CnES Trading Standards have received complaints regarding cold callers claiming to be contacting consumers from BT.

The caller states that the consumer’s phone or internet service is about to be disconnected due to a missed payment on their account.

Households in Aird Tong have found themselves without water today (Thursday January 31st) as mains pipes froze in the unusually cold conditions.

Scottish Water is in the process of upgrading work including laying new mains, with contractors CalMax undertaking the work, which includes a process known as ‘pipe-splitting’. This requires new pipes to be run through the old mains, with new connections then created to each customer.

While this work is happening, a temporary supply pipe is laid overland to keep the regular water supply running while the main pipe is being worked on.

Lewis footballer Rachael Johnstone impressed selectors so much at last weekend’s development training that she’s been selected for the Scotland squad – for the third consecutive time!

14-year-old Rachael, who lives in Balallan and goes to Sir E Scott school in Tarbert, was in Aberdeen from Friday (January 25th) to Sunday alongside players from women’s U16 development squads at Celtic, Rangers, Hibs and Manchester United, among others, for an arduous weekend of training.

The UK Meteorological  Office has this morning (Thursday January 31st) updated a weather warning for snow and ice.

The update now means that only Lewis falls into the extensive warning area, with the rest of the Western Isles, south of the Clisham, outwith the area of concern.

Police in the Western Isles have acted on community concerns and have been carrying proactive road safety patrols in the Stornoway area.

Since mid-December two motorists have been charged with dangerous driving and a further three in relation to careless or inconsiderate driving.

In addition, three have been charged with driving without the necessary MOT, one with driving with an obscured windscreen and three with lighting defects on their vehicle.

Pupils from schools across the Outer Hebrides gathered at Sir E Scott in Harris yesterday (Wed, Jan 30) to take part in an international competition about building and programming Lego robots.

It was the first time the Outer Hebrides had taken part in the First Lego League tournament and Sgoil Lionacleit, Castlebay and Sir E Scott battled it out with their robot designs, while a group from the Nicolson observed the day, to get ideas for next time. A team from the Isle of Arran had hoped to participate remotely via video link but had technical issues at their end.

A total of 59 island employees of the broadband services provider TalkTalk have today (Wednesday January 30th) been given notice of redundancy.

Staff received the shock news that the Stornoway call centre is to close at the end of July, with all jobs moving to the mainland.

It’s reported that the jobs will be relocated to Manchester and staff have been offered a relocation package or enhanced redundancy.

An Lanntair arts centre has announced the ten photographers whose work will be showcased in a Hebridean Dark Skies Festival exhibition to be launched on the festival’s opening night, Friday 8 February.

The ten photographers – all from the Hebrides – were all shortlisted in the first Hebridean Dark Skies Festival photography competition. The competition winner, already announced, was Casey McIntyre, whose striking image of an atmospheric phenomenon called ‘Steve’ (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement) was chosen for the cover of the new festival's first print programme – 'Steve' has also become a social media hit, the image shared thousands of times.

Ice and snow will continue to affect the Western Isles through the rest of this week, with Lewis and Harris under two new weather warnings issued this morning (Wednesday January 30th) by the Met Office.

A yellow ‘be aware’ warning of ice comes into force from 5pm today, covering the period until 11am tomorrow (Thursday) with the risk of injuries from slips and falls on icy pavements and untreated surfaces.

Western Isles cyclist Kerry MacPhee is flying home to Stornoway today (Wednesday January 30th) after finishing yesterday on the podium at the end of a gruelling four-stage mountain bike challenge in Lanzarote.

South Uist athlete Kerry was placed second overall in a field of 22 elite female cyclists, at the Club La Santa 4-Stage Mountain Bike Race Lanzarote, where amateur and elite riders challenge themselves on varied terrain of tarmac roads, sand, lava fields and dirt track. About 90% of the course is off-road.

CalMac is putting in place temporary timetable arrangements in Oban, while the harbour owner replaces one of the port's linkspans.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) will be shutting Berth No.1 to replace the linkspan from February 1st to 28th. During the work, all services will continue from Berth No.2.

The Stornoway Trust has rejected outright the suggestion that Mr Norman Maciver, who chairs the Trust, has a conflict of interest because he is also exploring the development of a windfarm near Barvas.

The Trust, which met last night (Monday January 28th), was reacting to a letter from four local grazings committees.

Following the meeting, Mr Iain Maciver, the estate’s Factor, issued a statement saying:

A film investigating the problem of plastic has earned Castlebay School pupils three finalist nominations in the youth category of the 2019 FilmG competition.

Today (Tuesday January 29th) is the closing date for contractors bidding to win a major contract from Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB), for the  upgrading and modernising of Eilean Glas lighthouse in Scalpay.

Would-be contractors travelled to Scalpay on 15th January on a site visit hosted by NLB, to view the buildings and get the measure of the work involved.

Pupils from the four secondary schools across the Outer Hebrides will be gathering at Sir E Scott in Harris tomorrow (Wednesday, January 30) to take part in an international competition about building and programming Lego robots.

A fifth school, from the Isle of Arran, will also be taking part remotely.

The Outer Hebrides STEM competition day is part of this year’s ‘First Lego League’ tournament and the islands’ participation has been made possible by a grant of £2,000 from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.

In court after domestic incident

A man appeared in court in Stornoway yesterday (Monday January 28th) after spending a night in custody at Stornoway police station.

The 37-year-old man was arrested at a residential address in the town on Sunday at 5.15pm after police were called to a disturbance at the address.

A ‘Yellow’ weather alert for snow and ice across the Western Isles has been issued by the UK Meteorological Office this morning (Tuesday January 29th).

The forecast snow has led Loganair to repeat their weather-change offer, allowing people who were planning to fly today or tomorrow the opportunity to make new arrangements.

Two minor faults in Stornoway town centre are under repair by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks this afternoon (Monday January 28th), with some businesses affected by loss of power.

A blown fuse in the sub-station in Perceval Square meant loss of power to 30 properties, mainly shops, in the town centre.

The fault was reported at 3.45pm and it is hoped that repairs will be complete by 5pm.

The four crofting townships seeking to develop community-owned wind farms on their common grazings near Stornoway are calling on the Stornoway Trust chairman, Norman Maciver, to step down after it was revealed that he is planning to develop a private wind farm in Lewis.

Pre-application screening plans for the development at Tol Mor, north-west of Upper Barvas, have been submitted to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. 

The proposed wind turbine development consists of a minimum of six wind turbines with proposed tower height of 92m and rotor diameter of 115m. The proposed tip height is approximately 150m. The proposed capacity is 24MW (4MW per turbine).


Charity walker Chris Lewis will be back in Lewis tomorrow (Tuesday January 29th), on one of the longest and most arduous stretches of his epic coastline challenge.

Lecturers at Lews Castle College could hold further strike action on Tuesday February 5th, despite some progress during talks with employers last week (Thursday January 24th).

Representatives of the Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA), an autonomous organisation within the Educational Institute of Scotland, came away from last Thursday’s meeting with agreement on a single issue, but other pay issues unresolved.

Police in the Western Isles are appealing for information following a break-in at a fishing lodge in the Grimersta area on the west side of Lewis.

Entry was forced to the property and a number of outboard motors stolen.

Four years ago today, on January 28th2015, Angus Morrison of Balallan suffered a heart attack. More fortunate than some, he survived the traumatic experience and started thinking what could be done to get help quickly to people in a similar situation.

A PPI Refund scam is currently circulating in the islands - which also involves a Google Gift card, warns the trading standards department at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

An initial cold call claims that you are due a PPI refund for over £4000 and asks for some personal detail including your name, address and how long you have been living at your address.

The new vice-chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has promised to put the needs of crofters right onto the agenda of decision-makers at every level.

Donald Mackinnon of Arnol was appointed vice-chair of the SCF at a board meeting in Inverness on Friday 18thJanuary.

The new vice-chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has promised to put the needs of crofters right onto the agenda of decision-makers at every level.

Donald Mackinnon of Arnol was appointed vice-chair of the SCF at a board meeting in Inverness on Friday 18thJanuary.

Coastguard Rescue Teams from across the isle of Skye were in the midst of training on Saturday (January 26th) when a real emergency began to unfold in Uig harbour.

The team had just completed training scenarios with the area commander and senior ops officer, including rescuing a person from the water and a person with a serious head injury on a stairwell, with a subsequent fire, at the new fish feed plant at Kyle.

Stornoway Coastguard’s operations centre were working at the extreme edge of their huge district on Friday (January 25th) as they co-ordinated the rescue of an injured fisherman from his ship.

The 43-year-old man had an open fracture to his right arm when the skipper of his vessel, the Faeroese Katrin Johanna, called Tórshavn Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre just after 10am on Friday.

There was sporting success for three of Lewis’s young athletes over the weekend, in athletics and swimming championships held on the mainland.

Connor Maclean earned himself a bronze medal in the 1500 metres at the Scottish Senior Indoor Championships at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Saturday (January 26th).

Urras Coimhearsnachd Bhràdhagair agus Àrnoil (Bragar and Arnol Community Trust) on the West Side of Lewis has announced the appointment of Murdo Morrison to the post of Development Officer.

The post has been funded by the Aspiring Communities Fund supported by The European Social Fund and will see Mr Morrison based at Grinneabhat, the old Bragar school in North Bragar.

Hebrides Energy, the local Community Interest Company set up to secure cheaper electricity for island consumers, is reassuring island customers of the ‘Hebrides Energy’ tariff following the announcement that its supply partner, Our Power, has ceased to trade.   

Our Power, a not-for-profit energy supplier with 38,000 domestic customers, has been unable to continue trading due to a sharp increase in the wholesale price of electricity over recent months.

Under the OFGEM ‘Safety Net’, which is funded by a levy spread across all energy suppliers, the Energy Regulator will immediately appoint a replacement supplier to continue providing service to Our Power customers. 

Strong winds forecast over the weekend mean like cancellations on the Stornoway Ullapool route tomorrow (Saturday January 26th).

CalMac have placed the ferry on a yellow alert, with the 2.30pm sailing from Stornoway and the 6.30pm from Ullapool described as ‘extremely doubtful’ in a strong north-north-easterly wind, with wave heights forecast up to five metres.

Leverburgh lifeboat launched yesterday (Thursday January 24th) to reports of a speedboat which had run aground on a sandbar off Benbecula.

Stornoway Coastguard received the report at noon that the leisure craft, with one person aboard, was aground and had lost engine power just north of Benbecula airport.

The lifeboat was en route to the scene when it was reported that the fire and rescue boat from Benbecula airport had reached the casualty and that the person aboard was safe and well.

Police in Motherwell have issued an appeal to trace relatives of a man who passed away in Airdrie on January 11th.

The man, 78-year-old John Bruce is believed to have originated in Lewis and may have some relatives still in the islands.

CalMac Ferries is facing new clamour from the Islands to relocate its management from the Central Belt – and to drop its ideas of increasing ferry fares to choke off summer demands on island routes.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has called on the Scottish Government and Cal-Mac to take forward the issue of locating management jobs in the Outer Hebrides. 

The call comes following reports yesterday (Wednesday January 23rd) that Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is considering moving its National HQ to Fort George, near Inverness.

In response to public demand, Stornoway Port Authority is to seek permission to extend the lifespan of a powerful art installation commemorating the Iolaire disaster.

‘Sheòl an Iolaire/The Iolaire Sailed’ was installed on the town’s South Beach in December, ahead of the centenary commemorations on 1 January and has since been visited by thousands of people.

Leaving the Common Agricultural Policy as part of Brexit presents a positive opportunity to revitalise Scottish farming, Scottish Land & Estates said today (Wednesday January 23).

The rural business organisation made the comments within its response to the Scottish Affairs Committee’s consultation, the Future of Scottish Agriculture post-Brexit.

The organisation said the priorities for any future agricultural support must focus on:

A further warning of ice for Lewis and Harris has been issued by the Met Office this morning (Wednesday January 23rd).

Issued at 10.15am, the warning covers the period between 6pm tonight and 11am on Thursday, and urges people to be aware of the risk of slips and falls with possible injuries and of icy roads making driving conditions hazardous.

National recognition has come for the senior Gaelic medium class (Primary 4-7) at Sgoil nan Loch who signed up to take part in last year’s Wee Sleep Out to raise funds and awareness for the Scottish homelessness charity Social Bite.

The Sgoil nan Loch was placed 10th in the Wee Sleep Out fundraising league. As they were in the top 11 fundraisers, parent/organiser Mairi Mackenzie and two pupils from the class were invited to attend Social Bite's Thank You dinner in Edinburgh.

Westside artist DK Macleod is holding and open Studio on 9th February.
 
Donald says: "Come along to my open studio day at 18 New Shawbost on Saturday 9th February from 9am to 4pm.
 
"I will have prints, small, medium and large originals available to buy.
 
"I will also have some new work on the easel where I can give you a short demo and talk about the painting."
 
Below is one of Donald's original oil paintings, further examples can be viewed at www.greensandblues.co.uk/donald-macleod.html or at his Shawbost Studio.

A young woman has received a recorded police warning following an incident in Stornoway yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 22nd January).

The 17-year-old was not arrested, but her behaviour at a public building in the town caused police to be called at 1.30pm, and she was subsequently charged with a breach of the peace.

A recorded warning stays on police record for two years, and can be taken into account if another crime is committed within that time.

Yvonne White, a crofter from Kingsburgh on the Isle of Skye, has been appointed to lead the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF).

At a board and council meeting held in Inverness last Friday, two new vice-chairs were also nominated and approved.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil says Scotland has the option to escape the chaos of Brexit through independence.

Mr MacNeil says that he and his SNP colleagues at Westminster have fought hard to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard in the Brexit process but the UK Tory Government has refused to move on extending Article 50; have refused to rule out a devastating No Deal scenario; and have refused to hold another EU referendum.

Port operators CMAL say that because of findings during routine inspection of the Tarbert linkspan, issues have been identified which require the lifting ropes to be replaced.

The linkspan at Tarbert will be closed after the 16.00 ferry service on Wednesday 27 February departs, and will reopen for the arrival of the 11.20 sailing on Tuesday 5 March.

This will allow both sets of rope replacements to be carried out during a single closure period, CMAL say.

Broadband speeds in the Western Isles are slow, but they are not the slowest in Britain, a survey released today (Tuesday January 22nd) has found.

The consumer organisation Which? Carried out more than 277,000 broadband speed tests across the UK in the year to 30th September 2018, and found na h-Eileanan an Iar towards the bottom end of the scale, with an average speed of 11.5 megabytes per second (Mbps).

Broadband speeds in the Western Isles are slow, but they are not the slowest in Britain, a survey released today (Tuesday January 22nd) has found.

The consumer organisation Which? Carried out more than 277,000 broadband speed tests across the UK in the year to 30th September 2018, and found na h-Eileanan an Iar towards the bottom end of the scale, with an average speed of 11.5 megabytes per second (Mbps).

A new warning of icy conditions has been issued by the Met Office, with the whole of the Western Isles falling under the yellow ‘be aware’ notice.

Issued at 10am today (Tuesday January 22nd) the warning covers the period from 4pm this afternoon until 11am tomorrow, Wednesday.

Stornoway lifeboat RNLB Tom Sanderson launched at lunchtime today (Tuesday 12.45pm) to meet a French fishing vessel in Stornoway harbour, and to take on board a crew member needing medical attention.

The French trawler FV Sandettie called the French Coastguard when a 48-year-old crewman fell ill with stomach pains, while they were fishing north of the Butt of Lewis this morning.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil and MSP Alasdair have slammed the Tory government in London for ‘sneaking out’ changes to state pensions which could affect older couples to the tune of £7,000 per year.

Changes to benefits for mixed-age couples – which will be introduced from 15 May 2019 - were quietly released by Tory ministers on the evening of Theresa May’s humiliating Brexit-deal defeat.

Charity walker Chris Lewis is continuing his love affair with the Isle of Harris and its people – despite the weather throwing everything it’s got at him while he’s been on the island.

Former paratrooper Chris reached Tarbert on January 10th, with his dog Jet, after trekking round the coast from Uig as part of his epic round-UK walk. He’s been walking since summer 2017 and aims to cover every inch of the British coastline, raising funds for the armed forces charity SSAFA as he goes.

A broken power line at Bernera road end was responsible for putting nearly 400 Uig homes in the dark just before 2pm today (Monday January 21st).

A spokesperson for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said the line was to be replaced, with engineering teams already on site now (3.20pm) and working to fix the problem.

On the 30th of November 2018, Castlebay Community School held a concert on the theme of emigration as part of the Dìleab (Legacy) project which also formed part of the Comhairle's engagement in Year of the Young Person.

Lewis stargazers were lucky to have intermittent clear skies during a spectacular lunar event in the early hours of this morning (Monday January 21st).


Emergency crews in Stornoway were called into action in the early hours of this morning (Monday January 21st) when a fishing vessel called for help with a sick crewman.

The expected strong winds and high sea swell have brought cancellations to ferries in Lewis and Harris.

As CalMac warned yesterday, today’s (Monday January 21st) 10.30am sailing from Ullapool and 2pm from Stornoway have now been cancelled.

The 5.30pm from Ullapool is expected to operate as scheduled.

CalMac has warned of a possible three days of disruption to the ferry service between Barra and the mainland, with today’s (Monday Januray 21st) services cancelled and later sailings also under threat.

Two young drivers attracted police attention over separate driving incidents in Stornoway at the weekend.

A 20-year-old man had his vehicle seized under section 126 of the Anti-social Behaviour Order 2004.

Leverburgh’s new lifeboat RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley was called to St Kilda on Thursday afternoon (January 17th) after Stornoway Coastguard answered a call for assistance from the passenger vessel Enchanted Isle at 2.22pm.

High tides and strong winds have led to warnings of coastal flooding and travel disruption around the Western Isles tomorrow (Monday January 21st) and on Tuesday (22nd).

Ferries between Castlebay and Oban have been cancelled, with an amended timetable operating between Tarbert and Uig and other services on alert.

An up-and-coming force in pipe music is growing in Lewis and Harris schools, with the formation of a new pipe band – and now their sights are set on the Scottish Schools’ Pipe Band Championships, due to be held in Livingston on March 10th.

With the largest number of films ever submitted to this year’s FilmG competition, organisers of Scotland’s Gaelic short film competition are delighted to announce this year’s shortlisted films.

In the youth category, films from the Highlands and Islands have made the most impact on the shortlists.

The Nicolson Institute has two films shortlisted for the ‘Best Film’.

Proposals for surge pricing of ferry fares over the summer to curb traffic have received a bad response on the Islands.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar today (Friday January 18th) expressed concern over Scottish Government’s announcement that it is considering an option which would increase peak time fares on west coast ferry routes.

Councillor Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee: “This is very concerning indeed and shows a lack of understanding for the needs and aspirations of our island communities.

Plans have been revealed for a new attempt on the Big Minch Swim, set to take place in June this year.

Paul Finnegan of Harris and Stornoway’s Colin Macleod will attempt to swim the 25 miles between Gairloch and Lemreway in Lochs, to raise funds for Western Isles Community Care Forum and Cancer Research UK. 

A man who refused to turn down loud music and was abusive to police found himself in custody this morning (Friday January 18th).

Police were called to an address in Stornoway at 5.25 this morning, to reports that loud music was being played and was annoying other residents.

More cold temperatures are forecast tonight and tomorrow (Saturday January 19th), following the snow earlier in the week.

Police Scotland have advised drivers to plan their journeys, have a scraper ready for clearing windows and to drive with care.

The unexpected sudden fall of snow on Wednesday morning(January 16th) hit drivers with challenging conditions, especially on the stretch of road between Stornoway and Leurbost.

Former Sheriff Colin Scott Mackenzie will be heading to Buckingham Palace next month (February) to receive his OBE.

Colin Scott got the award in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for services to the community in the Western and Northern Isles.

Kinloch Historical Society is pleased to announce the launch of the Community Inclusion Project.

This 15-month project, led by the newly appointed Community Inclusion Project Officer, Gemma Malcolm, is funded by the Aspiring Communities Fund, which is supported by the European Social Fund (ESF) and Scottish Government.

The project seeks to engage with the Kinloch community in new and innovative ways, for the purpose of identifying and addressing the most prominent social challenges affecting the area.

Point and Sandwick Trust will be giving £5,000 a year for the next five years to Lewis and Harris Auction Mart in Steinish – a donation which should help the cash-strapped mart carry out much-needed repairs and help offset its costs of bringing in the professional buyers for the sales.

Point and Sandwick Trust representatives Donald John MacSween and Gordon Mackay joined Kenny Macleod and Donald MacBain for a photograph, above, on the day the deal was announced.

PST board member Gordon Mackay was particularly pleased with the Point and Sandwick Trust sponsorship deal because he knows – being a crofter himself, as well as a local postie – how much the help is needed.

College employers have hit back at lecturers who were on strike at Lews Castle College and other colleges yesterday (Wednesday January 16th), claiming some staff have already been awarded pay rises totalling almost £20,000.

The protest is one of a series being organised by the Educational Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA).

A sudden snowfall – the first of the winter in many areas - brought about rush-hour traffic chaos for Lewis travellers today.

As lecturing staff at Lews Castle College, Shetland, Moray, Inverness, Perth and North Highland Colleges go on strike today  (Wednesday 16th January) the President of the Highlands and Islands Students Association Alan Simpson has released this statement on the impact it will have on students.

“Responsibility for solving this situation lies with the Scottish Government.

Two short films by pupils of Sir E Scott school in Tarbert have reached the top 10 in the People's Choice Awards in Scotland's Gaelic Film Competition, FilmG Alba.

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has received assurances from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, that he is absolutely committed to maintaining Less Favoured Area Support at 80% of the 2018 funding level for the next financial years 2019 and 2020.

“Less Favoured Area payments (LFASS) are vital for those of us in the Highlands & Islands who face natural constraints,” said Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation, “so the prospect of this support being cut to 80% in 2019 and then to only 40% in 2020 was unthinkable.

Shares have gone on offer for a new distillery project, planned to benefit the Isle of Barra at the same time as bringing genuine island whisky to a very exclusive market.

Uisge Beatha nan Eilean (Isle of Barra Distillery), a community benefit society, had a ‘soft launch’ in Castlebay on 19th December, with islanders learning of the project first-hand from directors Peter Brown, Malcolm Fraser (architect) and engineer Neil Mackinnon.

Now the company is looking for £1.5 million in share investment through a crowd-funding page, which offers ‘a rare opportunity to be part of a quality distillery project in an evocative island location with unique characteristics for Scotch whisky production.’

Shares have gone on offer for a new distillery project, planned to benefit the Isle of Barra at the same time as bringing genuine island whisky to a very exclusive market.

Uisge Beatha nan Eilean (Isle of Barra Distillery), a community benefit society, had a ‘soft launch’ in Castlebay on 19th December, with islanders learning of the project first-hand from directors Peter Brown, Malcolm Fraser (architect) and engineer Neil Mackinnon.

Now the company is looking for £1.5 million in share investment through a crowd-funding page, which offers ‘a rare opportunity to be part of a quality distillery project in an evocative island location with unique characteristics for Scotch whisky production.’

Shares have gone on offer for a new distillery project, planned to benefit the Isle of Barra at the same time as bringing genuine island whisky to a very exclusive market.

Uisge Beatha nan Eilean (Isle of Barra Distillery), a community benefit society, had a ‘soft launch’ in Castlebay on 19th December, with islanders learning of the project first-hand from directors Peter Brown, Malcolm Fraser (architect) and engineer Neil Mackinnon.

Now the company is looking for £1.5 million in share investment through a crowd-funding page, which offers ‘a rare opportunity to be part of a quality distillery project in an evocative island location with unique characteristics for Scotch whisky production.’

Sgoil nan Loch’s senior Gaelic medium class (Primary 4-7) signed up to take part in last year’s Wee Sleep Out to raise funds and awareness for the Scottish homelessness charity Social Bite. 

Aided by a handful of parents the children slept on the floor of the large agricultural shed at Laxay Showground on Friday 16th November.  

More concerns have been highlighted about driver behaviour at traffic lights in Stornoway.

On welovestornoway.com’s Facebook Page, Beth Morrison told how only a few days ago, there was an incident at the crossing lights by Canada Crescent/Macaulay Road.

“Three of us waiting to cross and some eejit went right through the red – after appearing to look/check. 'Oh it's red, I'm fine then'?!”

Scotland's colleges have hit hit out at lecturer employees due to go out on strike tomorrow (Wednesday 16 January 2019) – claiming the offer on the table is the best overall pay rise for public sector workers anywhere in the UK.

Colleges and the Educational Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) are in a pay dispute regarding an additional cost of living pay offer covering the 2017-20 three-year period and  four strike days are scheduled.

A salary harmonisation 'same-pay' deal from National Bargaining negotiations to rectify pay disparities across the country over this three-year period was agreed in May 2017 which increases lecturers’ pay by a national average of 9% and safeguards or improves lecturers’ terms and conditions. 

The first single for 15 years has been unofficially released today (Monday January 14th) by Lewis-based indie-pop band Astrid.

Poison Reaction is the lead track on the new album Fall, Stand, Dance, due to be released on April 12th via Collins’ AED Records.

Lochs footballer Rachael Johnstone has started 2019 in perfect form, learning that she has been selected for Scotland’s national women’s U16 training camp in February.

Ceilidh-goers in Harris will be treated to a champion performance next month, as the six-times world champion Highland dancer Marielle Lesperance joins the line-up for a community ceilidh.

The weather did all it could to dampen spirits, but nothing could beat the determination of Stornoway Rugby Club seniors team as they pulled off a hard-fought win yesterday (Saturday January 12th)

A police dog who has swapped the beat for Barra’s beaches has been celebrated over the weekend, after Police Scotland announced his retirement to the island yesterday (Saturday January 12th).

PD Slaine, an eight-year-old German Shepherd, started working for the force when he was just three months old, training with his career-long handler PC Phil Farndell.

Protests have erupted from walkers in Stornoway faced with regular peril from drivers ignoring red lights at road junctions and pedestrian crossings.

This came out on the welovestornoway.com Facebook Page after editor Fred Silver shared his experience at the Matheson Road/Goathill Road/ Church Street junction last Tuesday (January 8th).

This was the latest in a series of near-misses at different crossings over recent several years – which also include being distracted by a mobile phone message and thereby saved from injury because he failed to step off the pavement when the pedestrian phase began, and thus avoided being hit by a car going through on red at full speed.

MSPs from across Scotland have teamed up to highlight their concerns over the impact that ending Freedom of Movement through Brexit at the end of March will have on the local areas they represent.

This comes as a series of businesses across the Western Isles - particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors - report ever-growing problems attracting vital staff in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

Meanwhile, the Whitehall Government is planning both to end freedom of movement, possibly from March 29 if there is a "no-deal" Brexit, and to limit all immigration to people earning over £30,000 a year and using strict quotas to limit the total to the tens of thousands, perhaps a fifth of what it is at the moment.  Meanwhile the value of the £ has slumped in recent years, making the present pay levels far less attractive.

A war of words broke out on Twitter yesterday (Friday January 11th) between Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Daily Record newspaper over schooling in the Western Isles, particularly in relation to The Nicolson Institute in Stornoway.

This followed yet another article in the newspaper strongly critical of the school.

On Twitter the Council said “@Daily_Record and the journalist involved, should be ashamed of themselves.

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Coastline walker Chris Lewis experienced a real Harris welcome as he approached Tarbert yesterday (Thursday January 10th) with people from across the island gathering to offer him help on his marathon walk.

Chris, a former paratrooper, is walking the entire coastline of the UK to raise funds for SSAFA, the armed forces charity. After being in Stornoway for the Iolaire commemorations over New Year, he set out to tackle the hills from Uig to Huisinis.

On Wednesday he faced one of his most testing days of walking, as he reported on social media: “I was already tired out before walking yesterday. We stayed by the coast, avoiding the easier route through the mountains, and boy did it make us work for it! Every peak we climbed I looked down and there was another and bigger than the last! We managed to make our last climb only 20 minutes before sunset.”

A golden performance in December has earned the Lewis and Harris Youth Concert Band a performance spot at the Scottish Concert Band Festival 10th anniversary concert in March.

The youth band, under the direction of Nicolson Institute music teacher Gavin Woods, is classified as a developing youth band by the SCBF organisation.

Befriending Lewis are delighted to announce that they are now looking to recruit volunteers for their Befriending Service pilot in Harris.

Befriending aims to provide supportive, reliable relationships through volunteer befrienders, to people who would otherwise be socially isolated. The service has been a huge success in Lewis with volunteers giving support to those in their local area who need it.

Can you spare an hour a week to have a chat over a cuppa, introduce some-one to the gym, go for a walk, knit and natter? A small amount of your time can make a huge difference to some-one who feel socially isolated or lacks confidence and is rewarding for both befriender and befriendee. 

Befriender training days have been organised for 29th January, 18th and 25th February, contact Befriending Lewis to attend or just find out more about what's involved: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 01851 702632

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed the support of the First Minister for designating the site of the wreck of HMY Iolaire as a War Grave.

The MSP for the Western Isles, Dr Alasdair Allan raised the issue today at First Minister’s Question Time. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, confirmed that she was supportive of the move.

Stornoway blacksmith Calum Stealach Macleod is reviving the art of wrought ironwork for Stornoway town centre, using salvaged 19th century iron from the town itself.

Stornoway blacksmith Calum Stealach Macleod is reviving the art of wrought ironwork for Stornoway town centre, using salvaged 19th century iron from the town itself.

A ‘name and shame’ list of companies who charge excessive delivery costs to customers in the Western Isles is to be submitted to the UK Government Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) within the next week.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil will tomorrow (Friday January 11th) send a list compiled from customers in the Western Isles to Jamie Stone MP, as part of a campaign to expose mail order companies who actively discriminate against customers in the Highlands and Islands.

It’s part of a dual campaign between MPs and MSPs, with Islands MSP Alasdair Allan yesterday (Wednesday January 9th) revealing the cost to island consumers of excess delivery charges to be £2.66 million in 2018.

A total of 32 people have been reported in connection with driving under the influence of drink or drugs during the festive period, police in the Highlands and Islands say.

Of those detected locally during the month-long national campaign throughout December and over the New Year period, 11 of the drivers were in their twenties or younger.

More than 3,000 vehicles were stopped over the course of the month long campaign with the vast majority returning negative test results.

Past and present music students are being offered the chance to take their skills on stage at a major festival.

Hebridean Celtic Festival has teamed up with Lews Castle College UHI to provide young talent with an opportunity to perform in front of an international audience.

The competition replaces the Next Steps contest introduced by HebCelt last year to find new and emerging new acts.

Delivery surcharges for islanders in the Outer Hebrides have risen by five per cent - about £120,000 - over 12 months.

Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has hit out at the "unjustifiable delivery surcharges" after research has shown consumers in the Western Isles continue to pay over the odds.

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has estimated that consumers in the Western Isles faced £2.66 million in delivery surcharges over the course of 2018. This is a near 5% increase from 2017 where SPICe estimated the cost of delivery surcharges as £2.54 million.

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) warns that crofting is seriously threatened by the drastic cuts to Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) announced by the Scottish Government.

“Reducing the Less Favoured Areas support to 80% of current rates for 2019 sends out a very negative message, but we can live with it”, SCF Chair, Russell Smith, stated, “but to then cut it to a mere 40% for 2020 will be ruinous.

NHS Highland has this week (Monday January 7th) announced the appointment of Stornoway man Iain Stewart as their new Chief Executive.

A new business service being launched today (Wednesday January 9th) seeks to match people looking for live music with the musicians who can make their event go with a swing.

Wee Studio Entertainment is the latest idea from musician and sound specialist Keith Morrison, continuing his quest to invigorate the island music scene while giving as many musicians as possible a chance to make their music work.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil will vote against the Prime Minister’s damaging Brexit deal in the House of Commons next week.

The delayed ‘Meaningful Vote’ is scheduled to take place next Tuesday (January 15th) following several days of debate starting today (Wednesday).

Mr MacNeil says the Prime Minister has made the UK an ‘international laughing stock’ due to the ongoing Brexit chaos and that the time has come for Scotland to take its own path.

More than 100 people waited too long at NHS Western Isles A&E departments in 2018, new figures released today (Tuesday January 8th)  reveal. 

Data published by ISD Scotland reveals that 102 people waited more than eight hours at Accident and Emergency last year.  This figure represents a 96.2% increase from 2017.

The Scottish Labour party said the figures evidenced the stress our health service is under, with overworked staff facing crowded A&E departments. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP has described her participation in the Iolaire centenary event of January 1st as ‘an honour and a privilege’.

Writing today (Tuesday January 8th) in the Glasgow Evening Times, she reflects on the impact of the Iolaire tragedy on the islands, and the importance of today’s young people to the continuing growth and security of the island population.

Trading Standards are advising residents to be aware of a mail scam currently in circulation, which claims to be from TV licencing.

The message states the recipient has either fallen behind with payments, or is due a TV licencing refund.

Western Isles Hospital welcomed the first new arrivals of 2019 on Friday, January 4th, as Baby Andrew and Baby Smith entered safely into the world.

A fishing vessel working in Broadbay unwittingly sparked an emergency alert this morning (Monday January 7th) when an onlooker thought the crew were in trouble in rough seas.

Stornoway Coastguard were called at 11.50am this morning with a report from a local resident of a vessel having difficulty off Portnaguran. RNLB Tom Sanderson was launched from Stornoway five minutes later and a Coastguard Rescue Team from Stornoway was also despatched to the scene.

On arrival at Portnaguran it was established that the fishing crew were lifting creels and were in no need of assistance. The emergency teams were stood down and all units had returned to base by 2pm this afternoon.

Police are appealing for witnesses to a road accident which left a member of Tesco’s staff slightly injured on Friday afternoon (January 4th).

The staff member had been collecting trolleys to bring back to the store from around the town centre when he was struck from behind by a vehicle on Shell Street, just outside the Tesco’s car park, at 4pm on Friday.

Explosives experts from the Royal Navy Explosives Ordnance Disposal team (EOD) carried out a controlled explosion at Rodel on Friday afternoon (January 4th) following the discovery last week of suspected ordnance above the shoreline.

The team arrived in Harris on Friday after the report had come in on December 30th that a silver cylinder, suspected to be ordnance, was lying above high-water mark on the shore below the former Rodel Hotel.

A 32-year-old man from Stornoway is reported to have been the victim of a motorbike accident in the town of Phuket in Thailand on Friday evening (January 4th).

The man, who has not been named, reportedly died after the Kawasaki Ninja motorbike he was riding crashed into an electricity power supply pole on Soi Ta-iad, a street known for martial arts training centres in Chalong.

Warnings have been issued over stormy weather due to blow in across the Western Isles in the early hours of Monday, January 7th.

A Met Office warning of strong winds was updated earlier today (Sunday January 6th) bringing the start time of the gales forward to 9am, although the effects of the incoming wind are likely to be felt before that.

Stornoway police have asked for information from anyone who knows the whereabouts of two rams which have gone missing from an enclosed area within a field off the Pentland Road, near Carloway.

The owner of the rams has shared additional information on social media, including a picture of the missing animals, shown above'

Sheshader not only now has its own defibrillator – it also has a telephone hotline for summoning the defibrillator and a neighbour who can use it!

Community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust recently passed the £1million mark in charitable donations since the Beinn Ghrideag turbines began generating power and making profit, which goes into their community benefit pot to be invested in good causes.

A team of explosives specialists from the Royal Navy base at Faslane are due in Harris today (Friday January 4th) to investigate an item of suspected ordnance which was discovered on the beach at Rodel.

The silver cylinder was reported to Stornoway Coastguard on Sunday December 30th and checked by local Coastguard Rescue Team members before the matter was passed to police.

An 18-year-old man has appeared in court in Stornoway today (Friday January 4th) after being traced by police following a serious assault.

The assault took place in Stornoway town centre just after midnight on Sunday 30th December.

The picture shows Ocean GreatWhite seen from Point in the early morning.

There’s been no confirmed date of departure for the huge oil drilling platform which has been anchored in the Minch since before New Year. 

The Ocean GreatWhite has been brought from Singapore and is to be delivered to Kishorn Port Ltd (KPL) for preparation work to make her ready for drilling in the North Sea early this year. She’s currently awaiting the completion of documentation and was expected to move yesterday (Thursday January 3rd) to complete the journey to Kishorn. 

A "Yellow Warning" for high winds has been issued this morning (Friday January 4th) by the UK Meteorological Office for between Monday at 12:00 and Tuesday at 15:00hrs.

The regions and local authorities affected are Central, Tayside & Fife, Grampian Highlands & Eilean Siar, Orkney & Shetland.

A shy Highland cow needed all the emergency resources of Fire Scotland and Coastguard Rescue Teams today (Thursday January 3rd) when she chose to get stuck in a loch rather than take up with a bull.

The cow was reported stuck in a loch near Quidinish in the Bays of Harris at 11.30am.

Two fire crews – one appliance from Leverburgh and the second carrying enhanced rescue equipment from Stornoway – were tasked to the scene and were able to extricate the cow from the water.

Stornoway police have made a public appeal for information on two unrelated incidents of vandalism in the town, both of which happened during the days between Christmas and New Year.

A car parked behind the Town Hall on Point Street in the town centre had its windscreen broken overnight between Friday and Saturday (December 28th and 29th) and police wish to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything.

A former serviceman who is dedicating himself to fundraising for others joined serving soldiers and sailors at New Year to honour the victims of the Iolaire tragedy.

Chris Lewis is 18 months through an epic walk around the whole coastline of the UK, raising funds for SSAFA, the military charity which supports all former servicemen and their families. An ex-member of the Parachute Regiment, he benefited from the support of SSAFA during hard times in his own life.

Chris chose to spend his winter in Lewis and Harris, arriving in Stornoway in November. Hearing about the Iolaire tragedy during his walk around the coastline of Lewis, he came back to Stornoway on Monday to take part in all the events surrounding the Iolaire centenary commemoration.

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Lewis and Harris have been nominated for an award to recognise a complex and difficult cliff rescue with a successful outcome.

Teams from Stornoway, South Lochs, Bragar, Tarbert and Scalpay were all called upon to help with the rescue of a man from a cliff face in St Kilda on June 26th  2018.

Now Stornoway-based Coastal Operations Area Commander Murdo Macaulay has nominated all those involved for a Chief Coastguard's Commendation and a special shield, both to be presented by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in recognition of their work saving the life of a man who fell from cliffs and was seriously injured while walking in St Kilda.

A 54-year-old man is in custody at Stornoway Police Station and will appear in court tomorrow (Thursday January 3rd) after causing a road accident early on New Year’s Day.

The man crashed the vehicle he was driving into a stone wall opposite the junction from Arnol on the A858 Barvas Road, in the early hours of Tuesday (January 1st).

Tributes have been paid to a well-known island tour guide, who has been locally named as the victim of a road accident in the late afternoon of New Year’s Eve.

Joan Morrison was the co-ordinator of the Western Isles Tour Guide Association. She died following a collision with a vehicle near Swainbost on Monday (December 31st) around 5.30pm.

Emergency services were called to the scene with police, fire crews and a Coastguard Rescue Team from Ness working together as the road was closed following the accident.

Joan was taken to Western Isles Hospital by Scottish Ambulance but was sadly confirmed to have died when she reached hospital.

The wind blew, the sun shone, clouds threatened but produced nothing…and the cold was bitter as hundreds of people gathered on the windswept, shelter-less coastline at Holm to commemorate the Iolaire tragedy today (January 1st 2019).

From before 10am, people were waiting expectantly in the car park of The Nicolson Institute, gradually filling the lines of buses aiming to transport all the spectators, participants, visitors and guests.

The camaraderie of war was renewed in Stornoway today (Tuesday January 1st) as Lewis Camanachd played host to mighty opponents at the Bayhead pitch.

Travelling to the Western Isles to take part in the islands’ commemoration of 100 years since the Iolaire tragedy were Kinlochshiel Shinty Club, 2018 winners of the Macaulay Cup and worthy opposition for the centenary tribute match.

The Loch Seaforth’s shortest and most solemn voyage was completed without a hitch today (Tuesday January 1st) as 600 passengers made the pilgrimage to view the Beasts of Holm while the Iolaire centenary was commemorated.

The sailing of the Loch Seaforth had been organised by CalMac in answer to access issues for people with mobility problems, who were allowed to drive on board and to use the lifts from the car deck to get access. It also offered a vantage point from which tributes could be laid on the water close to the wreck of the Iolaire.

Stornoway’s town centre was packed with hundreds of onlookers last night (Monday December 31st 2018) as the Iolaire Commemoration moved towards its climax.

Francis Street was filled with the sights and scents of the torchlight procession led by the Lewis Pipe Band which walked from the Town Hall to Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais.

A serious road traffic accident involving a pedestrian and a car took place in Swainbost, north Lewis, at the start of yesterday evening.

Police Scotland officers were called to the incident before 8pm and the road was closed and diversions were put in place.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the unveiling of revised budget proposals by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay which will see Comhairle nan Eilean Siar receive an extra £1.2 million.

The budget boost comes as the Scottish Government confirmed that local government will receive an above-inflation increase in resource funding.

A new takeaway food service is now being offered by NHS Western Isles’ catering teams.

Launched on January 22, the new takeaway service is now available to all customers visiting Western Isles Hospital or Ospadal Uibhist agus Bharraigh’s dining room.

Takeaways are not self service and orders should be placed with the cashier.

Biodegradable paper straws are to replace plastic straws in Western Isles hospitals’ dining rooms (Western Isles Hospital and Ospadal Uibhist agus Bharraigh), in an effort to help reduce the impact of plastic waste on the planet.

The move is part of a commitment to environmental sustainability.  Used for a few minutes then discarded, once in the environment, plastic straws do not decompose, persisting for hundreds – perhaps thousands – of years, gradually breaking into smaller and smaller pieces that can be eaten by wildlife.

Following a change in the current weather conditions today Wednesday, January 31st, Police Scotland has issued a warning to drivers to DRIVE WITH CAUTION in the northern half of the country.

The Western Isles are one area most likely to be affected by snow and ice from 6pm tonight; as well as the Argyll, Highland, Moray, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Angus, and Perth and Kinross areas.

Above, Caroline Maclennan, director of the Hebridean Celtic Festival addresses the launch event

Lewis Wind Power opened a new office in Stornoway today (January 31st) so that people can drop in and talk to employees about its two proposed wind farms.

The opening follows the appointment of champion mountain biker Kerry MacPhee to look after community liaison for the projects.

She will join stakeholder relations manager David Morrison at the office on Cromwell Street Quay. It is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Essence of Harris Candle Co. have had their own unique tartan designed and registered with The Scottish Register of Tartans.

A special candle is now in production to celebrate and due for release later this year.

 

A study looking at the future of ferry links to, from and within the Outer Hebrides has been launched, Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf has announced.
Mr Yousaf said: “Our ferry services play a crucial role for the communities of the Clyde and Hebrides and we want to progressively renew the fleet operating on these routes and ensure the provision of suitable services to meet the needs of island communities and businesses, in line with available funding.”
Transport Scotland has commissioned a team of consultants to undertake this work, in line with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG). They will be visiting communities throughout the Outer Hebrides to speak with ferry users, businesses, visitors and local representatives, as they look to identify and assess potential options for future investment and the provision of services.

A world-class centre is being proposed in Stornoway to commemorate the Iolaire Disaster of almost 100 years ago.

This became known after Stewart Graham of Gael Force Group called in to meet the official Iolaire Working Group in Stornoway today (Tuesday January 30th).

The Iolaire Working Group is planning commemorative events in the run up the 100th anniversary of the worst Royal Navy peacetime maritime disaster in less than a year’s time.

'Dieseal' by Jon Macleod - a series of images taken by Solargraph cameras, set up in locations across the islands to capture the passage of the sun over six months

‘OPEN 2018’, an ambitious collaborative exhibition celebrating the best in contemporary and applied art, opened in the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, yesterday (Monday, January 29th), bringing a selection of works made by Lewis and Harris artists for show at the country’s national academy for art.
Collaboration between the Society of Scottish Artists and An Lanntair arts centre takes ‘Làrach: A Hebrides Showcase to Open 2018.
Meaning ‘a mark, impression, site, print, or footprint’, Làrach places particular emphasis on photography, reflecting the current strength of work in this medium present in the Hebrides.

Weather is causing disruption to island ferry services this week with passengers advised to ‘Be Aware’, and many routes running on amended services.
Today (Tuesday, January 30th) has seen the 2.30pm Oban to Castlebay service cancelled.
And the route is also to be cancelled tomorrow (Wednesday, January 31st) as CalMac advises: “Due to forecast winds gusting in excess of 40mph, the Oban to Castlebay service has been cancelled for Wednesday.
“The weather will be reviewed on Wednesday afternoon with regards to a potential additional sailing on Thursday.”

The winter snow looks set to return to the Western Isles again this week as the Met Office issues a Yellow warning for Snow and Ice tomorrow, Wednesday January 31st.
The warning runs from 3am on Wednesday to 6pm, to make all aware that following a spell of rain, temperatures are set to fall quickly, allowing ice to form on untreated surfaces.
Islanders can also expect frequent blustery showers of rain, sleet, snow and hail.
“Some roads and railways are likely to be affected by snow with longer journey times by road, bus and train services,” reads the warning, adding: “Some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces are also possible.”

UPDATE - 3pm, Tuesday January 30th - The Met Office has issued an extended Yellow warning for Snow and Ice running into Thursday, February 1st. Spanning mainly the east coast of the Western Isles, the new Snow and Ice warning runs from 6pm on Wednesday 31st through to 11am on Thursday, February 1st.

To keep up to date with Met Office warnings, please visit: www.metoffice.gov.uk 

Isla Macdonald got a gold in Breastroke (12 & Under) at the Scottish Schools Championship Finals last Saturday (January 27th), held at the Dollan Aquatic Centre in East Kilbride.

She was representing Stornoway Primary School.  

 

The SNP Group on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is once again calling on the Comhairle to prioritise Stornoway Primary for urgent improvements.

Councillor John Mitchell, Education spokesperson for the Group, was invited to visit the school by parents earlier this month.

Councillor Mitchell, who has more than 40 years of experience working in the education system, told the Group that in his view the facilities were inadequate for a school with over 600 pupils.

A new project, established by Sheriff Colin Scott Mackenzie as a testimony to his keen interest in Gaelic, is to be delivered through e-Sgoil technology this month.
The project - Dìleab an t-Siorraidh - aims to encourage Gaelic-speaking pupils to use and improve their language skills through a competition for Primary 7 pupils from schools throughout Lewis and Harris.
Pupils will have to prepare a short talk about a school-based topic or subject of personal interest, as well as converse with two assessors. And by making use of e-Sgoil technology, the assessors will be able to link into each school so that the pupils can remain in a familiar environment in which they are comfortable.

Lewis-born student Harriet McNaughton is hoping to make the grade to take part in a gruelling World Championships next year – as one of only two women in Scotland playing Underwater Hockey at that level.

Underwater Hockey is an exciting and dynamic sport played on the bottom of a swimming pool.   The game is fast and relies on superb fitness, high levels of skill and very close teamwork.  
Two teams compete to manoeuvre a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into the opposing team's goal by propelling it with a hockey stick. 

Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Naiseanta na Gàidhlig is sending a strong message of support and encouragement to parents considering Gaelic Medium Education for their child or children, as the dates for enrolment approach.

Stòrlann provides an impressive range of teaching materials for Gaelic education settings across Scotland — and is today stressing that it also supports parents who may not be able to speak Gaelic themselves and be concerned about how to support their child.

The main sources of support for parents are online: the gaelic4parents.com website and its Homework Help section, where parents can have live online chats with teachers and get answers to whatever Gaelic-related query they have.

Coastguard Rescue teams spent this weekend training in a slightly unusual location – Eilean Glas Lighthouse on Scalpay.
The Coastguard rescue teams were deployed by helicopter to the Lighthouse to train with Northern Lighthouse Board to ensure they are capable of safely recusing from lighthouse towers.

Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT) has appointed West Coast Media, an experienced marketing and design agency based on the Isle of Skye, to develop a new tourism destination strategy for the Outer Hebrides.
And a series of workshops to be held next month (February) offer the opportunity for islanders and local businesses to have their say in the way forward of shaping the future of tourism in the Outer Hebrides.
“Our current strategy has already helped us grow tourism substantially since we developed it in 2014. Initiatives such as the Hebridean Way cycling and walking routes, the Eat Drink Hebrides and Bird of Prey Trails, are broadening our appeal and attracting new visitors” said Ian Fordham, Chairman of OHT.

An area of Stornoway has been hit today (Monday January 29th) by a second power outage in less than a week.

Scottish and Southern Electricty Networks say: ” We are sorry for the loss of supply affecting 1357 customers in the Stornoway area of The Western Isles.

Scotland’s brightest start-ups and entrepreneurs have just one week left to enter a new £100,000 fund, designed to support the development of technology that will help people to thrive in older age.

Entries for the first ever Centrica Active Ageing Challenge close on 5 February.

Successful applicants will be asked to pitch to a team of industry experts in March. As well as a share of the prize fund, winners could also gain access to valuable networking and mentorship opportunities that can help their businesses to grow.

Another gale affecting Lewis, Harris, Shetland, Orkney and the Northern Highlands has hit ferry services today (Saturday January 27)

The UK Met Office says that “Gusts of 60-70 mph are likely quite widely whilst over Orkney and southern Shetland gusts may come close to 80 mph in a few places.

“Peak winds will occur during Saturday evening and night. Winds will then ease from the south and west later in the night and early Sunday morning.” A Yellow Alert has been issued for winds.

Another gale affecting Lewis, Harris, Shetland, Orkney and the Northern Highlands has hit ferry services today (Saturday January 27)

The UK Met Office says that “Gusts of 60-70 mph are likely quite widely whilst over Orkney and southern Shetland gusts may come close to 80 mph in a few places.

“Peak winds will occur during Saturday evening and night. Winds will then ease from the south and west later in the night and early Sunday morning.” A Yellow Alert has been issued for winds.

Lews Castle College UHI has begun a period of consultation on the draft of its second Gaelic Language Plan.

The Plan, which has been developed in accordance with the Gaelic Language Act (2005), outlines how Lews Castle College UHI intends to build on its commitments to Gaelic development, language acquisition and use, as set out in the College’s first Gaelic Language Plan.

"We have a one-week sale on from January 29th-February 3rd", says Artizan in Church Street, Stornoway.

People interested in Evening Classes at Lews Castle College UHI have only days to make sure that they can choose the class that they want.

Lews Castle College UHI says the new range of classes – starting in February – are a “great way to enjoy this spring.”

The list of the Evening Class opportunities available ranges from Art to Indian Cookery , Learner Gaelic, Basic Welding, Timber Carving to Upcycling and others .

The college says: ”We are pleased to be able to offer a growing number of evening classes this winter. Why not come and join us – learn a new skill and have some fun? We look forward to welcoming you!”

How to apply? Please contact the college to register your interest in a course. Phone: 01851 770000 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The 'Ocean Defenders' from Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow have enlisted ferry firm CalMac to their campaign to ban plastic straws.

The group of Primary 7 eco campaigners have been promoting their #NaeStrawAtAw campaign around the country and impressed the company’s new Community Board with their passion for conservation when they presented to them in Oban last week.

Roddy Gillies from Aird, Tong has presented the Linda Norgrove Foundation with a cheque for £3,677 which was raised by the crew on the Rig, Paul B Loyd Junior to help disadvantaged women and children in Afghanistan.

Unable to make the Linda Norgrove Foundation annual 10K on the Bhaltos Peninsula last year, Roddy ran 10K on a treadmill on the rig offshore west of Shetland and encouraged his work colleagues to follow suit.

Creative Scotland announced today (Thursday January 25th)  that An Lanntair, as the major arts centre and creative hub for Lewis and Harris, will receive £1.21m funding from its Regular Funding Programme for 2018-2021. 

The award, which is believed to match the amount provided for the 2015-18 period, recognises the significance and diversity of An Lanntair's performing arts, cinema, exhibitions and music programme.

An Lanntair's Chief Executive, Elly Fletcher, said: "This is fabulous news.  The team and I are delighted that Creative Scotland has recognised the importance of An Lanntair as a centre and hub for the arts, locally and nationally, and has made this crucial investment in our future.

Residents in areas of Stornoway served by networks of access paths and lanes to the rear of their properties have been warned of increased costs if Hebridean Housing Partnership has to take over the maintenance of the network.

In a letter to residents, HHP’s Estates Officer Magnus Johnson says that Stornoway Councillor Charlie Nicolson has raised this issue with HHP.


The NHS Western Isles Physio Team

A new physiotherapy self-referral form has been launched by NHS Western Isles, which will be available to patients from today (Wednesday, January 24th).
The Physiotherapy Self-Referral Service was launched back in June 2013, with an online form being introduced in March 2015.
Over the past two years, more than 2,200 patients have self-referred to the service (without having to see or be prompted by another healthcare practitioner), and feedback from patients who have used the service has been very positive.
Self-referral is now one of the biggest sources of referral into physiotherapy; and there is indisputable evidence that self-referral to physiotherapy results in high levels of client satisfaction, better client outcomes and lower levels of work absence.


Cllr Roberston calls on CalMac to support the communities it serves with more managerial positions based in the islands

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Chair of Transportation and Infrastructure has called on CalMac to locate some of its jobs in the Western Isles as the ferry company advertises three managerial positions at salaries of upwards of £60,000 – all based in Gourock.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson said: “There are no obvious reasons why these posts and similar positions could not be located in the Western Isles, amongst the communities which CalMac serve.”
At present there are four permanent vacancies advertised on the Caledonian MacBrayne website – Head of Security (£70-80k salary), Head of Enterprise (£75-79k), and Programme Manager (£60-65k); all of which are located in Gourock. The fourth vacancy is situated in the Western Isles – Port Assistant at Lochmaddy, 10 contracted hours a week, £10.06 rate of pay per hour.


The artwork for the new vinyl release of SALM Vol.1 was created by Jennifer Lucy Allan

SALM Vol. 1, Gaelic Psalms from the Hebrides of Scotland, was first released in 2006 to critical acclaim – and now there is the chance to hear the exceptional work in a different format as it is re-released on vinyl for the first time by Arc Light Editions this month.
The recordings of Gaelic Psalm singing presented in the release are among the best ever captured.
Documenting a living tradition – the form of religious singing from the Hebrides – the recordings of Gaelic Psalm singing were originally made over two evenings in the Back Free Church, Lewis, in October 2003 by Lewis musician Calum Martin.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has been successful in securing a cash injection of around £200,000 to help shape future heritage development in the Outer Hebrides, one of the first awards to be made through The National Lottery’s new Great Place scheme.

The Great Places Scheme has been devised and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in consultation with organisations involved in regeneration to ensure it responds to the specific needs of Scottish places, from city-wide initiatives to smaller, rural schemes. 

The Comhairle’s heritage service will use the funding to place heritage at the heart of joined-up thinking to create a better place for people to live and visit.

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan is keen to hear from the young folk of the islands to discuss plans for Scotland’s Year of Young People.
Dr Allan, alongside local ‘Youth Champion' Norrie ‘Tomsh’ MacDonald, will hold a discussion event in Point on Monday (January 29th) and hope for a good attendance to bring forth ideas.
“It is really important that young people are able to make their views known, and feel that they are able to influence and take part in the political process,” said Dr Allan.


Norman Todd (left) and Lewisman Colin S Macleod (right) are 'Wild Swimmers of the Year 2017'

A Western Isles wild swimmer has been honoured by The Swimming Brothers as one of the nominations in their Top 10 ‘Wild Swimmers of the Year 2017’.
Colin MacLeod, along with fellow wild swimmer Norman Todd, caught the Swimming Brothers attention last summer when the pair spent nine hours swimming 14 miles from Achiltibuie to Ullapool to support local marine project ‘Living Seas’.
“We had the pleasure of meeting both Norman and Colin last summer during our ‘Wild Lady of Lochbroom Expedition’,” said The Swimming Brothers – Robbie, Calum and Jack Hudson.

Ferries to Stornoway: Wednesday 24th January

The overnight freight service was cancelled

The 0700 sailing from Stornoway is cancelled

The remaining sailings for the day are liable to disruption, delay or cancellation at short notice.

(https://www.calmac.co.uk/service-status?route=25)

 

Western Isles residents are being advised of high winds expected tomorrow as the Met Office issues a Yellow Warning for between 1am and 2pm on Wednesday, January 24th.
A spell of windy weather is expected with gusts widely 50 to 60mph, although over the Hebrides and northern and western parts of Highland, gusts are likely to reach 70 to 80mph.
The Met Office advises that the high winds may affect some bus services and some short-term loss of power and other services is possible.


Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant sees HIAL plans as "another nail driven into the coffin of rural communities".

Plans to close Air Traffic Control towers at Stornoway and Benbecula Airports continue to draw criticism from island politicians.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, is deeply concerned that the announcement from Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) to move their Air Traffic Control operations from the local airport control towers to a virtual network controlled from a centralised location.
Alongside Stornoway and Benbecula Airports in the Western Isles, other HIAL airports affected will include Sumburgh, Wick, John O’ Groats, Kirkwall, Dundee and Inverness. HIAL airports at Barra, Tiree, Islay and Campbeltown will not be affected by changes as they have different levels of air traffic usage.

Yatra - combining traditional Gaelic music with Indian rag - first performed in An Lanntair as part of the Purvai Festival last year

An Lanntair celebrates the continued success of its Festival of South Asian Art and Culture, Purvai in 2018 as the festival travels to India for some very special events and live performances.
The festival, held in Stornoway, was a signature event for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, was original inspired by the life and collection of Stornoway-born Colonel Colin Mackenzie, who became the first Surveyor General of India.
The Purvai Festival engaged audiences with the rich history that exists between India and Scotland, celebrating and exploring the South Asian cultural heritage that is an integral part of Scotland today. Now the headline and YHHA Signature event of Purvai – Yatra (meaning Journey) – which told the journey of Mackenzie from the Hebrides to India through a confluence of Gaelic vocal tradition and Indian Rag, will be performed to audiences in India at The India Museum in Calcutta.

Yatra - combining traditional Gaelic music with Indian rag - first performed in An Lanntair as part of the Purvai Festival last year

An Lanntair celebrates the continued success of its Festival of South Asian Art and Culture, Purvai in 2018 as the festival travels to India for some very special events and live performances.
The festival, held in Stornoway, was a signature event for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, was original inspired by the life and collection of Stornoway-born Colonel Colin Mackenzie, who became the first Surveyor General of India.
The Purvai Festival engaged audiences with the rich history that exists between India and Scotland, celebrating and exploring the South Asian cultural heritage that is an integral part of Scotland today. Now the headline and YHHA Signature event of Purvai – Yatra (meaning Journey) – which told the journey of Mackenzie from the Hebrides to India through a confluence of Gaelic vocal tradition and Indian Rag, will be performed to audiences in India at The India Museum in Calcutta.

The Prime Minister was hosting a traditional Burns Supper in Downing Street this evening (Monday January 22nd) in celebration of the life and works of the bard.

Scots from a variety of business sectors, food and drink suppliers, educational institutions and politics joined the UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Mr May, the Secretary of State for Scotland and others for a three-course meal in the State Dining Room.

(And even more amazingly, your favourite website welovestornoway.com (and EVENTS newspaper) has arrived on the address list of 10 Downing Street for such news releases, so we thought we would share it all with our readers.)

On Twitter Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell, the Scottish Government's 'Brexit Minister' commented that this event was: "final and conclusive proof of Hugh MacDiarmid's contention that 'mair nonsense has been uttered in his name (Burns) than ony other barrin' liberty and Christ."  Mr Russell pointed out that Theresa May had claimed that: "Burns Night is part of the UK's enduring union."  Burns Night is, of course, marked on 25 January every year to mark the writer’s birthday.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan earlier today (Monday) met with representatives of the workforce at the Arnish Construction Yard in Lewis.

The number of people employed at the yard, operated by manufacturing company BiFab, is being reduced as work from the Beatrice contract comes to an end.   Last year Scottish Government intervention saved BiFab from of collapse.

Alasdair Allan said: “This is a difficult time for the workforce at Arnish. When BiFab was threatened with administration towards the end of last year, a huge factor in keeping it going was the dignity and resilience of yard employees.

This elegant knitted hat became separated from its owner sometime before lunchtime on Saturday in Rigs Road, quite near to its junction with Bell's Road, in Stornoway. 

It was lying on the pavement and then was placed on an adjoining wall in case someone returned for it. But alas it was still there this afternoon (Monday). 

Anyone who recognises it can contact EVENTS newspaper on 01851 705743 tomorrow - or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A burst water main has been located at on Great Bernera, Scottish Water report this afternoon (Monday January 22)

Customersare warned they may experience loss of water supply, low pressure, and discoloured water.

A squad is on site to carry out the necessary repairs and will restore supplies as soon as possible.  

Scottish Water say they can only apologise regarding any inconvenience this may cause.

Snow meant a little more preparation than usual at the helicopter landing site at Western Isles Hospital this weekend

Winter weather has kept the Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team busy as recent gales and snow have seen the team out and about helping islanders stay safe.
Yesterday, Sunday January 21st, the Coastguard Rescue Team was tasked to prepare the landing site at Western Isles Hospital to be ready for the Rescue 948 Coastguard helicopter which was transferring a patient from Balivanich.
Preparing the landing site is a common tasking for the Rescue Team, however with heavy snow in and around Stornoway at the weekend, there was a bit more preparation required than usual!


The late Rev Kenny MacDonald never gave up searching for his missing daughter Alison

The passing of Rev Kenny MacDonald has brought ‘much sadness and a great sense of loss’ to those who joined in the search for his missing daughter Alison.
A post on the ‘Let’s Find Alison’ Facebook page today (Monday, January 22nd), reads: “It is with much sadness and a great sense of loss that we learned of the death of Rev Kenny MacDonald.
“It came as a great shock and he will be sorely missed, for his contribution and stewardship, for the church and the people of Golspie. He has gone to receive his eternal reward. Our thoughts, prayers and love are with Reta and family.”

There’s a whole range of jobs and careers available in Lewis and Harris according to the posts being advertised on our website!

There’s work in both the public and private sectors…from top managerial positions to entry-level posts.

So take your pick from posts with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Lews Castle, Stag Bakeries, the Cabarfeidh Hotel, Hebrides Alpha and many more!

A new Yellow Warning for "Snow & ice" has been issued by the Met Office for today (Sunday January 21st) between 06:00 and 18:00.

Compared to yesterday, this warning area has been extended northwards to cover the northwest Highlands, and the Isles of Lewis and Harris.

As the temperatures remained at or below freezing point (0C) all day today - Saturday January 20th - so the landscape turned Arctic under the clear skies…on Stornoway Golf Course, above

Each year Lodge Fortrose 108 - based at the Lodge Fortrose in Kenneth Street, Stornoway -  makes donations to various charities. The money is raised from collections by the members throughout the year.

The cheques were disbursed this afternoon (Saturday 20 January) in Lodge Fortrose. The recipients - pictured above - are as follows:  Blythswood Moldova; Western Isles Kidney Patients; WIIGA; The Monday Club; RNLI; Women's Cancer Group; Bethesda; CRY; Crossroads; Muscular Dystrophy Scotland; League of Friends; Macmillan Nurses; Western Isles Alzheimer Support and the Air Training Corps.

Each group received a donation of £100. The Lodge has also made donations to the charitable funds of Grand Lodge Scotland and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ross and Cromarty.

Each year Lodge Fortrose 108 - based at the Lodge Fortrose in Kenneth Street, Stornoway -  makes donations to various charities. The money is raised from collections by the members throughout the year.

The cheques were disbursed this afternoon (Saturday 20 January) in Lodge Fortrose. The recipients - pictured above - are as follows:  Blythswood Moldova; Western Isles Kidney Patients; WIIGA; The Monday Club; RNLI; Women's Cancer Group; Bethesda; CRY; Crossroads; Muscular Dystrophy Scotland; League of Friends; Macmillan Nurses; Western Isles Alzheimer Support and the Air Training Corps.

Each group received a donation of £100. The Lodge has also made donations to the charitable funds of Grand Lodge Scotland and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ross and Cromarty.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil spoke with Air Traffic Controllers in Stornoway and Benbecula during this week regarding Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd’s (HIAL) proposal to centralise the Air Traffic Control services.

Mr MacNeil said: “I found out a number of things from the Air Traffic Controllers which weren’t clear from my meeting with HIAL Directors and Board members at Westminster.

With the exception of the 23:00/23:05 departures, bus services are scheduled to operate this evening, Friday 19th January, but may be subject to disruption or cancellation at short notice due to the ongoing wintry conditions and a high risk of ice, say Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

James Hall is recalling SPAR BBQ Pulled Pork and Woodland BBQ Pulled Pork because the products may contain salmonella, the Food Standards Agency reports today (19 January 2018).

Both products have been sold at SPAR stores.  The product details are:

  • SPAR BBQ Pulled Pork 2 for £3.50; Pack size: 110g; 'Use by' date: Up to and including 25 January 2018 Product code: 413151
  • Woodland BBQ Pulled Pork 2 for £3.50; Pack size: 110g; 'Use by' date: Up to and including 25 January 2018; Product code: 561092

The internationally-acclaimed Hebridean Celtic Festival has started the New Year by collecting another award – its fourth in three months.

It picked up a 'Highly Commended' accolade at A Greener Festival Awards last night (Thursday, 18 January), in recognition of its drive to minimise the event’s environmental impact.

HebCelt was the only Scottish festival to be 'Highly Commended' which signifies ‘a well-managed, environmentally-aware festival, which has taken significant steps to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions and to engage with the audience’.

Police in Stornoway have appealed for information following an incident of vandalism at The Nicolson Institute, Stornoway which took place on Saturday 13th January.
The police are asking that anyone with information should please call 101, speak to a local officer or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has become the first local authority in Scotland to pledge to go plastic-straw free in the battle against plastic pollution.

Last week Kate Forbes MSP, who is spearheading the Final Straw campaign, wrote to all of Scotland’s 32 councils urging them to ditch plastic straws to help save the environment.

In Scotland consumers throw away an estimated three billion plastic straws each year. 

Stornoway Golf Club is launching a direct appeal for feedback tomorrow (Thursday) from present and would-be female golfers to find out more about what the golf club could do to make provision for them.

The club say they “would like to invite ladies, past, present and hopefully future members to call into the Golf Club between 4.00-5.30pm on Thursday, 18th January.

“We would like to hear your views on any of the following, which is not an exhaustive list.

  • Latest images from CnES road cameras 7.50am today (Friday January 19) - Barvas Road top and Clisham immediately above - show continued heavy snow and icy conditions. Camera views available through Local Info icons on www.welovethewestside.com and www.welovetheisleofharris.com or direct from CnES on https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/techservices/clishamcamera.asp and https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/roads-travel-and-parking/roads-maintenance-winter-gritting/road-monitoring-cameras/barvas-camera/
  • More snow fell overnight in Stornoway as the freeze continued under unexpectedly clear skies.  Police Scotland's Head of Road Policing, Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle said: "  "In the busy rush hour I would remind people to drive to the conditions and leave extra time for your journey. The weather warning indicates that ice could form on untreated surfaces so I would urge pedestrians to also take extra care when out and about.
     "If the latest information we receive indicates any adverse changes we will use social media and TV and radio to inform the public of the latest action to take. Please check these channels before you set off on your journey, as well as ensuring you have sufficient fuel, warm clothing, food and drink and a fully charged mobile phone."
  • Ice warning: Between 20:00 Thursday 18th and 10:00 Friday 19th – Frequent showers of rain, sleet, hail (and some snow), combined with low temperatures, will bring about a continued risk of icy stretches. Journeys may take longer, and there is an increased risk of accidents or injuries, says the Met Office.

Road users and people living in areas of Lewis outside central Stornoway have been protesting since Tuesday January 16th on the welovestornoway.com Facebook Page after Comhairle nan Eilean Siar cancelled that evening's bus services because of the risks from ice and snow on the roads.

And Wednesday's Herald newspaper reported that CnES has already run out of money for gritting - it claims the Council was £200,000 over its £1.3m winter maintenance budget by last week.  Several other Scottish councils - including Highland - are also millions of £s overspent winter road maintenance.

Contractors are being sought for the first phase of the Lews Castle Grounds Regeneration Project.

An information day and site visit for potential contractors will take place on Wednesday 24 January 2018, from 11am at the Woodlands Café in the Lews Castle Grounds.

Tender invitations for the works have been published on the Public Contracts Scotland portal with a return date of 12 February. 

Evening bus services to and from Stornoway tonight have been cancelled, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has announced

A statement said: "Due to the risk of ice and snow and freezing temperatures all evening, bus services to and from Stornoway after 7pm on Tuesday 16th January 2018 are cancelled.

Two organisations in the Outer Hebrides have recently been successful in securing a total of £840,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, it was announced today (Tuesday January 16th).

Western Isles Community Care Forum received £90,000 from Big Lottery Fund’s Improving Lives Medium Grants.

This organisation will use its three-year grant to continue to support informal carers throughout the Western Isles.

Outline proposals for care home and residential development on land at Goathill Farm, Stornoway, were on show in the Town Hall yesterday, (Monday January 15th)

Snow was falling across Lewis and Harris tonight (Monday January 15th)  with the Clisham Cam and Barvas Road cam showing snow on the main routes. Heavy, squally showers will turn to sleet, hail and snow for many areas of Scotland later, then parts of Northern Ireland and the far north of England on Monday night.

Tiumpanhead Community Association and Aignish Cemetery Committee were two of the biggest local beneficiaries of Point and Sandwick Trust recently, receiving £9,250 and £3,500 respectively. In the cemetery committee’s case, the money will be given annually.

Point and Sandwick aim to support good causes on their own doorstep, so they were happy to help Tiumpanhead Community Association with the costs of improving the kitchen at the community centre, which will enable the community association to launch a cafe and do some outreach as well as providing a social hub.

Knitting enthusiasts were treated to a taste of the Outer Hebrides at a cocktail reception in New York City last Friday (12th January), when photographer and textile designer Jade Starmore (pictured above)  launched Glamourie, the latest book by her and her mother, Lewis-based designer Alice Starmore.

Horse riders, pedestrians and cyclists using the section of the Pentland Road which runs through Maryhill and Marybank, near Stornoway, have made impassioned pleas for car and van drivers to slow down properly when they enter the built-up area.

A series of recent posts on the closed Facebook group, Western Isles Noticeboard, detailed a series of close calls for local people and their horses.

One contributor wrote: “To all the users of the Pentland Road and those driving through the village of Maryhill/Marybank...slow down when you see a horse and rider!

The CalMac ferry service between Stornoway and Ullapool is cancelled today  (Sunday January 14) because of weather conditions, the company says, while the overnight freight service may also be cancelled or disrupted.

Meanwhile ferries throughout the Islands were being cancelled today amid continued weather warnings. Those affected include ferries between Tarbert and Uig on Skye; from Mallaig to Lochboisdale; and between North Uist and Skye.

Hebridean Brewing Company Ltd, based in Stornoway, has launched a public appeal for funds totalling £140,000 via the gofundme website .

Director Tina Ribbens explains the challenges and hopes of the company in the heartfelt appeal.

She says : “In 2014, the Hebridean Brewing Co Ltd was formed to relaunch the original Hebridean Brewing Co., founded in 2001, which was forced to close due to severe ill health of the original owner - our son, Andy.”  He has now recovered his health.

Limitless possibilities: Microcontrollers, of the type held here by Dr Chris Macleod, can be programmed any number of ways by inventors. Chris wants to see more support for this kind of high-tech research and development.

The brains behind the new Innovation Centre at Lews Castle College UHI wants a fundamental rethink on the kind of industry “we do” in the Western Isles.

Engineering lecturer Dr Chris Macleod wants more backing for high-tech research and development, with traditional industries “having failed to produce sustainable and lasting prosperity for hundreds of years”.

This came after wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust gave £20,000 sponsorship to allow major expansion of the Innovation Centre.  PST stepped in with the vital funding after the centre failed to get any cash help from various public agencies.

The CalMac ferry service between Stornoway and Ullapool may face disruption on Sunday because of weather conditions, the company is warning.

Meanwhile ferries throughout the Islands were being cancelled today with continued weather warnings or cancellations for tomorrow (Saturday January 13). Those affected include ferries to Barra from Oban and Eriskay; ferries between Tarbert and Uig on Skye; from Mallaig to Lochboisdale; and between North Uist and Skye.  

There are warnings of disruption for the Sound of Harris ferry on Sunday.

As part of the Year of Young People, An Lanntair has received funding from EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate , to hand over the venue to young people to deliver their very own arts festival called Las! / Ignite!

The Las! / Ignite! Festival will take place over a week during October Half Term 2018.  It promises to be a truly innovative event to celebrate and promote the creative talent of young people from the Outer Hebrides, leading to real and tangible outcomes for their future careers and enterprise.

Over the course of the festival, young people will be given the ‘reins’ of An Lanntair and will programme its auditorium with gigs, films, theatre and cabaret events.  They will curate exhibitions for the main gallery, bar and mezzanine exhibition spaces, and they will be responsible for everything else, from marketing, to design, promotion and stewarding. 

Stornoway Port Authority is preparing to move into a new era as it seeks to progress a series of major developments in line with its 20-year Masterplan.

The Authority has set out ambitious proposals, including the creation of a deep-water port which will bring major economic benefits to the island.

This will help accelerate growth in the cruise business, by providing a berth for larger ships, as well as providing improved berthing and servicing for oil and renewables projects and a new linkspan/freight ferry berth.

As these various important projects advance, the SPA will appoint new Board members and personnel with appropriate skills and expertise to guide future development.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs, Rhoda Grant and David Stewart, are backing a new project to tackle mental ill health in rural Scotland.

The ‘Well Connected Communities’ project is promoted by the mental health charity Support in Mind Scotland and the National Rural Mental Health Forum.

The project team will engage with five identified areas (Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Outer Hebrides, West Lothian and Argyll and the Islands) to explore the potential for a community development approach to enhance harder-to-reach people’s mental wellbeing in fragile rural communities, enabling their engagement in meaningful economic activity.  It will run in the Western Isles for a period of four months initially.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is delighted to announce that pupils from The Nicolson Institute, Castlebay School, Sgoil an Taobh Siar and Sgoil an Iochdair have been shortlisted for the prestigious FilmG awards.

Pupils from The Nicolson Institute will be delighted as they have been shortlisted in three categories. Their film Mèirleach nam Meeehs is shortlisted for The Best Film Award and FilmG’s Gaelic Award and Gillian MacLean has also been shortlisted in the category for Best Actor/Actress.

Castlebay Community School is also shortlisted in FilmG’s Gaelic Awards for their film, Na Fiaclan Fìreannach.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan is urging all eligible adults in the Western Isles to take up the NHS offer of a free flu vaccination.

Everyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people at most risk of serious illness are offered the flu vaccination.

Flu rates in Scotland doubled in December with the most recent figures from Health Protection Scotland showing around 46 Scots in every 100,000 were suffering from the virus, comparing to 22 in every 100,000 for the same week in 2016.

Lews Castle College UHI is to expand its Innovation Centre thanks to £20,000 from wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.

The money will go towards high-tech equipment to allow the centre to expand its research and testing capabilities into more specialist areas such as communications and bio-tech.

The centre’s research capabilities will be doubled and the founder of the centre, former NASA contract engineer Dr Chris Macleod, hopes it will foster a new generation of technologically literate islanders, encourage more high-tech start-ups and attract inward investment.

An appeal has been launched against the decision by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to reject planning permission for student accommodation on Sandwick Road.

The proposal for a 60-room student residence, with 65-space car park and heat pumps would occupy land adjacent to the car park opposite the CnES office in Sandwick Road.

The plan was rejected in November on the grounds that it would introduce a residential use on to a site adjacent to a commercial and general industrial area.

As a result of a high level of respiratory illness within Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, including confirmed cases of Influenza A, NHS Western Isles has taken the decision to temporarily restrict visiting hours.

NHS Western Isles has taken the measure to protect hospital patients, staff and visitors.

As of today (Wednesday January 10), visiting will be restricted to between 2pm-3pm and 7pm-8.30pm, until further notice.  In special circumstances, additional visiting arrangements can be discussed with the Senior Charge Nurse of a ward.

The Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery (WILL) team are delighted to have been able to present cheques to six Area Group Projects across the Western Isles, having raised an incredible £15,200 since the launch on 19th August 2017.

In addition, over £7,000 has been shared in Prize Money across the islands and beyond.

Janet Paterson, Founder of the Lottery said: “The initial response to the Lottery has been overwhelming and the results even more so in such a short period of time.

Police in the Highlands and Islands say 37 people have been reported in connection with alleged drink or drug-related driving offences over the festive period.

The 31 day initiative involved high visibility patrols across the country aimed at removing tackling people who get behind the wheel under the influence.

A total of 37 people - 29 men and eight women - will be reported for alleged drink/drug driving offences, including four people who failed to provide a sample.  A total of 654 drivers returned a negative sample after being stopped and tested.

Plans for a centralised air traffic control system in the Highlands and Islands could benefit the Western Isles, says SNP MSP Alasdair Allan today (Wednesday January 10th).

“I am due to meet with HIAL next week to hear more about their future plans for air traffic control in the Highlands and Islands.

“While this is a long-term plan, I understand concerns about potential future job losses to the islands and I am very willing to meet the workforce about any concerns they may have.

Dun Berisay and Dun Eisdean Care Homes in Stornoway will be shut down if a proposed care home and residential development on land at Goathill gets the go ahead.
A public meeting is to be held on Monday, January 15th, regarding the proposal which will see development on former agricultural land between Sand Street and Goathill Farm.
The project proposes to construct a 52-bed Care Home and 50 unit Housing with Extra Care buildings; as well as additional social housing compromising of around 60-64 units. And existing care homes Dun Berisay and Dun Eisdean will be decommissioned following complete of the new replacement facilities.

Air Traffic Control towers at Stornoway and Benbecula Airports look to become a thing of the past as Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) is set to ‘future proof’ its operations by creating the UK’s first centralised Remote Tower Centre.
“Our overriding priority is and will always be, to deliver safe and secure air navigation services that will keep our airports open for local communities for the long term,” said HIAL Managing Director Inglis Lyon.
The £28million long term remote towers and centralised approach surveillance control programme is set to be implemented over the next ten to fifteen years, and mirrors an already successful project in Sweden.

Celebrating success - members of the Lewis and Harris Youth Concert Band with the Silver Plus Award

The Lewis and Harris Youth Concert Band have struck silver – and secured a place in the final of the Scottish Concert Band Festival and the chance to play in Perth Concert Hall.
The Concert Band – which is based at The Nicolson Institute – were awarded a Silver Plus award following their performance at the festival on December 2nd, 2017.
Proving that it is possible for a small island band to hold their own against much larger bands from the central belt and across Scotland, the superb performance delivered by the Lewis and Harris Youth Concert Band has earned the talented musicians a place in the National Finals, to be held in Perth Concert Hall on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th March.
Band members recently undertook bag-packing and carolling to raise funds for travel to the March competition, and say thanks to staff, pupils, friends and family, and all in the community who helped raise a total of £2,065.

Winter storms continue to exact a heavy toll of erosion on the Broadbay beach on the Braighe between Melbost and Aignish with growing damage to the increasingly unprotected dunes which form the underpinning for the ancient graveyard at the Ui Church.

Another year, another set of challenges for Lewis Pipe Band as they plan their off-island championship trips in 2018 – and start the fundraising necessary to pay for them.

The Pipe Band will be hosting their annual traditional Burns Night Supper on Saturday 27th January. They say there is a fantastic evening planned which includes a 3-course hot traditional Scottish meal, entertainment from guest speakers and a ceilidh with the Graham Maclennan Ceilidh Band, all for £25 per person.

Tickets are now available from the Caladh Inn and from band members. For more information and to view the menu for the evening, please visit the Lewis Pipe Band on Facebook.

A public meeting is to be held on Monday 15th January about a proposed care home and residential development on land at Goathill, Stornoway, covering former agricultural land between Sand Street and Goathill Farm.

The Western Isles Integration Joint Board, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Hebridean Housing Partnership are working with Robert Potter & Partners to develop proposals for the development.

They are inviting local residents to attend a Pre-Planning Application Public Consultation Event for what is described as “a proposed care home, housing with extra care, and general needs residential development on land at Goathill, Stornoway."


Passengers planning to travel from Ullapool to Stornoway tomorrow afternoon (Friday, January 5th) are advised to ‘Be Aware’ as adverse sea conditions mean the 5.30pm sailing from Ullapool is liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice.
The Ullapool-Stornoway Freight ferry service also faces a high probability of cancellation to its 10.30pm sailing tomorrow night due to adverse sea conditions.
And high winds and adverse weather are also causing changes to CalMac ferry timetables on the Castlebay-Oban and Mallaig-Lochboisdale-Oban routes tomorrow.

Loganair has warned that it expects to lose money over the current financial year, after being hit by costs linked to the end of its franchise agreement with Flybe, the BBC has reported.

The airline cited rebranding and start-up costs for new contracts as reasons for its forecast.

Loganair stopped flying under the Flybe brand in September 2017 after Flybe terminated its franchise agreement.

The arrival of the New Year also sees the launch of the Year of Young People 2018, the latest in Scotland’s series of ‘themed years,’ which began in 2009 with the Year of Homecoming.

Led by the Scottish Government in collaboration with Visit Scotland, Young Scot, and Creative Scotland, the Year of Young People aims to inspire the country through its young people’s ideas, attitudes, and ambitions.

Events and celebrations will be taking place throughout the year and across the country. All have been designed with the input of young people from the beginning, and the programme includes events such as a TedX Youth in Glasgow in May, the Big Takeover in Shetland in September, and a nationwide Scottish Poetry Slam in September and October.

The recent passing of well-known young Lewis footballer Jordan Macleod has provoked widespread expressions of grief amongst the footballing communities in Carloway, Stornoway and beyond.

On its public Facebook Page, Carloway Football Club said: “Everyone at Carloway Football Club would like to express their condolences to the family and friends of Jordan Macleod following his sad passing yesterday.

“Jordan made a massive impact in his time with Carloway and a big contribution towards the club’s league title success.

“His personality, commitment and ability shone through and players, management and fans all took the wee man to heart.

“The reaction of the players and crowd when he scored his first goal for the club up in Ness said everything about how we felt about him. Rest in peace, wee Jordy.”

Club statistics show that Jordan played 21 times for Carloway, scoring five times with seven assists as well.

Brexit, competition, the level of air passenger taxation and the rising cost of fuel have been highlighted by Flybe as the key challenges facing the UK airline industry in 2018, Travel Weekly reports.

Chief executive Christine Ourmières-Widener was among a number of chief executives quoted by The Times on Tuesday looking at the main issues over the next 12 months.

The UK Government has a chance to make a real difference to island communities if they listen to the views expressed in the consultation on future support for island wind projects.

This is the view of Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil and MSP Alasdair Allan who have both submitted formal responses to the UK Government’s consultation on whether island wind projects should be eligible to bid for subsidies in future.

The UK Government has already decided to end onshore wind subsidies but is considering whether remote island projects should be treated differently.

Popular Gaelic TV personality Donnie ‘Dotaman’ MacLeod returns with another series on BBC ALBA showcasing his DIY skills! 

New to this series, Donnie heads to Argyll where he participates in the biggest DIY challenge that many will undertake as he follows a new house being built; lending a hand wherever required, from screeding the concrete foundations to fixing slates on the roof.  

Outside and inside, Donnie will be learning about new materials and brushing up on his own skills.

Police have traced Eoin Smith safe and well. 

They thank the public for their help. 

Police are concerned for Eoin Smith, aged 29, who is missing from an address in Stornoway. 

Eoin was last seen last seen at an address in Kenneth Street, Stornoway, between 4.30pm and 5pm on Saturday 21st January 2017. Eoin has made no contact with family or friends since and officers have commenced enquiries to locate him. 

Eoin is described as 6ft in height, medium build and has brown hair. He often wears a dark waist length jacket and jeans. 

Left to right: Founding chairman, John Murray, current chairman, Donald Martin, and former chairman Dr Finlay Macleod

Gaelic publisher Acair celebrated its 40th anniversary today in Stornoway. 

Invited guests gathered at the An Tosgan building on Seaforth Road to reminisce on the formative years of the company, and how things had progressed up until today. 

Donald Martin, the current chairman of Acair, said there was no special cake to the mark the occasion, for a very simple reason. 

Ballet Hebrides has announced that a total of £3056.57 was raised for Action For Children Eilean Siar from their production of The Nutcracker, which took place in An Lanntair last month. 

Claire Whyman of Ballet Hebrides said: "We'd like to thank all the volunteers, dancers, advertisers and supporters who came to the show.  The money will go towards purchasing new sensory toys."

MSPs in the Western Isles and across the Highlands and Islands must stand up for retention of the Highlands and Enterprise Board as a voice for the North of Scotland, says former Industry Minister Brian Wilson.

In articles for this month’s EVENTS newspaper, Mr Wilson says: “For more than half a century, politicians of all parties have supported the existence of a distinct economic development agency to tackle the challenges faced by Highlands and Islands communities. 

“Progress made in that period has been attributable in no small measure to the strength and independence of HIE and, before it, the Highlands and Islands Development Board.

Former Industry Minister Brian Wilson writes:

We live in strange political times and that truth is not restricted to national or global events.  In our own region, who would have thought that every Member of the Scottish Parliament (bar one) representing a Highlands and Islands constituency would ever have voted in favour of abolishing the board of HIE?
For more than half a century, politicians of all parties have supported the existence of a distinct economic development agency to tackle the challenges faced by Highlands and Islands communities.  Progress made in that period has been attributable in no small measure to the strength and independence of HIE and, before it, the Highlands and Islands Development Board.
Now the Scottish Government is planning to subsume the HIE board into an “overarching” Scotland-wide organisation, the remit of which will also include not only Scottish Enterprise but also Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Higher and Further Education Funding Councils and Scottish Development International.  It is likely that this centralised super-quango will be chaired by a Minister.

At the close of the nomination period for the Crofting Commission election, there is more than one validly nominated candidate (shown below) in the Western Isles constituency.  

Consequently an election will now take place in accordance with the Crofting Commission (Elections) (Scotland) Regulations 2011.  

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, is to meet with Citylink bosses to discuss the ongoing problems with travel connections to and from the Ullapool ferry.

The MSP contacted the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, again last month after receiving more complaints from people trying to access bus services to and from the ferry.  Difficulties are heightened during peak travel periods such as the festive period and during HebCelt.  It has been an ongoing problem and has led to people desperately pleading on the online Western Isles Noticeboard site for lifts in cars.

Rhoda Grant said “The problems encountered during peak travel periods are not new.  They have been ongoing for years but what is disappointing is that they are still ongoing.

The Job Centre on Francis Street is to close – but there are to be no job losses.

Instead, staff and services will transfer to the DWP building on Castle Street, by no later than March 2018.

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions told www.welovestornoway.com that the changes are part of a national drive to make more efficient use of the DWP estate’s office space.

She said that the Stornoway plans were 'flitting, not a reduction of staff or services'.

Following the sad news on Saturday, an obituary for the Reverend Dr. Iain D. Campbell by Professor Donald Macleod is published today on this website.

"The tragic death of the Reverend Iain D. Campbell has cast a gloom over the island of Lewis such as it has never known in my lifetime; and the gloom is not confined to Lewis.  Iain was a well-known figure in Evangelical circles throughout Britain, and beyond, and tributes have already come in from the USA and elsewhere. 

‘He could have adorned pulpits in the largest cities in the world,’ writes Dr. Geoff Thomas of Aberystwyth, ‘or become a professor in an American seminary, but he valued the community which nourished and nurtured him, and he shared their values.’  To that community he dedicated his life, and from it he drew the strength that supported his wider ministry."

The full obituary is available here and details of funeral arrangements will be shared as soon as they are made publicly available.

 

Ice is expected to form overnight and at first on Sunday morning (January 29th), which may lead to difficult driving conditions on untreated roads and slippery conditions on pavements, says the UK Met Office.

An area of rain, sleet and some snow over northeast Scotland will clear overnight, whilst bands of showers, some falling as hail, with sleet or snow over high ground, moving east across many other parts of the warning area during the first part of the night. Showers becoming more restricted to western parts by Sunday morning.

Temperatures will fall below freezing between the showers and more widely later in the night, leading to a risk of ice, particularly on untreated surfaces.

The Rev Dr Iain D. Campbell has died in hospital in Glasgow, aged 53. 

Rev Dr Campbell was flown to Glasgow for treatment last Sunday, after becoming critically ill earlier in the day.

He passed away this morning at around 2am.

The minister of Point Free Church, Rev Dr Campbell previously held charges in Snizort, in Skye, and Back. 

Pictured with the plaque from the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation campaign is Ewen Maclean, Quality Manager and Marie Maclennan, office manager

Lewis Builders has become the latest Islands-based firm to sign up as an accredited Living Wage employer.

This is achieved through Scottish Living Wage Accreditation (http://scottishlivingwage.org/accredited)

And Ewen Maclean, Quality Manager with the company based in Rigs Road, Stornoway, believes they are the biggest so far, with more than 65 employees.

Horshader Community Development are running more cookery workshops in February,

Kenny MacKay who was at last year's Big Horshader Cook Off will be leading the evening workshops. 

With his wealth of experience and passion for local produce it promises to be a brilliant 4 weeks. 

Spaces are limited so make sure you book your space. Tel: 01851 701225 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Following the restoration of Lews Castle, the next iconic building in the Lews Castle Grounds to be restored could be the Boatman’s Tower.

Situated across the road from the Woodland Centre, the Stornoway Trust has applied for detailed planning permission to: replace the current mansard roof, and replace it with a steel and glass lantern roof; replace the existing internal stair with a steel stair; replace the door, and sash and case windows.

The planning application also details proposals to have an adventure playground and a toddler’s play area adjacent to the Woodland Centre.

Conmen are targeting Western Isles bank customers!

Trading Standards Officers and the Police are warning consumers to be aware of a banking phone scam which is currently operating in the Western Isles.

The callers falsely claim that a local bank is under investigation and that consumers should safeguard their money by transferring to another account, which they will provide.

As a result of essential maintenance, from Tuesday 31st January 2017 access to the Emergency Department at Western Isles Hospital will only be available via entering the main door of Western Isles Hospital and through the Outpatients and X-Ray Departments, says NHS Western Isles.

Patients and staff are assured that clear signposting will be erected to assist those attending the Emergency Department.

Normal service is expected to resume on Monday 6th February and NHS Western Isles would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by these essential works.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is reminding crofters that the deadline to stand as candidates in the upcoming Crofting Commission elections is today

Nomination forms and other documents relating to the election can be downloaded from www.cne-siar.gov.uk/electionoffice/croftingelection; obtained on request, by e- mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or from the Election Offices detailed in the Notice of Election.

Completed nomination forms must be submitted by Thursday 26 January 2017.

 

Comhairle nan  Eilean Siar is developing a new Local Housing Strategy for the period 2017-2022 and wishes to gather as many views as possible on the priorities it should aim to address.  

The Strategy covers a five-year period and is the sole local authority strategic document for housing in the area. It details the housing outcomes, objectives and actions that the Comhairle and its local partners believe are the most appropriate to tackle the challenges currently facing the Outer Hebrides’ distinctive local housing system. 

Harris Tweed Hebrides has teamed up with one of Europe’s leading fashion and design schools to ensure that a new generation of the industry’s future leaders are ambassadors for the iconic fabric.

The relationship with the Institute of the Applied Arts in Vienna is part of the award-winning company’s wider campaign to boost sales in Europe’s leading fashion markets including Italy, France and Spain. 

Over the next two weeks, Harris Tweed Hebrides will also be involved in major promotional events in Madrid and Paris.  The European initiative was boosted when the Italian super-brand Prada included four Harris Tweed “looks” in their main Autumn Winter 2017 collection.

For sale: Massey Ferguson 590, 1977, C5 , fitted with MF 80 front loader , also attachment ( muck fork + bale grab) Tractor in good working order,  very good condition , all tyres 95%

 

£6,750.00

Contact : 01851705549,  Mob. 07746000966

Professional Archery Equipment for sale. Entire set - Condition: Like New

 

It's the Samick Master as used by the Korean team:

Samick Master riser 25" R/H

KAP Riser 25" R/H

KAP limbs 36lb & 42lb

2 sets Sights Arrows

Case

Cartel Stabilizer 2

x 18 strand drawstrings

Many more items included in the kit all in like new condition

Call 07919173977 if interested.  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if more pictures are required - there are many parts to this kit it's hard to show everything in one photo.

Strong winds have caused disruptions to ferry services across the islands today.

The 10:30 & 17:30 from Ullapool and the 14:00 from Stornoway have been cancelled due to forecast high winds gusting over 50 knots.

There is a heightened possibility of disruption to service tomorrow, due to high Southerly winds forecast to gust over 50 knots.

Rev Tommy MacNeil and Shona Macleod of the Hebrides Alpha Project with, from left to right, Point and Sandwick Trust’s chairman Angus McCormack, vice chairman Duncan Mackay, developer Calum Macdonald and general manager Donald John MacSween

The Hebrides Alpha Project, which offers supported accommodation and a rehabilitation programme for islanders recovering from addiction, has received £15,000 from wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.

The money is the first instalment of the £30,000 which Hebrides Alpha will get every year.

It amounts to nearly half the money staff have to raise themselves every year, on top of public funding, to keep the project going. 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan earlier today took part in a ceremony in Edinburgh to mark the final handover of funds from Club Gnìomhachas nan Gàidheal.

The club was founded in 1987 by Sir Iain Noble. It brought together figures from the business world, many of them from the Western Isles, with the aim of helping young Gaels in their chosen careers. The club took the decision in 2015 that the best way of continuing the work of the club was to transfer the remaining funds to another Gaelic organisation.

£83,000 has therefore been donated to Urras Brosnachadh na Gàidhlig (Gaelic Language Promotion Trust), an organisation dedicated to encourage and promote the teaching, learning and use of the Gaelic language.

The community organisation Families into Sport for Health (FiSH) will be presenting a cheque for £11.4k to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to fund a 12 month trial of Sunday opening of Lewis Sports Centre/Ionad Spors Leodhais. 

The cheque handover will take place on Friday 3 February 2017 at 4:45pm in front of the council buildings in Stornoway. 

The funds were raised by FiSH through a crowdfunding page. 

A FiSH spokesperson said: "The cheque presentation will be the official offering of funds to the CnES for a 12 month trial of Sunday opening hours of ISL. Should the council wish to accept or decline the funds, they can do so at that time.

CNES Trading standards Officers are reminding residents in the islands that they can print off Doorstoppers signage from the Doorstoppers Campaign page on the Comhairle’s website http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/doorstoppers/documents/sticker.pdf

Doorstep sellers ignoring the displayed signage may be committing an offence and should be reported to Trading Standards on 01851 822694 or the Police on 101.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil says 2017 could be the year for local charities to help get a special project off the ground by applying for a share of a £6 million funding pot, raised by the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The funding will be allocated through three Trusts, which support different categories of projects. There will be two opportunities for groups to apply in 2017 (January and August) and £3 million will be available for each funding round.

Alex was joined by local school pupils for his walk into Stornoway

RNLI walker Alex Ellis-Roswell was delighted to be escorted into Stornoway on Saturday (January 21st) by local youngsters from Laxdale School.

Alex has been in the Western Isles since New Year, and arrived in Stornoway having walked up from Barra, through the Uists and Benbecula, Harris, the Westside, up to Ness and then down through Tolsta.

“The reception in the Western Isles has been amazing,” said Alex. “On the walk from Tolsta into Stornoway so many people came out to greet me and say hello, it was overwhelming support.

Trading Standards are issuing a reminder to Lewis residents to say No to Doorstep sellers.

The Trading Standards service has had several reports of doorstep sellers operating on the island over the past couple of weeks.

Rev Dr Iain D. Campbell, the minister of Point Free Church, is critically ill following a cardiac arrest yesterday.

Rev Dr Campbell was transferred to Glasgow for urgent medical attention last night. 

It is understood he is currently on life support. 

A spokesman for The Free Church of Scotland commented: "Please pray for Iain and his family at this difficult time, and for the medical staff who care for him."

A former Moderator of the Free Church, Iain D. Campbell is also editor of The Record, the monthly magazine of The Free Church of Scotland.

Every person with dementia is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and, in the Western Isles, adopting a human rights based approach to dementia will ensure we do just that.  

This means that we must change the way that our services and communities think and act on dementia and ensure that the views and experiences of people with dementia, their families and carers, underpin our own policy development.

The 2016 Annual Drag race run by Lewis Car Club at Stornoway Airport in conjunction with  Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd raised £1168 for seven very deserving  local charities who were nominated by Duncan Smith, the Stornoway Airport manager.

Pictured is Duncan Smith Hial Airport Manager,Lewis Car Club Members and representatives from the seven local charities chosen - Western Isles Foyer, Autism Eilean Siar, Foodbank Eilean Siar, Crossroads, Samaritans, Lewis and Harris Women's cancer Support group, Alzeimers Lewis and Harris, Hebridean Men's Cancer Support Group along with members of the airport fire service who voluntarily give up their free time to help ensure the charity drag race takes place each year.

A date for everyone's diary – 3rd June is the date for the 2017 Drag Race at Stornoway Airport.

Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter was tasked to the medivac yesterday

It is hoped that a fishing boat skipper who was airlifted to Western Isles Hospital yesterday will soon be transferred home to the Netherlands to continue his recovery.

Stornoway Coastguard helicopter was tasked to the trawler, situated north of Stornoway, at 1330 hours yesterday (Thursday, January 19th) to undertake a medical evacuation (medivac) after the captain fell unwell.

Suffering from breathing difficulties at the time, he was winched from the vessel in 'rough' sea conditions of a three metre swell and transferred to Western Isles Hospital for treatment.

Donald Trump will be sworn into office today using a Bible given to him by his late Lewis-raised mother, it has been revealed.

The president-elect’s Bible selection references his Presbyterian upbringing in Jamaica, Queens, in New York City. 

His mother, Mary Anne Trump (nee Macleod) gave it to him on June 12, 1955, upon his graduation from Sunday Church Primary School at First Presbyterian Church on Children’s Day.

Children receiving treatment at NHS Western Isles' Children's Ward (Medical Ward 1) are benefiting from a range of books, which have kindly been donated by Allana Islei, Usborne Independent Organiser, seen here with her son Sebastian.

Allana who lives in Cawdor but is originally from Tarbert, and whose mother Dona Johnson is from Harris and father Donald MacKenzie is from Lewis, decided to donate the books to Western Isles Hospital so other children would benefit during their stay, after her son Sebastian was born in Western Isles Hospital's Maternity Ward and was also nursed back to health in the hospital's Children's Ward after an illness at eight months.

Allana said, "I started working from home at the beginning of November after Sebastian had started attending nursery.  I have a love of children's books and as a parent buy a number of books which, as a family, we all enjoy together."

Kathryn Morrison, Children's Ward Staff Nurse, said. 'The gift of children's books to the ward has been so valuable as a form of distraction for the children who have to be admitted.  The books related to being in hospital in particular will be useful in helping to explain things to the younger children.”

Connor competing in the 1500m final at the 2015 Island games in Jersey

Local athlete Connor Maclean, 19, will become the first male islander ever to represent Scotland at junior cross country level when he participates at the Pan Celtic Cross Country event in Cardiff on Saturday.

Connor is currently being trained by Robert Hopkins – father of Callum Hopkins, who finished ninth in the marathon at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, in a time of 2:11:52.

Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands MSP

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron lead a debate in the Scottish Parliament to save the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) board from being centralised.

A motion lodged by the Conservative MSP called on the Scottish Parliament to 'oppose the Scottish Government's plans to abolish to bard of Highlands and Islands Enterprise' and 'ensure that the HIE board continues to take all strategic, operational and budgetary decisions'.

The debate follows plans by the Scottish Government to scrap the HIE board and create a new Scotland-wide board; and opening the debate in Parliament, Donald Cameron said: “It's worth casting our mind back some 50 or so years to 1965 when the HIE's predecessor, the Highlands and Islands Development Board, was set up...(the Highlands and Islands suffered from) low productivity, low income levels and a lack of basic infrastructure.

A special programme of events is planned as An Lanntair celebrates LGBT History Month for the first time in February

February brings a first to An Lanntair, and to Lewis, as the arts centre proudly participates in LGBT History Month – the first time such events have been held on the island.

A nation-wide celebration of LGBT culture, LGBT History Month provides an annual opportunity to acknowledge, discuss, promote and celebrate the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

And An Lanntair's 2017 programme – the first ever LGBT History Month events to be held in Lewis – seeks to shine a light on LGBT+ issues, art, writing, film and themes through a diversity of inspiring events for everyone; each raising the profile and visibility of LGBT people, history, lives and experiences.

Between Friday 13th and Monday 16th January, damage was caused to a cabin door with Lews Castle Grounds, Stornoway, close to the Lochs Road entrance.

Between Monday 9th and Friday 13th January, a sturdy wooden garden gate at a property on the town's Goathill Road was damaged, causing the wood to split.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if they wish to remain anonymous.

 

 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil met with Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Greg Clark MP yesterday (Tuesday) to press the case for vital UK Government support for island renewables.

At the meeting in Westminster, Mr MacNeil discussed the specific challenges facing island renewables with Mr Clark and Parliamentary Under Secretary for BEIS, Jesse Norman MP.

He also gave his input to the consultation on future UK Government support for Remote Island Wind projects.

Pupils from The Nicolson Institute, Castlebay School, Sgoil Lionacleit and Sir E Scott have been shortlisted for the prestigious FilmG awards.

Pupils from The Nicolson Institute will be delighted as they have been shortlisted for no less than three categories.

Their film Strì na Dìleab is shortlisted for The Best Film Award and FilmG’s Gaelic Award, while Catriona Bain is on the shortlist for Best Actor/Actress.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan last night participated in a Scottish Parliament debate on the future of the fishing industry and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s 'A Sea of Opportunity' campaign.

Alasdair Allan commented: “This was a welcome opportunity to highlight the needs of Island fishing communities during the Brexit process. This is something that, so far, has not featured high up on the UK Government’s negotiating agenda. Indeed, the only mention of fishing during the Prime Minister’s keynote speech on Brexit was a reassurance directed at Spanish fishermen.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is encouraging crofters to stand as candidates in the upcoming Crofting Commission elections.

The commission is the regulator of the crofting system, with commissioners responsible for promoting the interests of crofting and advising Scottish ministers.

A seminar, special film screening, and the opportunity for islanders to sign the Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration Book, take place on Friday, January 27th – the global day of remembrance, Holocaust Memorial Day.

Holocaust Memorial Day provides a time for all to pause and remember the millions of people who were murdered or whose lives have been changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Held on January 27th to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps, Holocaust Memorial Day sees people across the world honour the survivors of such regimes; and challenges all to use the lessons of their experiences to inform lives today.

Police in the Western Isles are advising residents to remain vigilant to door step criminals following the recent spate of stormy weather. 

Bad weather can often bring with it damage to property, resulting in an increase in bogus callers in local communities. Criminals will use the weather as an opportunity to attempt to con you. 

Reputable businesses will never cold call you looking for work and you should always seek more than one quote for any work you are planning. 

Young Rory Fraser, from Horgabost, made sure to donate to Alex's fundraiser as he walked past Rory's house

The man who is walking the coastlines of Britain and Ireland to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution has now reached Lewis.

Alex Ellis-Roswell left his home in Margate, Kent, on August 3rd, 2014, and began his 9,500 miles fundraising adventure.

He has since walked over 6,000 miles around the coasts of England, Wales, Isle of Man, Ireland and Scotland; and has another 3,000 miles to go down the east coasts of Scotland and England.

A fisherman who crushed his leg working on a trawler was airlifted to hospital on Sunday. 

Stornoway Coastguard received a call for assistance from the Shetland-registered 'MFV Research', at 1.45pm on Sunday afternoon, approximately 60 miles north of the Butt of Lewis.

The injured man was airlifted to Raigmore Hospital for treatment. 

The parents of Linda Norgrove have slammed suggestions their daughter was a spy working for MI6.

The allegations were published by the US-based Intercept website.

In a statement issued from their home at Mangersta, John and Lorna Norgrove said the reports were ‘ludicrous and hurtful’.

The Save the Children charity shop in Stornoway is holding a half-price sale today (Monday, January 16th) and tomorrow, Tuesday, January 17th.

Everything in the shop, from clothes to bags to homeware to toys and more, will be half-price today and tomorrow – and as always, the proceeds made by the shop go towards saving children’s lives around the world.

The Save the Children charity shop is on Kenneth Street, Stornoway, and open from 10am to 4.30pm daily.

 

A car came off the road and overturned outside the entrance to the Creed Enterprise Park yesterday morning.

Police were called to the one-vehicle accident shortly before 9am.

The sole occupant of the car, a male, was uninjured in the accident and police say they are not taking any further action. 

Police in Stornoway are investigating an assault which occurred near to Boots in Cromwell Street, Stornoway at about 0115hrs on Sunday the 15th of January 2017. 

Police are keen to identify and speak to a possible witness, a female, who was observed in this area at the time. 

The female was observed to be wearing a white coloured t–shirt with a large Adidas emblem on the front. Anybody who may know the identity of this female can contact Stornoway Police via 101 or via Crimestoppers on 0800555111.

MG ALBA, based in Seaforth Road, Stornoway,  has appointed Bill Macleod, the highly respected and multi award winning television professional, as Commissioning Editor, a move which marks significant investment in the creative team behind BBC ALBA.

Bill Macleod has had a long and successful track record in delivering bold, original and high-quality programming for BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four, BBC Scotland and CBBC. He began his television career in Gaelic programming, where he directed some of the BBC’s most popular and critically acclaimed Gaelic titles including Na h-Eilthirich, Ran Dan and the multiple award-winning Gruth is Uachdar.  More recently he has worked on a wide range of programming including landmark series such as A History of Scotland.

Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) enjoyed another year of record passenger numbers overall at its 11 airports in 2016.

The latest figures show a total of 1,606,168 travellers used HIAL airports during 2016, an increase of 154,375 passengers on the 2015 total of 1,451,792 passengers - an increase of 10.6%. But Stornoway Airport - beset by flight delays and cancellations at the start of 2016 - saw total passenger numbers fall by more than 1,000.

Inverness Airport welcomed 796,854 passengers in 2016, a 17.4% year-on- year rise in passenger numbers from 2015, when it had 678,683 passengers – an increase of 118,171 passengers, thanks in part to continued interest in European routes to Geneva, Zurich and Dublin and increased traffic to UK airports such as Manchester.  Greater connectivity to hub airports including London Heathrow and Schiphol, Amsterdam contributed to its success.

Isles MP Angus MacNeil will make a last ditch attempt to convince the UK Government to offer support to island renewable projects when he meets Ministers next week.

There are just over two weeks until the close of the UK Government’s consultation on whether Remote Island Wind projects should be subsidised in future and Mr MacNeil is set to meet with Ministers from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on Tuesday to give his input.

The UK Government has already decided to end onshore wind subsidies but is considering whether remote island projects should be treated differently.

Isles MP Angus MacNeil will make a last ditch attempt to convince the UK Government to offer support to island renewable projects when he meets Ministers next week.

There are just over two weeks until the close of the UK Government’s consultation on whether Remote Island Wind projects should be subsidised in future and Mr MacNeil is set to meet with Ministers from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on Tuesday to give his input.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of ice for the Western Isles, valid from 4pm this afternoon until midday tomorrow.

Ice is likely to form on untreated surfaces especially where showers of sleet, snow and hail occur. 2 to 4cm of snow may affect low lying areas of Scotland, with 5 to 10cm over higher ground. 

Elsewhere, 1 to 2cm is locally possible.

After the mildest December on record, at times it looked like it was never going to come… but the promised snow finally arrived in Stornoway yesterday (Thursday), bringing joy and woe in equal measure. According to island weatherman Eddie Graham, with an average depth of 3cm it is the deepest snow in the town since January 2015.

Many children and families braved the severe wind-chill last night and took to their sledges and toboggans in the Castle grounds. Speed, spills and thrills were very much the order of the evening!

 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed new figures which show the number of people working in tourism in the Western Isles increased by 22% in one year – with Scotland as a whole seeing an increase of 11%. 

The statistics produced by Visit Scotland show that tourism supports 1,100 jobs in the Western Isles, 10% of total jobs in the area.

The Western Isles Development Trust (WIDT) has agreed to work in partnership with Community Energy Scotland (CES) over a two-year period to help community groups in the Western Isles improve energy efficiency and progress renewable energy schemes.

WIDT currently invites applications from community groups for funding for projects with a focus on alleviating fuel poverty and promoting renewable energy.

To date it has invested almost £75,000 in payments to promote these objectives.  

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) celebrated its tenth birthday today (Thursday January 12th) , and in so doing launched a new £10,000 grant funding stream as part of its Community Investment Fund. 

This comes just months after the opening of a £5,000 stream.

The Trust took over the 22,260 hectare Galson Estate on 12 January, 2007. 

Around 1900 people live on the Estate, which comprises 616 crofts in 22 crofting townships.

Driving snow and subzero temperatures slowed traffic to a crawl on the Barvas Moor this morning. (Thursday)

Visibility was reduced by low cloud, hail and snow.

Snow ploughs were struggling to keep the road clear of drifts.

The road north of Barvas remains clear of snow and ice.

The Harris Tweed Authority are to appoint an “ambassador” in Japan whose remit will include policing the improper use of the famous Orb trademark.

The move reflects increasing concern that the brand’s success is being diluted through the use of Orb labels on products which do not contain enough of the hand-woven fabric to justify their identification with Harris Tweed.

Lorna MacAulay, chief executive of the Harris Tweed Authority, based at the Town Hall in Stornoway, said: “Japan is an extremely important market for our industry and we have had to take action on a number of occasions in recent years against the misuse of the trademark.

Religious TV show Songs of Praise will be coming from Lewis this Sunday.

Says the BBC: "Days before Donald Trump enters the White House as president, we find out about his family connections to the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides."

The show will be aired on BBC One at 4.30pm. 

Do you have a spare hour or two a week? Do you love an excuse to run around and act like a kid again without getting funny looks? Do you want to meet new people? Do you want to learn new skills and just have good fun?

If you answered YES to any of the above, then why not think about volunteering with Girlguiding Western Isles!

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of snow for Friday, between 0005 and 2355.

Cold northerly winds will bring frequent snow showers throughout Friday. A further 2-5 cm of snow is possible, with an additional 10 cm across some higher ground. Further significant disruption to transport networks seems likely, although not all areas will be equally affected.

Ice, lightning and strong winds will continue to pose additional hazards across parts of the area with large waves affecting northeast coastal areas.

As predicted, the storm-force weather is playing havoc with the Western Isles ferry network schedule.

The 1030 ex-Ullapool sailing is cancelled, with a review at 1100 with a view to carrying out a single leg to Stornoway this afternoon. 

There will be no sailings from Stornoway today, and tonight's freight service is extremely doubtful.

Notice is hereby given that Carloway Estate Trust has applied to the Scottish Land Court for an Order authorising resumption of 0.022 hectares of the common grazings of the township of Breasclete.  The purpose of resumption is to sell the area to Mr Angus MacIver, ‘Keava’, 40A Breasclete, Isle of Lewis, HS2 9ED, as the said area is already used as an extension to the existing house site and garden ground. 

On 20th December the Court appointed this intimation by newspaper advertisement and ordered the Applicant to send to the Clerk to the Grazings Committee copies of the Application, associated productions and the Court’s Practice Note No. 4 (which emphasises the need for crofters to protect their own rights).  The Court ordered any shareholder or other person having a legal interest who opposes the Application or who wishes to claim compensation or a share in value of the land to be resumed, to lodge Answers, including details of any such claim, with the Principal Clerk, George House, 126 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4HH within fifteen days from the end of the period covered by this edition of Events.  Copies of the Application, productions and Practice Note have been sent to Mr Iain MacDonald, 37B Breasclete, Isle of Lewis, HS2 9EF and these documents may be inspected either there, at the Court’s offices in Edinburgh, or at the offices of the Agents.  Copies of the Practice Note may also be obtained from the Principal Clerk (Tel:  0131 271 4360). It should be noted that any further Orders of the Court, including the Final Order, will be intimated to those persons who have lodged answers to this advertisement and to the Clerk to the Common Grazings Committee.  Copies of any further Orders may be obtained from the Principal Clerk upon request.

 

Agents for Applicant

Messrs Anderson MacArthur Solicitors

Old Bank of Scotland Buildings

Stornoway

Isle of Lewis

HS1 2BG

(Agents for Carloway Estate Trust)

of which intimation is hereby made.

A drop-in event is being held in Knock Community Hall tonight (Tuesday) from 6pm to 8pm, targeted at anyone who thinks they may be eligible for a heating upgrade in their home. 

The event is being run by Union Technical Services, and director Owen Coyle is urging anyone who is interested to come along. 

He said: "Specifically, funding is available for those who are on benefits, live in a private dwelling (ie landlord) or they own the property and are having issues with their heating systems. 

 

Emergency services are currently in attendance at an incident involving a fishing vessel at Cromwell Street quay. 

It's understood the vessel reported a fire on board.

No-one was injured in the incident. 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan is encouraging crofters in the Islands to stand for election to the Crofting Commission.

The Commission is responsible for helping to regulate and promote the interests of crofting, and Alasdair Allan said that this was an opportunity to bring fresh thinking directly from local crofting communities to the board.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne is warning anyone planning to travel by ferry tomorrow and into Thursday that strong winds are forecast in many parts of its network leading to possible disruption of ferry services.

Operations Director Drew Collier said: “Weather forecasts for across the west of Scotland are predicting a windy and cold run up to the weekend. We will review sailings on a case by case basis but would advise anyone planning to travel by ferry to take this into account when planning journeys in the next few days." 

The Met Office has just issued a new warning of wind and snow for the Western Isles, valid from 0005 tomorrow morning (Wednesday) until 2355 tomorrow evening. 

Very windy weather with gusts to 70 mph or more may affect the far northwest and north of Scotland overnight. 

After a brief lull winds will increase during Wednesday afternoon and evening, accompanied by increasingly wintry showers. 

Horshader Community Development

AGM

Thursday 2nd February 2017

7pm

Raebhat House, North Shawbost

A Western Isles councillor has called for a reversal of the decision to disband the HIE board, and said that a compromise suggested by a Highland MP was not the answer.

Councillor Donald Crichton, Loch a Tuath Ward, was responding to suggestions from Ian Blackford, MP for Skye and Lochaber, that an advisory board should be retained but with the strategic role belonging to the new national board.

Mr Crichton also said that there should be a re-drawing of boundaries to focus on the most peripheral areas of the Highlands and Islands.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has invested £340k of capital funding to install new gym equipment at all four centres throughout the Western Isles.

The gym facilities at the Lewis, Harris, Liniclate and Castlebay Sports Centres will be closed for a period of time this week, with the most modern equipment in Scotland being installed at all four locations.

Weather forecasts for Wednesday 11 January indicate that storm-force winds and rain can be expected throughout most areas of Scotland.  

Later in the week, high winds, low temperatures and snowfall are possible on Friday 13 January.     

If the weather is as forecast, it is likely that there will be some disruption to air travel on routes within Scotland.    

In view of the forecasts, Loganair are therefore offering customers travelling on Flybe flights operated by Loganair within Scotland the opportunity to adjust their travel plans without charge.  

The Crofting Commission has issued the third Crofting Census.  Crofters are legally obliged to inform the Commission, on an annual basis, whether or not they are complying with their crofting duties.  The Census form must be completed and returned to the Commission before the 31 March 2017.

The annual Crofting Census allows the Commission to gather an evidence base which is being built on year by year.  There has been a high rate of return over the last two years with the 2015 Crofting Census resulting in over 4,000 changes being made to the Crofting Commission’s Register of Crofts.

Ferry operator CalMac Ferries Ltd has announced that its Summer 2017 timetable will be online and available for booking from 12 noon tomorrow.

The main timetable change of note is the company’s intention to deploy two vessels on the Mallaig-Armadale service to allow the MV Coruisk to provide much needed additional capacity on the very busy Oban-Craignure route. 

Operations Director Drew Collier said: “The MV Lord of the Isles and MV Loch Fyne will serve the Mallaig-Armadale route providing the additional capacity, frequency and improved reliability requested by the Sleat community.

The Met Office has issued a snow and wind warning for the Western Isles.

The warning is in place from 6pm on Wednesday until midday on Thursday. 

Snow showers are expected to develop from Wednesday evening lasting into Thursday. These, combined with strong winds, could lead to locally very poor travel conditions. 

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, says she will again be contacting the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, after hearing about the chaos people in Stornoway are experiencing in accessing seats on connecting buses from the Ullapool ferry. 

Mrs Grant said “This matter is raised with me time and again and is always exacerbated at holiday time, and during HebCelt.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has encouraged islanders to take part in a consultation on the long term framework for the management of the Crown Estate in Scotland.

The Crown Estate owns millions of pounds worth of property across Scotland, including the seabed and much of the foreshore around the Western Isles.

It deals with salmon fishing rights, shooting rights, mineral rights in many places and also leases areas of the seabed for projects such as wind, wave and tidal developments.

An election is being held to elect Crofting Commissioners from the six crofting constituencies - Shetland, Orkney and Caithness, East Highlands (East Sutherland, Easter Ross, East Inverness and Moray), Western Isles, West Highlands (West Sutherland, Wester Ross. Skye and Lochalsh) and South West Highlands (Lochaber, Argyll and Bute, Arran and Cumbrae, Small Isles).

One Commissioner will be elected from each constituency and will, along with the three Commissioners appointed by the Scottish Government, make up the Board of the Crofting Commission.

Iain Macmillan, Principal Lews Castle College/UHI, Matt Bruce, Chairman Lewis and Harris Horticultural Producers and Barbara Ziehm and Angus Murray sign the lease of College land to the LHHP.

Lews Castle College and the Lewis Harris Horticultural Producers have made another breakthrough in the challenge to provide healthy local foods with a formal agreement by the College to lease a piece of croft land to the Horticultural Producers to manage the site to produce local produce for own consumption and for sale.

Lews Castle College UHI Principal Iain Macmillan and LHHP Chairman Matt Bruce are pictured signing an agreement confirming the lease arrangements for the LHHP – operated area within the college estate. 

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that has been in place since 6 December will be extended until 28 February to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu, the Chief Veterinary Officer has announced.

The zone requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

It covers England and similar declarations have been made in Scotland and Wales. There is also a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

Seagoing staff working for Marine Scotland lost £3000 of a £5000 retention payment because their management decided to abandon a two-year deal approved by a Scottish Government Reward and HR Policy panel in 2015.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant received the information from Marine Scotland when she asked when the panel, which looks into the business case for Government posts, was due to meet again to decide on the remaining £2,000 of the retention payment.

A section of Stornoway railings which survived two World Wars was destroyed in an act of vandalism over New Year.

The railings on Goathill Road, near the Matheson Road junction, were dismantled and broken sometime between 2am and 9am on Sunday January 1. 

 

Local Coastguard teams were instrumental in keeping the public safe during the Transocean Winner oil rig grounding at Dalmore beach last summer

An appeal for volunteer members has been issued by Coastguard teams on the Westside of Lewis, as well as in Benbecula and Skye.

Both Breasclete and Miavaig (Uig) Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) rescue teams in Lewis are currently short of Coastguard Rescue Officer recruits – and urge local residents to get involved and volunteer to serve their communities.

Breasclete Coastguard Station Officer, and Comhairle councillor, Cudig Macleod expanded: “It really is a worthwhile cause to get involved in.

Alex - and his donation bucket - will be walking the Western Isles this month to raise funds for the RNLI

On August 3rd, 2014, Alex Ellis-Roswell left Margate, Kent, and started to walk the 9,500 miles around the coastlines of Britain and Ireland to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

And on January 3rd, 2017 – tomorrow – he leaves Castlebay in Barra to spend the first few weeks of the new year walking the coastlines of the Outer Hebrides.

“On 3rd January (ferry dependent), I'll leave Castlebay on the Isle of Barra and walk north up the three Uist islands and over to the islands of Harris and Lewis. Then I'll walk all the way back down again,” he said on his Facebook page – www.facebook.com/alexellisroswell – which documents his epic journey.

Check your pockets, piggy banks and jars of change and spend your old pound coins before they cease to be legal tender on October 15.

The revolutionary new 12-sided £1 coin entered circulation on 28 March 2017, March to September has been the "co-circulation" period, during which both old and new £1 coins have been accepted in shops. However, from October 16th the old round coins will no longer be accepted in shops, restaurants and other retailers.

The public are being urged to use their old £1 coins or bank them before they lose their legal tender status. The UK Government estimated around a third of the £1.3 billion worth of coins stored in piggy banks or saving jars around the UK are the old £1 style.

Any unspent £1 coins after October 16 can be traded in at banks or Post offices - but this is only a temporary option – so it is a good idea to spend or exchange the coins now.

If you are being handed back old £1 coins in retail outlets, you have the right to ask the cashier to give you a new £1 coin instead, if they have any. However businesses don't have to comply.

Icy patches are likely to form on some untreated roads and pavements during Sunday evening, overnight and at first on Monday morning, says the UK Met Office which has extended its Yellow Alert for a further day.

Difficult driving conditions and slippery pavements are possible, they warn. Snow will be an additional hazard on higher ground in Harris, mainland Scotland and northern England.

Showers of rain, sleet and snow are expected and, with temperatures falling below freezing, ice is likely to form on untreated surfaces.

On higher roads across Scotland and in northern England, accumulations of 2-5 cm of snow are possible in places.

All schools in the Western Isles will be closed to pupils tomorrow, Monday 1st February, due to the adverse weather forecast for the islands.

Staff are expected to attend.

Public bus services are expected to operate during the morning up to 2pm or 3pm, however these services may be subject to cancellation at short notice.

All public bus services departing after 3pm are expected to be cancelled.

New Amber Alerts are in force from the UK Met Office, for wind and rain across the Western Isles, starting from 3pm tomorrow (Monday) to 9am on Tuesday.

This is preceded by a Yellow Alert for wind starting at 9am tomorrow.

Another rapidly deepening area of low pressure is expected to push quickly across the Atlantic and run close to the north of Scotland through Monday and into Tuesday.

More spells of severe weather are likely to affect the Western Isles and northern Scotland over the next few days.
Following Storm Gertrude, the weather is going to remain unsettled over the coming days with the prospect of further deep Atlantic depressions bringing spells of wind, rain and snow at times, particularly early on Monday.

The Western Isles Kidney Patients Association benefitted this year from the annual raffle organised by FES FM, the facilities management company which has its main island office in Bell’s Road, Stornoway.

A cheque for £1000 was presented on Thrusday January 28th to the WIKPA by FES FM Supervisor Gordon Maciver who said that FES FM would like to thank their local subcontractors and suppliers for donating gifts and prizes towards the raffle.

Also pictured are Angus MacLeod from WIKPA; Douglas Mackay from FES FM whose wife has had kidney problems and who inspired the choice of charity; and Joan MacLeod.from the WIKPA

Third Sector Hebrides (TSH) says it is delighted to announce Lindy Cameron-Saunders as their new Third Sector Support Officer.   Lindy took up her post at the start of January 2016.
Hector Macleod, TSH, Chief Executive said: “Lindy has 12 years experience working with the Public and Voluntary Sector and volunteers - she is very energetic and highly motivated – some-one who likes to get things done and achieve positive outcomes.”

The recently appointed boss of Police Scotland was in Stornoway this week, and he gave an assurance that local policing was high on his agenda.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley has only been in his post for 22 days, but he still managed a visit to the Western Isles.

His predecessor, Sir Stephen House, did not visit the islands in the whole of his three-year tenure.

Yesterday at Westminster during an urgent Parliamentary debate on the bedroom tax, Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil asked the Tory Government to apologise to those affected.

The multi-agency Emergency Planning Group for the Western Isles, WIEPCG, met today at 1:30pm to discuss the severe weather forecast for the Islands on Friday 29th January 2016. High winds are expected with gusts of up to 80mph. An amber warning has been issued.

All schools in the Western Isles will be closed tomorrow, Friday 29th January.

The following notification of severe weather was received from the Met Office which is valid from 03:00 to 10:00 on Friday 29th January 2016- " West to southwesterly gales are expected to develop widely across Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England early on Friday.  Winds are expected to widely gust 60-70 mph, possibly up to 80 mph along exposed coasts and over hills. Be prepared for the likelihood of difficult driving conditions and disruption to travel, such as cancellation to ferry services and bridge closures. Some structural damage is also possible, as well as disruption to power supplies. Heavy rain and surface water will be additional hazards in places. Winds will moderate from the west later on Friday morning.”

Due to an amber weather warning issued by the Met Office, all Comhairle schools and nurseries will be closed for pupils tomorrow, Friday 29th January 2016.

Photo: Stornoway RNLI Lifeboat 'Tom Sanderson', taken by Chris Murray.

The RNLI in Scotland rescued 1,046 people through a total of 1,078 lifeboat launches in 2015 – and the Western Isles RNLI stations at Stornoway, Leverburgh and Barra saw the islands’ volunteer lifesavers play their part, rescuing a total of 53 persons between them last year.

Official statistics released by the charity this week show that the all-weather Severn class lifeboat ‘Tom Sanderson’ of Stornoway RNLI launched 25 times last year – 11 of those launches in the hours of darkness and one in wind speeds over force seven.

The Stornoway lifesavers rescued a total of 34 people in 2015; and spent over 462 hours at sea on shouts, as well as a further 573 hours on exercise, meaning the Lewis volunteers spent a total of 1,035 hours at sea last year.

The islands are bracing themselves for another storm, expected to hit in the early hours of tomorrow morning (Friday).

Gale-force winds are expected by 8am, and are forecast to continue until early on Saturday afternoon.

Ferry services are 'very likely' to be disrupted.

Keep up to date here

The Parkinson's Support Group meets at the Lewis Retirement Centre for the first time tomorrow  (Thursday, January 28),  after a change of venue.

Since its launch about four years ago the Group has been allowed free use of the Training Flat at the Grianan Centre on Westview Terrace, for its regular meeting at2-4pm on the  last Thursday of every month. 

Angus MacNeil MP signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment this week to pledge his support for Holocaust Memorial Day.

He also pledged to honour those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day (Wednesday 27th January) which marks the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has highlighted Debt Awareness Week (January 25th to January 31st ) and called on constituents to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support available for anyone struggling with winter energy bills.
The independent charity Scottish Gas Energy Trust (SGET) as well as Scottish Gas and StepChange Debt Charity, have free financial help available to those in need.
SGET provides grants to help pay off gas and electricity debts and to purchase energy efficient white goods such as washing machines and fridge/freezers.
Alasdair Allan commented:  “These are tough times with households across the isles and the country really struggling at the moment. The high cost of living, the severe impact of the Tories’ welfare cuts and predatory pay day loan companies are just a few of the things pushing more and more individuals and households into debt.
“A few months ago I had the chance to sit down with StepChange and talk about the kinds of issues people in the Western Isles go to them about. It was really disheartening to hear that their average island client has an outstanding debt of around £11,500, nearly 40% are struggling with council tax arrears, a third are in difficulty because of their mortgage and a just less than a quarter have fallen into arrears on their electricity bills.
“Falling into debt can happen to anyone and nobody should suffer in silence. There is a range of help and advice for any constituents who are having problems paying their energy or other household bills. I’d strongly encourage anyone who is worried about their energy bills to get in touch with the Scottish Gas Energy Trust to get help and advice.
“I hope everyone in the islands gets the information they need to understand what help is available for them. Keeping on top of winter bills and managing debt can be no easy tasks, and I urge anyone in this situation to also get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.”
The Trust has provided more than £85m of help and assistance to 175,000 people since it was established in 2004. Contact the Trust on 01733 421060 or via email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 Scottish Gas also provides direct help for customers. This includes helping thousands of people, who are having difficulty paying their bills, with an interest free debt repayment plan. The company also helps millions of people with energy saving measures and has 1.5m customers registered on a Priority Services Register, which offers additional help for disabled or chronically ill customers and those of pensionable age.
More than 9,000 people have also been helped by a Scottish Gas/StepChange Debt Charity partnership which sees those in need receive specialist support and advice from trained professionals.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP, Alasdair Allan, has highlighted Debt Awareness Week (January 25th to January 31st ) and called on constituents to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support available for anyone struggling with winter energy bills.
The independent charity Scottish Gas Energy Trust (SGET) as well as Scottish Gas and StepChange Debt Charity, have free financial help available to those in need.
SGET provides grants to help pay off gas and electricity debts and to purchase energy efficient white goods such as washing machines and fridge/freezers.

Jamie McGrigor, Highlands & Islands MSP and the Scottish Conservative Fisheries Spokesman, today at the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Environment & Climate Change (RACCE) Committee moved two motions to annul Scottish Government plans for controversial Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that will restrict fishing activity.

Jamie’s motions to annul were voted down by Labour and SNP MSPs. As the Committee met a large demonstration of concerned fishermen from the west coast gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to protest against the MPAs.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s budget consultation ends this Friday, 29th January 2016.

Budget choices information can be found here.

Submissions can still be made here and all submissions will be presented to Elected Members as part of the Budget Setting process in February.

 

Highlands and Islands MSP, Rhoda Grant, who is Scottish Labour’s Care and Inequality Spokesperson, has said she is deeply concerned over the reports that the Hillcrest childrens’ home and respite centre in Stornoway could be closed.

The reports of the proposed closure of the facility has left parents of children with additional support needs uncertain of their childrens’ future care provision and respite needs. 

This closure threatens the jobs of 52 people if the proposal goes ahead.

Commenting today, Rhoda Grant, who is the Labour candidate for the Western Isles in the next Scottish Parliament elections,  said “I have been in contact with parents whose children use the facilities at Hillcrest and they are really concerned about what this could mean for their childrens’ future care needs.  It is not clear at this stage what alternative provision would be put in place.

Mrs Grant continued “I absolutely appreciate the unprecedented cuts that are being wielded on councils throughout Scotland from the government at Holyrood and councils are being asked to do the impossible.  However parents are deeply concerned about this news and I am seeking an urgent meeting with the Leader of the Comhairle to discuss these concerns and to ask what discussions are being held with parents, service providers and affected staff.”
 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP, Alasdair Allan, has written to Caledonian MacBrayne outlining concerns from the community about the protracted absence of the MV Hebrides from the Uig to Lochmaddy and Tarbert route, and the local feeling that the current replacement vessels this winter are contributing to high levels of cancellations.

Alasdair Allan commented: “This is the third year in a row that I have taken up concerns about how the route is serviced while the Hebrides is either being refitted or redeployed. While in Uist this weekend I spoke to local businesses and passengers about the impact on their day to day lives.

Cervical Cancer Awareness Week runs from January 24 to 30, this year – and NHS Western isles is drawing attention to the benefits of screening.

"Are you female and aged between 20 and 60?  If so, do you attend your five minute cervical screening test every three years?

"Four out of five women take up their invitation.  The test only takes five minutes, saves around 5,000 lives in the UK every year and prevents 8 out of 10 cervical cancers from developing. 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP, Alasdair Allan, has received an assurance from Crofting Minister Aileen McLeod that the approvals for applications to the Crofting Agricultural Grant Scheme (CAGS) will shortly resume.

The Scottish Government temporarily paused its processing of CAGS applications while awaiting the outcome of the 2015 UK Spending Review and the detailed budget issues that followed from that.

The MSP has also written to Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochead, to seek clarity on when crofters can expect to see support payments under the Basic Payment Scheme.

The future of the Carloway mill looks bright, its three directors insisted today.

Despite fears that the mill was set to go into voluntary administration last week, a last-minute refinancing package was put in place by the directors on Friday.

In a press release just issued, Roddy Macaskill, Alan Bain and Derek Reid commented: "Whilst we have been badly hit in recent years by rising wool and weaving costs, and also falling prices for Harris Tweed, we are confident with the steps we have taken, together with strong sales orders, that our future has been secured.

"However, Carloway is still seeking an investor to grow; flourish and develop its full potential. 

A long queue of cars built up as people waited to cross the Briaghe, which is now open.

Photo courtesy of Mairi Ross - many thanks!

Well-known Lewis solicitor Simon Fraser has died, aged 60. 

Mr Fraser, who was from Callanish, had battled ill health for a number of years.

He is survived by wife Ann, and children Alasdair, Simon, Cara, and Anna. 

The annual Womens Cancer Challenge 5K marks its 10th anniversary in May – and event organisers Tony and Kirsty Wade are keen to try and make the 2016 Challenge extra special.

“We can't believe that this is year ten,” said Tony. “When the event started, it was the first charity related 5K in the Outer Hebrides and we had no idea how many people would come.

“We had a vague target of 100 entries raising £1,000 and we would have been really thrilled had that proved to be the case. We were stunned when over 500 people entered and raised over £18,000 – it was completely amazing!”

Little Alasdair Watney Macdonald has made some waves – he is the first baby to have been born in the new birthing pool in the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway.

Alasdair, who made his entrance on Saturday, January 16, weighing around 8lb 1oz, is the first tot to be delivered in the pool, although other mums had previously used it to ease their labour.

Mum Megan Watney, 31, said: “It was a great experience – as good as birth can be. I felt it was more relaxing, for the baby as well. I felt the baby transitioned a lot better. He seemed to be very relaxed. He didn’t start screaming or crying right away.

Ferry services across the islands are disrupted today (Monday) due to strong winds. 

Caledonian MacBrayne are running to alternative timetables for Lewis and Harris, as follows:

A woman is recovering from severe smoke inhalation after a house fire in Tarbert yesterday.

The alarm was raised at 12.18pm, when a report was received of a fire at an address in Main Street.

Fire teams from Tarbert, Scalpay and Leverburgh attended the blaze, and were able to contain the fire using water jets and breathing apparatus.

The woman is currently recuperating in Western Isles Hospital, where her condition is described as stable.

The cause of the fire has not yet been revealed.

Parkinson's Hebrides Support Group monthly meeting Thurs 28th Jan will be at Lewis Retirement Centre, Bayhead, (opposite Salvation Army) from 2.30pm

The winter storms and tides have exposed ancient peatbeds on the beach on the Broadbay side of the Braighe.
The eroded peat – dating back around 6,000 years – is showing through the sands and shingle that normally cover the beach.

Step away from the mobile phone.  Put away the tablet.  The wonderfully acerbic comedian Rich Hall is about to come on stage In Stornoway, and he would like your undivided attention.
Rich, one of the most magnetic stand-ups currently at work in this country, is chatting in the run-up to hugely anticipated spring tour of the UK - Rich Hall 3:10 to Humour


The American-born comedian, who was raised in North Carolina, emphasises that what he is looking forward to more than anything else on this tour is the experience of performing,  “What I love about stand-up is the immediacy of it.  Having run the gamut of TV panel shows, after a while you know how to do them and they are not so much fun anymore. 
“But now I know I’m going to be on stage somewhere like Stornoway, and that prospect is really exciting.  For those two hours, no one is looking at their phones.  It’s a true non-media event.  Those sorts of occasions are rapidly disappearing, and that’s why I value them so much.”  (According to An Lanntair's website, the show is already sold out)

It was cheque-in time for a whole range of local charities this afternoon (Saturday) as the local freemasons of Lodge Fortrose made a series of presentations.

On behalf of the group's members, Derek Mackay explained that at each meeting of Lodge Fortrose "we have a collection and at the end of the year we disburse these funds to various local charities and groups."

Mrs Catherine Ann Macleod has registered the croft 6 Kyles, Scalpay on the Crofting Register held by the Registers of Scotland.

Any person who wishes to challenge the registration may apply to the Scottish Land Court by 12/10/2016

Details of the registration can be found at www.crofts.ros.gov.uk/register/home. The croft registration number is C2154.

 

 

(This information will be appearing as an advertisement in EVENTS newspaper in February 2016)

Senior members of the North Harris community were treated to a sumptuous lunch on Saturday, in Sir E. Scott School.

The lunch is funded through the North Harris Senior Citizens Lunch Fund, and all the preparation and cooking is done by local volunteers.

As has become a custom, following the lunch, those present were treated to a superb ceilidh with music provided by local artists.

The first regular club to be established at the new Museum and Archive at the restored Lews Castle starts meeting on Friday 29th of January at 2pm.

If you are aged 14 to 24, they want you to help add to their new galleries.

There were chaotic scenes in the Comhairle council chamber tonight, after a member of the public threatened to punch council officials over proposed public service cuts.

The woman, who was voicing her anger at a proposal to do away with the ‘Action for Children’ support service, shouted to Council Leader Angus Campbell, and Chief Executive Malcolm Burr: “You have stated that resources should be focused on the most vulnerable in our communities, especially care for the elderly and young people. Yet these are the people you are denying things to. 

“Our children are not going to have music, they are not going to have art and they are not going to have PE. 

“Now you are saying that children with additional support needs are not going to get respite. 

“Do you have any idea what it is like to have a child with additional support needs?”

“I am leaving now because otherwise I am going to punch you.”

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The Stornoway Gazette is NOT one of 59 'sub-core' newspapers to be put up for sale, it has emerged.

Owners Johnston Press have compiled a list of some of their 220 titles, categorising each into one of three divisions: Primary, Core, and Sub-Core.

The Stornoway Gazette is one of 74 papers in the Core category.

Fish farm operator Marine Harvest is to lay off up to 100 of its staff, it was announced this morning. 

The news was given at a meeting with staff representatives who were told the company was making changes to its operations in order to make the business more efficient and sustainable.

CnES Trading Standards are advising airline passengers who have experienced flight delays that they may be entitled to claim compensation under European Law.

Generally if your flight is delayed for two hours or more, you have a legal right to food and drink, along with access to phone calls and e-mails. 

As well as the legal right to food and drink, and accommodation for overnight delays, passengers are also entitled to compensation of 250 Euros (currently around £187) if their flights have been delayed for three hours or more.

Members of the public are being urged to attend a public meeting in the Council Chamber at 7pm tonight, to discuss what public services should be cut to fall in line with the Scottish Government's settlement package.

The Comhairle is facing a reduction of £4.5m in funding for 2016/17, and proposals for consultation include the discontinuation of itinerant school teacher services, closure of Stornoway Bus Station, closure of the Stornoway Library cafe, and the closure of the Stornoway abattoir.

The annual Bayhead Community Association Senior Citizen New Year lunch was held in the 'Eleven' restaurant of the Caladh Inn.

The event proved to be a great success, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.


'Eleven' provided an excellent meal as always,and thanks is due to their helpful staff.


The young musicians from The Nicolson Institute added greatly to the enjoyment of the event.


Old friends who had not met for some time were brought together in a convivial and sociable environment.


The Bayhead Community Association. and Councillor Rae Mackenzie wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Airline passengers who have experienced flight delays are reminded that they may be entitled to claim compensation under European Law.

CnES Trading Standards are advising  that generally if your flight is delayed for two hours or more, you have a legal right to food and drink, along with access to phone calls and e-mails.

As well as the legal right to food and drink, and accommodation for overnight delays, passengers are also entitled to compensation of 250 Euros (currently around £187) if their flights have been delayed for 3 hours or more.

A spokesperson said: “Your entitlement to compensation is dependent on the reason for the delay, and the airline has to prove that the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances.

"However recent European case law has ruled that a “technical problem” is not one of the extraordinary circumstances that airlines can use as a valid defence against paying out compensation.

"You may also be able to challenge compensation when you are told flights are delayed due to weather conditions.”

Ferry passengers may also be able to claim compensation such as refreshments if there is a delay of more than 90 minutes or more with the crossing, or a hot meal after an eight-hour delay. In some circumstances you may be entitled to an overnight stay if the ferry is delayed or cancelled. However, if the delay is due to weather then the ferry company is not obliged to provide compensation or accommodation.

More information is available on this website

Also Consumer Champion, Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert has a website which can create claim letters that can be e-mailed directly to the airlines.

The firm which owns the Carloway mill received a total of £418,846 grant funding from development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise over the past ten years, it has been revealed.

Harris Tweed Textiles was awarded the money for business expansion and development, marketing, working capital and support for a student placement. 

The most recent HIE payment was £90,000 in November 2015, less than three months ago.

The National Inpatient Patient Experience Survey is due to go live tomorrow (Wednesday, January 20, 2016)

Surveys will be sent to a random selection of patients aged 16 and over, who have had an overnight stay in Western Isles Hospital, St Brendan’s Hospital or Uist and Barra Hospital between April and September 2015. Patients will be asked to provide feedback on their stay.

A survey pack will be sent out on January 20 and is expected to arrive on doorsteps a few days later. The survey pack contains a questionnaire which can be completed by returning the paper copy contained in the survey pack; online via the web address or the code detailed in the covering letter; or by telephone using the phone number also detailed in the covering letter and front of the questionnaire.

The MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, met last Friday with parents from the islands who were seeking an increase in the availability of child minders and other pre-school facilities.

Alasdair Allan said: “It was useful to meet with these families and to hear the concerns they had about the challenge of juggling work with childcare commitments. One message that was very clear is that women in particular will only have a chance to re-enter the workplace when adequate childcare options are available to them.

Police are issuing a warning and advice on a phone scam reported to be targeting householders in Stornoway and surrounding areas. 

A spokesman at Stornoway Police Station said: "Recently locals have been receiving cold calls from a person who claimed to be from 'Microsoft', claiming that their Windows computer required a clean-up to get rid of viruses and resolve other technical issues. 

"The caller will then take control of your computer by asking you to download some software, before showing you some faults.

"They will then ask for your bank card details to make an agreed payment to fix the problem."

A Western Isles councillor has called on the Scottish Government to re-consider introducing a 1p increase on income tax to alleviate the overwhelming cuts facing local authorities in Scotland.

Cllr Charlie Nicolson, who is a Member for Stornoway South, quoted from HMRC that a 1p in the pound increase would raise around £475m across Scotland which could be used to protect and enhance local services.

He said the impact of the increase for someone earning £15,000 a year would be less than £1 per week, whilst a £50,000 earner would pay less than £8 per week, depending on individual circumstances.

A government grant of £200,000 would keep the Carloway mill open, its owner has claimed.

In an interview with 'The National' newspaper, Derek Reid said that unless a rescue package was forthcoming, the business would be put into voluntary administration today (Monday).

The Carloway mill employs 27 staff and provides yarn to 30 weavers.

 

 

The following programme of workshops will be delivered during February and March:

 DigitalBoost Workshops

Stornoway      

Introduction to Social Media

Wednesday 3 February     

0930 - 1230   

Comhairle Offices

Stornoway

Build your own Website

Wednesday 3 February     

1330 - 1630

Comhairle Offices

 

 

 

 

 

Balivanich

Introduction to Social Media   

Tuesday 9 February    

0930 - 1230    

Comhairle Offices

Balivanich

Build your own Website

Tuesday 9 February

1330 - 1630

Comhairle Offices 

DigitalBoost support is funded by Digital Scotland and delivered by Business Gateway

in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

  

Business Skills Workshops

Managment Masterclass - Roles & Responsibilites of Managers  

Monday 8 February

0930 - 1230   

Comhairle Offices

Practical Business Planning & Research

Monday 8 February

1330 - 1630

Comhairle Offices

Business Structures & Practical Record Keeping

Tuesday 16 February

0930 - 1230

Comhairle Offices

Management Masterclass 2 - Team Building & Developing People    

Friday 19 February

0930 - 1230

Comhairle Offices

Management Masterclass 3 - Workplace Communication Skills

Friday 26 February

0930 - 1230

Comhairle Offices

Marketing Principles & Content Creation

Wednesday 2 March

0930 - 1230 

Comhairle Offices 

Management Masterclass 4 - Time & Project Management 

Tuesday 8 March

0930 - 1230

Comhairle Offices 

Branding & Packaging for Island Businesses

Wednesday 9 March

0930 - 1230

Comhairle Offices

Practical Excel - Formulas/Data, Business Records, Databases  

Tuesday 15 March

0930 - 1230

Comhairle Offices

Management Masterclass 5 - Challenges & Conflict Resolution

Monday 21 March

0930 - 1230

Comhairle Offices

Practical Excel - Filters, Pivot Tables, use for business purposes

Monday 21 March

1330 - 1630

Comhairle Offices

Practical Word - Mail Merge, Report Writing, Layouts, Fonts

Wednesday 23 March   

0930 - 1230

Comhairle Offices

Management Masterclass 6 -  HR/ Practical People Management

Tuesday 29 March

1330 - 1630

Comhairle Offices

Practical Word - Contents, Indexing, Embedding, Templates, Brand Guides 

Wednesday 30 March

1330 - 1630

Comhairle Offices

If you are interested in the Management Masterclasses, please note that we recommend

that all six workshops are attended in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions. 

All of the workshops are fully funded so attendance is free of charge. 

For more information and to book your place please contact the Business Gateway office

on 01851 822775 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 
Cold weather will persist through this weekend with widespread frosts, ice and some snow, but also winter sunshine, the UK Met Office said at 5pm tonight (Friday)
Cold, winter weather will continue through this weekend with the coldest spell of the winter so far. This comes in marked contrast to the mild, wet spell of weather in December and early January. However, this is fairly typical for January and the winter season in the UK. The weather map above refers to midday tomorrow (Saturday).
Much of the UK will experience settled conditions over the weekend with a ridge of high pressure across the country. The attention turns towards chilly daytime temperatures and low overnight minimum temperatures with widespread frost and icy stretches likely in places. Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing widely overnight with some severe frosts.
Over the weekend parts of the eastern side of the UK will be affected by sleet and snow showers at times, with areas on and near the North Sea coast most at risk. Meanwhile, the west and northwest may be cloudier with slightly less cold air trying to push in from the west during Saturday and Sunday, bringing the risk of a spell of sleet or snow and icy conditions, but there are uncertainties surrounding the extent and timing of this. Elsewhere, it will tend to be fine and bright with some crisp winter sunshine, especially on Saturday. Some areas, most likely parts of southern England, may well stay fine and fairly sunny all weekend.
 
 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP, Alasdair Allan, and MP, Angus MacNeil, have today contacted Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scotland’s Enterprise Minister regarding reports that Carloway Mill in Lewis could possibly enter voluntary administration next week.

Alasdair Allan said: “Clearly, the Carloway Mill is important as an employer within its community and as a key part of the wider Harris Tweed industry. Today’s reports are of great concern to the workforce at the mill, some of whom have already been in touch with me, and I have raised the future of the Mill with Highlands and Islands Enterprise as well as Scotland’s Enterprise Minister, Fergus Ewing.

The Labour Party’s Western Isles candidate for the Scottish Parliament was in Stornoway today, as she revealed that both sets of her grandparents were islanders.

Rhoda Grant’s maternal grandparents were from Portnaguran, in Point, and her paternal grandparents were from Stockinish, in Harris. 

“Gaelic was my first language, but sadly I can only understand bits of it now,” she told www.welovestornoway.com.

The Harris Tweed mill at Carloway looks likely to go into voluntary administration next week.

The mill currently employs 27 staff and provides yarn to 30 weavers.

The blow comes despite investment two years ago by the Shandong Ruyi Technological Group Ltd, whose HQ is in Jining in China.

Shandong Ruyi is one of the world’s largest textile companies.

The team involved in the charity fund-raising swim from St Kilda to the Isle of Harris last August won official recognition for their feat today (Thursday) with a special presentation by the Lieutenancy of the Western Isles.
Each of those involved in the swim - whether the swimmers themselves or the support team members – received a personal letter of thanks from the Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles, Sandy Matheson.
Sandy was accompanied by his Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Donald Martin at the presentation of the letters to those members of the team who were available to attend the short formal event.

Occupational Therapists are driving a campaign to raise awareness of Telecare monitoring systems and to encourage people to consider bringing these alarms and sensors into play sooner rather than later.

The Telecare monitoring system is maintained by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Faire service.

Equipment ranges from the basic personal button alarm to the more advanced equipment such as property exit sensors. This technology can make a big difference to whole families by enabling vulnerable people to live more independently in their homes and by giving their loved ones some peace of mind.

Patients who normally attend GP surgeries in Borve and Habost are being asked to be aware of internet disruption to these surgeries.

As there is no access to electronic patient information or the electronic prescribing system from these sites, alternative measures have been put in place to allow the appointments and prescribing systems to continue as normal.

While patients may, in some cases, be offered appointments at an alternative surgery or asked to collect their prescription from a different location, NHS Western Isles has tried to keep any disruption to a minimum and apologises for any inconvenience.

NHS Western Isles stressed that patients should continue to use the normal telephone numbers to contact the surgeries in the first instance.

Connected Communities and the IT department within NHS Western Isles are working to resolve these problems as soon as possible.

The latest Peter May novel goes on sale today - and it's based in Harris.

'Coffin Road' tells the story of a man washed up on a Harris beach, barely alive and with no memory of who he is or where he has come from.

But he has a nagging suspicion he may have killed someone.

Peter May's Lewis trilogy has sold nearly two million copies and brought the Hebrides to a global readership.

To order 'Coffin Road' click here

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP, Alasdair Allan, today welcomed an apparent decision by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to abandon policy options which would have seen the end of the Benbecula to Stornoway air service and also placed the future of two island schools in doubt.

Alasdair Allan commented: “Over the course of the day I have been contacted by a number of people in South Uist and Barra who were extremely concerned that the council had listed amongst its budget options the ending of subsidy to the last remaining inter-island flight as well as consulting on the closure of Sgoil Eolaigearraidh in Barra and Sgoil an Iochdair in South Uist.

DIY le Donnie – BBC ALBA – Starts Thursday 14 January at 9.00 – 9.50pm
 
Popular Gaelic TV personality Donnie ‘Dotaman’ MacLeod returns to our screens tomorrow night (Thursday) with another series showcasing his DIY abilities.

Following on from the success of the first series, BBC ALBA follows Donnie over six weeks as he undertakes jobs around his own home, including replacing a shower room. 

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has said that she is deeply concerned at the reports that the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is considering a proposal to abolish the Benbecula to Stornoway air service. 

Following Scottish Government budget cuts, the service was reduced to three days a week in February 2013.  The connecting Benbecula to Barra air service was scrapped at the same time.  It is believed that axing the subsidy for the present three-day a week Stornoway to Benbecula service could save £264,000.

The Western Isles face a raft of cuts to public services, after a reduction in funding by the Scottish Government leaves the Comhairle scrambling to save £4.5 million. 

Proposals for consultation include a review of Stornoway Abattoir, a review of Stornoway Bus Station, a reduction in the street-lighting budget, increases in car-parking charges in Stornoway, and increases in sports centre membership fees.

Also up for consideration is the discontinuation of all itinerants in primary schools, and a review of arrangements for residential care for children.

Schools and nurseries across the Western Isles have been struck down by hand, foot and mouth disease, NHS Western Isles confirmed today.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than five-years-old. 

However, the current strain of the virus in the islands is affecting adults as well.

Tolsta Chaolais Common Grazings
Formal intimation under the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993

Notice is hereby given that the Carloway Estate Trust has applied to the Scottish Land Court for an Order authorising resumption of two areas extending in total to 166.85 square metres of the common grazings of the township of Tolsta Chaolais.  The purpose of resumption is to sell the said areas to Kenneth Norman MacDonald, Solicitor, 9 Kenneth Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, (Executor of the late Annie MacLeod) or to his nominee, to rectify the title of the property known as ‘Iresgoe’, Tolsta Chaolais, Isle of Lewis.

The first performances of this year’s pantomime Cinderella are starting today at An Lanntair – and tickets can be booked on their website

Even shows formerly showing on An Lanntair's website as sold out now have seats available.

There are two shows today (Wednesday) at 1.30pm and 7pm.

Tomrorrow (Thursday) there are two shows – at 10.30am and 1.30pm.

On Friday the schedule involves shows at 10.30am, 1.30pm, and 7pm.

And then the final day on Saturday also has three shows… at 10.30am, 2pm, and 7pm

 

Anyone heading across the Highlands from Ullapool or Kyle of Lochalsh tomorrow morning is warned of icy conditions.

The UK Met Office say they have a yellow weather warning in place across the Highlands.

They state: "Showers will continue for some time yet, then more widely clearing skies will allow untreated surfaces to fall below freezing, with the likelihood that some icy stretches will form, away from exposed coasts. 

Isles MP Angus MacNeil is continuing to push for better mobile phone coverage across the Isles, including the introduction of 4G coverage.

Mr MacNeil was delighted to receive a positive response from the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) recently who have indicated a willingness to work with mobile operators to make progress in this area.

Mr MacNeil had contacted NLB following a query from EE on the use of sites which could allow them to improve coverage.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has stepped into the row over the Uig triangle ferry. 

The ferry which normally covers the Uig/Lochmaddy/Tarbert run, the MV Hebrides, is in dry dock and is then expected to be utilised as a cover vessel for other ferries while they undergo maintenance.

Mrs Grant has been told by constituents that the replacement ferries are not fit for purpose on the triangle route as they are smaller, so despite supposedly more sailings there is less space. 

Commanding Officers Callum and Emma Newton