Six pupils from the Sgoil Bhreascleit STEM Club (pictured) are ready to compete in the national STEM competition today, Friday 31st May, at the Glasgow Science Centre run by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI).

Six pupils from the Sgoil Bhreascleit STEM Club (pictured) are ready to compete in the national STEM competition today, Friday 31st May, at the Glasgow Science Centre run by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI).

Sgoil an Rubha has been awarded a grant of £5,000 a year for five years from Point and Sandwick Trust to help with the cost of their Primary Seven class trip – to boost social inclusion by removing the affordability barriers faced by some families.

The new grant award has also meant that families were able to receive a partial refund on their contributions for this year’s P7 class trip to Fairbairn Activity Centre in Muir of Ord.

Highlands and Islands Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron has said that the future of  island and remote communities across the Highlands and Islands are being put at risk by uncertainty over vital transport links.

Mr Cameron spoke after the air traffic controllers’ union announced another strike which will affect HIAL airports in the Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland and Inverness.

Isles MP Angus MacNeil has criticised the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for carrying out a ‘box ticking exercise’ on future arrangements for Emergency Towing Vessels (ETV) in Scottish waters.

After years of campaigning for the reinstatement of an ETV on the West coast - for issues of safety and environmental protection - Mr MacNeil says a single public engagement meeting being held in Edinburgh is simply not good enough as part of a study commissioned by the MCA to look at future arrangements.

A tiny gift shop set up on the Isle of Berneray has earned a place in a tourism awards shortlist for its founder.

Businesswoman Eilidh Carr learnt on Monday (May 27th) that she has been shortlisted for the Young Women in Tourism Awards, to be held in Edinburgh next month.

The first island gymkhana is set to bring horsey fun and challenges on Saturday June 8th – but those who want to enter need to be quick to beat the booking deadline.

Traigh Mhor Trekking is organising the event and is setting up the courses and challenges.

The Royal Air Force will land in Tarbert next week to help support the personal development and curriculum needs of 200 young people from Harris, 4-5 June 2019.

The visit will be based in and around the Sir E Scott School combined primary and secondary campus. The 15-strong RAF team will work with the school’s staff and students to lead a wide ranging programme of activities:

The Royal Air Force land in Tarbert next week to help support the personal development and curriculum needs of 200 young people from Harris, on 4-5 June 2019.

The visit will be based in and around the Sir E Scott School combined primary and secondary campus. The 15-strong RAF team will work with the school’s staff and students to lead a wide-ranging programme of activities:

Details of retimed and reorganised flights on Tuesday June 11 and Thursday June 13th are shown here

https://www.loganair.co.uk/travel-advice-12th-june/


The Prospect union today ( Wednesday May 29th) stepped up its battle for the skies over the Highlands and Islands.

Its air traffic controller members will strike again in June.

The Prospect union has served notice that air traffic controllers at Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd are set to strike on Wednesday 12th June.

A huge wave of interest in summer football training has followed the announcement that two mainland clubs will be offering training camps this summer in Lewis.

Stornoway Coastguard operations centre last night (Tuesday May 28th) co-ordinated the rescue of a Spanish fisherman with a severe injury from his vessel out in the Atlantic.

At its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 25 May 2019, the Western Isles Constituency Labour Party (CLP) unanimously passed a motion to publicly support a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal, with a clear option to remain in the EU to appear on the ballot paper.

Whilst recognising that the Labour Party has been at the forefront of preventing a damaging Tory Brexit, Members recognised that the Party’s lack of clarity over Brexit, in comparison to other parties, is confusing to voters.

Four Stornoway nurses walked on the dark side on Saturday May 11th as they joined thousands taking part in London’s Moonwalk event and raised over £3,000 for breast cancer charity, Walk the Walk.

Donald Cameron, Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has appealed to residents in the Highlands and Islands to give him their views on Conservative proposals for tackling serious crime.

Mr Cameron, the Scottish Conservatives’ policy co-ordinator for the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections, said: "In order that we can provide Scotland with an alternative to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP in 2021, we are very keen to gain feedback from as many people to our policy proposals to make them as relevant as possible to the needs and aspirations of everyone in Scotland.

A 45-year-old man is to appear in court after being stopped and charged with drink driving in Marybank.

The motorcyclist was stopped at 7.45pm on Saturday 25th May and found to be over the legal limit for alcohol.

An alternative design has been submitted for the proposed Stornoway Wind Farm.

Lewis Wind Power (LWP) submitted the application for an additional planning consent after two rounds of community consultation on the company's proposals, with public exhibitions at Stornoway Town Hall in October 2018 and February of this year.

The potential changes are designed to give the company the option of using the very latest onshore wind turbines on the market, which the firm believes may be necessary to generate power at the cost required to compete for long-term contracts in a government-backed auction taking place later this year.  Contracts are awarded by National Grid on a competitive basis with onshore wind farms on Scotland's 'remote islands' competing with major offshore wind developments in the North Sea.

A design student who came up with an innovative physiotherapy tool for injured athletes has been heaped with more awards following her final year degree show.

University of Dundee student, Jodie Sinclair, from Laxdale, was already flying high after winning venture funding for her invention, a lightweight ‘smartband’ called Theo, which helps measure muscle activity after injury.

Cannabis plants growing at a house in the Uig district have landed a man with a charge of drug cultivation.

Western Isles police searched the house under warrant on May 3rd, after enquiries, and discovered a number of plants growing at the address.

The 52-year-old man has been cautioned and charged under section six of the Misuse of Drugs (1971) Act and has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

Lack of understanding from dog-owning visitors is leading to the death of sheep and lambs on common grazings.

A crofter on Great Bernera has given examples of sheep lost by herself, and by others that she knows, as visiting dogs are allowed to run loose on areas of moorland which are part of common grazings.

Sallie Porteous, who raises sheep and uses their wool for weaving, told welovestornoway.com: “I lost my little sheep Bluebell, over a cliff into the sea, chased by two big dogs running loose. Someone else's ewe was separated from her twin lambs, who jumped into the sea to get to her, then drowned because they couldn't climb out.

Vandalism at former RAF buildings means that Stornoway airport management are now thinking of fencing around the perimeter of the buildings to keep people safe.

Police were called yesterday (Monday May 27th) after the smashed windows and a broken wooden gate were discovered at the former RAF accommodation block, across the road from homes at Branahuie.

The damage is thought to have been caused by local youths, breaking windows to gain access to the disused buildings. A spokesman for Stornoway airport said it was just the latest in a series of incidents involving disused buildings on the airport grounds.

All eyes were on Stornoway this morning (Monday May 27th) as returning officer Malcolm Burr announced the Western Isles result, bringing to a close the European Election process in Scotland.

The Scottish National Party led the way locally with 44% of votes (3606), the Brexit party in second with 20% of the vote (1640) and Labour third with 10% (814).

Balallan is offering visitors and local people alike a chance to stop for lunches and baking from tomorrow (Tuesday May 28th).

The Kinloch Historical Society say they are excited to announce the opening of their Tearoom on Tuesday 28 May, from 11am – 4pm.  Ian McDowall - previously of Ravenspoint, the Calanais Centre, and TGIs and ZZ’s Italian in Glasgow – has been employed as Head Cook. 

The evening of Friday (May 24th) saw around 30 people get a chance for an insight into the range of food and service to be available from the Harris and Lewis Smokehouse over the summer months.

The restaurant aims to make a name for itself from its skillfully designed location on Sandwick Road, Stornoway, on the site of what was once the local Royal Mail Sorting Office.

The new album from Stornoway band Peat and Diesel shot up the national iTunes download charts today (Saturday May 25th) peaking at No 13 at one point.

A message in a bottle thrown into the sea by a Harris schoolgirl three years ago has washed up on a beach in Iceland 500 miles away.

Catriona Macleod (8), was a Primary One pupil at Sir E. Scott School GMU when she and her classmates, led by their teacher, Mrs Arima Morrison, cast the bottles adrift at East Loch Tarbert as part of a school project.

A message in a bottle thrown into the sea by a Harris schoolgirl three years ago has washed up on a beach in Iceland 500 miles away.

Catriona Macleod (8), was a Primary One pupil at Sir E. Scott School GMU when she and her classmates, led by their teacher, Mrs Arima Morrison, cast the bottles adrift at East Loch Tarbert as part of a school project.

A new youth club and youth cafe has started up in Point and received support from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.

Point Youth Club and Youth Cafe met on May 10 at Tiumpanhead Community Centre and is aiming for fortnightly meetings, although this is dependent on other bookings.

Six firefighters celebrated the successful end to their training yesterday afternoon (Friday May 24th) in Stornoway.

“There is no Planet B” – standing in front of the council headquarter in Sandwick Road, Stornoway, today (Friday May 24th)  in the message from Sakshi (S4) and Gabi (S1) is clear now is the time to tackle climate change head on.

The two Nicolson Institute pupils are taking part in the worldwide climate change demonstrations led by young activist Greta Thunberg.

Jamie McGowan was last night (Thursday 23rd May) hailed as the Director of the Year in Scotland among Small and Medium-sized Businesses for his work leading the Tarbert-based company, Essence of Harris

Essence of Harris only celebrated its fourth birthday in the past few days – having grown from two people to 14 in that time as well as expanding into purpose-designed premises in the village.

Jamie McGowan was last night (Thursday 23rd May) hailed as the Director of the Year in Scotland among Small and Medium-sized Businesses for his work leading the Tarbert-based company, Essence of Harris

Essence of Harris only celebrated its fourth birthday in the past few days – having grown from two people to 14 in that time as well as expanding into purpose-designed premises in the village.

Today (Thursday) following a short ceremony Donald Martin, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant to the Western Isles announced the renaming of the Lewis Retirement Centre to become the Failte Centre.

A 57-year-old man is to appear in court on June 11, after being arrested for drink-driving in Stornoway at 2pm yesterday (Wednesday 22 May.)

The man was released after being charged, on an undertaking to return for his court appearance.

Windows were smashed in a house at Cearn Floddaigh yesterday (Wednesday 22 May.)

The occupiers were present during the vandalism incident, which took place at 12:40am.  

A number of sheep have been reported stolen from land near Stornoway airport.
 
Six Cheviot sheep were taken from grazing land at the Beacon some time between May 10 and May 21.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is urging people to go out and vote in today's (Thursday’s) European Election – which he says is one of the most important elections ever held.

Mr MacNeil said: “While our islands in numbers may be small, we are big on the map."

Here's the places to vote…

https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/european-parliament-election/polling-places/

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is urging people to go out and vote in today's (Thursday’s) European Election – which he says is one of the most important elections ever held.

Mr MacNeil said: “While our islands in numbers may be small, we are big on the map."

Here's the places to vote…

https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/european-parliament-election/polling-places/

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is urging people to go out and vote in today's (Thursday’s) European Election – which he says is one of the most important elections ever held.

Mr MacNeil said: “While our islands in numbers may be small, we are big on the map."

Here's the places to vote…

https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/european-parliament-election/polling-places/

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is urging people to go out and vote in today's (Thursday’s) European Election – which he says is one of the most important elections ever held.

Mr MacNeil said: “While our islands in numbers may be small, we are big on the map."

Here's the places to vote…

https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/european-parliament-election/polling-places/

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan and Western Isles patient groups have welcomed the news that a working group will be convened to review NHS Western Isles’ system for approving funding for patient escorts.

Patients travelling off-island for treatment to mainland hospitals will, in many cases, require an escort to accompany them. Last year, NHS Western Isles announced a new system for approving requests for NHS-funded escorts, with NHS officials making the decision where this had previously been the responsibility of the patient’s GP.

Following their recent completion of Langley Apartments, Stag Road, Stornoway, the contractor Lewis Builders designed and built a wooden tunnel for Stornoway Childcare Centre under the Community Benefits requirements within building contracts with Hebridean Housing Partnership.

The Childcare Centre - which is in the grounds of Stornoway Primary School - has gratefully received this donation and it has become a prominent feature within their play area.

HHP’s Chairman, Norman Macleod said:“The 12 apartments on Stag Road have benefitted the local community greatly and we are again pleased to see our local contractors making a positive contribution to the lives our young people in enhancing the play area at the Stornoway Childcare Centre.

"We hope this tunnel is something which children that attend the Childcare Centre presently and in the future will make great use of.”

Fiona Macleod, Childcare Centre Manager said: “We are really pleased with the tunnel that has been made for us by Lewis Builders and would like to extend our thanks to them for this. We have a wide age range that attend the nursery, and this is something which all the children can use and are benefiting from.”

Pictures: Fiona Macleod, Childcare Centre Manager and Norman Macleod, HHP’s Chair and some of the children along with Norman Macleod, and Child Care Centre staff Chrisma Macmillan and Anna Macleod.


Stornoway airport emergency vehicles were called to the runway just before noon today (Wednesday May 22nd) after a technical issue emerged just after a plane landed.

The Loganair Saab 340, inbound one hour later than scheduled from Edinburgh, with 28 passengers aboard, was forced to stop on the taxiway immediately after landing because of a technical issue, and all passengers were disembarked on the spot.

The unmistakeable sound of Second World War aircraft is due overhead above North Lewis this afternoon (Wednesday May 22nd) with at least three vintage planes heading this way from Iceland.

The 75th Anniversary of D Day on June 6th this year is bringing a collection of vintage Douglas C47s to Prestwick, on their way to commemorate the liberation of France in Normandy. They’re navigating from Reykjavik in Iceland, using the air traffic beacon at Bayble in Point, and there are currently three of the squadron airborne between Reykjavik and Scotland – ‘Miss Virginia’, squad leader ‘Placid Lassie’ (pictured above) and the famous ‘That’s All Brother’, pictured below (Photograph by Eric Pagelu)

 

A minke whale has died after becoming entangled in rope and later live stranded on Barra.

The whale was spotted on Sunday 19 May by a group of local kayakers.  

One kayaker entered the water and was able to pull a section of rope from the whale's mouth.

The largest ever vessel to enter Stornoway Harbour visits the port today (Wednesday 22nd May).
At 285m long the ‘Zuiderdam’ is almost the length of three football pitches and has around 2000 passengers on board.

Stornoway Port Authority is re-thinking its future plans to help preserve a newly-found piece of the town’s history.

The authority has stopped a project to extend its office at Amity House on Esplanade Quay, after archaeological investigations revealed remnants of a substantial and historic stone wall on the site.

The latest round of Croft House Grant Scheme awards announced by the Scottish Government has been welcomed by Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan.

Trading Standards Officers at Comhairle na Eilean Siar are warning residents in Uist and Barra that there have been reports of door to door sellers currently operating in the islands.

A spokesperson said: “Often the goods or the work door to door sellers provide can be of poor quality and the price charged can be very high.

Stornoway police have put out an appeal for information, after an incident of vandalism on Stornoway Golf Course.

Path repair work is under way at the old gun site and a digger was parked near the bunker over the weekend.

Isles MP Angus MacNeil has invited Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP to visit the Islands to see fo the ‘economic emergency’ facing the fishing industry due to crew shortages.

With backing from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and colleagues in the Scottish Government, Mr MacNeil is calling on Mr Javid to urgently intervene and to support skippers by allowing them to source non-EEA labour – as he has done for the UK horticultural industry.

The Lewis Carnival Committee is calling on all businesses, charities, organisations and groups to get thinking about float ideas for this year's Lewis Carnival. DR Macleod's has now assigned all of its lorries for the day, so the Carnival Committee asks anyone who wants to enter a full-sized float to get in touch, and they will try their best to source a lorry for you. 

The Lewis Carnival is due to take place on August 3 2019. 

Barra planning applications 13-17 May

The following planning application is pending consideration by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

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

Siting of shipping container, Horve

Castlebay Community Council has applied, on behalf of Barra Water Sports Club, for planning permission to site a 1x20 foot container Corran Cismaol, Horve. 

Excruciating pain and the frustration of an athlete unable to compete were the motivations for a business idea that’s catching attention in Dundee this week.

All through the week from Saturday May 18th to next Sunday, May 26th, Laxdale girl Jodie Sinclair (23) is showing her new business idea at the final year students’ degree show at the University of Dundee, having just heard that she’s been awarded first class honours in her BSc in product design.

The Scottish Crofting Federation has welcomed government support to promotion of Scotch Lamb PGI and has emphasised the need for local abattoirs, to assure total traceability and provenance.

PGI stands for Protected Geographical Indication. It’s an EU scheme to protect and promote high quality traditional and regional food products unique to a geographic area. Scotch Lamb has long held this coveted PGI status.

Scotch Lamb PGI is only sourced from selected Scottish farms that adopt best practice regarding animal welfare and production methods. When you see the PGI badge with the Scotch Lamb logo, you can be confident that all lamb were born, reared and processed in Scotland and held whole life quality assurance.

NHS Western Isles is pleased to announce that Drs Caroline Millins and Roman Biek, and their students from the University of Glasgow, have been presented with a Knowledge and Public Engagement award for ‘Developing an evidence base for effective Lyme Disease management’.

The award recognises the research work undertaken in the Western Isles by the team, in collaboration with NHS Western Isles, Scottish Natural Heritage, and the Uist Deer Management group.

Planning permission has been granted for a new assembly building for an essential volunteer search and rescue service.

Hebrides Mountain Rescue Team were last week (Wednesday May 15th) awarded planning permission to create a new, permanent base on Ravens Lane in Laxdale.

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Breasclete and Miavaig were called to Breasclete pier at 4pm on Friday when an elderly passenger aboard a small cruise vessel fell ill and needed medical attention.

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Breasclete and Miavaig were called to Breasclete pier at 4pm on Friday when an elderly passenger aboard a small cruise vessel fell ill and needed medical attention.

Stornoway RNLI Lifeboat was in action last night (Saturday May 18th) when a local yacht called for help near the Witches Pool in South Lochs.

The sailing vessel Mistress Quickly, with two people aboard, had suffered engine failure and, in calm conditions, was unable to make progress by sail.

A 38-year-old man is to appear in court tomorrow (Monday May 20th) after being caught drink-driving on Saturday evening.

The man was traced by police after a report about his driving at Parkend at 8.30pm on Saturday and has been in custody since being arrested and charged.

RANGERS goalkeeper 17-year-old Chloe Nicholson is a trailblazer for talent from the Western Isles, says an article on the Rangers Football Club website this weekend.

The youngster was identified by Scotland’s National Team coaches and then recommended to Head Coach Amy McDonald and the Rangers Academy, the article explains.

 

The Leanne Fund has secured a five-year sponsorship deal worth £10,000 from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust, to support their annual Point 5k fundraising event.  More than 150 participants regularly take part in the event.

It was also awarded £3,000 for office equipment to help provide its support services to young people affected by Cystic Fibrosis.

A squad of young Lewis football players were up early this morning (Friday May 17th) to catch the ferry for the mainland on the first leg of their journey to Kirkwall in Orkney.

Two drivers have been charged with offences as police in Stornoway continue to actively target driver behaviour as part of Operation Cedar.

A woman aged 42 was stopped on Macaulay Road at 4.35pm yesterday (Thursday May 16th) after being seen using a mobile phone while driving.

At least two days of flights will be lost next week as the Air Traffic Control dispute hits Stornoway Airport even harder.

Highlands and Islands Airport staff rejected requests to amend closures on Tuesday, May 21st, to avoid disrupting Loganair's flight schedules.

Now the airline faces soaring costs, reduced revenue and the prospect of cutting services in the future if the dispute continues to affect so many flights. 

The future of ferry services between Lewis, Harris and the mainland is to be mapped out next week (Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st May) as a Transport Scotland research contract moves into its next phase.

Public drop-in sessions at the Bridge Community Centre in Stornoway on Monday and at Tarbert Community Centre on Tuesday will give people a chance to find out what conclusions are emerging from a study which has been under way since last year, and to contribute further opinions.

Government must intervene in the air traffic controllers dispute to protect the Western Isles economy, says MSP

Donald Cameron MSP (Highlands and Islands – Scottish Conservative), Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, has expressed grave concern about the effect of the continuing dispute on the Western Isles economy, given that both Benbecula and Stornoway airports will be closed by strikes on Thursday 23rd May.

A bitter new row has erupted involving college lecturers across Scotland – including Lews Castle College UHI – after employers claimed the lecturers were now pressing for a four-day week.

Representatives for colleges held the 19th dispute meeting with the Educational Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) in Stirling on Monday, 13 May 2019, where the EIS-FELA rejected calls to suspend strike action and action short of strike action.  Strikes hit colleges yesterday (Wednesday, 15) and today.

The Isle of Barra Distillers company today (Wednesday May 15th) announced that the first island distilled Barra Atlantic Gin is due on sale soon, with £1 from every bottle supporting an important charity.
 
An announcement is expected tomorrow on the launch date of the first batch of gin entirely distilled on the Isle of Barra, and the nominated charity being supported by the company is MND Scotland, supporting people affected by the neurological condition Motor Neurone Disease.

The final turbine in the Beatrice wind farm, in the Outer Moray Firth, has been completed today (Wednesday May 15th), with the Arnish yard in Lewis playing a part in a monumental renewable construction project.
 
A total of 84 wind turbines, each standing 188m from sea level to blade tip, go to make up a renewable development capable of generating enough power to light 450,000 homes. As Beatrice’s majority shareholder, SSE Renewables led on the construction process and will manage operations and maintenance from a new base in Wick, where up to 90 members of staff will soon be employed.
The Gael Force group yesterday (Tuesday May 14th) announced further expansion, with the purchase by their subsidiary Gael Force Fusion of the former Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary at Oban.
 
The visitor attraction closed in October last year, citing falling visitor numbers as the reason for closure. In January this year, Gael Force acquired Oban-based Fusion Marine, continuing its business as a marine and aquaculture equipment manufacturer, but operating under the new Gael Force Fusion name.

The oldest surviving man-made structure in Stornoway is being unearthed by researchers behind Amity House on Esplanade Quay.

This is the massive foundation of the Cromwellian Tower built in 1654 to overawe the town of Stornoway and the rest of Lewis after a battle the previous year in which Islanders, organised by the Mackenzie landlords, launched an all-out attack on the garrison established by the solders of the Commonwealth and Protectorate.

Lyndsey and Nick Stansfield of Brue House must be one of the few couples who can claim they opened their shop almost accidentally.

After moving to Lewis four years ago, the couple combined their sewing skills with Harris Tweed to create a range of bespoke homeware products. 

Lyndsey and Nick Stansfield of Brue House must be one of the few couples who can claim they opened their shop almost accidentally.

After moving to Lewis four years ago, the couple combined their sewing skills with Harris Tweed to create a range of bespoke homeware products. 

Crofters in the Western Isles are “badly let down” by the Tories and food producers are suffering from ongoing Brexit uncertainty, SNP MSP Alasdair Allan says.

The failure of the UK government to pass on money from the EU owed to Scotland underlined the danger of a Tory power-grab after Brexit.

Scottish crofters and farmers receive £580 million annually through the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Highlands and Islands youngsters may get the chance to use a specialist playcentre for those with severe disabilities and learning difficulties, if plans go ahead.

The Inverness project is the brainchild of Elsie Normington of the Elsie Normington foundation.  Elsie stated: “A specialist, bespoke playcentre is really crucial to serve the Highlands’ most severely disabled children and young people who have complex needs.”

A 32-year-old man is on his way to Barra today (Tuesday May 14th) from far out in the Atlantic, for an unscheduled visit to get medical help.

A 32-year-old man is on his way to Barra today (Tuesday May 14th) from far out in the Atlantic, for an unscheduled visit to get medical help.

Stornoway police are appealing for information after a car was vandalised in a residential area of Stornoway at the weekend.

A 36-year-old man was in court yesterday (Monday May 13th) after being arrested in Stornoway town centre late on Sunday evening.

Police stopped the man on Bayhead at 10.55pm on Sunday, knowing him to be in breach of bail conditions from an earlier charge.

Stornoway’s coastguard helicopter R948 was sent to meet the cruise ship Marco Polo yesterday afternoon (Monday May 13th) to evacuate a passenger who had fallen ill.

The helicopter was called to a position 30 miles west of Barra after the woman was reported sick and in need of hospital treatment, just after 4pm yesterday.

Exceptionally dry weather has led to a high risk wildfire warning from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – and the islands are among areas of highest risk.

Stornoway station manager Craig Lauder told welovestornoway.com today (Tuesday May 14th) that the week to May 17th has been identified as a time of high and extreme risk for wildfire, with the potential for the dry conditions and brisk winds to lead to rapid spreading of any fire over a potentially large area."

This summer Harris people will see the addition of dozens of quality floral displays around Tarbert.

This is thanks to Supporters of the Western Isles Lottery with maintenance being carried out by Girlguiding Harris.

A Housing Seminar should be held in Uist in early Autumn to begin to develop innovative solutions to address housing issues in Uist and Barra. 

That's the view of the Chairman of the Uist Economic Taskforce Working Group, Councillor Iain Archie MacNeil.

North Harris Trust’s new ranger, Michael Hunter, found himself up at great heights within days of beginning his job this month.

North Harris Trust’s new ranger, Michael Hunter, found himself up at great heights within days of beginning his job this month.

On Saturday, 11th May, more than 50 choir members from Sir E Scott (junior and senior choir), Laxdale Primary, Stornoway Primary and The Nicolson Institute came together at Studio Alba on Seaforth Road, Stornoway, to record the Dìleab EP which is due to be available to buy in the summer.

In Parliament today….

Here’s our Western Isles youngsters, just arrived at the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood in Edinburgh for the finals of Euroquiz 2019 this afternoon (Monday May 13th).

Two days of competition at the North district athletics championships in Inverness on Friday and Saturday (May 10th and 11th) saw a shower of medals for Stornoway athletes.

A squad of 31 athletes did the island proud, with excellent performances across the board and podium places showing the rewards.

Point’s community magazine The Rudhach has today (Sunday May 12th) issued a plea to the community to help ensure the survival of the publication.

The monthly magazine was founded almost 20 years ago and has twice won Community Newspaper of the Year at the Highlands and Islands press awards and has been commended by one of its regular columnists, Professor Matthew Maciver CBE, of Portnaguran, for showing a new face of community engagement.

A 21-year-old man is to appear in court after being detected driving while over the limit at 3.30am today (Sunday May 12th).

Police on patrol in Leurbost spotted a car which was stationery on the carriageway on the A859 to the south of the village, and after investigation identified the driver nearby.

Stornoway Coastguard’s Maritime Operations Centre are this afternoon (Sunday May 12th) co-ordinating a safety operation in Lochmaddy marina, where a yacht is aground.

The 11.4 metre sailing yacht’s two passengers called for help at 4.30pm, when she grounded as the tide fell.

Donald Cameron, Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has lent his support to those trying to improve the lives of people in Scotland living with terminal illness. 

Meeting recently with representatives from the Marie Curie charity, Donald heard about their efforts to ensure that everyone should get the care and support they need at the end of life. 

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s (SCO) Wind Ensemble will be performing in Tarbert on Wednesday June 26th.

This is part of a tour beginning on South Uist at St Peter’s Hall in Daliburgh on 24 June, then Carnish Village Hall in North Uist on 25 June, Tarbert Community Centre on 26 June before bringing the tour to a close at Stornoway’s An Lanntair on Thursday 27 June.

Current EU environmental principles should be formally translated into domestic law after Brexit, according to Scottish Land & Estates.

Responding to a Scottish Government consultation on environmental principles and governance, the rural business organisation said adopting the principles would ensure Scotland kept pace with international best practice.

Dominating the Atlantic horizon today (Saturday May 11) - in clear sunlight off West Lewis - was the Rio Blackwater, en route from Hamburg in Germany to Tuxpan in Mexico, where it is expected to arrive in 11 days time. 

The 275m long vessel was travelling at 15-20 knots on the eastern edge of the Atlantic deepwater passage past the Hebrides.

A well-known figure in the life of the Point community, Donnie Mata Graham, passed away yesterday (Friday May 10th).

Originally from Portvoller, Donnie was married in Upper Bayble, where he was a good neighbour to many.

Western Isles Citizens Advice service has praised organisations across the Islands which supported them as Barra Citizens Advice Bureau moved offices.

They say: “The Western Isles Citizens Advice Service is very pleased to announce that their new office in Castlebay, Barra is now open for business.

Western Isles Citizens Advice service has praised organisations across the Islands which supported them as Barra Citizens Advice Bureau moved offices.

They say: “The Western Isles Citizens Advice Service is very pleased to announce that their new office in Castlebay, Barra is now open for business.

Two ex-British canoeing athletes are near completion of a marathon paddle around the islands of Lewis and Harris – in a bid to raise awareness of the impact of plastic in the sea.

Tommy Brady and David Bain want to promote a more sustainable future through their ‘Waves of Sustainability’ initiative, which has brought them from their homes in London to the Western Isles.

Ballot papers for postal voters in the Western Isles have started arriving on doormats, ready for the European Parliament election on Thursday 23 May 2019.

Malcolm Burr, Local Returning Officer, said: “When you receive your postal voting pack, make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully before completing your ballot paper.

"Don’t forget to include your date of birth and signature on the postal voting statement. 

Loganair sent out messages to would-be passengers this afternoon (Friday May 10th)  warning of "HIAL Industrial Action: Stornoway Flight Cancellations" on Monday and Tuesday 13th/14th May. 

They say that "due to ongoing industrial action by HIAL air traffic control, we regret to advise that the following flights to and from Stornoway have been cancelled on 13th and 14th May."

A spokesperson for Highlands and Islands Airports said: “There will be times when tactical closures at airports are required in order to comply with regulatory requirements governing controller working hours.

A day of strike action affecting Highlands and Islands Airports was confirmed yesterday (Thursday May 9th), following the breakdown of talks between HIAL and the air traffic controllers’ union Prospect.

And the union says strikes will be repeated "throughout the summer" unless the Scottish Government intervenes. 

The all-out strike on Thursday May 23rd means Stornoway and Benbecula airports will be closed on that day, as will other airports including Inverness.

A team of P6 pupils from Sgoil an Rubha are heading off to Edinburgh at the weekend, ready to tackle teams from all over Scotland as they represent the Western Isles at EuroQuiz.

Team members Ava Maclean, Adam Cay, Isabella Macleod and Odhran MacKay and reserve member Lydia Macdonald (all pictured) beat off stiff competition to win their place as Western Isles representative for the fourth year out of the past five.

A film made by school pupils with help from an independent film-maker from Scalpay is to represent Scotland at a major international film festival on May 24th.

The Gaelic short film ‘Origami’, made by pupils from Lochaber High School, won the Best Youth Film at the 2019 FilmG Awards. 

Independent filmmaker Dòmhnall Eòghainn MacKinnon supported the school as the pupils wrote, starred and directed the film.

The UK Government should abandon its planned cuts to Pension Credit, said Alasdair Allan MSP during a Scottish Parliament debate on the subject.

Pension Credit is a benefit designed to help low-income pensioner households.

From Wednesday 15 May onward, newly retired pensioners will be barred from claiming Pension Credit if they have a younger partner, and will instead be forced on to Universal Credit.

Three communities in the Outer Hebrides have launched competitions to find a flag to represent their islands, with entries accepted from now until the closing date on 7th June.

Counties across the UK have run contests to find official flags in recent times and, with the launch of competitions to determine the design of their respective flags, the next areas to follow will be Eriskay, Benbecula and North Uist.

Tarbert-based Essence of Harris has won recognition as business of the year in the North of Scotland.

After an awards ceremony in Glasgow, Essence of Harris stated on their Facebook Page: “We’re over the moon. We won!

The Croft Woodland project in the Western Isles is to be extended for a further five years after its first phase resulted in 100,000 trees being planted in 51 villages.

The community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust has now committed to funding a second phase with a budget of £400,000 over five years.

More than 100 Peppa Pig fans joined a charity walk in Stornoway on Saturday May 4th raising over £700 for Save the Children.

And Peppa fans can look forward to a further Peppa-themed event on May 18th with screening of the new film at An Lanntair which will include a collection for Save the Children which will be added to the Stornoway walk’s fundraising total.

The Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has paid tribute to former Councillor, Roderick Macleod, who passed away peacefully, aged 94, last weekend surrounded by his family.

Roddy, who hailed from Newpark, Laxdale, was elected through a by-election to represent the Laxdale Ward from 1992 to 1994.

The 75th anniversary of an air crash still remembered in Barra and Vatersay is being commemorated today (Thursday May 9th) – in the islands and in Westminster.

Sunday (May 12th) will mark 75 years since an American-built RAF patrol plane crashed into the hillside, at Heisheaval Beag, Vatersay, with the loss of three lives.

The 75th anniversary of an air crash still remembered in Barra and Vatersay is being commemorated today (Thursday May 9th) – in the islands and in Westminster.

Sunday (May 12th) will mark 75 years since an American-built RAF patrol plane crashed into the hillside, at Heisheaval Beag, Vatersay, with the loss of three lives.

Someone with a passion for football – even if they aren’t a player – is urgently needed to help players fly the flag for Lewis and Harris.

Lewis and Harris Select team’s usual manager, Eric Macleod is managing the Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) squad this year and two competition dates have clashed, leaving the post of manager of the Select team vacant.

Western Isles police have been actively enforcing road traffic legislation in a bid to improve safety on island roads.

There have been three road traffic collisions over recent days – two on Tuesday (7th May), on Matheson Road at 10.30am and on Perceval Road at 11.18am, and one this morning (Thursday May 9th), when a collision occurred on Matheson Road at the Goathill Road junction.

Ships in the harbour at Stornoway today (Thursday May 9th) include the five-star German-flagged Hanseatic Nature at pier no 3, making Stornoway one of her first calls on her maiden season – she was officially launched only this month.

Air passenger duty should be eliminated from all Island air fares.

That’s the plea from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Traffic delays were taking place on Matheson Road, Stornoway this morning after 8am following a traffic accident at the Church Street/Goathill Road/Matheson Road junction.

Police were directing traffic and pedestrians through and across the junction.

Several police vehicles and an ambulance were in attendance at the scene.

 

 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan yesterday (Wednesday May 8th) questioned the Scottish Government on how proposals for a Deposit Return Scheme will apply to island communities like the Western Isles.

A campaign group aiming to bring accessible horse-drawn beach transport to Lewis and Harris is gathering pace.

Paisley-based Simon Mulholland has teamed up with Traigh Mhor Pony Trekking in Tolsta to bring a wheelchair-accessible beach buggy to the islands this summer.

R151 above Stornoway airfield during the rescue transfer. (Picture by Peter Shearer)

Stornoway Coastguard’s Maritime Operations Control Centre co-ordinated an extreme-range rescue yesterday (Tuesday May 7th) when a crewman was injured far out in the North Atlantic.

The Peterhead-registered fishing vessel Benarkle 2 was working far out to the west of Rockall, 139 nautical miles west of St Kilda, when the crewman sustained a hand injury while working.

Lewis couple Stacy Easton and Murdo MacIver were delighted to present charity SiMBA with a donation cheque for £6,580, raised in memory of their son James Murdo MacIver.

SiMBA is a charity which supports the needs of those affected by the loss of a baby during pregnancy or close to the time of birth; and sadly Stacy and Murdo first became aware of SiMBA’s services following the stillbirth of baby James.

Perceval Road is now open after an overturned vehicle resulted in its closure.

A road traffic collision took place at Manor roundabout earlier today (Tuesday 7 May.)

Anyone travelling on the Tarbert to Leverburgh road today (Tuesday 7 May) should expect delays.

The CNeS surface dressing team are working on the road at A859 Diraclete Harris.

Traffic management and control will be in place.

The economic and environmental benefits of planting trees on crofting ground will be in the spotlight this week, when the Croft Woodland conference takes place on Thursday and Friday in Boat of Garten.

Organised by The Woodland Trust and and Scottish Forestry, formerly the Forestry Commission for Scotland, the conference will start by celebrating the impact of 25 years of crofter forestry following the Crofter Forestry (Scotland) Act of 1991.

With European Parliamentary Elections scheduled to take place on Thursday 23 May, Bill Gillies, Electoral Registration Officer for the Highland and Western Isles area is urging voters to make sure they are registered to vote in time.

He said: “To vote in the European Parliamentary Election, anyone who has never registered or has recently moved must register by midnight on 7 May. [today]  The quickest and easiest way to register to vote is online at www.gov.uk/registertovote - it only takes five minutes.”

Expect delays if you plan to travel through Skye in the next eight weeks.

A maintenance project is scheduled to take place on the two bridges that make up the Skye crossing.

The £600,000 project will see expansion joints replaced on both the Skye Bridge and the smaller bridge.

Work is expected to start on Monday 13 May.  Temporary traffic lights will be in place at various periods throughout the project.

Those people using the Bank Holiday as an excuse to visit the Castle Grounds in Stornoway for the first time in a while, will find extensive changes in the area around the Castle itself, where the formal gardens are starting on a programme of renewal which means extensive restoration and development of pathways.

Plans for a new attempt on swimming across the Minch are gathering pace, as the first possible window of dates for the Big Minch Swim 2019 draws closer.

Endurance swimmers Colin S Macleod of Stornoway and Harris’s Paul Finnegan plan to swim the breadth of the Minch, from Gairloch to Lemreway, with the first possible dates set at 25th to 27th May.

Hundreds of very young people along with their parents and carers joined in the second Stornoway Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Walk yesterday morning (Saturday May 4th)

They set off from the Bayhead Play area in a circular walk via the Porters’ Lodge and the Bridge Centre bridge.

As summer looms, so do air traffic control strikes and disputes.

That’s often been the situation in France, Spain and Italy…and now it is looming over the Highlands and Islands.

This comes after talks – organised by the conciliation service ACAS – broke down yesterday (Friday May 3rd).

The world’s most travelled man is in the Western Isles this weekend, as he hopes to add Stornoway and St Kilda to his list. 

Robert Bonifas, who is aged 82, is Number One on the ‘Most Travelled People’ website’s Hall of Fame. 

He’s visited 862 of their specially-assigned global locations, and has 29 more to go.

Photographs of people and places in the Outer Hebrides by Laetitia Vançon are to be on display in three different European capital cities following her latest award success.

French-born, Munich-based photographer Laetitia – who spent much of 2016-17 in the Western Isles – has been awarded third place in the 27th international Prix Roger Pic 2019 for her At The End Of The Day sequence of photographs from the islands.

A major push for a bigger interconnector project came this week with a high-voltage delegation sent from the Western Isles to London

Representatives from Stornoway Trust and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Joint Venture initiative travelled to London this week to meet with energy regulator, Ofgem.

Homes and businesses in the Back area are without power today (Friday May 3rd) after tree branches caused an interruption on the main overhead supply.

A spokesperson for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said that the fault was reported at 10.06am this morning, with engineers now on site carrying out emergency tree-cutting.


Two men will combine an expedition to circumnavigate Harris and Lewis with a series of beach cleans.

Former Team GB athletes, David Bain and Tommy Brady, who form the Waves of Sustainability team, are aiming to kayak their way around the islands, cleaning as they go along, during their 10-day expedition.    

It is now nearly two years since Eilidh MacLeod from Barra lost her life in the Manchester Arena attack.

The group Skipinnish are fundraising once again for the Eilidh MacLeod Memorial Trust to help to raise money for the building of a permanent memorial to Eilidh on Barra.

Highlands and Islands Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron has urged the Scottish Government to strenuously back calls for the interconnector for the Western Isles to have enough capacity to benefit local community groups.

During questions in the Scottish Parliament yesterday (Thursday 2nd May), he asked the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, to call on OFGEM to strongly reconsider the case for a 600mw interconnector.

Some of the youngest athletes from the islands are sitting in top spot after last weekend’s first match in the eight-team North East division YDL athletics meet in Aberdeen.

Seven athletes from Stornoway Running and Athletics Club joined team-mates from the Uists, Orkney and Shetland on Sunday (April 28th) in an Island Select team which took on teams from all over north Scotland, including Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness.

The Isle of Harris Mountain Festival is well under way today (Thursday May 2nd), with events over four days encouraging people out to enjoy the hills and trails of North Harris.

A children’s activity day at the Scaladale Centre tomorrow (Friday May 3rd) is already sold out, with 50 children aged eight and over set to enjoy water sports, archery and abseiling.

Stornoway police are asking for public help after a car was vandalised while parked in the town on Tuesday evening (April 30th).

The black Renault Clio was parked on New Street between 8.15pm and 9pm on Tuesday, when damage was caused to the driver’s door.

Anyone who saw anything or who knows how this may have occurred is asked to contact Police Scotland on the non-emergency number 101, quoting incident number NH556/19.

 

Organisers of Lewis music festival Stramash are celebrating after securing a five-year sponsorship deal from Point and Sandwick Trust, which will help with running costs and allow them to expand.

The community wind farm charity has pledged a total of £7,000 to the festival, comprising £3,000 this year – £2,000 towards the purchase of an extension to the marquee and £1,000 for running costs – with a further £1,000 a year for the following four years.

Last weekend offered moments with heroes for some island youngsters, with exceptional chances to catch up with sporting and musical icons on the mainland.

Members of Lewis and Harris Youth Pipe Band were at the Tynecastle stadium in Edinburgh on Saturday (April 27th) playing with none other than the show-stopping band, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

Work has begun to complete a major renovation of Eilean Glas lighthouse on Scalpay, and mariners are being advised of changes to the appearance of the iconic red and white tower while the work is going on.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan is calling on all pensioners living on a low income with a partner of working age to urgently check their eligibility for Pension Credit and Housing Benefit and put in a claim before the Government changes the rules on 15th May.

The UK Government change, made during the first ‘meaningful vote’ on Brexit in January, will see the right to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit withdrawn from future claimants who have a partner who hasn’t yet reached their own pensionable age.

This move will have severe financial consequences for all those affected. 

A major search began in the Minch today (Wednesday May 1) after an Aircraft Emergency Beacon was activated in the area around the Skye Bridge and Plock of Kyle. 

Councils should be handed powers to regulate and control short-term holiday lets.

That's the view of Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan who has given his backing to an announcement from the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil has welcomed the announcement that the Scottish Government is again tendering for the PSO route from Barra to Glasgow but is asking for more action to ensure the community can access lifeline flights at short notice.

Mr MacNeil said: “It is ironic that on the day of this announcement, there were no seats available between Glasgow and Barra for the next fortnight.

Sandwick Bay Candles of Stornoway achieved some national recognition this week after being recognized by Theo Paphitis, well-known for his appearances as one of the “dragons” on the BBC business programme Dragons' Den.

Company founder Megan Macdonald joined in Theo Paphitis’ ‘Small Business Sunday’ event on Twitter – and was one of six businesses recognised from across the UK on Monday night (April 29th) .

The award-winning North Harbour Bistro in Scalpay had more national success after Creative Oceanic announced the list of The Top 100 Restaurants in Scotland.  

Representatives of restaurants that operate in Scotland gathered on Monday, April 29th at The Marriott Hotel in Glasgow for a huge celebration of the best restaurants that provide us with incredible food and service.

Charles Macleod Ltd Butchers - 'Charlie Barley's' - have been given an Eat Safe Award.

The Eat Safe Award is granted by the Environmental Health Service of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in conjunction with Food Standards Scotland.

The award is available to all establishments selling food directly to consumers.

Police Scotland is encouraging residents in the Highlands & Islands to sign up to a free app which provides community alerts of a person with dementia has been reported missing.

Purple Alert was launched by Alzheimer Scotland last year and creates a way of sharing information which could help return vulnerable people home safely.

The app - endorsed by Police Scotland - works best if a number of people in a community have downloaded it in order to share details and possible sighting of the missing person.

Lewis singer-songwriter Colin Macleod heard the phone ring…

But it wasn’t to be an everyday phone conversation for a Lewis crofter – it was one informing him that he was set to perform with music legends Van Morrison and Robert Plant.

And this added to the excitement and celebrations of the recent launch of his debut album ‘Bloodlines’.

A Holyrood Committee has welcomed the Scottish Crown Estate Bill in a report published yesterday (Wednesday May 30), while also suggesting ways it could be strengthened.

The Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee made a series of recommendations followings its examination of the Scottish Crown Estate Bill.

The Bill sets out the long-term management of Crown Estate assets, including 37,000 hectares of land, seabed, coastlines and rural estates.

The Islands (Scotland) Bill was unanimously passed by MSPs in yesterday afternoon’s Stage 3 debate in the Scottish Parliament.(Wednesday May 30th) and pictured above, just after the vote, are some of those involved in the campaign for the Bill - Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan; Derek Mackay MSP; Humza Yousaf MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands; CnES CE Malcolm Burr; former Council Leader Angus Campbell; and CnES Convener, Norman A. MacDonald

The Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament last summer and the key provisions of the Bill enjoyed widespread public support.
 
Alasdair Allan said: “This historic legislation seeks to meet the unique needs of Scotland’s islands now and in the future, helping to create the right environment for sustainable growth and empowering communities.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited is to extend concessions and exemptions ahead of July's implementation of Stornoway airport car parking charges.

HIAL announced new concessions and exemptions for travellers affected by charges being introduced at its airports in Shetland and Orkney as well as Stornoway.

The airports will follow HIAL airports at Inverness and Dundee, where parking charges are already in place, when the charges are introduced on July 1.

Young people across the Outer Hebrides are being offered the chance to become volunteer event coordinators as part of this year’s Big Fit Walk.

NHS Western Isles is recruiting 16 young people between the ages of 16 and 26 who will plan, oversee and evaluate Paths for All’s Big Fit Walks which are set to take place in Lewis, Harris, the Uists and Barra in the next four weeks.

During Tuesday (May 30th) Niall Iain Macdonald had a close encounter with a passing cargo ship.

Alex Dan’s siblings, pictured on May 28, 2018, at the family home in Breasclete on the 50th anniversary of his death. They are, from left to right: Margaret Campbell, Norman Smith, Mary Ann Spence, Chirsty Mairi Macleod, John Smith, Catherine Macleod, Kenny Smith and Dolina Monaghan.

The family of Alex Dan Smith, who underwent the first lung transplant in Europe 50 years ago in a bid to save his life after accidental poisoning, have called for opt-out organ donation to be brought into effect as a matter of urgency.

The brothers and sisters of Alex Dan made the call after marking the 50th anniversary of his death on Monday, May 28.

In response to the growing demand for employment within creative industries, Lews Castle College UHI will offer the NC in Fashion Design and Manufacture as part of its new course provision for academic session 2018/19.

The College strives to meet local and regional demands and annually refreshes its curriculum offer, a spokesperson said.

"Do you have an interest in fashion or textiles design? 

Alasdair Allan with Ruth Nicolson, General Manger, MacDuff Shellfish

Islands MSP and Minister for International Development and Europe, Alasdair Allan, visited MacDuff Shellfish in Stornoway on Friday morning [25th May] to discuss concerns around Brexit.

The local MSP heard directly from employees about their concerns around EU Citizens Rights in the context of Brexit. He also heard about what the main questions are for the business, in terms of maintaining their workforce.

The latest message on Twitter from Niall Iain Macdonald shows him being accompanied by dolphins.

An earlier message stated: "Sorry for the lack of contact. Battling the ocean & myself these last few days. #NY2SY #SAMH"

The Western Isles have been treated shamefully by the Scottish Government over the funding of council services, the islands Labour Party said tonight (Monday May 28th) .

Figures published by the Scottish Parliament’s research centre show that the Western Isles has suffered the most extreme cut in funding over the past five years, among all Scottish local authorities.

It leaves Comhairle nan Eilean Siar £504 worse off for every man, woman and child in the Western Isles than was the case in 2013-14.

Today (Monday May 28th) was the warmest of the year so far, according to local weather expert Dr Eddy Graham.  The thermometer peaked at 22.5C - the highest since May 26th 2017, just over 12 months ago.

The photograph above appears in https://www.instagram.com/welovestornoway/?hl=en and was taken this evening by Marie Anne Macdonald

Dr Graham is a lecturer at Lews Castle College UHI

 

 Forestry Forum picture by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos

The Highlands and Islands Regional Forestry Forum, a group of 16 delegates who advise the Forestry Commission on policy and practice in the region, visited the Isle of Lewis recently – their first forum field visit to the island for 15 years.

They toured new plantations and sites of interest and spoke of how impressed they were with the enthusiasm shown by islanders for creating new woodland.

Niall Iain Macdonald is keeping in touch with the world beyond his boat from time to time…
On Sunday evening (5.50pm, Stornoway time) he had been travelling for four days and about eight hours.  He had covered 29 nautical miles in the previous 24 hours, and a total of 99 nm in all. He was travelling at 0.65 knots, compared with an average for his journey so far of 0.54 knots.
"It's almost four years to the day that I set off from Liberty Landing Marina on my first attempt to row solo across the North Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Stornoway.
"As most of you already know, my row lasted just nine days before I had to abandon it and request to be rescued after suffering an accident on my boat in which I sustained a back injury.

Click on the image or follow this link - the image shown dates from around 1300hrs today, Stornoway time.

https://www.followmychallenge.com/live/NY2SY/

There has been a very positive outcome for An Cotan Nursery in Lews Castle grounds following a recent inspection by the Care Inspectorate which said there was an excellent quality of experiences and care and support provided to the children there.

In a message on Twitter overnight (Stornoway time) Niall Iain Macdonald said:

"Feels great to be back out on the ocean. Thanks for your support. #NY2SY #SAMH goo.gl/AqTzFs

Stornoway Half Marathon takes place during this morning (Saturday 26th May)

A temporary road closure order will be in effect between approximately 1000 and 1015 hours on this date, and applicable to Cromwell Street, Bayhead, Matheson Road, Sandwick Road and James Street (see road closure link below for map).

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan celebrated the funding that local charities in his constituency have received thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery at a reception held at Holyrood recently.

Alasdair attended the event on Wednesday 23 May, 2018 to mark the £301 million raised for over 4,000 good causes by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and was joined by Dame Ellen MacArthur who was backing the call to increase fundraising limits for society lotteries.

The management committee of Advocacy Western Isles

Ernie Garden recently stood down from his role chairing Advocacy Western Isles at the group’s Annual General Meeting in Stornoway and handed over to Emelin Collier, former Head of Planning and Development at NHS Western Isles who was also involved with setting up Advocacy more than 16 years ago. 

The AGM was held in the Newton community rooms on Tuesday, May 22, where there was an emotional goodbye to Ernie, who set up Advocacy in 2001, along with Emelin and John Maclean. 

Friends of the organisation were also there, including Donald John MacSween, general manager with community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust, which is about to hand over its latest tranche of funding to Advocacy. 

A new report has called for more promotion of Scotland’s aquaculture sector and supply chain as a rewarding long-term career choice, particularly for young people and for women.

The ‘Skills review for the Aquaculture Sector in Scotland’ was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) on behalf of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group (AILG), and in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland.

Carried out between July 2017 and January 2018, the study included consultations with stakeholders and employers in the sector and the supply chain, and an online survey of employers.

With almost 150 editions under its belt, EVENTS newspaper has emerged on to the main streets of Stornoway, after years of nurture in the Newton industrial area.

EVENTS – along with HEB Magazine, welovestornoway.com, The Skye Magazine, www.hebevents.com and various other local websites – was developed by Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd in its former base in Clinton’s Yard.

Police in the Western Isles are urging people not to buy alcohol for youths following recent concerns about underage drinking.
It follows a number of bottles of alcohol (pictured) being seized from a group of youths in the Coll Beach area near Stornoway on Saturday, May 19th.
Sergeant David Fraser said: "We know there is concern in our communities about underage drinking which can often be at the root of anti-social behaviour and other issues.

Road users are advised that the Pentland road link is closed midway across the island, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar announced this morning (Thursday May 24th)

The closiure runs from today, 24th May until Friday 29th June for essential bridge replacement works between the Achmore and Breascleit branch road junctions.

Local access will still be available up to the bridge location at Abhainn Grioda from both the Stornoway and Carloway sides.

The Comhairle apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Lews Castle College UHI is offering NC Electrical Engineering Level 5 as a new course for 2018/19.

The College says it strives to meet local and regional demands and annually refreshes its curriculum offer.

Falkirk and Fort William have been voted among the most charming towns in Scotland in a survey by TravelMag.com.

And Portree, Ullapool, Stornoway and Tobermory figure in the top 20.

The online travel magazine invited more than 300 travel writers, photographers and selected professionals to name the three towns in Scotland they consider the most appealing.

The Home Office has failed to offer a lifeline to the West Coast fishing industry over the ongoing crew shortage crisis despite repeated pleas for urgent action.

Isles MP Angus B MacNeil, the SNP’s Fisheries Spokesperson at Westminster - together with three other MPs from different parties - met with UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP this morning (Wednesday May 23) to press the case for the reintroduction of a scheme to allow non-European Economic Area workers to fill labour gaps.

Island adventurer Niall Iain Macdonald has begun a new attempt to row solo across the North Atlantic.

Niall Iain, 44, left Norfolk, Virginia, at 6am today (Wednesday May 23) local time (10am GMT/11am BST). He hopes to complete his 3,400 rowing challenge in three to four months and will be rowing for 12 hours a day, every day, on a two hour on/off rotation.

Niall Iain signalled the start of his challenge with a simple post on Twitter and Facebook – “How long should you try? Until. 36°55′17″N 76°11′19″W”

Proposals for mandatory fire sprinklers in new-build social housing have been met with overwhelming public support.

Consultation responses for David Stewart’s member’s bill proposal showed that 94 per cent of respondents were supportive of the plan.

On the strength of this consultation result, Mr Stewart will pursue his bill for new-build social housing and has lodged a final proposal with Parliament.

The Iolaire Member Officer Working Group is continuing to progress plans for events taking place later this year to mark 100 years since the Iolaire tragedy, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar announced yesterday (Tuesday May 22)

The Council stated: "As part of that ongoing process, a Timeline of Planned Events has been prepared and community groups are encouraged to let the Group know of any events they plan to hold.

"The Timeline will be continuously updated and can be referred to over the course of the next few months: https://tinyurl.com/y96bvv83

A busy and successful year for Stornoway Port Authority showed a strong underlying financial performance despite challenging economic conditions, the SPA reports today (Wednesday May 23rd).

The Authority’s 2017 annual report highlights improvement in many aspects of the business as it plans a series of ambitious developments in line with its 20-year Master Plan.

The report, to be discussed at the Port Authority’s annual public meeting tonight in Stornoway (Wednesday, 23 May), shows total vessel movements grew by nine per cent on 2016 to 908, with the number of ferry passengers up by five per cent (to 276,088) and cars by eight per cent (to 92,999).

Isles MP Angus B MacNeil will meet with UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP tomorrow (Wednesday May 23) for crunch talks over the future of the West Coast fishing industry.

Mr MacNeil, the SNP’s Fisheries Spokesperson at Westminster, will press the Minister on the need for urgent action to address crew shortages by allowing non-European Economic Area (EEA) workers to fill the labour gaps which have left local boats tied up at the pier.

Last night, the issue was the subject of a report on Channel 4 News with Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson visiting the Isle of Barra to hear from local fishermen who are struggling to crew their boats. The report also referred to Northern Ireland where the industry has been hit by the same issue.

The Scottish Crofting Federation has welcomed the announcement that Scottish Government will continue to support the National Rural Mental Health Forum with a grant of £50,000.

"Mental health is something we don't talk enough about," said Patrick Krause, chief executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation, "and perhaps especially so in rural communities. Yet our mental health is of course just as significant to our well-being as our physical health.

The National Rural Mental Health Forum (NRMHF) has been raising awareness of mental health issues with great success and it is good that this work is recognised and supported by the Scottish Government."

Anyone can be a victim of a bogus caller or rogue trader – so don’t let your doorstep be their marketplace.  That’s the message to every single homeowner and tenant in Scotland, as Police Scotland run a two-week campaign to raise awareness under Operation Monarda.

Between April and September 2017, 336 victims of doorstep crime were defrauded out of around £420,000. While most victims were considered vulnerable in some way (54%), or were of pensionable age (79%), a significant proportion were outwith these groups which are traditionally targeted by such offenders.

Bogus callers will visit a property claiming to be from perhaps a utility company or a charity in order to gain access and steal from within. Rogue traders offer services typically carried out to a poor standard at over inflated prices, and may use violence or threats to get payment or consent to carry out work – sometimes they will just take the money and do no work whatsoever.

No, it's not a new stage at HebCeltFest…it's the performance area in front of a temple in Sha Lo Wan, a village on an island in the Hong Kong region of China - but there is a connection!

The success of the multi award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival has made it a model for other community-rooted events across the world.

This summer, organisers of HebCelt, will welcome representatives from the Hong Kong village who plan to hold an inaugural festival this year to help regenerate the area.

Pictured left to right are Angie MacDonald, Suzanne Macaulay, Alasdair Allan MSP, Kirsty MacDonald, Bellann O'Brien, Christine McKee, Sonja MacLeod

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, today (Monday May 21) presented Volunteer Centre Western Isles with a plaque from the Living Wage Foundation recognising them as the latest employer in the Western Isles to commit to paying the Living Wage.

Police in the Highlands and Islands are again appealing to the public not to drink and drive - with 12 motorists already having been charged with alleged offences this month.

Eight men and four women from across the Highlands and Islands will be the subject of reports to the Procurator Fiscal in relation to drink driving offences.
Five of these incidents occurred over the last weekend alone.

A new research report into the work of sportscotland has found that participation programmes supported by the national agency for sport are having a life-changing effect on those who are taking part.

The independent research, published by sportscotland in the weeks after it was confirmed participation levels on national programmes in Scotland are at record high, praised several programmes including Active Schools for making children and young people feel healthier (98%) and more confident (92%).

During the last academic year (2016-2017) there were 48,000 visits made to Active Schools sessions in the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar area – a rise of 39% over the last two years – underlining the significant impact the programme is having on children and young people.

A mysterious digital totem pole has appeared, guarding the entrance to Bayhead. Stornoway.

This is the work of Sustrans (Sustainable Transport) which has installed a Danish style digital cycle counter in Stornoway, the first of its kind in one of the Islands, with grant funding from the Scottish Government.

PLANS for a new academy to address the growing need for a highly trained, professional and sustainable workforce within the Outer Hebrides care sector are being developed by Lews Castle College UHI.

The plans will assist with education and training in the care sector set against increasing demand and a growing elderly population.

According to the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership 2017 it is anticipated that 31.1 % of island inhabitants will be aged sixty-five and over by 2028. This suggests a significant impact for health and social care provision across the Islands.

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Coll Pottery in Back was yesterday (Thursday May 17) brought back to life as a craft centre business by the Whittle family.

After months of renovation and preparation, the café and gift shop areas were opened to the public at 11am – with a whole range of new products on show, along with some old favourites.

Based for years in Stoneybridge, South Uist, Stella and Alan ran studios creating glassware and ceramics and this work is available from the new centre.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan yesterday (Thursday May 17) waved off three local firefighters on their way to deliver a refitted fire engine to Moldova.

Pictured above are Ian Murray, Alasdair Allan, David Campbell and Alex MacLennan.

Visitor-spend in the Outer Hebrides rose by £11.5 million to £65 million in the four years to 2017, says the latest Islands Visitor Survey.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in partnership with VisitScotland, commissioned the Islands Visitor Survey to provide robust and up-to-date estimates of visitor and volume, information on their experiences, motivations, behaviours and perceptions.

Ian Fordham, who chairs Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT), said: “Tourism in the Outer Hebrides is growing faster than for Scotland as a whole – a true testament to the quality of the tourism industry and our local tourism businesses right across the Outer Hebrides, reflected in our exceptional product and warm Hebridean welcome!

Protests have come from Highlands and Islands representatives about the planned disruption and cancellations of CalMac services in June.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, said she was outraged by the refusal of Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, to listen to the pleas of the Island communities who are continuing to suffer from an overstretched and underfunded ferry provision.

And Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan said: “Given that Calmac's CEO and North Area Manager were in Uist just last week to listen to the concerns of those in Uist over the chaos caused by previous redeployment decisions, it is particularly disappointing that the latest changes result in Uist bear the brunt of disruptions to services again.

Just over two weeks to go until the 9th Point 5k takes place on Saturday June 2nd.

The event, which raises funds for The Leanne Fund, sets off from Point Free Church at Bayble at 12 noon and is a popular family event, open to runners and walkers alike.

Online registration is now open at http://www.theleannefund.co.uk/point-5k-2018.html or participants can register to take part on the day.

Communities should have a stronger voice in planning what their neighbourhoods look like, says a Holyrood Committee today (Thursday May 17) .

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee sets out recommendations to strengthen the Planning (Scotland) Bill in a report published today, while recognising that it has the potential to improve the planning process overall.

The Bill aims to streamline the system of development planning, support delivery of planned developments and includes a new right for communities to produce their own plans for their local areas called Local Place Plans.

CalMac ferries sailed into another storm of protest yesterday (Wednesday May 16) as the company announced an emergency service for June 1-12 while the Clansman ferry is fitted with an new propellor shaft

The underlying problem is that the company no longer has a large back-up vessel and can’t cope when one vessel is out of service.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar spoke of anger and frustration over the implications for the travelling public, local and visiting, at one of the busiest times of the year.

Outer Hebrides Tourism says it is disappointed to have heard nothing back from Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands following its call for him to intervene on the CalMac ferries issue.

“We had an acknowledgement from the MSP’s office on 19th April that we “should expect to receive a response within 20 working days”. That deadline has passed.

“The low priority suggested by such a response window concerned us as much as the critical issue that caused us to write to Mr Yousaf in the first place.

One of the biggest social groups for the elderly in the Outer Hebrides has given its full backing to community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust, as the Friday May 18 deadline approaches for voting in this year’s Scottish Charity Awards.

Point and Sandwick Trust, which runs the wind farm at Beinn Ghrideag, just outside Stornoway, has been shortlisted in this year’s Charity Awards, in the Celebrating Communities category.

They are also up for the People’s Choice award – and all those involved in Cairdean Og Allt nan Gall are urging people to vote online for Point and Sandwick Trust.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and regional transport partnership, HITRANS are developing a strategy for more walking and cycling by people living and working in the Outer Hebrides.

Public engagement events will take place between Wednesday 16th May and Monday 21st May.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) is working together with HITRANS and will be assisted by Ove Arup & Partners in the preparation of the project.

The Western Isles work of award-winning Munich-based photographer Laetitia Vancon - entitled At The End Of The Day – is forming part of the first International Woman Photography Award exhibitions this month in Japan's capital city, Tokyo.

It is being held at the Canon Marketing Japan Gallery, Tokyo – Shinagawa, until May 28th.

Laetitia, pictured above in the Foyer Project in Stornoway - is one of 60 women photographers from across the world shortlisted for an award. More then 600 photographers entered their work, from 82 countries.

From left, Alexander Burnett MSP, Dr. Anja Garritsen, Prof. Dominic Mellor, Donald Cameron MSP, Dr Roger Evans and Lyme Disease patient Janey Cringean

A roundtable meeting focussing on the science and awareness of Lyme Disease was held in the Scottish Parliament.

Organised by Scottish Conservative MSPs Donald Cameron and Alexander Burnett, the event heard from expert speakers who spoke about issues including; existing and developing treatments and diagnostics, the debate over how to raise awareness, and a personal account of the disease and the impact that it has on the lives of sufferers.

Speakers included Lyme Disease experts Dr. Roger Evans of NHS Highland and Prof. Dominic Mellor, as well as the CEO of Innatoss Laboratories from the Netherlands, Dr Anja Garritsen, and Lyme Disease patient, Janey Cringean.

Stornoway Amenity Trust has announced how it intends utilising the next pot of Western Isles Lottery proceeds.

The Committee are embarking on a “Power Washing Campaign” and have identified priority areas of need from The Lewis Retirement Centre to Stornoway Sea Angling Club to start the campaign.

This will be undertaken very shortly by local contractor Donny’s Cleaning Services. All businesses and residents throughout the Broadbay area and beyond, are encouraged to have a look at their external walls and walkways and consider having them cleaned to brighten the area.

'How are you?' It's the polite greeting we use without much thought. But maybe we should be asking 'How is your wellbeing?'

Neuro Hebrides invites you to get in touch with your whole self, by attending their Wellbeing Open Day today (Saturday 12th May) from 10am until 4pm at Grianan Day Centre, on Westview Terrace, Stornoway.

Travellers on the Glasgow Subway are being enticed to get a taste of the Outer Hebrides.  

Outer Hebrides Tourism hopes “our OH! Poster campaign has informed and inspired travellers as they have headed up and down the escalators at St Enoch, Buchanan St and Shields Road stations over the last few weeks.
 
“This poster campaign aims to create surprise, joy and discovery – emotions that are experienced when visiting the Outer Hebrides. We hope this will entice new and return visit to the islands to experience these emotions for themselves, with their loved one, family or friends. It is a reminder that the Outer Hebrides is accessible by air and sea, all year round.

Eastern Airways and Flybe are at the centre of a new row over their twice-daily weekday service between Stornoway and Aberdeen.

There have been a barrage of complaints from users about the reliability of the service with would-be travellers stranded by last-minute cancellations.

Now the airline has told local MP Angus MacNeil that it plans to cut the service back to one a day in the summer anyway.

'How are you?' It's the polite greeting we use without much thought. But maybe we should be asking 'How is your wellbeing?'

Neuro Hebrides invites you to get in touch with your whole self, by attending their Wellbeing Open Day today (Saturday 12th May) from 10am until 4pm at Grianan Day Centre, on Westview Terrace, Stornoway.

Communities in the north of Scotland are being urged to apply for grant-funding of up to £20,000 to improve their resilience from its Resilient Communities Fund before the closing date next week on Tuesday 15 May.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) opened the 2018 round of its Resilient Communities Fund earlier this year with £220,000 available for non-profit making organisations, community groups and charities working in the area covered by SSEN’s distribution and transmission networks in the north of Scotland.

SSEN is keen to make sure as many eligible groups as possible apply, with the deadline date of 15 May fast approaching. Applications of up to £20,000 will be considered with an independent panel deciding which projects are to receive grants from this round of funding

There have been reports of a cold calling scam where the caller claims to be calling from HMRC., say Trading Standards at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

“The caller states that you have underpaid tax and imminent court action is threatened unless the outstanding amount is paid immediately over the phone.

The University of the Highlands and Islands has awarded the title of professor to a leading nurse academic.

Professor Annetta Smith has been awarded a personal chair (professorship) in recognition of her expertise in nursing leadership and related research in health service delivery and access; remote and rural healthcare; sensory impairment and nursing education.

Professor Smith has been head of the department of nursing at the University of Highlands and Islands since August 2017.

The department has campuses in Inverness and Stornoway.  Professor Smith works between both sites, with her main home in Stornoway.

The Tolsta Chaolais community plan to renovate the war memorial in the village but are looking for help to raise the funds needed.

The project is going to cost £1600, this is to clean, renovate and re-letter the war memorial. Contributions towards the costs from anyone local or further afield would be gratefully received by the end of the month.

Any one wishing to contribute can contact Morag Macleod (01851 621278) or Murdo John Macdonald (01851 621 281)

Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd, the parent company of EVENTS newspaper, welovestornoway.com, HEB Magazine, welovetheisleofharris.com, The Skye Magazine, welovethewestside.com, magazinehebrides.com, welovebarraandvatersay.com and other related websiteshas moved office!

We are now operating from The Stornoway Media Centre, based alongside SignPrint Ltd at Church House, 16 James Street, Stornoway, HS1 2QN

Contact us via email at cThis 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., call 01851 705749 / 705743 or come in and see us!

The Scottish Gin Society has revealed the public’s favourite Scottish gin – and it’s from the Isle of Harris Distillery.

At the end of April, the Society launched a survey for its members and social media followers, to get them to vote for their favourite of the many wonderful Scottish gins on the market. 

Their recently-launched Scottish Distillery Map and online A-Z of Scottish gin highlights the amazing choice consumers have.

Public voting for the Poppyscotland Places and Spaces competition is now live – and people have until Friday May 11th to vote for Laxdale School as one of the six finalists.

Poppyscotland provides life-changing support to our Armed Forces community. They reach out to those who have served, those still serving, and their families at times of crisis and need by offering vital, practical advice, assistance and funding.

Lewis Crofters Ltd, one of the longest-running and most successful co-operatives in the Highlands and Islands is preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary this July - and it’s appealing to customers to help it mark the occasion with photographs to highlight the changes since the business first started.

Established in 1958, Lewis Crofters Ltd started as a co-operative supported by the crofters of Lewis and Harris. It was set up to supply crofters with everything from animal feed to fencing staples. Over the years the range of products has grown to include animal health medicines, hardware, footwear, clothing, tools, pet and garden supplies

Niki Church is appealing on the Western Isles Noticeboard Community Page for help in finding the off-duty nurse and the couple who stopped to help at a road traffic accident on Thursday last week near Laxay.

The post says: "My son and I would like to thank you wholeheartedly for being there whilst waiting for emergency crews to arrive and to the person who called for an ambulance.

Tim Hill and Martyn Riley are taking on an epic 10,000-mile challenge to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and conservation charity Cool Earth in a 1977 Rickman Ranger kit car which had been rusting in a shed for nearly a quarter of a century.

Keen sailors, Tim and Martyn, who have homes in Lewis and Harris, were working on a boat at Stornoway marina when the idea to drive from the Hebrides to Mongolia in the Mongol Rally was first floated.

“Tim mentioned the rally to me when we were working and I, naively, asked what it involved,” said Martyn. “He replied that you had to find an old car and drive it unsupported all the way to Mongolia!”

The Western Isles Police have put out a Witness Appeal on Twitter asking: "Did anyone witness the alleged dangerous driving of a white Audi at the Braighe at 6:15pm on Thursday May 3?

"If so, we'd like to hear from you!"

Call 101, Quote ref NH1032/18

A community consultation begins today (Saturday, May 5) in Point over plans to redevelop the Old Knock School

Community group Urras Stòras an Rubha are looking for public feedback before they start applying for funding.

It is a second attempt to redevelop the building. The first set of plans failed to win cash from the Big Lottery’s Growing Communities Assets fund. The new plans are scaled down and have been costed at approximately £1million.

Tell us how the recent ferry disruptions have impacted your business, asks Outer Hebrides Tourism.

"Following a meeting with Transport Scotland earlier this week and ahead of a meeting with Robbie Drummond, Managing Director of CalMac next week, we are keen to capture how the recent ferry disruptions have affected Outer Hebrides tourism businesses.

"We estimate the disruptions have had a huge impact, but we are keen to have hard evidence to back this up.



The Fishermen’s Mission has launched a campaign to highlight the number of fishermen lost at sea in the last decade.

Called the 100in10 Campaign, they hope to raise awareness of the dangers of being a fisherman and the devastating impact on families and communities when fishermen are lost at sea.

They are asking people to buy a pair of yellow fishermen’s wellies (with their logo attached) from them.  For every pair that is sold they will be tying a yellow ribbon to the flagpole outside their Head Office in Hampshire.  When they have sold 100 pairs these will be used for a photograph that will be released nationally.

A new Harbourmaster has been appointed to help steer Stornoway Port Authority through a period that will be transformational for the island community.

From Portnaguran, Scott Campbell takes on the newly-revised role of Harbourmaster/Operations Manager at a time when the Port Authority is working on a series of major developments in line with its 20-year Masterplan.

Mr Campbell, 35, a master mariner with more than 17 years’ experience in various roles in the marine/offshore industry, was recently promoted to Master after serving as Chief officer for Prosafe Offshore on board the Safe Scandinavia for the past 5 years.

He takes up his role with the Port Authority as it seeks to progress ambitious proposals, including the creation of a deep-water port which will bring major economic benefits to the island.

The entrance to Beinn Ghrideag, the wind farm owned and operated by Point and Sandwick Trust   Picture by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos Photography.

Community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust is delighted to have been shortlisted in the Scottish Charity Awards, announced today (Friday, May 4).

Two years ago, PST won a Green Energy Award from the renewables industry for its community-owned wind farm at Beinn Ghrideag on the outskirts of Stornoway.

This time, the nomination is for charity work – for its funding and support of community projects with the profits from the wind farm – and the Trust is particularly proud to be a finalist in the Celebrating Communities category.

Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd, the parent company of EVENTS newspaper, welovestornoway.com, HEB Magazine, welovetheisleofharris.com, The Skye Magazine, welovethewestside.com, magazinehebrides.com, welovebarraandvatersay.com and other related websites is moving office today.

From next week, we will be operating from The Stornoway Media Centre, based in the former ND Macleod HQ, Church House, 16 James Street, Stornoway, HS1 2QN

Our news and information services will be disrupted by this transfer.

 

NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles and the University of the Highlands and Islands are highlighting the opportunities available to those considering a career in nursing ahead of International Nurses Day on Saturday 12 May,

There are a number of training and employment options around the Highlands and Islands region, with the university providing BSc nursing programmes in Inverness and Stornoway and NHS health boards offering a range of career paths to choose from.

The Lido restaurant in Cromwell Street was in the final of the Scottish Entertainment and Hospitality Awards last weekend.

Almost half a million pounds' worth of fraud has been prevented in Scotland in the past eight weeks, thanks to a new partnership between the banking industry, law enforcement and Trading Standards.

The Banking Protocol was introduced in Scotland on 5th March, after a national rollout across the UK began last May. 

The fraud prevention scheme enables bank staff to contact police if they suspect a customer is in the process of being scammed, with an immediate blue-light response sent to the branch.

After a sold-out run in Shetland, Orkney and Argyll, Scottish Ballet brings Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling to Stornoway on Thursday and Friday this week (May 3-4) - and, after a slow start for ticket sales, they sold out here, too.

But now more seats haver been added to the layout for the two performance is at Lewis Sports Centre but you have to head to www.lanntair.com to buy one of these remaining tickets.

Highland Fling follows the downfall of James, a young Scot with sex, love and rock and roll on his mind.


2018 is lining up to be a year to remember for Point singer/songwriter Colin

The internationally-acclaimed Hebridean Celtic Festival has added Colin Macleod to its line-up during a landmark year for the local singer songwriter.
The Lewis crofter, who releases his debut album ‘Bloodlines’ on May 18th, will share the bill at HebCelt this summer with headliners Deacon Blue, The Fratellis, Eddi Reader, Skippinish and Roddy Woomble.
In October, he will perform at BluesFest in London and Dublin alongside music legends Van Morrison and Robert Plant.

Road policing officers in the Highlands have once again highlighted the dangers of speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone while driving.

This follows a big rise in the number of offences detected during April - which included a dedicated operation across Scotland targeting all three offences.

In the Highlands and Islands area, 33 drivers were detected in relation to seatbelt offences - while 34 were detected using a mobile phone while driving.  These represent a rise from 23 and 27 respectively in the same period in 2017.

The Comhairle was scheduled to advertise the 2017 apprenticeship programme this week and to commence community meetings throughout the Western Isles beginning the week of the 5 June 2017.

Given recent events it has been decided to postpone both the recruitment and the meetings until further notice.

     

'Come and join us' - LTC Piers Strudwick

‘Amazing opportunities’ – including up to 20 part time jobs - are being offered to young men and women in Stornoway, according to Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Piers Strudwick, Commanding Officer of the 7 SCOTS Army battalion. 

C Company 7 SCOTS is the British Army’s traditional Highlanders company, headquartered in Inverness.

The Western Isles platoon is based in Stornoway and currently manned at 10, including a Platoon Commander and Platoon Sergeant.

However, said LTC Strudwick, there had now arisen the potential for a number of additions to the platoon.

A national project encouraging thousands of people to cycle for everyday journeys is coming to Lewis.  
The Big Bike Revival, an award-winning programme developed by Cycling UK and funded by Transport Scotland, helps people in Scotland to bring their bikes back into use by providing bike checks, sharing maintenance know-how and giving people more confidence in the saddle.  
Partnered by 100 community groups and bicycle recycling centres across the country, the Big Bike Revival aims to reach thousands of people to encourage them to get cycling again and to replace short car journeys. 

The SNP will give Scotland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar the voice it needs at Westminster says Angus B MacNeil.

As the SNP launches its manifesto today (Tuesday), SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon has outlined that SNP MPs will focus on tackling inequality and pursue a plan to end Tory cuts and protect Scottish jobs against the prospect of a hard Brexit.

Figures compiled by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) show that businesses and communities supported by the development agency achieved a strong performance in 2016/17 despite uncertain economic conditions.

Investments by HIE during the year supported businesses and social enterprises across the region to create or retain 1,688 full time equivalent jobs in the region, 169 of these in fragile areas.

Heading for the hills - Chrisetta, Jimina, Chrisell, Mina, and Donna

Five fearless friends are taking on their biggest challenge yet in aid of The Leanne Fund.

The team from the Isle of Lewis are currently in training to climb seven Munros in under 24 hours – The Magnificent 7 on July 7th.

Having already walked 500 miles (5 ladies - 100 miles non-stop) for The Fund in 2013, the determined group are now ready for another epic journey to mark the seventh birthday of the growing charity.

The Lord-Lieutenant of the Western Isles, Donald Martin has urged islanders to nominate local voluntary groups for The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) 2018.

The QAVS, which was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen's coronation, is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar sent out a news release late yesterday afternoon (Monday May 29th) which stated:
In a letter sent last week to Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Comhairle Convener, Norman A MacDonald, said:
“People throughout the Outer Hebrides were deeply saddened and shocked to hear about the terrible event in Manchester on the evening of Monday 22nd May 2017.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar sent out a news release late yesterday afternoon (Monday May 29th) which stated:
In a letter sent last week to Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Comhairle Convener, Norman A MacDonald, said:
“People throughout the Outer Hebrides were deeply saddened and shocked to hear about the terrible event in Manchester on the evening of Monday 22nd May 2017.

In the first media release since local campaigning for the General Election was put on hold after the Manchester atrocity, Ealasaid MacDonald, Labour's candidate in Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has underlined the importance of all organisations and representatives across the islands working together with the primary focus of securing our islands' future.

Ealasaid MacDonald said:'It is clear that action is needed to ensure the long term stability of our islands' economy.

Judges on the panel for the Marketing Star Awards have selected Caledonian MacBrayne, together with the agencies it worked with, for no less than six nominations at the 2017 ceremony.

All three of the company’s major campaigns in 2016 have been recognised, including Mates Rates, the Two Eejits and Your West Coast.

In addition, CalMac’s campaign manager Amanda Burns has been nominated as Rising Marketing Star.

In muggy conditions, a total of 110 competitors ran in the Stornoway Half Marathon on Saturday.

First past the finish tape was Ewan Crawford, of Hunters Bog Trotters, with a time of 1:18:22.

The first female was Gilian Carr of Corstorphine AAC, who finished with a time of 1:37:26.

From the Islands…that was the theme of the launch of Islewear, Handmade Hebridean Jewellery, in An Lanntair arts centre last night (Friday 26th May).
Jordane Symington handcrafts designs inspired by the landscape, from precious metals, pearls and gemstones – and her work was dramatised for the show – and future events planned on the mainland – with photographs by Jade Starmore from Gress using model Emma Macrae from Point.

A primary school in North Lanarkshire which teaches Gaelic as its third language is in the running for a top Gaelic education award, alongside schools with Gaelic Medium Education units.
Gartcosh Primary School is up for the Gaelic Award in next month’s Scottish Education Awards, alongside Ardnamurchan High School in Lochaber and Sgoil an Taobh Siar on the Isle of Lewis.
And staff have praised Go! Gaelic, the online programme of resources from Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig, for enabling them to teach some Gaelic in confidence within ‘mainstream’, or English Medium Education.

Katie Ann was presented with gifts by Ken Macdonald

A legal secretary in Stornoway has reached the milestone of having worked 50 years for legal firms in the town.

Katie Ann Macdonald, from Lower Sandwick, only took time off to raise her family.

Today, friends, family and colleagues enjoyed a meal at Digby Chick restaurant in honour of Katie Ann’s milestone achievement.

Swimmers from the Western Isles have been in busy competition for the last number of weeks.

The last weekend in April saw one of their largest group trips, with 17 swimmers attending the Inverness Graded meet.

Back at HebCelt for the first time in five years - the ever evolving, and expanding, Skerryvore

With a new line-up in place and another album on the way, Skerryvore are continuing to evolve after 12 years of entertaining fans around the world.
Earlier this month the now eight-strong line-up played their first gigs with new full-time member Scott Wood, who has also been adding his piping and whistle-playing skills in the studio as the band record their seventh album.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduate and 2013 BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist is no stranger to Skerryvore, having first guested with the band as a 17-year-old in 2010.

NHS Western Isles reassurance and advice following 'Critical Threat' level alert

The UK Prime Minister, following the incident in Manchester on Monday 22nd May took the decision last night (Tuesday May 23rd) to raise the UK Terrorist Threat Level to Critical.
Whilst there is no known specific intelligence of a threat to Scotland, patients, visitors and the general public are asked to note the following security restrictions which have been put in place locally:

 

An inspiring schoolboy from Point has had a haircut, after growing his hair for a year to raise money for charity.

Charlie had his hair cut by Moira Matheson, Attic Hair Studio, Stornoway yesterday (Tuesday).

He has chosen to support The Princess Trust who make wigs for children with cancer and is also fundraising for The Leanne Fund at the same time.

A final version of the Port Masterplan outlining a 20-year vision for the development of Stornoway Harbour has been published by Stornoway Port Authority.

The Port Authority has also published its Annual Report for 2016 and will be holding its annual public meeting tomorrow (Thursday, May 25) in An Lanntair at 7pm.

A visit to the Western Isles by a Regimental Shetland Pony has been cancelled in the wake of the Manchester terrorist attack.

A message from 4 Scots (The Highlanders) and 7 Scots (the Reserve Army Infantry Unit for the Highlands and Islands) read: 'Due to the tragic incident that happened in Manchester the Pony Major who is first and foremost a soldier has been deployed with his unit. I hope people will understand the reason for this late cancellation.

'I know many of you were looking forward to meeting the Regimental Mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.'

The Nicolson Institute Under 15 boys team are the North of Scotland champions, after defeating Fraserburgh Academy at Clach Park, in Inverness.

The final was a repeat of the U14 final from last year and both teams were evenly matched and produced a fantastic standard of football.

In a statement this morning, (Wednesday May 24)  Phil Gormley, Chief Constable of Police Scotland  said:

“My thoughts and those of everyone at Police Scotland continue to be with those who have lost loved ones or who were injured in the attack in Manchester.

“With the threat level now at 'Critical', we have now established a multi-agency co-ordination centre to lead and co-ordinate the response across the country along with key partners.

As part of the of the continuing restoration of the Lews Castle Designed Landscape, the Stornoway Trust are carrying out mechanised mulching between the 23rd of May to the 6th of June.

There is an exclusion zone of 200m around the operational site which will be marked with threshold signs and policed by a banksman at all times, to ensure continued safe access within the grounds.

On Thursday (May 25th) Labour’s David Stewart, Regional MSP for the Highlands & Islands, is holding a Public Advice Surgery in the new offices at 34 Cromwell Street, Stornoway HS1 2DD from 1pm – 2pm.

All constituents are welcome and no appointment is necessary. Contact details are telephone: 01851 709822 and e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

At the Comhairle’s offices in Stornoway, the Comhairle flag and the Scottish Saltire are flying at half-mast as a mark of respect for all those who lost their lives in the Manchester attack.

An operation to raise awareness of doorstep crime will be taking place across Highland and Islands this week.

Operation Monarda is a national campaign being held across Scotland to highlight doorstep crime and to promote how the public can protect themselves from becoming a victim of this type of offence.

Doorstep crime affects some of the most vulnerable members of local communities, with perpetrators mainly targeting victims due to a perceived vulnerability, such as age, gender or disability.

NHS Western Isles has a new campaign to raise awareness of the Healthy Start scheme for pregnant women and families of young children up to four years old.  

In association with Argos, every time a purchase is made, buyers will receive their till receipts carrying a colourful eye-catching promotion for the Healthy Start scheme.

The Healthy Start scheme was set up to ensure pregnant women, new mothers and young children, particularly those living on low incomes, can get free healthy foods and supplements. There are two separate entitlements: vitamins and vouchers. 

Ealasaid MacDonald, Labour's General Election candidate in Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has welcomed the announcement that the Comhairle are to create over 40 apprenticeships.

Ealasaid said: 'This is a very positive step by the Comhairle and should be warmly welcomed. They have chosen to invest in our young people, looking to the future and seeking to ensure our economy has the skills available which will help them, and our islands, to flourish.

Members of different military units are up in Stornoway right now – both Regular and Reserve, male and female – and they will soon be joined by a Shetland pony with the rank of Lance-Corporal and a key role as their regimental mascot.
This display is to try to show the wide variety of skills, jobs and trades available to those interested – both as a Regular soldier or as a paid part-time volunteer Reservist.
The teams are up until Saturday, mainly in and around Stornoway with the main effort being in Perceval Square although they will also be appearing in Tesco,  the Co-op, Lews Castle College UHI and the sports centre.  

The Western Isles annual party, the Hebridean Celtic Festival, on Lews Castle Green. Photo: Daibhidh Martin

Some of Gaeldom’s finest singers and musicians will showcase the Outer Hebrides to an international audience at a major Celtic music event in France this year.
The islands’ language, culture and heritage will play a leading role when Scotland is celebrated at the annual Interceltique de Lorient during ten days of events being held from August 4th to 13th.
Scotland is this year’s ‘Country of Focus’ at the gathering, the largest Celtic festival in Europe, and a team from the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival is organising the opening concert on August 5th, which will kick start a number of events featuring Scottish artists throughout the ten days.

 

The building in the children's playpark at Aline Community Woodland was vandalised sometime in the last week.

Walls inside the building were damaged, possibly by being kicked in.

Photos on the Aline Community Woodland Facebook page show the extent of the damage.

Charlie Macmillan

An inspiring schoolboy from Lewis is using his hair to help other children.

Twelve year old Charlie MacMillan from Point has gone without a haircut for more than a year and plans to donate his long locks to charity.

He has chosen to support The Princess Trust who make wigs for children with cancer and is also fundraising for The Leanne Fund at the same time.

Following a successful pilot in 2016, customers on the Ullapool-Inverness coach route should once again benefit from extra capacity following an agreement by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Scottish Citylink and the Highlands and Islands Regional Transport Partnership (HITRANS).

The St Andrew’s First Aid charity which recently established a branch on the Western Isles, was providing First Aid cover at the rain-affected Women's Cancer Challenge 5k event in the Castle Grounds on Saturday.

The group is stepping into the gap left on Lewis and Harris by the withdrawal last May of the British Red Cross from providing First Aid cover in the Islands.


The organisation was formed in 1882 as St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association by doctors and businessmen in Glasgow who were concerned with the number of people being injured in the industrial city.  In 2008 it was rebranded as St Andrew’s First Aid to avoid confusion with the Scottish Ambulance Service.


Further trike action by lecturers at Lews Castle College this week has been averted.
The industrial action was suspended late on Friday (19th May) when the lecturers' union, EIS FELA and the employers agreed a deal whereby the money owed to teaching staff would finally be paid.
Following a period of intense negotiations, agreement has been reached between the employers and the union. This led to the immediate suspension of strike action by the EIS and will enable college management to implement the March 2016 Agreement.

Labour candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Ealasaid MacDonald, has welcomed the Conservative manifesto commitment to support remote island wind projects "where they directly benefit local communities" and has promised to work "across party lines" in order to see it delivered.

Ealasaid said: "This positive development highlights the continuing success of the community energy movement in the Scottish islands who have played a vital role in persuading the Government to include this wording in their manifesto.  The key phrase 'directly benefits communities' underpins the vital role the community energy movement must have in delivering this going forward.

Labour candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Ealasaid MacDonald, has welcomed the Conservative manifesto commitment to support "remote offshore wind" and has promised to work "across party lines" in order to see it delivered.

Ealasaid said: "This is a tribute to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's unstinting pursuit of its renewable energy objectives for the islands with little help from other quarters.  However, there is still a long way to go before this is turned into jobs and investment.

Vodafone UK has this week started introducing 4G to its network in the Stornoway area as part of its multi-billion UK network modernisation programme. 

According to the telecoms company, customers in the town area can now enjoy a much more reliable mobile data experience, faster data download and upload speeds as well as better video quality.

The SNP’s Angus B MacNeil has expressed disappointment at the lack of concrete commitment from the Tories to support renewables in Na h-Eileanan an Iar in their manifesto, but points out that mention of island projects may indicate they are finally getting the message that action is needed now.

Mr MacNeil has been pressing the UK Government to support island renewables for many months now and has had one to one meetings with Energy Minister Greg Clark on this specific issue.

Trading Standards are warning residents that there is currently an INTERNATIONAL FIFA WORLD CUP ONLINE LOTTERY scam letter circulating in the Islands.

Highlands and Islands MSP, Donald Cameron, has welcomed the Conservatives’ General Election manifesto commitment to 'support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland'.

The manifesto promises to offer support to future wind projects giving real hope for the development of projects in the Western Isles and other Scottish islands.

Following a Scottish Parliament vote yesterday, backing the SNP’s call for all powers on fisheries to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament after Brexit, the SNP’s Angus B MacNeil, has challenged the Scottish Tories to respect the will of Holyrood – or be complicit in Westminster selling out Scotland’s fishing industry once again.

A majority of MSPs from all parties except the Tories voted in favour of devolving full powers over fisheries to enable the design of a management framework best suited to Scottish needs and the interests of Scotland’s fishing industry and sector.

The economy is at the heart of our very survival according to Ealasaid MacDonald, Labour's candidate on the Western Isles in the General Election.

Speaking shortly after unveiling her key pledges in Barra, Ealasaid said:  'I am shocked and concerned at the clear decline in the economy across the whole of the islands.

"Over the past 12 years our islands have gone backwards. Where are the apprenticeships that used to keep our young people here? Where are the jobs which enabled people to stay and raise a family?

"Without investment and a long term economic plan, the islands' very survival is under threat. I appreciate that time changes but it is clear that little has been done by our MP to assist in stemming this tide of instability and ensuring that we have control of the key economic drivers which would breath life back in our economy.'

Ealasaid is standing on a platform that the islands need change and a new, credible voice in order to achieve the support that it needs. She is committed to campaigning for:

  • An economic deal for the islands, mirroring the current city deals, which would include a commitment of financial investment which will provide economic stability and deliver growth.
  • The monies raised by the Crown Estate to be transferred to benefit our communities. Money which has been raised as a result of our assets, as well as the policy and administration of the Crown Estate, should be devolved to the Comhairle.
  • Delivery of the interconnector which has the potential to revolutionise our islands
  • A tourism fund which will allow the development of vital facilities which would provide stability to this increasingly important sector.
  • Improvement of transport links across the islands which are vital to our economic potential with a particular focus on the double tracking of the main roads through the islands.

Ealasaid added: 'I believe that stimulating our economy will go a long way to addressing a number of the issues we have in our islands. In order to provide our young people with opportunities and be in a position to care for those in need and our elderly, we must have the foundations of a varied and active economy creating jobs, investment and long term stability.

"Stability encourages growth which in turn attracts business and people. We have loads of assets we just need some action. I believe that our MP has had enough chances. It is time for a fresh approach. I am willing to work across party lines and with all organisations for the good of our islands.'

The Class of '67 held their 50th reunion over the weekend of 28th and 29th April 2017 in the Golf Club and they all had an great time catching up with old friends, many of whom hadn't met for over 30 years.

An official statement has been issued in the controversy surrounding the collapse of Hebridean Sea Salt in Lochs. 

This statement was circulated by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to councillors this evening but was issued by the national agency, Food Standards Scotland.

This followed allegations made to national newspapers by the company’s founder Natalie Crayton in which she blamed the Council for being heavy-handed and claims made by her to welovestornoway.com about the behaviour of officials at Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Calum MacDonald, previously the Labour MP for the Western Isles and now Director of the Point and Sandwick Power, has welcomed the commitment in the Conservative manifesto published today to ‘support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland where they will directly benefit local communities.’ (page 22 of the Manifesto).

The new chair of the Comhairle's Sustainable Development committee has highlighted declining population, a response to Brexit, renewables, and localised economic development as the main factors which need to be addressed by the committee.

Cllr Donald Crichton, Loch a Tuath, said he believed that Sustainable Development was 'a crucial committee with a wide ranging and diverse remit to help address the big economic challenges that we face in the Outer Hebrides'.

Comhairle Leader Roddie Mackay, and Convener Norman A. Macdonald

The newly elected Leader and Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have vowed to work together with colleagues for the benefit of communities across the Outer Hebrides.

Leader of the Comhairle, Cllr Roddie Mackay, said: “I am committed to working on behalf of communities across the Outer Hebrides. As is the norm in the Islands we will not be forming an administration but I, the Convener, the Chairs of Committees and indeed all Members, will work on behalf of all our communities and I believe this system offers a better way of doing so than under the label of a political grouping.  

Randy Laursen, Andrew Aitken and David Bradley from The Scottish Salmon Company’s Cairndow site with their new defibrillator

The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) has installed defibrillators across all of its sites after a life-threatening situation was averted by quick-thinking teamwork.

When Randy Laursen, Processing Operative at the SSC Cairndow Processing Plant in Argyll, suffered a major cardiac arrest while at work in June last year, the actions of his colleagues saved his life.  The team swiftly implemented emergency procedures which included CPR and the use of an onsite defibrillator, and Randy has since made a full recovery.

The Scottish Salmon Company has now installed defibrillators at all 60 of its sites across the West Coast of Scotland and Hebrides and at its head office in Edinburgh.  

With 220 SSC staff in the Outer Hebrides, the company has made a significant investment on the crucial equipment and in a programme of specialist training for its teams throughout the islands. Staff will be trained on how to use the defibrillators in the event of any life-threatening emergency situations.  

Following his election as Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Cllr Roddie Mackay now automatically assumes the role of chair of the Policy and Resources committee. 

Yesterday, Cllr Alasdair Macleod was elected vice-chair of P&R.

Meanwhile, Cllr Angus Morrison is the new chair of the Audit and Scrutiny committee. 

The vice-chair is Cllr Iain M. Macaulay. 

The Butt of Lewis lighthouse

Researchers in the Western Isles have completed a year-long trial of a new system which could transform the way waves and currents are measured.

A team at Lews Castle College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, installed a maritime radar system at the Butt of Lewis lighthouse on the northern tip of the Isle of Lewis.

The system employs a standard marine radar, used by ships to detect obstacles, which has been modified to maximise the data it can return from the surface of the sea.

Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris Branch is raising money through the Co-op Membership scheme.
The money is to sustain existing activities and build on their volunteer base to allow 1-1 support for people living with dementia.
In all, £3,310.84 has been raised so far - see https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/7816/
Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris Branch say: “We run as many different activities and groups as we possibly can to allow maximisation of social inclusion for those living with dementia and their families.

The Hebridean Tea Store is relocating from Church Street to 22 Cromwell Street over the next fortnight.
The shop itself will be closed next week – from Monday May 22  - and they are planning a special opening event on Saturday, May 27th – just some tea, coffee and cake when they hope all the work will be done.
The new premises are the former offices of Derek Mackenzie solicitors – and longer ago, a hairdressers and a flower shop.

Councillors today elected chairs and vice-chairs to each of the four Comhairle committees. 

The Salvation Army in Stornoway are launching a new 'Baby Bank' to help support families with the cost of having a child. Commanding officer Lieutenant Emma Newton explains, ‘In recent months we have had an increase in requests for help from families who are struggling with the costs of having a child. Due to the level of availability of baby clothes, toiletries and equipment on the island, together with the high cost of such items, families are struggling financially. The Baby Bank will be able to supply key items for children between 0-36 months.'

Through generous donations of clothes, nursery equipment, nappies, wipes and toiletries, The Salvation Army has already assisted a handful of families. But there is an ongoing need which it is hoped the Baby Bank will be able to meet, and they are working closely with other agencies who will be able to refer parents to the Baby Bank.  If anyone is requiring assistance in the meantime, they are very welcome to just drop in to the Baby Bank any time during opening hours.

Cllr Roddie Mackay has been elected as the new Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. 

Cllr Mackay  - a member for Steornabhagh a Tuath - takes over from Angus Campbell, who stood down at the recent election. 

A bid to review the current constitutional arrangements of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has failed.

Cllr Donald Manford, leader of the SNP group on the Comhairle, said that the election of 15 new councillors meant that there was a mandate for change. 

Cllr Norman A Macdonald has been re-elected as Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. 

At the first meeting of the Comhairle since the elections, Clr Macdonald was proposed by Cllr Uisdean Robertson, and seconded by Cllr Charlie Nicolson. 

Natural talent - Don 'Sewer' Macleod

For years during the 1990s, Don ‘Sewer’ Macleod was best known for refereeing football matches in the Lewis and Harris league.

But now Don is making a name for himself in another sporting arena – that of Rallycross.

Stornoway Police are asking the public for help after receiving a report of suspicious activity in Steinish relating to horses. 

If you have seen anything suspicious, they ask you to please contact then on 0800 555111.

 

 

 

If you’re a woman over 50, the combination of checking your breasts yourself and attending your regular breast screening appointments gives you the best chance of being diagnosed early - and surviving breast cancer.

In the last round of screening for Western Isles women which took place three years ago only 4 out of 5 women took up the opportunity of being screened.  

NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Dr Maggie Watts said: “Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in Western Isles women but it’s also very treatable when caught early.  Taking up your breast screening appointment is important. The appointment takes only a few minutes. It involves having X-ray images taken of your breasts (mammograms).”

To accommodate traffic for the Hebridean Celtic Festival, the timetable for Sunday 23 July has been changed to the following:

NHS Western Isles was not badly affected by the cyber attack at the weekend, it has just confirmed.

A spokesperson said: "Contrary to earlier uninformed media reports, NHS Western Isles was not affected significantly by the cyber attack. Patient care has not been adversely affected and all activity is continuing as normal.

The 8th Point 5k event will take place on June 3rd 2017.

The event, which raises funds for The Leanne Fund, sets off from Point Free Church at Bayble and is a popular family event, open to runners and walkers alike.

Local Labour candidate Ealasaid MacDonald is pledging to campaign for a tourism top-up fund.

She says the fund would 'take account of the unique contribution our islands are making to the national tourism industry'.

 

The SNP’s Angus B MacNeil launched his General Election campaign for Na h-Eileanan an Iar this evening (Friday) with the opening of his Campaign Rooms.

The rooms at 33 Bayhead Street, Stornoway will now be the centre of activity for the campaign and will be open Monday to Saturday until June 8th.

The opening event follows Mr MacNeil's visits earlier in the day to Lews Castle College to meet with EIS members and then to Tighean Innse Gall to hear more about their work to combat fuel poverty and improve homes in the Hebrides.

Kezia Dugdale and Ealasaid Macdonald

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is in Stornoway today, lending her backing to Western Isles candidate Ealasaid Macdonald.

Among her engagements here are a visit to Charlie Barley's, as well as supporting UHI lecturers on the picket line at Lews Castle College. 

Tonight she will address local Labour Party members at a function in Stornoway.

Dan McCroskrie

The Conservative candidate for the Western Isles says that if he is elected, he will ensure the islands aren't sold short during Brexit negotiations in Westminster. 

Daniel McCroskrie (26), currently works as an office manager to Highlands and Islands Tory MSP Donald Cameron.

He previously worked as the Scottish Head of Ground Campaign for Vote Leave during the EU referendum last June.

Stuart MacLeod, Director Opus Carpentry, Chrisetta Mitchell, The Leanne Fund; and Melanie Love, Howdens Inverness

Building support services for young people affected by Cystic Fibrosis has attracted support from two construction firms who have donated to The Leanne Fund.

Opus Carpentry Ltd, Stornoway and Howdens Inverness have both generously donated to the Fund which will go towards projects in the current development programme.

Five Western Isles candidates have thrown their hat into the ring for the General Election on Thursday June 8. 

Angus Brendan MacNeil of the SNP will be up against Ealasaid Macdonald, of the Scottish Labour Party, and Daniel Stephen McCroskrie, representing the Conservatives. 

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, today raised the EIS strike - going into its fourth day today - with Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister’s Question Time. 

Commenting afterwards, Ms Grant said: “The college lecturers are being forced to strike for a fourth day today, due to the dispute brought about by the Scottish Government’s pledge to harmonise pay and conditions in the college sector following the mergers of many colleges across the country.

“After weeks of negotiating between Colleges Scotland and EIS, the terms being put forward are completely unreasonable and don’t take into account the hard work the lecturers are already doing – so much of which is not being negotiated. The Scottish Government have confirmed that the money has been made available but Colleges Scotland are still refusing to acknowledge the already unmanageable workload of lecturers."

Trading Standards Officers from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are aware of doorstep sellers currently in Lewis who may be offering various home improvement services.

Residents are reminded to say 'no' to doorstep sellers and that Doorstoppers signage from the Doorstoppers Campaign can be printed off from the Comhairle’s website here - http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/doorstoppers/documents/sticker.pdf.

Doorstep sellers ignoring the displayed signage may be committing an offence.

To report Doorstep sellers contact Trading Standards on 01851 822 694, Police Scotland 101 or Faire Community Careline on 01851 701702

HHP will host their annual lunch event for Lewis and Harris tenants on Friday 19th May 2017 between 12 and 2.00pm.  

The event will be held in the Stornoway Town Hall.

This year the event will have a particular focus on energy efficiency and HHP partners such as TEAS will be in attendance to provide help and advice on how to reduce energy costs and save money.

As part of the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places initiative, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is delighted to be working with Cycling Scotland to hold Essential Cycling Skills training for adults.

As well as a 2-hour training session Essential Cycling Skills (ECS) has a suite of resources available to help boost the confidence of those new to or returning to cycling and give them the necessary skills to negotiate on-road journeys or commutes.

This training is COMPLETELY FREE but you must have a bike in good working order and a helmet.

Left to right - Matt Bruce, TIG Board Member, Holly Magee, Project Administrator, Sally Reynolds, Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh Development Manager, Agnes Rennie, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn, Kenneth Maclennan, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh, Lisa Maclean, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn Development Manager, Amy Kapherr-Diament, Project Officer, Finlay MacLennan, Project Officer

An exciting new partnership project is ready to launch this summer, funded by the Climate Challenge Fund.

The project partners are community landowning trusts Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh working with local energy experts Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) who will deliver the project by supporting households within the two estates to take practical steps to become more energy efficient.

Tamzene 

Scottish singer songwriter Tamzene has won a prestigious stage slot in front of an international audience at the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.

The 20-year-old multi-instrumentalist from the Highland village of Cromarty in the Black Isle, was one of the winners of the 2017 CalMac Culture Music contest, run by ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne and aimed at finding the best emerging singers and musicians.

Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente

A rushed, last minute collaboration brought Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente together, and sent them on a new and award-winning musical path.

Josie, a singer, songwriter and clarsach player from the isle of Lewis, teamed up unexpectedly with Pablo, a guitarist and fiddler from Spain via Stirling, at last year’s Celtic Connections.

“I got a very last minute call from the festival because someone had cancelled and they needed a slot filled”, said Josie. “I had a few ‘go-to’ guitarists and Pablo at the time wasn’t one of them.

We have a wide range of interesting and diverse jobs vacancies here on www.welovestornoway.com at the moment, with 11 new positions added since the start of the month!  Click on the titles below for more information.

Natural Retreats have a variety of exciting opportunities to work at the newly refurbished Lews Castle, and are looking for a Food and Beverage Manager to support the General Manager in delivering an exemplary level of service and standards in this unique first-class venue, hosting up to 300 guests.  They also require enthusiastic and positive Housekeepers, Night Porters, Kitchen Porters and a