The 20th Hebridean Celtic Festival was launched with a special thank-you event in the Woodland Centre - right adjacent to the festival field on the Castle Green.
The centre was packed with supporters, sponsors and organisers – past and present – to recognise the progress of the event from its tiny beginnings in 1996.

Western Isles Island Games team are all systems go today (Monday July 8th), beginning a second day of intense competition at the NatWest Island Games in Gibraltar.

There have already been successes both in the pool and on the badminton court today. 14-year-old Beth Macphail (pictured) has won the Western Isles’ first ever badminton singles victory 21-11 against Ynys Mon, and Kara Hanlon placed first in her first outing of the games, the preliminary round of the women’s 50m breaststroke.

The Salvation Army in Stornoway issued an urgent doorstep scam warning on Tuesday July 10th, after reports that people are going door-to-door in the Stornoway area claiming to represent the charity and asking for credit or debit card details to set up regular donations.

And members of the public reported that there were two people on Monday around Maclean Terrace, Stornoway and in Parkend with red tabards but it was for the Red Cross that they were claiming to be collecting.  They were wanting bank details for direct debit payments to help elderly people in Stornoway who can't get out and about.

However, legitimate charity collectors currently working in Lewis should not be confused with potential doorstep scams, say the Comhairle’s licensing department.

A complex operation to put a new water treatment plant in place will close part of the road to Huisinis in North Harris next Tuesday morning (July 16th).

Scottish Water are installing a new Transportable Treatment Unit (TTU) at Bedersaig water treatment works, using sea-going transport as well as large road vehicles.

Project manager Kathy Auld says the TTU itself simply looks like ‘a big green shed’ and has been planned in conjunction with land owners the North Harris Trust as part of a £4.5 million investment by Scottish Water to provide a single, improved water supply for Gobhaig and Huisinis. Planning consent for the development was granted by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in February this year, with work beginning on site soon after. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has called for the resignation of the convener of the Crofting Commission following revelations of the Commission having taken action on grazing committees against legal advice.

"It is clearly time for Kennedy to go,” said Fiona Mandeville who chairs the SCF. "We've asked many times for an explanation but to no avail. Documents obtained through Freedom of Information are unequivocal; the board of the Crofting Commission, headed by Colin Kennedy, chose to ignore policy and legal advice and proceeded to impose, what lawyers are saying are illegal, constables upon grazing shareholders whose committees the Commission had removed from office. So much anguish has been caused by this whole debacle and now, as suspected, we can clearly see that Kennedy led the Commission down this destructive route.

Eligible families in the Western Isles will receive an extra £10 a week for every child under 16.

The new social benefit is designed to help lift children across Scotland out of poverty and it is hoped this will be in place by the end of 2022.

Low income families with children under the age of six will be fast-tracked to receive the benefit in early 2021.

Three Coastguard Rescue Teams were called into action at 10pm on Friday (July 12th) after reports of a person missing on Conostrom Hill in Uig.  Breasclete, Miavaig and Stornoway CRTs responded to the call from the Stornoway Coastguard operations centre, but were almost immediately stood down when the casualty was located safe and well.  Teams were off-duty once again by 10.24pm.

 

The second book in Peter May's Lewis Trilogy, "The Lewis Man" has been named as one of six books on the shortlist for the 2015 Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel in the USA.

All members of Mystery Readers International and readers of Mystery Readers Journal are entitled to vote.

The winner will be announced at the Bouchercon International Crime Writing Convention in Raleigh, North Carolina in October 2015.

The BBC’s flagship programme, The One Show, is coming to the Hebrides next week as part of a unique partnership with Scotland’s Gaelic Media Service (Seirbheis nam Meadhanan Gàidhlig), MG ALBA.  

  • Two-night special with Alex Jones and Matt Baker will come from Harris, then Lewis
  • Programmes will feature a range of content about life in the Western Isles
  • Project only possible because of unique partnership delivered with MG ALBA
  • Face of BBC ALBA, Fiona MacKenzie to join the One Show team as a presenter
  • The team will look at the impact of the Castaway TV programme on the Isle of Harris

‘The Flesherin Bard’ Willie John Campbell is having a book of his work published by Stornoway-based Acair.

The company says it “is delighted to publish 'Bàrdachd Uilleam Iain Caimbeul / Poems of Willie John Campbell (Willie Teddy)'.  This bilingual book compiles many of Willie Teddy's most-loved poems, and touches upon a wide variety of subjects.

The Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership has been consulting with communities throughout the Outer Hebrides during the spring looking at feedback to inform the priorities it will focus on trying to improve over the next few years.

As well as the online survey, the group met with residents in two locality areas to look at the information from the survey in more detail.

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has hit back at a claim that Scottish island flights could be axed under Liberal Democrat proposals to tackle climate change.

Yesterday (Tuesday July 16th) he defended comments from one of two contenders in the Lib Dem leadership race, Sir Ed Davey, who had called for a ban on domestic flights within the UK in a bid to reduce environmental damage.

Fans late to book air tickets for the last ever gigs by Runrig will have to look for other options, according to Loganair.

Air tickets to reach the mainland cfrom Stornoway for the weekend of August 17th and 18th are almost completely sold out, and Loganair say there will be no more services laid on once they are gone.

Western Isles fans plan to travel in force to the mainland for the Last Dance, billed as the final concert ever by the Gaelic supergroup. The two farewell concerts at Stirling’s City Park sold out within minutes of going on sale.

The Big Minch Swim team has attracted high profile support today (Friday July 6th) ahead of their departure in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Swimmers Colin Macleod of Stornoway, pictured above, and Norman Todd of Ullapool will leave Lemreway in Lochs at 4.30am, heading for Rubha Reid in Gairloch, 24 miles away across open sea. No-one has ever completed a solo swim across the North Minch, so if any or all of the team succeed they will be setting a new record.

They’ll be joined by a late addition to the team, marathon swimmer Colleen Blair, Scotland's most accomplished marathon swimmer and one of the greatest Scottish athletes of her generation.

There's a passport missing in Stornoway…and the holder needs it for travel on Monday!

This is the plea this morning (Friday July 27th) from the Francis Street Post Office.

Angus Macleod, chair of the Western Isles Kidney Patients Association, pictured outside Ospadal nan Eilean in Stornoway, where the renal unit is located

The mum of one young kidney transplant patient in Lewis is organising a fun day so that children and families affected by renal problems can get together and give each other support. 

The event, being planned for September in Stornoway, is being made possible by community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust, who have donated £1,000 to the Western Isles Kidney Patients Association to help towards the costs.

It should be good fun for the young kidney patients, as well as an informal occasion for their families to get to know each other and share experiences.

Drugs with a combined street-value of almost £100,000 were removed from communities in the Highlands & Islands during June.

Police Scotland officers have been carrying out targeted enforcement under Operation Ram resulting in seizures of Class A drugs worth approximately £36,500 and Class B drugs valued at around £56,700 being taken off the streets.

In addition to the drugs seizures - worth in excess of £93,000 - sums of cash totalling approximately £25,500 have also been seized.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed an announcement of a £16.8m investment by the Ministry of Defence and QinetiQ in two new BAE Systems tracking radars, to be installed on St Kilda, and the upgrade of two existing radars at MOD Hebrides in Uist. They will be in use by 2020.

Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee, Councillor Donald Crichton, said: “This is excellent news for Uist and for the Outer Hebrides.

"This investment demonstrates a commitment to the Base and the employment that it provides and to a secure future.  I would hope this upgrading of equipment will make Hebrides Range even more competitive and will pave the way for future development. 

Lifeboat charities across the UK can now bid for Government cash for life-saving equipment.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani visited Oxfordshire Lowland Search and Rescue Service (OxSAR) yesterday (July 4) as part of Maritime Safety Week and to launch this year’s £1million Rescue Boat Grant Fund.

The fund is open to search and rescue teams in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to buy new boats, engines or other equipment.

Thanks…members of the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group at Islander Shellfish today (Friday)

More than £2,500 has been raised for the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group by a raffle supported by Stornoway Fishermen and Fish Merchants organized through Islander Shellfish on Cromwell Street Quay.

Community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust have given £2,500 to Advocacy Western Isles — completing a package of support for some of the most vulnerable people in island society.

The money is the first half of an annual commitment of £5,000 to Advocacy and will enable the service to increase the hours of its workers across the islands to help meet demand.

Ernie Garden, chairman of Advocacy Western Isles, said the increased hours would mainly go towards helping people with mental health issues and the elderly. He said: “It will enable us to expand the service. The need is there and we would like to meet the need.”

Pictured is Moira MacAulay and her colleagues at the Health board offices presenting a cheque for £210 to Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris Service Manager Marion MacInnes.  Moira said 'Following on from National Dementia Awareness week staff dressed in purple and we held a raffle'.  Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris would like to say a big thank you to the health board office staff for their support and to Moira for arranging the event as well as displaying information to support people with dementia and their families.

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Action shots from the Point FC’s summer football school, Donald John MacSween with prize winners Alexander Macdonald, Samuel Maclennan,  and Daniel Macleod.   All pictures by Sandie Maciver at SandiePhotos photography. 

The Point FC summer football school was held at Ionad Stoodie on Thursday and Friday afternoon last week (July 19 and 20) and was open to youngsters from across Lewis – and further afield too – although the majority came from the Point area.

It was open to boys and girls from primary two to S2, with priority given to the juniors who play on a Thursday night at the Point Astroturf pitch.

A total of 65 youngsters took part this year – an increase on last year, when they had between 40 and 50 – and prizes were given for the best players, although everyone got a T-shirt and a water bottle at the end as a memento, plus a certificate for taking part. 

A team of hardy walkers trekked from Dusk2Dawn on the Isle of Lewis to complete an epic 50k challenge.
The event in aid of The Leanne Fund was a great success raising more than £4,000 to support those with Cystic Fibrosis across the Highlands and Islands and Grampian.
A total of 60 walkers left Perceval Square in the centre of Stornoway at 8pm on Friday and followed trails around Lews Castle Grounds assisted by local TA volunteers.  They then took in a loop of Newvalley, Benside and Bakers Road before heading out to Point, taking in a loop of Bayble, then Knock and returning to Stornoway to complete the walk.

Over the next three years, the land adjacent to Goathill Farm on the edge of Stornoway and Broadbay will be transformed providing a new care facility for the Isle of Lewis and more affordable homes - and above is a vision of what the view will be from Perceval Road by late 2022.

The development includes a 52-bed care home, 50 extra-care units, and 74 houses (58 for rent and 16 for purchase through the shared equity scheme) and is due for completion by autumn 2022.

A total of 18 drivers will be reported for offences relating to driving under the influence of drink or drugs in the Highlands and Islands during a recent safety campaign.

Detections were made across the region during the national summer initiative, which ran from Friday, June 29 until Friday, July 13.

During the weekend immediately after this - from Saturday, July 14 until early hours of Monday, July 16 - a further six drivers were stopped with reports to be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in connection with alleged drink or drug driving.

Tape recordings of the New Testament read 30 years ago in Gaelic are to be digitised and preserved for all time.

The recordings, made by members of the congregation of Knock Free Church, now merged with Garrabost Free Church, in the late 1980s. There were 40 sets of 17 tapes and they will be made widely available – online and hopefully in CD format – once the digitisation and restoration is complete.

Point and Sandwick Trust donated the remaining £1,800 needed for the project, which has been organised by David Murray, the session clerk to Garrabost Free Church.

Point and Sandwick Trust are to be the main sponsors of the community’s hugely popular Point Agricultural Show for the next five years.

The charity behind the Beinn Ghrideag community windfarm on the outskirts of Stornoway are backing the Point Show with £500 every year — money which organisers say will enable them to “plan effectively for the foreseeable future”.

The show, held for the first time in 2003, attracts a couple of thousand visitors and is the biggest community event in Point, with visitors also coming from far and wide.

Marshals are required for the Stornoway Lifeboat station 5k on Saturday.

Organisers say: "If you are unable to take part in the Stornoway Lifeboat station 5k but would still like to support this local organisation, we are looking for marshals."

So if you are able to marshal please can you let Steven Munro know  (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
 
Otherwise, please support your local Lifeboat Station Open day is Saturday 18th July. 

As part of the open day there is the 5k walk/run starting at 11am at the life boat station. To take part in this event just turn any time after 10am to register, if you would like an entry form please email Steven. 
 
There will be a medal for all junior finishers, and also be a prize for the group/organisation/work department that enters the most participants.
 
Please come along and support your local Lifeboat Station!

 

 

 

The Postman’s Walk must have been a lonely walk for postmen like Kenny Mackay, the former Rhenigidale Postman. 

But on the 29th June 81 people did the same walk together in aid of Cancer Research in an event organised by the Isle of Lewis Cancer Research Committee.

International artists from the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival will take part in BBC Radio nan Gaidheal's free shows in Stornoway Town Hall on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 July. The events will be presented by Emma Lamont and will be broadcast on BBC Radio nan Gaidheal this week.

On Thursday, from 2pm-4pm, the show will feature Canadian trio Vishtèn; Glasgow-based trad band TRIP; Scots fiddler and American cellist duo Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas; as well as performers from Blasta, which brings together a group of multi-talented Gaelic singers - Anna Murray, Mischa Macpherson, Ceitlin Smith, Josie Duncan and Calum Alex Macmillan.

On Friday, from 3pm-5pm, performances will come from Kinnaris Quintet; Lewis singer songwriter Iain Morrison; Yves Lambert Trio, from Quebec; and London-based Pilgrim's Dream, the project of former Royal Marines Commando Rob Ouseley.

BBC Radio nan Gàidheal music producer John Murray said: "We are keen to welcome folk along to enjoy the programme and the music.  It's free entry and a great chance to hear an intimate performance from some fabulous singers and players."

Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: "Radio nan Gaidheal is a great supporter of HebCelt and these free, live shows give people in Stornoway and those listening on the radio a real taste of the festival."

 

The Scottish ballet are celebrating 50 years of inspiring audiences on and off stage, sharing their passion for creating exceptional dance. As part of this celebration they are bringing Wee Hansel and Gretel to Stornoway - A wee version of a big ballet. The show will be on twice a day at 11am and 1.30pm on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 July in An Lanntair.

The Scottish Ballet said: '2019 is our 50th anniversary, and we want you to be a part of it.  

A 49-year-old man spent the night in police custody at the weekend, after being arrested in Stornoway town centre in the early hours of Sunday morning (July 15th).

He was charged with abusive and threatening behaviour, and was kept in custody until sober, when he was released. He’s been reported to the Procurator Fiscal over the incident.

To raise visitor awareness, the Outer Hebrides Community Safety Partnership in association with Police Scotland and Road Safety Scotland are jointly campaigning to advise overseas drivers and motorcyclists on the correct use of ‘Single Track Roads’  to ‘Drive on the Left’ at all times and to be especially mindful of the vulnerability of pedestrians and cyclists.

Commenting on the road safety initiative, Councillor John MacKay, Chair of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said: “We welcome all visitors to the Islands and wish them a safe trip, filled with happy memories. Please, drive on the left; a handy tip might be to place a visual reminder on your dashboard. Driving and sightseeing can be tiring so we respectfully request that drivers take frequent breaks and avoid spending  too many hours behind the wheel in one day. Remember, single track roads mean just that: one lane of tarmac for all traffic. They can be a bit unnerving at first, but keep in mind there are plenty of marked passing places; use caution and good driving skills and all should be well.”

Scotland’s Airline Loganair reported a pre-tax profit of £1.01 million for the 12 months ended 31 March - its first full year of operation under its new brand identity. 

However, the Shetland Times reports today (Thursday July 25th) that the impact of disruptive action by Air Traffic Controllers across airports run by Highlands and Islands Airports since April, has already cost the airline around £1m in compensation payments or accommodation costs related to passengers who were delayed or missed flights.

Drivers dropping off passengers at Stornoway airport are being asked to use the designated drop-off and pick-up area, rather than trying to ‘beat the system’ by parking on access roads.

Spaces have been designated for drop-off and pick-up, but you do need to go through the parking barrier to get to them.

Catering facilities at Stornoway Airport are set to reopen before the end of the year.

The previous café closed in March and it is understood that the new facilities will be up and running at some point in August.

Inverness Airport will be closed tomorrow (Sunday July 21st), cutting off the Highland capital from its crucial air links across Scotland, England, Ireland and the rest of Europe. 

This is part of intensifying industrial action by air traffic controllers, which will see Stornoway and Benbecula airports closed on Tuesday.

HIAL Managing Director Inglis Lyon has apologised for the disruption this further round of strike action will cause and urged the Prospect union to get back round the table and help deliver a solution to its long-running pay dispute.

The Stornoway Trust has warned about the financial consequences for the local community of the court cases being pursued in relation to wind farm projects in the area.

In a statement today (Tuesday July 23rd) the Trust says that: "Following the unsuccessful attempt by four crofting townships, namely Aignish, Melbost and Branahuie, Sandwick and Sandwick East Street and Sandwickhill North Street, who had appealed to the Scottish Land Court over the Crofting Commission’s decision to refuse their Section 50B applications, the Stornoway Trust consider that another key milestone, albeit an unnecessary one, has been passed. 

The Western Isles Island Games Team donned their team colours for the first time today (Monday July 1st) at a send-off event hosted by their sponsors at the Harris and Lewis Smokehouse.

The kit, packed into individual kit bags for each athlete, was presented by the Scottish Salmon Company, who are sponsoring the team for the fifth consecutive year, reaffirming the company’s commitment to the communities where they work and the health and wellbeing of the islands’ people.

Final preparations are being made for this year’s Lochs Show, which is on today (Saturday) in Laxay.

The Show will be opened by none other than Sanjeev Kohli – best known as shopkeeper Naveed in Still Game.

Sanjeev’s wife Fiona is a ‘second-generation Lochie’, and he speaks some Gaelic himself!

Pop down to the Fisherman's Co-op to find all you need to make the most of the summer weather by the sea.

Choose from a large range of wet-suits for adults and children, along with neoprene boots, hoods and gloves. Just what is needed for splashing around in Hebridean waters - for extra fun grab a body board and hit the waves!

 And for those wanting something more relaxing where they don't have to get wet; grab some fishing gear. The Fisherman's Co-op has all the lures, hooks, lines and rods you may need whether your aiming to catch Mackeral and Cuddies from the rocks or heading out for some deep water fishing, the staff are on-hand to advise what's best suited. 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has pledged to support his autistic constituents and make Scotland an autism-friendly nation.
He made the pledge at an event held at Holyrood by The National Autistic Society Scotland.
As part of its ‘Too Much Information’ campaign, the charity is asking people across Scotland to learn about autism and the small changes they can make to their behaviour to be more autism-friendly.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has voiced concerns over the future of agriculture subsidies, after UK Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, appeared to threaten future funding levels in a speech earlier today.

While the UK Government has stated its intention to continue current levels of farm subsidies until 2022, there is a huge question mark over what financial support system will be in place after that.

SNP MSP for na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has today welcomed the news that an agreement has been reached in talks between Calmac and trade union representatives.

Alasdair Allan commented: "The news that the talks have reached a successful conclusion will be welcomed by everyone in the islands, not least by the traveling public, business and the tourist industry.

"I am glad that it has been possible to reach this stage without further industrial action.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has today welcomed the decision by the Crofting Commission to 'draw a line' under its dispute with the former members of Mangersta grazings committee by withdrawing the grazings constable and allowing the village to form a new committee of its choice.

The grazings committee was removed from office by the Commission at the end of last year.

The MSP met with Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, last month to discuss the removal from office of the grazings committees in Mangersta and Upper Coll, the implications of the Commission’s rulings in these cases and the future of crofting in the Western Isles more generally.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has warmly welcomed the public opening of Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle last week.

The £19 million partnership project was led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and included external funding from the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the European Regional Development Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Tickets are now released for An Lanntair's Alternative Carnival Night
Sat 5 Aug, £10.50 (proceeds go to the RNLI & SEIMH)


Adorn your body with a head dress, coat tails and glitter shorts for an evening filled with Scottish tapas, Cocktails and music on Carnival Night. (Head dress, coat tails and glitter shorts optional)

8pm doors open. Tapas begins at 8.30pm till 11pm.
Event is on till late
People are invited to dress alternative.
There are a limited amount of tickets, so get them quick!

 

22nd July, 7.30pm, Stornoway Golf Club.

Come along and join us for an evening of delicious curries and (optional) karaoke, and help raise funds for Alzheimer Scotland Lewis and Harris.

A great night out for friends and family!!

Tickets are only £10!! (Please purchase in advance)

To buy a ticket please contact Karen Macdonald on 07588761841 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click here for more information.

Shawbost-based coastal rowing club, An Eathar will host their annual family open day at Loch a Bhaile, Shawbost, on Saturday 14thJuly,

The event will be a great opportunity for novice rowers to get their first experience of what is an ever-growing pastime.

An Lanntair have announced their next season of adult evening classes, with six classes to choose from!

Life Drawing with Jon Macleod- Monday Nights
21 Aug- 25 Sept (6 Weeks) £48 / £41

Printmaking: Adding a touch of colour with Gill Thompson - Wednesday Nights
23 Aug - 11 Oct (8 Weeks) £74 / £63

Drawing from Nature with Steven Tod- Thursday Nights
24 Aug - 5th Oct (7 Weeks) £56 / £47.50

Kilt-Making with Netty Sopata - Friday Nights
25 Aug - 13 Oct (8 Weeks) £64 / £54.50

Introduction to Argentine Tango with Louise Davidson - Tuesday Nights (at Ionad Spors Leodhais)
Tue 12 Sept- 3rd Oct (4 Weeks) £16 / £13.50

Introduction to Graphic Design with Pearse O’Halloran - Tuesday Nights
Tue 19 Sept - 10 Oct (4 Weeks) £40 / £34

To book call the An Lanntair Box office 01851 708480  or visit http://lanntair.com/education/adults/

 


The Anchorage restaurant in Leverburgh has today (Thursday July 11th) announced the launch of an art and photography competition for all ages.

It’s the second year for the competition, which drew tremendous enthusiasm from visitors and locals alike last summer.

One of the oldest ships in Europe arrived in Stornoway this morning. 

The sloop 'Anna af Sand' is a unique representative of Norwegian coastal culture, and is typical of the many freight vessels sailing the fjords and along the Norwegian coast from the 18th century and into the last century. 

The 'Anna af Sand' was launched in Hardanger in 1848 and was given the name Haabet (Hope). 

“Our organisation is still kept very busy and that is one thing that is not affected as the years go by as the constant demand for advice never diminishes,” said Western Isles Citizens Advice Services Chairman David Blaney.
As WICAS prepares for its 2017 AGM, taking place next month, the organisation looks back over the past year, which saw the four CAB offices in the Western Isles deal with 4, 296 client contacts, who raised 7,150 issues.
“I am so grateful to our staff and volunteers for all the hard work they carry out year after year and the excellent service they give to those who contact us for advice on many different and varied issues that come their way,” continued Mr Blaney.

Tickets for a Glasgow Barrowlands concert by Stornoway band Peat & Diesel (pictured above on the main stage of the Hebridean Celtic festival during their performance last week)  sold out this morning (Thursday July 25th) within minutes of going on general sale.

The Arnish yard of BiFab has been left with a skeleton staff of maintenance workers, with workers union the GMB yesterday confirming that all BiFab’s sites are ‘effectively closed.’

Isles MSP Alasdair Allan yesterday (Thursday July 12th) raised the situation with minister for business, fair work and skills Jamie Hepburn MSP, after hearing from the union that hopes for a resurgence in the company had been dashed.

Lewis rockers Astrid are set for a sensational reunion, with a new album in the pipeline.

The indie band, which featured Willie Campbell (Tolsta) and Charlie Clark (Gress), were a big thing in the late 90's, amassing a dedicated fan base and playing to venues across the world.

On his website, Charlie Clark says: "After an 11 year hiatus, lots of therapy and one mystical walk along Gress beach in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, I’m happy to announce that astrid will be reforming later this year to record a new full length album. Willie, Gareth (Russell, bass guitar) and I have been in talks trying to figure out all the logistics but recording will start this November here in Los Angeles.

A pair of handcrafted one-of-a kind musical instruments are to be auctioned off in aid of The Leanne Fund.

Dr Ali Whiteford of Garrabost, Isle of Lewis, who makes and repairs string instruments, has created a bespoke Long Island guitar and a Mandocaster mandola and will sell them to raise funds for those affected by Cystic Fibrosis.

The next meeting of Autism Eilean Siar is on Monday August 22nd at midday in the Newton Community Association meeting room on Seaforth Road, Stornoway.

The planned July meeting next week has been cancelled because of the impact of the holidays.

Autism Eilean Siar is a voluntary support group, which aims to raise awareness, help and support families, and champion full and inclusive lives for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  They aim to support everyone in the Western Isles affected by the condition; parents, partners, family and friends.  Contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Western Isles probationer teacher Abigail Treffry is seen with her recent award presented by Deputy First Minister John Swinney and General Teaching Council Scotland’s Chief Executive Ken Muir.

A baby who was feared seriously injured after falling on board the MV Loch Seaforth has been discharged from hospital and returned home to the mainland on yesterday’s morning ferry (Monday July 30th).

The 17-month-old had been on holiday, staying with family in Lewis, and was leaving at 7pm on Sunday evening (July 29th) when the child fell on deck.

The Back Football and Recreation Club June newsletter is now online. Read it here!

Have fun…and get advice - that's offer from Hebridean Housing partnership and the Western Isles Housing Association Communities Forum.

The groups are inviting all tenants and residents from HHP communities to a Summer Fun Day at Back Football and Recreation Club on Friday 9 August 2019 from 12 - 4pm.

As a result of the continuing support for The Western Isles Lottery from residents in Barra &. Vatersay, Volunteers from Northbay Gardens (“the Garadh”) were delighted to receive a cheque for £1,000 to help them continue their excellent work.

Gàradh a’ Bhàgh a’ Tuath is a horticultural-based project . Volunteers grow and sell local produce whilst helping people with Additional Support Needs and reducing the carbon footprint of the local area. They love working on projects that improve the environment and health of the area through a range of activities including community gardening and conservation.

CalMac is struggling to put together a service for passengers leaving or arriving on Barra this week, after the MV Isle of Lewis was shipped off to Clydeside for urgent repairs.

The timetable between Castlebay and Oban has been patchy over past days, with technical problems on the ageing ferry scrambling the timetable.

The man who supported the Isle of Barra flag campaign is entitled to wave his own flag this week, after a prestigious appointment with Scotland’s official heraldry body.

Philip Tibbetts is already communities vexillologist with the Flag Institute, a UK-wide charity which supports development of flags.

He campaigned alongside Barra community councillors, MSP Alasdair Allan and Barra and Vatersay Voluntary Action to get recognition for the Barra flag, a white cross on a green background.

Jane Mackinnon, a former long-standing Hebridean Housing Partnership Board Member, officially opened Corran Cismaol, Castlebay on Wednesday 17 July 2019.

Stornway-based Calmax Construction Limited, who employed several more local contractors, went on site in June 2018, with Housing Minister Kevin Stewart in Castlebay to cut the turf and completed construction in April 2019. 

Barra RNLI lifeboat was yesterday (Sunday 7th July) sent to assist a fishing vessel grounded on a reef north-east of the island.

The lifeboat was called at 5.29pm to the assistance of the Castlebay-registered trawler Grianan Oir, with seven people aboard, grounded near Rubha Bhruairnish in Northbay. After awaiting the rising tide to refloat, Barra lifeboat took her under tow to the pier at Northbay.

The 20th anniversary Barrathon was run in bright sunshine and with an abundance of good humour on Saturday (June 29th).

The popular summer event draws homecomers and visitors alike to the island and this year set a pre-registration record, with all 300 places for the half-marathon run snapped up within three minutes of opening in January.

Funds to facilitate a community buyout of Barvas Estate have been secured, it was announced today.

Urras Sgire Oighreachd Bharabhais Community Company (USOBCC) has been awarded capital funding of £715,000 for purchasing the selected 44,000 acre Barvas Estate assets plus paying for necessary mapping and legal costs.   Sufficient revenue funding has also been secured to help meet the costs of setting up an Estate office and paying the salaries of two posts for the first two years.

NEW – Whb, tap / W/C, cabinets

Wash hand basin and 550mm cabinet, gloss white.

Matching w/c cabinet 500x300mm and back to wall Pan.

Soft close toilet pan seat.

Grohe Mixer Tap.

Surplus to requirement.

ALL NEW. £250

Must be uplifted from Point as we can not offer transport.

The Lynn Maclean dancers had an extra dancer on Friday when batman (aka Charlie Nicolson) joined them to dance a Highland Fling in Stornoway - the girls were out dancing  to entertain the tourists during HebCelt week and have donated their weeks collection to Bethesda.

The BBC is looking for people from the Hebrides to take part in a life-swap television documentary, which will be aired on BBC2. 

They are particularly looking for those who have a dream which they've never managed to fulfil.

If you feel like you've missed some opportunities in your life, and you'd like to see what it's like living someone else's life for a bit, get in touch with them as soon as possible, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

A new Water Treatment Works that will serve three small communities in North Harris has been delivered by sea to one of the island’s most spectacular beaches.

The new Scottish Water plant was loaded on to a specialised barge at Kishorn on Monday, before crossing the Minch and sailing through the Sound of Harris to lie offshore at Huisinis. 

Complementing the musical expertise of the Hebridean Celtic Festival are the artisans of this year’s Craft Tent.

The draw of the crafts – from glass painting to tin guitars, ceramics to jewellery, tweeds to soaps – was easily seen tonight, with makers kept very busy as festival goers enjoyed some beautiful wares on offer.

Bethesda Care Home and Hospice is having an open day on Wednesday 13 July from 2pm-4pm to allow the public to visit the newly opened respite care unit. All welcome.

Inviting visitors as well as island residents to join for breakfast on Saturday is  charity The Gambia Partnership who are holding a Breakfast Fundraiser on Saturday, July 16th.

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is inviting photographers from across the Hebrides to submit entries to its second annual photography competition.

This overall winner will be granted free entry to all events in next year’s festival programme, which will run from 7-20 February 2020 at An Lanntair and across Lewis and Harris.

The winning photograph will also be showcased in the artwork for the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival’s 2020 programme, following in the footsteps of this year’s inaugural winner, Meet Steve by Berneray-based photographer Casey McIntyre (shown above).

The new tarmac stage at Stornoway Airport

Next month heralds the 10th anniversary of Rally Hebrides - and organisers have announced BIG changes to their plans.

They say: "After nine years of running the Lews Castle Grounds stages over various routes, there comes a time when good things have to come to an end.

"For 2017 we have decided to drop this stage from our event.

It may be more than three decades since legendary Scottish rock band Big Country first struck a chord, but the music is still finding new audiences.

The band, who are touring this year with a revised line-up and a new frontman, also return to the big screen with one of their biggest tracks featuring in the new film Land Ho.

Set in Iceland, the film tells the story of a disenchanted retired surgeon who takes a road trip through Reykjavik with his former brother-in-law, in an attempt to reclaim their youth against a soundtrack which includes the band’s ‘80s hit In a Big Country.

The film and the soundtrack have won critical acclaim and will bring Big County’s music to a new generation: “The film company basically got in touch and sent us a synopsis of the film”, said guitarist Bruce Watson, a founder member of the band. “We liked it and told them to use it.”

It was Bruce, and his friend from Dunfermline, the late Stuart Adamson, who formed Big Country in 1981. They were joined later that summer by drummer Mark Brzezicki and bass player Tony Butler, the line-up that recorded the classic debut album ‘The Crossing’ in 1983.

The group was known for a string of hits such as In a Big Country, Fields of Fire, East of Eden and, the biggest UK hit, Look Away. In all they scored 17 top 30 singles in the UK and achieved five gold and platinum albums.

Adamson died in 2001 and the band subsequently reformed to mark their 25th anniversary, later joined by former Alarm singer Mike Peters who spent three years as frontman.

The new line-up sees Bruce, Mark Brzezicki (drums, vocals); Bruce’s son, Jamie Watson (guitars/vocals) and former Simple Minds bassist/vocalist, Derek Forbes, joined by Simon Hough, ex-frontman for both Denny Laine (Wings) and Eric Bell (Thin Lizzy).

The band have already played a number of UK dates this year, with a series of festivals planned, including a debut at the Hebridean Celtic Festival next week, and then the Steeltown Tour, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Steeltown album release.

“It’s been a great year so far”, said Bruce. “Simon has fitted in well and the fans are really getting into his vocals. At times he sounds uncannily like Stuart.

“We just love working now with the new line up. We spent years not being Big Country and have a large catalogue to get through.”

He said he is looking forward to the festivals experience which is such a large part of a band’s schedule nowadays: “Festivals are always chaotic, basically wham bam, no sound check, hour long set then you are off. Then the next band goes on. It’s great fun and I do like to watch other acts.

“I am happy playing as many festivals as we can. HebCelt is a first for us so I can't wait to get up there and make a noise. We are really looking forward to playing in this beautiful part of the country.”

So what’s next for the re-invented band? Is he preparing for a 40th anniversary? “Steady, we have only just got back together and are still finding our feet.”

Big Country will top the HebCelt bill on Friday, 18 July. The award-winning festival will also feature headliners Levellers and Donnie Munro as well as leading artists including Cara Dillon, Rachel Sermanni, Duncan Chisholm, Cajun band Magnolia Sisters, from the US, and Canadian outfit Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys.

The festival has its two main stages in the spectacular setting in front of Lews Castle, and this year is introducing an acoustic stage for the first time. There will also be concerts in An Lanntair and in rural parts of Lewis and Harris.

The four-day festival is expected to attract an audience of about 16,000 – double the population of Stornoway – with more than half coming from outside the Hebrides and helping to generate around £1 million for the local economy.

The P&O cruise ship Oriana headed for Stornoway on Wednesday (July 25th) will bring more than 2,500 visitors to swell the town’s population. 1,746 passengers are expected to disembark, most British, but including visitors of 20 other nationalities. The ship also brings 788 crew, many of whom will come ashore during the full-day stop.

They’re part of an adults-only cruise, travelling between Southampton and Rejkjavik in Iceland, and taking advantage of one of the ship’s last British Isles calls before she leaves P&O in August 2019, after 24 years with the fleet.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas was passing Lewis and Harris this morning (Tuesday July 31st) on her way south towards Glasgow.

She was distinctly visible from Point as she headed down the Minch.

Colin, Norman and Colleen's supporters at the quayside see them off

Stornoway open-water swimmer Colin Macleod can see the end of his biggest challenge to date, with the Rubha Reidh lighthouse in his sights as he heads across open sea on the Big Minch Swim.

Colin and his fellow swimmers Norman Todd (Ullapool) and Colleen Blair were forced to postpone their attempt to make history’s first swimmer crossing of the North Minch until today (Sunday July 8th) because of strong south-westerly winds on Saturday. They left Stornoway harbour in the early hours of this morning (Sunday July 8th)  on board a support vessel for a 4.30am start from Lemreway.

A new water treatment works that will serve three small communities in North Harris was safely delivered yesterday (Tuesday July 16th) – by sea, beach and road.

The new Scottish Water plant was loaded on to a specialised barge at Kishorn on Monday, before crossing the Minch and sailing through the Sound of Harris to lie offshore at Huisinis.

Another huge day is expected for the port of Stornoway tomorrow (Thursday July 11th) as one of the biggest ships cruising British waters is scheduled to call into port.

Cunard’s Queen Victoria will be making her maiden visit to the islands, bringing 1,959 passengers and 964 crew for a full day in Lewis and Harris. She’s en route from Reykjavik in Iceland to her home port of Southampton, on a voyage which has already taken in two weeks of fjordland scenery in Norway and around Iceland.

A biker was seriously injured when he came off his motorbike in Harris on Saturday.

The accident happened at Ceann Dibig, just past Direcleit, at around 1.35pm. 

No-one else was involved in the accident, and police are appealing for witnesses.

 


Big-hearted bikers handed over a cheque for well over £5,000 to Action for Children at Stornoway Golf Club on Thursday July 5th.

Departing today Stornoway harbour at 9am today (Wednesday July 11th) and heading north up the Minch was the sleek Archimedes, reportedly worth $100 million and owned by US billionaire businessman and philanthropist James Simons.

It’s not known whether the owner was on board, but a private jet flew passengers into Stornoway airport yesterday (Tuesday).

And the luxury sailing yacht Farfalla came into port this morning.  She’s a 102ft five-star sailing vessel built in 2014 and costing $81,500 per week, plus expenses, to charter. 

The 2017 Blas Festival is coming to Scalpay, Lewis and North Uist for the first time between 1st and 9th September to celebrate the best of Gaelic culture and particular landmarks in the lives of people pivotal to Gaelic culture.

On Friday 1 September in Scalpay, Blas will celebrate Morag MacLeod’s contribution to Gaelic culture with a special 80th birthday Cèilidh featuring her choice of singers and musicians.

Morag received the Hamish Henderson Award for Services to Traditional Music at the Scots Traditional Music Awards in 2007 having had a long career collecting and cataloguing Gaelic songs through her work at the School of Scottish Studies.

Representatives from Stornoway Amenity Trust, Western Isles Lottery and Willowglen Garden Centre at the new flower beds at Manor Roundabout.  All photographs by John Dyer

Stornoway is in full bloom thanks to a project by the Stornoway Amenity Trust.

The Trust, which is a non-profit making organisation, led by a team of volunteers, made it its mission to brighten up the town for the summer.

Recent samples taken at Loch Ordais, South Bragar have indicated the presence of blue-green algae. 

Swallowing the water or algal scum can cause stomach upsets or more serious health effects, warns Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Recent samples taken at Loch nan Ritheanan, Keose have indicated the presence of blue-green algae. 

Swallowing the water or algal scum can cause stomach upsets or more serious health effects.  

Contact with the water or algal scum can cause skin problems.  

Recent samples taken in Loch nan Ritheanan, Keose indicate the presence of blue-green algae.

The Comhairle have advised the public to avoid contact with the algal scum or water close to it.

The man whose body was recovered in Point this morning has been named as Steven Campbell.

Mr Campbell, who was 37, had been reported missing on Monday.

His next of kin have been informed and police say there are no suspicious circumstances.


Peatland in North Lochs is to be restored to its natural state as part of a peatland action project announced yesterday (Sunday July 28th).

Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Water will work together on 11 hectares of damaged and eroding peatland within the Loch Orasaigh drinking water catchment area, which serves the North Lochs Water Treatment Works.
Work will include re-profiling peat hags, blocking drainage ditches and encouraging the stabilisation of vegetation around the edge of the loch.

Fundraising for Bethesda is taking place on football fields and with music events this summer.

There is a charity football event involving Back Football Club and an XI from Ross County on Friday July 26th at the Back Football and Recreation Club ground, starting at 7pm.  There’s a buffet afterwards at the Caladh Inn in Stornoway. 

The Isle of Lewis Gymnastics Club got a welcome boost this summer as six of its volunteer coaches completed coach training.

The coaches gave up days of their Easter and summer breaks to complete Level 1 and Level 2 gymnastics coach training.

On top of the training days and exams, the coaches also put in many hours running regular gymnastics sessions and completing plans and log books.

Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of the UK will be bad for the Islands and for Scotland, say the local MP and MSP 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has reacted to the announcement that Boris Johnson is set to be appointed Prime Minister.

Scottish Ambulance and Coastguard teams were called to Luskentyre beach this morning (Sunday July 7th) after a visitor suffered a broken ankle.

Scottish Ambulance requested Coastguard assistance at 11.15am, after being called to help the 63-year-old woman, who had broken her ankle while walking on the beach.

Lewis swimmer Isla Budge took her place on the medallists’ podium in Gibraltar yesterday evening (Wednesday July 10th), with the fourth medal of the NatWest Island Games for the Western Isles.

With a bronze medal for her powerful race in the women’s 400m freestyle, she joined fellow swimmer Kara Hanlon, who almost immediately topped off her total with a third gold medal, this time in the women’s 100m breaststroke – Mairi Maclennan was 5th in the same race with a new PB.

Lews Castle College UHI reaches another landmark in its history of delivering construction industry-related training this year.

This comes with its recruitment of two new Joinery and Construction lecturers James Maclennan (pictured with retiring Joinery and Construction Lecturer Brian McKelvie) and Mr Calum Mackay.

This comes at a time when the college marks its Sapphire Anniversary.

After a break of several years, the Merseyside-based calendar and guide scammers are calling Western Isles businesses again.

The technique involves claiming that the business being called has already agreed to take part in a special calendar, poster or campaign.  The caller will claim that a conversation took place at some point earlier in the year.

The projects are generally in support of some victim-group - in this morning's case, it was victims of bullying.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has today (Monday July 1st) issued further information in relation to the Redesign of Public Bus Services.

Last week, Members unanimously agreed a Redesign process aimed at protecting front line transport services in partnership with the communities of the Western Isles in the context of Service Redesign.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Late on Saturday night, teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were asked to man a helicopter landing site in Scalpay, to support the evacuation of a sick child from the island. The child was taken by helicopter to Western Isles Hospital, with the Stornoway volunteer team also manning the helicopter landing site in Stornoway in the early hours of Sunday (July 15th).

Coastguard volunteer teams from Griminish and Benbecula were called at 5.10pm on Saturday (July 14th) when a report was called in of a drifting liferaft near Linacleit. The object was found to be a red tent which had blown out to sea, and was classified as a false alarm with good intent.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Late on Saturday night, teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were asked to man a helicopter landing site in Scalpay, to support the evacuation of a sick child from the island. The child was taken by helicopter to Western Isles Hospital, with the Stornoway volunteer team also manning the helicopter landing site in Stornoway in the early hours of Sunday (July 15th).

Coastguard volunteer teams from Griminish and Benbecula were called at 5.10pm on Saturday (July 14th) when a report was called in of a drifting liferaft near Linacleit. The object was found to be a red tent which had blown out to sea, and was classified as a false alarm with good intent.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Late on Saturday night, teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were asked to man a helicopter landing site in Scalpay, to support the evacuation of a sick child from the island. The child was taken by helicopter to Western Isles Hospital, with the Stornoway volunteer team also manning the helicopter landing site in Stornoway in the early hours of Sunday (July 15th).

Coastguard volunteer teams from Griminish and Benbecula were called at 5.10pm on Saturday (July 14th) when a report was called in of a drifting liferaft near Linacleit. The object was found to be a red tent which had blown out to sea, and was classified as a false alarm with good intent.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Late on Saturday night, teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were asked to man a helicopter landing site in Scalpay, to support the evacuation of a sick child from the island. The child was taken by helicopter to Western Isles Hospital, with the Stornoway volunteer team also manning the helicopter landing site in Stornoway in the early hours of Sunday (July 15th).

Coastguard volunteer teams from Griminish and Benbecula were called at 5.10pm on Saturday (July 14th) when a report was called in of a drifting liferaft near Linacleit. The object was found to be a red tent which had blown out to sea, and was classified as a false alarm with good intent.

Stornoway Coastguard Control Centre has had a busy weekend, with more than a dozen jobs calling for resources, including eight on Saturday (July 14th).

Most of the calls for help came from the mainland and Skye, with medical evacuations and vessel breakdowns in a wide area including Fort William, Oban, Portree and Tobermory. The most intensive incident came on Sunday afternoon (July 15th) at 4.40pm when a kayaker was reported missing off Ardmurchan, and teams including two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a number of Coastguard volunteer teams were called in. The kayaker was later found safe and well.

Late on Saturday night, teams from Tarbert and Scalpay were asked to man a helicopter landing site in Scalpay, to support the evacuation of a sick child from the island. The child was taken by helicopter to Western Isles Hospital, with the Stornoway volunteer team also manning the helicopter landing site in Stornoway in the early hours of Sunday (July 15th).

Coastguard volunteer teams from Griminish and Benbecula were called at 5.10pm on Saturday (July 14th) when a report was called in of a drifting liferaft near Linacleit. The object was found to be a red tent which had blown out to sea, and was classified as a false alarm with good intent.

The Western Isles network of Citizens Advice Bureaux has seen a busy year, with increasing need for debt advice and growing problems for people with rent and mortgage arrears.

“The past year has seen a lot of changes, challenges and achievements. In particular the Welfare Reform legislation has led to, as expected, a greater demand on our services," said WICAS Chairman, David Blaney as the organisation prepares for this year’s AGM.

The 31 cyclists who completed the 2019 Butt to Barra charity cycle reached Castlebay in sunshine, after enduring headwinds, heavy rain and thick mist during their three day epic challenge.

When a baby dies, whether it's because of miscarriage, stillbirth, or neo-natal death, a family has very few memories to sustain and comfort them.

The charity SiMBA gently supports families to gather precious memories of the short time their baby was here.

The SiMBA Annual Butterfly Releases form a key part of their support.

Western Isles Citizens Advice Service is setting out today (Monday July 3) on a big effort to make local people aware of the dangers of scams, and how to beat them.

The campaign is the local wing of Scams Awareness Month, being run across the UK by the Citizens Advice service and Trading Standards. It is aimed at everyone and covers all types of scams.

As part of the campaign, the local CAB will be running information and messages on social media.

Almost 4,500 people approached Western Isles CABx for assistance in their last financial year, the organisation's AGM will be told.

“At a time when costs are increasing all around us and with high levels of fuel costs and cuts to welfare benefits for many in our community due to the changes brought about by welfare reform, the valuable service provided by the staff and volunteers in our organisation is all the more important in helping clients maximise their income and find strategies to cope with the increased costs of day-to-day living” said WICAS Chairman, David Blaney as the organisation prepares for this year’s AGM.

The Annual General Meeting will be held in The Shed, 11 Francis Street, Stornoway on Wednesday 17 August 2016 at 6.00 pm. All welcome to attend.

"An amazing £1630.37 was raised by the wonderful Artizan team for their recent cupcake fundraiser," the local Alzheimers Scotland branch has announced.
Pictured above are Caron, Joan, Marie and Eve from the café on Church Street, Stornoway.

It is clear that after more than 35 years playing and teaching around the world Alasdair Fraser is as passionate as ever about the uplifting power of traditional music.

The award-winning Scottish fiddler has earned a string of accolades for his live performances and racked up a number of radio, television and film credits over an illustrious career, which also saw him inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2011.

But he is equally enthusiastic about passing on his skills and runs fiddle schools in Scotland, the US, Spain and Australia which are fully booked each year.

SSE has a monopoly on Total Heating Total Control (THTC) tariffs in the Highlands and Islands, and should be brought to account, according to the Western Isles Poverty Action Group. 

Chairman Angus McCormack has called on Theresa May to intervene and 'address this anomaly with immediate effect'. 

"The Prime Minister has stated that her government is intent on ‘fighting injustices’. The monopoly resting with SSE over THTC in the Western Isles is an injustice that needs addressing now," said Mr McCormack.

Nominations for ‘Health Heroes’ have already been flooding in from across Scotland, and NHS Western Isles is encouraging people in the Western Isles to ensure their top healthcare team or health professional doesn’t miss out on an award.

The Scottish Health Awards 2016 is the most prestigious and recognised awards ceremony for healthcare professionals within Scotland.

The awards reflect that amazing diversity of talent and showcase the dedication and innovation of the people who work tirelessly on our behalf.

During the summer months, the Callanish Visitor Centre is once again open late to deal with the floods of visitors to the Isle of Lewis's major magnet for tourists and visitors from all over the world. 

It is open from 9.30 am to 8pm in the June to August period. 

The advert for the Callanish Visitor Centre in EVENTS newspaper - available throughout Lewis and Harris - was not updated to account for this and the publishers would like to apologise for that.

Find the latest information on http://www.callanishvisitorcentre.co.uk/index.php/our-cafe

 

 

 

Two Lewis ladies are calling on the island’s females to help their sisters in Africa by donating old (but in good condition!) bras and pants.

Inspired by Tisha Stenhouse’s Facebook post drawing attention to the ‘Smalls for All’ charity, Body and Sole owner Iline Murray has offered to hold a drop-in event at the beauty salon on Keith St, Stornoway, next week where people can drop off underwear to be shipped to the charity. 

You can drop off your old bras - as long as they're in okay condition - at the salon any time after 1pm on Wednesday. Anyone who is able to is encouraged to purchase and donate a pack of pants - suitable for girls up to teenage years - to be sent off along with the bras, too.

Established in 2009 by Maria Macnamara, Smalls for All aids health, hygiene and social problems faced by many women in Africa due to the simple fact they do not have underwear.

It’s not just the health and hygiene factors tackled by the charity, but also provides security for many ladies as underwear is often seen as a status symbol – the woman who can afford underwear tend to be seen as having someone (father, husband, brother) who cares for them; they are not seemingly alone and vulnerable.

“So, ladies, dig out all them bras you don’t wear – the quicker this can happen, the quicker these bras will be sent off to all the ladies and children who desperately need them!” urges Tisha

Smalls for All also helps a number of orphanages and is funding the education of seven children in Kenya. And to date the charity has collected 97,778 items of underwear, distributed 75,451, and recycled 10,000 (bad condition) bras.

“It’s a fantastic idea and we’re only too pleased to be able to help,” said Body and Sole’s Iline.

To find out more about the work of Smalls for All, please visit www.smallsforall.org

The call is out for local dancers and actors to take to the stage and audition for Stuart Morrison's pantomime extravaganza 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves'.

The theatrical try-outs take place on Saturday, August 20th, at the Hebrides Dance & Wellbeing Studio at Stornoway Golf Club, and for further information, or to confirm attendance, panto hopefuls are asked to email dance tutor and choreographer Kirstie Anderson at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“We have more interest in the panto every year,” said Kirstie. “The competition is tough but the dancers who are selected have a great time and learn so much working with a professional company.

The Community Fundraiser for Alzheimer Scotland – Lewis & Harris, Karen Macdonald, is holding a 'Young Persons Engagement Day' to celebrate the work of young volunteers.

It is on Monday 17th July from 11am-2pm with the meeting place being Cuddy Point at 10.45am.

It's a very informal session including a treasure hunt organised by Pursuit Hebrides.

Ferry passengers arriving from today (Monday July 16th) to participate in Hebridean Celtic Festival must have a ticket before they arrive at Ullapool, according to an online warning this morning from CalMac.

The ferry company has already published a similar warning on their website for the period from Wednesday July 18th to Sunday, July 22nd, when ferries are expected to be at peak capacity. They’re insisting that even foot passengers must book ahead if they want to travel to or from Stornoway anytime this week.

CalMac Ferries are seeking a new ticketing system for all their services…and are holding a supplier Open Day in Glasgow tomorrow (Thursday August 1) to get the process under way.

The company are calling the project An Turas or Our Journey.

Further strikes across the Caledonian MacBrayne network cannot be ruled out, according to the trade union locked in dispute with the ferry company. 

In a statement to members, the RMT said it had made 'every effort to secure a series of very basic assurances over no compulsory redundancies, staffing levels, conditions of service and pensions, but to no avail'.

General Secretary Mick Cash commented: ""It is fair to say that the talks so far have been difficult and we are concerned that the emphasis seems to be on what can't and won't be done rather that what can be done to solve this dispute, particularly from CalMac.

A resolution has been reached in the industrial dispute at CalMac Ferries Limited and Argyll Ferries Limited, ending the possibility of further strikes, it was announced this evening.
The agreement comes following a fourth day of talks between the Scottish Government, CalMac Ferries Limited and union representatives.
It means the tendering process for the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) contract will proceed, with the Initial Invitation To Tender set to issue on July 31.

Caledonian MacBrayne are not taking any bookings from Wednesday July 8 until Sunday July 12.

In response to a query posted on the EVENTS Facebook page, we contacted the ferry operator to ask why this was, when the industrial action was planned for only one day, Friday July 10.

A spokesman said: "We have to try and shift all the people who have booked for Friday to other sailings. 

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Festivalgoers at Heb Celt 2018 are asking each other “did the earth move for you” after the mighty beat of Niteworks from Skye shook the Castle Green to its pre-Cambrian foundations.

Playing in the Islands Tent, the “Jurassic schploom-schploom” of their beat –  a festival-goer’s comment referencing the Tyrannosaurus footsteps of the film Jurassic Park – made an unforgettable impact on the last evening of Heb Celt 2018.

The sold-out festival has been the most successful event in its 23-year history, say organisers.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) is inviting applications from residents of the rural communities covered by the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) contract to form a Community Board which will have the primary purpose of being a voice of the communities on strategic issues.

Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT) said this evening that it is absolutely delighted all parties have seen sense and resolved the CalMac dispute. 

Local businesses, island communities and indeed our visitors can now breathe a sigh of relief and start to get back to normal, the organisation said in a statement.
 
They went on: "However, we must not forget that this ongoing dispute has already caused financial and reputation damage to this important island tourism economy. 

A proposed Caledonian MacBrayne strike for tomorrow has been called off.

The RMT announced late last night that the government had given an assurance that workers' demands would be looked at.

CalMac are now in the process of reopening their booking system for Friday.

CalMac have a new mobile maintenance team, ready to assist in keeping the vessels operational.  

The engineers and hydraulic specialists have been given campervans to help them travel to where they are needed on CalMac's west coast network.

The new seven-member team will carry out specialised inspections, monitoring and "proactive maintenance" while working with onboard engineering and vessel management teams.

The company said it was part of its effort to find "flexible and effective" ways of meeting challenges in the running of the fleet.

Cameron's Chip Shop has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2016 National Fish and Chip Awards. 

The Stornoway chippy is one of seven to battle it out for the honour of being named Scotland's top fish and chip outlet. 

The winner will go on to contest the UK title in January. 

Going on a camping trip with the family or friends? Got all you need? The Fisherman's Co-op can help with tents, sleeping bags, lanterns and portable stoves. They also have a wide selection of gas canisters, you don't want to run out when the kettle hasn't quite boiled! And don't forget the midge repellent.

Taking a picnic to the beach? Grab a picnic blanket, flasks, mugs, cutlery, or a cool bag to keep your food fresh (or the beer cool). 

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan (second from left, back row) with the Canadian acts 

The 22nd Hebridean Celtic Festival which opens tonight (Wednesday, July 19th) will strengthen the musical and cultural bonds between the islands and Canada.
A group of visiting artists from New Brunswick arrived off the ferry to Stornoway last night to start a visit to enhance traditional ties during the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
The confederation was the process by which the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into one Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. Many of the early Canadian settlers emigrated from Scotland, including the Hebrides, and that heritage is still celebrated in songs on both sides of the Atlantic.

Stornoway Police have confirmed that two young men currently knocking on doors in Stornoway and claiming to be representing a cancer charity, are genuine.

A report was made to police yesterday afternoon from a suspicious member of the public.

Police questioned the two men, and confirmed today that they are bona-fide representatives of the cancer charity.

 

 

The Postman’s Walk must have been a lonely walk for postmen like Kenny Mackay, the former Rhenigidale Postman. 

But on the 29th June 81 people did the same walk together in aid of Cancer Research in an event organised by the Isle of Lewis Cancer Research Committee.

An urgent resolution on how chemotherapy medication is transported to the Western Isles is needed, says Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan, after it was revealed that the current method of air transportation could cease.

Presently, chemotherapy medication is delivered to NHS Western Isles via an air freight service between Inverness and Stornoway.

The UK's leading Captain Jack Sparrow lookalike is in Stornoway for the next few days.

The much-loved pirate will be in town along with his custom-built 'Beach'd Pearl' motorbike, designed to look like a pirate ship. 

He has been booked by Sabine Weiten, Managing Director of the Hebridean Tea Store.

Perceval Square car park will be closed from 6pm on Friday 2nd August until 6pm on Saturday 3rd August to make way for the Lewis Carnival. 

The Lewis Carnival Committee asks that ALL vehicles be removed before this time. 

Perceval Square car park will be closed from 6pm on Friday 2nd August until 6pm on Saturday 3rd August to make way for the Lewis Carnival. 

The Lewis Carnival Committee asks that ALL vehicles be removed before this time. 

There is considerable confusion at Stornoway Airport about the operation of the new parking charges.

Welovestornoway.com went down to the airport yesterday afternoon (Friday) to see for ourselves.

Among other things we saw:

  • A driver searching for the ticket from the new ticket machine entering the car park…but the machine is exposed and the ticket had been blown away in the wind.
  • Drivers confused by the lack of detailed signage when you approach the new turning to the car park, so people did not know whether to go there for drop-offs, and blocked the entrance while trying to decide
  • Drivers confused about paying because there is no signage at all to point out that the first two hours of parking are free

Services for older people in the Western Isles have greatly improved, according to a new repport.

A Care Inspectorate progress review of services for older people in the Western Isles, undertaken in May 2018, indicated that the Western Isles Partnership had delivered “an impressive amount of improvement” since the inspection team last visited in 2015.

In particular, the report highlights the benefits of a modernised homecare service, the introduction of a more coordinated approach to managing discharge from hospital and more robust community engagement structures.

Bunting purchased by the Lewis Carnival Committee is currently being put up around Stornoway by Hebrides Alpha.

With a combination of funds raised by previous carnivals, money donated by the Stornoway Councillors, and a donation from the Stornoway Amenity Trust, the Lewis Carnival Committee were able to purchase the bunting to decorate the town for the next three weeks - for the Hebridean Celtic Festival and Carnival Week.

Hebrides Alpha offered their time and equipment as a donation to the cause.  

Fingers crossed the bunting is strong enough to survive the wind so it can be used for years to come! 

The Lewis Carnival is currently seeking volunteers. The Lewis Carnival Committee says: "Please, if you can spare even an hour or two on the day, let us know!" 

The small group of volunteers has worked for months to make sure that the beloved event can go ahead, but it cannot take place without the required number of volunteers on the day. 

The Lewis Carnival takes place 11am-5pm on Saturday August 3rd - volunteers are also needed to set up and clear away.  

Get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01851 705743 and ask for Melissa, if you can help! 

The Lewis Carnival is currently seeking volunteers. The Lewis Carnival Committee says: "Please, if you can spare even an hour or two on the day, let us know!" 

The small group of volunteers has worked for months to make sure that the beloved event can go ahead, but it cannot take place without the required number of volunteers on the day. 

The Lewis Carnival takes place 11am-5pm on Saturday August 3rd - volunteers are also needed to set up and clear away.  

Get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01851 705743 and ask for Melissa, if you can help! 

The Lewis Carnival is calling out for anyone who can spare anything from an hour to a full day on Saturday 6th August. 

Carnival chairperson, Janet MacDonald said: "Without the help of volunteers, the Lewis Carnival cannot happen."

If you can volunteer for even an hour or two on the day, please get in touch, by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phoning 705749. 

Four cars on Plantation Road, Stornoway, were badly damaged around lunchtime on Saturday (July 7th).

Police received reports that the cars, which were all parked on the road, had been deliberately damaged, leaving deep scratches in their bodywork.

It’s believed the damage was caused in the late morning or early afternoon, and anyone who saw or heard anything is asked to call the non-emergency number, 101.

Cèilidh Trail music today…in Shawbost, at the Callanish Visitor centre, and at Doune Braes Hotel.

The worlds of art and architecture came together in Stornoway this afternoon, at a celebration of the ‘Building Our Islands’ initiative.

Building Our Islands is a project for everyone in the Outer Hebrides to learn about and engage with their built environment through workshops, illuminations, art and photography.

Hailyu Zhang

East is meeting west this week as a Chinese journalist takes in HebCelt as part of a visit to the Outer Hebrides to explore the Celtic culture.

Hailyu Zhang, who works in Beijing and his home town of Kunming, writes on travel and cultural issues and is a regular visitor to film and music festivals around the world.

BBC Radio nan Gaidheal’s pipe music programme Crunluath on Thursday 2ndAugust and Thursday 9th August will feature players who took part in the piping concert at this year’s Ceòlas festival in South Uist.

Presenter Catriona MacNeill will introduce sets from Seonaidh MacIntyre, Kenneth Mackenzie and Fin Moore as well as talented local youngsters who entertained a large and enthusiastic audience in St Peter’s Hall, Daliburgh.

The Naming Ceremony and Service of Dedication for the new Shannon Class Lifeboat of Leverburgh RNLI takes place on Saturday, July 14th at Leverburgh harbour.

The Lifeboat, RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley will officially be handed over to the station by a representative of the Berkeley family, the main donor for the boat.

MP Angus MacNeil is urging island organisations to apply for the chance to have a 3G phone signal in the heart of their community.
Vodafone UK yesterday (Thursday) launched a new scheme to bring 3G mobile coverage to areas currently with a weak signal.

The Community Indoor Sure Signal (CISS) programme, which will be open to up to 100 rural community hubs, builds on the success of Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) which provides 3G mobile coverage to almost 100 rural communities including Tarbert and Castlebay.

Mr MacNeil said: “I would urge any groups or businesses in Na h-Eileanan an Iar to submit an application.
“I was delighted to support communities in Tarbert and Castlebay to benefit from the previous Vodafone programme and the service provided from that is of great value to those living and visiting those areas.”

There's a chance today to have expert assistance and guidance to progress with preserving and interpreting the ancient church of St Columba at Ui on Point. 

There's a display inside the church in a specially designed tent originally used for a wedding held on the premises.

There’s been a change of team at Stornoway’s Comunn na Gaidhlig office this week as director of development Calum Iain Macleod retires after 11 years.

Calum Iain has held a national remit from the Stornoway office of CnaG since March 2007.

Leaving the Hub in Willowglen around lunchtime today…more than 30 cyclists (not all pictured) heading for Tarbert, Balivanich and Castlebay over the next three nights.

The group were aiming to raise £10,000 for charities - and have already passed £11,500 in total.

The parents of aid worker Linda Norgrove have found a novel way of raising funds for the charity they established in their daughter’s memory.

Having spent years transforming a derelict byre into an upmarket holiday cottage for rent, they plan to use the income to cover the running costs of the Linda Norgrove Foundation, ensuring all money donated by supporters goes straight to projects in Afghanistan.

Ensuring you have the right footwear is usually essential for any charity walking event. 

Not so for the 'To Walk a Mile in My Shoes' fundraiser, which takes place in Stornoway on Friday July 24.

The inaugural event of the local branch of the Samaritans is being organised by Eilidh Thompson. 

It is wet. I am cold.  This is the last night of the 20th Hebridean Celtic Festival.  Going on your own…not that much fun, even though this is an assignment.  The Big Tent is empty…tuning and testing.
So…let's try the second tent…and there I find Chastity Brown, with electric guitarist Luke Enyeart and percussionist Greg Shutte.

 

 A Lewis chessman bought at a 1960s antique sale for £5 was today (Tuesday July 2nd) sold for £735,000 at the prestigious Sotheby’s auction house in London. The price set a new auction record for a medieval chess piece.

Sotheby’s threw their weight behind a marketing campaign to help sell the piece when it was listed for today’s sale. A video, which can be viewed here, borrows TV drama production values to inspire excitement, and the piece was displayed at Sotheby’s Edinburgh offices for a day before being taken down to London, where it has also been on display for the past week.

On Friday 8 July 2016, Board Members, staff, family and friends gathered in the Park Guest House in Stornoway to mark the retirement of Angus Lamont as Chief Executive of HHP.

Angus was one of the longest serving Chief Housing Officers in Scotland with a career spanning 34 years, with 30 of these within the Western Isles. 

The multi-million-selling singer songwriter KT Tunstall led the praise for the 24th Hebridean Celtic Festival which ended at the weekend after another highly successful four-day event.

KT, one of this year’s headliners, returned to HebCelt for the first time since 2011.  During her visit she lauded the festival for being at the forefront of environmentally-conscious efforts and also for ensuring gender balance on stage.

A special concert will be taking place in Stornoway to raise funds for the repairs to the St Columba's Church stained glass windows.

Chrisetta and Willie Mitchell, from Point, were at the Palace of Westminster on Thursday July 5th as Chrisetta received her British Citizen Award for the work she does with the Leanne Fund. The award recognises individuals who do extraordinary things in their local community, and is run by a committee including patron Sarah, Duchess of York.

The Leanne Fund was founded in 2009 in memory of Chrisetta and Willie’s daughter Leanne, who died from Cystic Fibrosis when she was 21 years old.

Almost £1 million in Government funding will be spent cutting deaths in fishing which is the UK’s most dangerous industry, it was announced yesterday afternoon (Wednesday July 3).

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani announced during a meeting with safety experts and coastal MPs that an additional £700,000 will be provided to give more fishermen potentially lifesaving training.

 Despite the weather, the Classic Car show and family fun day in Bragar went ahead on Saturday afternoon…although the numbers of cars attending was reduced.

Job Vacancy at Bayhead Bridge Centre

Cleaner required

Permanent contract
20 hours a week
Monday to Friday mornings generally

Application forms available from the office or by phoning (01851) 705808 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Closing date Friday 20th of July

 

The rapid rise in the number of apprenticeships across the Islands is one of the success stories of Community Learning and Development within Comhairle nan Eilean Siar on Lewis and Harris, says HM Inspector Alona Murray in a report issued yesterday (Monday July 23rd).

Community Learning and Development (CLD) partners within Comhairle nan Eilean Siar across Lewis and Harris were inspected by Education Scotland during May and June this year.

Education Scotland staff talked to children, young people, adults and community organisations. They worked closely with local CLD managers, CLD providers, partners, paid staff and volunteers.

A near £30,000 boost to charities on the Isle of Lewis every year is anticipated, as the Co-operative stores in Stornoway gear up to introduce a host of new benefits for members and their communities.
Nationally the Co-operative is set to hand back more than £100 million a year to its members and communities with the launch of the new membership benefits scheme which will see members receive a five percent reward on any purchases they make of Co-op own brand products and services – and a further one percent directly benefiting local causes.
“It's been estimated that around £27,500 will be shared among three local charities in the first year,” said Steven Cooper, manager of Stornoway's Macaulay Road Co-op store.

Coastguard officers from three Western Isles teams were presented with long-service medals for their role as volunteer officers within local coastguard teams on Thursday (July 5th).

Lewis singer/songwriter Colin Macleod will this September embark on a 14 date UK tour which will take him from Orkney to London.

The tour will include two performances in the Western isles at the Woodlands Centre, Stornoway on Thursday 13 September and at the Westford Inn, North Uist on Friday 14 September.

Exciting times - Colin Macleod will tour the UK and the US later in the year

Iron Maiden, Blink-182, Jamiroquai and Janet Jackson are just some of the massive names tied to record label BMG – and now Colin Macleod has joined their ranks.

Labelled under ‘C. Macleod’, the Swordale native has signed a three-album deal with BMG, and plays a special London show tonight (Wednesday) to celebrate the news.

“I have the first album written - it’s called ‘Bloodlines’,” Colin told www.welovestornoway.com

Lews Castle College UHI is holding a series of Taster sessions during its Open Day on Wednesday, August 16.

The purpose of the Open Day and Tasters is to provide people with the opportunity to find out more about the college, about UHI and also the many opportunities available locally through Lews Castle College UHI from August 2017.

“We are conscious that the college and UHI’s main priority is provide people in our community with the opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge locally, and by doing this we can support local businesses and the local economy with an improved skills base, “ said Mr Iain Macmillan, Principal Lews Castle College UHI.

 Steven Munro, Kirsty Baird and Karen Pickard of Lewis Sports Centre with Callum Ian Macmillan, Lews Castle College.

Finding your ideal way to get fit has just become easier with the publication of the updated Lewis and Harris Sports & Leisure Directory – listing all the sports and recreation clubs, and their contact details, available on the islands.

The publication of the glossy 16-page Directory came about following a need identified by the Lewis and Harris Sports Council, and was sponsored by Lews Castle College UHI.

A former hairdressing salon in central Stornoway is becoming a pop-up shop for Lews Castle College this week.

A spokesperson said: "This year we are going to be enjoying the buzz during the Hebridean Celtic Festival and having a 'pop-up' shop at 79 Kenneth Street."  This was formerly used by Tangles hair salon and is close to the junction with Bayhead, within sight of the Festival ground.

"If you are passing by 'pop' in and say hello to our lecturers and staff and find out what we have to offer at Lews Castle College UHI. Al Ross a student at LCC UHI will be there to share his knowledge of local archaeology and Donna Macdonald (The Mane Effect), a former hairdressing student, will be running a Blow Dry Bar."

The aim is not really to be "selling" anything. It's more of a shopfront to provide more information about courses available the Lews Castle College.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has today called for negotiations between both sides, before further strike action is taken by Caledonian MacBrayne. 

The council's rallying call comes after Outer Hebrides Tourism demanded compensation for businesses and travellers who had lost out through the industrial action, and the threat of it.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is to write to OFGEM to seek clarity on reduced SSE tariffs which appear to no longer be available.

Comhairle Leader, Cllr Angus Campbell, said: “Week beginning 6th July, SSE made some new tariffs available, one of which was to charge 10.878p per kwh, a significant reduction on the existing standard tariff from SSE (15.61p). 

On further inspection, we were informed that SSE had introduced another new tariff; a one year fixed price Total Heating Total Control (THTC) tariff – 7.27p heat and 14.42p standard inc VAT – significantly lower than the current tariff. 

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is seeking an early meeting with the new Secretary of State for Business and Energy, Greg Clark MP.

Comhairle Leader, Cllr Angus Campbell said: “There are many issues which we would like to discuss, not least how best to realise the vast renewable opportunities we have here in the Western Isles and the need for a new interconnector.

The Crofting Commission is encouraging crofters to plan for the future and put in place a croft succession plan for when they are no longer able to work their croft and comply with their duties.

All crofters, both tenant and owner-occupiers, are required to comply with a number of statutory duties relating to residency and management of their crofts.

Vice Convener of the Crofting Commission I G MacDonald highlighted the importance of a croft succession plan.

A Lewis community trust is to receive almost £2 million from a windfarm that is NOT going to be built.

As a goodwill gesture, energy giant ENGIE will pay out £1.92 million to the Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust, despite pulling out of plans to build a 130 MW windfarm on Eishken last year. 

Uncertaintly about the delivery of a £800 interconnecter cable eventually put paid to the firm's development plans. 

Friday 5th August 2016

7.30pm

Stornoway Town Hall

Preacher: Rev James Maciver, Stornoway

Chairman: Rev Dr Iain D Campbell

Traditional Gaelic precenting arranged by Mr Calum Martin

Collection taken for expenses and for Bethesda Hospice

Today welovestornoway.com launches its new Community Info page to try to meet the growing demand for quality detailed advertising aimed at the local community.

We welcome advertising from all organisations across the Islands and beyond aiming to provide services to those on the Islands.

One of the first two items involves Tighean Innse Gall which is piloting the first of its Rent to Buy schemes in the Western Isles this August.

Residents from the Goathill and Springfield roads area of Stornoway gathered in force last night (Thursday July 11th) to celebrate the contributions to community life made by local residents.

Bella and the Bear like telling fairy stories and the past year has seen them acting out their fantasy.

Formed in 2014, their first EP ‘Once Upon a Time’ was released in April to critical acclaim and they have supported Scottish rap outfit Hector Bizerk who have become champions of their music.

Next week the duo perform at their first festival, having secured a prestigious stage slot at the 20th anniversary Hebridean Celtic Festival in Stornoway via success in the annual CalMac Culture Music contest.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has raised concerns over proposals to cease the blood collection services at Stornoway and Campbeltown and to reduce services at Lochgilphead.

In a review on rural service provision, the Scottish National Blood Tranfusion Service will no longer make visits to Stornoway or Campbeltown due to logistical issues and will reduce its number of visits to Lochgilphead from twice a year to once a year.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has expressed his concern at physiotherapy provision in the Western Isles, following representations made to him from concerned parents.

A large number of frustrated parents and carers attended a Paediatric Physiotherapy Event at the Caberfeidh Hotel to discuss the issue with NHS Western Isles and the Integrated Joint Board. 

Bosch cordless drill

14.4 volt with 2 batteries and charger

In good working order

Surplus to requirement

£25

tel/text: 077 867 702 67

 

 

Point and Sandwick Trust, in collaboration with a number of industry partners (Wood, Siemens-Gamesa, Engie, ITM, CMAL, Johnston Carmichael and Ferguson Marine) have published a feasibility study to assess the suitability of using hydrogen produced from local wind farms to power future ferry services operating in the Western Isles and West Coast of Scotland.

Of the nine routes analysed, the highest-scoring route using a small ferry on a short crossing was from Barra to Eriskay and the highest scoring route using a large ferry on a long crossing was from  Stornoway to Ullapool.

Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar has been fined and told to improve its health and safety practices after a boy suffered chemical burns while playing on the pier at Valtos last summer.

A spokesman for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said: “"The Comhairle pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and promptly investigated the incident and reported it to the Health and Safety Executive. 

A COUNCILLOR who failed to register his interests in a company has been sanctioned by Scotland’s ethics watchdog.

Councillor Finlay Cunningham, an independent member for Na Hearadh agus Ceann A Deas nan Loch on Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, has been censured by the Standards Commission for Scotland (SCS) for not notifying the council of his 33% stake in a company, JRFC Properties, which he shares with two family members.

A three-strong panel of SCS members formally reprimanded Councillor Cunningham at a Public Hearing in Edinburgh on Tuesday 3rd July.

 
With just a month to go until the Harris Tweed Hebrides Tattoo in Stornoway, preparations for the two day musical extravaganza are in full swing.
The event, organised by the Stornoway Amenity Trust, will take place on August 8th and 9th and will feature eight pipebands including six time world champions the Simon Fraser University Pipeband (SFU) from Vancouver.
The Friday evening Tattoo on Lews Castle Green will feature the pipebands as well as a Drum Major display team from the International School of Scottish Drum Majors led by Billy Jordan of Scottish Power Pipe Band. There will also be performances by local dancers, horse displays, the arrival of the Vikings from Shetland and a spectacular fireworks finale.
This will be followed by a Grand Concert in Lewis Sports on the Saturday featuring SFU, North Uist singer Julie Fowlis, The Lochies, Sambayabamba and many more.
Tickets are already selling fast and more than half of the tickets for the Grand Concert have already been snapped up.
The Tattoo is part of the Scottish Year of Homecoming programme and received funding for the event as well as the PWF Callanish Stones Marathon and the Hebridean Celtic Festival.
Local children are also being asked to play a part in this summer’s Tattoo and the Trust are organising a Primary School Fancy Dress Competition for individuals and schools entries.
The individual competition is open to any primary school pupil in the Western Isles and £50 will be awarded to the winner; £25 for 2nd place and £10 for third.
A School Competition will also be held and the Tatù Innse Gall Fancy Dress Shield will be awarded to the best collective entry of at least ten fancy dressed pupils from a Western Isles Primary School.
Special school art boards are currently on display around Stornoway town centre celebrating the staging of the Tattoo.
 

Tickets are on sale in Stornoway Tourist Information Centre or online.
 
Polo shirts listing all the acts at this year’s Tattoo will be available at the end of this month in the Harris Tweed Hebrides shop in Stornoway and also at the event in August.
 

Tattoo on Lews Castle Green - August 8th, 7:30pm

Simon Fraser University Pipe Band
Northern Constabulary Community Pipe Band 
Lewis Pipe Band 
Isle of Skye Pipe Band 
Uist Pipe Band 
Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band 
Strathaven and District Pipe Band 
Ullapool and District Pipe Band 
Drum Major Display led by Drum Major of Scottish Power Pipe Band 

Lynn Maclean Dancers
Sharon Mackinnon Dancers 
Barr a' Dannsa
Uist and Barra dancers
Claire Wilson dancers

Isle Dance

Sambayabamba
Pony and Riding Club display
Shetland Vikings 
Gaelic choirs
Firework display

Grand Concert in Lewis Sports Centre on 9th August 

Simon Fraser University Pipe Band in concert
Julie Fowlis and band
The Lochies
Sambayabamba
Dannsa Rathaid
Gaelic choirs

Isle Dance

 

Barra a'Dannsa

A couple from Nottinghamshire have completed the project of a lifetime in Harris.

80-year-old Peter and 79-year-old Pat Dixon have spent the last 40 years visiting the 708 villages listed in the Reader’s Digest Book of British Villages.

Peter told welovestornoway.com: “We bought the book from a book club and went to visit a village that was quite near to where we lived.

A couple from Nottinghamshire have completed the project of a lifetime in Harris.

80-year-old Peter and 79-year-old Pat Dixon have spent the last 40 years visiting the 708 villages listed in the Reader’s Digest Book of British Villages.

Peter told welovestornoway.com: “We bought the book from a book club and went to visit a village that was quite near to where we lived.

Traffic heading out of Stornoway towards Back and Barvas may expect delays as the road remains one-way only past the scene of a traffic accident this morning (Friday July 26th).  Around midday, traffic queues had backed as far as the Manor roundabout. 

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus B MacNeil is writing to the UK Government’s Minister of State for Immigration, Brandon Lewis MP calling on him to step in to help the West Coast fishing industry as they struggle with a shortage of crew and to meet with fishing representatives.

In March, Mr MacNeil hit out at the Home Office for failing to consider reintroducing a scheme which would allow non-European Economic Area workers to work in the industry.

CalMac is struggling to put together a service for passengers leaving or arriving on Barra this week, after the MV Isle of Lewis was shipped off to Clydeside for urgent repairs.

The timetable between Castlebay and Oban has been patchy over past days, with technical problems on the ageing ferry scrambling the timetable.

A crofting law expert has called for a ‘focused and detailed investigation’ into how and why the Crofting Commission handled the Mangersta situation in the manner that they did.

Brian Inkster, of Inkster Solicitors, welcomed the Commission’s U-turn on their stance in respect of Mangersta Common Grazings.

They no longer appear to be insisting that funds held by the grazings committee must be paid out to individual shareholders, the grazings constable has stepped down and the shareholders are free to appoint a new committee.

Melissa Proverbs is in one of the final - and one of the most crucial - stages of her all-natural bath and body product business, and she’s looking for some help from local people and businesses - within the next 26 days - to get everything up-and-running. 

Since last year, she has completed two diplomas, which gave her insight into how to make cosmetic products safely, and, with a chronic illness leaving her unfit to work set hours, she hopes to make this business into a career that she can cater to her own capabilities, whilst providing something valuable to people, both locally and further afield.

She hopes the products - made out of only the finest, unrefined ingredients - will be an appealing alternative to the often junk-filled lotions and potions that you can find on the shelves. 

Says Melissa: “There is a great call these days for natural and organic cosmetics and bath products, but I feel there is a lack of transparency in the way they are marketed.

I aim to provide luxury products that are designed to pamper and work with you using ingredients that are carefully selected from all over the world, and blended to perfection.

I only use the greenest and lowest in terms of sensitivity and toxicity, and I am forever researching for newer, more natural alternatives.”

She has invested her own money in the business over the last year to grow it as much as she can, but she needs a little help to go further: 

“I am now at the stage where my products require testing by an accredited laboratory, which is the main expense I face. After this, I will require labels with more design input, more packaging (outer) and marketing. I do fully intend to keep on financing my project, but due to my financial situation it means I have to do it in stages, which prolongs the development of it.”

She’s looking to raise £3500: “People can pledge as little as a pound, and it works by you having 30 days to reach or exceed the target. If you don’t [reach the target] nobody gets charged a penny, and nothing gets taken until the 8th August if I do reach it. There is a reward for those who pledge £20 or more - I will send a selection of samples once I have have launched and they have been tested. I will also personally send my thanks to anyone who pledges anything at all.”

To read more, or to back this project, click here.

Fish of the week at Harbour Seafoods: well this week it's crustacean and mollusc of the week with fresh lobster and mussels!

Locally grown mussels and lobster caught off the Hebridean coast, we are spoilt up here with the best seafood - what more could you want on a summer's evening with a glass of crisp, cool white wine to wash it down.

Dougie Maclean (Photo: Josh Cameron)

Organisers of the 22nd Hebridean Celtic Festival are celebrating another resounding success for the four-day event which has delivered lasting positive economic and cultural impact for its host community.
Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: “Our 22nd festival was a great success. The beautiful weather added to the wonderful atmosphere in and around the arena and the feedback from the artists, audience and traders has been extremely positive, demonstrating the enormous benefit to the community the festival undoubtedly brings.
“It is a relaxed, chilled out occasion and, with the kids running around enjoying themselves too, it provides a superb family experience.

A new network of cycle trails could be created across the Outer Hebrides.

Jonny Murray and Jan Schouten from cyclist-transport provider HebShuttle have created Hebridean X Trails to ensure that the Outer Hebrides can take full advantage of growth in cyclocross and mountain biking activities.

Cyclocross and mountain-biking contribute significantly to Scottish tourism numbers and Scotland is recognised as being among the best destinations in the world for both.

Organisers of the 2019 Butt to Barra charity cycle have made a plea for care from drivers, over the three days of their annual epic cycle the length of the Western Isles.

A group of 32 cyclists will set off from the Butt of Lewis lighthouse at 8am tomorrow (Wednesday July 10th), heading for the pier in Castlebay, Barra over a three-day cycle. The 175-mile route is split down into sections, with dedicated rest and overnight stops, and is all on main roads – hence the plea for driver patience.

Organisers of the 2019 Butt to Barra charity cycle have made a plea for care from drivers, over the three days of their annual epic cycle the length of the Western Isles.

A group of 32 cyclists will set off from the Butt of Lewis lighthouse at 8am tomorrow (Wednesday July 10th), heading for the pier in Castlebay, Barra over a three-day cycle. The 175-mile route is split down into sections, with dedicated rest and overnight stops, and is all on main roads – hence the plea for driver patience.


The Butt to Barra charity cyclists are battling the odds today (Thursday July 11th) on the second and longest day of their top-to-bottom challenge.

Thirty cyclists left the Butt of Lewis lighthouse yesterday morning, with cloudy conditions failing to dampen spirits for day one. Led off by Hector Mackay, the posse stopped for a break at Barvas filling station and Alistair Glover of Bespoke Bicycles helped make some minor adjustments before setting off again for Stornoway at lunchtime.

Top holiday website skyskanner.net has listed Dalmore beach as eighth on its list of top UK beaches. 

The website says: "One half of Lewis and Harris, the largest island in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, the Isle of Lewis is home to plenty of wildlife, including golden eagles and red deer.  Being an island that’s battered by the North Atlantic, there are also tons of sweet surf spots catering for all levels, including Dalmor and Dalbeag Beaches.   You might want to pack a pretty thick wetsuit though as these waters get pretty nippy!"

Check out the full list here.

 


Highland dancers from all over Scotland are heading for Lewis this weekend, as the biggest ever Hebridean Celtic Dance Festival kicks off on Saturday (July 20th).

Hosted by the Lynn Maclean School of Dancing, the annual event has been drawn into the HebCelt fringe programme and has attracted the highest number of entries since it began in 2012.

Daniel Macalpine, pictured with his mother Ruth, has already signed up at Stornoway Library to be a Mischief Maker.

Libraries in the Western Isles are calling for children to sign up to read six books this summer as part of Mischief Makers, the Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge Scotland 2018. 

Tributes are being paid to Donald Macdonald, the former Harris councillor, who passed away suddenly yesterday (Sunday).

Mr Macdonald, from Scalpay, was 68 years old.

Elected to the Comhairle in 1990, serving until 2007, Mr Macdonald was councillor for the Scalpay, Bays, and Harris East electoral wards.

The Sound of Harris ferry is being delayed by sea fog today (Thursday July 11th).

CalMac earlier warned that the 10.25am from Berneray and 11.40am from Leverburgh would be running late, because of slow passage on the early morning crossings, caused by poor visibility.

The Sound of Harris ferry is being delayed by sea fog today (Thursday July 11th).

CalMac earlier warned that the 10.25am from Berneray and 11.40am from Leverburgh would be running late, because of slow passage on the early morning crossings, caused by poor visibility.

The Leanne Fund Committee dipped a toe at Bayble Beach to kick off the fundraising challenge

Summer is here and The Leanne Fund are asking those out and about to take a dip and help raise funds to support those with Cystic Fibrosis (CF).

The Leanne Fund committee kicked off the challenge last week with a paddle on Bayble Beach, Isle of Lewis.

And it couldn't be easier to support the charity by dipping a toe in the water.

Creelmen from Lewis and Harris who are among the first to receive the personal distress beacons.  Front row left is Norma Macleod, widow of Iain Mervyn Macleod. Centre is Duncan Macinnes, training manager with Western Isles Fisheries Training Association Front right is Amy Macleod, Iain Mervyn's daughter
 
A group of Western Isles creel fishermen are being issued with free lifesaving distress alarms thanks to local fundraising efforts in memory of a colleague, Iain Mervyn Macleod.

Mr Macleod drowned, aged 44, in a tragic accident in the sea at Great Bernera, off Lewis, in 2013. 

The family set up a fundraising campaign called Motivated by Mervyn in his memory and embarked on events such as a 5K run, ceilidhs and café nights to generate money. 

The main focus is to help supply fishermen with safety equipment.

In the first distribution round, some 32 satellite-activated distress personal locator beacons (PLB) are being donated to shellfish fishermen in Lewis and Harris who work at sea on their own.

Creelmen from Lewis and Harris who are among the first to receive the personal distress beacons.  Front row left is Norma Macleod, widow of Iain Mervyn Macleod. Centre is Duncan Macinnes, training manager with Western Isles Fisheries Training Association Front right is Amy Macleod, Iain Mervyn's daughter
 
 A group of Western Isles creel fishermen are being issued with free lifesaving distress alarms thanks to local fundraising efforts in memory of a colleague, Iain Mervyn Macleod.
 Mr Macleod drowned, aged 44, in a tragic accident in the sea at Great Bernera, off Lewis, in 2013.  The family set up a fundraising campaign called Motivated by Mervyn in his memory and embarked on events such as a 5K run, ceilidhs and café nights to generate money.  The main focus is to help supply fishermen with safety equipment.
In the first distribution round, some 32 satellite-activated distress personal locator beacons (PLB) are being donated to shellfish fishermen in Lewis and Harris who work at sea on their own.

With so much happening around Stornoway this week don’t forget the Stornoway RNLI Open Day this Saturday (July 22nd)!
Open Day Saturday kicks off with the Stornoway Lifeboat Family 5K Fundraiser, organised by Steven Munro from Lewis Sports Centre and sponsored by Stornoway Round Table – and there’s a prize awarded for ‘Family with the Most Members’ to complete the 5K course, from Stornoway RNLI Station, across the YM Bridge into Lews Castle Grounds, passed the Castle and out to Sober Island then back again.
The Family 5K starts at 11am – with registration open from 10am – and entry is £5 for adults, £2 for secondary pupils, and £1 for primary pupils. Please note, all primary aged children must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all time.


The Bernera boyhood of Donald Macleod is to be celebrated with the launch of a new bilingual book from Stornoway publishers Acair next month.

Eadar Dà Shaoghal: Between Two Worlds is based on Donald’s successful Radio nan Gaidheal series of the same name, vividly portraying the sights, sounds and emotions of his boyhood on the Isle of Bernera, Lewis.

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A new exhibition opened at Morven Gallery on Saturday July 28th.

The main display area shows work by Margaret Stevenson, of Gallery 5, Tolsta Chaolais, in an exhibition which is called ‘Sunlight and Shadows’.

In the gallery area through beyond the cafe area is Donald Libby’s first exhibition of his seafront buildings.

Police are appealing for information from anyone who was out and about on Westview Terrace in the early hours of this morning (Monday July 30th), after a glass door panel was smashed.

The pane of glass was broken in the front door of a house, sometime after 12.30am today. The resident reported the incident to police, but saw and heard nothing and could not say exactly when it took place.

Police are asking anyone who may have been around the area and seen anyone acting suspiciously to contact them on the non-emergency number, 101.

 Donald Martin and Matt Bruce with Foyer service users, staff and committee members. 

Western Isles Foyer, the charity which supports homeless and other vulnerable young people in the islands, is celebrating a double recognition – the award of Investors in Young People status and a very good report from the Care Inspectorate.

To mark the occasion, Foyer hosted a tea party in the sun at their premises in Bayhead, Stornoway, for all of their service users, staff and committee members. 

The Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles, Donald Martin, attended the event to present the Investors in Young People award to Foyer, and was full of praise for the work they do with young people aged 16 to 26. 

It’s typical of Dougie MacLean that, when one door temporarily closes, he finds the keys to two other openings.

The time he - with wife Jenny – would normally spend on preparing for the annual Perthshire Amber Festival of which she is director but which they have shelved this year after 12 successful events, will instead be used to put the finishing touches to a new CD and continuing to work on the songs and script for a musical.

That’s in addition to his ongoing writing and touring, as well as recording programmes on his own TV station for his legions of fans around the world.

A man has been disqualified from driving after police found him to be driving with alcohol in his system in the early hours of last Wednesday (July 10th)

The 54-year-old was stopped while driving in Bunavonader at 4.05am on Wednesday, and appeared in court from custody the same day. He pled guilty and was handed the ban on the spot.

A crackdown on driver behaviour around the Isle of Lewis led to 44 drivers being fined or reported for road traffic offences over the weekend.

The Road Traffic Policing unit from Dingwall was in action between Friday July 19th and Sunday July 21st as part of the continuing Operation Cedar, aimed at improving safety on the roads in the Highlands and Islands.

Two homes in Stornoway were searched for drugs between Tuesday and Thursday this week (July 10th to 12th) after police were issued with warrants to carry out the searches.

Officers found a quantity of possible illegal or controlled substances at both addresses and these have been sent for testing.

If the items found test positive, reports will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

From busking in the streets of Dublin, to recording songs for a new album in Nashville, Hudson Taylor are constantly revising their career goals.

On the way, the brothers Alfie and Harry Hudson-Taylor have also earned a growing reputation and following, played some major festivals, including Glastonbury and Cambridge and supported acts including Jake Bugg, Hozier and Kodaline.

More than 70 walkers will pound the pavements from Dusk till Dawn on the Isle of Lewis this Friday night to complete an epic 50k challenge in aid of The Leanne Fund.

The first Dusk2Dawn event took place in 2014 and raised more than £13,000 for the charity which supports those affected by Cystic Fibrosis and their families.

The team will set off from Perceval Square at 8pm and the route will take them through Lews Castle Grounds; around Newvalley, Laxdale and Benside; back on to the streets of Stornoway before heading out to Point taking them through Upper & Lower Bayble; before ploughing on around Knock and hitting the home straight back to the town centre via Plasterfield.

An Eat Safe Award has been presented to the Isle of Harris Distillery Canteen.

The award is given by the Environmental Health Service of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in conjunction with Food Standards Scotland.

Island weatherman Eddie Graham set out on a 500-mile cycling challenge from the Butt of Lewis yesterday (Wednesday July 4th) – and he picked the hottest day of the year to start.

Eddie is raising money for the BEAT (Beating Eating Disorders) charity, and plans to visit every inhabited island in the Outer Hebrides, a total of 175 miles, before crossing to the mainland to complete the 500-mile cycle.

Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust statement on Beinn Mhor Wind Farm project

The Trustees of MCWFT were disappointed to receive confirmation in October 2014 of ENGIE’s (formerly GDF SUEZ) decision to discontinue its plans to build a 130MW wind farm on Eishken due to external delays, in particular the Western Isles transmission link.  

On June 23rd representatives from MCWFT met with ENGIE to discuss an amicable end to the contractual arrangements between the two parties.  It was agreed that ENGIE would make a final payment of £1.92million.  This money will be used to continue the work of the Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust, safeguarding the availability of funding for community development projects in the area. 

Iain MacIver, MCWFT Chairperson, said: “The prospect of securing this significant payment, without exposing the community to any financial risk, is now a comforting reality.  ENGIE have to be commended for the way in which they have dealt with us, honouring their obligations in the process.  Of added encouragement is the prospect of another developer now stepping in to complete the windfarm.  Fundamental to that happening is the long awaited subsea link to the mainland needed to unlock the Island’s energy resource”. 

Steve Riley, CEO & President of Energy UK-Turkey for ENGIE, commented: “It was disappointing that we were unable to pursue the wind farm project due to a number of external delays. It is important to us that we honour our commitments to the local community and we are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Trust.”

MCWFT continues to work closely with the Landlord of the Eishken Estate to secure further benefit for our area.  Should there be a wind farm development on Eishken, the Landlord has undertaken to require the new developer to pay an additional annual payment of 1% of windfarm revenue, estimated to be worth over £600,000 per annum to the Trust.  

 

With the likely energisation date for grid connected projects now envisaged for 2020, the Trust will continue to efficiently manage its existing fund, as well as being conscious of the arrangement with the Western Isles Development Trust. 

Job vacancy: Electoral Canvasser - Barra

You are required to assist the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) with the annual canvass of electors and all year round canvassing. 

You will be required to visit assigned properties and make attempts to obtain completed registration application forms, advising members of the public on the completion. You must ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times and comply with procedures and policies outlined by the Electoral Registration Officer relating to equal opportunities and diversity.

The Big Minch Swim ended in drama in the early hours of this morning (Monday July 9th), with emergency services scrambled to find Stornoway swimmer Colin Macleod, declared missing at sea less than a mile from the shore.

Stornoway Coastguard received a call at 11.45pm from the skipper of the support vessel Harvest Moon, saying that Ullapool swimmer Norman Todd had been pulled from the sea exhausted and Colin had gone on alone, but the support kayaker had lost sight of him and he could not be seen from any of the support vessels.

Stornoway Coastguard scrambled Stornoway rescue helicopter R948 and Stornoway RNLI lifeboat, at the same time issuing a general call for assistance.  

A new centre for cancer patients and their families is to be supported by this year’s emergency services charity football match, scheduled for Saturday 10th August.

Western Isles Community Care Initiative (WICCI) announced the new initiative last month, as a partnership with Macmillan Cancer Care. The new premises will offer a space for group activities and individual continuing support, including counselling and complementary therapies, and the fitting out costs will be supported by this year’s 999 match.

Exam Drop-in – Wednesday 8th August 2018

Drop by the college on Wednesday 8th August between 4.30pm and 6pm to explore your options once your exam results are out!

However local mums choose to feed their baby is their decision but it is so important that mums are able to access good quality breastfeeding support.

Whether they are already breastfeeding, antenatal mothers hoping to breastfeed in the future, or even if they have previously tried, stopped and are thinking of trying again.

The Stornoway RNLI family are delighted to invite everyone to come and enjoy the Lifeboat Station's annual Open Day and Family 5K Fundraiser this Saturday (July 16th).

Great fun was had by all in what proved to be a record-breaking Open Day last summer, with over 1,000 visiting the local Station and Lifeboat, and raising nearly £5,000 for Stornoway RNLI.

Open Day Saturday 2016 kicks off with the Stornoway RNLI Family 5K Fundraiser, organised by Steven Munro from Lewis Sports Centre, and sponsored by Stornoway Round Table.

A Family Fun Day will be held on August 12th to formally launch the Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery.
Organisers Western Isles Community Society (WICS) say the response in the two weeks since tickets went on sale has been extremely positive.
WICS’ Facebook following and local business interest has continued to steadily rise with ticket sales getting closer to the half way point of the initial target.
In celebration, WICS have rescheduled their FAMILY FUN DAY LAUNCH EVENT for Saturday 12th August at 4pm in the Stornoway town centre.

The family of a fisherman missing after the sinking of the fishing vessel 'Louisa' have started legal proceedings to have him officially declared dead.

Despite extensive searches, the body of skipper Paul Alliston (42), from Lochs, has never been recovered.

Faclan - the Hebridean Book Festival returns on 31 October and Early Bird tickets are available now.

‘Fear, from unease and foreboding to outright terror’, is the theme of this year’s Faclan which will open on Hallowe’en, 31 October.

Faclan is one of the flagship cultural events at An Lanntair and draws audiences and top-level authors from across the UK.

A full four days of sea-going celebration is planned for the Isle of Harris from Wednesday (24th July) as the 2019 Feis na Mara gets under way.

The festival of the sea starts with the official openings of the Isle of Harris Marina, with events at both Tarbert and Scalpay pontoons at 11am and 12 noon on Wednesday. Traditional boats will gather in Tarbert and there’ll be market stalls on the quay, as well as an on-the-water day run by Lewis and Harris Youth Association.

The Loch Seaforth ferry will become a floating cèilidh house for thousands of music fans heading to this year’s Hebridean Celtic Festival.

CalMac Ferries, operators of the Ullapool-Stornoway service, have agreed a new, three-year sponsorship deal with HebCelt, which is being held for the 24th time in Lewis and Harris this summer.

Young people have the chance to get involved in two different weeks of Gaelic music, language and culture coming up in Lewis later this month - Fèis Eilean an Fhraoich (Stornoway) and Fèis an Rubha (Point).

Youngsters in Harris enjoyed their opportunities earlier this month as Fèis Eilean na Hearadh took place from 1st-5th July. 

The event provided children from nursery age right through to secondary school with the opportunity to learn a new instrument, speak Gaelic and participate in other activities including drama, sports and arts and crafts. 

CalMac has so far successfully moved more than 650 bookings which were scheduled to sail on Friday (July 10) which is threatened by RMT strike action.
The company is continuing to contact the remaining passengers booked to travel on the day to try and rearrange their travel plans.

A former Scottish Office minister has called for an independent review of “current and future issues affecting west coast ferry services”. 

Brian Wilson, who lives on the Isle of Lewis and chairs one of the island’s largest employers, Harris Tweed Hebrides, says: “It is completely unfair on CalMac Ferries and the people who work for them that they are at the sharp end of every crisis while the causes are largely outside their control”

He said the review should take place “outside the political arena”.

Heb Celt Site Manager/Director Iain Macphail, Cal Mac Staff: Callan Sloan, Robert Urquhart, George Lightbody, Dot Wisniewska, Dolanna Macleod with HebCelt Director Caroline Maclennan

 The Ullapool-Stornoway ferry is being temporarily renamed in honour of the flagship Hebridean Celtic Festival that opens on Wednesday July 18 and is heading for a sell-out.

During this week, the Loch Seaforth will be known as the HebCelt Ferry as it carries thousands of festival-goers to and from the award-winning event.

A huge exodus of music-lovers leaving the Isle of Lewis after the close of Hebridean Celtic Festival has been declared a success by CalMac’s Stornoway ferry port manager.

Over five sailings between 6am on Sunday (July 21st) and 2pm yesterday, the MV Loch Seaforth carried over 2,500 passengers and 500 cars, vans and motorhomes from Stornoway to Ullapool.

The blocking of Shell Street in Stornoway by traffic queuing to get on the Ullapool ferry is sparking top-level reaction - and pleas to travellers to arrive earlier for their ferries, rather than all bunching up in the last few minutes before the deadline.

Plans are being developed by the Stornoway Port Authority, CalMac and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to reduce congestion around Stornoway ferry terminal.

The introduction of the Loch Seaforth on the route saw an increase in traffic around the Stornoway ferry terminal, and this together with later arriving vehicles, has seen traffic jams during the early morning and lunchtime check-in periods.

A thin blue line of youth volunteers helped the Hebridean Celtic Festival run smoothly this week.

Advance tickets for HebCelt’s milestone 25th festival in 2020 go on sale today (Friday, 26 July) to meet demand from fans, just days after another successful event ended.

Early bird weekend tickets for arena shows on 15-18 July next year will be available from noon from the festival website www.hebceltfest.com