Stornoway swimmer Kara Hanlon is continuing on form with a stunning clutch of three gold medals at this weekend’s Scottish Open National Swimming Championships in Aberdeen.

22-year-old Kara, who now swims with the Edinburgh University team, took gold in the women’s 50m breaststroke this afternoon (Sunday 30th June) to add to a gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke on Friday and another in the 200m breaststroke on Saturday.

A lone fisherman got into trouble on Saturday morning (June 29th) when his boat ran aground while he was trying to clear a fouled propeller.

The small fishing vessel Ceol na Mara was off Loch Garenin in Carloway when the propeller became fouled and the vessel drifted while he was attempting a repair.

A lone fisherman got into trouble on Saturday morning (June 29th) when his boat ran aground while he was trying to clear a fouled propeller.

The small fishing vessel Ceol na Mara was off Loch Garenin in Carloway when the propeller became fouled and the vessel drifted while he was attempting a repair.

A 20-year-old woman is to appear in court after smashing her car up in a single-vehicle road accident in Point this morning (Sunday June 30th).

The woman knocked on a door in Shulishader looking for assistance, just before 5am this morning, reporting that her car had left the road. Police were called and the woman was processed and taken to Stornoway police station, where she was charged with drink-driving.

On Friday 21st June there was a large gathering in the Tarbert Community Centre to mark the retiral of Morag Munro as co-ordinator of Crossroads (Harris). 

This was a role Morag carried out, unpaid, for 34 years following a year of hard graft to set the scheme up. 

On Friday 21st June there was a large gathering in the Tarbert Community Centre to mark the retiral of Morag Munro as co-ordinator of Crossroads (Harris). 

This was a role Morag carried out, unpaid, for 34 years following a year of hard graft to set the scheme up. 

Lewis Wind Power, developers of the Stornoway Wind Farm, will be headline sponsors of the first Marathon Hebrides, which takes place on 10th August.

The sold-out event, which has an international field of participants, is the only marathon-distance event to be held in the Outer Hebrides. 

Air Traffic Controllers in the Highlands and Islands are reviving their industrial action against Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd, throwing doubt over flights from tomorrow (Saturday June 29th)

David Avery, negotiations officer for Prospect - the union which represents the ATCs, said:“Prospect members in HIAL have overwhelmingly rejected the revised pay offer made by HIAL.

"The work-to-rule which was suspended during the ballot will restart tomorrow (Saturday 29 June).

Barra Atlantic gin has been named a finalist in the Scottish Gin Awards.

The gin is shortlisted in the London Dry Gin of the Year Category, along with Isle of Harris Gin.

Winners are due to be announced in October.

Harris gin is also in the running for its taste experience, while the Isle of Harris Distillery is also shortlisted as growth business of the year, exporter of the year and as the Scottish gin destination of the year.

The Isle of Harris Distillery is in the running for no less than four awards at the finals of the Scottish Gin Awards, due to be announced in October.

Harris gin is in the running for its taste experience, listed together with Barra Atlantic gin as the London dry gin of the year, while the Isle of Harris distillery is also shortlisted as growth business of the year, exporter of the year and as the Scottish gin destination of the year.

Breasclete and Bargar Coastguard Rescue Teams were called to the rescue yesterday evening (Thursday June 27th) when a woman fell and broke her ankle while visiting Carloway Broch.

Lewis-based firm Porteous Architecture LLP has won a major national award.

This was part of the 2019 Saltire Society Housing Design Awards held on Tuesday 25 June.

They were presented by the Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Nick Barley, who chaired the judging panel and the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart.

A new trail launched today (Friday 28 June) will link whale-watching sites on Lewis, Harris, Skye, Barra and beyond.

The initiative, which includes over 30 sites, aims to showcase Scotland's west coast as a top destination for low-impact marine wildlife watching from land.

A new trail launched today (Friday 28 June) will link whale-watching sites on Lewis, Harris, Skye, Barra and beyond.

The initiative, which includes over 30 sites, aims to showcase Scotland's west coast as a top destination for low-impact marine wildlife watching from land.

Launched by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, the trail includes lighthouses at the Butt of Lewis on the Isle of Lewis, Eilean Glas on the Isle of Scalpay, and the UK mainland’s most westerly point at Ardnamurchan Lighthouse.

 

Summer is here! Marked by the school holidays starting and the first of the summer shows and events kicking off this weekend.

Here is a quick guide to what's on and when, simply click on an event listed below to find out further details AND don't forget our 'Upcoming Events' calendar for everything else that is happening across Lewis and Harris.

The arrival of a Tesla electric car on site will help highlight a campaign to provide climate change and energy saving advice to thousands of people attending the Hebridean Celtic Festival.

HebCelt, which is being held this year from 17-20 July, is renowned for its green credentials relating to the sustainable use of resources, reducing emissions and waste and raising awareness of environmental matters.

A two-car collision on the Clisham left two visitors to the island in hospital yesterday afternoon (Wednesday June 27th).

Emergency services were called to the A859 just south of the Clisham summit at 5pm, where the two cars had been involved in an accident. One vehicle, with a man and woman from Skye travelling in it, left the road and rolled down a steep embankment, coming to rest on its roof.

A two-car collision on the Clisham left two visitors to the island in hospital yesterday afternoon (Wednesday June 27th).

Emergency services were called to the A859 just south of the Clisham summit at 5pm, where the two cars had been involved in an accident. One vehicle, with a man and woman from Skye travelling in it, left the road and rolled down a steep embankment, coming to rest on its roof.


The staff sergeant who mans 7 Scots base at Stornoway Drill Hall was today (Thursday June 27th) taking pride of place at the Last Post ceremony in Canberra, Australia.

Sgt Tommy Stewart, known to his colleagues in 7 Scots as ‘Batco’, is on holiday in Australia with his wife, Kenna. While visiting the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, he had asked permission to lay a memorial cross for a Scottish-born soldier killed in action while serving with Australian forces at Gallipoli.



Hebridean Celtic Festival is paying tribute to the distinctive island phenomenon of ‘Peatlemania’, with Stornoway band Peat & Diesel to be offered an extra event in the Festival programme.

HebCelt organisers have set a ‘meet the band’ event for the island heroes, scheduled between 2 and 3pm on Wednesday 17th July at Stornoway Town Hall.

Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: “Peat & Diesel have been generating a huge amount of buzz and we are very aware of the huge appeal they have, particularly locally and among young fans.

An event commemorating the Iolaire tragedy at the Edinburgh International Book Festival has sold out within a day of tickets going on sale – to the astonishment of Stornoway author and historian Malcolm Macdonald.

Malcolm was co-author – with the late Donald John Macleod – of the authoritative book The Darkest Dawn, published in November last year by Stornoway-based publishers Acair as part of the centenary commemorations of the tragedy.

A man has appeared in court in Stornoway after police were called to an address in Parkend at 8pm on Monday (June 24th) to reports of a disturbance.

The 34-year-old was found to be in breach of bail conditions set following an earlier offence and appeared in court from custody on Tuesday, where he gave a guilty plea and was fined, as well as being reminded of his bail conditions, which are to continue.

Faclan: the Hebridean Book Festival today (Thursday June 27th) reveals this year’s programme, with events running at An Lanntair arts centre from Wednesday 30 October to Saturday 2 November.

The festival’s theme this year is Human Nature and the programme includes:

  • Julie Brook’s breath-taking environmental art
  • Dan Richards’ journeys to the world’s remote places
  • Margaret Fay Shaw’s pioneering island photography
  • Niall Iain Macdonald’s epic solo attempt to row the Atlantic
  • Cult musician Momus brings his ‘Unreliable Tour Guide’ to Stornoway
  • Faclan Fringe returns for 2nd year, supported by Outer Hebrides LEADER
  • The festival’s acclaimed children’s programme, Faclan Òg.

The current Islands bus services will be reduced in August, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar confirmed yesterday (Wednesday June 26th).

At a meeting of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Members said they were committed to protecting front line transport services in partnership with the communities of the Western Isles. 

Bus operators had been asked to tender for nine transport options, a number of which were left to them to redesign. The outcome of this process identified five options which were subject to a process of Community Conversation and online consultation.

Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil yesterday afternoon met Richard Ratcliffe, husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is currently imprisoned in Iran. 

Richard is supporting her fight for justice with a protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London.

A flock of up to 30 microlight and single-pilot aircraft are due to descend on Stornoway tomorrow afternoon (Thursday June 27th), as the town becomes one of the stopping points on a round-UK charity fundraising flight.

Between 20 and 30 of the light aircraft are taking part in Fly UK 2019, an annual challenge which, since 2005, has collected over £68,000 for the charity Children with Cancer.

The date has been announced for an emergency services event which will throw the doors of search and rescue wide open.

On Saturday 17th August, from 1pm to 4pm, Stornoway Coastguard Operations Room will be open for the first time since its major refit three years ago, providing an excellent opportunity for the public to view at first hand the latest state-of-the-art technology that contributes to search and rescue – locally, regionally and nationally.

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.

Councillors will tonight (Wednesday June 26th) record their congratulations for swimmer Colin Macleod, following his marathon swim across the Minch earlier this month.

Colin was dubbed ‘King of the Minch’ by his followers when he landed at Stornoway pier in the early hours of Tuesday June 11th. He had become the first man and the only islander to conquer the Minch, after swimming for 21 hours, covering 33 miles of open sea between Gairloch and Lemreway.

The passenger ferry MV Loch Seaforth was met by emergency crews in Stornoway yesterday (Monday June 24th) after a passenger was taken ill during the crossing from Ullapool.

The public are asked to nominate noteworthy individuals to be celebrated with a plaque.

Nominations have now opened for the 2019 National Commemorative Plaque scheme.  

Historic Environment Scotland (HES), who administer the scheme, are asking the public to nominate individuals from Scottish public life.

Several Barra and Vatersay projects have been awarded funding from CalMac's Community Fund.

Feis Bharraigh’s ‘Music for All’, the Gaelic arts and culture event, has been awarded £2000.  The Barra and Vatersay Junior Sports Club received £1,000 and Barra Children's Centre in support of their Children of the Sea project were awarded £2,000.

The Community Fund is open to non-profit organisations involved in activities to benefit young people in island or coastal communities.  

With little over three weeks to go to the start of this year’s HebCelt, the festival HQ opened yesterday (Monday June 24th) in Stornoway town centre, with festival workers Megan Macsween (left) and Eilidh Jenkins seen above.

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.

The first Marathon Hebrides is set to take place on 10 August.

The sold-out event, which has an international field of participants, is the only marathon-distance event to be held in the Outer Hebrides. 

Setting off from Talla na Mara on the Isle of Harris, runners will cover 26.2 miles of stunning beach views, undulating terrain and breath-taking scenery.

A crowd including pupils from Stornoway Primary, Laxdale Primary and the Nicolson Institute gathered today in Perceval Square in the centre of Stornoway to mark the beginning of Armed Forces Week, which culminates in Armed Forces Day 2019 which will be held on Saturday 29 June.

The Nicolson Institute pipe band opened proceedings with a musical performance which was followed by a minute’s silence.

All 24 schools in the Western Isles are receiving a Certificate of Excellence from WW100 Scotland Scottish Commemorations Panel.

The certificates are being awarded in recognition of the schools' outstanding contributions and performances in the Dìleab Project and the special HMY Iolaire 100 events.

The project saw Lewis pupils working on the loss of the Iolaire, Harris pupils focussing on World War I and Barra pupils researching emigration.  

All 24 schools in the Western Isles are receiving a Certificate of Excellence from WW100 Scotland Scottish Commemorations Panel.

The certificates are being awarded in recognition of the schools' outstanding contributions and performances in the Dìleab Project and the special HMY Iolaire 100 events.

The project saw Lewis pupils working on the loss of the Iolaire, Harris pupils focussing on World War I and Barra pupils researching emigration.  

This year’s Lewis Christian Conference is due to take place in Stornoway from Friday 28th June through to Monday 1st July.

The Conference will be held in St Columba’s Church and the speaker is to be Dr Robert Smith Jr, from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, pictured above.

The Island Select U-13 & U-15 teams won their last match and now top the UK Athletics Youth Development North league, qualifying for the Scottish finals.

Stornoway Running and Athletics Club said on Facebook that they are “delighted for our fantastic youngsters who again upped the game with their performances. An amazing achievement all round!”

Former Chair of UNESCO Scotland, Malcolm Maclean, who lives in Uig, has challenged Historic Environment Scotland to update their information panel at the Calanais Stones.

He sees the wording on the panel as misleading to the 50,000+ visitors who make their way to Calanais each year and failing to do full justice to the importance of the site.

Calanais is older than Stonehenge and one of the largest, most northerly and most complex archaeological sites in the UK.

Mr Kenny Matheson, Aberdeen-based businessman and broadcaster, and a native of Gravir, is to give this year’s Angus Macleod Memorial Lecture on the evening of Thursday 24th October at Pairc School, Gravir.

The title of the lecture is: ‘The Leverhulme Initiative – An Opportunity Lost or a Narrow Escape for Lewis and Harris?’, an appropriate theme as we look back a century to Lord Leverhulme’s ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful attempts to transform the island economy.

An Lanntair Arts Centre is launching GRINNEAS NA h-ÒIGRIDH 2019 – a new chance for young Hebridean artists to exhibit their work.

On Monday 25th November, Grinneas nan Eilean the Islands’ Open exhibition returns to An Lanntair with this exciting new dimension. 

Grinneas na h-Òigridh will give under-18s the opportunity to contribute with a special section of the show dedicated to young Hebridean artists.

Ferry service provider, Caledonian MacBrayne appears to be falling short of meeting the requirements of European Union disability regulations, it is claimed.

Under regulations set out by the EU in 2012, if a passenger requires assistance with personal care then an individual accompanying them should receive travel free of charge.

Peter White, a pensioner from Sunderland, is a companion in travel for his friend and has been a regular visitor to the Western Isles for the last 30 years.

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.

 

Plans for Ionad Hiort - the St Kilda Centre - have taken a significant step forward with the granting of planning permission in principle for the Geodha Sgoilt site in the Uig area of Lewis.

This applies to the first phase of the project - ‘A Chiad Cheum’ -which includes a flexible new-build visitor and research centre, office space and toilets with car parking and road access.

Iain Buchanan, chairman of Ionad Hiort, said: “This is an important milestone which has involved a great deal of preparatory work. It will give confidence to potential funders with whom discussions are continuing.”

Plans for Ionad Hiort - the St Kilda Centre - have taken a significant step forward with the granting of planning permission in principle for the Geodha Sgoilt site in the Uig area of Lewis.

This applies to the first phase of the project - ‘A Chiad Cheum’ -which includes a flexible new-build visitor and research centre, office space and toilets with car parking and road access.

Iain Buchanan, chairman of Ionad Hiort, said: “This is an important milestone which has involved a great deal of preparatory work. It will give confidence to potential funders with whom discussions are continuing.”

Stornoway pharmacists KJ Macdonald want to “give back” to the local community with the installation of a defibrillator outside their Cromwell Street shop.

Shop owner Karen Macdonald said, “I became aware of an emergency incident locally where a defibrillator was needed. It made me think, if something was to occur on our premises how would we react and what would we do?”

“I didn’t know where the defibrillators were in Stornoway and in a situation like that the immediate reaction is always going to be panic.”

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.

Award-winning quartet Fara (seen above in a photograph by Mike Guest) have added their support to HebCelt’s industry-leading efforts to improve gender equality among artists at music festivals.

A recent survey showed that women made up just 26 per cent of festival line-ups in the UK in 2017 and a campaign was launched to achieve a 50:50 balance by 2022.

The following planning applications are pending consideration by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. 

All information and accompanying documents are publicly available on the CnES website

New holiday let, Castlebay

Mr & Mrs Macintyre of 8 Leanish have applied for planning permission to build a holiday let at 8A Leanish, Castlebay.

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.  

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.

The islands of Barra and Benbecula are among the few seeing the turning of the demographic tide, with new population growth being recorded, according to a research statement published on Friday (June 14th).

Ruth Wilson, Andrew Copus and Ruth Mitchell are the co-authors of a report published on the website of SEFARI (Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes). The report, described as work in progress, suggests that some islands are bucking a wider trend for 25% population decline and one-third in the working age population by 2046.

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.

The new North Lewis Coastal Walk is to be launched as part of Community Land Week celebrations between August 15th and 17th.

The walk encompasses the whole of the Galson Estate and Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) will be launching it in traditional style – walking the whole 37km route.

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.

The opening of the Hebridean Celtic Festival shop on Monday 24th June signals an acceleration of activity, with the festival itself just three weeks away.

The festival shop will once again be sited on Francis Street, at the former Gazette shop and right opposite the door of one of the main festival venues, An Lanntair.

Saturday 15th June saw the opening of 'Isle inspire': two local artists exhibitions at Morven Gallery in Barvas. Gill Thompson's 'Beachcomber' collection of collagraph prints and Donald Libby's 'Salt in the blood' display of maritime sculptures sat alongside each other picking up the colours and atmosphere of the islands.

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.


Western Isles football teams competing in the Inter-island football tournament at Ynys Mon this week will be hoping for better results from their matches today (Monday June 17th) and tomorrow, after a disappointing first round of matches.

Both the men’s and women’s teams were drawn against their Anglesey hosts in Sunday’s matches. The Western Isles men’s team opened up their campaign with a narrow 2-1 defeat, Luke Mackay scoring an early leader and the only Western Isles goal. The game was played in front of over a thousand spectators, crammed into the Holyhead Spurs stadium for what was described as ‘a cracking game on a wet and windy night’.

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.  


Ten-year-old Aidan Mackenzie has set himself a target for this summer – to get into training for a massive sponsored challenge in Edinburgh.

Aidan, who’s in P5 at Sgoil nan Loch, has never done a sponsored walk before, but he’s joining his mum, Mairi, on the Edinburgh Royal Bank of Scotland Kiltwalk in September.

At 10 years old, Aidan is just old enough to take on a big distance, so he and his mum are in for the 15.5 mile ‘Big Stroll.’ They’ll be raising funds for the Beatson Cancer Charity, which supports the West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow, an internationally renowned cancer centre and the busiest in the UK.



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.

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.

A co-ordinated approach to safety at sea for all leisure users is part of a new plan by HM Coastguard to proactively protect people from getting into trouble on or in the water.

A meeting held at the Stornoway Coastguard Operations Centre on Thursday (June 6th) brought together maritime leisure groups representing sailors, surfers, kayakers, divers and open-water swimmers to look at ways in which people can be kept safe – stopping dramas from happening and improving the chance of rescue if they do.

Maritime operations specialist Carol Campbell told welovestornoway.com today (Monday June 10th): “It’s really Stornoway Coastguard being more proactive and reaching out to the maritime community. Rather than waiting for things to go wrong and stepping in, we’re aiming for better mutual understanding between leisure users and safety services to reduce accidents at sea.

The Stornoway Historical Society’s Iolaire exhibition is now on display in the Stornoway Historical Society offices, at Stornoway Town Hall.

The exhibition, which was previously on display at Sandwick Community Centre, was put together by the Stornoway Historical Society, in Collaboration with Point and Sandwick community councils.

 The exhibition details the impact of the tragedy on the areas of Point, Sandwick and Stornoway and plays an important role in the Iolaire centenary commemorations.

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.

One of the most technically demanding and emotionally-charged musicals in stage history is to be performed in Stornoway next week (Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st June).

Nicolson Institute S1 to S6 pupils are in rehearsal ready to take to the stage with Fiddler on the Roof, for four performances in the school hall.

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.

A Lewis actor and singer will be directing the 2019 Gaelic Drama Summer School on Skye.

Mairi Morrison, who now lives in Glasgow, wrote and performed in the Gaelic drama 'Bana-ghaisgich/ Heroines' produced by Theatre Gu Leòr which featured as part of the Iolaire Centenary Commemorations. Mairi is also known for her role in BBC Alba's 'Bannan.'

Mairi will be returning to the School as artistic director for the second 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.”

 

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!


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:

As part of volunteer week, Befriending Lewis yesterday (Thursday) welcomed their volunteers to the Stornoway Golf Club for a day of brainstorming and future planning.

Befriending Lewis falls under the control of Volunteer Hebrides and works in partnership with a number of other voluntary organisations. There are currently 80 active befrienders working with a wide range of individuals across Lewis.

Following a short presentation from Befriending Lewis Coordinators the volunteers were split into working groups to carry out activities and discuss future projects.

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.

Donald McIntosh thought we all might like so see this photograph of the Loch Seaforth ferry passing the cruise ship visitors AidaAura and Astoria this morning (Tuesday June 4th) …and that's great!  Thank you very much Donald for sharing this view with us. 

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.

The Stornoway Historical Society’s Iolaire exhibition will be on display in the Stornoway Historical Society offices, at Stornoway Town Hall from Tuesday 4th June.

The exhibition, which was previously on display at Sandwick Community Centre, was put together by the Stornoway Historical Society, in collaboration with Point and Sandwick community councils.

The exhibition details the impact of the tragedy on the areas of Point, Sandwick and Stornoway and plays an important role in the Iolaire centenary commemorations.

The display illustrates the voyage from Kyle of Lochalsh, reactions to the news, instances of searing loss and outstanding courage, stories of the survivors, as well as looking at the inquiry that followed and the Disaster Fund that drew contributions from throughout the world.

It’s mix of photographs, personal stories, artefacts and film was met with a universally positive response from those who saw it in Sandwick, and Stornoway Historical Society has had many appeals from Lewis people living off the island who were unable to visit at the time.

The exhibition is accompanied by a film, entitled So Close To Home, produced by Alyth McCormack whose mother Mary, when chair of Sandwick Community Council, initially suggested the idea of the Iolaire exhibition.

Alyth tells the story from her perspective as a child of Sandwick – her grandfather had witnessed the tragedy first-hand from the headland as a teenager from Holm; her song about the disaster, also called So Close to home, plays at the closing credits.

Prints of the powerful Iolaire 100, portraits of sailors lost and saved, by artist Margaret Ferguson, will also be available to view.

The exhibition will be open throughout June, July and August on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11am – 5pm. Admission to the exhibition will be free.

Pictured is the centre piece of the exhibition, a scale model of the Iolaire, surrounded by information boards.

The viral success of Stornoway band Peat and Diesel led to a literally showstopping performance at The Gathering in Inverness on Saturday (June 1st).

Peatlemania took over as the band were scheduled to take the second stage at 8.30pm, with organisers holding back the start as they were concerned about the size of the audience crammed into a small tent (see above). 

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.

 

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. 

Links to the Western Isles stretching back more than 1000 years are to be celebrated by an Icelandic delegation at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh tomorrow (Monday June 3rd).

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.

A Stornoway-based writer’s first novel – St Kilda Fever – will have a launch event on Wednesday 5 June at Stornoway Library at 7pm. 

And writer and retired solicitor, Fiona Macdonald, says that if she hadn't failed her French exam at school, the novel would likely never have been written.

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.

A veterans' breakfast is to be held during Armed Forces Week which runs from Monday 24th June till 1st July.

It's open to all the serving personnel and also to all our veterans, says Sergeant Thomas Stewart. He says:

"So get your eating teeth ready for the next Veterans breakfast, AKA Smudges Belly Buster, to be held at the Drill Hall on Saturday 29th of June from 10am.

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.

In any young band’s career, there are defining moments that signal things are going rather well.

For Niteworks, who formed ten years ago in Skye, one of these memorable occasions came when they launched their much-acclaimed debut album ‘NW’ at Glasgow’s SWG3 venue in 2015.

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.

The good news for Roddy Woomble fans is that there are various ways to catch him live in his various line-ups in the coming months.

He headlines the Hebridean Celtic Festival next month as part of a solo tour and also plays a few gigs later in the year with the acoustic folk super group in which he features with Kris Drever and John McCusker.

And he is recording a new album with Indie giants Idlewild and will be back on stage as the group’s frontman when they tour in support of the new release next year.

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

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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.

The opportunity to find out more about the work of BDMLR Hebrides takes place this week as the local branch of marine mammal medics deliver a public talk in Stornoway on Thursday, June 21st.
Established in 1988 – celebrating its 30th anniversary this year – British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) is an internationally recognised voluntary marine animal rescue organisation.
With volunteers across the UK on-call 24 hours a-day, seven days a week, BDMLR provides a voluntary network of trained marine mammal medics who respond to call outs from the general public, HM Coastguard, Police, RSPCA and SSPCA.

The more Robert Robertson travels, the more he feels at home. Having established a burgeoning fan base in Scotland, his band Tide Lines are now winning new followers in Europe.

The four-piece ended 2017 playing to audiences in Germany, France and Switzerland and found the traditional music of their homeland travels well.

 

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. 

The Lewis Christian Conference is due to take place from  Friday 22nd June through to Monday 25th June.

The venue for this year’s conference will be St. Columba’s Church on Lewis Street.

There will be three conference meeting at 7.30 pm on the Friday, Saturday and Monday evenings.

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.

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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. 

An exhibition on Scotland’s ancient silver is running in Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle until Saturday 23rd June.

The display shows how silver was more valued in the first millennium AD. When the Romans first brought silver to Scotland, silver was a lot more precious than gold. Silver was a symbol of social status and would sometimes even be gifted to their gods.

From Tuesday 19th – Thursday 21st June, the Sport & Health team at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is hosting a multi sports event for S3 & S4 pupils from the four secondary schools on the Western Isles.

Pupils from Castlebay, Lionacleit, Sir E Scott and The Nicolson Institute will be in Stornoway for the Games – which are modelled on the Natwest Island Games, being held next year in Gibraltar.

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.

A Gaelic songwriter’s ‘love letter’ to her native Hebrides will be heard in public for the first time at the Hebridean Celtic Festival next month.

Eilidh Mackenzie, from Gress, was commissioned to write the new song as part of a suite of traditional music showcasing the islands’ musical heritage and young talent.

To mark the Year of Young People 2018, HebCelt has brought together 20 musicians aged between 12 and 16 from Barra, North and South Uist and Lewis and Harris and their collaboration will be premiered on the main festival stage next month.

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.

The Western Isles Housing Association Communities Forum (the Forum) and Hebridean Housing Partnership Ltd are holding an event for tenants and anyone consider becoming a tenant of HHP at Stornoway Town Hall on Friday 15thJune from 2-5pm. 

If you have any questions, for example about how houses are allocated, how rent is calculated or if you're curious about the standard of housing, the Forum - which is run by tenants themselves - will be on hand with all the information you need.  There will also be heating masterclasses with Peter O'Donnell, discussions on repairs with HHP and FES, advice on saving money on your energy bills with Tighean Innse Gall, and a prize draw! 

Tea, coffee and baking will be provided (free!) by the Cearns Community Association.

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. 

Coming up soon, there's a Casino Night for men at the Caladh Inn, Stornoway  - and all in a good cause!

The MacMillan Cancer Support Committee say: "We have sold quite a few tables but we still have a few seats to sell.

"Any sports groups, friends or  workmates out there then get a few of you together (no need to have a full table) and book some seats for this Men Only event. 

 

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it's Cupcake Day on Thursday (June 14th) in aid of Alzheimers. There's free coffee, tea, cakes all day and high hopes for donations at Artizan Café. Church Street, Stornoway.

Following on from the success of two previous visits to Stornoway in 2016 and 2017, the Highland Cycle Ability Centre is returning to Lewis with a range of adapted cycles for people of all abilities to get cycling.

The Highland Cycle Ability Centre, based in Cantray near Inverness, attracts over 3,000 visitors annually and caters in particular for people with disabilities. Many individuals and groups from local schools, day centres and support organisations visit regularly throughout the year and the Manager at the Highland Cycle Ability Centre, Gareth Jenkins, is looking forward to once again bringing their Outreach service to Lewis. He said,

“We have always received the warmest of welcomes when visiting Lewis. It is so rewarding to see people taking the opportunity to cycle on our specialised cycles and we are really hoping to see lots of new people turn out, as well as our friends from Macauley College, Sandwickhill Learning Centre and Ardseileach Centre.”   

The Highland Cycle Ability Centre will be offering free sessions on a drop-in basis as follows:

Fri 15th June:   1.30pm – 5pm (Lewis Sports Centre)

Sat 16th June:   9am – 5pm (Bayhead Bridge Centre)  

For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07546 517 312.

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.

An Lanntair arts centre currently has a great job opportunity for a young person aged 24 or under to join their team as a Gaelic-speaking Trainee Performing Arts Programmer for a year, with potential to extend permanently if funding allows.

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.

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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:

The Barvas Food & Craft Fayre due to take place this Saturday, 16th June, has been cancelled.
 
Reschedule information to follow when available.  

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.

It says much for the individual talents of Kinnaris Quintet that their collective work was causing excitement before it was even heard.

From diverse geographical and musical backgrounds, they gravitated from playing with other outfits to forming their own band and finding their own sound.

While the five-piece is relatively new, their gigs regularly sell out and their success is set to continue with the release of their debut album in the summer.

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.

A former RAF man with a burden to preach and train men for the work of the ministry is due to preach at the annual Western Isles Bible Conference which takes place in Stornoway this weekend.  The Conference, which is hosted by the Stornoway Congregation of the Free Church (Continuing) is due to run from today (Friday 8th) to Sunday 10th June. 

This year's speaker is Rev. David Kay, who has ministered for the last 25 years at Whiddon Valley Evangelical Church, Barnstaple, Devon. 

Brought up in a church-going home in Rhyl, North Wales, it was not until after he joined the RAF as a sixteen-year old that he came in contact with evangelical truth.  During a posting to the Middle East he attended services where the Padre unashamedly preached the Gospel of saving grace. 

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."

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.

A festival is being held in An Lanntair arts centre in October which is run by and organised for, young people – defined as those under 27.

To begin the Las! / Ignite! programme, An Lanntair is holding a launch event on Saturday (9th June) at 12pm to introduce the festival’s existing board members and to reach out to more keen, young islanders who would like to get involved in planning the festival.

The Las! / Ignite! Festival will take place between 20th and 25th October at An Lanntair.

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.”

The Western Isles Housing Association Communities Forum (the Forum) and Hebridean Housing Partnership Ltd are holding an event for tenants and anyone consider becoming a tenant of HHP at Stornoway Town Hall on Friday 15thJune from 2-5pm. 

If you have any questions, for example about how houses are allocated, how rent is calculated or if you're curious about the standard of housing, the Forum - which is run by tenants themselves - will be on hand with all the information you need.  There will also be heating masterclasses with Peter O'Donnell, discussions on repairs with HHP and FES, advice on saving money on your energy bills with Tighean Innse Gall, and a prize draw! 

Tea, coffee and baking will be provided (free!) by the Cearns Community Association.

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.

Tom Allen will perform his debut tour show 'Absolutely' in An Lanntair this month

Following a total sellout and very highly acclaimed run at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, as well as a sellout UK tour in the Spring and Autumn 2017, funnyman Tom Allen continues touring the UK this year with 'Absolutely'

Tom performs in An Lanntair arts centre on Tuesday, June 26th.

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.

The popular Scottish Celtic Harmonica player Donald Black returns with his band to Lewis and Harris as part of a tour promoting his recently released “Bho m’ Chridhe” (From my Heart) album which is being well received on the radio (both on gaelic and national radio), in the press press and on-line 

Donald, with Donnie MacKenzie (Guitar) and Martainn Skene (Accordion & Keyboard) will play the following full concerts:-

Thursday 27th July - Leverburgh Community Hall, Isle of Harris – Starts 8.00 pm – Contact 01859-520267/07799800582

Friday 28th July – Woodlands Centre, Stornoway – Starts 8.00 pm – Contact 01851-706916

Saturday 29th July – Taigh Dhonnchiadh Arts Centre, Port of Ness - Starts 8.00 pm – Contact 01851-810166 / 07774084119

For more information and reviews visit:- www.donald-black.com

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.

This year’s Sea Sunday Service in Stornoway takes place on Sunday July 9th at 11am in St Columba's Church, Lewis Street, Stornoway.

Sea Sunday aims to highlight the challenges which seafarers face every day.

The event can actually take place on any Sunday during the year and is promoted by the Sailors Society.

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.

There will be an exhibition of works by Western Isles artists and makers from 1st July to 12th August at the Country Frames Gallery in Insch, Aberdenshire, with a  special preview evening on Friday 30th June at 7pm - 9pm.  All welcome!

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.

There are two special guest talks in Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle on Wednesday 5 July.

Dr Nick Fraser will explain all things related to fossils over two talks. This is suitable for all ages and is entry by donation.

Dr Fraser is head of the Department of Natural Sciences and specialises in vertebrate palaeontology.

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.

The cinema schedule for July has now been added to our calendar of events on the website (on the right hand side of the main page), along with gigs, open mic nights, agricultural shows and much more.

Just click on the coloured dates to find out what's happening on that day, and then on the event itself for more information.  Or click on 'Upcoming Events' under 'What's On' for a full list.  All events can be shared too!

If there's anything you'd like to add, just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or phone 01851 70 5743.

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 Stornoway Historical Society's premises in Stornoway Town Hall are open to visitors over the summer months from Wednesday 28th June to Wednesday 30th August.

They will be open on Tuesdays 10 am-12 noon, Wednesdays and Fridays 2 pm to 4 pm.

Artists performing at this year Hebridean Celtic Festival will be giving free live gigs at the festival’s town centre pop-up shop which has now opened for business.

The festival’s HQ for the next three weeks opened at 79 Cromwell Street in Stornoway to book and collect tickets and to buy merchandise for the award-winning festival.

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.

Over 100 tickets have been sold for the Men for MacMillan Casino night (gents only charity event) this Saturday in the Caladh Inn, but there are still some left.

The night kicks off at 6pm, and promises to be a hugely enjoyable event.

Said an organiser: "Call your friends, work colleagues or team mates and get together to raise monies for a great local cause."

 

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.

There is a lot of preparation that goes into any one-day event – however, the Lochs Show is fortunate to have a dedicated committee of volunteers who deal with the day-to-day business of making sure the show runs smoothly. 

But they need volunteers on the day of the show (Saturday 22nd July) to make sure the show goes ahead. 

There are various opportunities both inside and out and organisers would be delighted to hear from anyone who can help. 

Without the help of volunteers it would be impossible to run the Lochs Show, warn the committee. 

If you can help please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sent a message via the Facebook page.

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.

Tesco Stornoway are hosting a charity bingo and raffle tonight, Friday 23rd June, as a fundraiser and to show support for the Barra families affected by the Manchester attack on 22nd May.

The evening fundraiser starts at 7.30pm in the Caberfeidh Hotel. Tesco say "There will be lots of great prizes to be won so why not spread the word and bring your family and friends!! Everyone is welcome".



If you’re a fan of those Celtic Dance Music trailblazers, the Peatbog Faeries, but can’t see them live this year, help is on its way.

The band are in the process of completing a live album, recorded during their 25th anniversary tour last year, which they expect to be released in October.

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."

Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais have just published their 2017 programme of summer activities for children, Motiv8, which provides details of the many and varied activities they will be running over the next few months.  This includes all the usual sports and games - football, badminton, archery and gymnastics to name but a few - along with some slightly more unusual pastimes, including Nerf activity workshops, Tchoukball and Geocaching! Definitely something for everyone, with children of all abilities welcome. You can view the full programme online now by clicking here

Places must be booked in advance, though no bookings will be taken until 12 noon this Saturday, 24th June. 

Call the Lewis Sports Centre on 01851 822800 for more information. 

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.

Stornoway RNLI has been gifted a total of 25 stunning drawings and paintings completed by artist Richard Walker (1925-2009), to be sold to raise funds for the local lifeboat station.

And all are invited to view and purchase the works at the Art Sale, due to take place in the Morning Room at Lews Castle tomorrow (Friday, June 23rd) from 7.30pm.

Born in Surrey, Walker’s artistic skills were first recognised when he was 13 years old and won the Founders’ Prize of the Royal Drawing Society. He then went onto have a picture hung in the Royal Academy and secured an art scholarship to Cranford School.

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.

We've updated our entertainment calendar categories to include film screenings - not just at An Lanntair's cinema in Stornoway, but rural showings too, like the Western Isles Libraries monthly film club, HebFlicks, and BFI Neighbourhood Cinema groups such as Grinneabhat Film Club in Bragar.

Look out for the blue dates to find out which films are showing near you. 

 

 

If there's anything you'd like us to add to the calendar, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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.

The Gallan Head Community Trust is deeply saddened to announce the death, on Monday 19th June 2017, of their co-founder and original driving force, Martin Hayes. 

Paying tribute, thay: "Martin was larger than life, and brightened every room he walked in to with his warm smile and jovial, positive presence. 

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.

There's so much going on in the Western Isles with our thriving music scene (including lots of new trad sessions popping up, where you can bring an instrument and join in), quizzes, concerts, dances, games, shows and much, much more.  We'll be keeping you up to date with all the entertainment in your area and beyond with our new online calendar - updated daily.

You can easily share individual events from the calendar across lots of social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, and help to ensure a good turn-out for local bands and organisations. Just click on the symbol above the event (or the white cross on the red background to give more options).

If you have an event you'd like to see included, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Bessie the PlayTalkRead bus is making her way to the Western Isles! Perfect for all pre-school children, Bessie is completely free to visit and filled with games, stories and activities to keep the little ones amused.  

Everyone is welcome aboard: mums, dads, grannies and granddads, carers, and, of course, babies and toddlers. They might even get a little gift to take home with them afterwards. 

To find out more, visit the PlayTalkRead website here. They can also be found on Twitter at @PlayTalkRead, and you can check out their Facebook page for more information, ideas, tips and lots of great photos.

http://www.welovestornoway.com/index.php/upcoming-events

Do you or someone you care for live with a neurological condition such as MS, Parkinsons, ME, PoTS, MND or Epilepsy, for example? If so, come along and join Neuro Hebrides, a new support group for those living with neurological conditions throughout the Western Isles.

The group currently meets every six weeks and offers companionship and mutual support, with guest speakers invited along to each meeting. By sharing views and experiences in a friendly and informal setting, information gathered will also help identify gaps in local and national neurology services.

New members are very welcome as are suggestions and ideas towards helping develop the group.

Meetings for 2017: 3pm-5pm at the Retirement Centre, Bayhead, Stornoway. Wednesday 2nd August, Tuesday 3rd October and Wednesday 6th December.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/neurovoiceswi 

Twitter:  @NeuroHebrides

For further information contact:

Email (Anne): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Mobile (Nicky): 0744 351 3761

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.

There will be a Crossbost Pier Users Association public design consultation meeting tonight, Tuesday 20th June, at 7.30pm in the North Lochs Community Centre for anyone interested in discussing how the pier in Crossbost can be improved in order to encourage community use. All are welcome.

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.

Glasgow’s West End Festival will this week play host to a special event celebrating women’s Gaelic song.

'Binneas nam Ban' will feature some of Scotland’s finest singers performing songs by female bards: renowned Lewis singer Margaret Stewart, South Uist treasure Kathleen MacInnes and new group ‘Sian’, combining the fantastic talents of young singers Eilidh Cormack, Ellen MacDonald and Ceitlin Smith.

The singers will be joined by expert musicians Jenn Butterworth and Ingrid Henderson.

Saturday, 17th June, saw the opening of the Grinneas exhibition at An Lanntair. There was a real buzz at the opening with 292 art works on display. Grinneas is open to anyone on the islands to enter their work and it sees a great selection of work from both professional and hobby art and craft makers. It is less of an open exhibition and more a community installation.

The works on display range from paintings and drawing to ceramics and wood turning, with a vast array of subjects and media used. The exhibition will be open from 17th June to 29th July 2017; Monday to Saturday, all are welcome to see the creative talent of island residents.

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:

The first ever Autism Awareness conference for the isles is to be held on Wednesday 21st June at the Stornoway Sea Angling Club from 9am to 4.30pm. Autism Eileanan Siar are holding the event in conjunction with NHS Western Isles and CNES to raise awareness across the islands, they are keen to welcome everyone along, especially those from the public sector and professionals.

As a group Autism Eileanan Siar are looking to raise awareness of autism in the Western Isles and champion full and inclusive lives for people with autism.

The day will feature guest speaker Alex Lowery, a 23 year old autistic man who is a professional trainer and speaker on autism. He is also a Youth Patron for campaigns with Ambitious About Autism.

Alex has written a book about his life, and travels the UK to share his story and understanding of autism. Alex's confidence comes from his passion to move society from awareness to acceptance. He is driven to make a difference; to this end he has, with support, started a Neurodiverse social group called 'Geeks United'. Alex is a riveting speaker who uses humour to engage with the audience -  his motto is 'changing attitudes towards ASC one person at a time'.

If you would like to attend the event or would like more information please contact Autism Eileananan Siar on 07444 425322 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through Facebook - RSVP by 5pm Monday 19th June.

Get your diaries out and check the dates so you can book a place on one of this summer's Activity Days at Lewis and Harris Youth Clubs Association's Scaladale Activity Centre, Ardvourlie, Harris.  For more information, see their website or click here for booking form.  These are sure to be popular, so book early to avoid disappointment!

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.

On Saturday 17th of June, the Challenger 4 bus will be beside St Columba's Church of Scotland, Lewis Street, Stornoway from 4-6pm. 'Back to our Future' is for primary school aged children and features great games, bible stories, crafts and more. Admission is free.

 

 

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.

Following on from the success of last October’s Big Bike Revival event in Stornoway, the Highland Cycle Ability Centre is returning to Lewis with a range of adapted cycles for people of all abilities to get cycling.

The Highland Cycle Ability Centre, based in Cantray near Inverness, attracts over 2500 visits annually and caters in particular for people with disabilities. Many individuals and groups from local schools, day centres and support organisations visit regularly throughout the year but Manager at the Highland Cycle Ability Centre, Gareth Jenkins, believes there are still many people out there unable to participate in cycling due to a lack of resources and opportunities. He said....

“We have the ability to get out and about and give people an all-inclusive experience of cycling. Our adapted cycles are perfect for individuals, families and groups. We recently delivered a session to 35 people with Parkinson’s Disease at an event in Stirling and we have reached out to people across Highland in places such as Daviot, Glenmore, Marybank, Inverness and Dingwall. The reaction to our last visit to Lewis was extremely positive and we are absolutely delighted to be returning to the island.”

The Highland Cycle Ability Centre will be offering free sessions on a drop-in basis at the Lewis Sports Centre at the following times:

Wed 21st June: 2pm – 6pm

Thu 22nd June: 10am – 6pm

Fri 23rd June:   10am – 12noon  

For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07546517312.

 

Following on from the success of last October’s Big Bike Revival event in Stornoway, the Highland Cycle Ability Centre is returning to Lewis with a range of adapted cycles for people of all abilities to get cycling.

The Highland Cycle Ability Centre, based in Cantray near Inverness, attracts over 2500 visits annually and caters in particular for people with disabilities. Many individuals and groups from local schools, day centres and support organisations visit regularly throughout the year but Manager at the Highland Cycle Ability Centre, Gareth Jenkins, believes there are still many people out there unable to participate in cycling due to a lack of resources and opportunities. He said....

“We have the ability to get out and about and give people an all-inclusive experience of cycling. Our adapted cycles are perfect for individuals, families and groups. We recently delivered a session to 35 people with Parkinson’s Disease at an event in Stirling and we have reached out to people across Highland in places such as Daviot, Glenmore, Marybank, Inverness and Dingwall. The reaction to our last visit to Lewis was extremely positive and we are absolutely delighted to be returning to the island.”

The Highland Cycle Ability Centre will be offering free sessions on a drop-in basis at the Lewis Sports Centre at the following times:

Wed 21st June: 2pm – 6pm

Thu 22nd June: 10am – 6pm

Fri 23rd June:   10am – 12noon  

For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07546517312.

 

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.

Back Football and Recreation Club are hosting loads of events and activities to keep the kids and grown-ups alike occupied throughout the summer holidays.  

There will be two holiday art clubs on Wednesdays during July, 10-11am for p3-5s (£16 for the month) and 11.30am-1pm for P6-S2s (£24 for the month). They will be focussing on a different art project every week, building on previous weeks activities. Bookings may be taken for single sessions.

A special gig in the Sea Angling Club this Saturday will raise money for the families of the Manchester terrorist attack.

Music comes from the Stuart Taylor Ceilidh Band and Pandejo, and the event starts at 10pm, with a £5 entry fee.

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.

Sadly, due to a bereavement in the village, the Classic Car and Tractor Show that was due to take place at the old Bragar school on Saturday the 17th of June has been cancelled.  

A ‘summer of smiles’ is about to take place in dental clinics in the Western Isles as Childsmile returns to the Hebrides.

'Childsmile Weeks' are being held between 3rd-29th July on Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra. Children will be encouraged to visit dentists and dental care professionals, starting off with the Western Isles Dental Centre and Barra Dental Clinic.

It was with great sadness that I heard of Michael Robson’s death on 11th June, 2017.

Michael was central to the establishment of the Islands Book Trust in 2002, which was built around his wonderful book collection at Port of Ness. In the early days of the Trust, almost all our meetings were held there, and Michael himself gave most of the talks.

Michael was born in rural Northumberland and spent most of his life in the Scottish Borders, before moving to Lewis.

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.

Singer songwriter Lucy Spraggan plans many happy returns to the Scottish Highlands and Islands after enjoying some intimate gigs last year she rates as among her most enjoyable experiences.

The former X Factor finalist visited a number of smaller venues during an acoustic tour of the Highlands, travelling between gigs in a camper van, and will be back in the area later this year as part of a recently-announced tour.

This summer she will also make a welcome return to Stornoway to take part in the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival where she will spend her 26th birthday on stage.

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. 

Ladies - have you ever fancied giving shinty a go?  Well, now's your chance!  Katie Drain, Camanachd Association Development Officer, is visiting the island next week.  The Sports Centre have arranged a full programme for her including an open session for ladies at the Stornoway Primary pitch on Wednesday 21st June at 5pm. All equipment will be provided. This will be a great opportunity to try something new.

 

 

Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle regret to inform you that their #Fathersday event, scheduled for Saturday, has had to be cancelled due to reasons outwith their control.

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.

 

This Saturday, 17th June, the Embark Community Cycle event will be taking place in Lewis Castle grounds. This Volunteering Hebrides initiative is open to all regardless of age or ability, and welcomes individuals, groups or families of up to four participants.

Starting at 1pm from "The Hub" cycling cafe at Willowglen Corner, the event is not timed - the challenge lies in exploring this wonderful location to discover hidden clues and complete challenges around Lewis Castle grounds. One successful treasure hunt team will cycle away with a £100 Cash Prize!


Once finished participants are invited to dismount at The Hub to enjoy free refreshments and the Prize Draw!

To register contact Persuit Hebrides on 07899 918601 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register on the day at 12 noon. Adult bikes are available to borrow by request.

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.

You are all welcome to a Book Launch for Iain Smith and Joan Forrest’s new book ‘Saints & Sinners – Tales of Lewis Lives’. This book details the story of education at the turn of the last century, told through the stories of ten lives. 

"This is a wonderful, delightful and entertaining book which brings to life a Hebridean and Scottish world which has long passed away. It is also an informative contribution to understanding the educational traditions of old Scotland and how they could provide opportunities for a better life for at least some of those who possessed the ability and the work ethic to succeed, no matter their background."

Professor Emeritus Sir Tom Devine
The University of Edinburgh

The author will be joined by guests to share their reflections, and refreshments will be served. Acair hope you will join them on Wednesday, 28th June at 4pm, at Lews Castle College UHI, Stornoway. 

 

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.

Jenna Cumming

A new series of Cuimhneachan / Remembrance returns to BBC ALBA and presents another selection of Gaelic songs and poetry inspired by the First World War.

Throughout the four-part series, songs will be sung by popular Gaelic artists including Jenna Cumming, James Graham, Murdigan MacDonald and Ewen Henderson, with musical support from accomplished musicians Ingrid Henderson, Hamish Napier and Anna Massie.

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.

An Lanntair has now released the first tickets for its festival of South Asian Art and Culture, Purvai 2017.

This is a 'Signature Event' for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, supported by EventScotland as part of the themed year celebrations and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Purvai Festival (10th August to 19th August) promises to delight audiences with an eclectic mix of concerts, workshops and exhibitions, all celebrating the South Asian culture and heritage which is such an important part of Scotland and the Hebrides today.

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

Coming soon - our brand new web calendar to keep you up-to-date with a summer that's looking set to be jam-packed with live music, comedy, dance and entertainment.

In the meantime, here's a quick run-down of events in and around Stornoway over the next week:

Tonight, Friday the 9th of June, outrageous kilted comedian Craig Hill performs at An Lanntair, 9pm, over 16s only. Limited seats remaining!  

McNeill's in Stornoway is hosting another of their popular quiz nights in aid of Cancer Research, starting at 9pm. Teams of four, £5 per person.  If you don't win the quiz you might still be lucky as they're having a raffle with some great prizes.

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.

The Leanne Fund are holding a ladies only evening of live entertainment - Tea in the Tent - with Catch 22, on Saturday 17th June at 8pm on the Castle Green. So get your wellies and posh frocks on and join the fun!  Tickets are only £5 and available from The Leanne Fund office at 26 Point Street, Stornoway.

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.

Growing up, Calum Alex Macmillan, from Point, was immersed in the local musical heritage.
The latest in a long line of Gaelic singers and bards, he drew on a seemingly inexhaustible well of songs and tunes for his latest album.
‘Till’ (Gaelic for return) was released this year following painstaking research on his traditional roots from a variety of sources, mainly his birthplace in Point.
The resulting album, produced by Capercaillie’s Donald Shaw, will be given its home launch at the Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.

Museum nan Eilean Lews Castle have some special events coming up this month: 

Saturday 17 June, 2pm-4pm

  • Father's Day Crafts

Kids’ workshop to make last minute Father's Day gifts the day before. Plenty fun to be had!

£2 per child - All welcome

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/

Alex Lowery is a 23 year old autistic man who is a professional trainer and speaker on autism.  He is also a Youth Patron for campaigns with Ambitious About Autism.  Alex has written a book about his life, and travels the UK to share his story and understanding of autism.  Alex's confidence comes from his passion to move society from awareness to acceptance.  He is driven to make a difference; to this end he has, with support, started a Neurodiverse social group called 'Geeks United'.  Alex is a riveting speaker who uses humour to engage with the audience, his motto is 'changing attitudes towards ASC one person at a time'.

Alex will be speaking at the Autism Eilean Siar Autism Awareness Conference taking place on Wednesday 21st June at the Stornoway Sea Angling Club from 9am to 4.30pm.

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.

You know how people always say: “and this year, it’ll be bigger and better than ever!”? Well, we really mean it.

A new Carnival Committee, and a whole new concept, has emerged this year to bring you the Lewis Carnival 2017! The Lewis Carnival will take place on August 5th, from 11am to 5pm, with the Carnival Parade starting at 1pm from Willowglen. Carnival Week runs from July 31st to August 5th!

Stalls and games will this year be situated in Perceval Square Car Park, with local pop-up food stalls located on the quayside. The Lewis Carnival is working in conjunction with Stornoway Port Authority, so the Harbour Open Day will take place at the same time, and there will be further stalls and activities located along the quayside, and boat trips running from the pontoons.

This year will see the first ever Natural Retreats Carnival Mile starting from Lews Castle at 11am on Carnival day, as well as the first ever An Lanntair Street Party.

There will also be stalls, and games for wee ones, available in the Town Hall throughout Carnival day, and various street acts performing through the narrows all day long. The fair will be joining us again - this time located in the Fisherman’s Car Park - with the European Market, brought to you by the Stornoway Amenity Trust, situated in the old bus stop on Cromwell Street quay.

As if that weren’t enough! The Lewis Carnival will keep you partying into the night with An Lanntair’s Carnival Club, from 8pm ‘til late on Carnival night. More details on this will follow, but it is not to be missed! Tickets will be available soon.

Get involved!

There are so many ways to get involved this year!

Carnival Parade! Although floats are obviously more than welcome – and encouraged – those who are daunted by the prospect of decorating a lorry are encouraged to decorate themselves, their car, their tractor, even their dog! Whatever way you and your organisation can get involved, do it! Entry to the parade is free!

Carnival Best Dressed Window! Shops and businesses in Stornoway are invited to enter the Carnival Best Dressed Window Competition. Dress your shop or business’ window up as pretty and Carnival-y as you can by Monday July 31st. Judging will take place throughout Carnival week, and the winner will be announced on Carnival Day! 

Get involved with Carnival Week! We know of several businesses and organisations planning fun activities for Carnival Week, and encourage all organisations to get involved in whatever way they can… Carnival Week menus, Carnival Cocktails, Carnival Coffees – the sky’s the limit!

Music at Carn Gardens! Musicians are invited to book a slot at our music venue in Cairn Gardens, which will be hosting musical acts from 11am-1pm and from 2pm-5pm.

Stalls, stalls and more stalls! Of course, everyone – charities, craftspeople, small businesses – is welcome to book a stall in Perceval Square Car Park, the Town Hall or the Quayside. Just get in touch! You could also host a pop-up food stall! Whether you run an established restaurant, a food van, or you sell cakes for a living, come along and have a pop-up food stall at the Lewis Carnival!  It costs £20 to book any stall – remember all of the Lewis Carnival’s proceeds go to charity!

Carnival Schools Poster Competition! School kids are invited to enter the Carnival Schools Poster Competition – winner announced on Carnival Day.

Deadline for ALL entries July 15th 2017, but get in touch by June 23rd if you’d like to be included in EVENTS’ guide to the Lewis Carnival 2017. To let us know how you would like to get involved, to ask for more information, or to suggest ideas, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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”.