People joining the mv Loch Seaforth for the Iolaire commemoration sailing in Stornoway Harbour tomorrow have been warned that they must remember to be on time, to bring their tickets and fill the tickets in properly.

A total of 250 free places on the ferry were made available to view the centenary commemoration of the Iolaire tragedy from the sea beyond the Beasts of Holm, with priority given to people with mobility issues who would have no other way of gaining access to take part.

Also sailing will be 201 schoolchildren, who will be casting flowers on the water in memory of the 201 men lost when the naval yacht Iolaire sank in the early hours of January 1st 1919.

The land-based commemorative service is due to take place at the site of the memorials at Holm at 12 noon tomorrow, New Year’s Day, weather permitting.

The Loch Seaforth is due to set out from Stornoway Harbour at 11.15am tomorrow (January 1st).

CalMac’s Stornoway port manager Iain Don Maciver said passengers must remember to bring their specially stamped boarding passes/tickets with them, they must complete them fully and legibly and they must be on time – arriving before 10.30am, which is the deadline.

Meanwhile the Memorial Service at the Iolaire Memorial, Holm at 12noon will be broadcast live on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal for those not in attendance.

Transportation by buses to the Iolaire site is the only way of getting to the service and will be arranged from The Nicolson Institute bus park.  Participants were required to reserve seats for the buses and this deadline has now passed. The buses will be available for boarding from The Nicolson Institute bus park from 10am with the last bus leaving at 11am. Those attending are reminded to allow time to go through a security check prior to boarding, which may include a bag search.  

The Holm road will be closed off and there will be no other vehicular or pedestrian access.  The Coastguard Rescue Service will be monitoring all coastal paths. The road restrictions will be lifted one hour after the service finishes to allow general access to the memorial site.  

Organisers are again advising the public to ensure that they come well prepared with appropriate clothing and footwear to the events on 1st January.

Those attending the service at Holm are reminded that they may be outside for upwards of one-and-half hours prior to the start of the service with no shelter available and no seating.

Parking in the town centre for the 1st January will be free of charge and the public are again advised to make use of the parking across from the Comhairle at Sandwick Road and The Nicolson Institute Car Park off Smith Avenue.

The CalMac Car Park will be for exclusive use of those going to the service on board mv Loch Seaforth.

Tonight’s Iolaire “A Community Remembers” Service to be streamed live online as well as broadcast live on Radio nan Gaidheal.

 The sold out “A Community Remembers” event starts at 9.30pm at Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais will be streamed live on the internet at

 The programme will include prayer, psalms, music – new and traditional and a 15 piece Royal Marine Band, plus readings in English and Gaelic.  The MCs for the evening will be Angus MacDonald (BBC) and Agnes Rennie (Acair).  There is a relay into The Nicolson Institute assembly hall which is also sold out.

The earlier hugely successful Dìleab concert is now available to stream online at The sold out concert, hosted by The Nicolson Institute with support from local musicians and choirs from across Lewis and Harris, took place at Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais on Friday 14th December at 7:30pm. Schools from across the Western Isles have been engaged in the Dìleab project during 2018.  Pupils from The Nicolson Institute and a host of local musicians (about 400 in total) poignantly marked the centenary of the Iolaire tragedy through music, song and poetry.  This will also be broadcast after midnight on Radio nan Gàidheal.