When on Wednesday 19th April 2017 the news broke that Norrie Macgregor had passed away the previous evening, a surge of sorrow and a palpable sense of loss swept through the Town and Island, followed by a tide of affection for his family and a wave of tributes from near and far.
Norman Alpin Macgregor was born on 14th February 1934 under the supervision of that well-known and redoubtable local midwife, Lizzie Milne.  Norrie revelled in that fact that it was also St Valentine’s Day and that it was a home birth at 31 Plantation Road – “the Poolie” as he often reminded those who did not know their local history, that Plantation Road was originally named Ullapool Street.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call 101, Quote ref NH1032/18

At some point in our lives, we may all be faced with an issue or concern that affects our health or wellbeing. It can be a worrying and isolating time, but having easy access to information, and gaining a greater understanding of the condition, can make all the difference.

Dr You is a new initiative aimed at supporting people to take control of their health and wellbeing.

The project, a partnership between NHS Western Isles, the Comhairle’s library service, and local health organisations, provides books and information on health issues and concerns, available through the branch and mobile libraries across the Isles.

The initiative was launched  at Stornoway Library, by Dr Maggie Watts, Director of Public Health, NHS Western Isles.

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

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

Talented local artist DK Macleod is launching his fortnight-long exhibition 'Hebrides through my eyes' at Old School, Bragar on 29th May between 7 and 9pm where all are welcome to attend.

DK, originally from Shawbost, studied at Taigh Chearsabhagh, Lochmaddy, working with oils on canvas to create stunning landscapes and spectacular seascapes in his own unique style.

He is thrilled to be able to launch this exhibition, and is particularly proud that it is from his own studio at Old School Bragar.

A future exhibition is anticipated at the Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther Fife in September.

Note - opening dates and times are as follows:

29th May launch evening through until 19 June.

Opening times Monday- Thursday- Friday  - 10am - 2pm  - Tuesday and Wednesday - 2pm - 3pm 

All very welcome to attend. 

Final preparations are underway for this year’s Hebridean Pride event in the Outer Hebrides, which takes place in Stornoway on Saturday (June 1).

More than 400 people took part in the LGBT Pride event last year, the first time it had been held in the Outer Hebrides.

Speaking in yesterday’s (Wednesday May 1) Climate Change debate in the House of Commons, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil asked Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP to push Ofgem to approve a 600mw interconnector for the Western Isles.

Mr MacNeil said: “A major help in reducing the UK’s Carbon footprint is the inclusion of a 600mw interconnector to the mainland – from the best wind resource in Europe.

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

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

A major challenge lies ahead to secure the future of BBC Alba. 

MG ALBA (The Gaelic Media Service) today welcomed the commitment to Gaelic broadcasting in Scotland published in the White Paper on the BBC Royal Charter and appealed for a firm commitment to be made in the renewed Charter to enable BBC Alba to build on its success.

The White Paper, which will form the basis of the Charter to be renewed prior to the end of 2016, states that the BBC should maintain its commitment to Gaelic language broadcasting through its partnership with MG ALBA.

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

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

Here's the places to vote…

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

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

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

Here's the places to vote…

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

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

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

Here's the places to vote…

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

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

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

Here's the places to vote…

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

Pairc playgroup kids are inviting people to come and pick up a spade and give them a hand planting trees on Monday afternoon (May 20th) as part of their continuing work to help improve the area they live in.

The youngsters joined Lemreway Grazings Committee planting trees at today (Thursday ) at 4pm as part of their ‘eco journey’ which has also included a community clean-up and learning about bees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STORNOWAY PORT AUTHORITY

Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31st December 2015

The Chairman’s Report, Report of the Board and 2015 Audited Accounts of the Authority were approved on 28th April 2016 and may be seen on-line under the Port Development section or alternatively printed copies may be obtained at the Harbour Office.

Alex Macleod, Chief Executive

 

 

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

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

Three staff from the Trust Housing for older people in Matheson Road, Stornoway, are embarking on an 11-mile walk aiming to raise at least £1000 to help keep the residents properly linked to the Internet, and able to benefit from it directly.

Setting off on Saturday 15th June at 10am from Tiumpanhead Lighthouse will be Carol Ferguson, Malina Duncan and James Matthews, pictured above.

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

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

Stornoway Depot Manager for Scottish Fuels, Angus Maclennan recently presented a cheque for £300 to Crossroads Lewis from the company.

Crossroads Lewis is a registered charity and aims to relieve stress on families and carers by providing home-based respite.

Mr Maclennan explained that the company, part of Certas Energy, tried to support good causes whenever it could as part of its corporate giving programme.  It had supported Crossroads last year as well.

Crossroads Lewis manager Rhoda Macdonald, centre, and treasurer Margaret Smith accepted the donation on behalf of the charity.

Rhoda Macdonald said the group was partly supported from public funds but still needed to raise between £40,000 to £50,000 a year in addition.  A lot of the money comes in from families and individuals who are grateful for the way in which they are or have been supported by the charity but wider fund-raising goes on all the time as well

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

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

A £19m initiative by the University of the Highlands and Islands, to develop a school encompassing health, social care and wellbeing, has secured a £4 million investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The new school will enable the university to develop and align its curriculum and research at all levels to meet the needs of the health and social care sectors across the region, but also including areas of life science and health service management and administration.

The university will work closely and develop educational and research ideas in partnership with the NHS, HIE, local authorities, the Scottish and UK governments, and business as well as other universities and colleges and international partners.

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

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

An Lanntair arts centre has won Heritage Lottery Fund support to launch the first ever exhibition of the Colin Mackenzie Collection and Purvai, a Festival of South Asian art and culture in Stornoway.

This week on the 196th anniversary of Colin Mackenzie’s death, An Lanntair has received £59,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to deliver 'Collector Extraordinaire – the first ever exhibition of the ‘Mackenzie Collection’. 

Alongside the exhibition, an arts festival, Purvai, will also run at An Lanntair in August, celebrating the Hebrides’ fascinating South Asian heritage links and Scotland’s 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology celebrations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) Isle of Lewis choir is celebrating its tenth anniversary – and all are invited to hear the sound of a decade of success at the choir’s Town Hall concert at 7pm on Wednesday May 30th.  You can book here 

Tickets for the NYCoS Isle of Lewis May concert are priced £8 (£5 for those under 26yrs) and are available on-line or at Nicolsons paper shop in Cromwell Street, Stornoway, or at the door on the night.

The date of the event is Wednesday May 30th and not as incorrectly stated in the current edition of EVENTS newspaper which apologises for that error.

The Western Isles Kidney Patients Association marked the tenth anniversary of the Renal Unit in the Western Isles Hospital with a special lunchtime event on Wednesday (May 3) in the unit.
There was a lunch for all and a special birthday cake was created for the occasion.

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

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

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

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s (SCO) Wind Ensemble soon sets off to four different locations around the Outer Hebrides, bringing with them a programme packed with wit, ingenuity and entertainment.

Beginning on South Uist at St Peter’s Hall in Daliburgh (24 June), the SCO Winds go on to perform on North Uist at Carnish Village Hall (25 June), Harris at Tarbert Community Centre (26 June) before bringing the tour to a close at Stornoway’s An Lanntair on Thursday 27 June.

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

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

Lodge Fortrose 108 celebrates its 250th anniversary of being founded in Stornoway this year.

As part of the programme of events, a public talk takes place in Stornoway Town Hall on Friday 2 June 2017 at 7.30pm.

One of the busiest days in the summer calendar is expected tomorrow (Thursday May 9th) as three cruise ships enter Stornoway Port at the same time.

The five-star German-flagged Hanseatic Nature will be at pier no 1 from 8am, making Stornoway one of her first calls on her maiden season – she was officially launched only this month.

The evening of Saturday May 19th sees everyone getting the offer of a taste of Scotland’s finest Gins from its finest Islands. – while raising money for charity.

The event at Clan MacQuarrie Hall in Borve runs from 6.30-9.30pm.

At Lochside Arena, Friday 22nd May saw a Working Hunter event followed the next day by The Lochside Spring Show.

This year’s show was one of the biggest ever, with almost 140 entries and overwhelming support from local organisations and individuals by way of sponsorship. Classes on both days were qualifiers for various mainland shows including The Caledonian Showing Championship and Blair Atholl Horse Trials.

Aberdeen is well known for oil, fishing and granite but what about Gaelic?  

It is the third largest city in Scotland but why is it not as ‘Gaelic’ as Glasgow and Edinburgh?

A new and insightful documentary marks the 25th anniversary of Gaelic medium education provision in Aberdeen, and asks whether the city’s community of Gaels are thriving or just surviving in an area not known for its Gaelic speakers.

Acair Books are hosting a festival of books and writing - ‘Fèis Litreachais Acair @ 40: Celebrating 40 Years of Publishing’ on Wednesday 24th May from 1:30pm to 9:30pm in An Lanntair, Stornoway.

The aim of this festival is to showcase Acair’s publishing programme over the last 40 years and to celebrate the writer’s craft. There will be a full day of free literary events, starting with the opening presentation from Tiree writer Donald Meek.

Islanders are being asked to make available rooms, beds and even driveways to help accommodate an influx of visitors to this year’s international Hebridean Celtic Festival

Such is the popularity of the multi award-winning event, that festival-goers double the population of host town Stornoway to around 16,000 over four days.

With ten weeks still to go to HebCelt 2018, hotels, guest houses and facilities for campervans in the Stornoway area are already booked up and an appeal has been made to residents to offer spare rooms and beds to visitors, as well as space in driveways for an overspill of mobile homes.

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

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

The management committee of Advocacy Western Isles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After being closed for more than 30 minutes, the main road by Stornoway Airport reopened about 19.25.  Police and airport staff refused to explain the cause of the full emergency alert.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travellers booking accommodation on-line for Tarbert are being asked to take care that they are not booking hotels in Tarbert, Argyll.
Staff at the Tarbert VisitScotland office report that a number of tourists intending to stay in the Harris port have booked hotel accommodation in the town’s mainland namesake after making reservations online.
Carol at the Harris office said: “Some of the people are left devastated. They come in, tell us the name of the hotel and that it overlooks the harbour and ask how to get there – but the hotel they’ve booked is actually on Loch Fyne.
“People do intend to come here, but are booking it, just not realising that it’s not in Harris,” she continued.
“We try to find them something suitable here, do our best to get people relocated. We let the provider know there’s been a mistake and also let the other hotel know; but sometimes people aren’t able to get their money back.
Taking a quick look at a variety of online booking websites and the confusion is clear. Put ‘Tarbert’ into the Google search engine, it’s a scroll down to entry No.8 before Harris is mentioned.
Booking site Laterooms.com will take visitors to Loch Fyne when searching for Tarbert, but will bring up Hotel Hebrides if the search is refined to ‘Tarbert, Harris’.
Gosur.com will also take searches to hotels in the Loch Fyne area – even if the search is refined to include Harris; and Lastminute.com also goes direct to Loch Fyne accommodation – and adding Harris ends up with the search timing out.
Booking.com fares slightly better, giving different options of various Tarberts – however, even then it’s not quite right as to book island accommodation, visitors must select ‘Tarbert, Isle of Lewis’.
“It’s nobody’s fault but people do have to be careful when booking online,” added Carol.
 

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

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

Due to the current post-holder retiring, Autoparts have an excellent opportunity for a Shop General Manager, to lead the team and be responsible for managing stock, organising staff and building great relationships with customers and suppliers. A full, clean driving licence is required.

Following last week’s overwhelming vote in the Scottish Parliament to back a 'remain' vote in the EU referendum, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has set out the benefits of EU membership for rural Scotland. 

He urged people in the Islands to vote for Scotland to stay in the EU on June 23rd.

The Scottish Parliament voted by 106 votes to 8 for a motion backing 'Scotland and the rest of the UK remaining part of the EU'.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has been sworn in as MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, taking his oath in Gaelic. This followed the Kirking of the Parliament in St Giles Cathedral on Wednesday evening, which Dr Allan also attended. 

Along with his SNP MSP colleagues, Dr Allan wore the white rose of Scotland, made famous by Hugh MacDiarmid in his poem “The Little White Rose”. The rose has been worn by SNP members as they are sworn in at Holyrood since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999, and is a reference to Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem “The Little White Rose of Scotland”.

Alasdair Allan commented: “It’s good to be back at work again, and there is no shortage of things to do in my in tray, now the election campaign and the formalities of being sworn in are over.

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

The Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris Branch committee AGM will take place at Grianan Day Centre, Stornoway on Thursday 31 May at 6pm.

Parking and entry from the Solas Day centre.

Talk from NHS Dementia Services team. All Welcome.

The 2015 Annual General Meeting  of the Lewis & Harris Branch of Alzheimers Scotland takes place on Tuesday 19th May

It will be held in the Grianan Centre, Recreation room, West View Terrace, Stornoway (HS1 2LD)  from 7.30pm-9pm

Please come along and find out more about our work.

Contact Sonja MacLeod - Branch Secretary for further information on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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

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

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

Trading Standards are again warning local businesses over a scam letter headed “ UK-Data Control” Scotland Business.

The letter is headed “Missing information about your VAT registration Number” and is designed to look official.  The correspondence includes a form for the business to sign, in order to verify that their details are correct and to then return to an address in Hamburg. The letter also contains a deadline for the submission of the information.

The small print states that by responding to verify their VAT registration number, businesses will be agreeing to a charge of £790 a year, for a minimum of 3 years, for entry onto the publishers website.

As an unintended consequence of the upgrade of our Welovestornoway.com websites at the weekend, a number of recent posts have vanished.   We are working to remedy this.  Apologies for any inconvenience caused or failure in service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Argos has launched its first ever online Hebrides delivery service, bringing more than 30,000 products direct to the doors of over 15,000 homes on islands including Lewis, Harris Uist and Barra.  

Available on a wide range of items from Bose headphones and Lego toys to Dyson vacuum cleaners and televisions, and up to a maximum weight of 30kg per item, orders will be delivered in as little as two days at the standard UK delivery cost of £3.95.

The final turbine in the Beatrice wind farm, in the Outer Moray Firth, has been completed today (Wednesday May 15th), with the Arnish yard in Lewis playing a part in a monumental renewable construction project.
 
A total of 84 wind turbines, each standing 188m from sea level to blade tip, go to make up a renewable development capable of generating enough power to light 450,000 homes. As Beatrice’s majority shareholder, SSE Renewables led on the construction process and will manage operations and maintenance from a new base in Wick, where up to 90 members of staff will soon be employed.

Enjoying a cup of deliciously blended tea or coffee in the calm and comforting atmosphere of the Hebridean Tea Store on Cromwell Street, Stornoway, offers the opportunity of a pause in this fast and hectic modern day life.

But now imagine just how more relaxing that would be after you’ve experienced an aromatherapy massage.

And that’s exactly what’s on offer in June as the Hebridean Tea Store and The Travelling Therapist have teamed up to celebrate Aromatherapy Awareness Week by presenting a Women-only Day events, with a signature aromatherapy massage followed by a delicious healing tea, June 11th to 13th.

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

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

Arthur Cormack’s solo recording career recently emerged from a 30-year hiatus, during which time he was nevertheless responsible for the release 55 albums.

‘Buanas’ (endurance) was released last year and Arthur gets the first chance to take the songs ‘on tour’ in the summer when he appears at the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival.

Arthur Cormack and Friends will be on stage at An Lanntair arts centre on Saturday, 21 July and in Tarbert on the previous evening as part of the festival’s community programme.

Thanks from An Lanntair to everyone who took part in the Grinneas nan Eilean exhibition this year and congratulations to: -
John Norgrove and Simon Rivett. Joint winners of the Best Work in the exhibition;
Kenneth Burns for winning the Harris Tweed Hebrides Purchase Prize;  and Christine Davidson for winning the Community Prize for gathering the most votes from the public.
Roddy Murray, Head of Visual Arts & Literature at An Lanntair, said it was a big ask to strip the gallery, pack the works and clear the decks for the Katie Morag installation but one that we answered.  "If you still have work to collect, whether it’s your own or bought, please come in for it."

A new exhibition, ‘Palimpsest’ featuring artwork by 24 leading artists from across Scotland and beyond opens Saturday 18 May at An Lanntair.

Originally inspired by the idea of Palimpsest, ‘something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form’, this exhibition includes a unique selection of artworks create in response to this concept.

After 11 years, Willie Campbell and Charlie Clark had much to catch up on. A meeting in Los Angeles last year led to a collaboration that produced 30-40 songs, and now they are ready to release a new album and will be back on the road together this summer as a re-formed Astrid, the band they founded in the mid-90s.

Together with fellow Lewisman Gareth Russell, and Gareth Thom, they made three albums and toured Europe and America before splitting in 2004 at the end of a tour supporting Snow Patrol.

The intervening years has seen them work on solo projects and with other bands. Campbell is a founding member of the Reindeer Section, featuring Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, and has released two albums with The Open Day Rotation.

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

The enthusiasm of the Natural Retreats team proved contagious as an excited buzz swept an audience in Stornoway Town Hall this afternoon (Tuesday May 19).

Natural Retreats is the company coming to Stornoway to turn part of the previously disused Lews Castle into luxury accommodation for people looking to explore the island. 

Natural Retreats has been introducing people to beautiful parts of Europe and the USA since 2006.

AUSTIM EILEANAN SIAR AGM

Wednesday 25th May 12.00 to 2pm.

Newton community association 

Seaforth Road, Stornoway.

All welcome!

Support us with our work in the community.

Tea/ coffee served.

For more information please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07444425322

AUSTIM EILEANAN SIAR AGM

*New date* Monday June 20, 12.00 to 2pm.

Newton community association 

Seaforth Road, Stornoway.

All welcome!

Support us with our work in the community.

Tea/ coffee served.

For more information please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07444425322

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

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

Six firefighters - including one from Barra – celebrated the successful end to their training yesterday afternoon (Friday May 24th) in Stornoway.

 

An array of projects throughout the islands were recognised at the Outer Hebrides Design Awards held last night  (Friday 20 May) in the Woodlands Centre, Stornoway.

There were awards given in four different categories – these were Housing – Self-design, Housing – Architect or Designer, Business/Non-domestic, and Conservation. 

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar planning officer Helen Macdonald introduced the event and the main speaker, architect Gordon Anderson, who until recently was the president of the Highlands and Islands chapter of the RIAS, The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. 

Click here to view the latest Back Football and Recreation Club newsletter!

Jane Grant of Badminton Scotland, in partnership with Sport and Health, will be delivering a Badminton Basics Leadership course on Wednesday 14th June, in the Lewis Sports Centre, from 6pm – 10pm.  The course will cover a range of hitting skills, movements and game-based activities, aimed at beginner level players.

The course is open to anyone over 14 years old, and costs £30 per person.  There are only 12 places available and these will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Booking forms are available from the Lewis Sports Centre, and should be returned there along with the correct fee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new BBC documentary follows a year in the life of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison – and catches the moment First Minister Nicola Sturgeon jokingly tells the Moderator that his collection of jewellery is superior to her own.

From Minister to Moderator, an hour-long programme to be broadcast on BBC ALBA on Thursday evening, provides a unique insight into the appointment that sees Rt Rev Dr Morrison move from parish minister into the high-profile role of Moderator of the General Assembly, a position first established 454 years ago. From Minister to Moderator will be on BBC ALBA – Thursday 12 May 9.00 – 10.00pm

The programme follows Angus as he attends a diverse range of appointments across his moderatorial year, from making history as the first Moderator to speak at the Church of England Synod, to visiting local Boys' Brigade companies and opening the Royal National Mòd.

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

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

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

The blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan is searching for more local heroes in the Western Isles to join its bone marrow donor register and help in the fight against blood cancer.

The charity has revealed today that, in the Highlands and Islands, there are more than 5,469 selfless people willing to donate their stem cells, or bone marrow, to save the life of a stranger. More than 550,000 people are currently on the Anthony Nolan register and the average per constituency is 790.

Anthony Nolan was the world’s first bone marrow register. The charity has been saving lives for four decades by matching remarkable people willing to donate their bone marrow to patients in desperate need of a transplant.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has appointed Mr Bernard Chisholm to the post of Director of Education and Children’s Services.
 
Mr Chisholm is currently Head of Children’s Services with the Comhairle. He has previously worked with a number of local authorities nationally and is a former Educational Psychologist.

He has held a number of remits with CnES including Head of Primary Education and Inclusion and Head of Education and Resources.
 

Bernera Iron Age House and Museum will be open to the public on Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th of May, from 12noon to 4pm, as part of the Festival of Museums weekend. It is not usually open at weekends, so this will be a good opportunity for locals and visitors alike to visit the Iron Age house, which was featured during 2016 on several television programmes. For further information call 01851 612331 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Volunteers and staff at Bethesda Hospice Charity Shop did something a little special for the Queen's 90th birthday, and decorated their window to mark the momentous occasion - they even wrote to the Queen herself to let her know that people in Stornoway are celebrating with her.

Volunteers Janet and Agnes came up with the idea, Catherine, the manager, told welovestornoway.com.

And the decorating of the window was all down to the "fantastic" volunteers at Bethesda charity shop, who put it all together, with helpful donations from friends, including the donation of the cake from Karina's Cakes. 

Bethesda's Chrissie Macrae (AKA Dodo) went that step further, sending the Queen a birthday card and a couple of photographs of the window display, "she even used a first class stamp!" Catherine told us. 

A fashion show to raise funds for Bethesda is taking place in Stornoway this Friday.

The show will be held in M&CO on Cromwell St, starting at 7pm. 

Hosted by Tom Maciver, tickets for the event cost £6 and are available from M&CO, Bethesda Charity Shop, Bethesda Hospice, and at the door on the night.  

A large donation from a member of the Trump family, together with funding from the Scottish Government to the local Health and Social Care Partnership, will create nine new care home beds in Bethesda Care Home in Stornoway.
Maryanne Trump Barry, a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United states Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit and sister of property magnate Donald Trump, has donated about £160,000 to Bethesda, in memory of her mother, Maryann Macleod Trump, originally from Tong.
The Scottish Government has provided a one-off funding allocation of £200,000 to the Western Isles Health and Social Care Partnership, to contribute towards the capital costs of the new care home beds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Point was the place to be on Saturday as 180 runners and walkers took on the Point 5k – one of the largest entries in the event’s seven year history.

Organised by The Leanne Fund, the popular family event raised over £1,700 which will go towards supporting cystic fibrosis sufferers and their families across the Highlands and Islands.

From the fastest runners who competed the course in no time to those taking a more leisurely pace, the challenge was met by those of all age groups and included some interesting characters like Darth Vader, a speedy witch and even Batman turned out to take part.

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

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

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

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

Blar Buidhe Care Home has gone on the market.

Admissions to the care home, situated on Simons Road, were temporarily suspended in March, following a number of concerns raised over the dietary programmes of residents.

Owners, HC-One, commented: “After careful and considered planning we have taken the difficult decision to sell Blar Buidhe care home, Stornoway. This is part of a broader process which involves 24 homes nationally. For each home, we will work hard to find a local provider who is well placed to continue to operate the home and who shares our commitment to providing high quality and kind care.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boot Camp is nearing its end! Click here to read about Melissa's struggles and achievements, and to get an idea of what Hebridean Boot Camp is really like!

Keep an eye on the page to read about the final week (2nd-6th June) and the final outcome

Recent water samples taken at Loch Branahuie, on the Braighe isthmus near Stornoway, have indicated the presence of blue-green algae, which can be a health threat.. 

The bloom has the potential to discharge on to Melbost Beach.  Dog walkers using the beach should take care that their dogs do not come into contact with the algal scum.

Swallowing the water or algal scum can cause stomach upsets or more serious health effects.  Contact with the water or algal scum can also cause skin problems.

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

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

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

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

Bubble football is coming to Ness – and you get your chance to join in on Saturday June 24th at the Ness Gala Day.
The game was first created in Norway by Henrik Elvestad and Johan Golden, when it made an appearance on their TV show, Golden Goal in 2011.  
The game took a while to reach the UK though, but by 2014 had made its way to the United States, France and New Zealand.  Last year it appeared at Broadford Gala on the Isle of Skye – pictured. 

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

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

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

There are a limited number of appointments available on Business Gateway one-to-one Meet the Adviser sessions.  The topics are:
Word & Excel for Business - Wednesday 1 June
HR & Management - Monday 6 June
Business Gateway offer individual one-hour appointments which will allow you to discuss your requirements in confidence.  The adviser will be based in the Highlands and Islands Enterprise office in Stornoway but Skype and telephone meetings are also available if you are unable to attend in person. To book an appointment, please contact the Business Gateway office on 01851 822775 or byThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A new scam – this time by mail - is threatening to hit Islands businesses.

A letter and form from 'UK - Data Control Scotland Business' is being sent to businesses on the islands which give the impression there is an obligation on businesses to respond.

But if they did sign and return the forms, the small print includes the cost of an ‘advert’ which will exceed £2000.

A coffee and chat over lunchtime tomorrow (Thursday May 16th) is part of a busy month at Balallan’s Old School.

Soup, sandwiches, tea, coffee and cake will all be served between 11am and 1pm, offering a chance to get together for residents of Kinloch.

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

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

Angus MacNeil MP is one of four SNP MPs who have today called on the Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, requesting a meeting to raise the needs of the fishing industry on the West Coast, to enable migrant seafarers to come and work on fishing boats in the area.

The four MPs, Angus MacNeil, Brendan O’Hara, Ian Blackford and Dr Paul Monaghan have all recently been lobbied by fishing interests within their constituencies.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is issuing a call for more foster families to come forward, as Foster Care Fortnight 2017 begins across the UK.

According to The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity which runs Foster Care Fortnight, over 7,000 more people with the right skills and experience are needed to offer loving, stable and secure homes to children and young people across the UK.

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

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

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

An unwavering commitment to buying, serving and selling local produce on board a fleet of ferries has won a nomination at Scotland’s Food and Drink Awards.

Operator of the UK’s largest ferry network, Caledonian MacBrayne is a major supporter of many small and medium sized producers across its 200-mile network, which has seen it listed for the Scottish Sourcing award.

From serving local and, more broadly, Scottish produce in its dishes, through to stocking food, drink, artisan skincare and craft products, and local interest books and newspapers in its on board shops, the company has shown long term commitment to helping businesses in some of Scotland’s most fragile economic areas.

CalMac Ferries Limited has been announced as the preferred tenderer for the next contract to operate the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) network by the First Minister.

CalMac’s bid makes almost 350 commitments to improve the service, aiming to help drive economic growth, improve customer service and make sure the company delivers value for money.

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

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

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

Shadow Transport and Islands Minister, David Stewart, has welcomed the announcement that CalMac Ferries is to embark on a major tour of Scotland’s west coast communities to ask ferry users how the customer experience can be improved on their lifeline services. 

Board members and senior executives from CalMac’s parent company David MacBrayne Ltd will host 24 public meetings in mainland ports and on more than a dozen Clyde and Hebridean islands over the next few weeks. May 26 is the big day for Lewis and Harris.

Almost half of the 200-mile long Caledonian MacBrayne network is now live with free public access wifi – and the remainder will be completed in early July.

In total, 88 vessels and land-based locations will be switched on.

It's hoped that all CalMac ports in Lewis and Harris will be switched on in the week commencing June 13. 

Into the Water/Dhan Uisge is a new series on BBC ALBA following YouTube star Calum MacLean as he shares his passion for swimming in remote lochs and rivers.

Across ten episodes, Calum reveals some of his favourite places to swim in Scotland. Calum has a huge social media presence with 1.8 million views for his 60-second ‘midgie challenge’ on Skye and his wild swimming tips, ice swims and vlogs regularly attract thousands of views on Facebook and Twitter.

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

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

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

An Lanntair celebrates Hamish Gow with an evening of film, music and canoeing across the West Coast of Scotland and Ireland on Saturday 9th June, at 8pm

Hamish and Anne Gow were the first people to kayak to St Kilda in 1965, a feat still considered as a great sea kayaking adventure and challenge.

Hamish also kayaked and journeyed across the Hebrides and West Coast of Scotland in the middle of the 20th century, and whilst doing so filmed and photographed the journeys leaving a vivid and historical record of incredible images and scenes.

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

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

Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland have a Cardiac Patient/Carer group.  The monthly group is open to anyone living with a Cardiac Condition and/or caring for someone with a heart condition. 

This month, the group will be hosted by the NHS Western Isles Health Promotion Team, who will be delivering a session focussing on exercise both indoors and outdoors, and how taking gentle, manageable exercise can improve heart health.  

The group will be at Ionad Stoodie in Point on Wednesday the 17th of May from 2pm till 3.30pm and tea and refreshments will be provided.  All most welcome to attend. 

Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland have many services available within Lewis and Harris.  If you are interested, please contact the local coordinator, Sonja MacLeod on 07860271590 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for more information. 

If you would like to find out about how to become a volunteer in these services, they would also love to hear from you!

 

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

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

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

Residents of Carloway are celebrating after finally taking control of the land on which they live.

From today, the Carloway Estate Trust takes ownership of the 11,400 hectare estate, which includes Callanish, Breasclete, Tolsta Chaolais and the townships of Doune, Kirivick and Knock.

The estate value was previously estimated at £180,000 and the community voted 254 to 86 in a postal ballot to proceed with plans for a community takeover.

This was a turnout of 68 per cent.

The first AGM of the Lewis Carnival 2015 will take place on Tuesday 26th May at 5.30pm in the Caladh Inn.

The committee is calling out for more volunteers to make sure that this year's carnival can go ahead. 

The Carnival Committee has announced its Carnival King and Queen finalists for 2016.

Carnival King finalists are: Calum Campbell (AKA Shen), Charlie Nicolson and Tom Strathmore.

Carnival Queen finalists are: Alison Carty, Amy McClements and Carol Morrison Maclean.

All finalists will be attending the Carnival Midsummer Charity Ball, and the Carnival King and Queen will be chosen by the those in attendance.

King and Queen finalists were chosen from a number of nominations put forward by the public, for their contribution to the community and/or charity. 

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

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

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

Katie Ann was presented with gifts by Ken Macdonald

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

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

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

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

The first archive related talk to take place in the new Lews Castle Museum and Archive takes a look at a topic still very much a talking point in the islands – the weather!

Entitled 'Extreme weather on the edge of the world: School logbooks and Hebridean Life', the talk details the role old island school logbooks can play in investigating the effects of extreme weather and will be delivered by Dr Simon Naylor, a historical geographer based at the University of Glasgow; Dr Neil Macdonald, a physical geographer at the University of Liverpool; and James Bowen, a historian based in the Department of Geography and Planning within the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Liverpool.

Last year the three members of the Weather Extremes project team visited Lewis in February to view school log books held in Stornoway Library.

From Monday 1 June,  the Comhairle’s Homeless Services Team moves from their present location in the Hebridean Housing Partnership’s offices at Creed Court, Willowglen Road, to join the rest of the Comhairle’s Housing Team on Sandwick Road, Stornoway.

The Homeless Services Team has been based in HHP’s offices since 2006, but an opportunity has arisen to move to the main Comhairle offices and to be closer to the rest of Housing Services.

As the Tolsta Community Hall is temporarily unavailable, the polling station for 4 May 2017 has been changed to the Tolsta Community Development Limited, which is just across the car park from the Hall. Signage will be in place to direct voters

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

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

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

The Hebridean Cycle Challenge is not far away and gives you the perfect excuse to put work aside for a while and get outside in preparation for the event on 18th June 2016.

The Challenge raises money for nominated local charities. This year the organisers are "thrilled" to continue their support of the ‘Andrew Macleod Memorial Fund’, which raises money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), a charity which aims to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death.

Andrew Macleod was a 21 year old trainee marine engineer, in the final year of his studies, when on 21st Oct 2011, he suddenly died on board ship in Hong Kong, from a cardiac condition, of which he had no warning or symptoms whatsoever.

TOMORROW, Saturday May 2nd, 8.30am-12.30pm, Lewis Retirement Centre, Bayhead.

Take the opportunity to have breakfast cooked & served to you. 

Go along anytime from 8:30am to 12:30pm for your breakfast, and help raise funds for the Gambia Partnership. 

Monies raised will be put towards the ongoing school build in a small village called Kabekel. 

 

 

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

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

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

Charlie Macmillan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caravan for Sale

Coachman, VIP 390/2

2 Berth

1996 model.  Very good condition for year.  No damp.  Excellent 1st caravan.

£1,200 ono

Tel:  07775 317 498 

Comhairle Leader Roddie Mackay, and Convener Norman A. Macdonald

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

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


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

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

Lewis singer-songwriter Colin Macleod heard the phone ring…

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

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

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

The group's two pigs - Charlie and Barley

With 135 chickens, six ducks and two pigs to look after, as well as a brand new walled rose garden to maintain, the students in Lews Castle College's Community Interest Company Hebridean Castle Trading are certainly being kept busy.

And the hard work in gaining qualifications and life skills being made by students with additional support needs on the Alpha course and the Learning and Working course will be shown off to friends, family and staff at their Open Day on Friday, June 10th.

“It gives the students a real sense of purpose and self worth,” said course auxiliary Coleen Campbell. “The students care for all the animals and run the egg business; they're learning new skills all the time, like making deliveries and working with money.”

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

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

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

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar was today presented with a defibrillator by Cllr Angus Morrison, a Volunteer Trainer and local Co-ordinator with the Lucky2BHere charity.

Lucky2BHere supplies lifesaving defibrillators and trains users in emergency life support (ELS) -  the training course lasts for about two and a half hours. The fundraising initiative was set up in 2009 by Ross Cowie of Portree, following his survival from a sudden cardiac arrest. His life was saved only by the quick response and the skills of the crew on a passing ambulance.

To help the people who helped him, Ross set up Lucky2BHere to raise funds to help reduce response times, particularly in rural areas and hopefully to save more lives.

The former committee members and clerk to Mangersta Common Grazings have expressed “profound concern about the implications for the whole crofting system, arising from actions now being pursued by the Crofting Commission”.  

The statement from the group – who were removed from office on the orders of the Commission – followed a meeting convened by the Commission to explain its position.  

Following the meeting, attendees said: “This is no longer about Mangersta or any other specific village which the Commission has intervened in.  It is about the very existence of the crofting system on any kind of viable, community basis.  

Throughout the Western Isles, local history societies are thriving, so nowhere is more appropriate than Stornoway to host an event showcasing innovative community archive projects from across Scotland.

The conference will take place on June 14 and 15 in the historic Lews Castle, recently restored and home to Scotland’s first Gaelic-led museum and Tasglann nan Eilean (Hebridean Archive).

Barra planning applications 13-17 May

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

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

Siting of shipping container, Horve

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

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

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

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

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

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

Counting is underway at the Lewis Sports Centre. 

An army of staff are sifting through the votes, and it’s reckoned announcements will be made around 1pm. 

Sixty island residents have thrown their hat into the ring – aiming to secure one of 31 councillor positions. 

We’ll have a new Comhairle Leader, as Angus Campbell did not stand. 

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

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

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

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

CnES have recently begun a crackdown on dog fouling in Stornoway and the surrounding area, painting “clean up after your dog” reminders on our streets, and charging people £80 when found leaving their dog mess behind.

A spokesperson from CnES said: “There has been a lot of feedback from the campaign so far with lots of support via social media, and officers have been patrolling areas highlighted.  Requests have been made for more dog waste bins however owners are reminded that bagged dog waste can be put in any residual waste bin.”

And it’s not all about how unsightly the mess is – it also poses health risks to people and other animals.  Dog faeces can contain campylobacter, salmonella and other potentially harmful organisms, which can contaminate wounds and broken skin, as well as causing other serious illnesses in humans.  Dog faeces can also be detrimental to livestock, causing the disease sarcocystosis, which can cause neurological disease and death in sheep, as well as the disease neosporosis, which can cause abortions in cattle. 

Although the focus is largely on the Town Centre as a problem area for dog fouling, beaches and pathways have been highlighted, too.  Dog mess is often left on the sand and pathways; some owners appear to be bagging the faeces but then leaving the bag lying around rather than putting in a bin. 

Charlie Nicolson, Councillor for Stornoway South and Chair of the Outer Hebrides Community Safety Partnership, stated: “Dog fouling is becoming an issue in the town of Stornoway and other areas of the islands.  We even had the issue raised at one of our recent meetings of the OHCSP.  The majority of pet owners behave responsibly but I would please ask the minority of dog owners who are causing the issue of dog fouling with their pets to please look after the environment of the town, beaches and pathways, and clean up after their dogs, and keep our islands free of this issue.

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CnES urges the public to look out for instances of dog fouling, and report them.  You can get in touch with Consumer & Environmental Services by calling 01851 822694 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After a fortnight of heavy criticism - and demands for a public inquiry – the Crofting Commission met today and issues a defiant media release, refusing to accept that there was any valid criticism of its actions.

Following the dismissals of the Grazings Committees of Upper Coll and Mangersta Common Grazings, the Commission issued the following statement at its Board meeting:

"The Commission wishes to reassure shareholders that it is committed to assisting all common grazings committees and clerks to self-regulate within the provisions of crofting legislation and will work with them to do so."  The commission had earlier been accused of being heavy-handed and bureaucratic.

The Board of the Crofting Commission has appointed a Constable to replace the Grazings Committee of Upper Coll, Isle of Lewis, which has been out of office since 14 April this year.

 

The Commission, as the regulator, is required by the Crofting (Scotland) Act 1993 to follow up allegations made by shareholders in a township of financial irregularities and, until suitable explanations are provided, the Commission will continue with their investigations.

 

This decision mirrors the action taken in other situations where Constables have been appointed to replace committees in similar situations.

The Crofting Commission has reaffirmed its commitment to working with Upper Coll shareholders following this morning’s decision by Inverness Sheriff Court to refuse the orders for interim interdict which had been sought against the Commission by Calum Maclean and Kenneth Macdonald.

Said a statement: "The interim orders sought would have, if granted, had the effect of preventing the Commission from fully carrying out its statutory functions in relation to this matter.

"The Commission intends to update Upper Coll shareholders on the situation at the earliest opportunity to ensure they are fully informed about matters directly affecting them.  

"In the meantime the Grazings Constable, who was appointed last week, will continue his investigations and he will also be available to provide shareholders with the opportunity to deal with any concerns or urgent matters relating to the grazings that they may have."

 

Crofting lawyer Brian Inkster has taken up the case of the Mangersta Common Grazings Committee.

This followed revelations that both it and the Upper Coll Common Grazings Committee, had been removed from office by the Crofting Commission.

And now Mr Inkster has spoken out concerning the Mangersta situation following his appointment by the former clerk and four former committee members to represent their interests.

Inksters Solicitors, with offices in Glasgow, Forfar, Inverness, Portree, Wick and a visiting base in Lerwick, today announced that their crofting law team is strengthened by the addition of three new team members.

Derek Flyn joins Inksters as a crofting law consultant. Derek is one of the best known and most highly respected crofting law experts in Scotland. He co-wrote the first book on crofting law in 1990 and is currently writing a new up-to-date book on crofting law with Keith Graham. He was in recent years the Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation and continues to be their Parliamentary Spokesman.

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

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

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

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

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

Shops and tourism providers in Harris got an unexpected boost yesterday when the cruise ship 'Saga Pearl 2' moored in East Loch Tarbert.

Tenders took passengers ashore, and they milled around Tarbert, later taking a bus tour around Harris. 

The ship, which is registered in Malta, departed Tarbert at 7pm, destined for St Kilda.

A visitor to Stornoway over the Bank Holiday weekend is the 'MS Midnatsol' cruise ship, which arrived yesterday from Iona.

MS Midnatsol is an ice class 1C ship, equipped with advanced technology that makes her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Antarctica.

The ship sails along the Norwegian coast from May to September, and is part of global explorer sailings during the rest of the year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With preparations for Mòd 2016, Western Isles well underway, An Comunn Gàidhealach would like to remind any potential senior and junior piping competitors that the entry deadline for Mòd 2016 piping competitions is Friday 8th July 2016.  Any late or incomplete entries submitted after this date will not be accepted.

This is the sixth time that the Mòd will have been held in the Western Isles and junior and senior piping competitions will take place at Sgoil Lionacleit in Benbecula on Saturday 15th October 2016.

Pauline Craib, secretary for Comunn Phìobaireachd Uibhist agus Bharraigh said, “We very much look forward to hosting the Mòd piping competitions at this year’s National Mòd. Uist has a proud piping history and there is a wealth of talented young pipers throughout the islands, so it is fitting that the Mòd 2016 piping competitions return here.”  

The renowned Gaelic writer Norman Campbell has died following a short illness, aged 72.

Mr Campbell - known as Tormod a' Bhocsair - was from South Dell, in Ness.

A giant of the Gaelic literary world, he was a former teacher at Lionel School.

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

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

Fresh from her performance at the Thornhill Music Festival near Dumfries earlier this month, young Lewis songstress Rosie Sullivan prepares to take on the An Lanntair stage as she releases her debut EP on Wednesday, May 25th.

At the age of three Rosie wrote her first song entitled 'Dollies on the Road'; aged 12 she got her first guitar; and earlier this year, at aged 13, she sang in front of a crowd the equivalent of Stornoway's population on the world famous Wembley arena stage.

“I really enjoy song-writing,” said Rosie. “I think it helps to express what you're feeling, I find it best to write it all in a song.

Dementia Awareness Week for this year runs from 30th May to 5th June.
This year the theme is challenge. Set a challenge and make a change to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers. The challenge is to scope and identify ways to reach and support people with dementia at later stages who are not able to access support services or community activities and to reach and support carers that are not able to come along to carer support meetings (or prefer other options for accessing support including use of technology).

As well as information stalls at Western Isles hospital, Library and CnES reception, the local branch of Alzheimer Scotland have the following planned events:
 
Tues 2nd June
Big Sing A Long
Town Hall
1pm-2pm
Join us for a sing a long with support from Stornoway Singers and Laxdale boys choir.
 
Weds 3rd June
NEW Dementia Café
Comunn Eachdraidh Nis
Cross School
1.30pm-3pm
For people with dementia and their carers and families.
 
Thursday 4th June 2015
Harris Dementia Group
Awareness Event
Leverburgh Community hall
1pm-3pm
Light lunch and photo slideshow of Harris people and scenes.
 
Saturday 6th June
Volunteers on Tour!
Keep an eye out for our group of 20 volunteers as they visit various places in Lewis – they will be easy to spot as all will be dressed in purple.
 
Saturday 6th June
1-3pm
Pop in for a cuppa and say hello to us at the Solas Day Centre, Westview Grove, off Westview Terrace.

Denis Law has had to cancel a scheduled visit to Lewis tomorrow, due to illness.

The football legend (76) was due to officially open the all-weather, enclosed Sports Arena at Upper Coll.

That duty will now be performed by Calum Iain ‘Duff’ Graham, who will also be made Honorary President of Back Football and Recreation Club.

Detailed results reports from the Comhairle elections are now available to view on the Comhairle’s website here

 

 

 

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

Richard Oliver DipWCF

Registered Farrier & Blacksmith

Now resident on the Western Isles, and taking on all horse and pony breeds for shoeing and trimming. 

Please contact 077163 58843 for more information, or to book. 

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

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

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

The doomed fishing vessel 'Louisa' has been raised from the seabed. 

The boat is now being taken to Glasgow via barge, and is expected to arrive there later today. 

Marine Accident Investigators will now set about to establish why the vessel sank in the early hours of April 9, while anchored off Mingulay. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The passing of Dr John MacInnes at the age of 89 was reported over the weekend (Saturday May 11th).

Dr MacInnes was born in Uig, Isle of Lewis, on April 3, 1930.

When he was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2015 because of his work recording and analysing traditional songs, he was described by tribute writer Jim Gilchrist as “the foremost living authority on the oral traditions of Scottish Gaeldom.”

 

At some point in our lives, we may all be faced with an issue or concern that affects our health or well-being.  It can be a worrying and isolating time, but having easy access to information, and gaining a greater understanding of the condition, can make all the difference.

Dr You is a new initiative aimed at supporting people to take control of their health and well-being.  The project, a partnership between the Comhairles library service, NHS Western Isles and local health organisations, provides books and information on health issues and concerns, available through the branch and mobile libraries across the isles.

The collections of self-help books 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. 

The topics covered in the Dr You collection were identified in discussion with local medical and health practitioners, who also recommended many of the titles.  It was important that the Dr You books reflected the needs of local communities and contained titles that were known to be useful. While the books can be helpful on their own, it is recommended that they are used along with the support of a health professional.

Anyone wanting to borrow one of the Dr You books 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, simply bring along some proof of address when you visit.  If a book isnt immediately available, it can easily be reserved.  Those wanting to find out more about Dr You and see a full list of the books available can visit www.cne-siar.gov.uk/library for more information. 

Dr You is a partnership between Comhairle nan Eilean Siars Public Library Service and Department of Education & Childrens Services; NHS Western Isles Health Information & Resources Service, Community Psychiatric Nursing Service, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Team and Macmillan Nursing Service; Advocacy Western Isles; Western Isles Association for Mental Health; Western Isles Community Care Forum and Alzheimer Scotland (Lewis & Harris Services).  Dr You was funded by the Scottish Government through the support of the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC).

As more becomes known about various types of additional support needs children have (i.e. Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyslexia), it can feel bewildering for parents, carers and a child’s extended support network to know how to best support their child. They can feel that they don’t want to do anything in case it is the wrong thing and makes matters worse.

However a range of excellent books aimed at parents and carers of children with additional support needs is available within the Western Isles and Callum Urquhart, an Educational Psychologist, will be visiting a number of libraries across the Western Isles to discuss the collection and provide examples of how some of the books can be used by parents and carers to support their children.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The decision to become a duo has been singularly successful for Al Lewis and Alva Leigh.

In the three years since the former solo artists teamed up, they have released an award-winning album and three critically-acclaimed EPs, earned honours and nominations for their song writing and made stand-out performances at major festivals, including Glastonbury.

Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente

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

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

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

Ealasaid Macdonald

The Western Isles Labour Party candidate for the General Election will be Ealasaid MacDonald. 

Ealasaid lives in Lewis but is originally from South Uist and Eriskay. 

Cala Hotels’ Nepalese chefs, from left to right;  Raj, Dhakendra, Deepak, Thapa, Amir, Tek and Bandari

The recent disaster in Nepal has affected families and friends of the eight Nepalese chefs and other staff working in the Caladh Inn, Royal and Cabarfeidh Hotels, as well as others in the sizeable local Nepalese community.   Some have lost family members, while other relatives have become homeless following the earthquakes.
Immediately after the first ‘quake, collection buckets were placed in the hotel restaurants and guests donated just over £800 in the first two weeks – for which thanks are due to local residents and visitors.

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

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

As the counting begins at Lewis Sports Centre later this evening, www.welovestornoway.com will be in the building to keep you up to date with everything going on. 

From the cheers to the tears, every bit of breaking news and opinion will be updated on this site, as well as our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

So be sure to log in from 10pm to get right to the heart of Western Isles Election 2016!

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

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

Dubbed the ‘Scottish Superwoman’ of music, one of Lewis’s finest musical exports is readying herself for a return to the Hebrides this month.

Elsa Jean McTaggart (36), is a multi-instrumentalist, songster and storyteller, and a great grand-daughter of the renowned Scottish painter William McTaggart.

She grew up in Aberfeldy, before her family moved to Lewis.  Elsa is a self-taught musician – she is an accomplished vocalist, fiddler, guitarist, and also plays the penny whistle.


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

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

There is a major alert at Stornoway Airport tonight.

The road to Point has been closed. The RNLI lifeboat has been alerted.  Coastguards have been alerted.  The area is cordoned by police.  The road is  expected to be closed for an hour.  Queues are building on each side of the closure.

The exact cause of the alert is not known. 

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

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

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

The Europe Direct Information Centre – Outer Hebrides plans to provide information about the policies and institutions of the European Union on the 13th of May in Stornoway Library from 10am to 1pm.

There will also be a Europe Day window display in the library cafe for the week preceding the event.

Europe Day is recognised on 9 May each year.

 

A series of Armed Forces events are taking place in June in Stornoway.

The information teams of 4 SCOTS (The Highlanders) and 7 SCOTS (51 Highland Regiment) are back up in Stornoway on June 7-8.

They will be in Perceval Square, Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais, Tesco and the Co-op.

Lochside Arena is all set to play host to a wide variety of events this summer.
Lochside Arena, on the Lochs Road south of Stornoway, is a community run facility and the volunteer board who are entrusted with the management of the operation are thrilled to be able to work with the members and other volunteers to offer a series of exciting events over the next few months.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traffic management and control will be in place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A call has gone out for more islanders to join their local coastguard team.

A short film, 'To Rescue', shows a cliff rescue from the perspective of a person who has fallen down a cliff and documents the moment that the coastguard rescue officer arrives with the casualty and gets them to safety.

The film is the third in a series of short films giving a brief insight into the work of the Coastguard Rescue Service. 

Aircraft enthusiasts will be watching the skies in avid expectation on Friday 24th May, when a squadron of Second World War aircraft could pass directly over Point and Stornoway.

The 75th Anniversary of D Day on June 6ththis year is bringing a collection of vintage Douglas C47s to Scotland, on their way to commemorate the liberation of France in Normandy.

Several ferry services are disrupted as gale-force weather approaches the Western Isles. 

All Isle of Lewis sailings between Stornoway and Uig are cancelled. 

Next scheduled sailings (weather permitting) are: Tuesday 12th May departing Stornoway at 17:40 and departing Uig at 16:40.

Due to high winds, the 14:00 sailing from Stornoway to Ullapool and the 17:30 from Ullapool are on amber alert and may be disrupted or cancelled at short notice. 

For more info, see here

Stormy weather has forced the cancellation of island ferry services.

The 4pm sailing from Stornoway to Uig, and the 8pm sailing from Uig to Stornoway have both been cancelled.

The 11pm freight sailing from Stornoway to Uig is currently on amber alert.

The Stornoway to Ullapool passenger-only service is operating as normal.

For more info, see here.

 

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

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

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



Passengers on CalMac’s Ullapool to Stornoway route will be the first to trial new enhancements to the company’s ticketing system.

The pilot begins later this month and is expected to last approximately four weeks. During this period all elements of the new upgrades will be trialled – passenger feedback will be warmly received and patience is also sought should any teething problems which may arise.

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

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

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

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

Tonight’s screening of the film, The Fast and The Furious, at An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway has been cancelled as a result of a distribution problem.
 
A spokesperson for An Lanntair said:  "People can call our box office for a refund and we will arrange and we will let everyone know about re-screening the film as soon as possible."
 

A storage building at the Stornoway Trust's sawmill in Lews Castle Grounds was destroyed by fire in the early hours of this morning. 

Three appliances attended the incident, two from Stornoway and one from Shawbost, at 5am.

There were around 22 fire and rescue personnel involved in the incident, which involved a fire in a storage building measuring 40m x 10m.

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

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

The first councillors elected in the 2017 Western Isles local government elections are Finlay Cunningham, Paul Finnegan, and John G. Mitchell, in the Na Hearadh agus Ceann a Deas nan Loch ward. 

Finlay Cunningham collected most votes, with 381. 

Paul Finnegan was next, with 189, and John G. Mitchell grabbed the third spot with 172. 

Catherine Macdonald missed out on re-election by a mere six votes. 

There was a 63.2 per cent turnout, and there were 28 spoiled papers.

Na Hearadh agus Ceann a Deas nan Loch result - 

Finlay Cunningham (Independent) - 381

Paul Finnegan (Independent) - 189

Catherine Macdonald (Independent) - 166

Fiona Macleod (SNP) - 47

Sheena Macleod (Independent) - 80

Donald John Macrae (Independent) - 42

John G. Mitchell (SNP) - 172

Alex Dan Smith (Independent) - 7

Denise Wilson (Independent) - 64

Elected councillors are Finlay Cunningham, Paul Finnegan, and John G. Mitchell. 

The first ever meeting of the newly formed Western Isles Green Party takes place next week.

The party will gather at the Caladh Inn in Stornoway on Tuesday May 19 at 7pm. 

Then the next night, Wednesday May 20, meetings will be held in Lochmaddy Hall - 2pm-3pm for members only, and 3pm-4pm for members of the public.

For more info, see:

facebook.com/westernislesgreens

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

Five people were stopped by police in Lewis over the weekend, and later charged with speeding offences.

Three of those stopped were issued fixed penalty notices, while the other two will be the subject of reports to the Procurator Fiscal.

Stornoway Police have just concluded a week-long campaign targeting speeding motorists in Lewis and Harris. 

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

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

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

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

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

Results

League

Lochs 2 Westside 1

Co-op Cup 1st Round

Back 2 North Uist 2

(North Uist won 5-4 on pens)

Southend 3 Ness 1

Eriskay 1 Carloway 3

Fixtures

Monday May 4, 7pm

League

Point v Aths 

Ness v Carloway 

Westside v Back 

United v Lochs

 

Results

League

United 1 Lochs 8

Westside 5 Back 0

Ness 0 Carloway 2

Point 1 Aths 0

Results

Highland Amateur Cup 1st Round

Carloway 1 Point 4

Lochs 3 - United 0

Ness 4 - Back 1

Benbecula 3 - North Uist United 0

Fixtures

Monday May 11, 7pm

Jock Stein Cup 1st Round

Ness v Westside

Athletic v Back

Point v United

Lochs v Carloway

 

Results

Jock Stein Cup 1st Round

Back 0 Aths 1

Lochs 1 Carloway 0

Point v United pp

Ness V Westside pp

Results

Jock Stein Cup 1st Round

Back 0 Aths 1

Lochs 1 Carloway 0

Point v United pp

Ness V Westside pp

Results

Jock Stein Cup 1st Round

Ness 0 Westside 3

Point 8 United 0

Fixtures

Friday, 15th May

Acres Boys Club Cup Final, Goathill Park, 7pm

Carloway v Lochs

Results

Acres Boys Club Cup Final

Carloway 1 Lochs 2

Co-op Cup 1st Round

Benbecula 1 Point 9

Results

League

Point 0 Lochs 3

Carloway 0 Westside 3

Aths v United (postponed)

Back v Ness (postponed)

Results

League

Aths 5 Back 1

Highland Amateur Cup 2nd Round

Westside 7 Point 3

Athletic 4 Southend 2

Iochdar Saints 4 Ness 1

 

Results

Jock Stein Cup Semi Final

Westside 4 Aths 2

 

 Forestry Forum picture by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos

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

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


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

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

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

Natural talent - Don 'Sewer' Macleod

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acair’s literature festival, ‘Fèis Litreachais Acair @ 40: Celebrating 40 Years of Publishing’, happens this Wednesday in An Lanntair!

Starting with the opening presentation from Tiree writer Donald Meek. Then, at 2:30pm, there will be a Creative Writing Workshop with Iain F. MacLeod, and at 3:45pm a discussion on Scottish publishing with the CEO of Publishing Scotland, Marion Sinclair.

At 4:15pm there will be a conversation with writer Finlay MacLeod and illustrator Andrew McMorrine on the making of illustrated children’s books. MacLeod and McMorrine worked together on the first ever children’s book from Acair, ‘Rònan agus Brianuilt’ back in 1977. 

Some events are in Gaelic and they will be simultaneously translated into English, so all should feel welcome to join us.

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

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

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

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

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

Fun Night at Sgoil an Rubha 6pm-8pm tonight (Friday 30th). 

Free entry – but charges for stalls and games etc. 

Lots on – Tombola, Bottle stall, raffle, candy floss, bbq burgers, ice cream, waffles, tea/coffee and home baking, hook a duck, putting challenge, punching balloons, P5 plant stall, bouncy castle, sumo suits, face painting and more!

Open to all!

Hebridean Connections, a pioneering digital archiving project involving comainn eachdraidh (local historical societies) and other heritage organisations in the Outer Hebrides, has received external funding of £145,000 for a further twelve-month period through to the end of March 2016.  

The funding package will support the extension of Hebridean Connections’ activities and website (www.hebrideanconnections.com) to new geographical areas.

Key to this is the addition of a training officer post based in the southern part of the Outer Hebrides.

One of Stornoway's premier music festivals has been awarded £10,000 from Awards for All Scotland. 

'Stramash', which takes place this year on 2 and 3 September, is the brainchild of local music legend Paul Matheson, and raises vital funds for the Leanne Fund. 

The event is held at Lews Castle Green, and provides an opportunity for local musicians of all ages to hone their creative talents and performance skills whilst getting the invaluable experience of playing their music to a live audience.

The Goathill and Springfield Residents Association is holding a fundraising coffee morning at St Columba's Hall in Lewis Street, Stornoway, from 10am-12.30pm on Saturday June 3rd.

This is to raise funds for Association projects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The vice-chair is Cllr Iain M. Macaulay. 

Tonight's sold-out showing of the film The Fast and the Furious at An Lanntair has also been cancelled, following the cancellation of the show on Thursday evening.   A spokesperson emphasised this was the result of a "distribution problem."

The spokesperson pledged that "as of next week we have new systems in place to ensure this shouldn’t happen again."   The venue has done its best by phone and e-mail to get the message about the cancellations out to customers, the spokesperson said.
 

The Gael Force group yesterday (Tuesday May 14th) announced further expansion, with the purchase by their subsidiary Gael Force Fusion of the former Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary at Oban.
 
The visitor attraction closed in October last year, citing falling visitor numbers as the reason for closure. In January this year, Gael Force acquired Oban-based Fusion Marine, continuing its business as a marine and aquaculture equipment manufacturer, but operating under the new Gael Force Fusion name.

The Gambia Partnership are holding a breakfast fundraiser at the Retirement Centre on Saturday 20th May from 8:30am-12:30pm. 

It promises to be a lovely way to start the day, with the usual friendly atmosphere and choice of breakfasts and baking.  Donations at the door.  All funds go to the new Christian school the Partnership has established in the Gambian Kabekel village which has almost completed its first academic year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goathill and Springfield Residents' Association is holding a fundraising coffee morning on Saturday 3rd June, from 10am - 12.30pm in St Columba's Church Hall.

Any donations such as baking, jams, tablet and knitting would be gratefully received, and should be taken to the Church hall on Saturday by 9.30am.

All welcome - come along and show your support for the Association!

Rhoda Grant is saying ‘YES’ to Epilepsy Scotland’s call to action to do more for people with epilepsy.  

Newly elected MSPs are being asked to help and pledge their vote of support starting from National Epilepsy Week (16-22 May).  Scottish politicians can also back the leading charity’s campaign for greater investment in epilepsy services which could save lives and NHS resources. 

Speaking this morning Rhoda Grant said “I agree with Epilepsy Scotland’s campaign that we provide the best health and social care possible for those who need it.  There are over 700 people of all ages living with epilepsy in the Highlands & Islands.  Research findings suggest that while just over half of people with epilepsy have seizure control, seven in ten could become seizure free if they received optimum care.  I want to do what I can to see this treatment gap addressed.”

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

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

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

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

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

Invited guests of the new Harris distillery celebrated World Whisky Day in Tarbert this afternoon.

The drinks and barbecue event was held to mark the one day in the year when whisky is given a special recognition across the globe. 

The Isle of Harris Distillery is scheduled for completion in July, and will employ 10 full-time and eight seasonal staff.

Currently, its administrative base is the former police station in West Tarbert.

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

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

A packed schedule during the forthcoming festival season confirms that RURA are one of Scotland’s most exciting and most sought-after live bands.

The five-piece, voted Live Act of the Year at the 2015 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, have lined-up 16 festival appearances, including three in one weekend, during current tours.

It will take them across the country and to Denmark and Belgium, while another series of dates are already scheduled in the UK and in Germany later in the year. They have already confirmed dates next year in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada. In addition, a recent gig at an industry showcase in Cape Breton will also have put them on the wanted list of other festival organisers.

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

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

Tickets for the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival are selling faster this year than at any time during the event’s 21-year history.

With ten weeks still to go, organisers have reached 80 per cent of their sales target and are fast running out of weekend tickets for the four-day festival. The opening show is sold out and closing show tickets are in hot demand.

Overall sales have already surpassed those for the 2014 and 2015 festivals, with 65 per cent of tickets being snapped up by fans living outside HebCelt’s base in the island of Lewis, confirming its reputation for attracting huge numbers of visitors.

It can be hard to know what to say when tragedy strikes, but Angus MacPhail found the right words.

In the wake of the Manchester bombing on May 22, 2017, Angus wrote ‘Wishing Well’, in tribute to Barra teenager Eilidh MacLeod who died in the attack.

As the first anniversary of the atrocity was marked, the song was re-released as a charity single and reached No 24 in the main UK charts. The lines ‘Your spirit was strong, now silent your song, but your soul with the Pole Star shines on’ were also projected on to buildings at St Ann’s Square in Manchester during the There Is a Light event.

This year’s Hebridean Cycle Challenge and Walk will be held on Saturday 17th June 2017, and is an excellent opportunity to give you focus to get the old bikes or walking boots out and enjoy the magnificent outdoors. At the same time you can help to raise funds for the amazing charity the Andrew Macleod Memorial Fund. 

To make things a bit more interesting the organisers have selected new routes for the Charity Cycle and Charity Walk.  Please note there will not be a race element this year. 

The Charity Cycle will be 17 miles long, will start at the Lochside Arena just outside Stornoway and will travel over the Pentland Road to Carloway Community Hall. 

The Charity Walk is a section of the brand new walk designed by the Calroway Estate Trust. This 5 mile walk will start in Tolsta Chaolais and travel cross country to Carloway Community Hall.

She may have lived in Canada for the last 15 years, but for Cathy Ann MacPhee the call of home still comes in Gaelic.

The Barra-born singer has been performing all her life in the native tongue and today still travels from her base in Ottawa to teach Gaelic singing at workshops from Toronto to Seattle.

This summer she will be back in Scotland to join other leading traditional vocalists from the islands in a celebration of the female voice in a sold out show that will open the 21st Hebridean Celtic Festival.

A video celebrating the launch of a new Hebridean cycling trail was launched today by Outer Hebrides Tourism.

Mark Beaumont, a record-breaking endurance cyclist, took on the challenge to ride the Hebridean Way Cycling Route (National Cycle Route 780) in 24 hours, to launch this new long distance cycling route.  

Starting the cycle in the south of the islands, in Vatersay on Thursday 10th March 2016, 185 miles, ten islands, six causeways and two boat trips later, he made it to Butt of Lewis finishing on Friday 11th March, with only 12 hours in the saddle!

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

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

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

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

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

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

HHP will host their annual lunch event for Lewis and Harris tenants on Friday 27th May 2016 between 12 and 2.00pm at Stornoway Town Hall.

As in 2015 the event will have a particular focus on energy efficiency and HHP partners such as TEAS will be in attendance to provide help and advice on how to reduce energy costs and save money.

Tenants can drop in, have lunch and chat to staff and also view the latest range of kitchens, windows and doors and heating systems being offered to tenants.

Running until 2pm this afternoon, Friday, May 27th, is the Hebridean Housing Partnership Annual Tenant event, being held in Stornoway Town Hall.

All HHP residents have been invited and HHP staff are on hand to respond to queries.

The event also offers residents the opportunity to find out more about other services available, with local partner representatives from: Advocacy, the Comhairle, Western Isles Foyer, Tighean Innse Gall, FES, JobCentre Plus, Cothrom, Eilean Siar Foodbank, the Scottish Fire and Rescue service, AMC Renewables, Homelessness services, Nessglaze, Hebrides Alpha and Health Promotions.

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

The event will be held in the Stornoway Town Hall.

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

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

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

Economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has reported a successful year of investment and job creation in the region for 2015/16 - the 50th anniversary of its predecessor.

An estimated 855 jobs are expected to be created or retained in the region as a result of HIE’s investments last year, 130 of them in the Outer Hebrides area.

A summary of the organisation’s year-end figures shows turnover among supported businesses and social enterprises in the Outer Hebrides will increase by £4 million as a result of HIE’s investments.