites and polytunnels to grow a vast array of fruit, vegetables, herbs and some flowers.

The wooden 'shed', inherited from the ARCH project 10 years ago, has now got an off grid electricity supply from solar panels installed on the roof (courtesy of a £1000 grant from TIG).

The building now has a working toilet and a comfortable kitchen/meeting area to be used for group talks and as a base for showing off the site - with heating, kettle etc. all running off the solar power gathered. The next project is for a concrete access path (likely within a month) following grant aid from NHS Western Isles.

The Western Isles pioneering e-Sgoil project has been endorsed by Scotland’s Deputy First Minister in the first-year review document which has been circulated nationally to all schools in Scotland.

John Swinney, pictured above at the opening of the e-Sgoil centre in Carinish last year, said: “It gives me great pleasure to attach a short foreword welcoming the review of the first year of e-Sgoil.  I am also very pleased to support the development of the e-Sgoil project, based in the Western Isles, operating throughout Scotland and supported by the Scottish Government. 

World leading travel company, TUI UK and Ireland, is praising a Laxdale primary school class for their contribution to protecting the environment.

Laxdale Primary pupils’ commitment to combating plastic pollution and a stunning ‘recycled’ turtle wowed judges of a contest run by TUI so much that students were rewarded with a visit from the Marine Conservation Society for an exclusive learning day.

The pupils took part in a competition which was part of TUI’s Better World Detectives programme.  This forms a key part of the company’s sustainability strategy and is designed to use the excitement of travel to stimulate young imaginations and practically engage children in the global issue of sustainable tourism. 

Scotland's system of government is under threat, says Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil.

He joined his SNP colleagues in walking out of the House of Commons on Wednesday (June 13) following what he called repeated attempts by the UK government to silence Scotland's voice on Brexit.

The SNP’s Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP led the walk-out after the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow asked Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Blackford to leave during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Councillors on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar backed the development of a Community and Business Improvement Partnership for Stornoway at a meeting of the Sustainable Development Committee.

This "Stornoway Vision" includes the employment of a project manager and is part of a Scottish Government initiative.

The Scottish 'Business Improvement District' legislation and model is used by local businesses to bring about a strong local partnership that is able to address local issues and concerns.

Further Education students at Lews Castle College UHI enjoyed their end of year celebration and prizegiving today (Thursday June 14th)  and formed part of the sapphire celebration for the college which was founded in 1953.

Lewis long-distance runner Rhoda Bamsey who lives at Cliff in Uig is aiming to raise £10,000 for Cancer Research UK Stornoway by running the Glencoe Marathon on September 30.

She just started a 16-week running schedule to get her ready for the event.

The Glencoe off-road marathon is Scotland’s toughest marathon and is an epic trail run that ascends a total of 1,608 metres through the heart of Glencoe and into the foothills of Ben Nevis.

For the first time in the Western Isles there is a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition on horseback next week.

Six girls from Lewis and Harris will be travelling down to Uist Community Riding School on Monday June 18th and will travel home the following day via the ferry. (They are pictured above practising for the trip)

Storm Hector is expected to hit Scotland’s west coast overnight causing widespread disruption to ferry services, operator CalMac has warned.

Ferry services to Castlebay and Ardmhor on Barra have already been disrupted while ferries between Lochboisdale, Mallaig and Armadale also face warnings of delay or cancellation.

The strongest winds will reach Northern Ireland during the early hours of tomorrow (Thursday June 4th) before moving up through the Inner and Outer Hebrides throughout tomorrow morning.  The UK Met Office has revised its warning to run between 03:00 and 15:00 on Thursday June 14. It stated at 4pm today: "Storm Hector will bring a spell of very windy weather on Thursday with gusts of 50 to 60 mph likely."

From left, Lawrence Cowan {Scotland Manager for Breast Cancer Now), Jen Hardy (Perjeta Now campaigner) and Donald Cameron MSP.

Donald Cameron MSP is backing calls for a life-extending breast cancer drug to be made available in Scotland.

“Women in Scotland should be able to access the life-extending breast cancer drug Perjeta just like women can in England and Wales”, says the Highlands and Islands MSP.

The Comhairle’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee have agreed to finalise reciprocal arrangements for access to sports facilities with the Highlands and Islands Regional Sports Partnership.

The move would see families from the Western Isles with existing Slàinte Mhath memberships able to use them across all facilities operated by the Comhairle, Highlife Highland, Orkney Islands Council and Moray Council, with a reciprocal agreement for members of similar schemes to use Comhairle facilities.

Belgian adventurer Pierre De Greef has once again thanked the many Islanders who offered to help him out after his tent and gear were damaged by vandals in the Castle Grounds last week.

Writing on the welovestornoway.com Facebook Page on Tuesday (June 12th) he said: “Your comments have touched me a lot and I thank you very much for your many proposals for help of any kind.

“I wanted to speak more especially this time to people who propose me material as I think some of you were astonished not to be contacted.

Anticipation is building for this year’s Point Agricultural Show on Saturday, July 14 – and community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust have doubled their sponsorship of the event.

The Point Show, held for the first time in 2003, can attract up to 2,000 visitors and locals who now live away on the mainland are known to come home for it.

It is held at Aird School Showground, with gates opening at 1pm. The official opening – by broadcaster Anna Macleod this year – takes place at 1.30pm. Gate entry prices are £4 for adults, £2 for children and £10 for a family ticket of two adults and two children.

Island adventurer Niall Iain Macdonald is more than a quarter of the way home in his epic NY2SY challenge, where he is attempting to row the North Atlantic solo.

Niall Iain’s weather router and main shore support, Leven Brown, confirmed last night (Tuesday June 12th) that the 44-year-old had passed 871 miles or more than 1,400 kilometres and was averaging about 40 miles a day.

As the crow flies, the total distance will be about 3,350 miles and Leven said Niall Iain could make landfall by the end of August – although he stressed that was extremely weather dependent. 

A spell of very windy weather is expected on Thursday (June 14th) with gusts of 50 to 60 mph likely, according to the UK Met Office.

A very windy spell will develop during Wednesday night in association with a deep area of low pressure.

The strongest winds will reach the west coast during the early hours of Thursday before spreading eastwards during the day.

There’s a new part-time Harris Tweed related course starting at Lews Castle College soon.

The Harris Tweed National Progression Award is for you if you have an interest in the Harris Tweed industry, fashion or textiles design.

Over the past weekend members from the Hebrides Platoon of the local Army Reserve were joined by other members of C Company, 7 SCOTS in conducting low level training in the Arnish area.

This culminated in a "dawn raid" on positions manned by their full time regular counterparts from 4 SCOTS (The Highlanders).

The Comhairle nan Eilean Siar trophy for best performance at the Mòd Ionadail Leòdhais concert was presented to Sarah MacBain of Breasclete School for her story on the war.

The 60th Reunion (1957) which took place last autumn led to donations to Bethesda Hospice and Pancreatic Cancer (SKIG2SKIG)

The Reunion place in the Stornoway Golf Club on 22nd September 2017.  The event raised £600 through ticket sales and on the evening.

[gallery ID=21]

There was a huge turn-out at Stornoway Airport on Saturday evening for the Smiths Garage of Contin sponsored drag race.

There was a delayed start because of a crisis with the "Christmas Tree" - the sophisticated array of lights which signals the start of each run.

But overall organisers Lewis Car Club were happy with the outcome, saying on Facebook:

Residents of Goathill Road, Stornoway, were baffled by a big display of flashing blue lights and sirens on Saturday evening around 7.15pm.

And people out and about in Stornoway town centre slightly later were treated to a similar display as a cavalcade of fire engines and vehicles with a police escort did a circuit of the town.

But no one can have been as surprised as Stornoway Fire and Rescue Service Watch Manager John Campbell. This display was the total surprise element of his retirement event after just over 41 years with the fire service.

People aged under 24 in the Western Isles are being warned that they are more vulnerable to certain types of scam than other age groups.

In the second week of Scams Awareness Month, Western Isles Citizens Advice Service are targeting their message specifically at young people who may be unaware that they are at risk.  

Recent Citizens Advice research shows that:

Two visiting Norwegians are appealing for help to get their bicycles to Edinburgh Airport - slight snag, they are already on the ferry to Ullapool this morning!

So is there anyone heading south, with room for two bikes?

Belgian visitor Pierre De Greef has left a message on the welovestornoway.com Facebook Page thanking the hundreds of Islanders who responded to his predicament after his tent was slashed and some of his camping equipment destroyed in an incident on Wednesday night.

He is also apologising for relocating his tent to a highly visible spot near the Stornoway Golf Course to ensure that it could not be attacked in secret again.  This has shocked people, he admits - and, in addition, he says some young people have asked him to "move on."

In his post he states: "I miss the words to express my feelings about the incredible amount of generosity that was shown to me after the publication of the article reporting my misadventure with my tent in the Castle Grounds this Wednesday."

And he has very special thanks to an unknown stranger who "who dropped in my tent during my absence a stove, a full gas bottle, a lighter and a very good bottle of whisky.

"I sincerely hope to have the opportunity one day to see you again and to say to you personally thank you for your gesture that really touched me!!  I will enjoy it, Cheers!!"

A Highlands Labour MSP has called for speed limits for HGVs to be raised from 40mph to 50 mph on Scottish single carriageway roads.

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and long-time road safety campaigner, David Stewart said HGV’s driving at 50mph are less polluting than those travelling at a slower speed.

At General Questions on Thursday June 7th in the Scottish Parliament, David Stewart asked the Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP, when he planned to publicise the findings of the A9 pilot HGV 50mph speed limit.

Almost dried up - the stream in Willowglen

MONDAY June 11 UPDATES: EDDY GRAHAM confirms another two days without rain - making a new record of 21 consecutive days with 0mm of rain in Stornoway

Of the recent clouds above Stornoway, Eddy says: " it’s mid- and high-level cloud which is often there anyway - we are only seeing it because there is little low cloud to obscure it for a change!"

The past three weeks has seen the driest recorded period in the history of Stornoway, according to local weather expert Eddy Graham.

Writing in his eddy_weather Twitter account he says that according to his provisional results, the driest spells in Stornoway since 1930, based on daily records, were 37 consecutive days with up to a maximum of 0.2mm total precipitation from March 22, 1974; and 23 days with 0.4mm from May 5, 2008.

“Today (Friday) we have had 19 days with zilch, so I think we have a new record for total consecutive days with 0.0mm for Stornoway!”

Isle of Harris Distillers picked up a major award at Scottish Food and Drink Excellence Awards on Thursday night (June 7th).

The Product of the Year Award went to Isle of Harris Gin with the company also having earlier won the Distilling Awards for what the judges described as their “iconic” product.

More food and drink businesses than ever entered this year's Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards which took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Almost dried up - the stream in Willowglen

The driest period of weather in Stornoway for decades continues today (Friday June 8), despite a light display of white clouds.

Temperatures have dropped to around 15C from 20C or more earlier in the week.

Calmac's Clansman ferry is returning to service ahead of schedule.

The vessel, which has been having essential repairs carried out to its propulsion system, was due back in service on June 13, but will now be back in service on Saturday, June 9 on the scheduled Oban-Coll-Tiree service.

The vessel’s return will allow MV Lord of the Isles to deliver an additional Oban to Lochboisdale sailing on Friday, June 8 after which she will restart the suspended Lochboisdale Mallaig service on June 9 along with delivering the Mallaig-Armadale route as scheduled.

To mark World Oceans Day, ferry operator CalMac has announced further steps to cut down on the amount of plastic it uses on board.

Currently CalMac operates a Zero Waste Overboard Policy and provides recycling bins on board its vessels and in terminal buildings.

Earlier this year CalMac signed up to Sunnyside Primary School's #NaeStrawAtAw campaign and have replaced plastic with paper straws.

The Hebrides played a double role at Wednesday night’s reception in Edinburgh Castle for the General Assembly of the World Crafts Council (Europe).

The organisation recently awarded the Outer Hebrides with World Craft Region status (it’s technically World Craft City but that wouldn’t make sense here!) for Harris Tweed.

And local MSP Alasdair Allan declared the event open in his capacity as Scottish Government Minister for Europe and International Development.

Islanders erupted in anger and sadness with comments on the welovestornoway.com Facebook Page after reading our report overnight about how Belgian visitor Pierre de Greef had found his tent and camping equipment vandalised.

Julie Vallier-Green said: “This is a terrible thing to have happen. Can we not set up a JustGiving page (or similar?) to buy him a new tent and equipment? It's our responsibility as islanders to put this wrong right.”

Julie Amanda Dawn Smith said: “Yet again an example of complete and utter ignorant vandalism, I’m disgusted to see this. Whoever is responsible I hope you’re ever so proud of yourselves & the attention you’ve brought to MY lovely home. But for all the wrong reasons. Instead of leaving this beautiful island with happy tales and having experienced beautiful weather to enjoy our island Pierre de Greef , shall forever remember his visit by this mindless act of vandalism. I hope the culprits are caught."

The US Coast Guards, who took some pictures of their encounter with Niall Iain, the damaged rudder, and his boat, spoke of their joy at being able to help the intrepid islander.

Lieutenant Commander Brian Chapman, Executive Officer, said: “The Coast Guard Cutter Diligence had the distinct pleasure of visiting with Niall MacDonald today. The Row Boat ALBA's rudder was giving Mr MacDonald some trouble, so we dropped in to assist.

Niall Iain Macdonald continues today (Friday June 8) to make progress in his NY2SY Solo North Atlantic Row – after a broken rudder on his boat ALBA threatened to end his challenge for good.

After ten years of welcoming walking trips across Scotland and a month-long series of walks across Lewis, lecturer Pierre de Greef from Belgium came across another aspect of Island life on Wednesday evening this week.

Camping for the second time on this trip in the Castle Grounds, in a secluded spot not far from the Lady Matheson monument, his tent was slashed and his cooking stove and gear destroyed in a large fire which had been lit nearby.

Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of the Food Standards Agency has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in East and West Loch Roag -  Linngeam, Torranish, Drovinish, Miavaig and Eilean Tenish in Lewis.

Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles or razor fish from these areas may pose a risk to human health and notices to warn the public and casual gatherers have been posted at various locations on the shore.  

Loss of mobile phone signal is causing major disruption for residents of the Uig district and local politicians are calling on the mobile phone operator to take urgent action to resolve the situation.

Angus MacNeil MP and Alasdair Allan MSP have been in regular contact with EE over recent days and weeks after many constituents contacted them to report repeated disruption to the network in the Uig area.

The poor signal for EE customers is caused by ongoing works to upgrade the mast to a 4G service, however Mr MacNeil said customers have not been kept well informed and are becoming increasingly frustrated.

More than a fortnight into the crossing, Niall Iain Macdonald had covered 18 more miles in the 24 hours up to 5am today (Stornoway time, Thursday June 7th).  At the time of the update, he was moving at more than 2.3 knots, way above the average speed of 0.86 knots achieved over the whole of the voyage so far. 

A group of young prospects aiming for a career in the music business will make their debut on stage at one of Scotland’s leading festivals next month.

Ten students from New College Lanarkshire have volunteered to provide hands-on help at the multi award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival to gain practical experience as part of their sound production course.

Police in the Western Isles are appealing for information following a break-in at Campbell's Filling Station in Stornoway.

Entry was forced to the garage on Cannery Road shortly after 2.30am yesterday (Wednesday, June 6).

The chances of successful large-scale windfarm development on the Islands took a step forward yesterday (Wednesday June 6) with a positive announcement from the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Scotland Office Minister Lord Duncan welcomed the department’s “current intention that wind projects on the remote islands of Scotland that directly benefit local communities will be eligible for the next Pot 2 auction.”

Would-be Atlantic rower Niall Iain Macdonald is continuing to make progress out into the mid-Atlantic according to his update at 5am today (Wednesday June 6th).

His speed is continuing to increase, according to the data provided, and he was travelling at almost 2.9 knots.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan visited Eilean Siar foodbank this week (on Monday June 4th] to lend a hand as part of Volunteers’ Week 2018.

The islands MSP saw first-hand the work that goes in to processing food donations and preparing them for collection.

The photograph shows Alasdair sorting food with volunteer Margaret McLellan.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan pledges his backing for Carers Week which begins next Monday, by committing to support local carers across the Western Isles.

Alasdair Allan has signed up to the Carers Week pledge to take carer-friendly action – highlighting the tireless work of the 6.5 million unpaid carers across the UK and offering them any support they need.

There are an estimated 788,000 unpaid carers across Scotland – with 44,000 of them under the age of 18.

Luke MacLeod, from Gress, who is a pupil at The Nicolson Institute was today (Tuesday June  5)  announced at the Lewis Local Mod’s Literacy Day as the winner of the Dìleab (Legacy) prize.

Luke wrote a poignant story about the HMY Iolaire tragedy and received high praise from the judges who presented him with the award.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the extension of the Scottish Government’s HEEPS Equity Loan scheme to the Western Isles.

The pilot scheme allows homeowners on low incomes to borrow up to £40,000 for energy efficiency improvements and essential repairs, including the installation of a new boiler, double glazing or repairs to reduce heat loss – which will be repaid when they sell their home or transfer ownership.

Niail Iain Macdonald is speeding up as his bid to row across the Atlantic Ocean extends almost to the end of a fortnight.

With continually changing weather patterns around him, he is now travelling at almost 1.7 knots, more than double the average speed for the voyage so far..

Dementia awareness week this year runs from yesterday (Monday June 4th) and the theme is making sure no one faces dementia alone.

Alzheimer Scotland Western Isles kicked off their events yesterday with an afternoon Tea and blether at Dun Berisay care home in Balmerino Drive, Stornoway.

Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in East Loch Roag in Lewis.

Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles, or razor fish from these areas may pose a risk to human health and notices to warn the public and casual gatherers have been posted at various locations on the shore.

Shona MacLeod, manager of the Hebrides Alpha Project, at the project’s residential unit in Upper Coll

A residential recovery programme for islanders with addiction would quickly “become unsustainable” without the grant support it receives from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.

The Hebrides Alpha Project received £15,000 from Point and Sandwick Trust last month (May).

Shona MacLeod, manager of the Hebrides Alpha Project, said they were “so grateful” for the support from Point and Sandwick Trust, which goes towards salaries and other administrative costs such as travel and amounts to nearly half the money that Hebrides Alpha has to raise each year, just to keep the project going.

Harris resident Paul Finnegan is getting set to swim from Skye to Harris as part of The Little Minch Swim attempt before taking on the Big Minch, swimming from Lewis to mainland Scotland.

This is despite only trying out open water swimming for the first time this year.

Would-be and existing jewellery workers are being asked to consider joining an HNC course which Lews Castle College is offering for the first time in the next academic session.

The college emphasises the inspiring views overlooking the grounds at Lews Castle College UHI and the college’s spacious, well-equipped workshop.

They say that, “studying this HNC at Lews Castle College in Stornoway provides a creative environment for you to develop your design and jewellery making skills.


 

Daniel MacAlpine, aged seven, who attends Stornoway Primary School, has won the Gravett Garden Competition in the national First News children’s newspaper.

Daniel won £500 of gardening vouchers for his school garden and a set of signed books written by the children’s author Emily Gravett.

Daniel designed a school garden with three rules to protect wildlife that might visit the garden.

An Entrepreneurial Academy is available across the Highlands and Islands to support the region’s entrepreneurs accelerate their business growth.

Originally launched by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in 2017, the Entrepreneurial Academy will provide a series of one day workshops.

The programme kicks off with an Entrepreneurial Sales workshop in Thurso on Wednesday 13th June, and this is followed later by Brand Development, Pitching Skills and Delivering a Digital Strategy workshops.

The upper floor of Stornoway Town Hall was crowded last night (Thursday 31st May) as the Harris Tweed Authority's charitable arm, The Harris Tweed Educational Trust, launched a new public exhibition focused on the work of the industry.

The trust has created - within its new headquarters in the Town Hall – a ‘brand story showcase’ which opened to a small audience of invited guests from the industry and related enterprises.

Niall Iain Macdonald continues to make progress out into the Atlantic Ocean. After almost nine days, he has travelled almost 190 nautical miles at an average speed of 0.54 knots.

Mossend Residents Association have had a literal ‘boost to growth’ with nearly £2,000 from Point and Sandwick Trust going towards improvements at the little-known Bayview Community Gardens.

These gardens are tucked away in Plasterfield and are accessed by paths from Cnoc Iomhair (Ivorhill) or Redburn. They’ve been growing for 10 years and are looked after by green-fingered members of the residents association.

Publishers Acair will release 'Someone Else's Story' by the late Michael Robson at Comunn Eachdraidh Nis on Friday 15th June at 4:15pm.

Entry to this event is free and all are welcome to attend.

The book launch takes place towards the end of a full day of commemoration and special events, celebrating the life and work of Michael Robson, as organised by the Islands Book Trust and Comunn Eachdraidh Nis.

In 'Someone Else's Story' the historian Michael Robson has in his own words shared with the reader: “a tiny fraction of the mass of incidental, intriguing interest offered by the people, the landscape and the seas of the Outer Hebrides”.

He has drawn on a deep personal knowledge and a rich written archive to compile 'Someone Else’s Story'. These stories are drawn from communities across the islands from South Uist to Uig in Lewis and as far as distant Rona. A

ll are accompanied by the author’s meticulous notes and references resulting in a book which the reader can chose to enjoy simply for the pleasure of a good story or as a source book for island heritage.

'Someone Else's Story' is now available to pre-order on www.acairbooks.com

More information on the conference is available at islandsbooktrust.org

Lewis residents will get a chance to get their hands on a pair of free weekend passes at this year’s Heb Celt Festival, thanks to the sponsorship of the Island Stage by Lewis Wind Power.

One pair of free passes will be balloted for anyone who comes to the public drop-in event at Stornoway Town Hall from 2pm to 7pm on Wednesday 19th July.

A separate event will be held on Tuesday 18th July at Balallan village hall from 2.30pm to 6.30pm.

Iain Smith, Joan Forrest, and Sandy Matheson at the launch

The latest Acair publication - 'Saints & Sinners - Tales of Lewis Lives' - was launched at Lews Castle College in Stornoway on Wednesday evening.

The book, written by Iain Smith and Joan Forrest, tells the stories of a number of lives who greatly benefitted from education in the Western Isles at the turn of the last century.

(L-R): Chris Scarrott, Site Manager of BASF Pharma (Callanish) Ltd; Lorne Crerar, Chair of HIE; Angus B MacNeil, Western Isles MP; and Richard Carter, Managing Director BASF UK

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil has today (Friday, June 30th) officially opened a new warehouse at BASF Pharma (Callanish) Ltd based in Breasclete on the Isle of Lewis.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) invested £2.8m in the expansion project at BASF Pharma (Callanish) Ltd in Breasclete, together with the company’s own financial support.
Commenting after the official opening, local MP Angus MacNeil said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to officially open the impressive warehouse facility at BASF Pharma (Callanish) Ltd.

Cllr Iain Mackenzie

The Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has paid tribute to former Councillor Iain MacKenzie who passed away aged 72 on Thursday 29th June.

Having been educated at Bayble Junior Secondary and The Nicolson Institute, Iain studied at Lewis Castle College and then at Stow College in Glasgow.

Iain worked as a radar and radio/tv engineer for five years and then as an Air Traffic Engineer at Stornoway Airport between 1968 and 2006, before he was elected to the Comhairle as a Councillor for Steòrnabhagh a Tuath in 2007; he was re-elected in 2012.

Kirsty and Kerry Macphee

The Western Isles team in Gotland now have a whopping TEN gold medals.

Yesterday, sisters Kerry and Kirsty bagged two golds and a silver, while swimmer Kathryn Offer claimed her second gold of the games in the 50m backstroke.

And there was more success last night, when Heather Mackinnon took gold in the triple jump.

That means team Western Isles now have 14 medals - 10 gold, three silver and one bronze.

The Board of Hebridean Housing Partnership has today (June 29th) welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement of additional resources for affordable housing in the Outer Hebrides.

The total grant available to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar over the next four years is just under £31million which will result in just over £47 million of investment on affordable housing, HHP’s Board meeting on Wednesday 28th June 2017 was told.

The announcement represents a substantial increase in funding and a tremendous opportunity for the islands.

The most recent data for NHS Scotland reveals that 100% of patients in NHS Western Isles’ emergency departments were seen, admitted or discharged within four hours – beating the 95% target.

Scottish hospitals have now had the best performing emergency departments in the UK for more than two years.

Donald McKee (left), Donnie 'Dotaman' Macleod, and just some of those who took part in the project

The Lewis Retirement Centre has been completely transformed after a ‘DIY SOS’-style makeover by a Gaelic TV programme.

In a departure from normal procedure, bosses at popular BBC Alba programme ‘DIY le Donnie’ decided that instead of visiting homes and doing the wee odd job, Donnie ‘Dotaman’ Macleod would lead a team of workers as they overhauled the building on Bayhead.

Missing Stornoway man Robert Burns Mason has been traced safe and well.
Police had issued an appealed for information regarding the missing 35 year old, who had last been seen in the Cearns area of Stornoway around 9pm on Monday, June 26th.
Police have now confirmed that Mr Mason has been found and is safe and well.

The first meeting of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s newly-established Budget Board took place yesterday (Wednesday 28th June).

The Budget Board was established to oversee the implementation of the Comhairle’s Budget Strategy and has a wide ranging membership with representation from all 9 wards in the Western Isles.

The leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Cllr. Roddie MacKay, has paid tribute to the athletes representing Team Western Isles at the Natwest World Island games in Gotland this week.

The deadline for applications for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s 2017 Apprenticeship Programme is 5pm on Monday 3rd July.

There is an extensive list of over 40 apprenticeships available from the Butt to Barra, across a wide range of sectors and departments.

All the apprenticeships and associated information is available on www.myjobscotland.gov.uk

Ness swimmer Kathryn Offer has won a gold medal for team Western Isles in Gotland.

Kathryn won the final of the 50m freestyle event last night.

That brings the total number of medals won by the Western Isles to nine - six gold, two silver, and one bronze.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has been appointed to lead policy development and preparation of the party’s 2021 manifesto following a reshuffle of the Scottish Conservative team by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP.
Donald previously acted as the party’s health and sport spokesman and, in addition to his new policy co-ordination role, he will also now become the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.
Of his new appointment, Donald Cameron said: “I’m delighted to be asked by Ruth Davidson to undertake a general policy co-ordination role, with a view to the 2021 election.
“The Scottish Conservatives will produce a manifesto that draws on a wide range of expertise in all policy areas, proposing our vision for Scotland, and confirming us as a government-in-waiting.”

Police are appealing for information in a bid to find a missing male.

Robert Burns Mason, 35 years of age, was last seen in the Cearns area of Stornoway around 9pm on Monday the 26th of June 2017.

His current whereabouts are unknown.

The Waterboys are excited to be returning to the HebCelt stage next month

The Waterboys’ next album release is still two months away, but Mike Scott already has the follow up all but completed.
It will be another chapter in the continuous evolution of the band, who were formed in 1983 and have over the years embraced a number of musical genres, from Celtic to gospel and country to rock.
That process continued with their last album, the funky ‘Modern Blues’, and will be extended with September’s release of ‘Out of All This Blue’, which has Japanese and hip-hop influences.
The Waterboys’ line-up has also undergone considerable change over the years, but the latest live version of the band – Mike Scott on vocals, guitar and piano; Steve Wickham on electric fiddle; Memphis keyboard player Brother Paul; drummer Ralph Salmins; Muscle Shoals bassman David Hood, and Austin guitarist Zach Ernst - is the same as played on the latest recordings.
The latest stage of the evolution can be seen on their current tour that takes them to Stornoway next month to headline the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival.

Triple World Island Games gold medal winner Kara Hanlon has been recognised by the Scottish Parliament.

David Stewart MSP has placed the following motion before the Scottish Parliament today in recognition of Kara’s fantastic achievements at the NatWest Island Games in Sweden.

The University of the Highlands and Islands has announced plans to develop a BSc degree in optometry to address the growing demand for eye care services in the region.

Managers have submitted an initial proposal to the General Optical Council and are working with stakeholders to develop the new course. The Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians Educational Trust is providing expertise and funding to help develop the degree. The programme will incorporate new approaches to regional training to support the delivery of optometry services in remote and rural communities.

Research by consumer group Which has confirmed the Western Isles was ranked in the bottom ten areas for broadband speeds.While the Western Isles is ranked higher than Orkney, Shetland or the Highlands local MP Angus MacNeil is disappointed but not surprised to learn that Na h-Eileanan an Iar achieve average speeds below the UK Government’s Universal Service Obligation of 10Mbps, needed for the typical demands of a family or small business.

Leading team - 'Mission Slimpossible'

The 'It takes 3 to shift a stone (3 mates, 3 months, 3 million steps)' weight loss competition was launched in February 2017.

Teams of three people have been encouraged to aim for a sensible weight loss to achieve a healthy BMI through the support of friends, family and team members, with the goal of losing one stone each over three months.

The team who, after one year, have lost and maintained the highest weight loss will win vouchers.

Work being undertaken to extend three chimneys at Battery Point Power Station in Stornoway sees Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) invest £330,000 in the island based station.
Local firms John Maciver & Sons and CalMax Construction have been engaged to carry out the refurbishment works, alongside Pendrich Height Services.
The investment is part of an ongoing maintenance programme to ensure that the power station is able to continue to power homes and businesses across the islands.

It was a hugely successful day for team Western Isles in Gotland on Tuesday, as the squad collected an amazing seven medals.

Kara Hanlon scooped another two golds in the swimming pool, taking her own tally to three golds for the games.

Individual entrants Eilidh Thompson and Bethany McCuaig along with a friend, who also completed the Women's Cancer Challenge 5K as part of their walk. 

Walking is the simple way to increase your physical activity levels. It’s an all round great activity for all ages and fitness levels, which can improve your health, help you lose weight, make you feel good and most importantly it’s free!

The ‘Walk 500 Miles Step Count Challenge’, launched by NHS Western Isles’ Health Promotion Department and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Sport and Health Division on 5th May, encouraged both individuals and teams of three from the Butt to Barra aged 18 years and over to participate.

Through a Bronze, Silver and Gold challenge, individuals or teams of three could choose to walk a total of 7,500, 10,000 or 12,500 steps a day.

Blood donors in the Western Isles will no longer be able to give blood in Stornoway, it has been announced.

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) is to stop planning for blood donation programmes in the town.

The most recent blood donation session was in September 2016. The SNBTS have cited a 20% reduction in the overall demand in the last 6 years coupled with 'unpredictable weather conditions' and 'transport delays' as reasons behind the discontinuation of the service.

The Morning Room at Lews Castle proved a wonderful gallery for the Stornoway RNLI Art Sale

The gift of 25 stunning drawings and paintings by artist Richard Walker (1925-2009) to Stornoway RNLI has raised £700 for the local lifesavers.
A number of the late artist’s works were sold on Friday (June 23rd) as the Stornoway Lifeboat Ladies Guild held an Art Sale in the Morning Room at Lews Castle.
“The sale went really well and the room was packed,” said Guild Chair Ellen MacDonald. “The Morning Room was lovely, with such good light to show off the art works; and the Natural Retreats’ staff couldn’t have done more, they were so helpful. We’re really thankful to them.

Sisters Kerry and Kirsty Macphee have won two golds and a silver in mountain biking at the World Island Games in Gotland.

Kerry took gold and Kirsty took silver, while they claimed gold in the team biking event.

 

 

 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has written to Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, to ask why the Western Isles will be missing out on at least £15 million it is due as a result of spending increases in Northern Ireland which are not being replicated in Scotland.

Yesterday, the Conservatives and DUP signed a 'confidence and supply' deal which included an extra £1 billion for spending in Northern Ireland.

Dr Allan said that if the £1bn of additional funding for Northern Ireland was subject to the Barnett formula, Scotland would be due to receive £2.9bn of extra funds.

The Western Isles Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV) joined the local community in Stornoway yesterday (Monday 26 June, 2017) for the Armed Forces Day parade and lowing of the flag in the town centre.

The 10 youth volunteers helped at the parade and assisted officers with road closures, ensuring the area was safe for the parade to pass through.

The LEADER funded Eagle Observatory in Harris. Photo courtesy of The North Harris Trust

The invitation for local businesses and community groups to apply for financial assistance has been issued by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar as the next round of LEADER funding becomes available.
The Outer Hebrides LEADER 2014-2020 Programme has supported a number of projects and the Local Action Group, who manage the funds, are now seeking applications from those who would like to introduce and develop new and innovative ideas focussing around young people, crofting diversification, renewables and new activities for visitors and locals to enjoy and experience.
Funding is, however, limited – and the Comhairle warn that this may be the final call for applications from the Outer Hebrides LEADER 2014-2020 pot; those interested being urged to contact the LEADER team at the earliest opportunity should they wish to discuss proposals.

Pictured are staff from Western Isles Hospital’s Midwifery team (L-R): Diane MacDonald (Midwife), Catherine Gillies (Maternity Team Leader), Donna Maclean (Administrator), Joan Mackay (Midwife) and Nan Morrison (Healthcare assistant)

National Celebration Week ran from 19th – 23rd June and NHS Western Isles joined the celebrations around the Western Isles to promote the benefits of breastfeeding.

Led by the Maternal and Infant Nutrition group, the campaign aims to bring the conversation about breastfeeding to the fore and highlight the benefits to both babies and mothers. As well as having all the vitamins and nutrients that baby needs, breast milk also contains disease-fighting substances. Breastfeeding is also beneficial to mum – as well as being convenient and environmentally friendly it can help mum return to her previous shape and reduce the risks of some diseases.

Swimmer Kara Hanlon has won the first gold medal for team Western Isles in Gotland.

Kara won the 50 metres breast stroke with a time of 31:62 at the World Island Games.

She could make it a glorious double later this evening, as she has qualified for the final of the 200 metres breast stroke.

NHS Western Isles has been applauded by the Scottish Parliament in their local efforts to reduce Lyme disease and tick awareness.

During the motion, "Lyme Disease, The Need To Do More, the Members Business Debate (4825), Donald Cameron MSP stated the debate provided “an important opportunity to discuss an issue that connects rural affairs and public health... in particular, the Uists, which Lyme disease affects more than any other part of Scotland.”

The Tesco Bingo Fundraiser proved a popular event

Over £2,000 was raised for the families of Laura McIntyre and the late Eilidh MacLeod, of Barra, at a Bingo Fundraiser organised by Stornoway’s Tesco store.
Held on Friday, June 23rd, at the Cabarfeidh Hotel in Stornoway, the bingo and raffle night raised funds to help the both families following the tragic aftermath of the bombing at Manchester Arena last month.
Commenting on the Stornoway Tesco Facebook page, organisers said: “Fantastic night at the Bingo fundraiser. The generosity from everyone has been overwhelming, we raised just over £2,000: amazing.”

DYW Group Chair, Debra Nichol-Storie said focus was on 'supporting the vast number of micro-businesses across the islands' to allow them to 'tap into' the high rate of island school-leavers with recognised qualifications

The Outer Hebrides are to share in a £1 million Scottish Government investment focused on the needs of young people and economic opportunity.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed the announcement of over £450,000 funding for the establishment of a ‘Developing the Young Workforce’ Group (DYW) for the Outer Hebrides.
Launching Orkney, Outer Hebrides and Shetland DYW Regionals Groups today (Monday, June 26th), Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn, said: “I’m delighted to announce this £1million investment for the islands of Scotland.
“This expansion of the DYW network to the Outer Hebrides will enable us to support employers and educators will to work together for the benefit of the island’s young people.”

Congratulations are being sent to Harris Gun Club's youngest member Andrew Hughson, aged 14, for making it on to the 2017 Scottish DTL Junior Team after competing in the Scottish DTL Championship.

Andrew also won the Walter Thomson Trophy as the 2017 Scottish Colts (under-16) Champion.

As a new cap and member of the Scottish DTL Junior Team, Andrew will now represent Scotland at the 83rd ICTSC DTL Home Countries International Tournament and British Open Championships from July 20th at Scotland's new National Shooting Centre, Falkirk.

"Harris Gun Club Members are so very proud of Andrew, congratulations and good luck for next month," they say  

A new four-year deal for the production of drama content on BBC ALBA has been agreed, it has been announced today. (Sunday June 25th)

Funded by Stornoway-based MG ALBA, the Gaelic Media Service - one of the partners behind BBC ALBA – the new contract with Skye-based Young Films secures the future of the channel’s drama series, Bannan.

Hasfa with Maternity Ward staff at Western Isles Hospital

It was a welcome return for baby Hafsa as she recently visited NHS staff in Stornoway and Glasgow to celebrate her first birthday.

Proud parents Zerqua and Mansha Mohammed Shahid brought Hafsa to visit both Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway and the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital in Glasgow, to pay tribute to the wonderful NHS staff who looked after them after Hafsa was born dangerously premature on Father’s Day 2016 at only 24 weeks.



Schoolchildren from across Glasgow have today (Friday 23 June) joined together for the grand unveiling of the logo for the Royal National Mòd 2019.

Glasgow will host An Comunn Gàidhealach’s Royal National Mòd in 2019 – the first time it has been held in the city for 29 years - and the logo has been developed to show a modern and vibrant face for the week-long festival of Gaelic language, music and culture.

The national Gaelic film competition, FilmG is celebrating its tenth year, with some famous faces in the world of Gaelic broadcasting launching this year’s competition in Wester Ross.

Fiona MacKenzie, the face of BBC ALBA, and journalist and Albion Rovers footballer Calum Ferguson were on hand with pupils from Gairloch High School yesterday (Thursday 22 June) to launch the tenth FilmG competition.

Four awards were made to community groups in the Outer Hebrides following on from the Council Committee meetings recently.

Councillor Donald Crichton, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development Committee said: “Four excellent community projects will be delivered through support from the Comhairle’s Community Capital Grant Fund (CCGF).  In Castlebay, Ness, Shawbost and Balallan jobs will be safeguarded during the construction period and more will be created post completion."

Donald Manford (left) and Gordon Murray

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar SNP Group have appointed a new Group Leader after Councillor Donald Manford recently decided to step down from the role.

Stornoway North Councillor, Gordon Murray will take over from Councillor Manford. Councillor Manford, will continue as the local member for Barra, Vatersay, Eriskay & South Uist.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan is encouraging all expectant mothers in the Western Isles, whose babies are due on or after 15 August 2017, to register for a baby box at their next midwife appointment.

These boxes, containing various essential items for a child’s first weeks and months, signal the SNP Government’s commitment to ensuring that every child in Scotland, regardless of their circumstances, should get the best start in life, said Dr Allan.

A Conservative MSP has added his voice to concerns that capacity on the Loch Seaforth ferry is not adequate.

This follows complaints from constituents that some sailings are full to capacity.

In some cases, foot passengers have been turned away and many people have been unable to book vehicular tickets online.

A plea has been made to help accommodate visitors to the annual Hebridean Celtic Festival, which doubles the population of Stornoway each year. 

The award-winning HebCelt returns for the 22nd time on 19-22 July, with headliners The Waterboys, Imelda May, Dougie MacLean and Lucy Spraggan.

Last year’s record-breaking festival increased the population of Stornoway to nearly 18,000 over the four days, and already advance bookings for this year mean rooms at hotels and guest houses are at a premium.

A Lottery for the Western Isles will be launched on Saturday 8th July 2017, allowing islanders the chance to win 20% of all weekly ticket sales and at the same time help to improve lifestyle across communities from the Butt to Barra.

Tickets cost only £1 with 60p from each ticket going directly to the area in which the ticket was purchased, using a postcode system.

The YPI Scotland 2017 event was held in the Perth Concert Hall yesterday (Wednesday June 21) with young people from Lewis and Harris involved.

YPI – Youth and Philanthropy Initiative – is a structured curricular programme, designed for secondary schools, and centred on “youth voice, youth action and youth philanthropy.”

Marion MacInnes, Service Manager for Lewis and Harris Services of Alzheimer Scotland said there were “great presentations from the different groups, talented musicians and inspirational speeches.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has been appointed as the SNP Spokesperson at Westminster on Environment and Rural Affairs.

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford yesterday announced the new SNP team at Westminster.

Organisers of this year's Heb Celt Festival have made an appeal for volunteers to help out at the event.

They say: "As a volunteer you will be expected to be available for at least 12-15 hours of work with shifts alternating between daytime/evening throughout the festival. There are a couple of teams that have longer hours and some who are involved in pre and post Festival work but you will not be placed on these teams without your agreement in advance.

The Nicolson Institute Senior Girls Football have been crowned North of Scotland champions for the seventh time.

The girls comprehensively beat Ellon Academy in the final held at Alness, with the final score a thumping 9- 2.

Congratulations to the girls and their coach, Mr Jack Bain.

Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe (Ui Church Trust) has received £5,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project 'Understanding Our Community's Past'.

This is part of a wider project – 'Building a Future from the Past' – based around Eaglais na h-Aoidhe (St Columba's Ui Church and Graveyard) which is located at Aignish in the Isle of Lewis.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the project focuses on a Geophysical Survey, the results of which will lead to a better understanding of the archaeology and historical development of the Church and its environs, and its importance to the community.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the appointment of Rod Mackenzie as the Crofting Commission’s new Convenor.

The appointment follows on from the election of Commissioners in March and the appointment of a new Chief Executive earlier this year.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Policy and Resources Committee today (Wednesday June 21) recommended the appointment of two ‘Youth Champions’, Cllr Finlay Stewart covering Lewis and Harris and Cllr Paul Steele in Uist and Barra.

The ‘Champions’, aim to liaise with young people throughout the Islands and give them a voice. The appointments will build on the Comhairle’s aim of supporting the development of youth engagement in the Western Isles.

Alex Lowery was the guest speaker

Over 100 delegates gathered in the Stornoway Sea Angling Club today (Wednesday June 21), participating in the first ever Autism Eileanan Siar conference.

The guest speaker was Alex Lowery (23), an award winning blogger who was born in October 1993, and diagnosed with Classic Autism at the age of four.

When he was seven his IQ was 73 and his parents were told not to expect too much.

Despite this Alex has exceeded everyone’s expectations.

WIIGA’s main sponsor, The Scottish Salmon Company, today presented the WIIGA squad with their kit for the upcoming NatWest Island Games in Gotland. The team of 88 athletes, management and medical team flies out from Stornoway this Saturday morning (24th June) to take part in the bi-annual multi sports event.

Said a spokesperson: "3000 bits of kit have been sorted and individually bagged and the realisation that the Games are upon us is really kicking in. It is always a proud moment for the athletes trying on the Western Isles kit for the first time."

Craig Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of The Scottish Salmon Company, said: “With just a few days to go until the start of the games, the arrival of the WIIGA team kit is another exciting milestone for the athletes as they prepare to travel to Gotland.

MG ALBA, Solus Productions and Sorbier Productions are searching for new acting talent for two dramas aimed at children and young people.

Solus Productions are holding auditions in Skye, Benbecula, Glasgow and Stornoway between 19-24 June looking for two young male actors to take part in an international drama-documentary series Small Hands 2, produced by LOOKSFilms.

The series will feature stories based on letters and diaries from World War Two interlaced with documentary and archive for transmission on BBC ALBA in 2018/19.

A spate of tragic house fires over a 'very short period' recently has prompted a review into the operation and management of Telecare.

Chairman of the Comhairle's Audit and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Angus Morrison, said: “Although our systems have worked as expected, this is an opportunity for the review of processes across the Western Isles, particularly in relation to installation, maintenance and testing of equipment on a consistent basis.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar received a total of 25 complaints and closed 23 in 2016/17, it was reported at a meeting of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee.

This is a reduction on the 79 complaints recorded in 2015/16

At today's meeting, councillors approved the Comhairle’s Complaints Handling Procedure Annual Report 2016/17.

Acair Books, who are commemorating their 40th anniversary this year with a series of celebratory events, recently attended two sessions to mark their successful collaborations over the years with Scottish Booktrust.

The first session, held in Stornoway Library, provided an opportunity to showcase the most recent Bookbug books, which Acair published in Gaelic. These included ‘An Crogall Nach Iarradh gu Uisge’, ‘An Leanabh Seo’ and ‘Bèibidh Beag Bìodach’.

The session, held by Mairi MacLeod, the Early-Years Supporter at Bòrd na Gàidhlig for the Western Isles, was great fun for children and parents alike, who joined in with the song and dance.

Future oil and gas decommissioning could offer significant economic opportunities for the Outer Hebrides, the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development Committee has heard.

A new Decommissioning Group has been formed to help develop the sector in the Islands.

Discussions at the Committee centred around a ‘refreshed’ Decommissioning Strategy which focuses on ongoing market analysis, supply chain readiness and profile/promotion.

Road repair works are being carried out on  Bayhead in Stornoway over the next few days. 

The work is being carried out between Manor Filling station, by the roundabout, down Bayhead to the junction for Kenneth Street. Traffic control is in place but the majority of repairs will be carried out early morning to minimise disruption. The work may also affect access to parking on Bayhead. 

The road works should be completed within the next two weeks. 

Road repair works are being carried out on  Bayhead in Stornoway over the next few days. 

The work is being carried out between Manor Garage, by the roundabout, down Bayhead to the junction for Kenneth Street. Traffic control is in place but the majority of repairs will be carried out early morning to minimise disruption, the work may also effect access to parking on Bayhead. 

The road works should be completed within the next two weeks. 

McNeill's in Cromwell Street, Stornoway, recently held a Pub Quiz Night to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

This charity is important for the staff as they have all been affected in some way in recent years and wanted to do something to raise money for cancer research. 

The turnout was spectacular, the organisers say, as a total of 28 teams entered.

The winning team even donated their £100 prize money back to the charity. 

In total, £1200 was raised and presented to members of the CRUK Isle of Lewis team

Stornoway's local cheer and dance squad, North West Allstars, are fundraising for new mats for their weekly practices.

North West Allstars Cheer and Dance started up in 2009 with a small group of young people joining in pom dance and learning some basic cheerleading moves after school.

The squad has grown since then, and now includes a range of coaches delivering different styles of dance and cheer from ballet to hip hop, competing at regional and national competitions and performing locally and further afield.

The community of Point and Sandwick is on track to become the first LED energy community in the UK after a project to cut carbon emissions beat its first year targets.

The LED Energy Community project, being run by community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) in partnership with Tighean Innse Gall (TIG), is reaching more households faster than it had hoped and being hailed a ‘great success’.



The Armed Forces Day Flag Raising Event took place at Perceval Square, Stornoway, at 10am this morning.

Comhairle Convener, Cllr Norman A MacDonald, said: “It is very important that we remember those who are currently serving in the forces and those who gave their lives for the freedom that we enjoy today and I would like to thank everyone who was present at the ceremony.

Big smiles at the official book launch

Young entrepreneurs at Sgoil an Rubha have donated a cheque for £1,000 to the Western Isles Diabetes Centre, after publishing their very own recipe book. 

Pupils from Primary 4 and 5 chose the Diabetes Centre for their designated charity, as classmate Finlay Reynolds (8) has Type 1 Diabetes and needs at least four insulin injections and eight finger pricks every day.

On Friday, nurses from the Diabetes Centre were invited to an official book launch, where Finlay presented them with their cheque.

Harris Tweed Hebrides has teamed up with the Bethesda Care Home and Hospice to design a unique Harris Tweed which reflects the values and vibrancy of the organisation. 
It was given its first outing today (Monday June 19th) at the Shawbost mill.
The design is a bright, vibrant sea blue window pane check. The Bethesda creative sewing team will transform the fabric into a fantastic range of ladies' and gents' accessories which will be sold to raise funds for the organisation, which provides vital care and palliative services on the island.

Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe - the Trust which looks after the ancient Ui (Eye) Church at Aignish on Point – has plans to build an interpretation centre – called the ‘The Gateway’ - on an area of land immediately adjacent to the entrance to the graveyard.

And it is appealing for funds to allow the purchase of the land needed.

The Gateway will be a low circular building which will blend with the landscape. The roof will be of domed lime concrete externally covered with turf.

It will provide:

Lack of effective communications systems is a 'huge barrier' to operating air traffic control remotely in the Highlands and Islands, Angus MacNeil MP said today.

Mr MacNeil - fresh from his election success a week ago - was speaking after a meeting regarding the future of air traffic provision at Highlands and Islands Airports.

The meeting follows reports in April that the provision of air traffic control at individual Scottish islands airports could be replaced by a centrally controlled system.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Sustainable Development Committee this week agreed to approve proposals to enhance support for youth entrepreneurship across the Outer Hebrides over the coming two years.

Two new avenues for supporting local businesses - Grants for Growth and the Outer Hebrides Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme - were launched recently for delivery by Business Gateway.

The Stornoway Trust and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have reached an advanced stage in the preparation of tender documents for the capital works elements of the Castle Grounds Regeneration Project.

A future contract opportunity notice will be published and it is anticipated that tender documentation will be published on the Public Contracts Scotland during week commencing 19 June 2017.

An Information Day and site visit for potential contractors will be held on 29 June 2017.

The event was held in the foyer of the Lews Castle College

There needs to be a fundamental rethink of how society views certain jobs based on gender.

This was the message given today by Iain Macmillan, Principal and Chief Executive of Lews Castle College as he addressed the college’s Further Education End of Year Celebration.

“We tend to have this mindset in our society in general, probably more so here in the islands, that boys do certain jobs and girls do certain jobs,” said Mr Macmillan.

“And it’s rubbish.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and partners today published the 2017 Apprenticeship Programme, with an extensive list of over 40 apprenticeships available from the Butt to Barra, across a wide range of sectors and departments.

These new posts are LIVE on www.myjobscotland.gov.uk

For anyone trying to plan what to do this weekend, next week or even over the summer holidays and beyond, we have a brand new events calendar featuring all kinds of local entertainment, from gigs and comedy shows to music sessions and dances, all over the Western Isles.  It's really easy to use, just hover over the What's On! menu on the front page, then click on 'upcoming events' for a full list... 

 

 

...or click on the individual days of the week to see what's happening on that specific date.

Councillor Donald Crichton, Chair of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Sustainable Development Committee, has urged UK Energy Secretary Greg Clark to implement the Conservative manifesto commitment and support the development of island renewable projects.

In a letter to the Energy Secretary, Mr Crichton said:  " I was particularly pleased to see the positive mention of the Scottish Islands in the Conservative Party Manifesto.  This hopefully moves us beyond the 2015 Manifesto and the political challenge that it presented.

"I was pleased that you were able to attend and co-chair the Scottish Islands Delivery Forum meeting in Stornoway in April.  I trust you enjoyed your visit to the Hebrides and gained a good insight into the challenges and opportunities that we face.  

All schools in the Outer Hebrides now have an outdoor defibrillator installed, members of the Education, Sport and Children’s Services committee heard on Tuesday.

In June 2016 the Comhairle approved a grant payment to Lucky2BHere, a registered Scottish charity which has placed defibrillators and delivered Emergency Life Support (ELS) training in numerous areas throughout Scotland.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee has agreed a proposal to offer free "Slàinte Mhath" memberships to groups supporting vulnerable or "At Risk" children across the Islands.



A number of third sector bodies, charitable organisations and Comhairle services have approached the Sport and Health section requesting access to sports facilities for young people and their carers/mentors.

A Fratelli Crosio made for French accordion player M. Aimable

Accordion enthusiasts are in for a real treat during next month’s Hebridean Celtic Festival.

For box collector Caroline Hunt is bringing 30 of her most prized possessions to Stornoway, showcasing her stunning antique accordions to the Lewis public.

Amongst the collection is a Sheng – a reproduction of the original reed instrument made in China around 1740, a variety of children’s accordions made in the 1950s and 1960s from China, Italy, Japan and Germany, and there are examples of concertinas, flutinas, bandoneons, piano accordions, button accordions, ones with bells, ones with horns, ones with unusual bellows, many with elaborate brass, wood, enamel, mother of pearl and abalone inlay. 

BBC ALBA will tonight screen live coverage of Scotland Women’s international friendly against Sweden.

Coverage of the match from the Myresjöhus Arena, Växjö, will start at 5.00pm, with commentary from Derek Mackay and analysis from Rangers Ladies’ coach, Amy McDonald.

Jackie Mullen leads the teachers in dramatic song as part of the Go! Gaelic resource training

SEVEN primary teachers from the Outer Hebrides are about to complete a pilot training course that will enable them to train colleagues in how to teach Gaelic to children in their class.
The programme has been specially constructed by training experts working for Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig as part of the company’s strategic approach to boost the teaching of Gaelic in English Medium Education.

Dog owners in the Western Isles have been urged to keep their pets on a leash near cliffs, after an incident in Ness yesterday.

Three coastguard teams - from Stornoway, Ness and Bragar - were called to the Butt of Lewis lighthouse just after midday.

The dog, which had fallen down a rockface, was recovered to the cliff top and handed back to its owners uninjured.

 

Report by Brian Inkster

What better setting to hold the annual Crofting Law Conference 2017 than the stunning grounds of Lews Castle in Stornoway.

The day was opened with a warm Gaelic welcome from Iain Maciver of the Stornoway Trust, followed by an introduction from the Vice Chairman of the Crofting Law Group Duncan MacPhee. Although not there in person, Fergus Ewing MSP (cabinet minister with responsibility for crofting) delivered a video address identifying the main theme for the conference being Crofting Law Reform.

He referred to the crofters as the ‘stewards of our landscapes and unique habitats’ and promised a commitment to change in this parliamentary session.

Parking charges are set to be introduced at the former Fishermen's Car Park, and areas of South Beach adjacent to the Star Inn and the Caledonian Hotel.

Members of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will also be asked tomorrow (Tuesday) to approve the standardisation of a two hour 'no return' period across all Pay and Display car parks in Stornoway Town Centre.

Almost every child in the Western Isles has received Emergency Life Support Training.

A report going before the Comhairle's Education, Sport and Children's Services tomorrow (Tuesday) will hear that 874 pupils have received the training - representing 94.18 per cent of the total pupil roll for the schools concerned.

At its meeting in June 2016 the Comhairle approved a grant payment to Lucky2BHere for the provision of an outdoor defibrillator at each school in the Western Isles.

At a meeting of the Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee on Tuesday 13th June, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar members will be asked to approve a proposal to offer free "Slàinte Mhath" memberships to groups supporting vulnerable or "At Risk" children.

The ‘Slàinte Mhath’ Scheme has previously been used as a good example of how councils should handle health and leisure facility fees.

Since the scheme came into place in January 2010 and fees were reduced by more than half, there has been a 25% increase in the number of people using the facilities.

Comhairle Leader - Roddie Mackay

A new islands bill has been introduced to Scottish Parliament – hailed as a 'historic milestone' for island communities by islands minister Humza Yousaf.

The Scottish government said The Islands (Scotland) Bill will help to create the right environment for 'sustainable growth and empowered communities'.

Among its measures is the creation of a 'National Islands Plan'. 

When preparing the plan ministers will also have to consult with people they believe represent the interests of island communities and those affected by its proposals.

The Conservatives are hailing their best electoral results in the islands since 1970.

Their Western Isles candidate, Dan McCroskrie, polled 2,441 votes  - up from 1,215 in 2015.

Norrie Tomsh MacDonald, CHSS volunteer Danny MacKay and his wife Norma MacKay, who also volunteers for CHSS, enjoying the celebrations!

A tea party was held in Lewis on Tuesday 6th June to celebrate Volunteers’ Week and thank Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s volunteers for all the time and hard work that they put in and the huge difference they make to the lives of people in the Western Isles.

Sonja MacLeod, Rehabilitation Support Coordinator, Western Isles, who organised the tea party said, “It was a great celebration and such a lovely opportunity to thank all our volunteers for the support that they offer to people in the local community.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, is extremely concerned that islanders will not be able to use the lifeline services on the ferry route between Stornoway and Ullapool in the coming weeks.

The MSP said, “I have been contacted by constituents who have recently tried to book travel on the Stornoway to Ullapool ferry, the mv Loch Seaforth and been both denied vehicular travel and on one occasion astonishingly foot  passenger travel.

"We are now reaping the rewards of decision by CMAL and the Scottish Government to only put one ferry on this lifeline route against many stakeholders objections at the time.”

When Murdo Sam Macleod decided he wanted to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland Lewis & Harris he didn't hesitate to go all out and do an absolute whopper of a physical challenge.

Murdo chose to run not one, not two but FIVE half marathons to raise money for a charity he is a big supporter of.

When we spoke to him to find out why he had chosen Alzheimer Scotland, Murdo told us, "I started volunteering  at the Solas day care centre last December and I've really enjoyed myself and realised what a worthwhile cause Alzheimer Scotland is. I wanted to do a bit of running this year so it felt like it was the perfect opportunity."

 

Saturday 10th June is deadline to secure your place on the Hebridean Cycle Challenge Charity Cycle or HCC Walk on Saturday 17th June.


The charity cycle is from the Lochside Arena to Carloway Community Centre via A859, Bennadrove Road and Pentland Road. After refreshments the cycle entrants and bikes will be transported by bus back to the Lochside Arena.

The Charity Walk is two sections of Bonnet Laird Walk from Tolsta Chaolais to Carloway Community Hall. This is a new off road walk designed by Carloway Estate that will be led by trained guides from the estate. The entrants will meet in Carloway to be transported by bus to Tolsta Chaolais and will follow the route back to Carloway Community Hall.

The Hebridean Cycle Challenge and Charity Walk are organised by Lewis and Harris Youth Clubs Association and will be run in coordination with Carloway Estate Trust. It will be open to all public who are over 16 years of age.


For an application form visit http://www.hebrideancyclechallenge.co.uk/entry.htm
If you can't take part on the day but would like to support the nominated charity then please click on the link below to visit the donation page http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/HebrideanCycleChallenge

Angus MacNeil has been re-elected as the MP for the Western Isles - but he endured a night of torment as Labour's Ealasaid Macdonald ate into the SNP's majority.

It was slashed from 4,102 in 2015, to 1,007 tonight.

MacNeil polled 6,013 votes, while Macdonald secured 5,006 votes.

WESTERN ISLES RESULT -
John Cormack (Scottish Christian Party) - 1,108
Ealasaid Macdonald (Labour) - 5,006
Angus Brendan MacNeil (SNP) - 6,013
Daniel McCroskrie (Conservative) - 2,441
James Paterson (Liberal Democrats) - 250

The polls have closed, and if exit polls are to believed, Theresa May has not managed to secure a majority.

And here in Scotland, the SNP are said to have only secured 34 seats - down by 22.

In Stornoway, counters have just started verifying the first box.

Angus MacNeil is widely tipped to hold onto his seat, but if this election has demonstrated anything, it's that nothing should be taken for granted in politics.

If the exit polls are accurate, the Tories can choose to either form a coalition or rule as a minority government.

If they decide to rule as a minority government they will be reliant on the support of smaller parties to pass legislature.

Or they can form a coalition with another party or parties so the combined number of seats amount to an absolute majority.

If both options fail parliament could be dissolved and a fresh election called.

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 2017!

  

At HHP’s Board meeting on Wednesday 24 May 2017 Calum Mackay, Vice Chair was pleased to present Angela Smith (Corporate Governance Manager) and Angus E MacNeil (Assets and Contracts Manager) with Level 5 Award in Leadership and Management. The Qualifications Company Ltd has been supporting HHP’s Managers over the past two years as they worked towards the qualification.
Calum said: “Tenants are at heart of everything we do that is HHPs commitment. All that has been achieved in the past ten years, for the tenants and wider community through HHPs new build program, could not have happened if it was not for HHP staff.

The Hebridean Celtic Festival’s efforts to put its indigenous language centre stage will have a Gallic, as well as a Gaelic, flavour this year.

For the first time, the Festival’s Gaelic team, which promotes the language and encourages visitors to try out key phrases during the four-day event, will include a non-native speaker when French student Valentine Clot makes a Celtic connection.

The 18-year-old from Brittany, who is learning Gaelic, is visiting Scotland on a scholarship and asked to join the army of volunteers that helps run HebCelt as part of a study of the language and those who speak it.

Get ready to vote!

That's the message today (Wednesday June 7)  from Councillor Charlie Nicolson, Vice-chair of Education, Sport and Children’s Services, who is encouraging young people to go out and vote in tomorrow’s UK Parliamentary Election. Councillor Nicolson stated “It is important for the young people of the Western Isles to vote in tomorrow’s Election and to play their part in the decision making process. "And Malcolm Burr, Returning Officer for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar UK Parliamentary Constituency is reminding voters what they need to know to have their say on Polling Day.

Polling Stations will be open from 7.00am to 10.00pm on Thursday 8 June 2017

Details of the Polling Stations for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar can be found on the Election Office Webpage

The Polling Station for Tarbert will be in the Council Offices, Old Primary School, West Tarbert. When voting at the Polling Station it is helpful to take your Poll Card with you although you do not require it to vote. Electors may wish to consider avoiding peak times and attend Polling Stations at quiet periods such as mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Polling Station staff will give you your Ballot Paper and answer any questions you have regarding the voting process.

For this election you will vote for one candidate only by putting a cross (X) in the box next to your choice.

If you applied for a Postal Vote, you must return it by 10.00pm on Thursday 8 June 2017. If you have left it too late to post, you can drop it in at any Polling Station in the Na h-Eileanan an Iar Constituency or at the Election Office, Council Offices, Sandwick Road, Stornoway.

Oliver and Charlotte Macleod from Point were recently presented with their Callanish Awards for their input to volunteering.

A big "Thank You" to them both came from the Volunteer Centre and also Alzheimer's Scotland Lewis Harris Dementia Resource Centre

Oliver said: "We used to go with mum to the coffee mornings and liked them so much we continued going.

"We also volunteer at the Memory Walks and we have been part of the volunteer team that made the new memory garden for the Clisham Ward at our local hospital."

A new UK regional airline force is being created through an alliance between Flybe and Eastern Airways, Travel Weekly UK and other trade publications reported today (Tuesday June 6).
And this will mean former partners Flybe and Loganair going head-to head on the Stornoway to Glasgow route.
A new five-year franchise deal will see Humberside airport-based Eastern operate its scheduled route network under the Flybe brand.  Eastern already flies between Aberdeen and Stornoway.
The new deal follows the spilt between Loganair and Flybe announced last November and due to take effect from the end of August.

A new local buggy walking group aimed at parents and carers of babies and toddlers in buggies, prams or carriers has been hailed a success.

The new Buggy Buddies group, officially launched on Monday 5th June by NHS Western Isles’ Health Visiting team, welcomed 12 parents and 14 babies to its first outing.

The group, which meets every Monday at 10.30am from the Stornoway Golf Club car park during the summer months, is organised by Elaine MacMillan, Trainee Health Visitor, who said she was “delighted” at the initial turnout and expected further new members to join the group over the next few weeks.

The count for the UK Parliamentary Elections will take place in the Lewis Sports Centre from 10pm on Thursday 8th June 2017.

www.welovestornoway.com will be at the count right through the night, to bring you all the very latest updates as they happen.

Live updates will also be provided bilingually through Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Facebook and Twitter pages and Facebook live will be used to give live video of the announcement.

Comhairle Twitter page: https://twitter.com/cne_siar
Comhairle Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/comhairlenaneileansiar/

In partnership with NHS Western Isles, the Reserve Army Medical Services (AMS) recently held an information stand/display within Western Isles Hospital during 22nd-24th May 2017 for both staff and general public.

The Reserve AMS unit are capable for deploying anywhere in the world to provide medical support and is a proven way to extend existing skills and experience both within existing specialities and beyond.

Earlier today, the preparations for the funeral tomorrow in Barra of Eilidh Macleod began with the arrival by air of her coffin from Manchester.  Photographs via Twitter from Connor Gillies, a senior journalist with several radio stations - Heart, Capital, Smooth and LBC

Midday today (Saturday June 3rd) saw the re-opening of the Hebridean Tea Store in Cromwell Street, Stornoway - in far bigger premises than its previous incarnation in the lower part of Church Street.  The changeover took longer than expected but after final preparations were completed, the store flung open its new doors - and was instantly crowded with customers.

 

Sandy Matheson cemented his reputation as the leading authority on Stornoway’s history with a magisterial address in the Town Hall last night (Friday June 2), showing how the modern town was established and grew from the late 16th Century onwards – and how the town’s connection with Free Masonry grew and changed with it.

Lodge Fortrose marks its 250th year this year – and the Town Hall was packed after the public was invited to find out more about the history of Stornoway's Masonic Lodge and its links with the town from Sandy, who along with his many former public offices over 50 years, was also formerly a Master of the Lodge.

Labour candidate Ealasaid MacDonald today said that if she is elected next week, she will work to create a Western Isles Land and Natural Resources Forum in order to 'turn our great assets into jobs and prosperity'.

Mrs MacDonald said that 'huge potential' was not being fulfilled because of poor representation and “a complete absence of joined-up thinking in how to make the most of what we have”.

A new record label for Outer Hebrides acts and artists has been launched by Stornoway based Wee Studio.
The brainchild of Keith Morrison, ‘Wee Studio Records’ is aimed to deliver music from acts based in or with links to the Outer Hebrides, as Wee Studio has developed a brand new, never before way of releasing records; designed to harness the new power of social media and fan engagement.
“We are so far away from the record industry,” said Keith. “We needed to come up with a new way to release records that works for musicians on the island.

Members of The Leanne Fund

The Leanne Fund is joining national Volunteers Week Scotland to celebrate the huge contribution made by volunteers in the Highlands and Islands and Grampian.

From 1-7 June 2017, Volunteers’ Week Scotland will see a huge range of events take place in communities all over the country, from small awards ceremonies to large celebratory gatherings.

A complaint against seven Western Isles councillors has not been upheld by a national ethical standards watchdog.

The complaint was made by members of Families into Sport and Health (FiSH), who alleged that the seven councillors had breached the councillors’ code of conduct in connection with a decision not to open Lewis Sports Centre on a Sunday.

The councillors - Gordon Murray, Charlie Nicolson, Catherine MacDonald, Angus Morrison, Donald Crichton, Iain Mackenzie and John Mackay – were all cleared by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life Scotland.

 

George Macdonald

Chief Superintendent George MacDonald has been appointed as the new Divisional Commander for Highland and Islands Division.

Mr MacDonald takes over the post from Superintendent Philip MacRae who will now be responsible for partnership working across the Highlands and Islands.

Sharon with her young charges and Early Years' Manager Becky Maclean

‘An extension of our family’ is how one parent described Childminder of the Year Sharon MacKinnon.

During Childminding Month (May), the Early Years’ Service promotes childminding as a career – and ask parents to nominate their choice of who should be crowned Childminder of the Year.

After votes were counted, the 2017 Childminder of the Year is Sharon Mackinnon, pictured with her charges and Early Years Manager Becky Maclean, who present Sharon with a vase and £50 gift voucher to celebrate her win.

Audrey MacIver

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed a new director of energy and low carbon.

Audrey MacIver of Alness in Easter Ross starts in the post today (Thursday 1 June). She succeeds Calum Davidson who retired in November after 31 years with HIE.

Audrey takes over lead responsibility for HIE’s contribution to the growth in the energy and low carbon sector, covering oil and gas (including decommissioning) , renewables and the low carbon economy.

Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Daniel McCroskrie, has signed the Scottish Fishing Federation's Brexit pledge ahead of the General Election on June 8th.

The pledge, which all General Election candidates have been asked to sign, ask that candidates support the declaration which notes that Brexit offers a 'Sea of Opporunity' for the fishing industry and fishing communities and also to pledge to "avoid any policy, practice, regulation or treaty which could return (the industry) to the Common Fisheries Policy".

Historic Glen House – opposite the Caberfeidh Hotel – was the setting last night (Wednesday May 31st) for the launch of a major new book on a vital part of the history of the Isle of Lewis. 

An Enormous Reckless Blunder – The Story of the Lewis Chemical Works, written by Ali Whiteford and published by the Islands Book Trust, is the product of 42 years of interest and work on the topic.
Dr Whiteford explained how his long years of research had finally been aided by the ability of the modern internet to allow researchers to draw disparate threads of information together far more quickly than in the past. 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil says the UK Government have 'let the Islands down' as they have failed to commit to crucial support for island based renewable projects.

Despite repeated attempts by Mr MacNeil; Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland; and the island councils to get answers from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on future support, there is still no clear policy from the UK Government.

Mr MacNeil said: “I have repeatedly questioned DECC on when they will submit the application for approval of the European Commission’s state aid for a scheme which will ensure island renewable projects are eligible for a Contract for Difference (CfD).  This would help to make community projects feasible in terms of security of revenues.

The Crofting Commission confirmed today that it has written to shareholders of Mangersta Common Grazings to advise that the grazings constable has concluded his investigations and has stepped down enabling shareholders to appoint a new committee of their choice. 

In the letter to shareholders the Commission stated that it regrets the conflicting advice the Mangersta Grazings Committee has been given over a considerable period of time in response to the investigations which took place due to a complaint made by a shareholder.  

Following an evaluation of this case the Commission is drafting revised guidance and has reviewed its processes.

The Lewis Carnival will take place on August 6th 2016. 

All the things you love about carnival day, and more! 

Remember to enter a float, as a business, club, charity or even individual! 

Also please keep South Beach Car Park clear from Friday 5th 6pm to Saturday 6th 6pm! 

On her way out to shout the 'Tom Sanderson' lifeboat races past the massive Cunard cruise ship Queen Elizabeth

Stornoway RNLI launched yesterday, Wednesday June 29th, at 1147hours to the aid of a small fishing boat which had broken down.

The stricken vessel was situated at Rubha Uisinis, on the south east coast of Lewis, and was being dragged towards the shore by its anchor, which was not holding.

The fishing boat was around 20m from the cliff shore when the RNLI lifeboat arrived on scene and a tow line was established between the two vessels.

The ‘Tom Sanderson’ lifeboat then towed the casualty to the safety of Eishken before returning to berth at Stornoway harbour at 1515hours. 

NHS Western Isles has reassured all EU nationals working within the local Health Service that they are welcomed and valued colleagues, following last week's vote to exit the European Union. 

There is a significant European presence within the staff of NHS Western Isles; for example, out of the 15 consultants currently employed, two are Scottish, nine are from the EU and four are from outwith the EU.

At its board meeting yesterday, NHS Western Isles acknowledged that there might be concern amongst EU nationals employed in the health service – and also concern amongst the local community – in the light of the Brexit vote.

The Hebridean Celtic Festival returns to Lews Castle Green for its 21st birthday party next month

The award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival is heading for a sell-out with tickets going faster than at any time during the event’s 21-year history.

Two weeks before it opens, it is already the highest grossing HebCelt in terms of sales. All weekend tickets have been sold, as have those for the opening and closing nights, while only a limited number remain for Friday.

Half the HebCelt audience will come from outside the event’s base in the island of Lewis, confirming its reputation for attracting huge numbers of visitors and generating an economic boom for the Outer Hebrides.

Blue Rose Code, aka Ross Wilson

Ross Wilson has lived in exile for more than 15 years which makes his visits to Scotland more poignant and productive.

Much of his latest album ‘And Lo! The Bird is on the Wing’, released in March, was written in Shetland - at the opposite end of the country from his home near Bournemouth on the south coast of England.

“I moved here from London after 15 years there, it's a complete change of pace; just myself and the ocean. I have pals in Shetland and we've been up to play on three different occasions,” said Edinburgh-born Ross, aka Blue Rose Code.

Ballet Hebrides held a fundraising show, at An Lanntair on 17th June, and raised £1,628.54 for Action for Children Eilean Siar and Hope & Homes for Children.

They were joined by the Nicolson Institute Band and The Lewis Branch of the Clarsach Society.

The event was made possible with the support of the Rotary Club of Stornoway.

 

The Cunard cruise ship Queen Elizabeth is in the outer harbour of Stornoway today, with passengers touring the island on coaches and small launches rushing back and forth between the giant ship and the Stornoway harbour terminal.

Angus MacNeil MP is calling on mobile operators EE and Vodafone to have a staffing presence in the Outer Hebrides who can be available to assist with the care and maintenance of equipment.

Mr MacNeil is pointing out that Faroese telecom company Føroya Telecom is Headquartered in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, and branch offices are located throughout the country and they employ over 190 staff.

Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle, Stornoway opens its doors to the public for the first time on 14th July.

Part of the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Lews Castle project, the museum explains life in the Outer Hebrides from prehistory to the present with a range of exhibitions including significant archaeological finds from National Museum Scotland.

Craig is set to attempt his Clisham 'Everest' on Wednesday, July 13th

A Stornoway man is getting set to 'Everest' the Clisham next month to raise funds for Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.

Craig McCulloch, who now lives in Aberdeen, is aiming to ride his bike up and down the Clisham road repeatedly until he has reached the vertical ascent equivalent of Everest – 8,848m, or 52 hill repeats of the Clisham!

“According to my Dad's geeky spreadsheet, it'll take over 15 hours, cover 150 miles and require at least six fruit cakes from Stag Bakery!” says Craig on his JustGiving donation page.

An application for planning permission for a new smokehouse has been submitted to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. 

The smokehouse is due to be built where the old sorting office building stands on Sandwick Road, and is set to include a fish processing facility, with an associated shop and cafe.

The Comhairle has asked for any comments to be made by July 15. 

For more information on the proposed plan, click here.  

Extreme Fishing TV presenter Robson Green was in Stornoway this week, and called in on Islander Shellfish during his stay here. 

Proprietor Ronnie Scott was thrilled when the famous Geordie walked through his doors yesterday afternoon. 

"Because it was a Monday our counter was empty, which is just typical," laughed Ronnie. 

The Leanne Fund has secured a funding package of £133,301 from The Big Lottery Fund to allow expansion to the Grampian area and support many more individuals affected by Cystic Fibrosis.

The Lewis based charity currently aids those across the Highlands and Islands and will utilise the funding to take forward a three year Development Project to assist many more families further afield.

Ann Marie Murray, Chair of The Leanne Fund, said: “We are absolutely delighted to secure this crucial funding which will allow us to build on our work to assist even more individuals with Cystic Fibrosis and their families.

A public consultation is taking place to review the community public libraries: Shawbost, Tarbert, Liniclate, Daliburgh and Castlebay.

This will include looking at location, opening hours, use of technology and opportunities to work more closely with other Comhairle services and community groups.

The consultation is part of a larger review, launched in 2015 with the Library Forward Plan, Seirbheis Leabharlainn airson an Àm ri Teachd : A Library Service for the Future. The forward plan aims to look at alternative ways of delivering the service in the future to ensure that the Comhairle delivers an up-to-date service that meets the needs of communities.

The consultation survey is available at all libraries and via the Comhairle website (www.cne-siar.gov.uk/library).

All completed surveys will be entered into a prize draw to win a £25 gift voucher.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil was today (Monday) en route for Westminster as Parliament meets for the first time since last week’s EU referendum result.
Commenting on the continued political chaos caused by the outcome of the referendum, Mr MacNeil said: “Scotland and the SNP have a plan for a positive way forward with the First Minister being the only UK politician to show stronger leadership and a strategic vision in this situation.

“It hasn’t sunk it yet. I honestly still can’t get my head around it.”

The thoughts of Lewis Pipe Band Chairman Sandy Gomez as he reflected today on the band’s stunning success at the European Championships in Forres on Saturday, where they were awarded first place in their 3A grade category. 

The band were only promoted from grade 3B last year.

Police are appealing for information after an Audi A4 car was damaged while parked in Cearn Chilleagraidh around 10pm on Tuesday June 21.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Stornoway Police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. 

Cllr Norman Macleod, Chair of Environmental and Protective Services Committee, and Chief Inspector Gordon Macleod with generators which were crushed by the Comhairle’s Technical Services department

Unsafe goods have been destroyed by CNES Trading Standards as part of a crackdown on door to door sellers.

Earlier this year generators and chainsaws being offered for sale by doorstep sellers in the islands were seized by Police Scotland and CNES Trading Standards in Uist and Barra.

The goods did not comply with safety regulations and after being drained of oil products, the machinery has now been crushed and baled by the Comhairle’s Technical Services department.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has today offered to meet constituents who are concerned about the implications to them of the UK’s stated intention of taking Scotland out of the European Union.

The Western Isles voted to Remain in the EU by 55% of the vote – alongside every other local authority area in Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made clear that it would be a 'democratic outrage' for Scotland to now be dragged out of the EU against its will. The Scottish Government is now exploring all options to protect Scotland’s relationship with Europe.

Scotland’s three island councils meet the UK Government today (Monday 27 June] in Kirkwall, for the second annual Islands Summit.

The summit brings together the Western Isles, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands Councils to discuss key economic development issues.

The summer series of events in Lewis were launched yesterday with the Ness Gala Day (reported separately), the Stornoway Port Authority open day on Cromwell Street Quay, and Lewis Car Club’s Run What Ya Brung drag race at Stornoway Airport.

The second harbour Open Day opened at 11am on Saturday and attracted a steady rush of people to the large space on Cromwell Street which included attractions for children, several food stalls from local providers, harbour trips in locally-made vessels, and stalls from local producers and charities. 

Only one Western Isles ward voted in favour of Brexit, it has just been revealed.

An Taobh Siar agus Nis saw 700 votes cast with a desire to leave the European Union, while 680 voters in that ward wanted to stay. 

A Harbour Open Day is being held in Stornoway tomorrow (Saturday)  with boat trips provided by Stornoway Seafari Ltd on their rib.
Falmadair will be taking their traditional sgothan out for anyone who wants to enjoy a trip in An Sulaire or the Jubilee.

Democracy in Scotland is being ignored, according to Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil. 

The SNP MP said that today was a 'sad and difficult day' for Scotland, where each local authority area voted to remain in the European Union. 

“The people of Scotland wish to remain as members of the European Union with 62% voting for that," said Mr MacNeil.  

Initial results across UK show a lead for Remain with commanding leads in Orkney, Gibraltar and a narrow lead in Newcastle.   The last opinion polls show leads of one to four per cent for Remain.  The ballot boxes from the Southern Isles are predicted to be landing in their helicopter at Stornoway Airport just about now.

00.20 - Sunderland has voted to leave; Clackmannanshire to Remain

00.26 - the ballot boxes have arrived from Uist and Barra and the votes are now being verified before counting can start.

00.30 - Nationally Leave are ahead by 151,744 to 148,537 votes

0040 - The BBC reports the value of the £ plunging on currency markets as the expected Remain lead fails to appear

00.53 - The Remain vote is now ahead 190,000 to 170,000  - and the postal voting counting section in the Lewis Sports Centre are clearing up their tables with their duties concluded.   As across the UK, there are wide variations from district to district in the Islands - with some voting decisively for Remain, others to Leave and some equally split.  

AT 01.05 the votes nationally had swung back to Leave with 266,721 for Leave and 259,790 for Remain 

At 01.09 the interim poll results for the Western isles were announced.   There's a 70.2 pic turnout with 14,919 voting out of a possible total of 21,259.

01.16 £ continues to plunge; Shetland  votes to Remain.  There's a view that the Remain areas have had a lower turnout than the Leave areas meaning that Remain is now behind what was expected,  There's also concern that Labour regions have totally ignored the party leadership's pro-EU stance. 

01.30  Almost four hours ago Nigel Farage of UKIP conceded defeat for Leave…now Leave campaigners are claiming a win with a lead at present 

01.31 Western Isles vote declared.   8,232 for Remain; 6,671 for Leave;  16 spoiled papers 

01.38 The Lewis Sports Centre is rapidly emptying.  TV interviews taking place, tables cleared away.  Remain campaigners happy about local success but dismayed by news from away

 

 

 

 

 

The polling booths are now closed after the months of campaigning in the EU Referendum and the verification of votes started in Ionad Spors Leodhais in Stornoway around 10.15.  The ballot boxes full of votes from the Southern Isles are being flown by helicopter.   The flight left Barra at 10.30, and has landed at Balivanich to pick up further boxes and then land in Stornoway after midnight.  The actual counting of votes started in the sports centre around. 11.15 once the votes had been verified.  

Iain Macmillan, Interim Chair of the Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP), has announced on behalf of HHP’s Board that Dena Macleod has been appointed as Chief Executive of HHP with effect from 11 July 2016.

Following the Board Meeting on 22 June 2016, Iain Macmillan said: “Angus Lamont advised the Board at the beginning of this year that he intended to retire from his position as Chief Executive in July.  HHP’s Board, with the support of external advisers, Employers in Voluntary Housing, carried out a rigorous recruitment process which attracted very high quality applicants and has now unanimously chosen Dena Macleod, currently our Director of Resources, to be our new Chief Executive.  Dena, a Chartered Accountant by profession, has a wealth of experience in the provision of housing services both within local government at Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar and with HHP over the past 10 years.  The Board is confident that Dena will take the organisation forward and achieve great things on behalf of HHP’s tenants, and the wider community”.

Dena said: “HHP will reach a milestone this year and celebrate 10 years since the housing stock was transferred from the Comhairle. We have achieved a lot, made a positive impact on local communities, but we know there is room for improvement to ensure we deliver the best service we can to all our customers.  I am really pleased to have been chosen by the Board to lead the Partnership in what is an interesting, exciting and challenging time. I look forward to working with our customers, Board, staff and partners to shape our service for the future by building on the legacy passed to us by Angus Lamont”.

Callum took on board the advice of Charlie Barley butchers in creating his winning burgers.

Big news from the Royal Highland Show today is that Nicolson Institute pupil Callum Macritchie has won the Quality Meat Scotland national 'My Town, My Burger' competition.

The school burger competition, run by The Scotch Burtchers Club (Quality Meat Scotland) challenges pupils to develop a healthy burger recipe using Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI or Specially Selected Pork.

Earlier this month Callum visited Charles Macleod Butchers Ltd for help in creating his unique dish, the Big Marag Burger.

And Charlie Barleys was pleased to announce this afternoon that Callum and his burger were crowned winners at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh.

The former Carloway and Aird School buildings could soon be in local residents' hands as approval has been granted by the Comhairle to transfer the properties to Community Association ownership.

The Comhaire accepted an offer of £9,000 for purchase by the Carloway Community Association, which intends to invest in excess of £1.5million into development projects in and around the old school building.

Closed in June 2013, the Association said in its acquisition application: “Carloway School has been at the centre of the Carloway district since 1882 and, along with the Free Church and Church of Scotland, has provided a busy hub for the whole area.

Malcolm Burr, Counting Officer for the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar voting area, is reminding voters what they need to know to vote in the EU Referendum today  (Thursday, 23 June):

· Polling Stations will be open until 10.00pm

· Details of the Polling Stations for the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar area can be found on the Election Office webpage.

· When voting at the Polling Station it is helpful to take your Poll Card with you although you do not require it to vote.

· Electors may wish to consider avoiding peak times and attend Polling Stations at quieter periods such as mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

· Polling Station staff will give you your Ballot Paper and answer any questions you have regarding the electoral process.

· Vote once on the ballot paper by placing an X in the box beside your choice.

· If you applied for a Postal Vote, you must return it by the close of poll at 10.00pm. You can hand your postal pack in at any Polling Station in the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar area or at the Election Office, Council Offices, Sandwick Road, Stornoway.

Last night, at the Crown Inn in Stornoway, members of the Lewis Carnival Committee presented four charities and two individuals each with a portion of the money raised at the Carnival Midsummer Charity Ball.

The charities who received donations were: Hebridean Men's Cancer Support Group, Autism Eileanan Siar, Lewis & Harris Women's Cancer Support Group and the Gambia Partnership. Each charity received £600 of the total raised. 

Carnival King and Queen, Charlie Nicolson and Carol Maclean, each received £250 prize money for winning the brand new Carnival King & Queen competition. The winners were invited to donate their winnings to a charity of their choice, and both winners donated their money to Carol Maclean's fundraising efforts for her friend, Mhairi Maciver. 

Chairperson, Janet MacDonald, took a moment to thank the charities for coming along, as well as to thank each committee member for their hard work in organising the charity ball, which managed to raise £3,534. The Crown Inn was also thanked for allowing the committee to use its meeting room, and for providing complimentary drinks and biscuits for everyone attending. 

This year's Lewis Carnival will take place on Saturday August 6th

A pair of jeans was removed from a garden washing line on Plantation Road, overnight between Saturday June 18 and Sunday June 19. 

If anyone has any information in relation to this theft, it is requested they contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously.

 

 

King Creosote will debut songs from his latest album - his 41st album! - at this year's HebCelt. Photo: Ross Trevail

Set for his first Hebridean Celtic Festival performance next month, music man Kenny Anderson admits he finds inspiration for his song writing from quite diverse subjects. 

And his forthcoming album, to be released later this year, will be no exception.

“The songs recorded most recently cover such topics as my dislike of wind turbines, my yearning for inter-galactic travel, tackling Broughton Street in Edinburgh on crutches, apologising for bad behaviour and the similarities between break ups and trench warfare,” said the artist better known as King Creosote.

Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in Loch Erisort in Lewis

Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles, or razor fish from these areas may pose a risk to human health and notices to warn the public and casual gatherers have been posted at various locations on the shore.

Commercial shellfish harvesters in these areas have been contacted by the Comhairle and steps taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside.

It is a sensible precaution to avoid eating shellfish from these areas until further notice.

The council is monitoring the situation and will remove warning notices when it improves.

A total of 98 air weapons were handed in to police in the Western Isles as part of a recent nationwide amnesty. 

More than 1,100 air weapons were handed in across the Highlands and Islands, coming second only to the neighbouring North East division, where the total number of weapons reached 1,562.

A further 211 weapons have been handed in across the Highlands and Islands since the campaign came to a close on 12th June. 

Claudine, Andrew and Amy in Peking before the off.

On Day 10 and nearing a third of the way, Lewis adventurers Claudine Bloom and Andrew Twort are nearing the Russian boarder as they drive over 13,500km through 11 different countries in 36 days to complete the epic Peking to Paris Rally and raise funds for children's charities The Leanne Fund and The Chestnut Tree House.

Joining over a hundred other cars and teams, Claudine and Andrew set off from the Great Wall of China in their trusty transport, a 1965 Amazon Volvo car aptly named 'Amy Amazon', on Sunday, June 12th.

And you can keep up to date with where the island team are, and how they are faring, via satellite tracker and through the 'Amy Amazon' Facebook page; as well as donate to the chosen charities via the Just Giving page.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has urged community groups in the Western Isles to apply for a new £2 million fund to help local communities have a greater say in decision-making.

The Scottish Government’s Community Choices Fund will allow community groups to organise participatory budgeting events. These events give communities the opportunity to make decisions on how and where investment is spent in their area.

Participatory budgeting is recognised internationally as a way for local people to have a direct say in how, and where, public funds can be used to address local needs.

The volunteer crew of Stornoway RNLI answering the call for help on Sunday. Photo: Chris Murray

A near seven hour shout on Sunday, June 19th, saw Stornoway RNLI launch to the aid of a stricken yacht, taking on water and with two people aboard, in the seas outside Stornoway.

The RNLI Lifeboat and volunteer crew launched at 1345hours to the13m Canadian-flagged yacht which was located 18miles south east of Stornoway and had suffered damage to its rudder.

The Coastguard Rescue 948 Helicopter was also scrambled and tasked to take a pump to the casualty.

Voters are being reminded to make sure they are ready to take part in the EU Referendum tomorrow.

Across the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar voting area there are: 

21259 eligible voters

47 polling stations will be open

94 polling station staff will be on duty

World renowned composer Craig Armstrong and Lewis based musician Calum Martin will perform Gaelic Psalm commission “Ballantyne” with the Scottish Ensemble at An Lanntair. 
Scottish composer Craig Armstrong is best known for his film work such as Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby alongside his classical works and solo albums, but his interest in the Gaelic Psalm tradition has now led to the creation of a very special new piece of work which will be premiered in An Lanntair in August. 

Members of the public with an interest in promoting the use of Gaelic have until 29th July to have their say on Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd’s updated Gaelic Language Plan 2016 to 2019.

Gaelic is widely spoken in the communities served by Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) in the Western Hebrides and the organisation is renewing its commitment to ensuring Gaelic has a strong and sustainable future in Scotland.

CMAL’s Gaelic Language Plan has a three-year timetable of activity, including increasing the amount of Gaelic multimedia content on the corporate website; a Gaelic version of the complaints procedure and the availability, on request, of Gaelic speakers at public meetings.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is to hold a seminar on the decrease in population and the demographic imbalance in the Western Isles.

The current population estimate for the Outer Hebrides is 27,070 as at 30 June 2015; this represents a decrease in the overall population of 180 persons (-0.7%) from mid-2014 to mid-2015. The decrease in the population is due mainly to the highest levels of negative natural change over the last decade.

The Porter's Lodge, the original main entrance to Lews Castle.

A  quarter of a million pound grant has been awarded for repair and rebuilding works to be undertaken at the Porter's Lodge and the Boatman's House in Lews Castle Grounds.

The £250,000 grant  was announced today (Tuesday, June 21st) and forms part of total investments of over £1.7million to repair several historic buildings around Scotland, awarded by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

Martin Fairley, Head of Grants at HES, said: “The projects chosen to receive funding range in scale from boathouses to town halls. We received some very strong applications for the latest round of funding, and are pleased to be able to support urgently needed repairs in these seven buildings.”

Planning permission to build a new church within Stornoway is being sought by the local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

An application has been submitted to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for the proposed Kingdom Hall to be sited on Perceval Road, opposite Dun Eisdean care home.

The present Kingdom Hall is located above a block of shops on Church Street, Stornoway, where the congregation has met for worship since it opened in 1958.

Trading Standards are warning consumers that there is a current fraud where island residents are being telephoned by scammers claiming to be from BT.

The callers state that your internet connection is affecting the BT service but that they can resolve the problem by talking you through a series of steps which ultimately gives them access to your laptop or computer.

The callers may even pretend to end the call, (whilst keeping your line open), so that you can call a fictitious number which they provide you with to check their authenticity. This means the victim think they have called a genuine number but they are still talking to the scammers.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan this afternoon visited The Nicolson Institute to congratulate the four football teams who were successful in lifting the North of Scotland Cup for their respective age groups.

Cllr Catriona Stewart, Chair of Education and Children’s Services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “Despite living on an island, our pupils have proven that they can be successful at national level through sheer diligence and determination despite not having access to as many facilities as mainland youngsters may have.

A large crowd of people from different political parties gathered in Perceval Square, Stornoway,  this lunchtime to remember the life of murdered MP Jo Cox.

Speaking first at the event organised by the Western Isles Labour party, local MSP Alasdair Allan, from the SNP,  thanked the organisers for the invitation to join in the memorial event.


The MSP said: “I certainly really appreciate this chance to bring people together from across the political spectrum.” 

He said that he did not know Jo personally but he did know many people in politics and in Oxfam where she was active for many years before becoming a MP, who did. 

“Her former colleagues there are devastated by her loss.” 

Over 600,000 seabirds nest each year on the seven islands of St Kilda.    Photo: John Dyer

The remote St Kilda islands are the focus of a new National Trust for Scotland fundraising campaign, Love Our Islands.

The appeal, marking the 30th anniversary of St Kilda's designation as a World Heritage Site, has been launched by the Trust to support historical conservation and environmental work on the North Atlantic based archipelago.

Lying around 40miles west of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, St Kilda is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds which nest on the seven Kilda islands.

Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in Loch Seaforth, East Loch Tarbert  (Sound of Scalpay) and Loch Stockinish in Harris.

Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles or razor fish from these areas may pose a risk to human health and notices to warn the public and casual gatherers have been posted at various locations on the shore.  

Commercial shellfish harvesters in these areas have been contacted by the Comhairle and steps taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside.

It is a sensible precaution to avoid eating shellfish from these areas until further notice.

The council is monitoring the situation and will remove warning notices when it improves.

The story of Harris Tweed takes centre stage in Edinburgh tomorrow (Tuesday 21st June), as part of a summer exhibition being held at the Waldorf Astoria.  ‘Clò Mòr - Harris to Paris’ shows photos, stories, and videos that offer a fresh take on the textile's journey.  Endorsed by the Harris Tweed Authority, the exhibition also opens the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival.

By Angus B MacNeil MP, Na h-Eileanan an Iar

  • Brexit would impact Scotland more than rest of the UK
  • Hundreds of projects in Na h-Eileanan an Iar have benefited from EU funding
  • EU membership costs Scotland just £18 per person per year
  • For every pound Scotland pays to the EU, £20 comes back
  • A leave vote would threaten workers’ long fought rights

EU membership brings significant benefits to Scotland’s economy and its value to Na h-Eileanan an Iar should not be underestimated.

There will be a gathering on Monday, 20th June in Stornoway to remember and pay tribute to Jo Cox, MP.

Please assemble at Perceval Square at 1pm for a 1.15pm start.

Everyone, of whatever political persuasion, and of none, is very welcome to join the local Labour Party for a short period of reflection

THe BBC has just reported from London:   The man charged with the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox has appeared in court and been remanded in custody.

Thomas Mair gave his name as "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain" when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Mrs Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on Thursday.

Mohammed and his brother Sayheed stand where the new entrance hall to the guesthouse will be

A new guesthouse and restaurant is being established in the centre of Stornoway.

Western Isles Council is to join with local authorities across the UK in paying tribute to Jo Cox MP, former Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in the course of her duties yesterday.

The UK Parliament has been recalled to a special session on Monday, 20 June, to pay tribute to Mrs Cox.

Comhairle Chief Executive Malcolm Burr commented: "The Convener and I have agreed that the Comhairle should mark this loss by flying flags at Comhairle Offices at half-mast on Monday. 

"The Convener will pass on the condolences of the Comhairle to the Speaker of the House of Commons."

Two award-winning Hebridean success stories will provide the perfect mix for music fans during one of the highlights of the islands’ calendar.

With the 21st Hebridean Celtic Festival just four weeks away, a festival shop will open on Monday (20 June) in the centre of Stornoway for festival ticket enquiries and merchandise. The premises will be open from 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday.

An ideal accompaniment for the music event will come during festival week when a ‘pop-up’ Isle of Harris Gin outlet will set up inside the shop at 49-51 Cromwell Street from 11 July.

Claudine, Andrew and Amy in Peking before the off.

On Day 10 and nearing a third of the way, Lewis adventurers Claudine Bloom and Andrew Twort are nearing the Russian boarder as they drive over 13,500km through 11 different countries in 36 days to complete the epic Peking to Paris Rally and raise funds for children's charities The Leanne Fund and The Chestnut Tree House.

Joining over a hundred other cars and teams, Claudine and Andrew set off from the Great Wall of China in their trusty transport, a 1965 Amazon Volvo car aptly named 'Amy Amazon', on Sunday, June 12th.

And you can keep up to date with where the island team are, and how they are faring, via satellite tracker and through the 'Amy Amazon' Facebook page; as well as donate to the chosen charities via the Just Giving page.

Claudine, Andrew and Amy in Peking before the off.

On Day 10 and nearing a third of the way, Lewis adventurers Claudine Bloom and Andrew Twort are nearing the Russian boarder as they drive over 13,500km through 11 different countries in 36 days to complete the epic Peking to Paris Rally and raise funds for children's charities The Leanne Fund and The Chestnut Tree House.

Joining over a hundred other cars and teams, Claudine and Andrew set off from the Great Wall of China in their trusty transport, a 1965 Amazon Volvo car aptly named 'Amy Amazon', on Sunday, June 12th.

And you can keep up to date with where the island team are, and how they are faring, via satellite tracker and through the 'Amy Amazon' Facebook page; as well as donate to the chosen charities via the Just Giving page.

Council subsidies to adult bus passengers in the Western Isles are the highest in Scotland, according to a new study. 

A report compiled by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) found that residents in the Western Isles were subsidised to the tune of £108 – while those in Aberdeen received only 55p. 

The study is the biggest piece of research ever carried out into Scotland’s bus network. 

The night of Friday 10th June saw the first ever Carnival Midsummer Charity Ball hosted by the Lewis Carnival Committee, in the Town Hall in Stornoway. The ball was in aid of Lewis and Harris Women's Cancer Support Group, Hebridean Men's Cancer Support Group, Autism Eileanan Siar and The Gambia Partnership. 

A total of £3,534 was raised on the night, through the sale of tickets as well as an auction and a raffle, with prizes donated by local businesses.

From the money raised on the night, each charity will receive £600, and the winners of the Carnival King and Queen competition will each receive £250 to donate to a charity of their choice.  

The remaining money will go towards this year's Lewis Carnival. The Lewis Carnival Committee will be "investing the money into Stornoway...  making the town brighter," said Lewis Carnival Committee Chairperson, Janet Macdonald. 

150 people, wearing their best frocks and kilts, attended the dinner, with more party-goers attending the dance, which went on into the night with music from Catch22. 

Those attending the full event got to enjoy music from the Dun Ringles, a 3-course meal provided by Titchy Pitch, as well as participate in the new Carnival King and Queen competition, which saw Charlie Nicolson and Carol Morrison Maclean crowned as Carnival King and Queen.

There's a free cup of coffee on offer when you buy your Father's Day present upstairs at Artizan in Church Street. Just show your receipt downstairs and relax with a free cup of your favourite coffee after the important job is done. Great new range of Father's Day gifts new in stock.

The Armed Forces Day flag raising event will take place at Perceval Square, Stornoway at 10am on Monday 20 June.

The Nicolson Pipers will be in attendance and a representative from the Royal British Legion will raise the flag.

The St Ayles Skiff Saorsa was officially welcomed at The Nicolson Institute yesterday (Thursday) . It was originally created as part of a new boat building course combining creativity and carpentry at the school. The project, first run as a weekly after-school club by Master Mariner Angus Smith, started at the end of September 2013 and saw a small class of students introduced to the world of boat building.

New jobs are to be created at the Arnish yard in Lewis, following the award of a contract to supply the bases for offshore wind turbines.

The operator of the Arnish yard, BiFab, has won a £100 million contract to supply 26 wind turbine foundations for the SSE-led 588MW Beatrice offshore wind farm. 

This will be built some eight miles off the outer Moray Firth coast, and it is expected the work will be spread between Arnish and BiFab's two yards in Fife.

Trading Standards have issued guidance for local craft producers, charities and manufacturers on the Comhairle’s website.

The advice covers much of the legislation which has an impact on craft producers, manufacturers and retailers. The guidance also contains advice on both the civil and criminal requirements of product safety legislation.

Trading Standards Officers also wish to remind charities and voluntary organisations who sell goods on a regular basis, that they also must also ensure that they are complying with product safety legislation, and that they should pay particular regard when selling second hand toys or electrical equipment.

With just a month to go until the Hebridean Celtic Festival, John McCusker is preparing to celebrate 25 years in the music business.

The renowned fiddler, composer and producer is celebrating his personal milestone with his first solo record in 13 years, as well as a tour with his band and a book of his songs.

But that is just a fraction of his multi-faceted life. He continues to be sought after by other musicians to join them on stage or to produce their work. As a live and studio guest he has played with Bonnie Raitt, Patti Smith, Steve Earle, Rosanne Cash, Paolo Nutini and Jools Holland, featured on recordings by Mark Knopfler, Paul Weller, Ocean Colour Scene, Teenage Fanclub and Idlewild, and has also performed as a soloist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at Proms in the Park, playing his own compositions.

Two Syrian families are to be resettled in Stornoway over the next couple of months, it was confirmed today.

Comairle Leader Angus Campbell welcomed the news, which comes during Refugee Week, a celebration of the contributions refugees make in Scotland.

The theme for Refugee Festival Scotland 2016 is solidarity, and Gary Christie, from the Scottish Refugee Council commented:  “Now, more than ever, we need to stand together with people who've had to flee their homes and are now trying to build new lives here."

Angus Campbell told fellow-councillors today: "By the time we meet again in September the Outer Hebrides will have welcomed Syrian families to be resettled in our community."

"In the weeks ahead I would expect that more information is made available."

The Group Practice would like to advise their patients that due to The Health Board upgrading their IT systems, the Practice will only be able to offer urgent appointments during the week starting 27 June 2016. Please phone the usual number if you require to be seen urgently.

The ability to obtain repeat prescriptions will also be affected. Patients are therefore advised to ensure that they have enough medication to last them until week beginning 4 July.

The Group Practice team offer their apologies for this disruption to service.

Mary Anne Lamont and Carol Somerville

A £500,000 respite care unit in the Bethesda Nursing Home and Hospice was officially opened this afternoon (Tuesday) by Mrs Mary Anne Lamont of Tong, who represented the family of Mary Anne Trump Barry, a generous American benefactor, whose mother came from Tong.

The upstairs nine-bedded care unit now brings the total number of beds in Bethesda to 30, which includes four in the hospice.

Carol Somerville, the Bethesda General Manager, said the opening was a considerable achievement for the community, their staff, and for the Trustees of the registered charity.

Join the Crofting Commission and help run crofting.  That's the challenge from its Chief Executive, Catriona Maclean at the end of an open letter to crofters across the Crofting Counties. 

She states: "For those who feel passionate about the Commission and how it operates - then why not take the chance to be part of it by standing for election when these take place early next year?  This would provide you with the opportunity to be at the heart of shaping the future Crofting Commission to ensure that it, and the crofting system, is the way you want it to be."

Reacting to claim and counter-claim about the Commission and and crofters, particularly in Mangersta and Upper Coll, she writes:

A petition against new council ward proposals was handed in to the office of Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan in Stornoway this afternoon. 

Residents of Parkend, Holm and Mackenzie Estate are campaigning against a proposal which would see their areas become part of a larger Point ward.

Specifically, they are dismayed at the thought of losing Charlie Nicolson as their councillor.

Naomi MacKay, pictured with Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris Community Fundraiser Karen MacDonald, after success in the group's 'Drop a Dress Size' slimming and fundraising challenge.

Naomi not only lost more than 12 lbs but she also raised £90 in Sponsor money for Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris with her colleagues at work.

When asked how  she did it,  Naomi said she increased her walking and that the weekly weigh-ins 'kept her on track' and that she is now fitting into clothes a size down!!

"Great achievement Naomi and you look fab," said the Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris organisers.

Artizan in Church Street is not just about coffee, jewellery and cakes…it's about art as well, as the present exhibition of Moira Maclean's works shows.

She says of herself on the Rendezvous Gallery website: "Born and bred on the Isle of Lewis, this is where I continue to live and work. My paintings are filtered and captured from my life in this Hebridean landscape.

The Named Person Scheme has been labelled ‘the most concerning piece of legislation in a lifetime’ by a member of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Education and Children’s Services Committee. 

Former Director of Education, Murdo Macleod, told Tuesday’s meeting of the committee: “When I see organisations such as the Christian Institute going all the way to the Court of Session, I really question the extent of the potential implications of this.”

From 31 August of this year, a ‘named person’ will be appointed to monitor the welfare of every child and young person in Scotland.

Street traders and local producers are facing a crippling rise in fees in August for operating in Perceval Square as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar moves to implement a policy change which was voted through several years ago.
A report for the Policy and Resources Committee, which meets next on Wednesday, says the use of Stornoway Town Centre for market trading has increased and diversified over the past number of years.  “Over this time, and especially since the introduction of the Civic Hub in Perceval Square, it has become evident that greater control is required over the letting of areas.”
In 2012 the Comhairle approved a Policy for the Letting of Comhairle Land within Stornoway Town Centre which said it should showcase Hebridean culture and produce and to accommodate the showcasing of other cultures and entertainment.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP, Alasdair Allan, yesterday set out what he sees as some of the extensive benefits which being part of the European Union has brought the Western Isles.


Speaking from Uist, Alasdair Allan said: “Speaking to people about the referendum, clearly many are put off by the debate in the media being dominated by the civil war within the Tory party.  However, there is also an appreciation of the benefits of being in the Single Market. Travelling back and fore across these islands you realise that every community has a stake in the outcome of the referendum.

The first Lewis Carnival Midsummer Ball tonight (Friday) saw the Town Hall thronged by townsfolk.

Highlights included a fundraising auction and raffle - and it's believed that more than £1000 was raised for local charities Autism Eileanan Siar; Hebridean Men's Cancer Support Group; Lewis & Harris Women's Cancer Support Group; and The Gambia Partnership.

New protests are being made by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to bus company Citylink about the bus service between Inverness and Ullapool.

There have been a flood of complaints by people unable to get seats on the buses when travelling to and from Ullapool for the Loch Seaforth ferry. Both local people and tourists have faced difficulties getting seats on busy buses and then missed the ferry.

Today is the first day of the new-look Kitchen Centre on South Beach. They have redesigned the showroom to showcase a new range of kitchens exclusive to The Kitchen Centre incorporating:-

A range of 'state-of-the-art, innovative, engineering degrees was launched in Stornoway today. 

The keynote speaker at the launch was Former UK Secretary of State for Energy and Scottish Office Minister for Innovation and Education – Mr Brian Wilson.

Mr Wilson praised the work of Lews Castle College UHI for the way 'iit has proved to be one of the best investments that any government has made in the islands' and the way that 'Lews Castle is not on the fringe of the University of the Highlands and Islands but at its centre, having played a leading role in the establishing the design and content of the new Engineering Degree courses and in setting the standard of excellence that it guarantees to provide'.

Isles MP Angus MacNeil is urging any island resident who has lost their job offshore due to the downturn in the oil and gas industry to check whether they are eligible for funding to retrain.

Skills Development Scotland have recently launched an online application service for the Transition Training Fund which offers training grants for workers to redeploy in the oil and gas sector or wider energy, engineering and manufacturing sectors.

A large number of Na h-Eileanan an Iar residents are employed in the industry and Mr MacNeil has been contacted by several constituents seeking advice.

Today is charity tea party day - and Royal Birthday Party day - at Robert Doig's in Church Street, all in aid of Alzheimer Scotland…so please drop in, say the staff.

For the last two weeks they have donated £1 from every test to Alzheimer Scotland - Lewis & Harris Dementia Friends.

The Crofting Commission today confirmed that William Swann has decided to resign from the position of Commissioner.

William Swann, from the Isle of Skye, was appointed as Commissioner by Scottish Ministers in January 2012 and has provided significant contribution to the Commission during his time and was particularly helpful as the chair of the Audit and Finance Committee.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, today contributed to a debate commemorating the Western Isles’ Viking links.  

It was a first for the Scottish Parliament, in that Alasdair Allan delivered his speech in Norwegian.

Dr Allan was participating in a member's debate, initiated by Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser, marking the 750th Anniversary of the Treaty of Perth. The Treaty ended military conflict between Magnus VI of Norway and Alexander III of Scotland and recognised Scottish sovereignty over the Hebrides and the Isle of Man.

Angus MacNeil MP this week pledged his support for the 2,660 carers across Na h-Eileanan an Iar as part of national Carers Week 2016 awareness campaign, which runs from June 6th to 12th.

Mr MacNeil attended a reception at Westminster organised by the seven charities who are driving Carers Week 2016.

Those charities are calling on individuals, organisations and services throughout the country to improve the lives of carers by building ‘Carer Friendly Communities’ – encouraging all parts of the community to think about carers and do things differently to support them.

A voice from the past may explain Eddi Reader’s love of Robert Burns’ poetry and songs.

The three-time BRIT award winner is renowned for her association with Burns, but she was not the first in her family to sing the works of the Bard in public.

Her great grandfather, Charles Reader, sang in halls and lodges across Scotland and has also left a collection of songs spanning hundreds of years, some of which Eddi now hopes to record.

Pipers welcomed the start of the new Lido Bistro in Cromwell Street today.

Following a massive surge in attempts by people to register to vote in the EU Referendum, the Electoral Commission is urging voters who are not already registered to vote to make an application before the new deadline of midnight on Thursday (9 June).
The Commission called this morning for the Government to consider options for introducing legislation as soon as possible that would extend the deadline, after problems affected the voter registration website on Tuesday night when tens of thousands tried to register at the last minute, and at the same time.

The emergency helicopter landing pad at Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway has had a state-of-the-art upgrade thanks to a £40,000 donation from the HELP (Helicopter Emergency Landing Pads) Appeal – the only charity in the UK dedicated to funding the construction of hospital helipads.

NHS Western Isles received the surprise cash injection from the HELP Appeal after the charity’s chief executive Robert Bertram read about the current state of the hospital’s helipad in a local newspaper article.

The need for an upgrade became obvious in July during a test landing of the new Bond helicopters which were being brought into service by the Scottish Ambulance Service. The stretchers on board these helicopters have automatic drop-down wheels which were incompatible with the surface, potentially causing vital time to be lost during emergency transfers.

Two of the three cancer screening programmes in the Western Isles have consistently met or exceeded the national target.  

Uptake of breast cancer and cervical cancer screening programmes - designed to detect and treat disease before symptoms develop – are as good if not better than the Scottish levels.

Although the newest programme, for bowel cancer, has not yet reached the target of 60 per cent, it is above the national average and showing a slow increase towards it.

The Crofting Commission is emphasising the important role of grazings committees in representing shareholders and maintaining and improving common grazings.

Vice-Convener of the Crofting Commission, I G Macdonald commented: “I have been a grazings clerk for more than thirty years and I understand the importance of committees operating within their own agreed regulations to ensure efficient running of the grazings by both the committee and shareholders.

Councillors have agreed to roll out a programme providing life-saving equipment and emergency life-support training to schools across the Western Isles. 

The Comhairle is the first local authority in Scotland to introduce Emergency Life Support onto the Curriculum for Excellence.

The Education and Children’s Services Committee agreed to grant £30k toward the Lucky2BHere project which will see defribillators installed and training provided at all schools in the Western Isles.

An online petition has been set up campaigning to save woodland set to be cleared for the construction of a new church in Stornoway.

The petition has been made in response to yesterday’s decision by the Comhairle’s Environment and Protective Services committee, to grant outline planning permission to the Stornoway High Free Church.

The application was to construct a church and associated car park at Smith Avenue, and would mean the cutting down of 15% of the tree plantation currently located there.

The last day of trading for the Mackinnon's Bakery shop on Point Street will be Saturday July 2. 

Six staff - three of whom are full-time - were given redundancy notices last week. 

The family-run bakery, based in Plasterfield, is not affected. 

Katie Ann Mackinnon and
Alasdair Martin

An audience of around 110 people joined together in the Town Hall in Stornoway on Thursday 2nd June to celebrate the achievements of some of the remarkable volunteers from Lewis and Harris.

Alec John Macleod


The Volunteer Centre Western Isles hosted the event which gave recognition and thanks to both young and older volunteers. Callanish and Saltire Youth Awards were the first to be marked, with primary children from Sgoil an Rubha receiving their Callanish Awards (for volunteers under 12) for two events: a beach clean- up with a Royal Family theme and a Big Breakfast to raise funds for Cancer reserch. Saltire Awards (12 – 24 years olds) were then presented to: Isabelle Graham – 200 hours; Scotty McCranor – 10, 200, and 500 hours; Lyndsey Fraser – 10hrs; Catherine Anne Hunter- 10hrs; Caitlin Macleod – 200hours; Debbie Hunter – 200 hours; Joanne Maclean – 100 hours and Nicola Finalyson – 500 hours.

It was rehearsal time again this afternoon at Ionad Spòrs Lèodhas for those involved with Ballet Hebrides, a new amateur dance ensemble, which will present a selection of favourite performances on Friday June 17th at An Lanntair Arts Centre.

Plans to develop a 49-bedroom student accommodation unit in Bayhead have been knocked back by councillors.

The Environment and Protective Services committee today approved a recommendation to refuse the application on the semi derelict site previously occupied by Stag Bakery.

The applicants were Cityheart Parkers Court, Shipgate Street, Chester, who proposed the erection of a 49-bedroom student accommodation unit for the University of the Highlands & Highlands (UHI).

From today, the news service from welovestornoway.com is right on the front page of our website - and there is a new look to our What's On pages to make them easier to navigate and to maintain.  We hope you like the new look - and apologise to anyone who has set up direct links to the News icon and category which has now been replaced.

While the Hebridean heatwave continues, Harris Tweed will go centre stage tomorrow (Wednesday) in Iceland when it features in a showcase of iconic British brands.

Shawbost-based Harris Tweed Hebrides was invited by the UK Ambassador in Rekyjavik to create a display of the fabric as a centerpiece of the Embassy’s Queen’s Birthday Party, which is a highlight of the social and trade calendar for British Embassies around the world.

Councillors today approved in principle a planning application to build a new church in Stornoway.

The application, made by the Stornoway High Free Church, was to construct a church and associated car park at Smith Avenue, and would mean the cutting down of 15% of the tree plantation currently located there.

Today’s meeting of the Environmental and Protective Services committee heard that there had been 16 representations from the public, all opposing the development.

 

THIS IS A CORRECTED REPORT:  WE ARE TOLD THE OFFICIAL FIRST DAY OF TRADING  IS TOMORROW WEDNESDAY The latest eating place in Stornoway opens tomorrow morning (Wednesday) on Cromwell Street opposite the entrance to Stornoway Town Hall. Serving from 11am, The Lido Bistro aims to bring a completely new eating-out experience to the town, with a different layout to other local cafés and restaurants..

Lewis Macdonald, Kelly Widdup, Paul Widdup, Norman L Macdonald, Allan Macdonald

The sound of sirens echoed across Stornoway early this afternoon as Coastguard, Police and Ambulance services were called out to…the Stornoway Primary School fun day!

The Western Isles is set to hold one of the largest council wards in Scotland, following a proposal to create a new Na Hearadh, Sgire nan Loch, Uig agus Bearnaraigh ward. 

This new ward would comprise four councillors, with a forecast electorate of 3,521.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland (LGBCS) has submitted its recommendations on councillor numbers and wards for each of Scotland's 32 council areas to Scottish Ministers.

It proposes to reduce the number of councillors in the Western Isles from 31 to 26.

With a focus on autism and additional support needs in collaboration with Autism Eileanan Siar

10th June 2016, 10.00 am to 1.00 pm, The Bridge Centre Stornoway 

This 2.5 hour session is led by Dave Rex, Specialist Dietician for Highland Council’s Care & Learning Directorate.

Ballet Hebrides - a new amateur dance ensemble - is taking to An Lanntair's stage this month, on Friday June 17th.

All proceeds from the event will go to Action for Children and Hope & Homes for Children. 

Their performance will include excerpts from Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Don Quixote, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Gaîté Parisienne, and original works. 

Special guests will include the Lewis Branch of the Clarsach Society, musicians from the Nicolson Institute and local dancers.

Book tickets online, here.

A meeting is to be held on Thursday 9th June at 7pm at Fortrose Masonic Lodge, 55 Kenneth Street, to discuss leaving the EU. 

Caledonian MacBrayne's ticketing pilot on the Stornoway to Ullapool route has been successfully launched. 

The first vehicle passenger to board in Stornoway after having his ticket scanned was Ewan Drummond, while fellow traveller Stuart McAllister was one of the first foot passengers to board with the new tickets. 

For the first time, foot passengers will be able to book tickets online, allowing greater convenience for customers, particularly during busy periods. Passengers (with or without vehicles) will be issued with an e-ticket and boarding card at point of booking – much like many airlines - and this can be printed at home or collected at the port.

Customers will also be able to create an account, offering convenience and speed when booking. 

Julie Fowlis and the Hebridean Celtic Festival have grown up together and the internationally-acclaimed singer is an obvious name on the guest list for the event’s 21st birthday celebrations.

The North Uist-raised artist has been a serial visitor to the island festival as both became multi award winners and established in the music industry.

But despite Julie having appeared in many different guises, and in almost all HebCelt’s various venues over the years, she will chalk up a first this year by making her debut on the Islands Stage.

The Pirates of Penzance will be performed again by The Stornoway Singers in The Community Hall in Breaclete on Great Bernera on Saturday (June 4th).

Frank Harrison writes:  Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas are usually referred to as comic operas and operas they are, requiring great musical talent to perform them. 

In the Stornoway Town hall on Saturday evening May 21st, the Stornoway Singers produced a performance of the Pirates of Penzance which was a delight to all present. 

They could have been forgiven for standing as a choir and performing the lyrics but they decided to perform the characters in full costume to the delight of the audience. 

The vocal dexterity required, particularly for some of the solo performances is mind boggling and these were performed with stunning accuracy. 

I have consciously not mentioned individual performers but it is worth coming along to hear the voice of 15-year-old Caitlin Mackenzie who plays one of the lead roles as Mabel.  Don’t miss it!!

The Pirates of Penzance will be performed again by The Stornoway Singers in The Community Hall in Breaclete on Great Bernera on Saturday (June 4th) and then the last performance of this production of Pirates of Penzance is in Stornoway Town Hall on Friday 24th June at 8pm. Tickets for the Stornoway production available  from Nicolsons shop

Another two medals have been added to the Western Isles tally at this year's Island Games.

After Kerry and Kirsty Macphee from South Uist took gold and silver respectively in the Women's Solo Mountain Bike competition yesterday, they have now worked together to win gold in the Women's Team Mountain Bike Cross Country.

And news from the pool is that Kara Hanlon from Lewis has grabbed the silver medal in the Women's 50m Breaststroke competition.

The Western Isles’ first medals of the 2015 NatWest Island Games competitions have been secured by South Uist cycling sisters Kerry and Kirsty Macphee.

Kerry has taken the Gold medal in the Women’s Individual Mountain Bike Cross Country comp, held in Jersey today, while sister Kirsty came in second to scoop the Silver medal.

Kerry came into the top spot nearly one whole lap ahead of her sister, but Kirsty had been forced into a mechanical pit stop with handlebar issues!

A Famers Market event will take place at 11am on Saturday 11th July at Raebhat House, Shawbost.

On offer for you to purchase will be fresh, local organic produce grown by the Horshader Community Development's Community Growing Project in their polycrubs.

Local dignitories joined customers and special guests to celebrate the official launch of The Crown Inn, which is now open following a £200k joint investment with Punch Taverns.

The extensive refurbishment, the first for 20 years, has transformed the Crown Inn into a stylish hotel with 16 en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant with stunning views of the harbour and castle, a relaxing lounge area, and a public bar showing sports and regular entertainment.

Following the investment the Crown Inn, famous as the hotel where a 14-year old Prince Charles was snapped by the paparazzi drinking a Cherry Brandy, has been completely transformed into a venue with something for everyone.

From the Crown bar that now offers a wide range of cask ales and single malts to the stylish restaurant serving up a range of tasty, freshly prepared meals, the Crown Inn will also offer fresh coffee, free wi-fi and regular entertainment, including sport on TV, monthly quiz nights and live showcases from local musicians.

The Crown Inn’s 16 hotel rooms have also been stylishly refurbished with comfy beds, luxurious décor and new en-suite bathrooms.

“We’re really proud of what we have created. Not only is the Crown Inn a fantastic destination for visitors to Stornoway but it’s also a great facility for the local community, offering a place to relax, work, or enjoy a meal with the family or a drink with friends,” said Publican Tom Strathmore.

The holidays may have started, but 100 Harris children were back in school today, participating in Feis Eilean na Hearadh.

The busiest ever Feis is on all week, featuring a whole range of activities including chanter, fiddle, guitar, drums, film-making and sports.

A tutors' ceilidh will be held at Tigh mo Sheanair on Wednesday night at 7pm, with the children's concert on Friday in Sir E. Scott School, starting at 2pm.

 

Celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Stornoway Port were given a special jet speed injection with a spectacular performance by the Royal Air Forces’ Red Arrows display team on Monday, June 29th.
The nine-strong Red Arrows pilot team are all fast jet pilots from frontline Royal Air Force squadrons – and were delighted to have the chance to perform in the Western Isles.
Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Joe Hourston had previously visited the Western Isles during his university days, but said for many on the team it was not only their first visit, but also their most northerly display.

Kara Hanlon has broken the Island Games Record in the 50m Breaststroke heats.

Kara swam 31.33 seconds in the heats of the 50 metre Breaststroke this morning, breaking the Island Games record, and becoming the tenth fastest British swimmer of all time at this event. 

Stornoway RNLI volunteer crew responded to two shouts yesterday, Sunday June 28th, one which came straight after the other.

The ‘Tom Sanderson’ lifeboat launched at 1735hours on Sunday to investigate a report made to the Coastguard by a member of the public who had spotted a divers surface marker buoy near Downies harbour at Arnish Point.

On arrival at the scene, the lifeboat’s inflatable ‘Y-boat’ was launched and the marker buoy recovered. Coastguard enquiries revealed that the buoy had been lost by an amateur diver the day before.

The lifeboat and crew returned to harbour, but a very short while later the remaining volunteer crew members were out again to assist the Coastguard with a medical incident on a visiting fishing vessel.

Both crews were clear at 1915hours.

The Lewis Pipe Band are celebrating after coming second in the European Pipe Band Championships.

The band successfully navigated around travel disruption brought on by CalMac strikes, to reach Forres, where the event was held yesterday.

Focus will now shift to the World Championships, in August.

 

The Western Isles team have settled in Jersey ahead of this week's World Island Games which begin today.

The team flew out of Stornoway yesterday, and are in quietly confident mood as they get set to participate in the biennial event.

The men's football team are currently playing Isle of Man, and for real-time updates, see here

      

 

   

Harbour day in Stornoway…

 

There's no threat of privatisation over the Hebridean and Clyde ferry services, says Derek Mackay MSP, Minister for Transport and Islands, in a statement issued today while CalMac crews are out on strike.

He says: "As an everyday and essential link for islanders, tourism and business, the Scottish Government is fully commitment to ensuring the continued delivery of safe, reliable and publicly owned ferry services.

"In fact, we are investing record amounts in new vessels and ports infrastructure while our investment in the Road Equivalent Tariff is delivering significant fare reductions for passengers.   We are 100 per cent committed to supporting these services in public ownership.

A prayer team from South Korea has landed in Stornoway on a mission to help bring continued success for Scotland's national church.

On Wednesday at at Martin's Memorial Church of Scotland, 11 members of the Korean Prayer Mission – from the South Korean Church – began a five day prayer mission in the town as an expression of deep gratitude for the work of UK missionaries who established Christianity there in the 19th Century.

Explaining the Scottish connection, Asia Secretary for the World Mission Council of the Church of Scotland, Sandy Sneddon, said: "John Ross (1842-1915) was born in Balintore, Easter Ross and went to China as a missionary in 1872. A Gaelic speaker and gifted linguist with knowledge of 11 languages, he is fondly remembered by the Korean Christian community for translating the New Testament into Korean which was vital in the establishment and growth of the Korean Church. In the centenary year of the death of John Ross, we welcome Korean Christians to Scotland to pray for our church and country."

With all the planning that has gone in to co-ordinating the Red Arrows Display taking place over Stornoway Harbour on Monday (29th June) the Stornoway Port Authority eagerly awaits the nine jets arrival.

A spokesperson said: "We hope everyone enjoys the event and would appreciate everyone’s cooperation in making it a good day for all."

Islands MSP Alasdair Allan has rejected claims that the tendering process for the Hebridean and Clyde ferry services will be unfair because of unequal provision of pension liabilities between contenders CalMac and Serco.
He said:  “It is the Scottish Ministers’ intention that the winning tenderer will be obligated to take on a reformed CalMac pension scheme for the duration of the next contract. 
“Whoever wins the tender will have to abide by that requirement.  This means that no advantage will be conferred to either company because of pensions.

Gaelic learner and star of Outlander, Gary Lewis today launched the new-look Gaelic learners’ website, www.learngaelic.scot.

LearnGaelic.scot is the popular interactive website that provides a first stop for anyone interested in learning Gaelic with a new emphasis on adult learners.

Launching the website in his home town of Glasgow, Gary, who has starred on the big screen in films such as Billy Elliot and Gangs of New York as well as TV programmes including Silent Witness, had to learn Gaelic for his part as Colum McKenzie, the Laird and Chief of Clan McKenzie, in the TV series Outlander. Gary was joined by Gillebride MacMillan, the celebrated Gaelic singer who plays Gwllyn the Bard in Outlander, and the Gaelic coach for the series, Àdhamh Ó Broin.

NHS Western Isles has been awarded the prestigious Baby Friendly Award and is the latest UK healthcare facility to win international recognition from Unicef (United Nation’s Children’s Fund).

The award was presented to both hospital and community divisions during Breastfeeding Awareness Week this week at Western Isles Hospital Maternity Department.

“We decided to join forces with Unicef UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers in the Western Isles,” said Catherine MacDonald, NHS Western Isles Head of Midwifery.

A new state-of-the-art health hub will be officially opened in Tarbert on Tuesday. 

The new health hub increases dental provision in Harris, with two dental surgeries now available – one of which will be used as a training facility.

There is also an additional multi-purpose clinical area for visiting services, such as physiotherapy and podiatry, and there is additional office space for community nursing teams.

The Crofting Commission yesterday announced the election of Colin Kennedy as its new Convener.
The secret ballot, overseen by the Crofting Commission’s Chief Executive, came following the delegation of the selection of the new Convener to Commissioners by Scotland’s Crofting Minister Aileen McLeod.

Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT) calls for all parties involved in the dispute between RMT and Calmac to sit down and resolve the ferry dispute which has already caused massive disruption to our visitors to the Outer Hebrides, and will certainly cause further damage to this fragile tourism economy.
Donald Macarthur, OHT Spokesman on Transport commented “The tourism economy in the Outer Hebrides has already suffered major impacts in the past year arising from the lack of a fit for purpose ferry service to all parts of the islands and poor communications with business customers - a long running issue with a meaningless trial on the Mallaig to Lochboisdale route was followed by an unprecedented suspension of services between Ullapool and Stornoway during the start of the peak visitor season this spring.”

• Golden Ticket opportunity for HebCelt fans

• Chance to win VIP passes for 20th anniversary festival

• Offer comes as 20-day countdown to event starts


Music fans are being given a golden opportunity to attend this year’s 20th anniversary Hebridean Celtic Festival in style with the launch of a VIP prize draw that could see you and your friends rub shoulders with the stars.

Today (Thursday 25 June) marks 20 days to the start of the 2015 festival, and organisers have marked the countdown by offering five Golden Tickets for the award-winning event.

Tickets bought until midnight on 3 July will be entered into a VIP Prize Draw with five winners each receiving upgraded passes plus three additional tickets. This will entitle the four ticket holders to –

• Access to all main arena events
• Gold laminated passes and lanyards for your party
• Signed CD from an artist of your choice
• Access to the Guest Bar, allowing you to avoid the queues as well as offering a chance to meet some of the artists
• Golden Goodie Bag

All tickets previously purchased for this year’s festival will also be entered into the draw.

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “With 20 days to go to our landmark 20th anniversary we wanted to do something special for the fans who help make the festival a success and create the atmosphere for which HebCelt has become renowned.

“The Golden Tickets will give five groups of four people VIP privileges to make the festival experience even more enjoyable and memorable.”

Tickets for all HebCelt events can be bought and collected at the festival shop at 27 North Beach Street in Stornoway, by phone on 01851 702333 or via the website at www.hebceltfest.com/booking

The 20th anniversary HebCelt runs from 15-18 July and will feature acts including Idlewild, Afro Celt Sound System, Treacherous Orchestra, the Karen Matheson Band, Shooglenifty, Chastity Brown, Le Vent du Nord, Raghu Dixit and Salsa Celtica.

Innovations this year to mark the occasion include the premiere of a specially-commissioned musical suite by Lewis-born Alasdair White, of the Battlefield Band.

The Between Islands musical collaboration featuring singer songwriters from Lewis, Orkney and Shetland, will also be premiered and a new artwork to mark the 20th anniversary will be unveiled in the main arena.

The Hebridean Celtic Festival was voted Best Event or Festival at the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards in 2014.

This year it was selected as one of the top 10 UK summer festivals for the fourth year in succession by influential publication Songlines.

A fast-boat tour operator in South Uist is offering his RIB craft to help stranded travellers across the Sound of Harris on Friday - and the crossing will only take 20 minutes.

David Steele (31) has come to the aid of Uist athletes scheduled to fly out of Stornoway on Saturday, to participate in the World Island Games in Jersey.

He will take them from Berneray to Leverburgh in two separate journeys on Friday, at 4pm and 5.30pm.

Both the senior and junior Nicolson girls' football teams have been crowned North of Scotland football champions.

The two finals were played at the Highland Football Academy in Dingwall yesterday, with both teams pitched against Mintlaw Academy. 

Two stunning performances saw both Lewis sides claim a thumping 4-0 victory.

The brand new Girlguiding Harris units have held a special Promise Ceremony on Horgabost Beach. 

Nine Brownies, fifteen Guides, four Rangers and seven Leaders made their Promise around a campfire built by the girls themselves, meaning that they now join ten million other girls and women in 154 countries around the world as members of Girlguiding. 

The afternoon started with hot dogs on the dunes, then a wide game with water balloons in patrols followed by songs and toasting marshmallows around the fire. 

Community Land Scotland has welcomed the introduction of the new Land Reform Bill to Parliament as making real and important progress, but is urging the Scottish Government and Parliament to go further in what it proposes.

Highlighting the importance of the progress towards a comprehensive and statutory Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, the creation of a Land Commission, and further powers of intervention to force sales to communities when owners are frustrating sustainable development, Lorne MacLeod, Chair of Community Land Scotland, said,

“Community Land Scotland has long argued for more radical land reform to tackle Scotland’s unjust land ownership patterns. Taking the long view, the proposed requirement for every Scottish Government to have a comprehensive policy statement on land rights and responsibilities, and the creation of the proposed Land Commission are positive steps to keep land reform and land policy on the national agenda and are potentially very positive vehicles for ongoing change.

The Calanais Visitor Centre celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

It opened on June 30th 1995, and, to celebrate this, the Centre will be hosting a 20th anniversary music week, running from Monday 29th June to Saturday 4th July.

The Centre will be open for business as usual during the daytime, and there will be local musicians performing from 7pm onwards.

The Centre’s opening hours will be extended until 10pm, and will be licensed for that week.

The WeeStudio is preparing a line-up for the event, with artists including Eleanor Nicolson, the 4 Macs, Iain Spanish Mackay.

Stornoway RNLI lifeboat ‘Tom Sanderson’ responded to a Stornoway Coastguard launch request on Saturday, June 20th, to the aid of a small sea angling boat.

The casualty was situated about half a mile east of Loch Grimshader. The sea angling crew had called 999 to raise the alarm when they were unable to start the engine.

Launching just after 1030hours, the RNLI lifeboat was alongside and had a tow line connected to the casualty within 20 minutes.

The stricken vessel was towed back to the safety of Stornoway Harbour.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil has made a plea for the RMT to avert a damaging strike this Friday and to keep talking with Government owned Caledonian MacBrayne and also the Scottish Government to look for a route through the impasse to the benefit of RMT members and islanders. 

Angus MacNeil MP said: “I understand the fears that RMT members have, and hope that dialogue can avert industrial action. I do know that having spoken to the Transport Minister, Derek Mackay that the Government’s door is still open for talks.  We do not want to see a situation on Friday when Government owned Caledonian MacBrayne has its Hebridean boats tied up while the privately run Serco sails to Northern Isles, perhaps even with RMT members amongst their crew.

"I am happy, along with other politicians to meet with the RMT at Westminster if we can be of any assistance to their ends, as I along with other politicians in the Highlands and Islands, want to see CalMac retain this contract but I am struggling to see how this strike helps that end.

The future looks bright for Harris co-operative ‘Co Chomunn na Hearadh’ as the initiative celebrates being awarded charitable status. 

Responsible for running ‘An Clachan’ stores in Leverburgh, the group will not now have to pay corporation tax, enabling investment in several projects to boost the community. 

Chairman of Co Chomunn na Hearadh, Chris Ross, said the development would be of great benefit to the local area.

https://www.hebceltfest.com/festival/glance/

 

There's just over three weeks left until we open the biggest party of the year here in Stornoway, say the Hebridean Celtic Festival organisers.

This year, the 20th, features Idlewild, Afro Celt Sound System, Treacherous Orchestra, the Karen Matheson Band, Shooglenifty, Chastity Brown, Le Vent du Nord, Raghu Dixit and Salsa Celtica and so many more.

"We're really looking forward to hearing Alasdair White's commission piece An Iuchar / The Key which you can get to see on the opening night of the main arena.  Many locally will know Alasdair who has been a part of the music scene locally for more years than he would admit to, and many more will know him from his involvement with the Battlefield Band and also more recently with the Alan Kelly Gang.

The festival shop is now open at 27 North Beach Street in Stornoway, 01851 702333.  Its a great location for us across the main street from the Perceval Square where so much goes on during the festival.  "Call in and browse the merchandise we have on offer or pick up your tickets.  Hoodies and t-shirts will be available to purchase online later this week. "

The work-to-rule and strike by CalMac ferry staff planned for tomorrow (Wednesday June 24) and the following two days is going ahead.  This includes an all-out strike on Friday.

Last night the ferry company said: "We are disappointed to advise that dispute resolution talks with the RMT have today broken down and as a result this week's industrial action will go ahead as planned. We are disappointed that these talks have failed to find suitable agreement but our door remains open for further talks.

Borgh Pottery has reopened after a massive development project which has seen the roof replaced and the inside entirely remodelled – despite delays imposed by the worst winter in years.

Owner Sue Blair welcomes people to her new retail zone – while the final touches are put to the transformation of her pottery-making area and to new studio facilities at the rear of the building.

Once work is completed, the pottery will be integrated into the garden surrounding it, with a chance for people to enjoy the plats, shrubs and wildlife as well as the original pottery work and a whole range of other products from home and away.

From 10am today, Borgh Pottery reopens after a massive development project which has seen the roof replaced and the inside entirely remodelled – despite delays imposed by the worst winter in years.

For three days An Lanntair is opening up their auditorium for a unique art installation.

Filling the auditorium at An Lanntair until Wednesday is the installation “HOW BIG CAN WE GROW” which is, in fact, a soap bubble machine: gigantic bubbles float gracefully in slow motion above a film of water. They keep coming in a fixed rhythm , they melt, they grow and break again.

Imaginative installations like this one and also performances on location, have become the trademark of visual artist Peter Schräder (Utrecht, the Netherlands) in the past 15 years. In his artwork he uses technology to create poetry in motion.

 

Peter Schräder works as a travelling artist. On his travels through Europe, Central-America and Asia, he has always sought co-operation with local artists, cultural institutions or museums. He feels that working together with others, gives exploring the limits of possibilities for making art at any specific location, its real value.

The display runs from 11am to 5.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

 

A charity golf marathon held in Harris at the weekend was made all the more special when one of its participants scored a hole-in-one.

Taz Morrison pinged a magnificent tee-shot from the 288 yard par four on Scarista Golf Course, and to his delight then watched as the ball reached the green and dropped into the hole.

As if that wasn't special enough, Taz also recorded a course record of 64 during the event. 

Hebridean Connections, a pioneering digital archiving project involving comainn eachdraidh and other heritage organisations in the Outer Hebrides and based in Ravenspoint,  Kershader , has appointed a training officer for Uist and Barra.

The new training officer is Sue Wilson, who lives in Berneray and has been closely involved with Comunn Eachdraidh Bheàrnaraigh over the past eight years.

In her new post, Sue will be offering to train comann eachdraidh volunteers in a range of digital skills, including how to add information to the Hebridean Connections website.



Three students have taken up key roles in the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association.  Luke Humberstone (32), a BA (Hons) business and management student from Dingwall, was voted as president of the organisation, while Maria Roberts (20), a HND accounting student from Farr, Inverness, was elected as its vice-president (higher education). They both study at Inverness Colleg and are joined by Lorna Stanger (46) from Thurso, a sport, fitness and health student at North Highland College UHI, who takes up the role of vice-president (further education).

Perceval Square in Stornoway today is the setting for a major fundraising bid on behalf of Prostate Scotland.

This is a Scottish charity set up to provide information, advice and help on prostate health and diseases of the prostate. Nearly 1 in 2 men in Scotland will be affected by prostate disease at some stage of their lives and 1 in 11 are likely to  develop prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Scotland.  Prostate Scotland aims to provide men and their families and partners with information about the prostate.

check out …Stornoway Rotary & Nicolson Interact Bike for Life https://www.facebook.com/events/814381405319064/

 

Following a large number of representations from the Isle of Barra, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil has contacted CalMac and the RMT Union in the hope of preventing damage being done to one of the Island's most prestigious annual event, the Barrathon, which is a challenging half marathon around the circular road of Barra.

Angus MacNeil said: “The organisers of Barrathon, which has been running for years now, and raises money for MacMillan Cancer Support and local charities, have been in touch with me as well as some competitors, anxious that the charitable event is about to be obliterated this year due to the CalMac strike.

Newspaper deliveries in Stornoway have settled into a more fixed pattern for the summer, after all the disruption over the winter.

And they use two different routes and ferries to get here, arriving an hour or more earlier on days when they travel via Skye and Harris.

On Saturdays, they are normally expected at Nicolsons in Cromwell Street by 1pm.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they are expected in before 12.45pm

While on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they should be in the shop - and being distributed to the other outlets in Stornoway and beyond – by 1.45pm.

 

 

 

On Saturday 27th June, Cromwell Street Quay will be a hive of activity bustling with over twenty stalls including many different local tasty delights, seafood, ice cream, baking, patisseries, children’s workshops and face painting.

From 10am to 6pm, an array of beautiful local arts – jewellery, Harris Tweed and leather products, candles, accessories and many different keepsakes – will all be available.

The chairman of Bayble Boat Owners and Pier Users Association has admitted he is ‘baffled’ as to why anyone would want to destroy a timber ramp leading to moorings at Bayble pier. 

Alex John Murray said that the community project – which allows for 15 boats to be moored at the pier – took five years to see through to completion, at a cost of over £200,000.

Sometime between 9.30pm on Wednesday and 7.30am on Thursday, eight sections of a timber ramp leading to the moorings were cut, possibly with a chainsaw.

The lifeboat launched at 3.10pm and returned to berth around eight hours later, at approximately 2am.

The volunteer crew had attended a stricken fishing vessel, which had suffered engine problems and was drifting off North Rona.

On arrival at the scene Stornoway RNLI secured a tow line and towed the fishing boat to Kinlochbervie harbour.

Stornoway lifeboat launched at 1511 hours yesterday (Thursday 18th) to the aid of a stricken fishing vessel near North Rona.

The fishing boat was suffering engine problems.

On arrival, a tow line was established, and the lifeboat towed the fishing boat to Kinlochbervie.

It was due at Kinlochbervie at 11pm.

Update to follow.

The Chair of Sustainable Development on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has repeated a call for a ten year moratorium on environmental designations in the Western Isles and fully supports the call by the WIFA for an urgent meeting with the Minister at which the Comhairle should also be present.

Cllr Alasdair Macleod said: “It is disappointing that the Minister has rejected our call for a ten year moratorium on designations in the Western Isles, against the wishes of the Comhairle, the fishermen and the communities of the Western Isles. 

"Following on from announcements last week, it seems that the Scottish Government is determined to press ahead with further marine designations which will seriously damage the fishing industry and the  wider economy of the Western Isles. The Scottish Government has totally ignored the sensible management measures suggested at recent local meetings with Marine Scotland by representatives from all sectors of the fishing industry."

Cllr Macleod added: "I would urgently call on the Minister to urgently reconsider these moves and back, rather than attack, the fishing industry."

Extensive damage has been done to the marina at Bayble, in Point. 

Planks of wood have been cut right through, possibly with a chainsaw.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Stornoway Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

More to follow.

The number of students learning Gaelic in the first year of the national exams fell by 21 per cent, while the number of pupils passing the exam fell by more than 25 per cent.

This prompted Highlands & Islands (including Moray) MSP, Rhoda Grant to ask Fiona Hyslop at Culture, Europe and External Affairs Questions yesterday in the Scottish Parliament, what the Government were doing to promote Gaelic?

Highlands & Islands (Labour) MSP and Shadow Transport and Island Minister, David Stewart, stepped up his pressure on the Scottish Government to do something to address the sky high fares charged by flight operators Flybe and Loganair to passengers flying to and from the Northern and Western Isles.
At Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Questions in the Parliament yesterday he asked the Transport and Islands Minister, Derek Mackay what representations the Government had received regarding the cost of flights to and from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

Planned investment in the region of £3.5million in the Western Isles is another example of the national fire service’s commitment to equitable access to resources across Scotland, it was stated today.

Assistant Chief Officer Robert Scott was in Stornoway this week to engage with members of the council and staff in advance of production of the services Strategic Plan for 2016/19. During the visit Mr Scott took the opportunity to outline the future investment plans to members of the Environment and Protective Services Committee at Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar.

This significant investment in fire and rescue services in the Western Isles will see a major refurbishment to Stornoway community fire station and the building of a carbonaceous fire training unit at Stornoway Airport.

On Saturday, June 20, the Rotary Club of Stornoway and The Nicolson Institute Interact Club will be hosting a static bike event from 10am to 6pm on Perceval Square in Stornoway, in aid of Prostate Scotland.

The Rotary Club of Stornoway hope to see a total of 500 miles cycled on the day – by Rotary Club members, and any members of the public who would like to take part – and will raise money through sponsorship and donations.

The event will be opened by a procession of The Nicolson Institute Pipe Band and the Marching Band, through Stornoway town centre to Perceval Square, where the static bikes – donated for use on the day by the Comhairle Sports Centres – will be situated.

A Subaru Impreza car was damaged in the Cearns area of Stornoway between June 9 and June 14.

The damage is deliberate and consists of three scratches across the vehicle.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police in Stornoway on 101, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

 

A small child's size bicycle was removed from the Castle Grounds at around 5pm on Monday.

The bike has a grey and black frame with red handles.

Anyone who witnessed the theft, or has any information, is asked to contact police in Stornoway on 101.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Labour's Shadow Transport Minister, David Stewart, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, quizzed the Scottish Government yesterday on how it plans to respond to the concerns of the CalMac ferry services workforce, who recently balloted for strike action.
 Last week members of the RMT Union voted overwhelmingly for both strike action and action short of a strike in a ballot over jobs, pensions and working conditions.

The 2015 Lewis Christian Conference is scheduled to take place from this Friday to Monday in Stornoway.

This year’s guest speaker is Dr Charles Price, senior pastor of The People’s Church in Toronto, Canada – who spoke at the 2012 conference.

His theme “Knowing God in your secret soul” will draw on Matthew 6.

A new novel by one of Gaelic's leading female writers is to be launched tonight. 

'An Dosan' is the latest work by Norma Macleod, and a special event will be held in Stornoway Library from 6.30pm. 

All are invited, and admission is free.

 

Results

Eilean an Fhraoich Cup

First round, second leg

Back 2 Carloway 0 (2-0)

Westside 5 Ness 0 (6-5)

First round, first leg

Point 3 Lochs 0

Cancer and Dr You

Who amongst us hasn’t chuckled at the advert with the man being encouraged to take the simple 5 minute home-screening bowel test, whilst sat on his ‘cludgie’? 

This advert is part of the national Detect Cancer Early campaign, which has also worked with Elaine C. Smith, promoting the importance of being breast aware, and Sir Alex Ferguson, encouraging those with a cough that sounds different, or if their cough changes in any way, to visit their GP to check against lung cancer.

Whilst these adverts are aimed at being amusing, informative, and thought-provoking, they are ultimately made to serve a purpose - to help each of us recognise the importance of detecting cancer early, and keep us in good health for longer.

Within our own islands, NHS Western Isles has worked over the last few years with local cancer survivors, using their personal stories to get the Detect Cancer Early message across.

In November 1739, the slave-boat ‘William’ sailed from Ireland to Finsbay, in Harris.    There, local men, women and children were taken on board by force.  They were to be sold as slaves in the West Indies, but managed to escape when the ship stopped off in Ireland for supplies.
It’s a fascinating true story, but only one of many depicted on the ‘Isle of Harris Tapestry’, detailing over 1,000 years of Harris history.  Available to view upstairs in ‘An Clachan’ stores, in Leverburgh, the tapestry comprises nine panels, all relating to particular areas of Harris.
And as word of the exhibition grows, more and more visitors to Harris are stopping in to view for themselves this stunning piece of artwork, made almost entirely from Harris Tweed.

Result

Jock Stein Cup Final

Point 1 Westside 0

Stornoway was invaded by blue aliens today – with a very special message on the dangers of smoking.

‘Why do humans smoke?’ is the first ever short play delivered through Smoke-Free Hebrides, performed by S2&3 pupils from The Nicolson Institute and Lionel School.

School kids from across Lewis and Harris filled the An Lanntair main auditorium during all three of the performances.

For full report, see July’s edition of EVENTS. 

North Harris Agricultural Show – Thursday 16th July

Lochs Agricultural Show - Saturday July 25

South Harris Agricultural Show - Tuesday July 28

Westside Agricultural Show - Friday July 31

Lewis Carnival - Saturday August 1

Carloway Agricultural Show - Wednesday August 5

Newmarket Playpark Fun Day - Saturday August 8

 

 

Leonard Brown, Maggie Adamson and Malcolm Ross

This month at our club night at the Caladh Inn, we welcomed our second guest band of the year "The Leonard Brown Trio", back to Stornoway.

We had Leonard on accordion, Malcolm Ross on drums both had visited us in 2013 but this time they brought along Maggie Adamson on fiddle. She played a lovely version of Willie Hunter's "Leaving Lerwick Harbour" with Leonard on keyboard. That was just one of many excellent sets from this talented trio.

As usual we had  all of our local players. We started with a warm up from Dougie, Emma and Donnie playing "The Flowers of Edinburgh" and "The Duke of Perth", then we got down to business with Ishbel, Donnie and Emma and continued on accordion with  Angus Maclean, Mark Mackenzie, Duncan Gordon, Dougie Watson, Graham Maclennan and Krisell Macdonald & DB Macleod. Fiddlers were Annabel Campbell and Campbell Scanlan.

For the second month we had an excellent turnout of appreciative listeners including some visitors from as far as Australia, long may that continue. Our compère for the night was our chairman Duncan Gordon.

On behalf of our club I would like to again thank Leonard and his band for their entertainment and we look forward to welcoming them back again in the not too distant future.

Douglas Watson

https://www.facebook.com/LewisAndHarrisAccordionAndFiddleClub?fref=ts

Next club night…Thursday July 2nd 8pm

 

 

 

A call has been made for Angus MacNeil to use his new role as chair of the select committee on Energy and Climate Change to end fuel poverty in the Western Isles.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs, Rhoda Grant and David Stewart, have also pressed Mr MacNeil to ensure no further delays to the establishment of the Lewis interconnector will ensue and that steps are taken to end the unfair 2p electricity surcharge levied on customers throughout the Highlands and Islands.

Commenting, Rhoda Grant said: “Angus MacNeil has now been selected as Chair of Westminster’s Energy and Climate Change Committee.  This puts him in a prime position to address these issues and to make his own SNP government in Holyrood take stock of what has been going on in the islands for far too long.  High fuel poverty levels, grossly unfair 2p electricity surcharge and the neverending delays with the Lewis interconnector have left many people in the islands rightly feeling that their needs and concerns have been ignored by both the SNP at Holyrood and Westminster.  Angus MacNeil has the prime opportunity to make a difference here and I know people up and down the islands will be expecting this of him.  He has to live up to this responsibility.”

Trading Standards officers are reminding Consumers that new laws which were introduced last year replacing The Doorstep Selling Regulations, give extra protection when buying goods and services from home.

These rules also apply to home improvement, repair and maintenance works.

Consumers who buy from traders who are trading away from business premises, for works costing more than £42, must receive prescribed information including cancellation rights.

The community of Stornoway and the islands of Lewis and Harris have been awarded £125,000 as a winner of this year’s Creative Place Awards.

The Awards were announced to a packed audience at an evening awards ceremony, which took place at Falkirk Town Hall, Falkirk yesterday (Wednesday 10 June, 2015), in the presence of the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.

More than 13,000 people have now "liked" the Facebook campaign against Loganair and Flybe fares to the Islands.

And Loganair has agreed to meet the founders of the protest page.  The group says:  "Since starting the group our first priority has been to obtain a meeting with Senior Management at Loganair. A short while ago we were emailed by Loganair agreeing to a meeting with some of their management team.

Jamie McGrigor, Highlands & Islands MSP and the Scottish Conservative Fisheries Spokesman, is urging constituents in his region, including anglers and those involved in managing wild fisheries, to respond to the Scottish Government’s current consultation on reform of wild fisheries.

The Scottish Government is seeking comments on its response to the Wild Fisheries Review chaired by Andrew Thin.

A report from the respected Fraser of Allander Institute (FoAI) highlights that in the financial year 2013/14 the Citizens Advice Bureau service across Scotland contributed a total benefit to the common good in Scotland of £168.7 million.
By examining five advice areas - benefits, debt, employment, housing and relationships - which accounts for 80% of all areas advised on, the report concludes how CAB advice in 2013/14 benefits Scottish society as a whole. By stopping adverse consequences (additional problems) occurring, the near £170 million in savings and contribution to society that the CAB network make are huge.

Two operators have been invited to take part in the next stage of the tender for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) contract, Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay has announced.
CalMac Ferries Limited and Serco Caledonian Ferries Limited have both passed the pre-qualification stage of the process and will be invited to submit tenders for the next CHFS contract, which will run from 1st October 2016 for up to eight years.
Both operators will, today, be given access to copies of the draft Invitation To Tender (ITT) documentation, which will then formally be issued to them on July 10, 2015.

Scotland’s Island Councils have backed a campaign on Facebook for fairer air fares to the islands. 

The page has accumulated over 11,000 likes over the first three days.

Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Cllr Angus Campbell, said: “The Comhairle along with Orkney and Shetland Islands’ Council will continue to keep this as a priority in the Our Islands Our Future campaign and will ask that it is put high on the agenda for the first meeting of the newly established Transport Forum which will specifically be dealing with Islands’ Transport issues.

“A number of islanders have questioned why fares are so high. As an example, after a quick look on the Flybe website this afternoon I notice that a flight from Stornoway to Glasgow tomorrow, Wednesday 10th June and returning Thursday 11th June would cost a total of £351.  Just a few days later, the same company is offering a return flight from Aberdeen to Faro in Portugal for just £21 more.”

Tourists with camper vans can now enjoy the luxury of electricity as the West Harris Trust provides four brand new hook-ups beside the stunning Seilebost Beach. 

And included in the £18 per night (inc VAT) fee is use of litter bins and fresh water. 

Situated at the Trust’s base at the former Seilebost School, the hook-ups are already proving to be a real hit with happy campers. 

New arrangements will be in place for around 3,000 Western Isles dental patients from the end of July, following the closure of the independent dental practice, ‘RK Purvis WI Dental Practice’.

Dr Robert Purvis took over Mr Kenneth Macdonald’s Independent Dental Practice at the Western Isles Dental Centre in Stornoway, following Mr MacDonald’s retirement in September 2014. 

Unfortunately, Dr Purvis has recently given NHS Western Isles notice that he will cease to practice from the end of July 2015.

Medical Ward 2 in Western Isles Hospital has re-opened after an outbreak of norovirus.

Visiting to Medical Ward 2 was temporarily suspended on Wednesday, June 3, as a result of a small number of patients and staff experiencing symptoms of norovirus (commonly known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’).

The ward was closed at that time to new admissions.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil has received a positive response from two of the main mobile companies regarding their plans to improve mobile communications in the Hebrides.

In April, Mr MacNeil wrote to the main mobile network companies to seek clarification about their plans for improving mobile and data communications in the islands over the next two years.

This followed Mr MacNeil’s sustained campaign to ensure improved mobile communication and a concession from the Department of Culture Media and Sport, that the islands should see some of the greatest improvements in mobile coverage of any area in the UK in the next two years.

The Western Isles Labour Party has recommitted to working together to promote strong Labour values across the islands.

Speaking after its first meeting after suffering defeat at the General Election, newly elected chair Billy MacKinnon said: "I am very pleased to have been tasked with leading our local Labour Party as we seek to show our fellow islanders that we will always put the Western Isles first. We will engage with our communities at a local level and demonstrate that Labour values will make a real difference to their lives.

"The high turnout of members at our annual general meeting, along with the increasing membership of the party in the islands, clearly demonstrates that Labour is very much a vibrant party in the Western Isles. Listening to people from all parts of our Islands it is clear that there is need for urgent action on a range of issues including; poverty, transportation, social care, health and education."

Pictured are Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant meeting the newly elected Executive of the Western Isles Labour Party. From Left to right Ada Campbell (Treasurer), Billy MacKinnon (Chair), Christine Macsween (Women’s Officer), Rhoda and Ealasaid MacDonald (Vice-Chair).

Caledonian MacBrayne are not taking any bookings on the Sound of Harris route from Saturday June 13.

www.welovestornoway.com understands that the MCA have ordered CalMac to undertake some urgent alterations to the 'Loch Portain' vessel which currently operates between Leverburgh and North Uist.

An informed source told us: "Apparently the modifications to the Loch Portain involve modern sprinkler systems which are required under regulations recently extended to cover this size of boat.

"CalMac have known about this for ages but were somehow hoping to get the work done at the next dry dock session next year.

Western Isles Poverty Action Group has written to the Secretary of State for Energy, Mrs Amber Rudd MP, raising the issue of the 2p per unit surcharge on electricity prices in the north of Scotland. The move is in response to the Energy minister’s call for the Big 6 electricity companies to reduce prices for consumers.

In the letter, Chairman Angus McCormack, said: “SSE currently charges consumers 2p per unit more than elsewhere in Scotland and the UK. This is a great burden on an area of the UK where housing stock is of poor quality and wages are depressed. These two factors together with high fuel costs lead to a situation where a survey by The Energy Advisory Service for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, found that 71% of households are in fuel poverty, 18% are in Extreme fuel poverty and an incredible 11% spend 30% or more of their income on fuel.

"Removal of the 2p surcharge and establishing parity with the rest of Scotland and the UK, would make a very real and immediate difference to consumers in the Outer Hebrides.

"Is it possible that you might consider raising this matter with SSE? Your assistance would be appreciated. In the meantime Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is seeking to meet with SSE and Ofgem in an attempt to resolve the matter.”