A support group for anyone who has lost a baby is starting up tonight on Tuesday 5th April, in the Quiet Room at the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway.

The group will be meeting on the first Tuesday of every month and will be facilitated by midwife Joanne Murray-Stewart and hospital chaplain Helen Gallacher. 

Joanne said the baby loss support group – named Sèimh – had been “a long time coming”. The support group is for those whose baby has died at any stage of pregnancy or close to the time of birth, and is also to support those who are planning or going through a new pregnancy.

Mr. Malcolm Burr, Chief Executive of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has been appointed to the Scottish Government’s Standing Council on Europe.

This is an advisory panel comprising a group of experts set up to advise the Scottish government in the aftermath of the Brexit vote with the aim of protecting Scotland’s interests – legal, financial and diplomatic.

Mr Burr has been appointed particularly because of his expertise in local government and rural communities.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

A wind of change at the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival will see one of the event’s main arena stages branded by sponsors for the first time in its 21-year history.

Lewis Wind Power, developer of the Stornoway Wind Farm, will have its name and logo adorning the Islands Stage, where artists including Julie Fowlis and John McCusker will perform.

John Buswell, Stornoway Wind Farm Project Director, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this year’s HebCelt and to be the first ever sponsor of the Islands Stage. We can’t wait for the festival to begin, and being a headline sponsor makes it even more exciting.

A brand new three-part documentary looking back on “the best days of our life” is coming to BBC ALBA.

Part of the popular Trusadh series, Làithean Sgoile, which means School Days, starts on Monday 8th April.

Reunion of Lews Castle, Nicolson and Sir E Scott Pupils of 1957

A small group of former Lews Castle, Nicolson Institute and Sir E Scott pupils are hoping to arrange a 60th Lewis & Harris class reunion in the Stornoway Golf Club on Friday 22nd September.  If you are one of the 1957/60s class, they would love you to make a commitment to attend so they can take it to the next level. This will be the first ever reunion for 1957 babies, and the invitation is extended to some 1958 babies.  If you are in contact with any former classmates, please let them know.

If you have any old school photos from back in the day that you'd like to share, you can send them to the committee to help make the reunion a memorable occasion. And if you are at a loose end and feel you can contribute to the organising then please let them know.

To see the website, get in touch or register your interest, click here.  

Photograph by kind permission of Comunn Eachdraidh Nis.

Highlands and Islands Tory MSPs should 'stop acting as mere mouthpieces for the UK Government', and show the courage to oppose the Tory Government’s 'shocking and inhumane rape clause'.  

This was stated today by Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan. 

The hugely controversial 'rape clause' limits tax credits to only two children per family – unless the mother can prove that a third child was conceived as a result of rape.

Islanders have been set the challenge to ‘Drop a Dress Size’ and raise money for Alzheimer Scotland.

As part of the Challenge Dementia campaign, a weekly weight loss group begins tonight (Wednesday 13th April)  and will run until 18th May – and despite the title, men are welcome to join in as well as women.  Sessions will be held at 6pm in Alzheimer Scotland, 18 Bells Road, with a £3.50 donation fee each week.

The meetings will give slimmers the chance to have a cup of tea and a chat with fellow dieters, followed by a group weigh in and half hour walk round town.  The challenge is not just for ladies, with men welcome to come along and join as well.  The sessions have been organised by Karen MacDonald, the new community fundraiser for Alzheimer Scotland.

Angus Macmillan.  Photographed by Kim Ayres  www.kimayres.co.uk

This year’s Angus Macleod memorial lecture will take place on the evening of Thursday 8th November in South Lochs, a few days before Remembrance Sunday which will mark the centenary of the end of the 1st World War.

The speaker will be Dr Angus Macmillan from Lemreway, a member of ‘The Lochies’ and a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in Dumfries, where he lives.

He is a published poet and co-editor of the literary magazine Southlight.

Do you want help to lose weight? Do you live in Uist or Barra?

If so, get in touch with NHS Western Isles to register for free weight management programme ‘Healthy Helpings’ – helping you meet your weight loss goals in time for summer.

James Stockan with Cllr John Mackay, the Comhairle's Chair of Transportation

You may never have heard of James Stockan, but he is urging you to vote for him as your regional candidate in next month’s election.

Mr Stockan (58), is standing as an independent candidate for the Highlands and Islands – the first person to do so in 13 years.

Formerly the vice-convener of Orkney Islands Council, James Stockan is currently the chairman of regional transport group HITRANS.

A GoFundMe page has been set up in memory of one of the fishermen lost at sea off Mingulay. 

All money raised will go to his two young daughters, "so that there is always something from their Daddy".

Click here to donate.

The 'Isle of Lewis' is broken down in Stornoway.

The ship, which is being used to carry cars and passengers from Stornoway to Uig, as works begin at Ullapool Pier, suffered a mechanical failure this morning. 

The company say they hope to have the ship ready to sail from Stornoway to Uig at 5pm tonight.

Outer Hebrides Tourism is calling on Scotland’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to intervene as the isles’ tourist industry suffers due to CalMac ‘juggling’ of ferry services.
Easy access for tourists to the Outer Hebrides is critical to the islands’ economy, says the group; but that those travelling to and from the Hebridean islands are suffering ‘yet again’ from CalMac’s juggling of ferries services due to ‘operational reasons’.
Outer Hebrides Tourism detail that in the few weeks since the start of the peak tourist season, capacity has been sacrificed at short notice from the ‘Uig triangle’ ferry route, with a vessel too small to even deliver an effective service for pre-booked passengers – and that the ‘Lord of the Isles’ ferry has been removed from the Mallaig-Lochboisdale route until further notice.

The fishing vessel which sank off Mingulay this morning has been named locally as the 'Louisa', a 16-metre vivier crabber owned by Duncan and Murdo Kennedy, from Marvig, South Lochs.

One crew member has been rescued and taken to hospital, but three remain missing.

An emergency distress signal was picked up from south of Mingulay, 12 miles south of Barra, just after 3am. 

CNES Trading Standards Officers participated in the recent Police Scotland multi-agency Shut out Scammers campaign. 

The campaign targets doorstep and bogus crime and raises awareness of offenders who cold call people and scam them out of money.

As part of the campaign, officers from the Comhairle took the opportunity to provide timely advice to local traders to stop them from falling foul of the law, particularly when selling away from business premises.

Alasdair Allan has called for 'significant changes' to crofting law to improve support to crofting communities.  

Speaking from Barvas, where he met with crofter Norman Kerr, Alasdair Allan called for a new crofting Bill and for future CAP payments to be made in a more timely manner.

Alasdair Allan commented: “There is no doubting how complicated crofting law has now become, and I would say there is now a appetite for a further crofting Bill, both to simplify some of this, and also to address anomalies.  

‘The Western Isles remains your home’, is the message from Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil and MSP Alasdair Allan to all EU citizens living locally, amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

Last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made a commitment to EU citizens that Scotland remains their home - promising to continue making a strong case for their rights to be protected in any EU exit scenario.

£2 off your lunch at Bangla Spice

A huge community effort for The Leanne Fund has raised £5,000 which will directly support those affected by Cystic Fibrosis.

Workplaces, schools and groups across the region held Rainbow Raiser events in aid of the charity which works to support young people and their families who are affected by the chronic lifelong condition through a range of services.

The tourist industry in the Western Isles has a chance to win government funding for projects to assist local visitor services – but it has less than three weeks to think them up! (as of Saturday April 7, 2018).

The types of projects which can be supported include:

  • Parking and scenic lay-bys
  • Camping facilities
  • Waste disposal points (especially for camper vans)
  • Toilet provision
  • Essential improvement works to paths (where they alleviate visitor pressures)
  • Recycling points

The support comes from the Scottish Government’s £6million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF), formally launched on Friday 30 March.

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Shackleton disaster, which happened near Northton, Harris in 1990.

All ten crew members of the RAF aircraft were killed instantly when the ageing plane crashed into the Maodal hill during fog.

RAF Lossiemouth's worst peacetime accident left six widows and 12 children.

Shackleton aircraft were decommissioned following the tragedy, replaced with Nimrods.

Isles MP Angus MacNeil  has been contacted by more than 40 constituents who say they have been denied access to Scottish Gas’ cheapest advertised tariff, in the ongoing row between Scottish Gas and its island customer base.

Last month, following a complaint by his constituent - Derek McPherson of Fernlea Guesthouse, Stornoway - Mr MacNeil revealed that he had evidence that island LPG customers were being denied access to advertised tariffs enjoyed by mainland customers.

Scottish Gas has now admitted that Mr McPherson’s failure to access such tariffs may not, as it originally claimed, be an isolated case. In a letter to Mr MacNeil, Scottish Gas has conceded that its call-handlers may have given the wrong advice to island customers regarding these advertised tariffs.

Now in its seventh year, the Point 5k will take place on Saturday 30th April at Sgoil an Rubha to raise money for The Leanne Fund.

The charity was set up in 2009 in memory of Leanne Mitchell by her parents Willie and Chrisetta, to assist young people with Cystic Fibrosis and their families in the Highlands and Islands.

The day promises to be a fun, family-friendly occasion, with people of all fitness levels welcome to join in.

Young fundraisers pictured with Karen MacDonald, community fundraiser for Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris

A group of young pupils from The Nicolson Institute are busy raising funds for Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris.  The group which includes Ishbel Macaulay, Jessica Macaulay, Rachael Smith, Katie Morrison, Andrew Macinnes, Angus Macphail and Jonny Henderson are planning to walk the West Highland Way, 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William, during 5th-12th August this year and collect sponsors to raise money and awareness.

The group have already raised over £1300 with a recent bagpack and through their JustGiving page.  The group are raising money towards supporting community activities such as the Monthly Peer Support Walking Group who they spent time with last month. 

Katie said: “We are really looking forward to doing the walk and to raise money and awareness for such a great charity.  It is going to be a challenge for us but will be so worth it when we will be able to see the money helping people in our communities. 

“In March, we joined in with the Dementia walk and met some of the people that our money will be helping.  It was amazing to meet people that we will be helping and knowing that our help means so much to them.  Many thanks to everyone who has helped and supported us so far!"

Service Manager Marion MacInnes said: “We have been so impressed with this group of young people and their fundraising activities.  They are organised, mature and committed to their goals.  They are real credit to their parents and their school”.

To support the group's fundraising activities please follow the link.

 

 

 

Emergency services were racing out of Stornoway towards Point on two occasions yesterday (Monday)   Pictured above is the major deployment of fire and rescue vehicles sent to Lower Bayble after wind caught a moorland fire and turned it into a blaze which, at one point, it was feared would spread over the hills to Swordale.   The firefighters brought the blaze under control in the early evening.

On Saturday 29th April An Lanntair will launch its Fèill Ceáird is Còcairachd: Craft and Cookery Festival – a FREE festival throughout An Lanntair’s building offering a fabulous tour of food and craft from the diverse island communities of the Outer Hebrides.

The festival day will start with a celebration of one of the islands’ most iconic crafts industries, Tweed, with the second annual Harris Tweed Cycle ride, leaving An Lanntair at 10am. This will be a ‘spiffing’ cycle around the town and a chance to win the prestigious prize of a hand knitted Yellow Geansaidh for the best dressed rider.  This year An Lanntair also has a Geansaidh Geal for the best young rider!  Limited tickets are available here.

Throughout the festival day on the 29th April, there will be a variety of food to sample from cultures across the island communities, including Nagaland, Syria, India and of course the Hebrides.  And if you get in quick, there are still a few tickets left to a Foraging Banquet on the evening of Friday 28th April in An Lanntair’s Café Bar – celebrating everything that the Hebridean landscape has to offer on a plate! Tickets here   

Julia Donaldson's books are very popular with young and old alike

Island publishers Acair are delighted to announce their latest release – a Gaelic version of author Julia Donaldson's hugely popular title 'Stick Man'.

From the same author as classics 'The Gruffalo' and 'The Gruffalo's Child', Stick Man has been translated into Gaelic and can now be pre-ordered from the Acair website.

Following the ups and downs of a Stick Man – Bioran – as he battles to make his way home to his family, the latest Donaldson book is completed again by the iconic illustrations of Axel Scheffler.

You can pre-order a copy of 'Bioran', to be released on Friday, April 28th, at www.acairbooks.com 

The council on the Western Isles has hit out over the ferry crisis hitting isles' services.

The Chairman of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today (Wednesday April 25th)  called for the intervention of the Minister for Transport and the Islands to address significant and growing concerns associated with the performance of Transport Scotland and CalMac Ferries Ltd following a period of unprecedented non-weather-related disruption to ferry services across the Clyde and Hebrides network.

Uisdean Robertson said, “I have personally been inundated over the last several weeks by a huge amount of complaints regarding the levels of service, the extent of disruption and the lack of effective communications by CalMac. 

"The non-availability of a single vessel, the MV Clansman, has had wide ranging implications across the network.  I have received complaints from many members of the public and businesses in the Western Isles and I am aware that the implications have been felt in other communities elsewhere in the network”.

“The lack of resilience and of suitable spare capacity in the fleet is unacceptable and must be dealt with by the Minister as a matter of urgency. 

Every household in the Galson and Carloway estates are eligible to receive free home energy audits.

The project comes from a partnership between Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh.

Normally musicians go on the road to promote their new work. But for three island-based musicians who are involved in a unique collaboration, going on tour means taking to the air.
The ‘Between Islands’ project, featuring three singer-songwriters from the Northern and Western Isles, will be taken to outlying audiences this year with the help of Flybe franchise partner Loganair.

A helicopter involved in the NATO exercise Joint Warrior sparked an emergency this afternoon (Tuesday April 16th) as it headed for Stornoway Airport with engine trouble.

With passenger numbers at Stornoway Airport growing and a whole range of new air services available, craftspeople in Lewis and Harris are being encouraged to contact the airport shop to discuss ways they could sell products through the shop.

Donald Martin, who runs the shop and café services in the departures lounge and in the main terminal itself, said: “We are looking to work with local crafts people, in particular those involved in Harris Tweed.  All small craft items will be considered for display and sale.”

He said the arrangements with suppliers could be on a sale or return or a commission basis.   He added: “That is how we would envisage operating , however, depending on the type of business , there are other possibilities."

Donald wants as wide a range as possible to be available to tempt travellers to browse the displays.   He asks craft producers “Please visit the airport café with samples where we will have the opportunity to discuss aspects further.”

Local people are being called by an HMRC scam caller - imitating a similar campaign being run the USA alleging to be related to the IRS. 

Stornoway-based accountants Mann Judd Gordon report today (Thursday April 5th):

"We had a client calling yesterday as a result of a phone call they had received supposedly from HMRC.

The son of movie director Alfred Hitchcock has met with representatives of the Bays of Harris Steering Group, as talks begin into the possibility of a community land buyout.

Rob Hitchcock, along with three other family members, currently owns the Bays of Harris Estate.

He recently met with members of the Harris group in Edinburgh, to discuss the possibility of another landmark Scottish community buyout, comprising around 30,000 acres.

The Hitchcock family bought the estate for a reported £5,000, following the death of Lord Leverhulme in 1925.

AUTOPARTS on Island Road, Stornoway, are delighted to sponsor Ali (Nomie) Macleod’s rally car this season.

Ali’s Escort Mk3 BD3 rally car is very rare indeed in that it is actually a rear wheel drive Escort MK3.

All visits to Raigmore Hospital have been suspended due to an outbreak of the norovirus vomiting bug.

Dr Adam Brown, Consultant Microbiologist for NHS Highland, explained this decision has been taken to try and reduce the incidence of norovirus within the hospital.

He said: “We have taken the decision today to suspend all visiting at Raigmore Hospital on a temporary basis.

“We currently have a high number of patients in hospital with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting and we also know it is rife in the community. By reducing the amount of traffic coming in to the hospital we hope that will reduce the risk of any more outbreaks of norovirus.

“We would ask members of the public not to come in to hospital to visit any ward unless by prior arrangement with the nurse in charge. Hospital staff will of course be very happy to talk to visitors on the phone so they can get updates on how their relatives are.

“We appreciate your understanding for why we have had to take this decision and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Almost new Pair of all weather tyres 215 50 R17 

Price new £250, will sell pair for £125.

Phone:  07555 462 3

 

SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan yesterday attended a meeting in Harris to help pursue the ongoing efforts to create a Marina Hub in East Loch Tarbert.

As MSP in the last Parliament, Mr Allan was involved in helping bring funding agencies together to look at making this project a reality.

Alasdair Allan commented: “I attended yesterday’s meeting as a friend of efforts to bring marina activity to Tarbert and Scalpay. Harris is one of the most fragile local economies in the Western Isles, but a number of new enterprises hold out significant potential for the islands, not least the new distillery, and a revitalised Harris tweed industry.

A 36-year-old man has been charged in connection with an alleged robbery from a taxi in Stornoway, say Police Scotland.

The incident happened during the early evening of Tuesday, April 2.

Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris are holding a coffee morning on Saturday the 29th April from 10am - 12pm at St Columba's Church Hall, Stornoway, to raise money for Solas Day Centre.  Come along and enjoy tea, coffee, delicious home baking, stalls and prize draws.  Entry: donations at the door. 

 

Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris AGM

Tuesday 31st May 2016 at 7pm-9pm

Grianan Centre, Recreation Room, West View Grove, Stornoway. 

New members are currently needed and will be warmly welcomed. Please come along to support us with our work. We need you!!

(Tea/Coffee on Arrival at 7pm)

For more information please contact:

Lewis and Harris Dementia Resource Centre, 18 Bells Road, Stornoway.     01851 70 2123

An Clachan community shop in Leverburgh has reported a successful year of trading in 2018.

Chris Ross, who chairs Co-Chomunn na Hearadh, told shareholders:

“I’m pleased to report on what has been another very successful year for our community shop.”

As an Lanntair's new Katie Morag exhibition opens next month, their Education & Outreach team have programmed a truly unique and inspiring programme of talks and workshops designed specifically for adults who want to learn and gain experience from the writers, designers, producers.

All at an Lanntair are delighted to be welcoming a variety of experts from the team who brought us the BAFTA award winning CBeebies series Katie Morag.

Click here for more information on the workshops an Lanntair have on offer! 

Angus Brendan MacNeil, SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has contacted Brendan Dick, Director, BT Scotland, following reports of slow broadband speeds in various parts of Lewis.

Commenting, Angus MacNeil said:

“I have today been made aware of problems with the broadband speed in various parts of the island, which seems to have been ongoing since the beginning of the week.

“I understand from a number of businesses in Stornoway that the slow broadband speed is making it difficult for them to operate effectively and I have now contacted BT to ask that they investigate and repair the fault.”

One particularly distinguished guest at the competition this year's Pipe Major Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition was Rod Macleod, from Calgary. Rod –  who is pictured left with winner Angus MacColl and Kenny Dan Macdonald, one of the directors of Point and Sandwick Trust – has donated ‘memorial medals’ to the competition.

The 25th Pipe Major Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition was held in Stornoway last Friday (April 6) and hailed a great success.

It was particularly successful for piper Angus MacColl, who was crowned the overall winner of the competition, having come first in two out of three sections: Piobaireachd and also March, Strathspey and Reel. Craig Sutherland won the Hornpipe and Jig category.

Pipe Major Iain Murdo Morrison, who organises the competition, said Angus MacColl “really was playing well” – and that it had been “an absolutely brilliant” day. 

MG ALBA, the Gaelic media service, is to participate for the first time in an innovative apprenticeship scheme designed to nurture the next generation of broadcast media talent.
The partnership, run by Glasgow Kelvin College and BBC Scotland, is about to enter its sixth programme, with 11 students participating in the 2016/17 course.
For the first time, one student – with the support of MG ALBA - will have the opportunity to work across Gaelic platforms such as BBC ALBA and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal. 
In doing so, the candidate will have the chance to gain experience in many of the departments providing content to the channel, including children’s, news-gathering, factual and sport.

Badminton Tuesdays in April 1.30-8.30pm £6 per court including equipment for up to 4 people, Back Football and Recreation Club, book online at www.backfrc.org.uk

Bowls come and try session We will be hosting a drop in "come and try" for beginners on Wednesday 13th April. Members of the local team will be on hand for tips and spectators are also welcome to join us for a demonstration and a cup of tea. 2-4 pm FREE, Back Football and Recreation Club

Barra Bunting Comes to Back  An evening of inspiration from the Barra Bunting Project, all welcome. Wednesday 20th April 7pm, Back Football and Recreation Club

Keep Fit taster session Monday 25th April 7-7.45pm £4 Suitable for anyone over the age of 16.The range of activities on offer will be adaptable for all levels of fitness, whether you are a first timer or an expert. book online at www.backfrc.org.uk

Book Club Our first book will be “The Roundhouse” by Louise Erdrich Wednesday 27th April 7pm £2.50, Back Football and Recreation Club

There's only one week left for anyone who hasn't yet registered to vote in May's General Election. 

The elections watchdog has been running a national media campaign reminding voters that they can’t take part in the election unless they have registered.

Electoral Commission research indicates that recent home movers, young people, students and those from certain black, minority and ethnic communities are all less likely to be registered to vote.

Two men have been arrested this week after a break-in at shop premises in Cromwell Street, Stornoway earlier this month.

Western Isles police have been making enquiries since the shop window was broken just before 1am on Monday April 8th.

A solemn ceremony took place by the war memorial at Melbost outside the gates of Stornoway Airport today (Wednesday April 25th) to mark Anzac Day, a key date in the history of Australia and New Zealand.

The event took place because 30 members and two helicopters from the Australian Navy are on exercise for two or three weeks with NATO partners based at the airport. The Australians were joined by local veterans and representatives of local uniformed organisations. Also present at the ceremony was Commander Jon Holroyd, the Commanding Officer of 820 Naval Air Squadron of the Royal Navy, which is hosting 816 Squadron.

A renowned autism consultant is visiting staff and pupils at schools across Lewis today .

Jim Taylor spent 30 years educating children with autism, as a teacher, principal, and finally director of education at New Struan School in Alloa, Clackmannanshire.

The next meeting of Autism Eileanan Siar is on Monday 13th April at midday at Newton community association , Seaforth Road, Stornoway.

All those who have an interest in Autism and Aspergers, people affected by this condition, family, carers (etc) are welcome to attend.

Teas and coffees served after meeting.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A newly established Isle of Harris brewer has reached the finals of the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards.

Calum Bennett is one of three finalists in the Young Talent of the Year category.

A newly established Isle of Harris brewer has reached the finals of the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards.

Calum Bennett is one of three finalists in the Young Talent of the Year category.

Stag Bakeries has landed a bumper deal with retail giant Marks & Spencer.

The Stornoway firm will supply all 411 Marks & Spencer stores across the UK with its Stornoway Water Biscuits with Seaweed, and its Stornoway Oatcakes with Seaweed.

Both retail at £3 for a 125 gram pack.

 

Fuine/Cooking – Starting Wednesday 3 May, 8.30 – 9.00pm for eight weeks


 
BBC ALBA’s popular home cooking series returns for a fifth series as presenter and keen cook Mairi MacRitchie travels the Highlands and Islands, from the Hebrides to the Black Isle, meeting the nation’s most skilled home bakers.

Throughout the eight-part series of ‘Fuine/Cooking’, the bakers share with Mairi their most treasured recipes. From sponges and breads to pies and puddings, there is something on the menu for everyone .  

The cooks offer advice and tips on how to perfect each recipe as they guide Mairi through a selection of tasty offerings.

Fuine/Cooking – Starting Wednesday 3 May, 8.30 – 9.00pm for eight weeks


 
BBC ALBA’s popular home cooking series returns for a fifth series as presenter and keen cook Mairi MacRitchie travels the Highlands and Islands, from the Hebrides to the Black Isle, meeting the nation’s most skilled home bakers.

Throughout the eight-part series of ‘Fuine/Cooking’, the bakers share with Mairi their most treasured recipes. From sponges and breads to pies and puddings, there is something on the menu for everyone .  

The cooks offer advice and tips on how to perfect each recipe as they guide Mairi through a selection of tasty offerings.

The next contract to operate the Scottish Government-supported air routes from Glasgow to Barra, Tiree and Campbeltown will give local communities more control over the services.

The Invitation To Tender for the contract, which will run for four years from 25 October 2019, has been published today (Thursday April 25th)

Castlebay is this afternoon (Wednesday April 17th) no longer the focus of disruption on the CalMac network.

With very little advance notice, the Isle of Lewis ferry was returned to service and set off on additional sailing to Oban.

Protests were been made in southern Skye as ferry links from Mallaig to Armadale were cut back because the Lord of the Isles is operating extra services from Lochboisdale to Mallaig.

Meanwhile additional services were operating late into the evening across the Sound of Barra to link up with the Mallaig crossings. 

Sailings are still disrupted today (Wednesday 17 April) due to ongoing ferry issues.

Local repairs have been carried out to MV Isle of Lewis, resulting in the ferry able to leave Castlebay pier to allow MV Clansman into Barra.

CalMac have said: "Information and details of the repair to MV Isle of Lewis have been passed to the relevant authorities and we are awaiting feedback on the options for bringing the vessel back into service, next update will be at 13:30 unless we have any information before then."

Meanwhile, the 13:30 sailing from Oban to Castlebay has been cancelled.

Customers booked on the cancelled 7:55am sailing from Castlebay to Oban have the option of travelling from Ardmhor to Eriskay (07:30) and then from Lochboisdale to Mallaig at 09:50 (subject to availability).

Customers booked on the cancelled 13:30 sailing from Oban to Castlebay have the option of travelling from Mallaig to Lochboisdale at 06:00 or 13:50 (subject to availability). For customers travelling on the 0600 sailing from Mallaig, there is the option of travelling from Eriskay to Ardmhor at 10:15, 13:00, 16:35, 18:30 and 19:35 (subject to availability). For customers travelling on the 13:50 departure from Mallaig, there is the option of travelling on the 18:10 and 19:35 sailings from Eriskay to Ardmhor (subject to availability).

For any foot passengers requiring transport from Oban to Mallaig, Lochboisdale to Eriskay & onward from Ardmhor are advised to contact the local office on 01631 700506 (option 2) to make arrangements.

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

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

Isle of Barra

Angus Maclean of 123 Craigstone, Castlebay, has applied for planning permission to site a twin-unit caravan to be used as a holiday let at 123 Craigstone, Castlebay.

Work is to include the construction of an access road, including the addition of three parking spaces, and the installation of a septic tank. 

Nicki McCallum of 9 Ardmhor has applied for planning permission to build a house at 9A Ardmhor, Northbay.

Work is to include the installation of a treatment plant and the construction of a new access and the addition of 2 parking spaces. The house is to consist of one bedroom, one bathroom and kitchen/living space. 

The following planning applications are approved by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Planning application to build a house with access road and septic tank at 106A Upper Borve, Castlebay, which was received on January 23, has been decided and has been permitted with conditions.

Planning application to create a camper van park at 5 Vatersay, which was received on January 17, has been decided and has been permitted with conditions.

Planning application to create 3 camper van parking sites at 1-3 Vatersay, which was received on January 17, has been decided and has been permitted with conditions. 

Planning application to create camper van parking at 4 Vatersay, which was received on January 17, has been decided and has been permitted with conditions. 

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

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

Kenny Beaton of 94 Borve, Castlebay, has applied for planning permission to change the use of a domestic garage to a holiday let at 94 Borve, Castlebay. The holiday let is to consist of two bedrooms, a lounge/dining/kitchen area and a bathroom. The number of additional parking spaces proposed is two, in addition to the three current spaces. 

A big exhibition of artworks based around the rocks of the Shiant Isles is on display in Edinburgh.

They are by Jill McManners who has been spending her summers on Harris for the past 30 years.  

Jill is pictured right on the giant scree slopes on Garbh Eilean.

The exhibition is on until Saturday May 7.

Jill used to work in a Fine Art bronze foundry and has always been fascinated by geology and rocks.  She has created large-scale watercolours painted on a heavy rough Italian paper though several layers of colour washes, scraping and gum.  The paintings have architectural titles, or are quotes from poems or rock songs.

Entitled Basalt, the exhibition is on at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.in 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh (EH3 6HZ)

Jill made her first of visit to the Hebrides in 1979 and the Shiant Isles in 2003. Jill’s family took a short boat trip from their holiday home in the Sound of Harris. Having long been inspired by the origins of the world, the corrugations and convolutions of the intimidating cliff faces struck Jill profoundly, she says.

These basalt rocks were formed by volcanic action 60 million years ago; basaltic sills and dykes were created from lava flow which can now be seen above the sea level forming the amazing dolerites cliffs and intimidating coast line.

Hanging alongside these panoramic watercolours are Flowers of Basalt; a series of Giclée prints.  They make up kaleidoscopes of spinning flower faces.  Mother-of-three Jill is a gardener herself and flower shapes and colours merge with the rock faces and their textures.

 

With local families and visiting tourists enjoying the Easter holidays and a forecast of fine weather ahead, Clean Coast Outer Hebrides are asking everybody to pitch in to help remove a ton or more of plastic from our beautiful beaches.

Teaming up with Surfers Against Sewage during their official Big Spring Beach Clean running April 7 to 15, the local campaign is encouraging all islanders and visitors to head out to the coast for a personal #MiniBeachClean.

On Saturday 7 April in Castlebay, a Beairteas Bharraigh community clean up filled a whole skip and they are hosting a Great Technicolour Nurdle Hunt (www.nurdlehunt.org.uk) on Saturday 14 April, while North Harris Trust are asking locals to help out with a beach clean at Outend Scalpay, also on 14 April.

Befriending Lewis is looking for volunteers to spend some time with people who find themselves alone - whether through ill-health, disability or social disadvantage - and have a series of free training dates coming up over the next few months, the first being this Saturday.

To book your place, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 01851 70 2632. Lunch will be provided. 

For more information about Befriending Lewis, visit www.befriendinglewis.org.uk  

April is Foot Health Month – a chance to check that your feet are getting the care and attention they need, says Western Isles NHS.

The Foot Health Month campaign, from The College of Podiatry, aims to raise awareness of the importance of good foot health and good foot care through all stages of life.

A  television documentary made in 1991 -- which features the Bethesda Hospice in Stornoway -- is now available on Youtube.

It features Rheumatology Professor Verna Wright of Leeds University, and Christina Maclean MBE,  both medics, both Christians, and  both suffering from a terminal illness.

The film was produced and directed by Jim Wiltshire.

Above: 1st Back Brownies who collected an incredible 90 kg rubbish which included old creels and a rusty old bike and lots of bottles and fishing line from Coll beach.

Volunteers across the islands took part in the Big Spring Beach Clean organised by Clean Coast Outer Hebrides, with 48 mini beach clean-ups and 142 people taking part. The group set a target of 1 tonne but estimates that 1.5 tonnes of rubbish was picked up over the eight days.

[gallery ID=10]

This follows successful beach cleans at Sandwick in Lewis, Hushinish in Harris, Balranald in North Uist and Vatersay and Barra - who also held a Great Nurdle Hunt! Future beach cleans will be organised by Clean Coast Outer Hebrides, who would like to encourage people to continue with their own mini beach cleans too.

This is the link to sign up to their mailing list- http://eepurl.com/dhQDkH, and their new email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Facebook page for anyone wanting more information

 

An Clachan community shop in Leverburgh, south Harris, has reported a successful year of trading in 2018.

Chris Ross, who chairs Co-Chomunn na Hearadh, the community co-operative which controls the enterprise, told shareholders recently:

“I’m pleased to report on what has been another very successful year for our community shop.”

Stornoway firm ‘Wee Studio’ is to open a brand new recording studio in Benbecula.

The new studio is called ‘Wee Studio’s Bunker’ and is to be housed within the East Trust's nuclear bunker. 

The studio will be directly connected to Wee Studio in Stornoway via internet connection.

The temporary suspension on admissions to the Blar Buidhe care home has been lifted.

A review was launched last month following a number of concerns raised over the dietary programmes of residents.

That review has now been completed.

Scotland’s blue badge scheme has been extended to allow people who may have difficulties and pose a risk to themselves or others in traffic to get a badge, provided they meet eligibility criteria.

People who think they might be eligible are being invited to contact their local authority.

The blue badge scheme provides an essential service for disabled people, allowing parking access that can often make the difference as to whether disabled people live their lives as fully as they can.

The Islands Book Trust planned a boat trip to the island of Scarp last September. But, unfortunately, that trip had to be cancelled due to unfavourable weather conditions. Now they plan to try again on 12 May.

They say: “We have organised a number of boat trips to Scarp in recent years and they have always been very popular. Hopefully, those of you who were unable to get to Scarp last year will join us this year, along with others who are interested in the island.”

Booking ahead is essential – www.islandsbooktrust.org/pages/events

Last night (Friday April 26th) saw the official start to the season at Stornoway Bowling Club - and after a sudden downpour of rain delayed proceedings, the ceremonies were successfully concluded and some initial play got under way.

A major Bragar development is set to start after a contractor was appointed.

Urras Coimhearsnachd Bhràdhagair is Àrnoil (UCBA), the Bragar and Arnol Community Trust announced today (Tuesday 9 April) that O' Mac Construction Ltd, of Stornoway, will undertake the redevelopment of Grinneabhat.

St Peter's Episcopal Church on Francis Street was broken into over the Easter weekend.

A small padlock was removed from the donation box inside the porch entrance, and money was taken.

Notice is hereby given that Urras Sgire Oighreachd Bharabhais Community Company has applied to the Scottish Land Court for an Order authorising resumption of 0.03 hectares of the common grazings of the township of Brue.  The purpose of the resumption is to sell the said area to Mr Iain MacRitchie, 7 Merlin Crescent, Inverness, IV2 3TE, to regularise the position whereby the said area is being used as garden and amenity ground for the dwellinghouse 19B Brue.

On 22nd March 2017 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 Kenneth A. Matheson, Seabhal, 19 Brue, Isle of Lewis, HS2 0QW 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.

 

Messrs Anderson MacArthur Solicitors
Old Bank of Scotland Buildings
Stornoway, Isle of Lewis HS1 2BG
(Agents for Urras Sgire Oighreachd
Bharabhais Community Company)
of which intimation is hereby made.

The Head of BT Scotland, Brendan Dick has been invited to the islands by Comhairle Councillor Donald Crichton to hear concerns of customers regarding the disruption to services in North Tolsta; along with the wider problems being experienced with the rollout of Superfast Broadband across the Broadbay area.

Cllr Crichton has written inviting Mr Dick to meet, and suggests customers be reimbursed for the delay in restoring services in North Tolsta in the aftermath of the lightning strike in January.  

He also seeks assurances that the financial support committed to the superfast broadband project is being made available to implement the service. 

BUSINESS GATEWAY WORKSHOPS & ONE TO ONE ADVICE SESSIONS

The following workshops have been arranged for May and June in Stornoway:

Understanding Pricing for Profit        Monday 9 May 1.30pm - 4.30pm Comhairle Offices
Implementing Pricing for Profit Tuesday 10 May 1.30pm - 4.30pm Comhairle Offices
Using Digital Photos for Business Promotion Thursday 12 May      9.30am - 12.30pm        Comhairle Offices
Digital Marketing with the Cloud Tuesday 17 May 1.30pm - 4.30pm Highlands & Islands Enterprise
Business Planning and Market Research Friday 27 May 9.30am - 12.30pm Comhairle Offices
Accounting and Record Keeping Monday 30 May 9.30am - 12.30pm Comhairle Offfices
Marketing for Business Friday 3 June 9.30am - 12.30pm Comhairle Offices
Branding, Packaging, Retail, Off Island Selling   Monday 13 June  9.30am - 12.30pm Highlands & Islands Enterprise

We will also be holding the following one-to-one advice sessions, which can be delivered via Skype
for those unable to attend in person:

Marketing & Cloud - Friday 20 May 
Accounts and Finance - Monday 30 May 
Word and Excel for Business - Wednesday 1 June 
HR and Management - Monday 6 June
 
To book a place on any of the workshops, or to arrange a one-to-one appointment, please contact the Business
Gateway office on 01851 822775 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

A café run in a community centre in Point celebrated its first birthday and official opening in one day on Saturday (March 30th), with a tremendous turnout of local supporters to share the occasion.

 

Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team headed to Branahuie Bay today (Thursday 11 April) after reports that the hull of a possible upturned vessel had been spotted.

A new management team at the Callanish Visitor Centre are looking ahead to the 2019 visitor season with confidence – and they’re buzzing with ideas.

Victoria Harvey and Gregor Macleod took the helm of visitor service provision at Callanish after the retirement in January of Angus Mackenzie, Visitor Centre Manager for nearly 10 years.

Ferry operator CalMac is bringing new jobs to Stornoway.
 
CalMac’s customer service team is boosted by additional staff over the busy summer months and this year five of these seasonal jobs will be based in the Western Isles.
 
They will be dedicated to helping handle some of the 300,000 plus calls and 44,000 emails the company receives every year.
The on-going restoration of the historic steamship TS Queen Mary has been buoyed by a donation from CalMac. 
 
The money will go towards reinstating the vessel’s main mast. The new mast will be machined from a single Douglas Fir tree and varnished before being installed on board with original refurbished rigging.
Ferry operator CalMac is backing Ullapool in its bid to win £38,000 of funding for its Winter Lights Festival.
Ullapool has been shortlisted for funding by the National Lottery’s People’s Projects and is looking for votes to secure the funding it needs.

Despite a sunshine weekend, weather conditions are causing disruption to CalMac ferry services from Stornoway to Ullapool this week.
Customers travelling on the Ullapool-Stornoway passenger ferry route are advise to ‘Be aware’ as tomorrow’s sailings (Tuesday, April 17th) are liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice due to forecast high winds.
And the Lewis freight ferry (Ullapool to Stornoway) is also affected with tonight’s sailing (Monday, April 16th) at 10.30pm and tomorrow’s 3am freight service both facing disruption or cancellation at short notice due to forecast high winds.
For further information and service updates, please visit www.calmac.co.uk/service-status. 

Staff at CalMac's customer operations centre are on a crash learning course to reach out to more Gaelic speakers through social media.
Six volunteers from the customer team in Gourock are going through a Gaelic beginners course to enable them to start posting service update tweets bilingually.
The team, who are doing the course in their spare time, have reached the level of doing National 4 exams which, they are hoping to sit officially next year.
More than 90% of Scots Gaelic speakers live in the areas CalMac serves.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has introduced the likes of cullen skink pie, smoked salmon bagels and vegetarian haggis nachos to its menu. 

Served in the Mariners cafés on board its major ships, the food has become a firm favourite with customers – regular travellers and excited tourists alike – as offering great taste, value for money and supporting Scottish produce. 

Two new features have made booking online with CalMac easier.

The ferry and harbour operator has now introduced new features to their web booking system that allows customers to save payment details and make changes to reservations online.

CalMac's Head of Customer Services, Alan Hood said: "Feedback from our customers told us that they wanted an improved ability to 'self-serve' tickets, and modifications to bookings, 24-hours a day.

"We are delighted to introduce two new functions to our ticketing and reservations system to address these needs."

CalMac has reassured customers that despite unavoidable disruption due to vessel repair overrun, each of its 26 island destinations remain very much open for business.

But disruption is expected to continue until May 23.

The company says its priority has been responding to its customers and has handled over 12,500 calls during the last five days. 

Disadvantaged young people living in seafaring communities are set to benefit from a £5,000 grant from ferry operator CalMac.
It has made the donation to the Sailors’ Orphan Society of Scotland to help fund their work. 
As well as supporting young people living in coastal towns, the charity is also committed to feeding, clothing and educating children of deceased seafarers.

Island ferry operator Caledonian MacBraynes is looking for Lewis residents to have their say on Scottish ferry services.

CalMac is looking for islanders over the age of 18 to participate in a short discussion group about ferry services available in the Western Isles, as well as Scotland as a whole.

An independent research company will host the ferry talk with the group discussion due to take place on Monday, May 22nd in Stornoway.

Those wishing to participate are asked to register their interest by submitting details online here.

Carhire Hebrides – one of the fastest growing enterprises on the Western Isles – has established a new base in the Stornoway Ferry Terminal, making its cars, vans and personnel far more accessible to customers both at home and away. 

The new base deals with walk-in customers as well as telephone and on-line bookings similar to their established base at Stornoway Airport. 

Co-owner John Cunningham said the venture – which has taken over the space formerly occupied by the Ferry Terminal café – was a logical extension of the standards of customer service they had always aimed for.

This year, 38 children from Shawbost to Callanish participated in the Holiday Club, which ran from Monday 30th March to Thursday 2nd April in the Carloway Community Centre.

The children participated in a range of specially prepared activites under the theme ‘Polar Explorers’. Activites included singing songs, crafts, playing games, listening to bible stories and enjoying the fabulous drama presented each day by some of the leaders.

 

The biblical focus of the week was learning about some of the different friends of Jesus and understanding how we can all be a part of God’s work.

The week ended with a community barbeque on Saturday evening, which was well attended, and featured a performance of the final act of the drama, concluding with Rev. Thomas Davis creating an indoor blizzard of polystyrene, much to the delight of the children.

This was followed by a community praise night on Sunday evening, which, in traditional Carloway style, provided a spectacular feast of cakes and goodies for all, as well as some fine star jumping from the action song experts!

Acts 4:33

 

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all

Tickets to the Carnival Midsummer Charity Ball sold out in less than hour this afternoon. 

The Carnival Midsummer Charity Ball, organised by the Lewis Carnival Committee, will take place on June 10 in the Town Hall to raise money for Hebridean Men's Cancer Support Group, Lewis & Harris Women's Cancer Support Group, Autism Eileanan Siar, and The Gambia Partnership. 

Carnival Committee presents money to charities

The Carnival Committee recently presented charities with money raised from last year's event in Stornoway.

A number of ferry sailings tomorrow (Wednesday 3 April) are cancelled or liable to be disrupted. 

Sailings between Castlebay and Oban are cancelled. Sailings from Ardmhor to Eriskay are operating as normal.

Lochboisdale to Mallaig and Ullapool to Stornoway sailings have also been cancelled.

The sailing from Castlebay was once again disrupted due to technical issues.

CalMac have said: 'Due to a technical issue, the 07:55 departed Castlebay late at 11:50 with ETA in Oban at 1630. Departure from Oban will be approx. 1645.' 

 

 

Four representatives of Eriskay Football Club will be guests of Celtic at tomorrow's home game with Kilmarnock (Saturday April 27th).

Four representatives of Eriskay Football Club will be guests of Celtic at tomorrow's home game with Kilmarnock (Saturday April 27th).

Lews Castle, by Natural Retreats

Lews Castle is proving the place to be today (Friday, April 28th) as island residents and visitors enjoy the opportunity to look around the new luxury accommodation on offer by operators Natural Retreats.

And today there is also a chance to win a free stay for four in Lews Castle by taking part in the Open Day raffle, in support of the RNLI and Bethesda Nursing Home and Hospice.

Opening its doors at 10am this morning, the Castle staff have been kept busy throughout the day with a huge number of visitors, from old to young, excitedly exploring the new look Castle with a selection of the 23 bedrooms planned ready for viewing.

Rooms will remain open to the public until 9pm tonight; and from 4pm there will be displays of Highland Dancing and entertainment from local school choirs, as well as free welcomes drinks and canapes to deliver A Taste of Stornoway until 8pm. And the Lews Castle whisky bar will be open until 1am tonight for visitors and guests.

This month the TV Repair and Aerial/Dish Installation Shop on Keith Street in Stornoway switches hands for the first time since it opened more than two decades ago.

Parkinson’s UK is calling for businesses and organisations across Scotland to make life better for people living with Parkinson’s. Today (Wednesday April 11th) is World Parkinsons Day.

The charity has found that a lack of awareness of the condition and its symptoms can make everyday activities such as shopping and dealing with public services difficult.

Parkinson’s has more than 40 symptoms and many are little known among the wider public. Almost two thirds of people (64%) identify having a tremor as the symptom most commonly associated with Parkinson’s. But tremor is not experienced by everyone - and more than 12,000 people with Parkinson's in Scotland frequently experience other symptoms too.

Chelsea Football Club are more popular in the Outer Hebrides than they are in London, according to a new study. 

The survey, conducted by Twitter, shows the levels of support for every Premier League team in each region of the UK based on the number of followers of the clubs' official Twitter accounts.

Chelsea are the third most popular team in London behind Arsenal and Liverpool, securing only 13.4 per cent of the vote. 

They are more popular in the Outer Hebrides, where 14.8 per cent of fans supported the Blues.

 

 

Woodland alongside Smith Avenue in Stornoway would be felled under proposals for a new church and car park on land opposite the running and athletics track.

A request for outline planning permission has been made to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for use of the land which is owned by community landowner, the Stornoway Trust.

The application is from Stornoway High Free Church.  At present their Sunday services are held in Stornoway Primary School.  Their midweek meetings are held in the Retirement Centre, Bayhead, with English Prayer meetings on Tuesdays and Saturdays and Gaelic Prayer meetings on Thursdays.

The congregation has been without a permanent home since splitting with the Church of Scotland two years ago.

The congregation is now proposing to erect a church including a large car park to the rear with 77 car spaces.  Documents published on line by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar indicate that Council officials believe the proposal is acceptable. (plans)

If outline permission is granted by the council, a full planning application will be submitted at a later date.

 

 

 

A massive increase in passenger numbers over the Easter holidays has led to operator Citylink laying on more buses between Ullapool and Inverness. 

Citylink were contacted by Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, who also liaised with CalMac over the issue.

A South Uist councillor has called for an inquiry into how the returning officer for the Western Isles constituency came to attend a meeting "which broke every law in the electoral book" and from which he was excluded.

The meeting, about ferry services, was held at the offices of Storas Uibhist in Daliburgh and attended by the SNP candidate for the Western Isles, Angus Brendan MacNeil, as well as the Scottish Goverment  transport minister, Derek MacKay and the local MSP, Alasdair Allan. Council representatives, including chief executive Malcolm Burr were also present.

Councillor Ronald MacKinnon, who has been prominent in the campaign to improve ferry services for South Uist, was not invited. He said: "When I learned of the proposed meeting, I phoned Transport Scotland in Edinburgh to ask why I had not been invited and whether I could attend."

The Clan Macquarrie Community Centre in Borve is to get almost £33,000 from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund (CCF).

The CCF, managed by Keep Scotland Beautiful, awards funding to help tackle climate change by running projects that reduce local carbon emissions. They’re supporting an energy efficiency project to be run by Clan Macquarrie volunteers, which will improve energy efficiency at the centre itself and offer free support across the wider community.

Members of the Carloway community got together on Saturday (April 18) morning to try to clean up some of the rubbish that collated ‎after the winter storms, in association with Clean Up Scotland. 

It turns out that litter picking is a fantastic way to spend the morning with the kids, who were delighted to discover some interesting finds including a giant polystyrene ball, old tyres, a football, an old go kart, and a traffic cone. 

 

After a couple of hours rubbish collecting, from which the skip was left over flowing, the group gathered at the hall where Cathie Mary McIver had some delicious soup and refreshments waiting.

Who would have thought litter picking could be so much fun?! 

Members of the Carloway community got together on Saturday morning to try to clean up some of the rubbish that collated ‎after the winter storms, in association with Clean Up Scotland. 

It turns out that litter picking is a fantastic way to spend the morning with the kids, who were delighted to discover some interesting finds including a giant polystyrene ball, old tyres, a football, an old go kart, and a traffic cone. 

 

After a couple of hours rubbish collecting, from which the skip was left over flowing, the group gathered at the hall where Cathie Mary McIver had some delicious soup and refreshments waiting.

Who would have thought litter picking could be so much fun?! 

Amidst protests from various parts of the crofting world, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is to invite the Crofting Commission to a meeting of Crofting Joint Consultative Committee "to discuss the wider implications raised by the current discussions within the sector".

Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell said “We are aware of the current issues between the Crofting Commission and Grazings Committees and whilst not wishing to be drawn into the specifics of those discussions, there are wider implications for the whole of the crofting industry that these matters raise.  Principally around the roles and responsibilities of Grazings Committees and their enforcement. With that in mind, we are inviting representatives of the Commission to a meeting of the JCC so that these matters can be discussed in full.”

It is hoped that the JCC meeting will take place during the second week of May.

To raise money for CLIC Sargent - which supports children with cancer - the staff at Scottish Hydro, 32 Cromwell street in Stornoway, are holding a 'Coffee, Cake and Chatter' week running from May 20th until May 23rd.

They will also be participating in "WIG WEDNESDAY", which is on the 20th, but just for fun - and, of course, to raise funds for CLIC Sargent - they will be sporting their wigs for the four days of 'Coffee, Cake and Chatter' week. 

During 'Coffee, Cake and Chatter' week, the staff at Scottish Hydro invite you to drop into their store, have a chat, and enjoy some warm drinks and professional home baking - made and donated by the owner of Hebridean Oaties, Laura Macdonald.

To donate through JustGiving, click here

 

Now in its fourth year, the annual 5 Latha residential experience for secondary school children returned to Garenin Blackhouse Village last week. A group of young folk from across the Western Isles, Glasgow and Inverness took part in the event run by Fèisian nan Gàidheal from the 6th - 11th April. 

Under the tuition of Norrie MacIver, Mary Smith and Iain MacFarlane, the young folk participated in music and song workshops, exploring Gaelic language and culture. They were also given the chance to experience several aspects of Hebridean life hands on, from helping with lambing, cutting peats, traditional weaving, a SeaTrek excursion and plenty of baking, Duff being a particular favourite.

The week concluded with a lively concert in Carloway Community Centre, showcasing the musical highlights from the week.

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

Now in its fourth year, the annual 5 Latha residential experience for secondary school children returned to Garenin Blackhouse Village last week. A group of young folk from across the Western Isles, Glasgow and Inverness took part in the event run by Fèisian nan Gàidheal from the 6th - 11th April. 

Under the tuition of Norrie MacIver, Mary Smith and Iain MacFarlane the young folk participated in music and song workshops, exploring Gaelic language and culture. They were also given the chance to experience several aspects of Hebridean life hands on, from helping with lambing, cutting peats, traditional weaving, a SeaTrek excursion and plenty of baking, Duff being a particular favourite.

The week concluded with a lively concert in Carloway Community Centre, showcasing the musical highlights from the week.

Further delays in the construction of the new ferry for the Tarbert-Uig-Lochmaddy services have angered Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

The Council’s  Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure, Councillor Uisdean Robertson, has responded to an update from Minister for Energy and Islands, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, about the further slippage in delivery dates for two ferries ordered from Ferguson Marine Engineering.

With less than half of Western Isles CalMac staff resident outside the island chain, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has called on the Scottish Government to ensure that jobs created for the islands are secured within the islands.
Valuable data regarding staff levels across the ferry company network was secured recently by the Comhairle and reveals that only 204 CalMac staff reside in the Outer Hebrides.
This is despite an estimate of between 350 and 455 staff being required at Outer Hebrides ports and on the ferries that serve the routes to and within the Outer Hebrides.

Ken MacBrayne

A Tory candidate for election to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has been suspended by his party after posting on social media that Nicola Sturgeon was a ‘silly cow’ who should be kidnapped, adding: “Why can’t someone stick a cattle prod up her nether region?”

Retired seaman Ken MacBrayne (72), is one of eight candidates battling it out for three seats in the Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a’ Tuath ward. 

Police in the Western Isles, in partnership with other agencies, are today continuing search efforts for Missing Fisherman, Paul Alliston.

There is a co-ordinated Coastal Search being undertaken around Mingulay, Sandray, Berneray, and Pabbay.

This search will be predominantly co-ordinated by MCA and RNLI with the assistance of a number of fishing vessels from across the Western Isles. 

Paul Alliston was one of the four crew aboard the MV Louisa when it sunk off the coast of Mingulay on Saturday.

The Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Mr Norman A Macdonald, has paid tribute to Murdo Macdonald, former Councillor for the Coll ward.

 

 

Mr Macdonald served two terms on the Comhairle from 1978 to 1986. He was on several Committees including Education, Housing, Social Work and Environmental Services. He served as Vice-chair of Development Services and was also on the Licensing Board and the Fisheries JCC.

 

 

The Convener said: “Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Mr Macdonald at this sad time.  As is our custom the Comhairle flag is flying at half mast as a mark of respect for a former Councillor”

 

You can now keep track with what your councillor is saying in the debating chamber, after Comhairle nan Eilean Siar started a new online live stream of its meetings.

The new service started this week, and you can access the audio stream here.

Today sees a meeting of the Health and Social Care committee, starting at 2pm.

A total of £4m will be invested in services in the Outer Hebrides over the next two years, says Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

The plans include a £1m boost for Education and Children’s Services, £240,000 for new library vans and £800,000 for road improvements.

Other projects involve a further £240,000 for coastal protection works at Craigston on the Isle of Barra and South Ford, between Benbecula and South Uist,  as well as £130,000 on road repairs to the newly renovated Lews Castle.

A councillor was facing court action this week (Tuesday April 23rd) over contraventions of planning conditions under an enforcement notice issued by his own council.

Councillor Calum MacMillan, councillor for Barra, Vatersay, Eriskay and South Uist, faces charges under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 over noise levels from a wind turbine installed on his croft at Bornish, South Uist.

The Cancer Research event 'Coves Climb the Clisham' will take place on Saturday May 2nd, and this is the last week for entries

Entry forms can be picked up from the Events shop, Lewis Sports Centre and Harris Sports Centre. 

The organisers need to know how many coves are going to be on the Clisham that Saturday in order to make the necessary arrangements.

Please return completed forms along with entry fees to Events or the Sports Centre receptions in Stornoway or Tarbert by Friday 17th April.

The Cancer Research event 'Coves Climb the Clisham' will take place on Saturday May 2nd, and this is the last week for entries

Entry forms can be picked up from the Events shop, Lewis Sports Centre and Harris Sports Centre. 

The organisers need to know how many coves are going to be on the Clisham that Saturday in order to make the necessary arrangements.

Please return completed forms along with entry fees to Events or the Sports Centre receptions in Stornoway or Tarbert by Friday 17th April.

 

 

An announcement from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that they have “issued an Enforcement Notice on Advertised Delivery Restrictions and Surcharges” has been welcomed.

The measure comes as the ASA have ruled that adverts which “mislead on parcel delivery and surcharge practices” have been banned, forcing companies to be upfront with consumers from the outset as to how much they will need to pay in delivery costs for goods.

Companies who advertise free delivery on items, yet impose punitive charges well into the purchasing process will be slapped down by the ASA after the 31st May 2018, when the new rules come into effect.

Craft Fair/Table Top Sale at the Barvas and Brue Community Centre on Saturday 16th May!
12.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. 
To book a table, please phone Peggy 840400 / Maureen 850262

 

Today An Lanntair is holding its Fèill Ceáird is Còcairachd: Craft and Cookery Festival – a FREE festival throughout An Lanntair’s building offering a fabulous tour of food and craft from the diverse island communities of the Outer Hebrides.

 

 

 

 

An appeal – carried on welovestornoway.com – for craftspeople and makers to contact the Stornoway Airport shop about putting their products on sale there has produced great results, says Donald Martin who runs the shop.

Within a few days, several local producers had their products on sale at the airport for the first – and had made their first sales. “There’s some very nice stuff come through,” said Mr Martin.

But he is still looking for more potential craftspeople to join the throng on the main display shelves.

An Lanntair hosts Single Shoe Production of Crazy Glue: a remarkable piece of physical theatre, in which both the dizzying highs and desolate lows of love are laid bare to comic and heart-breaking effect. 

The glue, of course, is love. And what’s so crazy about it? Absolutely everything, it seems: from the spark that starts its first bright flame, to the final fizzle of its embers.

The wonderfully skilled Bradley Wayne Smith and Filipa Thomas portray with humour, pathos, and some impressive vocal sound effects the experiences of a couple driven crazy by the first flush of love, and even crazier by its disintegration.

An unidentified member of MI5 reported on the difficulties of maintaining their radio communications during the search.
"We arrived at Stornoway Airport, Isle of Lewis, at 20.15 on April 3, 1965.   The cover of darkness afforded a degree of security for the convoy.  We split up to travel from the airport to the moorland impact site…
"…it became clear early on that we needed a proper broadcasting base to maintain contact not just with London, but also agencies in other countries.  By chance, a searcher spotted a long-low traditional island blackhouse set well away from the village that already had a long-wire external wireless aerial array.  The resident crofter (name blacked out) was a former Royal Navy and Merchant Navy radio officer who was monitoring a range of frequencies, including the Trawler or Marine band…
"…it became possible to identify a number of infractions of broadcasting regulations and to use these to achieve the full co-operation of the crofter…as a result, we remained in constant contact with London, Washington and Moscow during the search under the secret 1959 Space Debris Protocol. "
It is believed the house is now in ruins but it has not been possible to identify the exact location.

The Crofting Counties face "an astonishing assault on crofting by the crofting regulator itself, which recently launched a campaign against grazings committees resulting in the sacking at least two of them," says Patrick Krause, chief executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation.

Both incidents have taken place on Lewis but the implications are far reaching, he says.

In the Upper Coll case, "the commission made an unprecedented demand for five years of audited accounts, though there had been no indication of financial shenanigans. Whatever is actually behind their decision, it is a staggeringly clumsy exercise in public relations.

The Crofting Commission is launching new application forms and information leaflets to help crofters understand crofting regulation.
The Commission is asking for more detailed information from crofters in their regulatory application forms to reduce the processing time of applications by limiting the requests for further information.

The Scottish Government’s plans for legislative reform of crofting have now been outlined by Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity.

This follows on from The Consultation on the Future of Crofting Legislation which received responses up until 20 November 2017 and the subsequent analysis of the responses published on 21 March 2018.

Mr Ewing, commenting on the analysis report on 12 April 2018, said: “The results made for interesting reading  and the diversity of responses only highlighted the scale of the challenge ahead.

Another Lewis crofting village has called for an inquiry into the Crofting Commission after rulings which, it says,  threaten the  "entire system of crofting agriculture".

The Mangersta grazings committee has been dismissed by the Crofting Commission -  for allegedly failing to make payments to a tenant who has claimed a personal share of grants secured by the village over a 15 year period.

In recent days there have been a series of protests about the dismissal of Upper Coll Grazings Committee - coming from the Scottish Crofting Federation and from local politicians.

Former procurator fiscal and sheriff Colin Scott Mackenzie yesterday launched his latest book ‘Gael Force on Gallipoli’ at an event in the Lews Castle College UHI Lecture Theatre.
At 2pm on a sunny Friday afternoon, the lecture theatre was packed with local people – crofters, administrators, politicians, members of Stornoway Historical Society and many more – for the launch of a massive book costing £30 in hardback or £25 in softback of which only around 200 have been printed.
You can order your downloadable book as a pdf for £15 directly from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and pay through Paypal.

The Epic Award winning Barra Bunting will be on display for the festival

A free food festival offers a fabulous tour of food and craft from diverse island communities throughout the Outer Hebrides this weekend.

An Lanntair arts centre launches its Fèill Ceáird is Còcairachd: Craft and Cookery Festival on Saturday, April 29th, taking place from 12pm to 4pm.

During the festival visitors will be able to sample world cuisines from the Minch to Mumbai in a fun filled day of cooking demonstrations, food tasters and Hebridean craft stalls, highlighting the quality of handmade crafts to be found on a journey through the islands.

Artists have until tomorrow (fri) to put forward plans to create a new work of art that will be premiered at the 20th Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.
 Organisers of the festival in Stornoway in the island of Lewis want a contemporary artwork designed to reflect the character of the event during its landmark year.

The Castlebay to Oban ferry sailing was being delayed today (Tuesday 9 April.)

CalMac reported that debris had been found in the vicinity of the ferry's propellers, resulting in the 07:55 sailing being disrupted.

Meanwhile there is a road warning for those travelling on Monday 22nd April to Friday 26th April.

 Stornoway Harbour showing a visualisation of the proposed deep water berth

The public will have a chance to help shape plans for major developments at Stornoway Harbour that will bring significant benefits to the town.

An exhibition on Tuesday 24 April, between 10am-6pm at Stornoway Town Hall will set out the proposals and the methods being used by the Stornoway Port Authority to assess the environmental impact of the projects.

At a second exhibition, on Monday 4 June between 10am-6pm at the Town Hall, the Authority will explain how the proposals have evolved since the first consultation event and provide information about the environmental impact assessments.

Funds are now in place and there have been three "Lucky to be here" Defibrillators ordered for the Lower Shader to Brue area.

A training night has been booked in the Barvas Hall on Wed 5th April at 7.30pm. Training will be given by the Lucky 2B Here Team and will cover basic life support and the use of a defibrillator.

Anyone who is interested in attending the training should get in touch by calling 01851 840450 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For those that cannot attend this night there will be other training nights in the future. 

 

 

In conjunction with NHS Western Isles, Tommy Whitelaw from the ALLIANCE Dementia Carers Voices will be hosting a series of events in the Outer Hebrides aimed at raising dementia awareness for people with dementia and their carers.

Tommy, who lives in Glasgow, was a full-time carer for his late mother Joan who had been diagnosed with vascular dementia. Through supporting his mother, he became a well-known national campaigner raising awareness of the issues surrounding dementia.

He said: “My motivation as a carer came from the love I had for my mum and I would do it all again in a heartbeat, but my experience has shown me just how tough it is to live with dementia and how many struggles it can bring.

Back Football and Recreation Club have announced the official opening of their all-weather, enclosed Sports Arena at Upper Coll. The ceremony is to take place at the Upper Coll Centre, on Friday 20 May, with the official opening being performed by the Scottish international football legend, Denis Law CBE.

The opening of the Back Sports Arena kicks off another chapter in the history and ongoing development of Back Football and Recreation Club in that it adds yet another facility to the array of resources available at the Upper Coll Centre location.

Laura Maciver and Bryan James France at SignPrint

Local printing specialists SignPrint can now offer a full bespoke design package for customers, with all aspects of the process taking place right here in the Western Isles.

Based at Rigs Road, SignPrint have taken ownership of brand new state-of-the-art machinery which will enable them to produce high quality printing and signage on the island

And to successfully cap their long-held ambition of providing a one-stop-shop for clients, Sign Print have taken on a highly experienced graphic designer in Bryan James France, who joins the team having previously used his expertise at the Stornoway Gazette’s multimedia department.

The first tranche of community benefit monies has now been lodged with Western Isles Development Trust, and the company’s directors, drawn from local agencies, community bodies and the general membership of WIDT, will soon be considering applications for funding.

WIDT is a community based organisation established to invest income from local renewable energy generation schemes in the wider island community.  

While community or private landowners stand to benefit, in the first instance, from community benefit payments arising from renewable energy installations on their own land, WIDT exists to ensure that a proportion of that benefit is distributed across the wider Western Isles community, from the Butt to Barra.

DigiScotFest is coming to Stornoway!

An Lanntair, Thursday 14th May, 10:30am – 3:30pm

DigiScotFest Western Isles is part of a series of festivals to promote digital inclusion across Scotland. Led by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Citizens Online and Hebridean Connections, this one day free event is open to everyone interested in all things digital!

We particularly hope to meet people who are involved with helping others to use the internet, as well as organisations who are embedding the use of digital tools and the internet as part of their wider work.

 

The day will comprise of a mixture of presentations and workshops with plenty of time to share stories, ask questions and network. For further information and to book a place please see our events page or contact Rebecca at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or on 0131 474 8028.

'Walk on Hebrides' is the local health walks project that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in the islands by delivering regular led walks at various locations throughout the islands.

To do this we rely on a pool of volunteer walk leaders and, on Wednesday 22nd April, we will be delivering a one day training course that will give participants the skills and knowledge to lead health walks in their local patch.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Walk on Hebrides, to find out or book a place on this training course, contact Chris Ryan, Paths for Health Coordinator on 01851 762016 or 07743 507982. email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Training will take place on 22nd April from 9.30am - 4pm at The Shed, Francis Street, Stornoway, and a buffet lunch will be provided.

For further details contact:

Maggie Fraser

Communications Manager

01851 708060

07810527457

Former Scotland international and British Lion rugby star Doddie Weir is to visit Stornoway next month.

Weir, who played in the lock position, will be the guest of the Stornoway Rugby Club at their annual dinner at the Caladh Hotel, on Saturday May 21.

He will deliver the after-dinner talk, followed by an auction, prize-giving and question-and-answer session.

A young male tri-colour collie was found earlier running down Garden Road from Matheson road at around 2pm this afternoon.

No collar or identification, the Vets have scanned him and he is microchipped. He is very friendly.

If you recognise him he is being taken from the EVENTS and welovestornoway office to the Police station to be collected.

[gallery ID=155]

A dog had a lucky escape this morning (Friday April 5) after a full-scale emergency turnout in the outer harbour area of Stornoway around 9am.

Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team, Stornoway RNLI Lifeboat and two Coastguard duty officers were involved

The Clo Mor Harris Tweed Cycle Ride 2016 tweed-clad turn-out

The knitting needles are already in action in Kyles Scalpaigh creating this year's 'Geansaidh Buidhe' for the winner of An Lanntair's second 'Clo Mor – Harris Tweed Cycle Ride'.

Saturday, April 29th, will see islanders don their finest tweeds for a 'spiffing cycle' around Stornoway town and the chance of win the prestigious prizes of a hand knitted Geansaidh Buidhe (Yellow Jersey) and title of 'Best Dressed Rider'.

And this year there is also a 'Geansaidh Geal' (White Jersey) for the Best Young Rider.

Màiri Matheson with the Best Radio Sports 2016 award.

BBC Radio nan Gàidheal has been celebrating a double success after winning two awards at the Celtic Media Festival 2016 which was held in Dungarvan near Waterford and which came to a close last weekend.

Dr You – Health and Fitness DVDs

The Dr You collection of health books, information and resources has now been extended to include a fantastic collection of health and fitness DVDs, thanks to special support from the NHS Western Isles. The DVDs cover a range of different gentle exercise routines, such as yoga, Tai Chi, ballet, Pilates and stretching, as well as some high-energy routines for the more energetic among us. The collection offers a great opportunity for people to try out different types of exercise at home before perhaps making the decision to join a regular class.

The collection also includes a number of routines especially devised for the over 50s. The over 50s series offers something for everyone; from active walking, balance and co-ordination to morning stretching.  At only 30 minutes in length, the routines are clearly demonstrated and easy to make a part of your daily routine.

The Dr You project aims to support people to take control of their health and well-being.  It is a partnership between the Comhairle’s library service, NHS Western Isles and local health organisations, provides books, information and other resources on health issues and concerns, which are all available through the branch and mobile libraries across the isles.

The collections of self-help resources cover a range of mental health issues, such as depression, stress, eating disorders and low self-esteem and aim to provide support and guidance to give sufferers support to manage their conditions. The collections also contain books on physical health ailments such as cancer, dementia, multiple sclerosis and stroke and are aimed at providing information and strategies for coping for both sufferers and families. There are books for children and young people as well, providing support for them and their families in dealing with the challenges of living with autism and other developmental difficulties.

Anyone wanting to borrow one of the Dr You books or DVDs can do so by visiting their local library or arranging a visit from the mobile library service.  It is free to become a member of the library and to borrow books or information DVDs, simply bring along some proof of address when you visit.  If an item isn’t immediately available, it can easily be reserved.  Those wanting to find out more about Dr You and see a full list of the books and DVDs available can visit www.cne-siar.gov.uk/library for more information.

Get into Shape with Nancy Marmorat

Nancy Marmorat’s experience coaching people of all age groups has inspired her to devise a specially-adapted keep-fit programme for people aged over 50. This DVD contains a complete gymnastics session for keeping in good shape. There are several advantages to following this method - to strengthen the density of your bones, to increase your muscle tone, to protect your heart, to practise keeping your balance and coordination, to keep your body supple and to simply make you feel good. 

An Introduction to Tai Chi: Chi Kung with Lucy Lloyd Barker 

  

Tai Chi Chi Kung is a combination of movements and meditation techniques whose fundamental roots can be tracked back to China and it is still widely practised on a regular basis there. Lucy Lloyd Barker explains its history and guides you through a complete Tai Chi Chi Kung routine. Tai Chi Chi Kung can be practised anywhere, with little or no special equipment or assistance making it a versatile and effective way to focus your mind, relax your body and enrich your spirit.    

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects approximately 15% of people in the UK. Typical symptoms can include abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating or distension, wind, a change in bowel habit (diarrhoea and/or constipation).  If you think you might have IBS it’s important to speak to your doctor to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions such as coeliac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

Diet and lifestyle changes can significantly improve IBS symptoms and help patients manage their condition.  Specific advice on diet varies depending on what symptoms are but there are some general tips that would benefit all IBS sufferers.

Entries are now open for the 2019 annual Drag Race.

The Lewis Car Club race will be held on Saturday 1 June at Stornoway Airport.

Stornoway drivers are being asked to be more aware of their behaviour when driving in and around the town centre, after a number of penalties were issued by police over the weekend of April 19th to 21st.

Anti-social driving behaviour, flouting of parking restrictions and road traffic offences connected with vehicles are all being rigorously checked by police officers.

Easter Fun Day at Maybury Gardens from 11am to 4pm this Saturday (19th)

Easter Market this Saturday at Castlebay Community School.

Get creative and enter the Decorated Easter Egg competition, just remember to boil or blow the egg before you get decorating! The competition has various gae groups so anyone can enter for the chance to win some great prizes.

If you would like a stall contact Sarah at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01871 817948.

The Easter Fayre Craft Market will be held at Carloway Community Centre between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 15th April, where there will be a range of stalls including local Arts and Crafts for sale. Meanwhile a Soup and Pudding Lunch is being held at Carloway School Annex from 12 noon until 2pm.

Combine the two for a day out of shopping and lunch on the Westside.

Only a few days to go until an Evening of Exceptional Style and tickets to the Eastgate Centre fashion and beauty extravaganza are sold out.

It's good news for members of the Lewis & Harris Women's Cancer Support Group, the charity being supported by Inverness' Eastgate Shopping Centre's weekend of island events, supported also by Loganair and Macrae and Dick.

But don't fret – there's still a chance to see what's on offer by visiting retailers at the Eastgate Pop-Up Fashion and Beauty Centre on Saturday.

On Friday, April 22nd, the Cabarfeidh Hotel pays host to the Evening of Exceptional Style which will feature a Catwalk Show of the latest Spring fashion trends, as well as Beauty Sampling and Makeover opportunities, the chance to learn how to create the perfect hair for a special event, and styles for a Red Carpet Look.

Eight elite athletes from the Outer Hebrides are set to benefit from a scheme designed to support travel costs for island competitors, it was announced today (Tuesday April 24th).

Following the recent introduction of the pilot Islands Athlete Travel Award Scheme by sportscotland 8 local athletes from across the Islands will receive £1,500 to support their travel and accommodation costs in attending training and competitions. The overall aim of this scheme is to help gifted athletes from the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland to gain better access to competitive and developmental opportunities available on the mainland.

Applications were received from 22 individuals covering 7 different sports, highlighting the demand for increased support. The overall standard was high, making the selection process appropriately challenging.

The following athletes will receive an award: -

Gemma Macritchie Athletics
Scott Maciver Athletics
Matthew Hanlon Swimming
Isla Budge Swimming
Amie Ringstead Basketball
Rory Mighton Rugby
Chloe Nicolson Football
Matthew Wright Football

The Western Isles candidates for this year's Scottish Parliament elections have just been announced. 

They are:

ALLAN,

Alasdair James

Scottish National Party (SNP)

 

CORMACK,

John

Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”

 

FRASER,

Ranald

Scottish Conservative and Unionist

 

GRANT,

Rhoda

Scottish Labour Party

 

MACLEOD,

Kenneth John Baillie Stewart

Scottish Liberal Democrats

The extent of empty homes and how these can be brought back into use is to be investigated by Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee.

National Records of Scotland data from 2017 has shown that 4% of the dwellings in Scotland are unoccupied and the Committee’s inquiry will investigate why.

A new study commissioned by Crown Estate Scotland provides a potential way forward for a more localised approach to offshore renewable energy deployment in coastal and island communities across Scotland.

The study, carried out by specialists Everoze, looked at six scenarios linked to a number of renewable technologies such as floating wind, wave, and tidal energy, and analysed how they could support the development of key industries, including whisky and salmon farming, in coastal locations.

All are invited to join for a Spring Afternoon Tea and help raise funds for the local lifesavers of Stornoway RNLI this weekend.

The Stornoway Lifeboat Ladies Guild invite all to the Spring Afternoon Tea this Saturday (April 29th), from 2pm-4pm in Lewis Retirement Centre on Bayhead, Stornoway.

Enjoy a catch up with friends and family over a cup of tea or coffee and some delicious home-baking.

There will also be a stall packed full of RNLI goodies, large and small – and all funds raised go directly to the town RNLI station and lifeboat.

With the Scottish Parliament election taking place on Thursday 5 May 2016, electors in Na h-Eileanan an Iar are being urged to ensure they are registered to vote before the deadline on Monday 18 April.

The deadline for new postal vote applications or to change existing postal or proxy arrangements is 5pm on Tuesday 19 April and the deadline for new applications to vote by proxy is 5pm on Tuesday 26 April.

Malcolm Burr, Constituency Returning Officer for Na h-Eileanan an Iar said: “Registering to vote is quick and easy. However, if you are not registered by midnight on Monday 18 April, you will miss out on the chance to have your say in the Scottish Parliament election.”

Two former music students from Lews Castle College UHI who are now performing on the international stage have secured a slot at the Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.

Jamie MacDonald and Christian Gamauf will join the likes of KT Tunstall, Tide Lines and The Shires in the HebCelt line-up after winning a competition for young talent organised by the festival and Lews Castle College UHI.

Eorpa presenter Darren Laing is joined by both remainers and leavers during the special Brexit debate this week

Exploring the unknown world of Brexit, BBC Alba's current affairs programme Eòrpa delivers a special Brexit debate this week.

The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. The UK Government wants a new trade agreement with the EU without having to comply with rules such as free movement of people.

With Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty being triggered by Prime Minister Theresa May, and two years of negotiations with EU institutions ahead, many are asking where Brexit will leave them.

Come and see the brand new A cappella /song /theatre show, fresh from their stint at London's South Bank Centre, Verity Standen's female trio are touring the Western Isles this tonight,  tomorrow and Saturday 11th April.
Entitled Mmm…Hmmm!  this show "displays the sheer technical marvel of the human voice, their voices blending together, breaking apart, they share words and syllables one at a time in perfect synchronicity, creating a choral harmonic soundscape that produce tingleson the back of the neck."
Tonight the show is at the Clan MacQuarrie Community Centre, at 7.30pm
Tomorrow night it's at Leverburgh Village Hall at 7.30pm

As part of MG ALBA’s strategy to provide training and support for Gaelic writers, the Gaelic Media Service (MG ALBA) is offering talented Gaelic writers the opportunity to apply for its coveted scholarship to study television fiction writing at Glasgow Caledonian University.

The MA Television Fiction Writing course is the only dedicated one year postgraduate programme of its type in the UK, providing aspiring screenwriters with the tools to embark upon or strengthen their career in television fiction writing, and MG ALBA are supporting a placement on the course for one Gaelic speaker.  

An option to undertake the course on a part-time basis over two years is also available.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has written to Transport Minister Michael Matheson MSP to suggest the Scottish Government visit the Faroe Islands to see a new 11.2 km subsea tunnel.

Mr MacNeil has hailed the success of the Faroes in creating a highly advanced transportation infrastructure which includes 17 land tunnels and two subsea tunnels with another almost complete and construction on a further tunnel due to start soon.

Fèis Taigh Dhonnchaidh 2015 took place from the 6th to the 11th April.

 

This year, 17 children from Barvas to Ness, Stornoway and Point attended the main Fèis in Taigh Dhonnchaidh, in Ness, with a further 16 younger children participating in Fèis Nis based in Comunn Eachdraidh Nis.

Tutors this year were Anne Louise Stewart (Melodeon), Louisa Maclean Barron (Fiddle), Eleanor Sinclair (Highland Dancing), Calum Murdo Maclean (Chanter), Catrìona Mackay (Guitar), Màiri Macleod (Keyboard & Gaelic Singing), Domhnall Smith (Drama), and Catrìona Mackay and Mary Duff (Fèis Nis).

0 0 1 141 806 Intermedia Services 6 1 946 14.0 96 800x600 Normal 0 false false false EN-GB JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";}

The week ended with a concert on Saturday evening in the Clan Macquarrie Centre, where the children performed some of what they had learned during the week for their friends and family. Performances were also given by the tutors, and the Ness Melodeon Band offered plenty of opportunity for people, young and old, to get up on the dance floor.

Ferry operator CalMac is making further changes to its West Coast services in order to absorb on-going capacity issues resulting from the MV Clansman still in dry dock.

CalMac will be redeploying these vessels to the following routes:

  • MV Hebrides will return to Uig-Tarbert/Lochmaddy tonight and will commence service tomorrow (Tuesday)
  • MV Lord of the Isles will be redeployed to Oban to carry out Oban-Coll/Tiree and Colonsay services
  • MV Hebridean Isles will be redeployed to Lochboisdale to carry out daily Lochboisdale-Oban service

Meanwhile the Clansman is awaiting the return of her propulsion unit sent to Denmark for repairs.

The main ferry services from Castlebay – hit in quick succession by bad weather cancellations, the damage done when debris affected propellers and the latest “technical issue” – remain cancelled today (Tuesday April 16th)

Additional sailings are running across the Sound of Barra until late into the evening to connect to sailings to and from Uist via Uig and Mallaig.

Complications during the repair to the propulsion system of CalMac’s MV Clansman means the vessel will now be out of service for longer than first anticipated, it was announced today (Thursday April 19th).
However, to minimise any disruption CalMac has agreed an extension to the MV Hebrides’ operating licence with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for a further three weeks.  It was due to enter dry dock. 
Parts of the Clansman’s propulsion system have had to be sent to Denmark for specialist repair. 

An artist's impression of life in a fresh water lake around 360 million years ago.   Credit: Mark Witton

Islanders can find out how life on earth began this month with as an exciting touring exhibition – 'Fossil Hunters' – set to be displayed at both Museum nan Eilean Lews Castle and Museum nan Eilean Uibhist agus Barraigh premises.

Brought to the Hebrides in partnership with National Museums Scotland, 'Fossil Hunters' provides a glimpse of life around 360 million years ago when Scotland lay south of the equator, and reveals the 'missing link' between amphibians and reptiles.

An artist's impression of life in a fresh water lake around 360 million years ago.   Credit: Mark Witton

Islanders can find out how life on earth began this month with as an exciting touring exhibition – 'Fossil Hunters' – set to be displayed at both Museum nan Eilean Lews Castle and Museum nan Eilean Uibhist agus Barraigh premises.

Brought to the Hebrides in partnership with National Museums Scotland, 'Fossil Hunters' provides a glimpse of life around 360 million years ago when Scotland lay shout of the equator, and reveals the 'missing link' between amphibians and reptiles.

Firefighters battled to put out a moor fire near Ranish yesterday. 

The alarm was raised at 6pm, and the two-and-a-half mile blaze was eventually extinguished by 9.30pm. 

Earlier in the day, another moor fire was reported at Keose. 

Members of the public are reminded to be vigilant during hot weather, as most moor fires happen as a result of human error.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil is supporting calls from consumer group Which? for the Tory Government to put people’s safety first and ensure all fire-risk tumble dryers are removed from UK homes.

Which? UK estimate there could be up to 500,000 unmodified fire-risk tumble dryers still being used, more than three years after the first safety notice was issued.

Mr MacNeil appealed to island residents to check if their machines were affected when the first safety notice was issued in 2017.

Classic car enthusiasts from around the islands have already welcomed the sunshine taking their precious motors out for a run, but this weekend sees the first of the classic convoys which mark the summer season.

Members of Western Isles Classic Car Club (WICCC) will be out for their first run tomorrow (Saturday April 27th), with a gentle ride around the town centre and a tootle across the Braighe for a round tour of Point.

The first ever Gaelic travelogue is to be officially launched at an event in Ness next Thursday.

Author Maureen Macleod, who is a producer of the BBC Alba’s current affairs programme Eòrpa, will read extracts of her new book 'A Toirt Mo Chasan Leam', roughly translated as 'Taking My Feet With Me'.

Outdoors at last!  The Stornoway Bowling marked the start of the new summer season with an initial event at their club premises on Bayhead last night (Friday April 21st).  The club spent the winter months with the indoor version of the sport inside Ionad Spòrs Lèodhas - and now with around 50 active members they are looking forward to a new season - and would be happy to welcome new members.

Gaelic books are being represented this week for the first time at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy, the main global trade fair for children's books. Pictured below are Rosemary Ward (right) of Gaelic Books Council, Margaret Anne MacLeod (middle), Acair Books (Stornoway) and Agnes Rennie (left), Acair Books, with signs displayed in Gaelic and English! Cranachan Publishing (Lewis) and Little Door Books (Oban) will also be appearing at the Fair from Tuesday 4th April.  XpoNorth (Writing and Publishing), HIE's trade development network in the creative industries, is very proud to have partnered Publishing Scotland and Jenny Brown Associates in making this happen. 

 

The bodies of two men have been recovered from the sea following the sinking of the Stornoway-registered 'Louisa' this morning.

One crew member was taken to hospital by helicopter this morning, and one remains missing. 

Mark Rodaway, National Maritime Operations Commander, for UK coastguard said: “Despite an intensive search including the helicopters, lifeboat and other fishing vessels in the area, we have been unable to locate the missing fisherman. Our thoughts are with all those involved."

Scotland’s fishing industry is ‘at the mercy of a lottery of London priorities’, said Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil this week, as a proposal to support skippers to crew their boats was rejected by the UK Fisheries Minister.

Mr MacNeil and other MPs met with James Brokenshire MP at the end of last year to press the case for Scottish fishing vessels facing crew shortages to be allowed to recruit workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

The plan would allow employers in the Scottish and Northern Irish fishing industries to access, on a quota-limited basis, temporary labour from outside the EEA.

A grey day in Stornoway was brightened up this morning (Tuesday April 23rd) by the sight of an 111-year-old sailing vessel alongside Esplanade Quay in Stornoway harbour, half-way through a leisure trip around most of Scotland.

The Amsterdam-registered Flying Dutchman is a two-master, 39.55 metres long and with a gross tonnage of 120GT. She was built in 1903 and reconstructed and re-fitted in 2004, so that she now provides comfortable en-suite cabins for up to 26 guests, with a crew of mainly Dutch sailors under skipper Klaas van Twillert.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Winners Ímar will play An Lanntair on Friday 18th May.

After sold-out performances at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow and the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad, as well as taking home the Horizon Award at 2018’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Ímar will be playing some of the furthest reaches of the UK to continue the fun this May.

Featuring current and former members of Mànran, RURA, Talisk, Barrule, Cara, Mabon and The Lowground, whose collectively-crammed trophy cabinet includes a BBC Young Folk Award and several All-Britain/All-Ireland titles, Glasgow-based five-piece Ímar have quickly established a name for themselves.

The Fèille or Food Festival at An Lanntair will return for its fifth year on Saturday 13 April, with a free menu of offerings from across the Hebrides – followed by a Hebridean Banquet at 7pm, offering three courses for £24.95.

An Lanntair’s Food Festival was launched in 2015, and asked whether – in the Islands at least - we actually doeat better food today than in the past. After all, most of the food then came off a local boat or was reared on the croft. It was organic and from-a-named-supplier, even though nobody ever used such terms.

Football results

Acres Boys Club Cup 1st Round

United 2 Back 1

Ness 1 Athletic 0

Lochs 4 Westside 2

Carloway 0 Point 0 (Carloway win 4-2 on penalties)

League fixtures:

Friday April 17, 6.30pm

Athletic v Back

Carloway v Lochs

Ness v United

Point v Westside

 

Result:

Acres Boys Club Cup Semi Final

Ness 1 Carloway 1 

(Carloway win 4-1 on penalities)

Fixtures:

Wednesday April 22

Acres Boys Club Cup Semi Final

Lochs v United

 

Result:

Acres Boys Club Cup Semi Final

Lochs 6 United 0

League results:

Back 1 Carloway 1

United 1 Point 3 

Lochs 5 Aths 0

Westside 5 Ness 0

Fixtures

Monday April 27, 6.30pm

League

Aths v Ness

Carloway v Point

Back v United

Lochs v Westside

Results:

League

Back 3 United 1

Carloway 2 Point 3

Aths 1 Ness 2 

Lochs V Westside pp

 

The Scotland women's football team will be wearing Harris Tweed at the FIFA Women's World Cup this summer.

Edinburgh-based tailoring firm Walker Slater will supply the squad with Harris Tweed Hebrides jackets to wear as they fly out to France in June.

The announcement sees Walker Slater continue their role as an official licensee of the Scottish FA, which has seen them exclusively retail the Scotland National Team Harris Tweed, designed and produced in Shawbost, since 2015.

Excellent condition, hardly used only 2900 miles

Well maintained and cared for.

MOT till 22.5.16

Excellent learning bike. £520

Stornoway

 

07803595687

 

Majors Ray and Pat Brown, the first officers of The Salvation Army in the Hebrides are returning to lead celebrations to mark 30 years of worship and service to the community from Bayhead, Stornoway.

Majors Ray and Pat Brown will be leading worship at The Salvation Army church on Bayhead on Sunday 8th May at 11am. The current officers Lieutenants Callum and Emma Newton will be leading a celebration and fun evening on Saturday the 7th May at 6pm and want everybody to feel welcome to come to both the Saturday and Sunday. Lieutenant Callum says: ‘If you have had a previous connection to the Stornoway Corps, or indeed if you have never set foot in The Salvation Army, you are most welcome to come and join us in our celebration and worship.’ 

In 1983, the Browns were appointed by The Salvation Army to commence the work of the international church and charity in the Hebrides, forming Stornoway Corps. Initially The Salvation Army worked from various temporary buildings before opening its present church community building in Bayhead in 1986.

The Browns have very happy memories of their time living in Stornoway, particularly the friendliness of the Islanders to them. Major Ray says: ‘We are both delighted to have the opportunity to revisit a place and people that have always been dear to our hearts.’

Major Pat says: ‘I will never forget the wonderful community spirit on the island. We arrived with a new baby and our second daughter was born on the Island. I would often walk into town from our home in Seaforth Road pushing a pram and lost count of the number of times strangers would stop their cars and offer me a lift.'

The Browns moved from the Island in 1987 and since then have held appointments in New Zealand, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Nottingham and London. Their appointments included leading the Regent Hall Salvation Army Corps on Oxford Street, London, whose brass band are currently featured on the BBC television series ‘The Sally Army and Me' in which Paul O'Grady explores the work of The Salvation Army.

As well as being local church leaders the Majors have since served on Divisional, Territorial and International Headquarters. Major Ray has also spent time as the head of the Salvation Army's International Emergency Services, which took him round the world to support local relief efforts by The Salvation Army in natural and man-made disasters, including Iraq, India, Japan and the Philippines.

In June of this year, the couple will take up new appointments as leaders of the Central South Division of the Salvation Army based in High Wycombe. 

The new programme of free Business Gateway workshops in Stornoway is now underway with some sessions filling up quickly.  There are still spaces available on some of the sessions but you should reserve your place before they become fully booked.  The full programme is as follows:

  • Managing Difficult Behaviours in the Workplace: Wednesday 1 May 0930 - 1230 Comhairle Offices
  • GDPR and Staying Safe Online: Wednesday 8 May 0930 - 1230 Comhairle Offices
  • Create Amazing Graphics with Canva: Thursday 9 May 0930 - 1230 Comhairle Offices
  • Paid Advertising on Social Media: Thursday 16 May 0930 - 1230 HIE Boardroom
  • Build your own Website: Wednesday 22 May 0930 - 1230 HIE Boardroom
  • Facebook for Business: Thursday 23 May 0930 - 1230 MG Alba
  • Fantastic Customer Care: Wednesday 29 May 0930 - 1230 Comhairle Offices
  • Pinterest, Instagram and Photography for Business: Monday 3 June 0930 - 1230 MG Alba
  • Advanced Social Media Skills: Wednesday 5 June 0930 - 1230 Comhairle Offices
  • Business Bookkeeping: Tuesday 11 June 0930 - 1230 Comhairle Offices

To book a place, please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01851 822775. 

You can also book online at www.bgateway.com/events by searching for the Western Isles region.

Many islanders and their pets wait at Bayhead

Islanders were given the chance to get their dogs microchipped for free at the Bayhead Bridge Centre today, as part of a national campaign by the Dogs Trust. 

The event gave pet owners the opportunity to get their dogs registered, with representatives from the welfare charity on hand to give out information. 

As of Wednesday 6th April, all dogs must be microchipped by law as part of new measures to reduce dog abandonment in the UK. Owners are in danger of being fined up to £500 for not registering their pet before the deadline.

Anyone interested in becoming a Special Constable is invited to attend a free information event this month.

The informal event will cover all aspects of working as a Special Constable with the police.

Information will be given on the recruitment process, training, the role itself, as well as how and where Special Constables work.

Anyone in the Western Isles affected by or interested in learning more about osteoporosis and good bone health is being invited to attend a special event being held by the National Osteoporosis Society in Stornoway next month. The event will be free to attend, and is called ‘Managing Osteoporosis: looking after your bones’ by the National Osteoporosis Society. It will take place in the Caberfeidh Hotel in Stornoway on May 6, 10.30am-12.15pm.

Speakers on the day will include Dr David Rigby, GP (who will speak about managing osteoporosis in the Western Isles); Allison Martin, Physiotherapist, NHSWestern Isles (who will provide hints and tips to avoid slips and trips); and Anne Simpson, Development Manager for Scotland, National Osteoporosis Society (who will speak about how the National Osteoporosis Society can help you.

There is no need to book a space at the event and tea/coffee and biscuits will be available on arrival. All are welcome.

Another cold night is in store, with temperatures on many roads across the Highlands and Islands falling below freezing, according to the Met Office.

Wintry showers will continue to feed in from the north, bringing an ice risk to any untreated surfaces across northern Scotland, especially over higher ground.

Higher routes in particular may also see some snow accumulating, with perhaps as much as 5-10 cm on the northern Grampians above 200m elevation but localised 1-3 cm even at low levels away from north-facing coasts.

Over 70% of Western Isles homes and businesses are now covered by superfast broadband – but there is still a lot of work to be done on broadband availability in the isles, says Outer Hebrides MSP Alasdair Allan.
Dr Allan today (Wednesday, April 18th) welcomed news that in the Western Isles, Government investment has led to more than 135 fibre cabinets being built, delivering superfast broadband access to more than 12,000 premises and covering around 71% of homes and business.
“More than 71% of homes in the Western Isles now have access to superfast broadband,” said Dr Allan, adding: “This figure was zero before this project started.”

A fun day on Saturday April 12 will give, it is hoped, a vital fundraising boost to an ambitious regeneration of a playpark in the Newmarket area.


George and Peppa Pig were joined by over 100 island youngsters for the first ever Stornoway Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Walk

More than 100 children took part in the first Stornoway Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Walk on Saturday (April 28th) raising more than £1,000 for Save the Children.
Starting and finishing at Bayhead Playpark, the island youngsters took on a half mile walk to Lews Castle Grounds, led by mascots Peppa and George Pig.
The walk was the idea of three year old Bethany Macleod from Stornoway, who is huge fan of Peppa Pig and wanted to do something to help children in need across the world.

Please see the Funeral Notices for updates relating to the services tonight for Donald Maciver and Murdo Macleod

Gaelic TV is catching up with the latest in the Brexit with a special programme on Wednesday night (April 5).
With Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty being triggered by Prime Minister Theresa May and two years of negotiations with EU institutions ahead, many are asking where Brexit will leave them, say the programme notes.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will be taking part in Gaelic Twitter Day 2015, tomorrow (Thursday 30th April).

Social Media Scotland wish to increase the number of people using Gaelic on Twitter and hope that ‘#Gàidhlig’ will appear regularly on the social media throughout the day, more commonly known as ‘trending.’

Similar initiatives are ongoing to attract people’s attention to other minority languages such as Gaelige and Frisian.

The Comhairle will be tweeting all messages tomorrow in Gaelic to demonstrate its continued support for the language.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will be taking part in Gaelic Twitter Day 2016, on Thursday 21st April.

Social Media Scotland wish to increase the number of people using Gaelic on Twitter and hope that ‘#Gàidhlig’ will appear regularly on the social media throughout the day, more commonly known as ‘trending.’

Similar initiatives are ongoing to attract people’s attention to other minority languages such as Gaelige and Frisian.

The Comhairle will be tweeting all messages in Gaelic to demonstrate its continued support for the language.

Award winner, Mary Gillies, with her husband, John Angus, and children, Jonathan (19), Joanna (17) and David (2)

The first Gaelic Writing for Children Award has been presented to a Western Isles resident, Mary Gillies.

The competition received entries from across Scotland, as well as an entry from Canada.

Mary’s submission - a Gaelic story for 5 to 8-year-olds - beat off the competition to win the award.

Along with a £500 prize, Mary also receives the opportunity to have her manuscript considered by Acair Books, with a view to getting it published.

The Rotary Club of Stornoway are inviting all to join for the annual Gala Charity Night, raising funds for six local worthy causes.

 Taking place at the Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway, on Saturday, May 13th, the event offers an excellent evening of 'Music Through the Decades', with the Stornoway Big Band and Faram providing live entertainment.

 A delicious Finger Buffet will tempt appetites, and there will also be the chance to win something spectacular in the Rotary Club's 'Wheel of Fortune' and raffle.

 "Last year we had great fun at the Gala Charity Night, and we're hoping for the same this time again," said Rotary Club President Gavin Woods.

 "We're sure that everyone who joins us will have an excellent evening enjoying the entertainment, and we're delighted to be raising money for six very worthy local charities through the Gala night."

Central Stornoway came to a halt this morning - with long traffic queues in James Street and Newton Street – as the 100th anniversary of the start of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 was remembered.  This formed part of an unsuccessful attack by the Western allies in World War One on the Ottoman Empire, with an assault on what is part of modern-day Turkey.

The Gambia Partnership shop in Stornoway has proved popular since opening its doors in October last year. The Christian charity on North Beach Street initially planned to have the pop-up shop for only four weeks.

However, the shop has been well received and continues to remain open to raise funds for those living in Gambia. The organisation sells items donated in by members of the public, and raised over £1,300 in their opening week alone.

In November they closed for a month while the shop was rented out by another business, before re-opening on 17 December 2015. Chloe Campbell and Emma Macleod are volunteers for the charity, and were part of a group that went to Kabekel village in November to help build a school

 

The new nursery block at the school

The girls assisted in installing 35 water filters for the community, to provide clean water for years to come, with another group in March taking out a further 55. This is £3,500 worth of water filters which was helped by donations and charity work to the organisation.

They said: "The shop is going very well and a lot of kind donations are being made. We hope to be there for the foreseeable future. The Gambia Partnership is important to Stornoway as it helps raise awareness, and it’s a place to go for people that want to ask about what we do. This was a life changing experience for us both and we are very grateful that we were given this opportunity."

The shop allows the organisation to pay for the running of a school in Kabekel, including teacher's wages, as well as sponsoring children‘s education.

The charity was founded a decade ago by a small group of Christians on the Isle of Lewis. It featured in a documentary last year, ‘Jonathan’s Army’, which was shown on BBC Alba in October.  More information is available on their website, at www.thegambiapartnership.co.uk 

The Gambia Partnership fundraising shop has moved! It has vacated the temporary premises on North Beach and moved to Church Street opposite Artizan Coffee shop and next to the Colour Centre.  It is opening for the first time today (April 2, 2018)  The formal address is 7-9 Church Street.   It is to be open 11 am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. All funds are spent directly in the Gambia to assist with their schooling project there.

Pictured: Iain Hepburn, head gamekeeper at Dunmaglass Estate & 
Alex McKinley, a Wildfire Tactical Adviser for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Gamekeepers are embracing the new Muirburn Code – and sharing their expertise with fire crews who battle wildfires across Scotland's countryside.

Sunday 15 April marked the official end of this year's muirburn season (1 October – 15 April) – a controlled burning technique which has been used for centuries on moorland to regenerate Scotland's famous purple heather on our hills whilst protecting against wildfires.

This season, estate owners and gamekeepers have been working to a revised Muirburn Code, launched by the Scottish Government in September 2017, and have been working in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to ensure that controlled burning is conducted safely and responsibly.

Controlled seasonal burning and cutting is one of the most effective means of reducing the risk of damage from wildfires by providing breaks in continuous moorland cover and reducing the fuel load.

Iain Hepburn, head gamekeeper at Dunmaglass Estate, part of the Loch Ness Rural Communities, and also a part-time firefighter with the SFRS, has been engaging with firefighters to share best practice when it comes to tackling wildfires on moorland.

The Spring Gardening Day at Newmarket Playpark today (Saturday April 16) was well-attended, enjoyed good weather, albeit with a brisk breeze from time to time, and was described as a great success by organisers.

Lews Castle College UHI will host a General Election Hustings on Wednesday 29th April at 2 pm - 4 pm in the college foyer. It is expected that students, staff and the general public will be in attendance.

Agnes Rennie will chair the event which will begin with a 2 minute presentation by each of the 5 prospective parliamentary candidates, and then questions from the floor. Students and staff can also submit questions in advance, and the Chair will make a selection from these. Candidates will each be given 1 minute to sum up at the end.

Lews Castle College UHI looks forward to welcoming the candidates to the Stornoway campus, and staff, students and the public are encouraged to attend.

Tonight, a General Election hustings will take place in the Town Hall, Stornoway, at 7.30pm. 

All five of the parliamentary candidates for the Western Isles will be present. 

This precedes the Lews Castle College UHI General Election hustings, which will take place tomorrow, 2pm-4pm, in the college foyer.

This year Scottish Rural Action is launching possibly the biggest ever conversation held in Scotland about the issues that matter most to rural communities.

The Scottish Rural Parliament’s Manifesto will be a statement of collective ambitions and the actions that are needed to ensure these ambitions are realised for rural communities. Events are taking place all over Scotland and you can get involved by attending an event, holding your own event or just by responding online.

Confirmed events in Harris and Lewis are taking place as follows:

Monday 2nd May 2016 from 6-8.30pm at Tarbert Community Hall, Pier Road.

Tuesday 26th May 2016 from 6-8.30pm at Bayhead Bridge Centre, Stornoway.

All events will start with an update from Scottish Rural Action on their activities since the 2014 event, a whistle-stop tour of how rural policy has changed and the chance to have a really good natter about the issues that you want to talk about.

 

For more information and to book please contact Vanessa Halhead This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The site of the spacecraft impact was a vast hole in the peat and rock, according to April Macritchie, who now lives in Melbourne, Australia.
April, who turned 12 only a few days after the event, remembers clearly that day when she and her friend May found the site.

A plane-load of passengers heading for Glasgow remained earthbound in Stornoway yesterday evening (Tuesday April 23rd) after a saga of delays ended with the airport closing before they could take off.

The 18 passengers were left hanging around for the arrival of their transport, after a series of delays caused by equipment failures and a full-scale emergency at Glasgow airport meant that their inbound flight left Glasgow two hours late.

There's growing disquiet among rural GPs over the SNP Government’s new GP contract.

That's view of Highlands and Islands Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron who has questioned the Cabinet Secretary for Health about it.

He told Jeane Freeman that more than 9 out of 10 GPs would reject the contract if they had the chance.

Scottish Labour’s candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Rhoda Grant, has accused her SNP opponent of “insulting the intelligence of the crofting community” with his comments on major issues that they currently face.

Mrs Grant said: “I am genuinely astonished that Alasdair Allan had the brass neck to speak as he did about the shambles for which the Scottish Government, of which he has been a member, is solely responsible.

“Many crofters are still waiting for their CAP basic payments which have been sitting in Edinburgh for six months because Nationalist Ministers have squandered £180 million on a computer system that does not work.

Around 80 students and staff from the University of the Highlands and Islands Applied Music degree – which is based in Benbecula – are this week (from April 24) coming to Stornoway for their final residency of the academic year. 

Students will be participating in workshops throughout the week led by staff, tradition bearers and experts in music and the creative industries. 

A highlight of the week will be their showcase concert at An Lanntair on Wednesday 26 April at 7.30pm (Admission: £8/£6 Concession & Member/£5 Child )

On the campaign trail and covering the largest Scottish constituency, John Finnie, Highlands and Islands Green Party candidate for the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, stopped off in the Western Isles today (Friday, April 1st).

Mr Finnie was Highlands and Islands SNP MSP from 2011-2012, resigning from the party in reaction to its decision to support NATO membership for an independent Scotland, and sat as an Independent for the rest of the session.

Now under the Green banner, he is keen to continue challenging the political status quo and calling for 'bolder' moves within the Scottish government on topics such as the transition to renewable energies, carers' welfare and support, and ensuring opportunities for further education and training.

Mr Finnie also campaigns for the public ownership of CalMac ferries and island air services; as well as the need for a 'fundamental review and consolidation' of crofting laws, and an 'ease of tensions' in relation to the designation of Marine Protective areas.

“Across the parties there are areas of common ground. The Green emphasis is simply we can't go on doing things the way we're doing them now,” he said.

 

 

This summer, Stornoway Harbour will become a vibrant, colourful and creative hub full of tasty food, organic, freshly picked fruit, vegetables, plants, new & second hand books, local arts & handmade crafts, live music, performances and many interesting workshops for everyone. 

For one day, all visitors will be given a unique opportunity to browse and stroll around the harbour with fresh coffee and grab a taste of Hebridean delights, regional cuisine, and homemade patisserie in the wonderfully beautiful and bustling setting of Stornoway Harbour. Additionally, Stornoway Marina will be open to all visitors who wish to have a closer look at the boats and yachts docked in the harbour this season, while RNLI Lifeboat station will organize interactive workshops and sessions for youngsters.

Harbour Open Day, perfectly located, will allow retailers, artists, entertainers to trade and/or promote their products/services to all visitors within the available space, so please don’t wait until the very last moment to book! Participation in the event and registration is completely free and will become available online from 30th April until 1st June 2015 at: www.stornowayportauthority.com

Harbour Open Day has been prepared with the intention to celebrate Stornoway Port Authority’s 150th Anniversary as well as the Scottish Year of Food & Drink Festival, which highlights and promotes local cuisine, products. Harbour Open Day is a great way of spending your Saturday afternoon with the whole family or friends, if not for the food then just to browse and soak up the atmosphere. Please see the enclosed leaflet and get your business involved. 

The Harbour Open Day will take place on Saturday 27th June 2015 from 10am-6pm at Cromwell Street Quay.

The first ever Hebridean Whisky Festival will bring whisky-lovers to Harris next month.

The festival will take place on the islands of Skye, Raasay and Harris from May 21 to May 25.

The festival will feature free tours, tastings, music, casks and special events at Talisker, Torabhaig, Isle of Raasay and Harris distilleries and the Aros Centre, Portree.  

The festival kicks off with two days on Skye at Torabhaig Distillery on Tuesday 21 May, followed by events at Talisker on Wednesday 22.
A total of 45 riders took part in the Third Harris Tweed Cycle Ride from An Lanntair on Saturday 14th April.
 
Participants included a variety of different sizes and types of bike - including a unicycle - and were led by a musical cycle rickshaw. Sunny weather graced the event which included visits to various local retail outlets - including Charley Barley's.
 
Participants donned their finest Harris Tweed outfits - including one tiny canine participant - and stopping several times for light refreshments and Hebridean delicacies. "This is not a race," it was emphasised at the start.

One of the riders was former councillor and the present chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority, Norman L Macdonald, in a Blue Herringbone jacket. The Gensaidhe Buidhe for the best-dressed rider was awarded to Barbara Ziehm with her stylish Harris Tweed helmet.

[gallery ID=9]

 

Above: Previous winners of An Geansaidh Buidhe from An Lanntair

The annual Harris Tweed Bike Ride returns this Saturday, 20 April, giving the opportunity to win the coveted An Geansaidh Buidhe aka The Yellow Jersey.

Shawbost-based Harris Tweed Hebrides has chalked up its latest accolade by being named Scotland’s SME Exporter of the Year at an awards ceremony in Glasgow.

The company sends fabric to more than 60 countries and around 75 per cent of the overall output is exported. Harris Tweed Hebrides now employs 90 people at Shawbost and provides work for over 120 home weavers.

Last Friday’s Scottish Export Awards, sponsored by the business magazine BQ and Scottish Enterprise, was held in Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel where Harris Tweed Hebrides was represented by chairman Brian Wilson, brand development director Margaret A. MacLeod and creative director, Mark Hogarth.

A new study on the most well-known geographical indication products has ranked Harris Tweed in the top 10 of British products, with the Outer Hebridean tweed being the only product in the ranking from outwith the food and drink sector.

The only other Scottish products in the top 10 were Scotch Whisky and Scotch Beef.

Harris Tweed was also rated as the product with the best customer perception with 45.1% surveyed ranking the product as ‘best in class’.  

Consultations are currently being held on fireworks in Scotland.

The Scottish Government is holding consultations encouraging the public to have their say on fireworks regulations.  

Fireworks are traditionally associated with festivities which celebrate events that are important to different communities across Scotland.

Fireworks can bring colour and excitement to the special occasions that are important to people.

1st January 1919 will make 100 years since the Iolaire disaster

The anniversary of the Iolaire disaster on 1st January 2019 will be the final formal event in the official, national four-year programme commemorating the Centenary of The Great War.  

An Lanntair arts centre, with financial assistance from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, commissioned three of the most senior and respected visual artists in Scotland to prepare a range of designs for a bronze sea or land sculpture located on or near the site where the vessel was wrecked – creating a significant memorial that will give the tragedy the national profile and place in history it merits, and create a legacy for the community and those visiting the islands.

And all are invited are invited to join at the arts centre next Monday (Easter Monday, April 17th), 7.30pm, for the opportunity to hear from each artist about the philosophy and intention behind their proposed designs, to comment on them, and ask questions of the designers.

Local communities are being encouraged to contribute to NHS Western Isles' review of its Communications Strategy.

The aim of the Strategy is to develop a culture of effective two-way communication at all levels.

The Communications Strategy details the methods the health board uses and aims to develop to communicate both internally and externally.

The award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival’s drive to further enhance its green credentials will see it play a pioneering role in the use of electric cars.

HebCelt, which will be held from 13-16 July in Stornoway, is to be the first Scottish festival to partner with E-Car Club to provide a fleet of vehicles discounted for music fans to use during its event.

E-Car, the UK’s first entirely electric pay-per-use car club, will have nine Renault ZOE hatchbacks and a Renault Kangoo van based at Car Hire Hebrides in Stornoway during the four-day festival.

Singer Bella Gaffney gets set for HebCelt 2016.             Credit: Rachel Kennan

Yorkshire singer songwriter Bella Gaffney has won a prestigious stage slot in front of an international audience at the 21st Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.

Bella, 22, from Bradford, was one of nine finalists in the CalMac Culture Music contest, run by ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne. 

Each finalist performed two acoustic tracks to judges and a live audience at King Tut’s in Glasgow last night (Thursday, March 31st) with a chance of securing a spot at one of nine Scottish festivals, including HebCelt.

The Hebridean Celtic Festival is helping one of Scotland’s finest young ballad singers to take the Next Steps to stardom.

Iona Fyfe, 20, from Aberdeenshire, who combines contemporary folk music with traditional Doric and Scots songs, has a number of high-profile appearances under her belt, including performances at The Royal Albert Hall, Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom, Aberdeen Music Hall and a sell-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.

She has now won a coveted slot on HebCelt’s Islands Stage after winning the festival’s An Ath Cheum (Next Steps) contest, aimed at finding the best young artists or band, aged between 18 and 25, during the Year of Young People.

The Comhairle and SNH are working hard on the Hebridean Way Cycling and Walking routes, and they plan to launch these this summer. Further visitor related information is being developed at the moment, and the Hebridean Way web resource on the destination website www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk will be launched shortly.

It is believed that these two routes will be a key visitor attraction for the Outer Hebrides over the coming years, and will add enormously to the appeal of the Outer Hebrides to outdoor enthusiast visitors.

The future development and sustainability of the Hebridean Way is critical to its value to our tourism industry, and the Comhairle and SNH are looking into the feasibility of establishing a Countryside Trust.

Further details are available here, and everyone involved in tourism is being encouraged to make their views known.

You can participate by:

  • Completing a very brief online survey here
  • Attending one of the public consultation meetings being held next week, as follows:

 Stornoway Town Hall, 6pm, Monday 27th AprilBays Community Centre, Harris, 6pm, Tuesday 28th AprilBalivanich Hall, Benbecula, 6pm, Wednesday 29th April; Castlebay Hall, Barra, 6pm, Thursday 30th April.

Outer Hebrides Tourism urges everyone to go along or fill in the survey - its important that the views of the industry are taken into account if a Countryside Trust is to be established.

 

Western Isles residents are being asked to take part in a local study being undertaken on ‘The Impact on quality of life since the diagnosis of Lyme disease’.

The study is being completed by NHSWI Health Protection and Screening Nurse Specialist Isabell Macinnes as part of a Master’s degree in Infection Prevention and Control.

The remains of Hercules the bear are to be re-interred under his life-size statue in Uist.

Owners Andy and Maggie Robin dug up the bones of the bear as they put their home in Clackmannanshire on the market.

In the next few weeks, Hercules will be reburied under the huge statue at Langass community woodlands in North Uist.

Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP) is now an accredited Living Wage Employer.

HHP join Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd, Lewis Builders, OnTime Computing, and Living Wage MSP Alasdair Allan in their commitment to pay the living wage of £8.45 per hour.

The living wage is significantly higher than the government minimum wage of £6.70, and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.50 per hour.

Full-time employees earning the real Living Wage earn up to £2000 per year more than those on the government minimum.

The real Living Wage is an hourly rate, calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK. Employers choose to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis.

There are no plans to close the Stornoway airport control tower, it was stated today. 

Reports had suggested that HIAL were considering centralisation of Air Traffic Control by relocating the operation to a 'virtual tower' on the mainland.

More than 80 landmarks across Scotland are today (Thursday April 11th) lighting up in blue to mark World Parkinson’s Day and raise awareness of a condition that affects around 12,400 people in Scotland.

That’s about 1 in 375 adults – making it the second most prevalent neuro-progressive condition after Alzheimers.

The three Western Isles landmarks involved are all in Stornoway - An Lanntair, Lewis War Memorial, and Lews Castle.

For the first time ever, young Scots aged 16 and over will be allowed to vote in their nation’s elections.

We asked a selection of young Western Isles adults, aged between 16 and 17, if they had registered an interest to cast their historic vote on May 12.

And the findings were quite revealing – almost all females had registered, but none of the males had yet expressed an intention to vote. 

Hebridean Housing Partnership are pleased to announce that they have awarded the following contracts as part of their 2018/19 investment programme:

  • 51 new kitchens to be installed by O’Mac Construction Ltd
  • 71 new gas heating systems to be installed by Alex Murray Construction Ltd
  • 56 new bathrooms with showers to be installed by Alex Murray Construction Ltd
  • 56 houses to receive new fencing to be installed by Alex Murray Construction Ltd

The successful contractors have now started surveying houses and works on site will soon follow.

Horgabost beach is officially the best beach in the Western Isles.

Christine M Morrison's photo of the Harris beach (above) received 284 votes in the final of the Western Isles Weather Best Beach competition.

The beach fought off competition from Eilidh Mackenzie's Reef beach entry, Chris Dickinson's Hosta Beach photograph, Hayley McLay's image of Cula Bay in Benbecula and Jacqueline Murray's picture of Vatersay Beach. The finalists were the winners of earlier rounds where the favourite photograph was voted for each of the Outer Hebridean Islands.

Over 700 votes were cast by followers of the Western Isles Weather Facebook in the final and thousands in the competition itself.

Hotels in Lewis and Harris are not being negatively impacted by changes to Caledonian MacBrayne’s timetable structure.

On the contrary, some hotels are struggling to cope with the amount of tourists needing a room.

Essential improvement works to the linkspan at Ullapool pier mean that traffic from Stornoway is being diverted via Skye for a period of four weeks.

The new diversion began operation on Monday.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar candidates have thrown their hats in the ring and will be busy canvassing until council election day on Thursday, May 4th.

In order to have your say on the 4th of May, and vote for the candidates you wish to represent you and your ward in the Comhairle, there are some simple steps to make sure you're ready to vote.

Make sure you are registered to vote – if you are not registered, you cannot vote. For further advice, contact the Electoral Registration Officer, 42 Point Street, Stornoway, 01851 706262, or log on to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. Registration forms must be completed and returned by Monday, April 17th to allow voting in the May 4th election.

Voting by post – voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting and your postal vote can be sent to your home address or any other address you give. To register for a postal vote, contact the Electoral Registration Officer.  And applications for postal votes must be returned to the Electoral Registration Officer by 5pm on Tuesday, April 18th. 

Voting by proxy – if you are unable to attend a polling station you can appoint a proxy who will be someone you trust to vote on your behalf. Again, to register for a prosy vote, contact the Electoral Registration Officer. And the deadline for applying for a proxy vote is Tuesday, April 25th.

Stornoway Port Authority has awarded a major contract to design one of the biggest projects ever undertaken in the Hebrides.

Marine consulting civil engineers Wallace Stone have been chosen to take forward plans for Phase 1 of a deep-water port, which is part of the Port Authority’s 20-year Master Plan and aimed at creating significant economic growth for the islands.

A hustings meeting will take place tonight in Uig Community Centre.

The meeting will hear from all four Sgir' Uige agus Ceann a Tuath nan Loch candidates - Ranald Fraser, Norman A. Macdonald, Donald Cudig Macleod, and Angus Morrison. 

Proceedings start at 7.30pm.

 

 

 

Today, Lews Castle College UHI will host a General Election hustings in its foyer, between 2-4pm. 

Agnes Rennie will chair the event, which will begin with a 2 minute presentation by each of the 5 prospective parliamentary candidates, and then questions from the floor. 

This follows last night's hustings, hosted by the Evangelical Alliance, and chaired by Rev. Ivor Martin, in the Town Hall, which welcomed more than 130 people, and saw the five candidates -  John Cormack, Christian Party; Mark Brown, Conservative; Angus Brendan MacNeil, SNP; Alasdair Morrison, Labour; Ruaraidh Ferguson, Liberal Democrats - discuss topics including assisted dying, same-sex marriage, the use of social media, and Christians in our society.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of snow and ice for the Western Isles. 

The warning is in place from 9pm tonight until 8am tomorrow. 

The front door window of a home in Heatherhill, Barvas had its glass shattered by a stone between the hours of 1700 and 2100 on Friday 10th April, say the police in Stornoway.
 
Anyone with any information that can lead to identifying the person or persons responsible please contact Stornoway police on 101 or crime stoppers on 0800 555111 anonymously.

The first operational day of the international military exercise Joint Warrior was marked by a request for civilian emergency help this morning (Monday April 1st).

Stornoway Coastguard received a request for assistance from a military vessel operating in the Minch, after a crew member was injured on board.

Stornoway Coastguard helicopter R948 was tasked to airlift the man from his vessel and brought him to Stornoway airport, from where he was transferred into the care of Scottish Ambulance and onwards to Western Isles Hospital for treatment.

 

The Executive Director of Point and Sandwick Power, Calum MacDonald, has called for greatly increased community involvement in the proposed Lewis Windpower projects following the visit by the UK Secretary of State for Business and Energy, Greg Clark MP to Stornoway on Monday 10th April.

Mr MacDonald, the former MP for the Western Isles, attended the Scottish Islands Renewable Delivery Forum meeting at the Caberfeidh Hotel at the personal invitation of the Secretary of State, and said afterwards: “Right from the start of the meeting, Greg Clark made clear that his primary interest was the degree of community involvement, ownership and benefit in the three island projects and that maximising the community role was the best hope, indeed the only hope, of getting any of the inter-connector projects funded.

The Western Isles are due to have an inter-connector to the national grid up and running by December 2020.

Comhairle leader Angus Campbell said he was 'hugely heartened' following a meeting with representatives of Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHE-T), where a timetable of the roll-out was presented.

Representatives of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar met with OFGEM officials today (Thursday Aprill 11) as part of a ‘Final Needs Case’ consultation on a new interconnector to the Western Isles.

OFGEM has stated that they are ‘minded’ to recommend a 450MW cable whilst the Comhairle, developers and SSE have all made the case for a 600MW cable which would offer more capacity for exporting electricity from renewable energy schemes in the Islands.

The Comhairle outlined a robust case to OFGEM including projected figures of the amount of energy likely to be produced through renewable schemes in the next few years. OFGEM are also meeting with Developers during the consultation.

We are starting to hear a lot of reports of slow internet speeds all over the island. 

The current situation seems to be similar to that back in September, when hundreds of complaints were made to myriad internet service providers. 

In September (2014) we - EVENTS and welovestornoway.com, on behalf of the island residents - took up the issue with BT to a high level, and we saw things improve, but something appears to have happened again.

If YOU are having problems, let us know, and we'll send the information on to BT. The more numbers we have on the list, the more impact.

Send your telephone number to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you're experiencing slow internet speeds in Lewis or Harris.

An Lanntair invites all to a presentation on a proposal for the new commemorative sculpture with Will Maclean RSA, Marian Leven RSA, Arthur Watson RSA at 7.30pm Monday 17th April 2017

The anniversary of the Iolaire disaster on 1st January 2019 will be the final formal event in the official, national four-year programme commemorating the Centenary of The Great War.  A time for deep reflection, it is also the appropriate time to create a significant memorial that will give the tragedy the national profile and place in history it merits and create a legacy for the community and those visiting the island.

An Lanntair, with financial assistance from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, commissioned three of the most senior and respected visual artists in Scotland to prepare a range of designs for a bronze sea or land sculpture, which is to be located on or near the site where the vessel was wrecked.

Western Isles athletes beat the field today (Sunday April 28th) with an impressive showing at the first Scottish Athletics under 17 North East Division event in Aberdeen.

The 18th Annual New York Tartan Parade saw thousands of people descend on Manhattan’s Avenue of the Americas last Saturday (April 9th) – and one of the Western Isles' own award-winning Highland dancers was among them.

Claire Wilson, who teaches at Stornoway Primary School and runs the Claire Wilson School of Dance, joined New York City’s premier dance group, Shot of Scotch, as they danced their way through Manhattan’s streets alongside TV celebrities, American pipe bands, and even Barbour-clad Scottie dogs.

Left to right: - Catherine Ann Macleod (Women’s Football Team Manager), Ann-Louise Stewart (Women’s Football), Iain GG Campbell (General Team Manager), Alan Brown (SSC), Hamish Budge (Athletics Coach), Eric Macleod (Men’s Football Team Manager), Norrie MacDonald (WIIGA Chair), Sian Macdonald (Athletics), Isla Budge (Swimming), Matthew Hanlon (Swimming)

The Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) sponsored by The Scottish Salmon Company have finalised selection for the NatWest Island Games in Sweden this summer.

The week-long International event is this year being hosted by Gotland, one of the 24 member islands, between 24th June and 30th June. WIIGA will take a squad of 90 covering 8 sports to the Games, which includes athletes, coaches, management and medical team. The squad will be accompanied by a small number of family members and supporters.

 Kayleigh Nicolson (left) and Abbie Morrison (right) both pictured with Kirstie Anderson

Two Lewis girls will be in the line-up when Team Scotland take the floor at the World Cheerleading Championships at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida this week.

The massive international event, which runs from Wednesday (April 24th) to Friday, brings 11,000 cheer and 4,000 dance athletes together in Orlando to vie for titles.

Fiona Harvey, Cancer Research; Catherine Macleod; Joan Stewart; Kay Mackay; and Trudy Stammer, Cancer Research UK

Volunteers from the Cancer Research UK Isle of Lewis Committee visited the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research last weekend to see the world-class research that the money raised on the Isle of Lewis is funding.
With the support of the local community, the Isle of Lewis Committee raised over £75,000 for Cancer Research UK in 2015. Kay Mackay, Joan Stewart and Catherine Macleod all attended Cancer Research UK’s supporter day where they had the chance to meet some of the scientists behind the breakthroughs. They heard about groundbreaking work on new leukaemia treatments being carried out in Edinburgh and the recent advances in pancreatic cancer research in Glasgow.

A winter in Lewis and Harris has given charity walker Chris Lewis some of the best experiences of his life – and reminded him of the good to be found in human nature.

Chris told EVENTS newspaper last month that he had ‘fallen in love’ with the islands, their wildlife, landscape and the people who live here, after magical moments in the most extreme conditions.

And on Saturday night (April 13th) at 7.30pm in Stornoway Town Hall, people can come to hear hime talk about this and raise money for his chosen cause SSAFA, the armed forces charity.

Islander Shellfish is back in town!

The official opening of Islander Shellfish took place this afternoon (Tuesday) and the shop will be open to the public again on Wednesday.

Researchers want to hear about tick bites to people and pets in the Outer Hebrides

Two public questionnaires have been launched as scientists seek the help of Western Isles residents as part of research into ticks found in Uist and the Lyme-disease causing bacteria they carry.
In a meeting at Balivanich Hall, Benbecula, this week, NHS Western Isles Health Protection and Screening Nurse Specialist Isabell MacInnes gave details about the awareness raising work that she and colleagues have been doing since launching the Western Isles Tick Awareness Programme last year.
The Programme was established to investigate concerns that the incidences of Lyme disease in Uists being far greater than that on neighbouring islands in the Outer Hebrides.

A group of representatives from Scottish Government will be in Lewis from Tuesday to Thursday next week (April 23 to 25) for three days of public consultations, facilitated by Point and Sandwick Trust.

The community wind farm charity have facilitated the Scottish Government visit at the request of the Scottish Islands Federation.

SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has described the next Parliament as an opportunity for “legislation to pass real power to island communities”.

Commenting on the SNP’s manifesto commitment to an Islands Bill, Alasdair Allan said: “The Scottish Government has worked closely with the Comhairle and other island councils to ensure that, if re-elected, an SNP government can now legislate on this issue.

Castlebay School head teacher Suzanne Forman (above) was one of the Western Isles runners who did the islands proud in London today (Sunday April 28th), completing the world-famous run in a creditable four hours 15 minutes and 54 seconds.

She was in the field with Lewis Pipe Band drummer Jodie Mackay (below) who was running in support of Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital in London – where she works as a staff nurse. Jodie’s grandfather received life-saving treatment at the same hospital more than 25 years ago and he was there to support her run, which has brought in over £3,500, watching her come home from the crowd at Westminster Bridge.

Isles FM presenter Kathleen Maciver accepts a cheque for £2,000 from Simon Pearson, from Lewis Electronics

Isles FM is back on air, and volunteer presenters are delighted to get back to work after a tense wait for funding was finally ended last week.

A £2,000 donation from Lewis Electronic Trade Services Ltd tipped the scale on the funding, with generous donors responding through Justgiving to hit a target of £8,000.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has recorded an introduction as part of a new digital recreation of St Kilda.

St Kilda has been painstakingly recreated on the best-selling videogame Minecraft as part of Scotland-wide World Heritage Day celebrations. This will give gamers the opportunity to explore the archipelago with ever having to step foot there. It will also form part of the learning resources available in both English and Gaelic to Scotland’s schools.

Scotland’s population continued to increase between 2015 and 2016 – but the increase is uneven and the population of the Western Isles is falling faster than anywhere else in the country.
This is because of natural population decline – an excess of deaths over births – combined with a fall in the number of people moving into the Islands.  This reverses the positive trend seen between 2001 and 2011.
The population of Na h-Eileanan Siar was down 0.63 per cent between 2015 and 2016 according to statistics published this week by the National Records of Scotland (NRS).

A series of public constituency hustings are being held across the Highlands & Islands for next month's Scottish Elections.

Organised by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB),  they will take place in Stornoway, Inverness, Clashmore by Dornoch, Broadford and Lerwick.

The Hustings for the Western Isles constituency, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, will take place in The Nicolson Institute’s Hall on Friday, 22nd April – 7.00pm for 7.30pm start.  

Castlebay School head teacher Suzanne Forman (above) was one of the Western Isles runners who did the islands proud in London today (Sunday April 28th), completing the world-famous run in a creditable four hours 15 minutes and 54 seconds.

She was in the field with Lewis Pipe Band drummer Jodie Mackay (below) who was running in support of Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital in London – where she works as a staff nurse. Jodies’s grandfather received life-saving treatment at the same hospital more than 25 years ago and he was there to support her run, which has brought in over £3,500, watching her come home from the crowd at Westminster Bridge.

Shawbost-based Harris Tweed Hebrides has featured this week in a glittering showcase of British and Italian fashion, held in Florence under royal patronage.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall toured the event which was organised by the British Embassy in Rome and the Campaign for Wool.  Prince Charles is patron of the campaign and all the garments featured were, like Harris Tweed, made from pure wool.

An elite selection of leading British and Italian brands were invited to exhibit at the event which was held in the Sala Bianca of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The spectacular room is described as 'the birthplace of Italian fashion', catwalk shows held there in the 1950s having set the tone for classic Italian brands to flourish.

 

 

An Lanntair is delighted to invite children aged 3+ to Jabuti Puppet Theatre’s Moonbeam on a Cats Ear: Theatre, puppetry and workshops for children, a rare piece of theatre in Gaelic, designed for anyone who loves adventure, excitement, and the rich possibilities of imaginary worlds. 

Where does fantasy end, and reality begin? It’s impossible to tell in this exquisite piece of puppet theatre from Jabuti, as we watch a cat and mouse leave the safety of their bedroom to explore the big night sky and steal the low-hanging moon. Perhaps, we think, we simply dreamed it, along with the sleepy crew of the sailing moon boat who saw it all unfurl in the comfort of their silk pyjamas.

This magical interpretation of Marie-Louise Gay’s English/French children’s book Voyage au Clair de Lune has been adapted to include lyrical Gaelic translation by poet Aonghas MacNeacail.

There are jobs on offer from businesses and enterprises in many fields in Stornoway at the moment – all advertised on http://www.welovestornoway.com/index.php/jobs

For instance, there’s a need for a Quality Controller at the Scottish Salmon Company in Marybank. 

We have a whole host of job vacancies looking to be filled on welovestornoway.com, with five new posts added this week! Click on the job titles below for more information.

Hebrides Travel are seeking a confident Modern Apprentice with good admin and numeracy skills to join their team from June, for 3 or 4 days per week.

Calmax Construction Limited in Newmarket, Stornoway, are recruiting a Machine Operator.

The County Hotel in Stornoway requires an experienced Shift Manager for their busy bar and restaurant.  The candidate should be flexible, with a positive attitude and excellent communication skills.

Crossroads Lewis are looking for Care Attendants to join their dedicated team.  The posts offer good rates of pay with flexible hours, and training and mileage costs will be covered.  Applicants must have a full driving license and their own vehicle.

A whole range of jobs are available in Stornoway and the surrounding areas – all in the vacancies section of welovestornoway.com!
For instance, the Group Practice Health Centre, Stornoway, is recruiting to the following full time posts:  Practice Manager; Medical Receptionist; and Healthcare Assistant.
http://www.welovestornoway.com/index.php/jobs-westside/6512-job-vacancies-the-group-practice

Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) – which is the local Energy and Development Agency for the Western Isles – is seeking a part-time receptionist (22.5 hours p/w)
Mon-Fri - 12:30 pm - 5.00 pm

Western Isles politicians have welcomed today (Tuesday, April 17th) news of investment opportunities which will secure the future of the Arnish fabrication yard.

It follows an announcement that the Scottish Government has brokered an agreement between Canadian company JV Driver, through its subsidiary DF Barnes, and BiFab to support new opportunities at Arnish, as well as BiFab sites at Methil and Burntisland, for the fabrication and construction in the marine renewables and energy sector.

“We are delivering on the commitment I made last year that we would stand by BiFab and work to secure a long term future for the company,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Fancy walking to Stornoway…from wherever on the island you live?  If you do, you could help raise money and awareness with Alzheimer Scotland as part of Dementia Awareness week in June.

And it doesn’t end there…once you reach town, you would take part in a 5K Memory march around the town and its nearby suburbs on Saturday June 3.  This is a change from the usual Castle Grounds venue.

The Memory March is purely a local event to encourage fund raising and awareness-raising with people doing promotional publicity such as wearing t-shirts.

Simon Nicol, Fairport Convention, presented the award to Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente

Stornoway songstress Josie Duncan has scooped the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk 2017 award along with musical partner Pablo Lafuente.

The Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 were announced in a ceremony last week (April 5th) held at the Royal Albert Hall.

Now in their 18th year, the Awards are a key highlight of the folk music calendar and serve to raise the profile of folk music.

And helping raise her own profile within folk music, Josie – who is currently studying a BA in Scottish Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – was delighted with the award, saying on her Facebook page: “Delighted to be chosen from such an amazing set of acts.”

Josie and Pablo were presented their award by guitarist, singer, record-producer, and founding member of British folk group Fairport Convention.

Kara Hanlon has finished 4th in the 200m Breaststroke heat at the Olympic Trials.

Kara placed 4th in her heat swim this morning in a new personal best time of 2.30.3.

Stornoway swimmer Kara Hanlon shattered her personal best at the British Swimming Championships in London yesterday.

At the event held in the London Olympic Aquatic Centre, Kara shaved two seconds off her breaststroke record, recording 2.30.92, and finishing 11th overall.

She has two events yet to race at the Championships over the coming days.

Saturday May 9th at 2pm brings the family event for the Katie Morag exhibition, which will include a free screening in the An Lanntair cinema. Two episodes: Katie Morag and the Dancing Class, and a special 30 minute screening of Katie Morag and the Worst Day Ever will be on for all to enjoy. Tickets are available to book now!

The Family opening event will be followed by the official launch at 5pm, with original artwork, sets and photographs from the Cbeebies production, and Mairi Hedderwick herself!

An Lanntair also have a full package of workshops for adults throughout the Katie Morag exhibition. 

Click here to read about the talks and workshops that are available for adults in May! 

Sottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale visited businesses in Lewis this morning as part of the campaign leading up to the Scottish Parliament elections next month.

Accompanied by local candidate Rhoda Grant, she spent much of the morning at the Harris Tweed Hebrides plant in Shawbost and went on to visit Lewis Crofters in Stornoway.

Kezia Dugdale chats to an island Labour voter

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale admitted today that much work was still needed in transforming public opinion of the party. 

On a tour of Lewis, she told www.welovestornoway.com: “The result here at the last election was better than other parts of the country, even though we still lost pretty spectacularly. 

“We went from having 41 MPs to one last year, so it was a bad, bad result for the Labour Party.

“But I have never shied away from saying that, and we are learning from it.

The Labour Party’s candidate for the Scottish Parliament election next month was in central Stornoway today (Saturday) for the launch of the local campaign office in Cromwell Street.

Rhoda Grant told the crowd of campaigners and supporters at the launch that during their early experience on the doorsteps of the Western isles in this campaign, they had been very positively received and there was the opportunity to make a lot more progress.

Rhoda was born in Stornoway in 1963.  Rhoda Grant’s maternal grandparents were from Portnaguran, in Point, and her paternal grandparents were from Stockinish, in Harris.

In an interview with EVENTS, after she was selected, she said: “Gaelic was my first language, but sadly I can only understand bits of it now,” she said.   Mrs Grant has already been an MSP, having been selected on the Labour list in 2011.  She was also made a list MSP in 1999.

From an early age growing up in Gairloch, Rhoda says she had a sense of social justice.  Seeing that the Highlands and Islands were being ‘left behind’, she joined the Labour Party and was instantly a hit with her colleagues, who themselves were re-energised by her fresh enthusiasm.  Her hard work was rewarded in 1999 when she joined the first ever Scottish Parliament.

“We want councils to have the freedom to raise their own tax and not be penalised. That is local democracy.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan is calling for Scottish Gaelic to be added to Duolingo, the world’s most popular online language learning service.

Duolingo’s 200 million worldwide users can choose to learn minority languages Welsh and Irish as well as fictional languages from Star Trek and Game of Thrones for free on the app - however, there are no Scottish languages currently on offer. 

In the first two years after the Irish language launched on Duolingo in 2014, 2.3 million people started learning Irish, averaging 3,000 new learners a day. Irish is reportedly one of the top ten languages on Duolingo.

Carpet World said goodbye to one of its founding directors yesterday (Friday) as Willie Morrison took retirement after 30 years with the company.

“I'll be sad to leave the place, but life goes on,” said Willie. “And I wish the company all the best for the future. I've seen it go from strength to strength, it employs 15 of a staff now, and the future is bright for the shop with the next generation of salesmen ready to take care of our loyal customers.”

The late Rev Dr Iain D. Campbell, who passed away in January

Elements of the moral conduct of the late Rev Dr Iain D. Campbell were 'seriously inconsistent with that expected of a Christian minister'.

This was the finding of the Western Isles Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland, who convened in Stornoway yesterday.

Art on land and sea came together on Friday evening at An Lanntair Arts Centre as Wave Migration, by painter, screen printer and surfer Laura Maynard, brought in an excited crowd of people for its official launch.

Laura thanked all the surfers who figure in the exhibition – 15 in total – for being so willing to work with her, and also thanked her family for their support through the development life of the project.

The exhibition – including an iconic campervan and a display of surfboards, fills the main gallery and overflows – like a bursting wave – into the reception area of An Lanntair.

League

Point 3 Westside 1

Carloway 0 Lochs 1

Ness 2 United 0

Aths v Back (Postponed until April 29)

Isle of Harris Mountain Festival: 3rd-10th September 

Lewis Carnival: 6th August

Lochs Agricultural Show: 23rd July

Hebridean Celtic Festival: 13th-16th July

Hebridean Maritime Festival: 12th-16th July

Harris Tweed Festival: 2nd July - 13th November

Ness Gala Day: 25th June

Point Show: 16th July

Uig Gala Day: 2nd July

This is a list if the dates we've confirmed so far! If you're organising a show, let us know the date and we'll add it to our list! Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Lewis Carnival is back on Saturday 3rd August.

Carnival organisers had hoped to break with tradition and move the event later in August "but the unfortunate clash with the Piping World Championships meant we’d be down on pipe bands - which just would not be right!

"So we’re sticking with old faithful and hope to see as many of you there as possible.

Coastguard Rescue Team members from Stornoway, Ness and Bragar have been asked to help with a major search, being co-ordinated from Portree in Skye, for a man missing on the Isle of Raasay.

Two Lewis dancers who travelled to Orlando in Florida to compete in a world championship competition have won their way through to their finals later today (Friday April 26th).

Abbie Morrison (17) from Back and her coach, Stornoway girl Kayleigh Nicolson, were both picked for Team Scotland and headed off to the world cheerleading championships, now taking place at the Walt Disney World resort in Florida.

A singing duo from Keose were viewed by millions on TV over the weekend, as they auditioned for Britain's Got Talent.

Acqua Jane and Dolores, real names Jane and Dionne Murrell, performed their self-penned song 'You Defrost My Heart at a Million Degrees' in front of Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Alesha Dixon, and Amanda Holden. 

And while David and Amanda voted to send them through to the next round, Simon and Alesha were distinctly unimpressed, meaning the singing duo would go no further.

See their audition here.

 

Lews Castle College UHI is facing a decrease in funding of around 4.8 per cent for 2017-18, due to a drop in student numbers.

In a report just published, Audit Scotland has highlighted the College's under-recruitment of further education students against targets during 2015/16.

The report clearly states that the College is not in immediate financial difficulty and the accounts have been given a clean bill of health.

Lews Castle College UHI is hosting a General Election Hustings this week on Wednesday 29th April at 2 pm - 4 pm in the college foyer.

All 5 prospective parliamentary candidates will be present and Agnes Rennie will chair the event.

Students, staff and the general public are warmly invited to attend.

Seating is limited to around 250.

Lews Castle is a final competitor in the title for Great British Buildings Restoration of the Year competition, organised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and featured on Channel 4 television.

With stiff competition from projects across the UK, Lews Castle was named joint winner of the Victorian category, along side Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland.

The RICS judges were 'blown away' by the impressive restoration of the Gothic revival style Castle, saying: “It was such a difficult building that had been out of use for decades so finding a new use was going to be a major achievement.

Stornoway RNLI lifeboat and crew assisted in the search for a missing vulnerable person in the early hours of this morning.

The lifeboat launched at 0015hours and searched the Stornoway Harbour area, going out as far as Holm. Also involved in the search were local Fire Brigade crews and the Coastguard search and rescue helicopter.

The missing person was found safe and well by fire crews and the RNLI lifeboat returned to berth at around 0300hours

A small fishing vessel ran aground on the east side of Sandray this morning (Thursday 4 April.)

The vessel, which had one person aboard, called Mayday.

The Barra lifeboat was launched to assist.

A local vessel towed the fishing boat back into Castlebay, and both were escorted by the lifeboat.

Scottish Fuels Regional Manager Donald Mackay and Stornoway Depot Manager Angus Maclennan were delighted to deliver a defibrillator machine to Rev Calum I Macleod and Church Officer Donald Stewart of Back Free Church on Thursday, April 28th.
The vital life-saving machine was donated by Scottish Fuels, who work with the Oliver King Foundation to provide defibrillators and training in a bid to raise awareness of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).

Clann an Latha an De invite you to a light lunch this coming Satuday, as support is needed to raise funds for repairs and improvement works to the war memorial at Bragar church. Plans will be on public display and your comments will be welcomed.  

 

The Islands Book Trust’s first event of 2016 is a talk by the writer and journalist Bella Bathurst on the Lighthouse Stevensons with special reference to the Outer Hebridean lights. 
The talk at Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean, Lews Castle at 7.30pm on Saturday 30 April will be introduced by naturalist John Love, himself a lighthouse expert.
Bella is the author of several books, one of which, The Lighthouse Stevensons, published in 2005, won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.

   

Frances and Michelle

NHS Western Isles has announced Frances Robertson, Senior Charge Nurse at Western Isles Hospital’s Surgical Ward, and Michelle Cameron, Staff Nurse at Ospadal Uibhist agus Bharraigh, as its latest successful graduates for Cohort 7 Dementia Champions.

Over the last nine months Frances and Michelle have committed time and effort to completing the course, which expands the NHS Western Isles team of Dementia Champions to 11 situated across the islands.

Western Isles residents are being asked to take part in a local study being undertaken on ‘The Impact on quality of life since the diagnosis of Lyme disease’.

The study is being completed by NHSWI Health Protection and Screening Nurse Specialist Isabell Macinnes as part of a Master’s degree in Infection Prevention and Control.

Outer Hebrides Tourism Conference - 8th & 9th April 2014

[gallery ID=154]

Traffic is now flowing again on the Lochs Road, south of Stornoway, following a car accident.

This follows a road closure around 11am which also affected the Pentland Road as traffic attempted to bypass the affected section of road near Creed Park industrial estate.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Youth Champions, councillors Paul Steele and Norman MacDonald, have welcomed Loganair’s support for the Year of Young People 2018 (YOYP).

Loganair and local authority partners are searching the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney communities for 30 individuals who represent the ‘Spirit of Young People’.

Orkney, Shetland & Western Isles are to identify 10 young people between 8 – 26 years.

Police will not be officially naming the three men lost following the tragic sinking of the fishing vessel 'Louisa', 'for at least another day'.

It is understood that officers are still liaising with the bereaved families.

Two men who died came from Stornoway and Harris. 

A third man is still missing, while another was rescued after swimming to shore and clinging to rocks.

Police Scotland have confirmed the identities of the fishermen involved when their fishing boat Louisa sank off Mingulay, Barra last Saturday.

Two men were lost, one survived and a fourth is missing after the incident.

The two men who sadly died are:

Martin Johnstone (pictured right), aged 29, from Halkirk, Caithness

Chris Morrison, (pictured left), aged 27, from Leverburgh, Isle of Harris.

The missing crew member is Paul Alliston (formerly MacMillan) aged 42, from Lochs, Isle of Lewis.

The fourth crew member, a man in his twenties who lives locally, did not sustain any serious injuries.

 

Former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan will stop off in Stornoway as part of the singer-songwriter's Scottish tour this autumn.

Lucy appeared on the X Factor in 2012, and since then her audition video has been viewed 35million times on YouTube.

She was also the most Googled musician of 2012, after she came off the show and immediately signed to Columbia Records.

SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, spoke yesterday about the importance of the Air Discount Scheme (ADS) to the Western Isles, and the need to ensure a lid is kept on air fares in future.

Alasdair Allan commented: “As everyone knows, going by plane in the Western Isles is not a cheap business.  The Scottish Government has recognised this, by raising the Air Discount Scheme for island residents from 40% to 50% of fares recently. Without this scheme, it is difficult to imagine these services being widely used.

There will be fundraising quiz on Friday 14 April at 7.30 in Lodge Fortrose, Kenneth Street to support the Mountain View School for the Deaf in Malawi.

The school provides education for 150 pupils, about half of whom are orphans. Due to failing crops there is a risk that parents will not be able to afford the tuition fees so the various Lodges in Ross and Cromarty are undertaking fundraising with the aim of paying the annual fees for all pupils for two years.

The Lodges have previously supplied teaching materials and equipment, teacher salaries and, following an outbreak of cholera in 2014 a solar powered water pump.

A night of musical entertainment in memory of the late Malcolm Cross is to take place in the Woodlands Centre on Saturday, April 30th.

‘Malcolm’s Memorial Gig’ will raise funds for Stornoway RNLI, as well as see the launch of Lewis band The Shed’s latest EP ‘Always Ask The Question’.

The fundraising gig, which also includes sets from Iain ‘Neosa’ Mackinnon and Battle of the Bands’ ‘Best Cover’ winners 2016, brother and sister Calum and Niamh Blane, has been organised by Malcolm’s daughter Rose Bugler to celebrate the life of ‘quite a character’.

A solo kayaker aims to raise thousands of pounds for the RNLI by paddling 2015 miles round all the charity’s Scottish lifeboat stations.

Nick Ray, 51, will leave on May 1st and take between three and four months to kayak to the RNLI’s 47 lifeboat stations – including the Western Isles’ three RNLI stations at Barra, Leverburgh and Stornoway.

Museum nan Eilean is preparing an exhibition marking the passing of one hundred years since the tragic sinking of the Iolaire on January 1, 1919.

The exhibition will run from late 2018 until early 2019 in the new museum at Lews Castle and is part of a larger series of events by a number of organisations recognising the centenary of the disaster and its impact on the people of the Outer Hebrides.

Brave, Martin's Memorial ladies ministry, meets once a month in the church and they would love to see you there. "Its a comfortable and safe place to learn and grow in our walk with our heavenly Father." 

Thursday 27th April, 7.30 - 10pm

A very warm welcome awaits you!

Maybury Gardens' Easter egg hunt winner!

A casualty was evacuated from a visiting cruise ship near Stornoway earlier today (Saturday 6 April.)

The person was taken ill aboard the cruise ship, MS Astoria, which was anchored outside Stornoway Harbour during her visit.

Community groups planning renewable energy projects across the Western Isles are being encouraged to come forward and join a consortium process that would see a lower grid connection fee and a more co-operative approach to grid reinforcement.

This consortium approach, which has been established by Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) and which is open to communities and commercial projects, helps to share the cost of any network reinforcement required as part of the connection process.

Two members of the Bays of Harris Steering Group (Katie Ann Mackinnon and John Maher) recently met with Rob Hitchcock, who was representing the four members of the Hitchcock family who currently own the Bays of Harris Estate.

The meeting was hosted by Sarah-Jane Laing of Scottish Land and Estates at their offices in Edinburgh.  Ingrid Galbraith and Ailsa Raeburn from HIE were also in attendance.

A memorial service to the men of the Ross Mountain Battery, who fought and died on the Gallipoli peninsula, will be held on Tuesday, April 25th.

One of the most bitterly found campaigns of World War I, the battle at Gallipoli saw the Allies take on the Ottoman Empire in the Dardanelles.

The Ross Mountain Battery unit, which fought alongside a number of other units, consisted mainly of Lewis soldiers. One of the first units to land, and one of the last to leave, many of the island men in the Ross Mountain Battery unit left their Outer Hebrides homes in August 1914, and did not return until April 1919.

A memorial service will take place in Stornoway this afternoon for one of the victims of the 'Louisa' fishing boat tragedy. 

Paul Alliston, who was 42 and was also known as Paul Macmillan, was lost when the shellfish vessel sank off Mingulay on Saturday April 9, 2016. 

The design of a memorial to Eilidh MacLeod has been unveiled.

It is hoped that the bronze sculpture, featuring a young bagpiper holding the hand of a learner player, will be established on Barra in 2020.  

The life-size sculpture was made by artist, Jenna Gearing, and was deliberately not based on Eilidh's own appearance.  The sculpture is said to be a visual representation of the love, unity, resilience and diversity encompassing Eilidh's life and home.  

People in Lewis and Harris with an interest in mental health and in dementia are invited to come along to a World Café event.

You can meet with the team who are redesigning mental health services across the Western Isles and talk with them about what the redesigned services will mean for you.

A tree of thumbprints representing past, present or future midwives in Scotland - known as the Tree of Life - recently visited the Western Isles Hospital, where local midwives added their own prints to the tree.

Heather Gilchrist a second year MSc Student Midwife, launched the UWS (University of the West of Scotland’s) Tree of Life Campaign during her recent remote and rural placement in Dunoon.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan earlier this week raised the issue of the recent technical issues affecting the MV Isle of Lewis with Minister for the Islands Paul Wheelhouse MSP.

MV Isle of Lewis came off service after returning to Castlebay on 14 April with an issue with her bow thrusters.

As the vessel blocked the berth in Castlebay and was unable to put to sea, no relief vessel could come alongside. Bad weather also hampered repair efforts with disruptions occurring on the Sound of Barra service.

Miriam Hamilton, from Western Isles Designs,in Crossbost launched her restored loom shed with an Open Day.

The Lothian choir luadh group came over to the Isle of Lewis to perform a waulking demonstration together with the Laxdale Ladies’ luadh group.

Police, partners and volunteers continued search efforts today for missing fisherman, Paul Alliston.

The co-ordinated coastal searches were based around Mingulay, Sandray, Berneray, and Pabbay.

Further land searches are planned for tomorrow (Saturday 16th April 2016) with volunteers wishing to assist requested to attend at two allocated meeting points at 9am at Ludag Pier, South Uist and Castlebay Hall, Barra.

Mmm..Hmmm! with Verity Standen is coming to Leverburgh Village Hall on Friday 10 April 2015 at 7.30pm.

Friday 10 April 2015 at 7.30pm

Leverburgh Village Hall   

 

Mmm...Hmmm! is a playful, poignant musical journey shaped by three exceptional female voices jumping between sound worlds and lyrical styles.

Using intricate vocal techniques and rich harmony, Mmm...Hmmm! holds a magnifying glass up to snapshots of everyday life. One moment a fragile apology, the next a perilous trip to the First Great Western buffet car…Verity Standen’s original a capella songs evoke the awkward, heartrending and hilarious moments that characterise what it means to be human.

 

'A stunning array of different sounds, harmonising with frightening accuracy... Mmm...Hmmm forces us to listen again with pricked up ears to the mundane and the everyday, treating automated announcements with the same gravity - or perhaps levity - as love and heartbreak.' (Exeunt)

Call for more information and telephone box office: 01851 700475   Adult £8;  Concessions  £5 

Moor fires took hold in several places across Lewis and Harris yesterday afternoon (Tuesday April 9th) 

Drivers were asked by police at 5.20pm on Tuesday April 9th to please avoid the Pentland Road until further notice.

The road was blocked by fire engines due to a grass fire on the moorland on the Carloway side.  (Photograph by Callanish DD on Twitter, above)  The road was declared again open around 11pm

Citylink have added extra buses to the Ullapool Inverness bus service from today.

Peter Knight of Citylink said “We have put the following additional seats onto the system today (all additional 49-seaters) -

04 April - 09:50         961         Ullapool – Inverness
04 April - 15:00         961         Inverness – Ullapool
05 April - 09:50         961         Ullapool – Inverness
06 April - 15:00         961         Inverness – Ullapool
07 April - 15:00         961         Inverness – Ullapool
10 April - 15:00         961         Inverness - Ullapool

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed the announcement made today (Tuesday April 30th) by Loganair which will enhance both air services and passenger experience to and from the Western Isles.

From this weekl, all four of Loganair’s weekday Glasgow to Stornoway services will be operated by the Embraer 145 jet, which has been cutting flight times to as little as 30 minutes airborne since its introduction in January.

It was back to the future for morning newspaper deliveries in Lewis and Harris today as they arrived at 8am by air for the first time in four years.

For the next fortnight, newspapers are expected to arrive first thing via Loganair ending the newspaper drought which has affected trade and customer patterns in Stornoway and other communities.

After winter hibernation, the Morven Gallery in Barvas opened its doors to the public again today (Saturday) with a Spring Exhibition featuring some artists familiar to the gallery such as Pam Carter, Simon Rivett, David Greenall, Ruth O'Dell and Vega, and some additional ones like Margarita Williams.

And there was the usual aroma of fine coffee and display of home baking to tempt the crowd of visitors once they had finished admiring the artworks.

After a one year hiatus, Morven Gallery in Barvas, Lewis, returns for the islands' 2017 summer season, opening its doors again on Saturday April 15th.

Morven owners, Janis and Rob Scott, are delighted to see the gallery space return to life with the opening exhibition featuring the works of a huge variety of artists, including Simon Rivett, Ruth Odell, Gareth Watson, Pam Carter, Vega, Margaret Stevenson, Jonathan Smith, Kenneth Burns, Gill Thompson, David Humphreys, Kirsty Lymburn, Effie Galletly, Marianthi Lainas, and David Wilson.

“There were a number of things happening last year that meant we couldn't always commit to being here, so we weren't able to open,” said Janis.

There's been quick success in the fund-raising to pay for restoration work on a derelict house on James Street, Stornoway, which is being redeveloped at a mosque/community centre for the local Muslim community.
Less than a week ago a target of £50,000 was set  - and by the end of Saturday, a total of 1135 supporters had raised £54,669. Meanwhile, over the past few weeks the house has been cleared of debris and work is now progressing on creating new roof for the building.
 

More than half the target of £50,000 to help build the first mosque-centre in Stornoway has been raised on justgiving.com in just over two days.

Permission for the conversion of a derelict Stornoway house to a mosque and community centre for the Western Isles Muslim community was granted by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar  on Thursday, September 31st, 2017,  at a meeting of the local authority’s planning application committee.

The plans involves a long-disused house in James Street, adjacent to the former Church House premises of ND Macleod Ltd, which are soon to be the base for welovestornoway.com and EVENTS newspaper.

A 21-year-old man was taken to hospital last night after coming off his motorbike just outside Stornoway. 

Emergency services attended the scene at around 5.55pm, and conveyed the man to hospital. 

He was treated there for minor injuries and discharged a short time later.

Commenting on today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that she intends to seek a General Election on June 8th, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil said: “It is a great privilege to serve the people of Na h-Eileanan an Iar in Parliament and I would hope to be re-elected if a snap General Election takes place on June 8th.

“This is a panicked announcement by Theresa May, she knows she isn’t going to get a deal on trade with Europe which means for our crofters, any exports of lambs to Europe will incur a 20% tariff and any fish and shellfish will see a 12% tariff.

“She is doing this so she doesn’t have to face the public after Brexit negotiations when she has nothing, so she is cutting and running now.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has demanded that the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry be published on May 2nd as promised by the UK Government.
The long-awaited report into the Iraq War has been delayed several times since the inquiry began six years ago but is expected to be published next month.
A backbench debate took place in the House of Commons on Thursday led by Conservative MP David Davis and was co-sponsored by Angus MacNeil, the SNP’s Deputy Foreign Affairs spokesperson and Labour MP Paul Flynn.

Angus MacNeil has missed an indicative vote on Brexit after his flight was cancelled.

The MP was on a flight between Barra and Glasgow and had hoped to catch a flight from Glasgow to London yesterday (Monday 1 April.)

However, flights from the Western Isles were affected after airspace was restricted during a Joint Warrior military training exercise.  

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has written to Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to ask for an urgent update on the future support for island renewables. 

The UK government’s consultation on whether Remote Island Wind projects should be subsidised ended on 31st January.  Following yesterday’s announcement that a General Election will be held on 8th June, concerns have been raised as to what this will mean for island renewables.

 

 

 

Angus MacNeil MP with John Murdo Macdonald, Volunteer, St Andrew’s First Aid

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil, after working to assist, has welcomed the introduction of St Andrew’s First Aid Volunteers in the islands to provide Event First Aid.

Last year the British Red Cross took the decision to withdraw from providing Event First Aid in the Western Isles.  Now with the help of St Andrew’s First Aid, volunteers are now able to continue to provide this service.

Approval of a 600MW interconnector to maximise renewables potential in the Western Isles is vital in the face of the climate emergency facing us all, says SNP MP Angus MacNeil.

Mr MacNeil says UK Government agency Ofgem must ‘do the right thing’ to support Scotland’s vision for action on climate change, as outlined by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP Conference at the weekend.

The UK Government’s Seasonal Workers Pilot scheme to be extended to include the fishing industry.

That's the view of Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus B MacNeil who is writing to Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for this change.

The UK Government’s Seasonal Workers Pilot scheme to be extended to include the fishing industry.

That's the view of Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus B MacNeil who is writing to Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for this change.

Constructing a 600MW electricity interconnector to the Western Isles would cost consumers just 4p more per household per year than the 450MW option.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil continues to engage with Ofgem who recently announced their minded-to position of favouring a 450MW link over a 600MW.

As part of that engagement Mr MacNeil asked Ofgem for figures on what the two options would mean for household bills and learned that the 600MW would mean just 4p per household per year more than the 450MW option.

Alasdair Allan MSP has today (Monday April 15th) joined environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, in applauding the efforts of local residents from the Western Isles who are participating in its annual Spring Clean campaign, which is taking place across the country throughout April and May.

Keep Scotland Beautiful is supporting communities to take part and help remove litter from their local area - transforming the places that they live in and improving the areas that they care for. 

A local MSP will hold an advice surgery onboard the MV Loch Seaforth - an event thought to be a first for Calmac!

Passengers aboard the 15.30 sailing from Stornoway to Ullapool will be able to raise any issues they wish with their local Member of the Scottish Parliament at a specified area of the vessel.

MSPs often hold surgeries within their constituency to give people an opportunity to meet with them and discuss matters of concern. This is thought to be the first time a sitting MSP has held an advice surgery onboard a Calmac vessel.

Thursday morning - April 6th at 9.30am - marks the start of the closing down sale for three major departments at Murdo Maclean's store in Cromwell Street, Stornoway.

Stornoway clothing store Murdo Maclean & Sons Ltd is to be put on the market.

An employee told www.welovestornoway.com that the business is expected to be put up for sale 'in the next couple of weeks'.

The employee added that store staff - comprising 10 both full and part-time - had not been informed of any potential redundancies.

Management of the shop were unavailable for comment.

 

This Saturday, 8th of April, Museum nan Eilean has another of their very busy #FamilyFunDays at Lews Castle, from 1pm - 4pm.

£2 per child, no booking required. All ages welcome.

 

 

More than 60 music students and staff are coming from all over the UK to participate in Lews Castle College’s Music Festival from April 22-26. 

This includes eight daytime concert performances at An Lanntair Arts Centre, two evening showcase concerts and a programme of outreach work in schools in conjunction with award winning Music Education Agency, Soundstorm.

The Hebridean Mustard Company based in Leverburgh is launching three new products, the company has announced.

Mustheb’s founder Heike Winter explains: “8-Pepper-Cèilidh is a pepper mustard. Black, green, white and pink peppercorns sway with allspice, cubebs, Bengal pepper and grains of paradise to the beat of the mustard.  

Thanks to the votes of their customers and following a rigorous day of judging by some 50 of the industry’s top professionals, Stag Bakeries of Stornoway has been shortlisted for a prize in the Scottish Baker of the Year 2019/20 competition.

Around 500 people were involved in Stornoway's first pro-Scottish Independence March which was held today (Saturday 27 April.)

Nine new ‘graduates’ completed their training with the HM Coastguard on Sunday (April 28th) and are now ready for deployment from Coastguard Rescue Teams around the Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber.

Hebridean hen and stag parties are being taken to another level, thanks to the launch this week of a new dancing venture – ‘Hitched and Highlands’.

Run by professional dancer Alexandra Jones and Anna Macaulay, Hitched and Highlands offer bespoke dancing packages for clients – so for instance, if a hen party wanted to recreate scenes from ‘Grease’, Alexandra and Anna will provide a tailor-made routine.

Digital drop-in sessions have been set up at a number of libraries across the Western Isles for those who need a hand with their technology. 

Members of the public can come in with their device and speak with library staff, who will offer help and advice for queries people may have with their electronic equipment. The sessions are free and there is no need to book in advance.

The digital sessions are also ideal for those who don't yet have a smart phone or tablet, but want to find out more information before buying one. 

Popular Stornoway band ‘The Shed’ are preparing for the launch of their brand new EP later this month.

Having been asked to participate in the Holocaust Memorial Day in January this year, the blues-oriented group donated the sales of one their songs - 'Always Ask The Question' - to Amnesty International.

Their new EP, titled ‘Always Ask The Question’ will be unveiled at a show in the Woodlands Centre on Saturday April 30.

The St Andrew’s First Aid charity is stepping into the gap left on Lewis and Harris by the withdrawal last May of the British Red Cross from providing First Aid cover in the Islands.
The organisation was formed in 1882 as St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association by doctors and businessmen in Glasgow who were concerned with the number of people being injured in the industrial city.

An Lanntair arts centre is launching a new Food Festival, celebrating traditional and worldwide cuisines. This is on Saturday 19th May at An Lanntair, Stornoway.

With a theme of “Thall ‘s a-Bhos : Home and Away”, the festival will feature local traditional cuisine as well as courses from the many other cultures now established on the islands.

A total of 125 DEXA scans have already been carried out in the Western Isles since the new ‘gold standard’ fracture liaison service was launched around five months ago.

The service, officially launched by NHS Western Isles in November 2015, means that patients at risk of osteoporosis no longer have to travel to the mainland for scans.

At the heart of the new service is a new piece of equipment that is able to measure the strength of bones and identify patients with, or at risk of, osteoporosis, known as a Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scanner.

It is anticipated that between 200 and 250 Western Isles patients a year will benefit from the new scanner.

North Uist's first ever gin was released on Thursday 25 April with the launch of a brand-new product, named Downpour.

The spirit is characterised by turning cloudy in the glass, the result of a 'downpour' of essential oils.

Stornoway Port Authority has announced the appointment of Mr. Tony Morrison to the position of Harbourmaster.

Mr. Morrison was educated at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, and is a Marine Engineer by profession and is also a certificated RNLI Coxswain currently serving as Depute Cox on the Stornoway Lifeboat. He and his family live in the village of Sandwick near Stornoway.

Mr. Morrison’s working life to date has focused largely around Stornoway Harbour and he already has many years of experience in dealing with a significant number of the Port Authority’s customers and stakeholders.

Leverburgh Crew, including Lifeboat Operations Manager and Deputy Launching Authorities, aboard the RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley 13-25

Leverburgh RNLI has welcomed its brand-new Shannon Class Lifeboat, RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley to the station.
The state-of-the-art
, £2.1m vessel arrived in Leverburgh at 1325 hours yesterday (Saturday April 21st), timed in recognition of the boat's side number 13-25.  

All Shannons are given the number 13, as they are 13m in length. The "25" in Leverburgh’s side number shows that their boat is the 25th Shannon to be built by the RNLI.

The arrival of the Shannon at Leverburgh RNLI brings with it a whole host of benefits to the life-saving capabilities of the station.

West coast ferry operator CalMac has teamed up with 14 conservation bodies in a bid to better protect the environment it sails in.The company’s new Marine Awareness Programme outlines specific actions it will take to help passengers get the most from the environment they are travelling through and to better understand the wildlife in its area of operations.

Speaking at the launch of the Programme, CalMac’s managing director, Robbie Drummond said:‘Knowledge is a major part of protecting the environment for future generations.

"By finding out what wild resources we have, we are in better position to take steps to help conserve them. Our commitment to the monitoring, education and information sharing activity outlined i n this Programme will help ensure we continue to build knowledge about the seas we sail.’

‘The marine environment we work in is among the most diverse in the world, supporting over 6,500 complex and 40,000 single cell species of plants and animals. Our seas are among the richest in Europe for marine mammals. Scotland holds about 70% of Europe's population of grey seals and 35% of common seals along with numerous species of whales, dolphins and porpoises and seabirds.’  

Actions outlined include using CalMac vessels to undertake marine biodiversity monitoring, passenger engagement and education to raise marine environment awareness with both visitors and locals and to facilitate better information sharing between conservation agencies.

CalMac’s 14 partners are Scottish Natural Heritage, Marine Scotland, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, British Divers Marine Life Rescu e, British Trust for Ornithology, Capturing Our Coast, Field Studies Council Millport,Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, MARINElife, ORCA, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network, Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

‘CalMac understands how important the environment we work in day to day is to our communities. The natural environment and the wildlife within it are central to attracting visitors and helping to grow the economies within the areas we serve.

‘We want to help stimulate this economic growth wherever we can by delivering reliable services that people want to use. However, it crucial that we balance this with protecting the very environment that is the driver of this growth. Our new Marine Awareness Programme is a first step in this direction,’ added Robbie.

There is more information and regular updates on the Marine Awareness Programme website.

The Barra RNLI lifeboat crew are organising a full-scale sea and land search for the missing crewman from the "Louisa".

They have appealed for any boat owners in Uist, Barra and Eriskay who can spare the time, and any other persons who are willing to walk the shorelines around the area, to meet in Castlebay Hall tonight (Wednesday 13th April), at 7pm to discuss the plans for Thursday's search.

In addition to the personnel for the search itself, they have also asked If there's anyone willing to donate baking for the search parties and if they can drop this off  Castlebay Hall on Thursday afternoon.

There were congratulations for Andrew Hughson (above) on winning the Coffee Pot Shield DTL competition at The Harris Gun Club in Aline Forest yesterday (14 April 2018)

The Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) has revealed a brand new title sponsor which has pledged support for the next three years - The Scottish Salmon Company.

The Scottish Salmon Company employs over 230 people across the Outer Hebrides and has a proud history of supporting the local communities.

WIIGA supports talented athletes from across the Western Isles, hosting training camps and supporting skill development, as well as enabling a team to travel to the Island Games, hosted in alternate years by member islands across the world. 

Ferry operator CalMac is changing the way it alerts customers to disrupted services following feedback from passengers.

An additional service status of yellow is being added to the existing green, amber and red categories on their website to give passengers clearer information about potential disruption.

“We asked the public what we could do to make their journey easier in the face of weather disruption and the overwhelming response was that they wanted more information,” said CalMac's director of operations, Drew Collier.

 

NHS Western Isles’ ‘Walk on Hebrides’ will receive £4,300 this year to improve access to Health Walks across the islands.

The walking project has been successful in an application to Paths for All’s 2018/19 ‘Walking for Health’ grant. Walk on Hebrides aims to provide Health Walks in communities across the Outer Hebrides, providing people with an opportunity to be physically active and improve their health through walking.

Karen Peteranna, NHS Western Isles Health Improvement Practitioner and Health Walk Coordinator for the Outer Hebrides, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our application.

Residents of the Western Isles are being warned to be on their guard, following reports of a phone scam.

NHS Western Isles was recently made aware that some local people have been contacted by telephone by an individual claiming to be from their local health centre/GP Practice, trying to sell them medication and requesting bank account details.

The NHS is keen to stress to patients that these telephone calls are not being made by healthcare professionals, and that patients should never provide their bank details, when requested, over the telephone. NHS staff will never ask for your bank details.

With an increase in the seasonal prevalence of norovirus across Scotland, NHS Western Isles is issuing advice to the public, in particular when visiting friends and family in hospital.

With cases of norovirus (commonly known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’) currently confirmed across several areas in Scotland, it is vital that members of the public take precautions to help prevent them catching or spreading the infection to others.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus. The first sign of norovirus is usually a sudden sick feeling, followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Symptoms usually last a couple of days, although this can be longer in elderly people. People are most likely to spread infection when they have symptoms, and for up to 48 hours after your symptoms have gone. It is more serious and even more easily spread among people who are already ill. 

Visitors to hospitals and care homes in the Western Isles are therefore specifically being asked to wash their hands with soap and water before and after visiting, and to ‘Stay at Home’ if they have experienced any norovirus symptoms (for 48 hours after the last symptom).

NHS Western Isles Infection Control Manager, Jennifer Macdonald, said: “Winter may be over, but unfortunately the winter vomiting bug remains with us in Scotland. Norovirus is the most common stomach bug in the UK, affecting people of all ages every year. The virus is easily spread by contact with an infected person, especially through their hands. Health professionals across NHS Scotland are working to minimise the likelihood of outbreaks arising and members of the public are being asked to play their part too. As the infection is so contagious, we would urge members of the public to ensure they follow infection control practices, and good hand hygiene is key to preventing the spread of infection.

“To help reduce the risk of outbreaks in hospitals, care settings and the wider community, we are again asking members of the public who think they might have norovirus to ‘Stay at Home’ until at least 48 hours after any symptoms have stopped.”

 

Preventing the spread of norovirus

Ms Macdonald also highlighted steps to minimise the spread of norovirus:

·                 Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet.

·                 Wash your hands with soap and water, not just alcohol gels.

·                 Don’t share towels, flannels and toothbrushes.

·                 Keep household surfaces clean.

·                 Rinse fruit and vegetables well before eating them.

  

Additionally those with symptoms should

·        Drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated – water is best.

·        Stay at home, avoid cooking for others, and don’t visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after your symptoms have gone.  You may still be infectious.  

·        Keep your hands clean.

·        Eat foods that are easy to digest.

A search for a person threatening to enter the water near Stornoway Harbour took place late last night (Tuesday 2 April.)

It was reported that the male was on South Beach Street.

Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team and Stornoway RNLI searched the area around 11:15pm.  

Police officers located the man safe and well at home before midnight.  

Shopping baskets in the Tesco store in Stornoway are no longer available for customers.
An update on the shop’s Facebook page today (www.facebook.com/Stornowaytesco/) advises that baskets are no longer available due to theft – with around 15 baskets a week being stolen.
Stornoway Tesco said: “We are very sorry to say that we are unable to provide our customers with shopping baskets due to them being taken from the store.
“We are losing approx 15 baskets a week due to theft. We have more baskets on order, but they take six weeks to arrive.”
The store added: “If anyone has a basket, can you please return them to the store. No questions asked on return!”, and apologised to customers for any inconvenience caused.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have this morning (Tuesday 9 April) said via social media there will be no public bus services in Barra today or tomorrow due to a bereavement.

Hector MacNeil, former head of MacNeil coaches, has died.  He recently passed the reins onto his son, but naturally all the coaches are off today.

 

This year will see the first ever Carnival Midsummer Charity Ball, which will take place on Friday June 10th. The tickets were a sell-out, with people desperate to put on their fanciest clothes and enjoy a night of fine dining, entertainment and cocktails. 

But the night is not just about eating and drinking, and the Carnival Committee would like to encourage everyone to nominate someone for Carnival King and Queen!

The hunt is on for a mainland company willing to relocate to brand new eco-friendly premises in Harris.

North Harris Trust recently opened three new business units at its Oban site in East Tarbert.

Built at a cost of around £700,000, one of the conditions of funding was that a mainland business was attracted to one of the units. 

Despite the efforts of the secret services in the search that followed the original impact, it seems a significant part of the spacecraft was not discovered until 30 years later.
The Isle of Lewis ferry was launched on April 18th 1995 and in the week following, a French couple that were involved in the engineering design aspect of that project, travelled to Lewis for the first time to see what the ship was named after.

With only one week to go until the deadline to register to vote in the council elections, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is urging residents to make sure they are registered in time.

On Thursday 4 May voters in the Western Isles will go to the polls for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Local Government elections.  The deadline to register to vote is Monday 17 April.

Anyone not registered to vote at their current address can register online here

This Friday (April 14) the new Museum nan Eilean has another Family Fun Day.

This is to welcome the new Fossil Hunters Exhibition at Museum nan Eilean Lews Castle.

The Fossil Hunters Family Fun Day runs from 1pm till 4pm.   Come along for fossil-related fun and crafts, say the staff, adding that it is £2 per child, no booking required. All ages welcome.

NATURAL Retreats are holding a community open day on the 28th April to allow people the opportunity to have a tour of the finished upper floor rooms at Lews Castle.

 The organisers say: "This is a great opportunity to allow people the chance to see the new accommodation and take in some of the spectacular views from the upper floors."

The tours will be running throughout the day and they also be putting on some family-friendly activities in the Storehouse, as well as live music.

 And they add, there is: "no need to pre- book, just turn up on the day."

The Ordination & Induction of Stephen McCollum, as Minister of Stornoway Reformed Presbyterian Church will take place, God willing, on Friday 28 April at 7 p.m. at Stornoway Town Hall. The reception afterwards will be held upstairs in the Garry Suite at the Caladh Inn. The service will be conducted by Rev Kenneth Stewart (Gardner Street, Glasgow).

All are warmly welcomed.

Parents in Lewis are taking their children to Harris for swimming lessons, as Stornoway is struggling to keep up with the demand for free lessons as part of the ‘Slainte Mhath’ scheme. 

The second of a series of meetings took recently with Scottish Swimming – the national governing body for the sport - with the aim of streamlining access to lessons across the islands. 

Such is the popularity of the swimming lessons, there is currently a waiting list at Ionad Spors Leodhas.

The two brothers who own the doomed fishing vessel 'Louisa' have spoken of their devastation following the tragedy. 

Brothers Duncan and Murdo Kennedy, from Marvig, South Lochs, said their thoughts were with the families of those who had died when the boat sank off Mingulay on Saturday morning. 

In a statement, they said: "We are totally devastated at the loss of Paul, Chris and Martin due to the tragic sinking off Mingulay last Saturday.

Regional airport operator HIAL has handled more passengers than ever but the number of passengers through Stornoway Airport plummeted, according to latest figures for the last financial year.

The airport group, which operates 11 airports, handled 1,437,625 passengers in 2015/16, up by more than 6000 on the previous year.

Inverness Airport, the busiest in the group, added more than 13,000 passengers during the year.  Smaller island airports such as Tiree and Barra – this year celebrating its 80th anniversary - enjoyed strong growth, with passenger numbers up 12% and 10.7% respectively.  Dundee, where Flybe is about to launch a new Amsterdam service, also performed well.

 

Cherry Campbell has delighted viewers in her role as Katie Morag.

Already multi-award winning, including a few BAFTAS, the Cbeebies TV series Katie Morag has scooped another – this time from across the Atlantic – as it was announced yesterday (Tuesday, April 26th) as a recipient of a 2016 Peabody 30 Award.

The American-based Peabody Awards were established in the 1940s as a radio equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize, and have since grown steadily to recognise excellence in a wide range of electronic media.

Only around 25 awards are presented each year from over 1,000 global entries, and to win a Peabody, a programme must receive the unanimous approval of all sixteen Peabody Board members.


A Stornoway band is about to move on up, after a viral video hit quickly clocked up over 150,000 views explaining ‘that’s the way we do it in the Western Isles.’

Tomorrow (Saturday April 27th) sees the debut album launch of Uptown Fank by Peat and Diesel at the Mull Festival. The album will also be on sale in shops around the islands and pre-orders should drop onto people’s doormats today.

Peat and Diesel, fronted by Calum ‘Boydie’ Macleod on guitar and vocals, with Uilleam Macleod on drums and Innes Scott on the box, have been something of a surprise success – not least to the band members themselves.


Join Bethany at Bayhead Park on Saturday, April 28th, for the first ever Stornoway Peppa Pig's Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children

This Spring will see the return of the UK’s muddiest fundraising event for little ones – Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children.
And on Saturday, April 28th, children in Stornoway will have the opportunity to take part thanks to the idea from Peppa Pig superfan, three year old Bethany Macleod, from Stornoway.
“Bethany wanted to do something to help other children who are in need, those who don’t have enough to eat or somewhere safe and warm to live,” said Bethany’s mum Michelle.

A familiar face will be taking part in the Stornoway Muddy Puddle walk this year.

Peppa Pig is currently in training for the walk, which will be held on Saturday May 4 in aid of Save the Children.  

The walk is being organised by local mums in conjunction with the Lewis branch of Save the Children. The event is also being supported by the Bayhead Community Association and with sponsorship from the Western Isles Lottery.

The Multimedia Unit at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are also assisting this year by providing a Gaelic element to some of the resources for the event.

At an undisclosed location on the Isle of Barra there is a small pinery that has been growing pineapple plants for more than two years.

Today, the first two pineapples to be produced on Barra ever will be auctioned off in Buth Bharraigh, the Castlebay community shop,  at 12 noon. 


This is a massive achievement for the crofter who has diversified into pineapples, says the local producers group, Beairteas Bharraigh which translates as the Wealth of Barra.

As yet the undisclosed crofter is not sure how many he will be able to produce in a year but is hoping that it will add significantly to his crofting income. 



A special pink boat gifted to the Lewis and Harris Breast Cancer Support Group has proved to be a real hit with youngsters across the islands.

And today, staff of the Langavat Medical Practice, in Lochs, donated three brand new pink lifejackets to go along with the new sailing vessel.

The boat was bought by Fallon Macarthur at an auction in London, and he in turn gave it to the support group. 

The 22nd annual Pipe Major Donald Macleod Memorial Competition took place in the Caladh Inn on Friday 10th April. The competition hosted by the Lewis and Harris Piping Society is a prestigous event on the annual piping calendar in which a small selection of world class pipers are invited to compete. Following the last minute withdrawal of Douglas Murray  and P/M Gordon Walker, this year's competitors were Iain Speirs, Finlay Johnston, Callum Beaumont, Glenn Brown, Gordon MacCready, and, in his 22nd appearance, William McCallum. Judges were John Wilson, Iain MacFayden and William Morrison, and Fear an Tighe, Dr, John Smith.

Competitors participated in three events throughout the day, featuring many of Donald Macleod’s own compositions, Ceol Mor (Piobaireachd), March, Strathspey & Reel, and Jig & Hornpipe. The competition was viewed online through a live stream to a global audience and will feature on radio Scotland’s Pipeline over the coming weeks. This year’s competitors kindly decided not to accept their appearance fees, which will now contribute to the f