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The weekend’s fine, still weather proved just perfect for some pre-Christmas activity in Stornoway town centre and out on the waters of the harbour.

On Saturday (December 22nd) a crowd of runners in Santa suits took to the streets of Stornoway for the annual Santa run.

Meanwhile Western Isles skiffs and rowers gathered for a festive row in the harbour on the calm waters of Stornoway harbour.

The participating boats were Yackdoola from An Eathar Rowing Club, Fir Chlis from Arnol and Bragar, Blue Moon from Staran, Florence from Rowflo and Madadh Ruadh with Stornoway Rowing Club leading the way for the others to follow.

Photos at sea were taken by Chris Murray, Iain Macleod and Anna Mackenzie and the Santa run comes from Michelle Macleod and the Robson/Cowan family.
And Santa had his busiest weekend of the year in Lewis and Harris, with a number of important appearances to keep his devoted followers happy.

Luckily, some of the emergency services were on hand to make sure he got to all his engagements on time, with fire crews, lifeboats and coastguards among Santa’s helpers.

Santa’s first call was at Stornoway Lifeboat station on Friday evening (December 21st), where the families of RNLI volunteer crew and fundraisers were eagerly awaiting his appearance. Luckily the RNLB Tom Sanderson had time to whisk up to the North Pole and collect not only Santa, but Stormy Stan as well, donning a red nose for the special delivery.

The lifeboat crew handed over the Leverburgh RNLI overnight, so that Santa could reach the pier at Leverburgh on Saturday lunchtime (December 22nd) in time for a warm greeting from his enthusiastic fans.

Than it was off to Tarbert, where the fire crew and Coastguard Rescue Team were ready and waiting, heavily disguised, to pull him through the streets and get him to the distillery in time for present-giving and mulled gin.

The pictures show Santa’s arrival at Stornoway Lifeboat station and his crew of helpers and fans at the Isle of Harris Distillery (Stornoway RNLI and Kate Preston).

And 100 children and their parents went trotting off to Lapland on Friday and Saturday (December 21st and 22nd) as Traigh Mhor Trekking held their first Santa Trot event.

The Tolsta-based business hasonly been open since September, but the team threw themselves heart and soul into the festive spirit with a unique experience for horse-loving kids.

With the fences decked out with lights and all their ponies dressed in Christmas blankets and bells, the Traigh Mhor elves were kept busy trotting their young visitors down the croft to see Santa in his grotto, with festive treats for youngsters and grown-ups on offer afterwards.

So many fabulous photos were taken over the two days that business owner Leigh Minion has decided to award prizes for the picture voted ‘best magic of Christmas moment’. All the pictures are on display on the Traigh Mhor trekking Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1259956107472103/?fref=nf. The three with the most likes by 9pm on Christmas day will be declared winners of lovely prizes.

Leigh said: “A heartfelt thank you to everyone who made the first ever Santa Trot such a wonderful event. Weather was perfect. Our trusty ponies were perfect too. It was a team effort though – all my wonderful elves who tirelessly walked up and down the field. The Santas, who just added that little bit of magic. Gavin who lit up the croft, Liz who spent hours and hours making the horses’ rugs.

“The pictures for the colouring were kindly drawn by Margaret and my mum spent a long time baking shortbread and mince-pies, Liz and her keeping everyone fed and warm.”