Donald Cameron, Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has highlighted newly released figures which show that NHS Western Isles and NHS Highland have the highest rates of delayed discharge in Scotland. They stood at 25.3% and 15.5% compared to a Scottish average of 8.5%.

The figures for 2018/19 were released by the Information Services Division of NHS Scotland on Tuesday 17th September.

Mr Cameron said: “While the statistics indicate that NHS Highland and NHS Western Isles have the highest rates of delayed discharge, we should be cautious before leaping to conclusions.

“There may be factors relating to geography, the age profile of patients, and the availability of care homes, which have influenced the results.

“Nevertheless, the overall picture in Scotland is that the SNP’s promises to eradicate delayed discharges have come to absolutely nothing as they are back up to more than half a million days, an increase of 6% in just one year.

"This means that people who should not have been in hospital occupied almost 9% of beds in NHS Scotland over the last year.

“It is a cause for concern that people may be staying in hospital longer than necessary, and I will certainly be in contact with the relevant authorities in the region to see if there is more that could be done to reduce the discharge times.”

The full report is available on - https://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Health-and-Social-Community-Care/Publications/2019-09-17/2019-09-17-DelayedDischarges-Annual-Report.pdf?

The table referred to by Donald Cameron is figure 7 on page 11 of the report.

 

Positive signs that population decline could be reversed are being seen in island communities, according to a consortium of researchers.

An Islands Revival Declaration published yesterday (Tuesday September 17th) gives examples of population growth in Scottish islands which go against ideas that island populations are in decline.

Collaboration between the James Hutton Institute, Scotland's Rural College, Community Development Lens (CoDeL) and Community Land Scotland, with input from over 20 island stakeholders led to the declaration being formulated during a two-day workshop at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye at the end of August, when 33 participants discussed the findings of the current research.

It follows an islands revival blog, launched in May, which gathered information on positive projects in which young people were involved. Examples contributed included the work of Pairc Playgroup in Lewis, the West Harris Trust and Galson Estate Trust.

Yesterday’s declaration says:“We affirm that there is credible evidence of ‘green shoots’ of population turnaround in the Scottish islands, which as yet does not show up in official statistics.

“This is illustrated by a number of examples of population growth in islands, such as those cited in the Islands Revival blog.

“It is supported by the changing perceptions of younger, economically active people, especially out-migrant islanders, who increasingly consider their birthplace as a place to return to, and at an earlier stage in their lives. Connectivity (especially social media) is playing an important role in popularising this attitude.”

The statement goes on to list contributing factors to this changed perception, including local control of territorial assets (land and marine), accompanied by good governance, and strong community leadership.

They also credit increasing interest, among many young people, in exploring enterprising ways of living and the use of media in promoting role models and success stories.

And they conclude: “The above seem to be, collectively, delivering a gradual but clear shift in the consensus about the balance between the advantages and disadvantages of living on islands versus those of living in or near a city.”

The Iceland store in Cromwell Street, Stornoway - run as a franchise-stye operation by Retail Hebrides Ltd - is being bought by the Cooperative stores group, it is understood.

It's believed a formal announcement may be made tomorrow (Thursday September 19th).

Then the store will trade as Iceland for about a month before closing for conversion into a Co-operative food store. 

This is almost exactly two years since news first broke that a new supermarket outlet was coming to Stornoway to revive the long vacant town centre shopping spot once occupied by the long-gone Presto group.

The opening followed extensive renovation and repair work on the building. The new store – which was formerly occupied by the WeeW business – followed the ‘New Format’ look and style pioneered by Iceland in Clapham in 2016,, but it was to be under the control of the newly-formed local company, which was intended to enable it to be flexible to local needs and adaptable to local suppliers.

Three Lewis businesses are celebrating today (Wednesday September 18th) after hearing news that their products have been awarded one of this year’s Great Taste Awards.

Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink.

It has been described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world and the Great Taste logo gives food-lovers a sign to trust when buying quality food and
drink.

Charlie Barleys, under their formal name as Charles Macleod Butchers received no less than three of the tasty endorsements – two stars for their iconic black pudding and a simply delicious one-star award for both their white pudding and haggis.

A spokesperson said: “We are thrilled to have received Great Taste Awards for our black pudding, white pudding and haggis this year - a great honour to belong to such a prestigious group of products!”

Uig Lodge Smoked Salmon has received a star for their hand-sliced side of salmon and Stag Bakeries Cajun Water Biscuits have also earned them a star. The light, crisp water-biscuits have a balanced bite and a warm flavour using Cajun spice.

A spokesman for Stag Bakeries said: “We’re delighted to have won a star for a new product introduced in 2019. It keeps our run going of winning a Great Taste Award every year since 2002 and we are very pleased that the judges enjoyed the product.”

The awards were decided after over 500 judges came together at 75 judging days from March through to early July. 12,772 products were rated, with 1,326 foods grabbing two stars and 3,409 awarded a one-star stamp.

A man who was reportedly a supply teacher at The Nicolson Institute in Stornoway is to appear in court next month (October) charged with sexual offences.

Police Scotland today (Wednesday September 18 th ) confirmed that a 60-year-old man has been charged with sexual offences and is due to appear at Stornoway Sheriff Court in October 2019.

He had been working as a supply teacher at an un-named Lewis school, widely reported to be the Nicolson Institute.

A spokesman for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said that they were aware of the charges and had taken appropriate steps.

This year’s Colm Cille Lecture is by Dr Aonghas MacCoinnich, University of Glasgow. 

The lecture will be held on Friday 20th September in Ionad Stoodie, Garrabost. 

Dr Aonghas MacCoinnich's topic is “Their longed for wish and expected prey.  The Clan Mackenzie and their plantation of Lewis, 1610-1700”, a subject that Dr MacCoinnich has researched in considerable depth.

It is a fascinating topic and of considerable relevance to Lewis at a time when Eaglais na h-Aoidhe was a major religious establishment in the area. 

There are many Mackenzies buried in the graveyard at Eaglais na h-Aoidhe including a few notable ones such as Alexander Mackenzie, eldest son of Murdoch Mackenzie, the Postmaster of Stornoway, Colonel Colin Mackenzie of the Madras Engineers and Surveyor General of All India, Barbara Mackenzie, the second daughter of Colin Mackenzie of Kildun and Norman Mackenzie of Garrabost who died in the Iolaire Disaster. 

Aonghas MacCoinnich is a Niseach whose parents still live in Ness.  He now lives in Glasgow where he is a lecturer in Celtic History at the University of Glasgow.  He graduated MA in History and Gaelic at the University of Aberdeen in 1999 and did his PhD there (in Gaelic) in 2005 on the emergence of the Mackenzie Clan, from 1466-1637.  He is interested in all aspects of the history and culture of the Highlands and Islands with a specific focus on the period between the end of the 16th century and the end of the 18th century.  Dr MacCoinnich has researched, lectured and written extensively on Celtic history, culture and language and in 2015 he wrote a book on “Plantation and Civility in the North Atlantic World; the Case of the Northern Hebrides, 1570-1639”.

The doors will be open from 6.30pm, so come early to meet Aonghas and catch-up with people. 

The lecture will start at 7.30pm.  Afterwards there will be a cuppa and the chance of a blether. 

Everyone is welcome, the lecture is free – so come along and bring your friends.

A new shipment of aid is being prepared to leave Stornoway for Eastern Europe next week.

But this time the humanitarian gift is not of furniture, clothes and schoolbooks, but of lifesaving fire and rescue equipment, and the skills to use it.

Three former Stornoway firefighters have spent the past months working with Blythswood Care and SERA – the Scottish Emergency Rescue Association – to prepare a 12-tonne Mercedes fire appliance for the long journey to Moldova.

Mechanic Ian Murray, electrician David Campbell and council greenkeeper Alec Maclennan will be taking annual leave from Wednesday September 25th and joining up with a SERA convoy in Edinburgh as they drive two fire engines and two ambulances the 2,200 miles to Nisporeni in Moldova.

The retired Stornoway fire appliance was made available for the charity effort by Fire Scotland, as Ian explained to welovestornoway.com: “It’s like updating your phone – the phone still works but you might want the additional capabilities of a new model. When that happens with fire appliances they still have thousands of hours use in them, but they may not be up to current standards here and are decommissioned by Fire Scotland.

“We have been fortunate to get access to three such appliances to prepare for deliver from Stornoway over the past three years, and over 500 sets of breathing apparatus have already gone over to Eastern Europe.”

The importance of such equipment can’t be overstated. Ian explained that Moldovan fire services can be available in larger communities but not in rural places, comparable to having a service in Stornoway, but not in Ness or Leverburgh. In SERA’s first year of operation (2007) a young girl drowned in a river on the very day the Scottish team arrived in Serbia – firefighters did not have the equipment to carry out a rescue nor recover the young girl's body from the river.

Returning in 2008 with fire engines, an ambulance and water rescue equipment, the SERA team were met by a Serbian firefighter who had driven for three hours to tell of a rescue of a father and three children trapped in a car in a river. Before the equipment and training had been donated, he said that the children would have certainly died and possibly the father as well.

A spokesman for SERA said: “This was the reason he drove three hours each way just to say thank you and the night we decided that we can't stop what we were doing.”

The Stornoway team has been involved in the annual aid convoy for several years, and Ian himself has made the trip seven times. But much of the work is done well before the team even get their refurbished vehicle to the Stornoway ferry.

Ian said: “Bringing the redundant fire equipment to Stornoway means the combined efforts of the island business community can go towards a mammoth servicing and upgrading task. Not just the appliance itself, but redundant Fire Scotland equipment such as water pumps, road traffic trauma kits, uniforms and breathing apparatus will be taken over and the ambulances will meet the need for transport to take casualties to medical help.

“We’ve had tremendous help from island people with servicing, body-work and raising funds to buy additional essentials like generators. The work we have all done on the appliance and equipment means it’s good to carry on for 10 years of useful life. All that is possible thanks to donations of funds and services from numerous local businesses and organisations.”

Leaving Stornoway on Wednesday September 25th, this year the three Stornoway men will be part of a 13-man team who will travel from Edinburgh via Hull and Rotterdam, driving four-hour shifts round the clock until they reach Nisporeni on the evening of Sunday September 29th. On Monday 30th they start training up to 40 firefighters in the use of ladders, breathing apparatus and road traffic collision equipment.

On Friday night (October 4th) a formal reception will be held after a gathering where newly-trained firefighters demonstrate their skills for the mayor, council leader, Moldovan fire service leaders and the British ambassador to Moldova. Keys to each donated vehicle will be formally handed over to the new crews.

Representing the community of Stornoway will be Cllr Charlie Nicolson, who is a trustee of SERA and who heads to Moldova by air next week, with a programme of additional work including the distribution of aid to schools and community centres.

The Stornoway fire team will fly back to Glasgow on Saturday October 5th, reaching Stornoway the next day and going back to work on Monday, but Ian says the hard-working team would not have it any other way.

He told welovestornoway.com: “I love it. It’s so rewarding meeting the guys and becoming friends with them. I have learnt a few words of the language and I keep in touch with them on social media. Even here at home it’s really rewarding – everybody seems to want to get involved, which is amazing.”

Pictures show some of the fire and rescue equipment heading for Moldova (SERA) and Stornoway team members Alex Maclennan (left) and David Campbell with the Mercedes fire engine and one of many donations from local businesses (Ian Murray).

Four options have been identified as ways to improve Barra and Vatersay services and facilities.

The study is exploring the feasibility of integrating health, social care, learning and community services and facilities on Barra and Vatersay and the provision of a single combined campus in Castlebay.

The options included:

  • New-build integrated facility combining health, social care, learning and community facilities (including Comhairle services and Police Scotland) into a single campus
  • Integrated facility with retained elements from existing Castlebay School, e.g. Sports Hall, Swimming Pool and Reception area
  • Standalone St Brendan’s Health and Social Care Hub by NHSWI on currently proposed site, and standalone school and community facilities by CnES on the existing school site
  • Collaborative approach (NHSWI and CnES) to project development (design, procurement and construction) but on existing separate sites.

A series of engagement events were held this week, providing the community with an update of the options and a chance to share their views.

Gordon Jamieson, NHS Eileanan Siar Chief Executive, said: “Continuing engagement with stakeholders has been a priority for us throughout the Study and we are very pleased with the level of interest in the proposals from the outset. A significant amount of work has been undertaken in developing the four options and we welcomed the opportunity to provide further updates this week through the Study Advisory Group and the public drop-in sessions. All the feedback provided will contribute to our evaluation of the options and inform the selection of a preferred option."

Malcolm Burr, the Comhairle’s Chief Executive, confirmed: “In parallel to last week’s welcome announcement by Scottish Government of their allocation of funding towards the improvement of learning facilities on Barra and Vatersay, the Comhairle remains committed to working with NHSWI in, as part of the Feasibility Study, exploring the feasibility of a public sector integration model and the provision of a single integrated community campus in Castlebay."

“Whilst much is still to be done in evaluating the feasibility of the four options, including analyses of particularly challenging aspects such as construction methodology and the financial and programme implications of such major developments in Castlebay, both organisations look forward to being able to identify and then develop and deliver the preferred option for what is a hugely significant investment by the Scottish Government, NHSWI and the Comhairle in public sector facilities for the communities on Barra and Vatersay."

Ofgem are expected to publish a decision on the Final Needs Case for the Western Isles in Autumn 2019.

In March this year, Ofgem announced that they were minded to reject the proposal by SSEN to build a 600MW transmission link to the Western Isles.

The company favoured a 450MW link and subsequently launched a consultation seeking the views of stakeholders and the public.

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said: “When Ofgem announced in March that they were minded to favour a 450MW transmission link instead of a 600MW link, I appealed to Ofgem to think again and do what is best for the environment and the economy.

“Approval of a 600MW link is crucial for development in our islands, which have the strongest wind resource in Europe.

“The UK Government have set an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050, constructing an adequate link to the Hebrides will help that aim. I have repeatedly raised this matter with Ofgem and the UK Government and I hope Ofgem will listen and make the right decision this Autumn.”

A coffee shop set up at the Ardmhor ferry terminal is celebrating the end of a successful first season, with coffee causing a stir in the highest circles.

Ardmhor Coffee at the Wee Ferry Terminal has been designated an official pit-stop on the Hebridean Way, with walkers and cyclists praising the delicious bakes, perfect coffee and wealth of healthy options available for weary Hebridean Wayers.

Manager Sharon Cox, who has six years experience running the Barra Airport Café with husband Mick, says she first thought of starting the café as the ferry terminal was looking “a bit sad”.

She told welovestornoway.com: “I have been really pleased with the amount of Hebridean Wayers, cyclists and walkers, using us as an official Hebridean Way pit stop and overwhelmed by the kind and lovely messages of support and compliments on my baking and coffees.

“I am aiming the business at the Heb Wayers as they are increasing in numbers. My home-baking – baked on site in my wee kitchen – vegan snacks, whey protein shakes and energy bars, all seem to be appreciated after a tough day on the Heb Way.”

Sharon is still contemplating what hours would best suit winter opening, but for now is open from 8.30am to 4pm five days a week – closed Sundays and one other day, which is always advised on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Ardmhor-Coffee-At-The-Wee-Ferry-Terminal-1185469631632689/

And she’s looking forward to next season, when she has ideas for possible expansion of the menu, as well as possible star support from the Black Isle…

Sharon said: “I was thrilled to have been visited by the Vandyke Brothers (based in Cromarty) – famous Scottish coffee bean roasters. They loved my oat milk flat whites and said they were really impressed with my barista skills, my coffee and the fact that I offer a choice of three dairy alternative milks – and by the fact that I am a tiny independent coffee shop all the way out here.

“They have contacted me to offer advice and support if I need it to expand my ideas and I’m really looking forward to next season, excitedly looking at some new foodie and drink ideas.”

The date has been announced for a training event to help bring Western Isles generations together, helping to create a better and fairer society.

The Glasgow-based charity Generations Working Together provides information, delivers support and encourages involvement to benefit all of Scotland’s generations, by working, learning, volunteering and living together. Their vision is that all generations in Scotland will work together to create a better and fairer country for all.

There’s already an island-based network that meets twice a year to plan ways in which organisations can bring the youngest and oldest together, with ideas shared across health, education, environmental and residential living initiatives.

Local network co-ordinator Ashleigh Macaskill told welovestornoway.com: “We have members in organisations including residential homes, schools, the Comhairle, NHS Western Isles and the Volunteer Centre.

“Intergenerational working is something we are getting better at, with activities ranging from ceilidhs to schools visiting residential homes/ Traditionally, interaction between the generations happened naturally, but modern life has made the generations more segregated and we’re trying to think about ways to bring back the contact between people of all ages.”

The next intergenerational training session in Stornoway is set for Tuesday 5th November at the Bridge Centre and will see chief executive Alison Clyde updating network members and others on new ideas and initiatives. More information and booking is at https://generationsworkingtogether.org/events-training/intergenerational-training-for-trainers-and-practitioners-updated-edition-05-11-2019

The man who died in a road crash in Carloway last week has been named by police.

He was 72-year-old Philip Walker from Anglesey in Wales.  Mr Walker had been visiting the area on holiday.

The incident happened around 10.30am on Wednesday 11 September when Mr Walker's campervan and a Ford Transit van collided between Carloway Bridge and the Doune Braes Hotel.

The female passenger from the campervan and two occupants of the van were all uninjured.

Mr Walker's family released a statement through Police Scotland, saying: "We are grateful for everybody who assisted at the scene, the love and support provided by staff at Western Isles Hospital and the assistance provided by the wider community in the Isle of Lewis in the days following."

Sergeant David Miller from the Road Policing Unit in Dingwall said: “Our thoughts remain with Mr Walker's family and friends at this difficult time.

"Our enquiries remain ongoing and we are continuing to urge anyone who may have witnessed the collision or who has any other information to come forward.

"This includes anyone who may have seen either vehicle prior to the incident or who may have dashcam footage.

“Anyone with information that may assist our investigation should contact Police Scotland through 101, quoting reference 965 of September 11."

The deadline for nominations to the 30 Community Councils in the Western Isles falls at 4pm tomorrow, September 17th.
Community councils are voluntary organisations set up by statute and run by local residents on behalf of the community. Up to 12 community councillors in each area meet regularly to discuss local projects and events, issues of concern and local planning.
In recent years all but three of the 30 districts have had a community council, with Barvas, Stornoway and Laxdale the only areas which have not been represented. A community council is constituted if there are four or more valid nominations.
If a community has more than 12 nominations, elections will be held on Tuesday 8th October. To stand as a community councillor or vote in the election you must reside in the local area and be named on the electoral register. 16 and 17-year-olds in each community council area who are on the electoral register are also entitled to stand for the community council and vote in any election.
Nomination papers and further information are available via https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/community-councils/community-council-elections/

With the cruise season drawing to a close, there’s an unexpected boost to visitor numbers this afternoon (Monday September 16th).

The cruise ship Amadea is to make an unscheduled visit to Stornoway, bringing over 500 passengers ashore.

The stylish Japanese-built vessel is operated by German tour company Phoenix Reisen and was last renovated in 2016. She’s pictured here on her last visit to Stornoway, the same year, by Morris Macleod.

Today she is due at anchor at 3pm and will depart at 9pm. All her excursions are conducted in German.

Staff from Uig’s innovative community shop are off to London today (Monday September 16th) as they take their place at an awards ceremony widely regarded as ‘The Oscars’ of the grocery retail sector.

The shop at Timsgarry has been shortlisted as independent community retailer of the year at the Retail Industry Awards, which reward excellence and outstanding achievement across a broad range of categories. It’s the only time of year the whole industry gets together to recognise the smallest independent retailers alongside the largest supermarket groups.

The community-owned shop offers a wide range of groceries and everyday essentials, as well as fuel on a 24/7 basis using an external payment terminal.

The Uig team will be at the Grade II listed setting of The Brewery on Chiswell Street, near the Barbican in central London, to hear whether they’ve topped their category. With other shortlisted businesses coming from Northumberland, Kircaldy, Belfast and Lancashire they admit that any winner will be a worthy one, having excelled in serving their local community wherever they are in the UK.

In a social media statement yesterday the shop managers said: “This is it! The edge of the world goes to the heart of the city, as our community-owned shop travels to London.

“Excitement is outweighed by pride in our remote community achieving such recognition. Uig has already benefited from the exposure and the fantastic London experience will, no doubt, provide ideas and inspiration to help our community shop realise its vision for the future.”

The awards trip means Uig’s Post Office services will be unavailable this week until Thursday, although stamps can be bought at the shop counter during the rest of the week. Uig shop has also reverted to winter hours from today – 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

The morning ferry became a pilgrimage special at the end of last week (Thursday 12th September) as islanders headed for Oban to venerate the sacred relics of a favourite saint.

The relics of Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux arrived at St Columba’s Cathedral in Oban on Thursday during a three-week tour of Scotland.

There’s disruption to weekend events and ferry timetables due to gales forecast through tomorrow (Saturday September 14th).

Tomorrow’s morning sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool have been cancelled, with a yellow alert for further possible disruption or cancellation.

There’s disruption to weekend events and ferry timetables due to gales forecast through tomorrow (Saturday September 14th).

Tomorrow’s sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool are currently under review, with a yellow alert for possible disruption or cancellation.

Morning sailings across the Sound of Harris have been cancelled, with a review scheduled at 11.30am tomorrow regarding later sailings. The timetable for services between Uig, Tarbert and Lochmaddy has been revised.

Sailings between Castlebay and Oban have been cancelled and sailings on the Sound of Barra are liable to disruption.

Meanwhile some social activities have also been postponed or cancelled because of the forecast. Traigh Mhor Trekking have cancelled all lessons and rides on Saturday and a beach clean at Barvas and Brue scheduled as part of Hebridean International

Film Festival has been postponed to Saturday September 21st.

A rowing boat which was designed to cross the Atlantic from New York to Stornoway washed up on a beach in the Western Isles yesterday (Thursday September 12th) – 15 months and 3,000 miles after being abandoned at sea.

The rowing boat ALBA has made her own way almost to the doorstep of the man who set out from the east coast of the USA in her shelter in May 2018. Niall Iain Macdonald had intended to row NY2SY, solo across the Atlantic between New York and Stornoway, to raise funds for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).

But he was forced to abandon ship two weeks into the epic crossing after a storm on June 15th 2018 and was rescued at sea by the Dutch cargo vessel MS Dolfijngracht, after issuing a mayday call. He was taken to Canada, from where he returned home to Scotland, his boat left drifting in the North Atlantic. At the time, he wrote: “Now my row is over and my boat is abandoned at sea. She will continue her own journey which will end somewhere, sometime. It's a horrible feeling to have to leave your boat behind…”

Yesterday the ALBA came home, washed up on a beach at Askernish in South Uist, relatively intact, having drifted across the Atlantic on her own. She was photographed and retrieved from the water ahead of tomorrow’s forecast storm by Angus Steele.

Announcing the astonishing discovery this morning, Niall Ian said: “Hello old friend. My boat was found yesterday. She came ashore on the beach at Askernish, South Uist - almost made it home.”

Many followers have commented on the boat’s seeming determination to be reunited with its owner by landing so close to Stornoway. Niall Iain himself underlined the remarkable coincidence: “My maternal granny was from Askernish, my mum was brought up nearby in Daliburgh.” One supporter simply commented: “us islanders always find our way home!”

Next month’s Faclan: Hebridean book festival features Niall Iain as one of the headline speakers. He will share his testimony of two dramatic attempts to row the Atlantic and why he did it, with previously unseen film footage.

The attempt to row from NY2SY has so far raised £24,000 for SAMH and the donations page is still live. You can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ny2sy

The pictures show ALBA on the beach at Askernish yesterday (Angus Steele) and leaving Norfolk, Virginia at the start of the 2018 voyage (Niall Iain Macdonald).

A truckload of aid which left Stornoway at the end of August has today (Friday September 13th) crossed the border into Moldova.

The aid truck packed by supporters of Blythswood on August 30th includes 26 pallets of furniture, clothes and other necessities, including bikes, sewing machines and a consignment of insulation boards destined for a children’s home in the impoverished rural area of Ungheni.

Principal organiser Charlie Nicolson will be heading out to Nisporeni soon to work with volunteers from the church Biserica Sfanta Treime, distributing the aid to those who need it in rural areas.

Charlie’s a regular and popular visitor to the area with more than 50 trips completed – although he’s lost count of how many times he has actually travelled over. He’ll be greeted by Pastor Alex Ulinici and will stay at ‘the friendship flat’, established by Blythswood volunteers in Nisporeni and now used by international aid workers from as far away as New Zealand.

Charlie told welovestornoway.com today: “The area we work in, Nisporeni, is a couple of hours outside Moldova’s capital city, Chisnau. It has a similar size of population to the Western Isles and we work with the churches there to find out what is most needed.

“This year we were told that the children’s home has a terrible problem with condensation, so we have had a generous donation of insulation boards from TIG and these will be installed at the home. We’ve also sent clothing, hand-knitted items, books and other essentials all given by people from the Western Isles and loaded up in Stornoway last month.

“I’ll be working with volunteers to deliver aid at schools and community groups and during my visit I also spend some time with the British ambassador to Moldova, discussing other projects such as the Blythswood shoebox appeal.

“The friendship flat is one example of a practical project we set up. People from the Netherlands and other countries now also use it as a base. Last week a dentist from Ireland was staying there to offer free dental treatment clinics.

“There are very firm links now between Nisporeni and Stornoway.  Because of their connection to the islands they have a street called ‘Strada Stornoway’ which is the second main street in the town, with the library, police station and special school on it and with plaques celebrating our friendship.

“It’s that kind of thing that shows how much has happened as a result of a little seed, sowed here in the islands.”

 

Private Landlords who commit to providing affordable housing should be given the same financial support as housing associations to improve the energy efficiency of their properties says Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), the rural business association.

In its response to the Scottish Government’s Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019, SLE has said that of the six financial support options currently advertised on the Home Energy Scotland website, only one could be used by many of the private landlords offering affordable homes to rent in rural Scotland.

The energy efficiency regulations aim to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the private rented sector and to make all our buildings warmer, greener and more efficient, supporting efforts towards eradicating fuel poverty, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as contributing to sustainable economic growth.

Stephen Young, Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates said: “Improving the energy efficiency of homes is vitally important to help keep bills low for tenants and fight climate change. But in order to do this, many properties require substantial amounts of money spent on them.

“That’s why we are calling for the Scottish Government to ensure that private landlords who provide affordable homes to rent have access to the same pots of money as housing associations and other public sector landlords.

“Private landlords in rural Scotland, many of whom are our members, are often the only providers of affordable homes to rent in their area. If they are unable to meet energy efficiency standards without financial help, there is a risk that landlords will no longer offer their properties as affordable homes to rent. This could have a knock-on negative impact on the ability of local businesses to recruit staff. Subsequently causing the number of people using local schools, bus services and other local services and amenities to decline, putting these services at risk.”

SLE is also calling for greater clarity on how the regulations will work in practice and have raised serious concerns about the methodology used in Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) assessments.

Stephen Young said: “We continue to raise concerns that the method used for calculating EPC is not fit for purpose. It is based on an ‘average’ home, and just does not sufficiently account for things like efficient off-grid heating or the construction type of many properties in rural areas. 

"These flaws are well documented and need to be address if the EPC is to be the main regulatory tool to improve energy efficiency across the private rented sector housing stock in Scotland.”

Case studies highlighting the work of SLE members in providing affordable homes to rural Scotland can be found on the SLE website.

 

The sight of an alien craft in the skies above Stornoway took aircraft spotters by surprise yesterday (Thursday September 12th), but there was a straightforward explanation.

Aviation engineer Jason Spinks captured this shot of a B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber as it flew over Stornoway airport early yesterday evening.

Sightings of the uniquely-designed US military craft have been made around the UK in recent days, as the US Air Force continues training exercises from RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

Jason told welovestornoway.com: “They’ve been over for the last two days, but this was the only time I managed to catch it.”

The US Air Force has been in training with the RAF, with the B-2s flying sorties over the Norwegian sea. They are temporarily stationed at RAF Fairford, where the long runway and climate-controlled hangars provide suitable facilities for them.

Pictures show the Stealth Bomber in the sky over Stornoway yesterday (Jason Spinks) and a library image of the aircraft on exercise over the UK (MoD).

Donald Cameron, the Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP, has warmly welcomed the decision by the UK Government that they propose there will be two-year post-study work visas for international students.

Mr Cameron said: “Scottish Conservatives have argued for this change and the announcement shows that the UK Government is listening.

“This is good news for University of the Highlands and Islands partners like Lews Castle College in the Western Isles, and West Highland College in Lochaber, which are seeking to attract students from overseas.

“Through UHI, our region offers distinctive courses in wonderful locations and I am sure that this announcement will help us attract even more international students in the future.”

Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said of the announcement: “This is a very significant and positive announcement for Scottish and UK universities and one that has long had overwhelming cross-party support in Scotland as well as support from staff, students and Scotland’s business community.

"We’ll want to look closely at the detail  behind today’s announcement but a two-year post-study work visa will start to put the UK back on a competitive footing when it comes to international student recruitment.

"The potential impact of this will be felt much more widely than our universities; it is sure to make a positive contribution to Scotland’s demographic challenges and to Scotland’s economy in the medium and long term.

"It’s also a positive start to a much-needed change of messaging from the UK Government to the rest of the world.”

However, the influential immigration campaign group Migration Watch UK objected to the plan.  Commenting, Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: This unwise and retrograde step will likely lead to foreign graduates staying on to stack shelves, as happened before.

"Our universities are attracting a record number of overseas students so there is no need to devalue a study visa by turning it into a backdoor route for working here.

 

Bùth Bharraigh is making plans to celebrate their sixth birthday, looking forward with determination and positivity.

Six years ago yesterday (Wednesday September 11th) the directors learnt that their lease application had been successful, at the end of November they got the keys to the shop and by Christmas they were set up and welcoming customers.

The setting up took a big effort from volunteers to decorate and fit the shop interior, but the effort was willingly given and continues to this day.

The Bùth has a volunteer workforce of 12 and a board of seven directors, all committed to offering as wide a range of services and products as possible.

Two years ago they took on the role of tourist information following the closure of the VisitScotland tourist office and now they have a year-round flow of visitors and residents browsing maps, crafts, organic foods and fresh veg, among many other products.

The business is still there despite controversy over the lease of their premises, which have been ear-marked for demolition by landlords Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. During this year’s visitor season directors were given 28 days to put together a business case for a move down to the Co-op site.

Managing director Sarah MacLean said: “The site is half a mile in the wrong direction for tourist traffic, smaller and four times the price. We don’t want to move down there, so instead we have completed an asset transfer request to put the current premises into our own ownership. Now we’ll wait to see what they say.

“Obviously we would like to work with CnES, but if they say no to our request to take ownership of our premises we will go to the Scottish Government. Our location here is crucial – we have too many producers and tourism businesses relying on us, too much at stake.”

Sarah’s view was endorsed recently when the Bùth was listed by Country Life magazine as one of the 22 best village shops in Britain – one of only two in Scotland. Country Life said: “Set up in 2013 to ‘create opportunities for islanders’, this shop stocks more than 80 producers, provides a laundrette, hot drinks and free wi-fi. It’s always open when the Oban ferry docks to assist tourists, ‘whatever time that might be’.”

The accolade has been added to a string of others including winner of the rural business awards social enterprise in 2016 and finalist in 2017’s Scottish social enterprise of the year awards.

As the sixth birthday draws near, a celebratory party is being planned for some time around October 17th, although nothing concrete is yet planned for the occasion. Keep an eye on shop notices for more information nearer the time.


Pictures show the inside of Bùth Bharraigh soon after taking ownership six years ago, and volunteer Tiernan Barry serving a customer in the busy shop this summer (Bùth Bharraigh).

A forecast of strong south-westerly winds on Saturday (September 14th) has led CalMac to advise early travel for Barra passengers.
South-south-westerly winds could gust close to 60mph between 10am and 2pm on Saturday, leaving the Castlebay Oban service liable to cancellation or disruption at short notice.
A CalMac spokesman said the direction of the wind was a particular issue for the Barra sailing, causing less impact elsewhere in the Western Isles. A review will be undertaken at 4pm tomorrow (Friday 13th).
CalMac suggests that passengers wishing to travel on Saturday 14th consider travelling on Friday 13th instead.

Road Policing Officers are appealing for information after a 72 year-old man died following a road crash near Carloway community centre yesterday (Wednesday 11 September). 

Around 10.30am yesterday, police were called to a report of a road crash involving a Ford Transit van and a camper van. 

The 72 year-old driver of the camper van was taken by ambulance to Western Isles Hospital, where he died earlier today (Thursday 12 September).

The 60 year-old female passenger in the camper van, the 51 year-old driver of the Ford Transit van and his 31 year-old male passenger were uninjured.

Sergeant David Miller from the Road Policing Department based at Dingwall Police Station is appealing for any information.  He said:  “Our enquiries are ongoing into the cause of this crash, and we are appealing to any witnesses, or anyone driving on that road around the time of the crash who has dash-cam to contact us. 

“Anyone with information that may assist our investigation should contact Police Scotland through 101 quoting reference number 0965 of 11 September 2019.”

The A858 between the Doune Braes hotel and Carloway bridge remained closed in both directions until 3am this morning, with queues of local traffic building up in the evening as people returned home from town.

Western Isles police co-ordinated the multi-agency emergency response, with teams of firefighters from Shawbost and Stornoway attending as well as Scottish Ambulance.

A diversion was put in place via Pentland Road as the road was closed following the accident.

The victim was airlifted to Western Isles hospital by Coastguard helicopter R948, which had been on exercise over the north Minch when emergency services were tasked.

Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team were called to man the landing site in Stornoway, while police, fire crews from Shawbost and Stornoway and an ambulance attended the accident itself.

The pictures show rescue helicopter R948 leaving the scene of the accident (Alasdair MacMillan) and coastguard and ambulance personnel awaiting its arrival at WI Hospital (HM Coastguard Western Isles Skye and Lochaber).

 

Today (Thursday September 12) saw the official unveiling by Scottish Water of their high tech drinking water tap – a modern day water fountain – outside An Lanntair's building in central Stornoway.

As part of Scottish Water’s Your Water Your Life campaign, the Stornoway tap is the twelfth to be installed so far, with a total of 70 planned to appear across Scotland over the next 18 months.

The whole aim of this campaign is to highlight the vital role water plays in the lives of people across Scotland.

The taps offer passers-by the perfect pit stop to refill reusable water bottles water.

Filling up directly from the tap, rather than buying bottled water, is not only good for customers health, but comes with the added benefit of being good for their pocket and the environment. 

"We are delighted to be launching one in Stornoway," they said.

Present for the event were some pupils from Back Primary School, members of the band Peat & Diesel, CEO Elly Fletcher as a representative for An Lanntair , Councillor Iain Macaulay from CnES and some of Scottish Water's own staff.  

Peatlemania reached the heights of government yesterday (Wednesday September 11th) with a mention by a Scottish cabinet minister during an intense session at Holyrood.

The name-check for Stornoway band Peat & Diesel came in the unlikely context of a parliamentary question on the judicial process examining the legality of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s prorogation of the UK parliament.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan had spoken during portfolio questions, asking Cabinet Secretary for Constitutional Relations Mike Russell whether he believed the UK government should: “spend more time preparing for the recall of parliament and less time making outrageous remarks about Scotland’s judges and judicial system.”

The Cabinet Secretary agreed that the remarks were outrageous and commented: “If I may use a song title from the estimable band Peat & Diesel from the member’s own constituency; this may be the way the Tories do it, but it’s not the way we do it in Scotland, let alone the Western Isles.”

The unexpected name-check for Peat & Diesel was televised on Scottish Parliament TV and has been viewed almost 2,000 times since being shared by Dr Allan on social media.

The mention in parliament was greeted with amazement by the band members, with Keith Morrison of Wee Studio in Stornoway, where the band are currently recording their second album, describing it as “a proud moment and a laugh”.

Peat & Diesel’s second album, Light My Byre, is due for release on January 24th. A nine-date tour starting the next day has sold out venues including in London, Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh, with tickets now only available for three of the remaining gigs.

A Lewis-born chef and TV celebrity appearing at the Hebrides International Film Festival today (Thursday) is urging everyone to take the festival’s environmental message seriously – so we can safeguard the islands for future generations.

The sixth annual film festival takes place in venues across the Outer Hebrides from today through to Saturday. This year’s theme is about islands, environments and remote communities, with a focus on the urgent need for everyone to take action on climate change and conservation.

Bragar-born chef Angus Campbell, who has enjoyed a lifelong career around the world, is back in Lewis this week from his home in the US and will be appearing at the film festival, both on screen and off. He will be giving a cooking demonstration in Ionad na Seann Sgoil in Shawbost at 6.30pm, ahead of a screening of Cooking With Angus: The Final Episode, which also shows in An Lanntair in Stornoway and Talla Na Mara in Harris tomorrow (Friday).

The programme reflects on his life as a chef and the influence of his island roots on his cooking, as well as on practical cooking techniques.

For nearly 30 years, Angus has lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and taught culinary arts at West Michigan University and Grand Rapids Community Council. While there, the media department in the college suggested he started a TV show, to help students learn how to cook, and a screen star was born, with the programme even winning an Emmy, American TV’s equivalent of the Oscars.

The Final Episode completed a series of around 120 programmes and Angus returned to Lewis last year to film it, bringing with him three illustrious chef friends, two culinary students – the show is based on the premise of him teaching students on screen – and a film crew.

Angus was delighted to be back in Lewis again this week, lending his support to the festival and its principles. He said the environment and climate change was “a subject that we should be paying a whole lot more attention to”. He said: “It should be on the tip of everybody’s tongue because that is the only way we’re going to secure the island for future generations. 

“If we want our children to see the island the way we’ve experienced it, we seriously have to take care of it in every way and I don’t want to think about, two generations from now, some of the great  old solid recipes – cultural genius recipes that were created because of necessity – never being known any more because that would be criminal.”

Angus loves the old traditional recipes and intends to use produce from the sea in his cooking demo. He has been foraging for ingredients on the Shawbost shore – thinking about “what’s there but nobody knows how to cook anymore” – and was planning a stew with limpets, periwinkles, mussels, razor clams and dulse.

Film festival creative director and programmer Muriel Ann Macleod is delighted that Angus will be appearing personally at HIFF.

“His film is such an inspiring film because it’s really about his life as a chef, internationally, so I was really pleased when he offered to come and do a demo,” she said. “His subject is sea harvest and he’s harvesting from the shores. Who knows what he’s going to make?”

Angus also feels we should be more proactive in preserving the traditional dishes, which in a way were ahead of their time.

He said: “Nowadays the big push for everyone is ‘farm to table’. We’ve been doing farm to table for ever in Lewis, because we have an abundance of fresh produce from the sea, from the land, from the air. Everywhere we look we’ve got fresh produce we can use and I don’t think we do a good enough job of realising it.

“I don’t see grouse or pheasant on the menu. Everybody is complaining about deer but I don’t see venison on the menu. The beaches are covered in rabbits, thousands of them. The produce and the amount of stuff that we have available is incredible.”

Angus left Lewis at the age of 16 to begin a cooking and teaching career that would take him all over the world, including three years in the Bahamas in the 90s.

He credits his mother with igniting his passion for cooking and was “at my mother’s skirt tails, every day of my life”. He said: “She’s great. The beginning of my bio is that I came from the Isle of Lewis and I got my passion for cooking from my mother – because it was exciting, because it was something that happened every single day and it was (always) different.”

Angus’s story of how he got his college teaching job in the Bahamas also illustrates the important part that being an islander has played in his life. During the interview he was asked “tell me about the Isle of Lewis” and after he replied the head of the panel said: “He’s the man for the job because he understands island life”.

The similarities would prove striking – such as seeing an old Bahamian man of Potters Cay, Nassau, slice a piece of konk off a larger piece that was hanging drying in the sun.

The man walked away chewing it, reminding Angus of when his grandfather would slice a bit of salt ling off a larger piece hanging on a pulley by the fire. He also went away chewing it.

“The similarities are dramatic because they had to preserve their food, the same as we did.”

Island life has been “instrumental in every single thing I’ve ever done”, said Angus. 

“We ate well when we were kids. We never went hungry and it was right across the board, from a duff to salt mackerel to Ceann Cropic. It really opened my eyes. It gave you a good grounding into what food was all about. All you have to do is stuff a black pudding once and you’ll never be squeamish about anything again in your life. I still make them when I come home.”

While Angus’s demo and screening are taking place in Shawbost tonight, An Lanntair in Stornoway will be gearing up for the film festival’s official launch, which takes place at 7.30pm and will be followed by a screening of Patagonia’s Artifishal, which explores how wild salmon are under threat from fish farming and hatcheries.

The films programme gets underway in the morning, though, with screenings in An Lanntair and a number of the rural venues from about 10.30am. Check programme for details.

For more information on the festival visit: www.hebfilmfestival.org/hiff-2019

Tickets for the rural venues can be bought through the website by following the links to the Eventbrite marketplace but tickets for the An Lanntair films must be bought through the art centre’s own website at: www.lanntair.com.

Follow the Hebrides International Film Festival on social media – on Facebook at @HebFilmFestival and Twitter at @HebIntFilmFest – for regular updates.

A counselling service for people affected by cancer is to begin at the new Western Isles Cancer Care centre on Cromwell Street next week.

Counsellor Dolina Grant, who is trained by the Scottish counselling and psychotherapy body COSCA and by the bereavement care charity CRUSE, is to be joined by Marina Sinclair, who is accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

A spokesman for WICCI said: “When gathering initial feedback about what those affected by cancer would like to see available at the WICCI Centre, a counselling service was the most requested.

“Whether you want to talk about the impact of your diagnosis and any anxieties you may have, develop strategies to help you deal with the emotional effects of treatment or if a member of your family is dealing with cancer and you would just like to speak to someone - please do not hesitate in contacting the WICCI Centre. Your privacy will be respected at all times.”

Marina Sinclair’s first available appointment is on Thursday 26th September while Dolina Grant has appointment time available from Tuesday 17th September.

You can make appointments by calling in at the centre at 87 Cromwell Street or by calling WICCI on 01851 706721.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus B MacNeil has written to Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman MSP regarding the ongoing financial dispute between Bethesda Hospice and the Western Isles Integration Joint Board (IJB).  

Mr MacNeil is backing the call made by Alasdair Allan MSP, that the Scottish Government mediate between Bethesda Hospice and the Integration Joint Board.

Angus MacNeil MP said:  “I recently met with management from the Bethesda Hospice and I was able to hear detailed information about the financial situation.  It was also good to hear about the invaluable work being undertaken by all staff, who were highly praised by Manager, Carol Somerville.  The level of care and commitment to their work is in no doubt.

“Bethesda management tell me that the percentage of their budget they receive from the Health Board is 32.36% for the year 2018/2019 compared to 49.45% over 10 years ago – this when the Health Board’s budget has risen.

“They further point out that there is a double subsidy going on around Bethesda – it is not just the community that subsidise the hospice by fundraising but also the staff.  I was also told that the 90 staff at Bethesda work without many of the perks and benefits of other similar workplaces. 

“Hospices deserve a fairer slice of the pie and can’t be as reliant as they have been on fundraising, which is ongoing to make up for the inevitable gap,  Indeed, I recall taking part in a sponsored cycle to Uig to raise funds for Bethesda Hospice when I was a pupil in the Nicolson Institute in the late 80s.   Bethesda Hospice is an important asset to the community and deserves all the support it can get.

“I have written to Jeane Freeman MSP to request that the Scottish Government get involved and facilitate talks between Bethesda Hospice management and the IJB to get a resolution to this funding problem. 

"I think that Manager, Carol Somerville, makes the case for Bethesda funding to rise and the argument now is really about how much and how soon.”

Crofters protest as Scottish Government overlooks need for change.

Responding to the announcement that crofting legislation is unlikely to proceed through parliament in this session, Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) says it has taken this as a clear indication that crofting does not rank high on the government’s agenda.

“It came as a disappointment to see that crofting legislation did not appear on the Scottish Government’s ‘Programme for Government’ for this year“, said Yvonne White, chair of SCF.

“But the announcement by Fergus Ewing that it is unlikely to proceed through parliament at all this session is shocking. Mr Ewing gave the clear commitment on many occasions that the first phase of the legislation, the really important stuff that effects crofters’ day to day lives, would be dealt with in this parliamentary session.

"Stakeholders and Scottish government officials have committed a massive amount of resources over many years to get to the point that a Bill is almost ready to proceed,” Ms White went on.

“Opposition parties have been kept on-board and consensus sought, with the intention that the bill should progress relatively unhindered. Yet now we are told that this may have all been in vain, that other legislation takes precedence over crofting."

Ms White added, “We understand that the Brexit shenanigans will be adding a huge amount to government work-load and that this is not the making of the Scottish Government.

"But we would suggest that despite Brexit-related legislation having to be worked on, many other pieces of legislation are in the pipeline and will proceed through parliament.

"A decision had to made by Scottish Government which to give the higher priority to, and yet again it was not crofters and crofting."

 

The main road in Carloway remains closed this afternoon (3pm Wednesday September 11th) as investigations continue into a serious accident which took place this morning.

Police say the A858 between Doune Braes and Carloway bridge is likely to remain closed in both directions until well into the evening.

A diversion is in place via the Pentland Road.

Emergency services including police, ambulance and two fire crews attended the scene of the collision, which reportedly involved two cars.

Rescue helicopter R948 was tasked to airlift at least one person to Western Isles Hospital and Coastguard Rescue Teams manned landing sites at both Carloway and Stornoway.

This incident is ongoing.

 

We will host our first Employment Law update in Stornoway on Thursday 19thSeptember 2019.

Our free updates are perfectly formed bite-sized sessions which keep you up to speed with key changes in legislation.

We will alert you to recent cases which might affect you and analyse legal trends and changes you need to have on your radar.

To book a place please email Pamela Keith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Date and Time: 

Thursday 19thSeptember 2019 — 12:30 to 14:00

Venue: 

Church House, 16 James Street, Stornoway, HS1 2QN

Lewis Chessmen held at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh were made available to everyone to view from every angle yesterday (Tuesday September 10th).

Although that doesn’t mean that anyone can pick them up and handle them, the technological solution found by the museum offers an experience which brings the pieces up very close indeed, without even leaving home.

The eleven pieces held in Edinburgh, which include two kings, three queens and a shield-biting berserker, have been scanned in 3D for a new project to make each piece available for close scrutiny.

The work’s been done by archaeologist, curator and 3D modeller Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark, who said: “I loved modelling these beautiful things”. He used a program called Sketchfab, which allows designers and illustrators to create three-dimensional models from reality or from their imaginations.

The medieval Lewis chess pieces are among the most popular collections at the National Museum of Scotland, part of the large hoard discovered in Uig. The hoard contained 93 gaming pieces in total, including at least four chess sets as well as pieces from other games. Six of the pieces are on display at Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle in Stornoway.

These new three-dimensional images will allow anyone to inspect each model from every angle, seeing tiny details including the grain of the walrus tusk from which they were made.

You can view the newly available 3D images via Sketchfab at https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/lewis-chess-pieces-complete-set-d279ce3fd0e44726a21286877c367a05 or following the link from the National Museums Scotland page at https://www.nms.ac.uk/lewischesspieces

Picture shows the 11 Lewis chessmen held in the Edinburgh collection (National Museums Scotland).

A project to support those living with long-term conditions and chronic illnesses has been expanded to Barra.

EU-funded project, mPower, aims to help people with conditions such as diabetes, COPD, dementia and Parkinsons, by connecting them with activities in their community as well as introducing them to health and wellbeing technology designed for home and mobile use. 

The project has operated across Lewis and Harris since November 2017 but in recent months has now expanded with project representatives now working to cover Uist and Barra, meaning the mPower Western Isles team now has three Community Navigators.

Community Navigators work with those who have either self-referred to the project or been referred from their local health or social care team or from a voluntary sector organisation. Community Navigators work with individuals to develop a health and wellbeing plan which could include arranging access to various eHealth technologies. This might include video calling with health specialists to save them the trouble of physically going to multiple appointments or an appropriate remote health monitoring tool.

In Barra the Community Navigator will be based at Cobhair Bharraigh, an organisation providing support and care for the elderly within their own homes.

Martin Malcom, Head of Public Health Intelligence said: “We are delighted to be working with Cothrom and Cobhair Bharraigh. By working together we aim to best serve the local communities.”

The project has now helped over 1,000 people with its development of personalised wellbeing plans and digital health interventions across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, empowering them to live safely and independently in their own homes.

Lorna Morrison, Community Navigator, said: “mPower has already made a great difference to the lives of many in Lewis and Harris and we aim to continue to support many more. Developing a Wellbeing Action plan with our service users is a great way to set goals in relation to health and wellbeing and allows our service users to take a step forward to begin achieving their goals with my support and encouragement.”

Sue Long, mPower’s Implementation Lead for the Western Isles, said: “I look forward to working with Flosh and Isabel and it is great news that mPower will now be extended throughout the Western Isles. This programme provides us with a real opportunity to empower those who are managing Long Term Conditions and may have become isolated to connect to what’s on offer in the local community.”

You can be referred to the project by your GP or other healthcare professional. You can ask them to be referred if they haven't already suggested it. Or you can submit a self-referral form. Forms can be picked up from local libraries, your GP Surgery or from a healthcare professional. Or you can contact the project team directly for a copy of the form, contact details are below.

Lorna Morrison, (Lewis and Harris), telephone (01851) 708022 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Isabel Morrison – (Uists), telephone 07971 715010 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Florianne (Flosh) Maclean Barra), telephone 07971 715009 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The mPower project has a budget of €8.7million and is funded through the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

The project is match funded by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish Government and the Scottish Government.

For more information, visit https://mpowerhealth.eu

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

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

New house, Northbay

Roderick MacNeil of 228 Bruernish has applied for planning permission to erect a one-bedroom house at 239a Upper Bruernish, Northbay. Work is to include installing a septic tank and soakaway and creating two parking spaces. 

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

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

Camping pod, Point

Sonja Macleod of The Echoes, 3b Portvoller has applied to site a caravan pod at 3b Portvoller, Point. The caravan pod is to be five metres by 2.85 metres and is to be used as a holiday let. Work is to include creating one more parking space bringing the total number of parking spaces from three to four. 

New polycrubs, Lochs

Roderick Macleod of 6a Keose has applied for planning permission to erect three polycrubs at 6a Keose, Lochs. The polycrubs are to be 12.7 metres long, 4.2 metres wide and 2.6 metres tall. The outer material will be clear polycarbonate.

New house, Sandwick

Donald Nicholson of 28a East Street, Sandwick, has applied for planning permission to erect a house at 28a East Street, Sandwick.

New house, Marybank

John Macleod of 48 Lewis Street has applied for planning permission to erect a house with heat source pump and external garage at 5a Maryhill, Marybank. Work is to include creating a new access and four parking spaces. The house is to consist of four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen/dining room, a living room, a utility room and a drying room. 

New agricultural building, Sandwick

North Street Grazings has applied for planning permission to erect an agricultural building on North Street, Sandwick. Work is to include creating four parking spaces. The building is to be 223 square metres. 

Re-roof house, Stornoway

John Macleod of Farmfield Bungalow, Mill Lane, Queensbury, Bradford, has applied for planning permission to re-roof the house at Wandene, 2 Goathill Crescent. The house is a listed building and therefore requires permission for alterations. 

 

The Prime Minister’s decision to suspend Parliament is an affront to democracy, says Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus Brendan MacNeil.

Commenting on the prorogation of the UK Parliament, Angus MacNeil MP said: “It is simply unbelievable that Parliament has been suspended during what is a UK crisis.

A fence to keep rabbits off Sgoil Lionail’s football pitch is the first project to be taken on by a new group of Ness residents.

The group held their first meeting on Thursday (5th September) in Sgoil Lionail, chaired by Councillor Kenny Macleod. Parents and grandparents of the pupils agreed that the playing surface was in better condition than feared, thanks to the hard work of Ness football club and other volunteers who earlier filled in rabbit holes and made the pitch safe.

This year has seen relatively little damage by rabbits, but they will be back, so it was agreed that, to protect the football pitch as much as possible, rabbit-proof fencing would minimise future damage. The area is to be measured and a quotation obtained.

Fundraiser Charles Young of 7 Fivepenny has agreed to support the project by competing in the Great Scottish Run on 29th September. A range of fundraising events will also need to be organised to add to the funds.

Further meetings will be held to keep local people informed of progress on a worthwhile community project. Anyone wishing to be part of the project can contact Sarah Campbell, community learning and development officer, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sponsorship forms for Charles’ run are available in local shops and post offices and there is also a Virgin Money Giving online fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/charlesrunsforness2019

The funds raised will be divided equally between the Sgoil Lionail football pitch community project and the Comunn Eachdraidh Nis expansion project.

A passenger aboard the giant cruise ship Queen Elizabeth was brought ashore in Stornoway yesterday evening (Monday September 9th) after becoming unwell just as the ship was due to leave port.

The 74-year-old man fell ill while the ship was making her full-day visit to the Western Isles, and the ship’s agent made the decision to bring him ashore for medical treatment rather than risking two days at sea on the way to Iceland.

Stornoway Coastguard operations room received a call at 6.55pm to say that the man was bring brought to shore by the ship’s tender and needed medical transfer.

Scottish Ambulance were tasked to meet the tender at pier no 3 at 7.15pm, with Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team helping lift the man by stretcher up to the waiting ambulance. He was then taken onwards to Western Isles Hospital as the Queen Elizabeth continued on her voyage.

Picture shows the Coastguard vehicle awaiting arrival on pier no 3 (Stornoway CRT) with the Queen Elizabeth in the outer anchorage.

The latest recruits to Coastguard Rescue Teams in the Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber completed their training at the weekend (Saturday September 7th), with a helicopter familiarisation exercise.

The new team members have now received 80 hours of foundation training and are ready to become operational. They include Andrew Reeve, who is joining the Tarbert team, and Louise Maclean, who will now be on call at Stornoway.

A Coastguard spokesman said: “Well done on the commitment and enthusiasm and welcome to the unpredictable world of being always on call!”

New Coastguard volunteers are pictured in training with rescue helicopter R948 at Tiumpan Head. (HM Coastguard Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber).

A review into emergency air transport for pregnant women has been called for.

MSP Rhoda Grant has asked the Health Secretary to launch the review following investigation into the case of a Caithness mother who went into labour at 30 weeks with twins. The babies were born 50 miles apart in a dash by a road ambulance to Raigmore Hospital.

Mrs Grant asked NHS Highland, the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and Health Secretary, Jean Freeman, further questions after receiving an edited version of a Significant Adverse Event Review into the incident. She previously asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to investigate.

She repeated her call for a full risk assessment to be carried out on such emergency transfers and that a suitable craft can be made available for airlifts.

“After receiving the responses, I would sum up the situation as this – for any woman in labour and needing emergency help going by road ambulance is really the only option and air transfer is almost a non-starter,” said Mrs Grant, who represents the Highlands and Islands.

“Whatever the officials and Government say, most people believe that an air ambulance is still an option when the truth is that it can hardly ever be used due to the constraints of the helicopter and the risks associated with giving birth in the air.

“I’m now calling on the health secretary to instigate a review, to ensure that any emergency aircrafts can be large enough to carry medical equipment and be able take at least one qualified medic on board, particularly to cater for women in labour.

“I realise that pregnancy and labour are risks but we really do need to ensure that everything that can be done is being done to cover eventualities.”

Mrs Grant discovered that the ScotSTAR service, run by SAS and used to fly in medical experts in emergencies to locations across Scotland, does not have obstetric/midwifery staff and she is now asking Ms Freeman if this gap can be filled.

She wrote to Brian Johnson, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which runs search and rescue helicopters, to find out its policy on being called to pregnant women.

He said transfer requests in relation to pregnancy rested with the ambulance service but also said: “Our crews and aircraft are prepared and equipped to respond to deal with maternity care and obstetric emergencies." 

Mrs Grant commented: “This appears to be at odds with what the health authority and ambulance service are telling me so I’ve written back to him for clarification.”

The MSP stressed front-line staff involved in the twins’ case were excellent and coped with a very difficult and serious situation, but she was worried about the implications for other pregnant women.

Mrs Grant’s questions also revealed that some SAS pilots were not trained in the use of night vision goggles which meant they could not fly at night – the ambulance service said the search and rescue helicopter could respond in these cases.

Mrs Grant has asked Ms Freeman to grant the ambulance service extra money to ensure air staff get the significant additional training for night work.

 

Staff at Stornoway police station were faced with an unusual problem on Saturday afternoon (September 7th) – trying to find someone who likes chocolate!

A large number of chocolate bars were found on Lewis Street, outside Bain Morrison/Buildbase at 11.55am on Saturday. They are all one brand and were not in a box or bag.

The unusual lost property was handed over the desk at Stornoway Police Station and left Christine Macleod, who handles the lost property record, scratching her head, but determined to find the owner.

Christine has a talent for reuniting owners with their property, having recently got a wedding ring back to its owner after it was lost on a beach. She told welovestornoway.com: “I have ways and means, but this one is puzzling.”

If you think the chocolate is yours and can describe it fully, contact Stornoway Police on the non-emergency number 101, or call into Stornoway police station.

Meantime it will be kept with the glasses, phones and key-rings which are more usually handed in. The chocolate will be kept for two months and then donated to a local charity if not claimed.

A lighthouse support vessel more familiar with Stornoway harbour has taken her place in the Port of London, with a crew including Western Islanders aboard.

The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) vessel NLV Pharos services marine aids to navigation in Scotland, but this week she is playing a significant role at London International Shipping Week.

She made a spectacular entrance on Saturday (September 7th) under Tower Bridge, with Pipe Major Steve Duffy playing her into her berth on the Thames from the helicopter deck.

She’ll stay alongside HMS Belfast until 13th September as a venue for shipping week seminars, meetings and receptions, including the hosting of a major careers event for Maritime UK and prestigious events for the Met Office, UK Chamber of Shipping, and the Department for Transport (DfT).

Pharos usually works from Oban in Scottish and Isle of Man waters, supporting the maintenance and refurbishment of NLB’s lighthouses, as well as conducting buoy operations.

A number of islanders are on board during her stay in the Thames, including second mate Murdo Maciver. Pharos was last in port at Stornoway two weeks ago.

Mike Bullock, NLB’s Chief Executive said: “The vessel’s presence in the Thames is an opportunity to showcase our work to a global audience and we are delighted that NLV Pharos will be taking such a high profile role at London International Shipping Week.”

Earlier this year, the work of Pharos and her crew was featured on the BBC’s Countryfile Winter Diaries and NLB’s patron HRH the Princess Royal was interviewed on board Pharos for the One Show.

Pictures show PM Steve Duffy piping Pharos to her berth on Saturday, and the Pharos alongside HMS Belfast, with her deck and marquee set out as a reception venue last night (Niki Wilson).

(This report has been updated to correct the name of Murdo Maciver.  Apologies for the error)

Words and music which reflect the Iolaire disaster and its aftermath will be performed at a special event in Uig Community Centre, Isle of Lewis, this Saturday evening (September 14th)

It will be the only island venue for “As the Women Lay Dreaming”, which has been staged around Scotland, in English and Gaelic, to positive reviews.

Songs and music will be provided by Iain 'Costello' MacIver who will be accompanied by Còisir Bhan Na Hearadh as well as Shetland-based musician Donald Anderson and Donna Dale from Achmore.

The words are from Lewis-born author Donald S. Murray whose book of the same name has been shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award and highly commended in the Sir Walter Scott Historical Fiction Award.

Donald said:”I am very much looking forward to hearing this material performed where it belongs – on the Isle of Lewis, in an area which was so deeply affected by the Iolaire disaster.

“So far it has been very well received in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and at book festivals on the mainland. It is time it came home.’

Dolina MacLennan of the Saltire Society in Edinburgh said that “As the Women Lay Dreaming had been “one of the highlights of our Festival events.... A huge success - and sometime perhaps we can repeat it.”

Saturday’s performance in Uig Community Centre will begin at 7.30 p.m. Admission at the door is £8 with half-price for children.

Murdoch Macdonald supplied these photographs of the Queen Elizabeth in Stornoway harbour yesterday (Monday 9th September) 

Murdoch Macdonald supplied these photographs of the Queen Elizabeth in Stornoway harbour yesterday (Monday 9th September) 

A devolved migration policy is needed for Scotland because the UK Government’s 'hostile environment” policy for migrants will damage to Islands' economy and public services.

A report on Scotland’s Population Needs and Migration Policy warns that all of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years is projected to come from migration – with more deaths projected than births in every year.

Analysis by the Scottish Government also found that Westminster proposals to cut migration by tens of thousands would cost the Scottish economy up to £10 billion per year by 2040.

National Records of Scotland population projections show a decrease for the Western Isles of 4.8% by 2026, with the figures being even more stark for the working-age population.

Certain sectors of the economy and public services like the NHS in the Western Isles are reliant on labour from outside the UK. Without migration, these demographic issues would be exacerbated as an ageing population leaves Scotland with fewer working-age taxpayers.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan MSP said: “The islands need migrants and it’s vital that we continue to attract people to live and work here.

“The Western Isles host people from all over the world who have chosen to make this place their home. Whether we are talking about chefs from Nepal, health professionals from Poland or fishing crews from outside the EEA –  for which my colleague Angus Brendan MacNeil MP has been such a relentless champion at Westminster. These people make valuable contributions to our economy, public services and communities.

“However, the Tory government’s anti-immigrant obsession and narrow-minded Brexit rhetoric is currently driving people away from Scotland, and putting vital public services in the islands at risk. This is harmful to industries such as the food and drink sector, and damaging public services such as our NHS – and this is all before we have even felt the full impact of Brexit.

“The best solution to all these issues is for the Tories to devolve powers over migration to the Scottish Parliament – and give us the ability to create a migration system that works for Scotland and the islands.”

Walkers across the islands took to their feet this spring while virtually walking through the islands as part of an Active Hebrides Strategy initiative – the ‘Walk on Hebrides’ step count challenge led by NHS Western Isles.

Outer Hebrides residents were invited to join the challenge; aiming to walk the length of the islands (172 miles) over six weeks.

By logging their steps on the Big Team Challenge app and web system, their progress was tracked along the World Walking virtual route ‘Na h-Eileanan Siar’; starting on Barra, travelling north through the islands and finishing at the Butt of Lewis.

More than 300 people took part in the challenge either as individuals or as a team of two; with teams sharing the distance covered. Over two thirds of participants completed the route with many more completing over 75 percent.  After targeting, this year saw an increase in participation from males, people aged 65+ and residents of Harris.

Walking is a simple way to increase physical activity levels. It’s an all round great activity for all ages and fitness levels, which can improve physical, social and mental health.

During the challenge participants met the recommended UK Physical Activity Guidelines and those taking part in teams reported their activity levels increasing. A high percentage of walkers reported they felt benefits to their health and wellbeing from the additional activity during the challenge and would choose walking more as a preferred option after the challenge.

Comments from walkers included:

  • I was motivated to keep walking knowing local people were taking part
  • Thank you very much for another amazing challenge, which is great for our health in more ways than one
  • Wonderful idea and will certainly take part next year
  • Even though I didn’t complete the challenge my steps increased and I am looking at other challenges to take part in

Karen Peteranna, Health Improvement Practitioner, NHS Western Isles, said: “Being active is important for maintaining and improving our health. It is important for our mental health, social connections and in the reduction of risks to many serious diseases. 

“Walking is one of the most accessible activities available to us. You can start-off small and build-up your pace and distance over time. Evidence tells us that walking programmes like this can bring benefits to health in the short term and promote sustained activity long term. I hope participants of this challenge felt encouraged to continue their efforts now the challenge is over.” 

Two award-winning filmmakers are coming to the Hebrides International Film Festival in person this year to give masterclasses on their craft.

Extreme wildlife filmmaker and photographer Asgeir Helgestad and stop-motion animation director, set designer and model maker Catherine Prowse will both be giving masterclasses in the An Lanntair Pocket Cinema – Asgeir on Friday at 5.30pm and Catherine on Saturday at 2.30pm.

The film festival – taking place in venues across the Outer Hebrides from Thursday to Saturday (September 12 to 14) – is also screening films by Asgeir, from Norway, and London-based Catherine, so festival-goers will be able to enjoy their work as well as hearing about how they make it.

The films are Asgeir’s Queen Without Land, which follows the fortunes of a polar bear mother in the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, and Catherine’s Laymun, a short animation based in a war-torn Middle Eastern city where a woman fights the destruction and desolation around her by planting lemon trees.

Laymun has won three Royal Television Society awards, among others, and been screened at festivals around the world. In her masterclass, Catherine will be discussing her work and career, including how she creates the animations, followed by a question and answer session.

Multi-award-winning film Queen Without Land follows the story of beautiful polar bear Frost in Svalbard, the land of absolute darkness in winter and midnight sun in summer, where the disappearing sea ice has pushed life to the brink. As Frost is forced further inland, Asgeir is determined to find her and document all that is being lost, but his task is difficult and sometimes dangerous.

Asgeir has been working as a wildlife filmmaker and photographer since 1991 and been influenced by the vast landscapes, beautiful light and majestic animals of Norway, where he grew up.

He shoots in Ultra High Definition (8K), using the RED Epic W camera system, and his still photography and films have won him several international awards including prizes at the Wildscreen Film Festival and Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Queen without Land has won several awards including Best Environmental Film at the WFF in 2018.

Asgeir’s masterclass will focus on camera work in extreme location and the skills needed to capture the natural environment and wildlife. He will also be bringing his message of ‘wildlife filmmaking as climate activism' to the film festival. And he too will do a question and answer session.

Asgeir said: “I have never been to the Hebrides before and I am so excited to come and experience the wonderful nature there.

“I suppose it can be cold and windy now, but possibly not comparable to Svalbard. On Svalbard temperature rarely gets under -35 to -40C, but in combination with wind that can feel quite insane, especially if flying a drone or using touch-screens which is difficult with gloves. I will talk about filming in the cold and about how it is to work with polar bears who might find you too interesting. “Nevertheless, temperatures are rarely that cold anymore on Svalbard, as the average temperature has risen 5.6C and it even rains during the winter. This affects the whole ecosystem and even creates problems for reindeer that can't access their food when it’s covered with ice. These islands used to be surrounded by ice during the winter, but now it is more often surrounded by open water.”

The situation has moved beyond urgent, according to Asgeir.

“I am afraid it is too late to save the Arctic ecosystem as we know it. Our politicians will take action some time in the future, but the future is already here, and especially on Svalbard. Therefore, I would also like to discuss wildlife filmmaking as climate activism and what it means to be working in and for nature. I think it is important to have enough time for Q&A with the audience, as such issues need discussion and dialogue.”

Muriel Ann Macleod, Creative Director and Programmer of HIFF, is delighted to be providing the filmmaking masterclasses this year, thanks to funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

She said: “It’s skills development so we’ve brought in people who have unusually high-quality skills and we’re opening it up to filmmakers and students in the Hebrides. We have a collective of people who are making film, young and old, and this is about encouraging everybody in the community to think about making more film and these filmmakers are inspiring people.”

Another aspect of bringing filmmakers into the islands is that “very often they don’t know about the place and what it looks like”, so they might end up wanting to make film here.

Muriel Ann said the filmmaking masterclasses were “not an easy thing to put together” because, as well as looking for people “who had something special”, they also had to have a recent film out, which the film festival could book, and they had to be available themselves.

“We are really grateful to both of them for coming here,” she said, “because it’s a chunk out of both their lives to do it, especially to come to the island.”

She said Asgeir was “very interesting because he goes out and does everything himself”, in extreme environments with his high-level equipment. “He’s putting his life at risk to do it and in the film you see him almost being eaten by a polar bear.”

Catherine, meanwhile, is notable for being “a young talented individual, working in London and directing animation and making animation”. She is relatively new out of college but has won awards for her model making and paper animation.

“This is inspiring because this is what a young person has managed to do in a short period,” said Muriel Ann.

For more information, including details of all the screenings, visit: www.hebfilmfestival.org/hiff-2019. Printed programmes are also widely available.

Tickets for the rural venues can be bought through the website by following the links to the Eventbrite marketplace but tickets for the An Lanntair films must be bought through the art centre’s own website at: www.lanntair.com.

Follow the Hebrides International Film Festival on social media – on Facebook at @HebFilmFestival and Twitter at @HebIntFilmFest – for regular updates

 

New funding will be awarded to a Barra project, it has been announced.

Two major investment projects have been proposed for Barra and Vatersay.

One project will see the Comhairle aim to replace Castlebay and Eoligarry Schools as part of the development of a learning and community facilities hub for Barra and Vatersay.

The second project will see, NHS Western Isles, in collaboration with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, develop proposals to replace the St Brendan’s Hospital and Care Home.

The Scottish Government have announced funding for the new Castlebay Project, which will take forward innovative proposals for essential education, health and social care services to be provided on Barra and Vatersay in high-quality provision with well-trained and specialist staff.

The Comhairle has committed £7 million to the project from its Capital Programme.

Councillor Roddie Mackay, Comhairle Leader, said: “The Scottish Government, Scottish Futures Trust, the Comhairle and NHS Western Isles are working together to jointly support the people of Barra in having access to these services in what is a very positive development.

"This represents a fantastic economic and employment opportunity for Barra and Vatersay and has the potential to support social, economic and population regeneration. We hope that this type of local development will become a model for service provision elsewhere in the Outer Hebrides and throughout rural Scotland as an example of what can be achieved through collaboration between agencies.

“We would also like to place on record our thanks to The Scottish Government for all their support on this project and look forward to building on that over the coming years on other innovative projects and in working towards a Single Island Partnership.”

Any chance of a return to normal ferry service for the Isle of Barra has been postponed again with the news that weather disruption will affect the Oban Castlebay route tomorrow (Tuesday September 10th).

MV Isle of Lewis returned to service only yesterday (Sunday) with an amended service, after another technical issue sent her for repairs to her bow doors.

Now high winds forecast for tomorrow mean a changed timetable, with the service running early to beat the worst of the weather.

There’s more scheduled disruption on Wednesday because of the Tiree cattle and sheep sale, meaning that MV Clansman will run the Castlebay Oban route to an altered timetable, via Coll and Tiree.

Travel woes for the island were compounded yesterday (Sunday) with the cancellation of the scheduled 12 noon flight from Barra airport.

Organisations around the islands are joining together from today (Monday September 9th) for a series of events highlighting mental health and suicide prevention.

Suicide Prevention Week runs from today until 15th September 2019, with a variety of activities across the Western Isles.

Among the community organisations joining in the push to save lives, Stornoway Rugby Club has pledged to post a series of social media notices emphasising the importance of looking out for those around you.

Today they said: “Asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” Is difficult but by asking it clearly it shows that you are open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. This can open the door for someone to tell you what it is that they’re feeling.

“Talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will not put the thought into their head. Serious talk about suicide does not create or increase risk; it can help to reduce it. If you suspect someone may be feeling suicidal, ask them – it could save their life.”

Ian Graham, Chief Inspector for Police Scotland Western Isles said: “Every life matters and no death by suicide should be regarded as either accepted or inevitable. Our view is that suicide is preventable and anyone contemplating suicide or who has lost a loved one to suicide should get the support they need. If we are to achieve this, we need to make clear that suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We need to work together across sectors and organisations to identify and support people in distress, strengthen communities, and save lives.”

Events and activities this week include:

• Guidance classes at the Nicolson Institute this week will encourage S3-S6 pupils to consider mental health and what it means for everyone.

• A suicide prevention talk tomorrow (Tuesday) from 11am at Stornoway Library. This one-hour long free training course will act as a starting point for those who would like to learn more about suicide and attitudes surrounding the issue.

• On Friday 13th September a ‘Leave the light on’ service will be held at 7pm at the High Church, Matheson Road, for those who have been lost or those who have been touched by a loss. The service is open to anyone, regardless of faith. The experience of connectedness is important in mental health and wellbeing and the church hope that this event will provide an opportunity for this.
• NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education Scotland have made an animation titled 'Ask, Tell - Save A Life: Every Life Matters' accessible at www.bit.ly/AskTellSaveALife

Picture shows today's post from Stornoway Rugby Club.

A unique mix of supercars and marag dubh is promised at Charlie Barleys on Wednesday (September 11th) with the arrival of five members of the McLaren Owners UK club.

McLaren owner Kenny McLeod is bringing a posse of the distinctive cars on a tour through the Inner and Outer Hebrides, and they’re set to call at Charlie Barleys on Wednesday for a fundraising event.

Kenny said: “I visited your beautiful island back in April and had one of the best driving tours I've ever enjoyed. (And I include several trips around Europe!) Promised I'd be back and am bringing some of my pals with me from the McLaren Owners UK Club.”

The cars will not only be on display for an hour between 5.30pm and 6.30pm, but will be available to sit in and take photos. There’ll also be a raffle, with each one of the cars on offer for a 15-minute spin around the area as one of the prizes.

As well as five memorable drives out, Charlie Barleys have added vouchers for the shop and some of their famous black pudding as prizes. All of the money raised will go to Bethesda Hospice.

A spokesman for Charlie Barleys said: “There’ll be donations boxes out and all the cars will be parked in front of the shop. The forecast at the moment doesn’t look too bad, so we’re hoping for a good turnout!”
The picture shows Kenny McLeod’s McLaren outside Charlie Barleys in April this year (Charles M Macleod).

 

The Annual General Meeting of Stornoway Phab Club will be held

at the Grianan Centre, Westview Terrace, Stornoway,

on Thursday the 12th of September 2019, at 7pm.

 

All are welcome.

 

 

The Group Practice at Springfield Road health centre sees the arrival today (Monday (September 9th) of the second of two new GPs.

Dr Dave Fearon, who will be working part-time, started working with the practice in August. He has an interest in palliative care and formerly worked in West Africa for Cairdeas, the international palliative care trust.

Dr Fearon has been followed into the practice by Dr Raphaelle Freeston, who started today. Canadian-born Dr Freeston is moving to the island from Aberdeen with her husband and is an outdoor sports enthusiast.

Both GPs will see see patients in the Habost and Stornoway surgeries and have been welcomed to the practice by partners and staff, who are also pleased to have Natalie Bowling joining them, two days a week, as a clinical pharmacist. Natalie is available to carry out medication reviews with patients, in person and by phone.

A man lost his car at the weekend after police stopped him for anti-social driving for the second time.

The 27-year-old was stopped by police on Willowglen Road on Saturday night (September 7th) when his driving behaviour was causing concern.

Having been warned previously by police, he was issued with a second anti-social driving warning and his car was seized. He will now have to pay a fine for release of the vehicle.

Stornoway police are looking for information after a woman reported an alleged assault on Saturday night (September 7th).

The woman reported that she was assaulted at 11.45pm on Saturday at an address on Plantation Road by three men. She did not require medical attention.

Police are asking for anyone who saw a silver Subaru car with three men in it leaving the area soon after that time to contact them on the non-emergency number 101, quoting incident number NH1226/19. You can also use the Crimestoppers number anonymously – 0800 555 111.

It is the end of an era at Harbour Seafoods as the much loved fish shop will tomorrow (Saturday 7 September) close its doors for the last time.

The staff at Harbour Seafoods would like to take this opportunity to thank all of their customers for their loyalty over the past 18 years.  

The Fisherman’s Co-operative will continue to operate as usual.

Success for the island’s women footballers continues to make headlines, with the announcement this week (Wednesday September 3rd) that Lewis and Harris women’s team striker Mary Macleod has been signed by Inverness Caley Thistle.

Mary impressed ICT women’s team manager Karen Mason after showing off her skills at the Caley stadium last month, with a hat-trick during the Highlands and Islands cup final win.

The news comes alongside congratulations for three Lewis girls who have been selected for a coach development programme by the Scottish Football Association.

The programme is part of a 12-month project called ’20 Under 20’, designed to recruit 20 of the most talented female players in Scotland, interested in coaching and with a passion for football.

Point goalkeeper Chloe Nicolson, who plays for Rangers women, and Stornoway girl Kayleigh Mackenzie, a forward with Inverness Caley Thistle have been successful in joining the scheme, together with Shana Macphail. Chloe and Kayleigh are in S6 at the Nicolson Institute.

Meanwhile Ballallan’s Rachael Johnstone earned her fifth Scotland cap last week, when she kept goal for Scotland in a friendly match in Slovenia.

The picture shows striker Mary Macleod at the recent Highlands and Islands cup win (Trevor Martin).

The Stornoway-based television production company MacTV is now owned by its 18 staff, after its former MD offered it to them as he retired.

Bill Morrison offered the independent TV company to employees to ensure that the business stayed in Stornoway and kept its community-led ethos.

MacTV is one of the biggest producers of programming for BBC Alba. Since 2001 it has produced documentary, arts and music programmes in Gaelic and in English including popular series like Trusadh and An Lot. It has also been involved international co-productions with companies in Canada, Ireland, Iceland and Wales.

An employee ownership trust now holds 90% of the shares, thanks to support from Co-operative Development Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

A MacTV statement said: “In the 18 years since it was established, the hugely talented and hardworking team here at MacTV have helped build a highly regarded production company which is recognised at both a national and international level for producing important and compelling programming with Scotland’s unique spirit at its heart. With a workforce truly rooted in the community, the passion, skills and local knowledge of our staff is vital to the quality of our output.

“A traditional trade sale may have seen us bought by a competitor, potentially risking job security and compromising our offering. Employee ownership ensures that the company is owned by and run for the benefit of those most close to it, while providing ongoing economic benefit to the area by anchoring the work and jobs in the local community.”

Picture shows Bill Morrison and MacTV staff celebrating the change of ownership this week (MacTV).

A group of Stornoway airport workers are hoping for a flying start tomorrow morning (Saturday September 7th) as they set out on a marathon cycle between Benbecula and Stornoway airports.

The 13 cyclists on the airport2airport charity cycle include 11 from Stornoway and two from Benbecula – firefighters, security staff and air traffic controllers, all determined to cycle a full 100 miles to raise money for two charities.
They’ll be leaving Stornoway at 6.30am in a minibus donated for the effort by Mackinnons and expect to catch the 8.25am ferry at Leverburgh, en route to Benbecula airport. Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd have sponsored the ferry crossings, and mechanical support is being provided by Bespoke Bicycles’ Alistair Glover, who is taking along a mobile bike repair unit.

Duncan Macleod of the Stornoway Airport firefighters told welovestornoway.com, today: “We’re hoping to catch the 1.30pm ferry from Berneray on the way north, and want to get in as many miles as we can before that, so that we’re not left with too many between Leverburgh and Stornoway.

“If we need to make up miles later in the day to hit the round 100, we’ll be detouring at Leurbost or Achmore to add a few more. The forecast is for the wind to come round to the south tomorrow, so it’ll be on our backs and the stronger it blows, the quicker we’ll get there!”

The two charities to benefit from the effort are British Heart Foundation Scotland and the Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative. The group are hoping to match the total £6,000 raised last year when they cycled lighthouse to lighthouse from Scalpay to the Butt of Lewis.

They’ve been helped in that aim by island businesses, who have made generous donations for a prize draw. Two Loganair tickets to anywhere in the network, a martini gift set from Harris Distillery and an Essence of Harris gift set are among the goodies that can be won.

Anyone who makes a donation online or signs a sponsor form will be entered into the prize draw, with an equivalent number of tickets, pound for pound, allocated against their name. Tickets are also being sold directly by the team members.

By 9pm tomorrow night the lucky 13 are hoping to return to Stornoway airport to a spectacular welcome from airport staff and supporters, and they also hope to see donations soar as they complete the 100 milb e journey.

You can donate online to either of the charities by these links: British Heart Foundation Scotland https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stornoway-airport-SAAS69-to-70070 and Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative https://www.gofundme.com/f/airport2airport-100-mile-charity-cycle

The picture shows some of the team looking bright and breezy ahead of the challenge.

Stornoway airport is expected to see an unusual visitor this afternoon (Friday September 6th), as a US Air Force V-22 Osprey helicopter lands for a refuel around 2pm.

The V-22 Osprey is a US Marine corps support aircraft and is unique in that it uses two engines positioned on fixed wing tips. It can land and take off vertically like a helicopter, but flies much faster because of engineering which tilts the engines forward to create a flying position similar to a fixed-wing aircraft.

It has huge speed and range, and carrying capacity for up to 24 combat troops. US aircraft are currently on exercise from RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire and the Osprey supports B52s in operation.

The potential V22 landing comes in at the end of a good week for aircraft spotters, especially military enthusiasts. Yesterday Stornoway saw a flypast by a Eurofighter Typhoon from 9th Sqadron RAF Lossiemouth and earlier this week V22s and Hercules transport planes were overflying the north of Lewis.

Pictures of yesterday’s Typhoon visit and a V22 Osprey are by Jason Spinks.

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) is laying down a marker on the £160 million agricultural ‘back-payment’ that has been returned to Scotland, pointing-out that it is crofters’ and hill-farmers’ low payments that secured it.

“It is very encouraging that the UK Government has honoured the Prime Minister’s pledge to pay the £160 million that has been owed to Scotland due to the below-average agricultural payments we receive,”  said the chair of SCF, Yvonne White.

“It is in great part down to the tenacity of the Scottish Government and Scottish producers that we won this, though it was clearly owed to us and it is shameful that we had to make such an effort to get what is due us.”

The current phase of the Common Agriculture Policy set a threshold of 90 per cent of the EU average payment rate per hectare that all member states should reach. The UK’s average rate per hectare fell below the 90 per cent threshold because of Scotland’s very low average payment rate - which is only about 45 per cent of the EU average. As a consequence, the UK will now receive an extra €223 million (about £190 million) over a six-year period.

Ms White continued, “Scottish Government and stakeholders have long argued that the refund should come to Scotland in its entirety as it is our low payments, particularly those to crofters and hill farmers, which bring the UK average down low enough to justify the refund. Until now the UK Government has been reluctant to concede that it is Scotland’s money and have only given us £30 million. Now that we are to get the remaining £160 million, we need to make sure that it goes to those areas that receive very low payments.

“There is a huge disparity in payments in Scotland,” Ms White went on, “with permanent rough grazing only getting a tenth of that which arable and rotational grass get. This is the rough grazing that supports crofters and hill farmers and it is this payment that brings the Scottish average down so low. The payment for this grazing should, therefore, be increased to raise the Scottish average”.

Ms White concluded, “It is imperative that Scottish Government do not do what the UK government tried to do, to use this money for anything but for that which it is intended. This is money that has a specific use, to increase agricultural payments to the lowest paid and must be ring-fenced for this.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has also welcomed the announcement that £160 million worth of convergence funding owed by the UK Government to Scotland’s crofters and farmers is finally set to be repatriated.  

“This is money that should have rightfully been used to support crofters and farmers in Scotland. I am delighted that after six years the UK Government have finally bowed to pressure from the SNP and agreed to repatriate this funding. 

“However, it is worrying that, despite these powers being fully devolved, UK government ministers are reported to be seeking to direct how these funds are to be spent. That would be wrong and would go against devolution.

“The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing outlined to Parliament earlier this week that all additional convergence funding received will be ring fenced for agriculture. It is not for the UK Government to decree how that money should be ring fenced. 

“Given that this money was awarded due to Scotland’s lower payment rate, it is right that those who typically receive the lowest levels of support – such as crofters and those in island areas – should be prioritised when these funds are made available and I will be seeking assurances on this point.

Scottish Land & Estates has welcomed news that Scottish farmers will receive an extra £51.4m over the next two years, in addition to the £160m allocated in the Spending Round on Wednesday.

The £51.4m pot of new money comes as the Lord Bew Review of farm funding, commissioned by the UK Government, is published today Friday 6 September.

Sarah-Jane Laing, Executive Director, said: “This is further excellent news for Scottish agriculture following the £160m allocated in the Spending Round on Wednesday.

“It is important that this funding is used to support the entire sector and encourages innovation as the industry adjusts to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

The former Leurbost Meeting House is to be sold to raise valuable funds for the North Lochs community. 

The Leurbost Meeting House like others in the parish was built in the 1920’s as a central meeting point within the community; it was used, almost exclusively, to hold prayer meetings up until the new church hall was built at Crossbost in 2000. 

From this time onwards the building became somewhat redundant and although the ground the Leurbost Meeting House was on, had been resumed from crofting tenure, title had never been taken and therefore the building could not be sold by the church.

Soval Estate became aware that both the Lochs Free Church and North Lochs Community Association were in great need of funding and following on from discussions with the relevant bodies the estate has generously offered to grant title for Leurbost Meeting House to the local community at no cost, in order that the building may be sold to raise vital funds.

On Wednesday 28th August 2019 Richard and Marie Kershaw were delighted to meet with community representatives to officially acknowledge the handover of the meeting hall. The estate has been in Richard’s family since 1951 and has undergone many changes over the years.  Richard and Marie are particularly proud of the new Soval Lodge at Valtos Farm which sits in a lovely discreet location with uninterrupted, spectacular sweeping views of Loch Erisort and the Harris hills beyond. Soval is let for 8 months of the year and provides valuable employment for up to 10 people living in the local community.

North Lochs Community association intend to use the funds towards planned upgrades at the Community Hall.

Lochs Free Church intends to use the funds towards improvements at the main church building and hall in Crossbost.

Richard and Marie Kershaw commented “We are absolutely delighted to have this opportunity to assist the North Lochs community.  The proceeds from the sale of the disused meeting hall will enable both of these organisations to make improvements to their premises which in turn will benefit all the North Lochs villages including Achmore, Leurbost, Crossbost, Ranish and Grimshader .“

Murdo Macleod, Session Clerk of Lochs Free Church said, “The community of North Lochs has, for many years, substantially benefited from the supportive approach taken by the owners of the Soval Estate and this gesture is a tangible demonstration of that support. We also wholehearted agree with the principle that, following disposal of the building on the open market, a portion of the proceeds be given to the Community Association to assist with the operation of the local Community Centre.

"Although the Meeting House throughout most of its existence was used almost exclusively for church meetings there was, at the time of its establishment, a view that it might be deployed for wider community usage, and the original Resumption Order of 1929 was more than likely granted on this basis. The proceeds will also help with continuing improvements at the main Church Building and Hall. We take this opportunity to sincerely thank Richard and Marie Kershaw and wish them and their family the very best in relation to their operation of the Soval Estate for many years to come.”

Annabel Mackay, Chairperson, North Lochs Community Association commented, “The proceeds from the sale of the mission house in Leurbost will go towards the planned upgrade of the North Lochs Community Centre,  ensuring the on-going use of the hall. On behalf of NLCA I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr and Mrs Kershaw for their kind donation that will be benefit the whole of the North lochs community. “

 

An increase in demand for ferry services has resulted in a call for the Scottish Government to review its current provisions.

An increase of 27% for foot passengers and 35% for cars on the Stornoway to Ullapool route alone was noted between 2014 to 2018.

MSP Rhoda Grant is calling for the Scottish Government to urgently review its ferry services.

Community events for young and old are in danger of coming to a halt in Tong – unless new volunteers step forward to keep the well-used hall open.

Tong Recreation Association has put out an appeal to the Tong community for volunteers to support the committee and work of the association. If volunteers are not forthcoming there is the strong likelihood that the centre could close.

The 1970s building, with its surrounding playing field and playpark, is used regularly for community activities.

Committee member Isobel Ann Macdonald told welovestornoway.com today (Thursday): “The building is used for keep fit classes, youth clubs, the Caraidean club and private functions. It’s also used by the school across the road every day for sports and there are big events organised there, such as the forthcoming bonfire night on November 10th.”

The recreation association works around the village, too, with village clean-ups and fun events such as the popular annual scarecrow competition and this year’s quirky herd of llamas, who visited households in return for a donation.

An Emergency General Meeting has been called for Tuesday 24th September at 7.30pm in the Tong Centre, with an urgent call for new contributors to the active life of the community.

Isobel Ann said: “The centre is the focus of activity for many groups in the community and fundraising events are organised by a small dedicated team of volunteers. However, that team needs to be strengthened and more of the responsibility shared if the centre is to have a future.

"The TRA has had a fantastic track record in ensuring the centre is run properly and events are organised. But we need new committee members to help with the running of the association.

“New volunteers would find it worthwhile and very rewarding to be part of a dedicated team serving the community. I would appeal to as many as possible to attend the EGM and contribute to the future of the Association. Your village needs you!"

You can see more of the activities organised by Tong Recreation Centre and offer your time to keep it open at their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/207557566481020/

Pictures show past events at Tong Community Hall – the Caraidean Christmas dinner and a Hallowe’en party for youngsters.

A fish farm vessel and two Coastguard Rescue Teams were called to the aid of a kayaker who fell into the water off Callanish yesterday afternoon (Wednesday September 4th).

Two men had set out to paddle from the tidal islet Eilean Orsaigh and one had fallen into the water in rough conditions.

The man had become too cold to paddle and was unable to return to the shore, so they called for help at 12.17pm.

Stornoway Coastguard operations centre issue a ‘pan-pan’ call, asking any vessel in the vicinity for assistance, and tasked Miavaig and Bragar Coastguard Rescue Teams to attend.

A Scottish Salmon Company fish farm vessel responded to the call for help and was able to bring the men aboard and transport them back to Breasclete pier, where the Coastguard teams helped with the landing.

No medical treatment was required and the men undertook to recover their kayak from Eilean Orsaigh at low tide. With everyone safe and accounted for, teams were stood down at 2.25pm.

The Coastguard duty officer who attended the incident paid particular tribute to the assistance of John, Kenny and the team at the Breasclete fish farm base for the successful resolution of the incident.

The first operational use of a new location-finding app proved a success during a rescue at Luskentyre sands late yesterday (Wednesday September 4th).

Stornoway Coastguard officers received a call for help from Scottish Ambulance at 9.08pm, after a man called 999 when he injured his ankle while walking on the sands.

The 30-year-old visitor was alone and was not sure exactly where he was in Luskentyre, having walked over dunes and onto the sands as darkness was falling.

Coastguard officers asked rescue helicopter R948 to help and tasked Coastguard Rescue Teams from Tarbert and Scalpay to the scene, where an ambulance was already waiting. The helicopter, up on a training flight, was able to reach the location quickly.

At the same time, Coastguard officers had texted the casualty with a link to the app what3words, which defines every three-metre square of the world using a unique combination of three words. They also asked him to shine the torch on his phone when he heard help coming.

The helicopter was directed to the casualty after he’d been pinpointed by the three words named:zipped:classmate. R948 shone a spotlight on the precise location and Coastguard volunteer teams were quickly at the right spot, close to Luskentyre old cemetery.

They helped him up to the road and to the waiting ambulance, from where he was taken to Western Isles Hospital for attention to a minor ankle injury.

A Maritime Operations Officer told welovestornoway.com today (Thursday): “This was the first time we had used the app after being introduced to it and told that we have it as an option for locating casualties. The team were delighted with how well it worked.

“It was very useful to have as an additional resource when we were searching in the dark, over a large area and with a casualty who was not able to describe his exact location.”

You can find the app and pinpoint any location using it at https://what3words.com/products/what3words-app/

The Emergency Aid at Work (EFAW) course is designed for low risk work environments and enables personnel to be designated first aiders in the workplace. It is legally compliant with the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981.

The programme includes the following topics:

  •     The role of the first aider
  •     Prevention of cross infection
  •     The recording of incidents
  •     The use of available first aid equipment (FA boxes and defibrillator)
  •     The assessment of first aid situations
  •     Treatment of the unconscious casualty
  •     Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  •     First aid treatment for choking, wounds, bleeding and shock.
  •     First aid treatment for minor injuries

Flights disruption at Stornoway airport and others throughout the Highlands and Islands may continue all winter after air traffic control workers rejected another improved pay offer from the management of Highlands and Islands Airports.

It is now feared the work-to-rule by members of the Prospect union could last until February, meaning winter flights affected by poor weather will be cancelled rather than delayed .

And Loganair has already warned of losses running into millions of £s arising from cancelled flights during a succession of one-day strikes since April, threatening the viability of islands services.  It is expected that major cuts will be made in the services between Stornoway and Inverness in the next timetable coming into affect soon.

A HIAL spokesperson yesterday (Wednesday September 4th)  : “This is a disappointing result. We presented a fair and reasonable offer to the Air Traffic Control staff. We have been in touch with Prospect and the union has agreed to meet in the near future and we are hopeful that these discussions will be positive”.

As of early today, there is no message on the Prospect ATC website apart from one refusing to outline the details of the August offer which has now been rejected by members.

And from HIAL there are no further details about how they intend to end this crisis.  A spokesperson said: "Sorry, interview requests are being politely declined."

 

A series of conversations around marine management are being held during the Hebrides International Film Festival at six locations throughout the islands.

The Seas of the Outer Hebrides project team, made up of representatives from Creative Carbon Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the University of the Highlands and Islands, will be present to introduce the project and hear your views on how we should best look after our marine environment.

During 2019 Suicide Prevention Week from 9–15 September 2019, there are a variety of activities across the Western Isles.

They include:

  • suicideTALK training at Stornoway Library: Tuesday 10 September 2019: 11am to 12noon. This 1-hour long free training course will act as a starting point for those who would like to learn more about suicide and attitudes surrounding the issue.
  • Leave A Light On Service: Friday 13th September 2019, 7pm: The High Church, Matheson Road, Stornoway. The “Leave A Light On” Service is being held for those who have been lost or those who have been touched by a loss. All are welcome to attend and the service is open to anyone, regardless of faith. Light refreshments, a time to chat and literature will also be available after the service. The experience of connectedness is important in the mental health and wellbeing of all people and we are hopeful that this event will provide an opportunity for this.

The theme for Suicide Prevention Week 2019 is: ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’ and acknowledges the importance that a public health approach is needed to address suicide rates in Scotland.

Ask Tell Save a Life

That’s the message NHS Health Scotland is sending out to people across the Western Isles to mark this year’s Suicide Prevention Week (9 – 15 September 2019).  NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland worked together to develop an online resource, Ask Tell Save a Life: Every Life Matters, to support suicide prevention, as part of the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan.  This online resource aims to raise awareness of the issues that affect people and which can sometimes lead them to think about harming themselves or even taking their own life. The animation is designed to increase the confidence of individuals to support anyone in distress, by directing them to the specialist help they need at that time.

The emotional impact on families, friends and communities bereaved by suicide is devastating and can have long lasting negative effects on those left behind. Whilst it is difficult to put an exact value on the economic and social cost of a suicide; a figure of £1.5 million per individual has been estimated (https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/zero-suicides).  The ripple effect on families, friends and communities adds another dimension which would increase this figure dramatically.

We are asking everyone to be alert to the warning signs of suicide in people close to them. The message is:

 ….if you’re worried about someone, such as a friend, family member or workmate, asking them directly about their feelings can help to save their life.

The campaign acknowledges that signs of suicide can be difficult to spot, but encourages people to take all signs of distress seriously, even if it seems a person is living a normal life. It also assures people that asking a person about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference. 

People who have tried to take their life can teach us about how the words and actions of others are important. They often talk movingly about reaching the point where they could see no alternative but to take their own life. Despite this, they also had a strong desire to live but wanted someone to intervene and stop them from ending their life. By taking a minute to show you care and asking directly about suicide, you could change their life.

Elaine MacKay, Suicide Prevention Lead for the Western Isles, said: “If someone you are close to shows signs of not being themself, you will normally notice.  When changes in their behaviour begin to worry you – even if the signs come and go – the most important aspect is to ask them about it.

“Talking openly about their feelings can help a person get clarity about what is troubling them. Starting this conversation helps them gain a perspective on their distress. You don’t need to have a solution to their problems – being there for them and listening, without judgement, shows that you care and their distress, and ultimately their happiness, is important to you.”

Elaine added: “Ask if they are thinking about suicide. It won’t put the thought into their head if it wasn’t there before, but it can be a big relief for them to be able to open up fully and acknowledge they need help and support.  By taking the time to show you care and are there to listen, you could change their life.”

To support this campaign across the Western Isles, NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education Scotland have made the animations widely and easily accessible at www.bit.ly/AskTellSaveALife.

Work is ongoing year round and The Western Isles Multi Agency Suicide Prevention Advisory Group (SPAG), which has been established since November 2018 has developed a two year Action Plan. The key priority areas within that Action Plan are around developing an evidence-based community response document for anyone at risk of self-harm and suicide based around critical time interventions by all partners; the delivery of mental health and suicide prevention training across the Western Isles; the systematic collection of data on suicide and deliberate self harm through working with local and regional partners; and exploring the support available for those affected or bereaved by suicide.

Ian Graham, Chief Inspector for Police Scotland Western Isles, and Chair of the SPAG said “Every life matters, and no death by suicide should be regarded as either accepted or inevitable. Our view is that suicide is preventable, and anyone contemplating suicide or who has lost a loved one to suicide should get the support they need. If we are to achieve this, we need to make clear that suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We need to work together across sectors and organisations to identify and support people in distress, strengthen communities, and save lives.”

 

 

A modern-day drinking fountain is in place and set for unveiling in Stornoway town centre, part of the drive to cut plastic waste.

The distinctive ‘top-up tap’ has been installed by Scottish Water for public use and is to be given its first public airing next Thursday (September 12th).

As the weather causes another cruise ship cancellation today (Wednesday September 4th) the businesses and tourist attractions of Stornoway are keeping their fingers crossed for a big visitor next week.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth is due in to Stornoway on Monday morning for a full day of sightseeing on her way to Akureyri in Iceland. Her 14-day tour of Iceland and the British Isles starts on Friday (September 6th) as guests embark at Cunard’s home port of Southampton.

The Western Isles Development Trust (“WIDT”) currently invites applications from community groups for funding for projects with a focus on alleviating fuel poverty and promoting renewable energy. 

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has welcomed news that Scottish farmers are to receive an extra £160m of convergence funding from the UK Government.

The award, which was announced in the UK Spending Review today (Wednesday September 4th) , follows protests aimed to ensure that Scottish farmers received the money they were due.

The Scottish Conservative MSP said: “This is excellent news for everyone working in agriculture across the Highlands and Islands.

 “A successful farming and crofting sector is fundamental to the sustainability of our local economy and our share of this £160m of extra income will go a long way to help farm businesses and crofters right across the region.

“I am delighted that the lobbying of the  Scottish Conservative team of MPs, supported by our MSP group at Holyrood, has been so successful in ensuring that these convergence funds come our way, and I was very pleased to play a small part in that effort as our party’s rural affairs spokesman over the last year or so.”

And the Highlands and Islands MSP has been appointed Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Europe and External Affairs.

The appointment is one of a number of changes made in the shadow cabinet following the resignation of Ruth Davidson as leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

Mr Cameron succeeds interim leader Jackson Carlaw in the role.

Mr Cameron said: “As the UK comes out of the European Union it is very important that there is a Scottish voice on Europe which looks beyond the grievance politics of the SNP.

“There are huge opportunities for Scottish businesses as we develop trading links across the world and reassert control over our fishing grounds.

“I look forward to putting the case for a strong Scotland in a strong UK operating as a truly global player in the years ahead.”

 

 

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause irreparable harm to the unborn baby - that's the stark message of this year's International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day which falls on Monday September 9.

The Outer Hebrides Alcohol & Drug Partnership (OHADP) and NHS Western Isles will be spreading the word on exactly how drinking alcohol can hurt the unborn baby.  

Alcohol is damaging to the baby’s cells and cell growth. When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol in her blood passes through the placenta into the developing baby’s blood. As the foetus does not have a fully developed liver, it cannot breakdown the alcohol. 

Instead, the alcohol circulates in the baby’s blood stream, destroying developing cells and damage to the nervous system of the foetus at any point during the nine months of pregnancy.

FASD describes a range of birth defects that can result in life-long damage. The effects of FASD on a child can include serious behavioural and social difficulties such as poor learning skills, hyperactivity, attention and memory problems. The physical effects include heart problems, limb or kidney damage, eye and hearing problems.  

Women may not realise the affect that drinking whilst pregnant can have, so to be sure that your baby will not be born with any of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, the message is clear - avoid alcohol. No alcohol = no risk.

The Chief Medical Officer’s guideline for both men and women is that to keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. If you are pregnant or think you could become pregnant, or breastfeeding, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

Take the time to think about spending the nine months of pregnancy free from alcohol and if you are worried about alcohol use during pregnancy do talk to your doctor or midwife.

There is no cure for FASD and the effects last a lifetime, but the good news is that FASD is preventable. Research has shown that early intervention and appropriate treatment can improve a child’s development and help them towards a more independent life.  

If you would like more information on how to reduce your alcohol intake in preparation for a pregnancy, visit the Scottish Government’s ‘Count14’ website which offers helpful information on reducing your drinking, as well as a useful drinks calculator to help monitor the amount of units you drink.  Visit: www.count14.scot    

NHS Inform also provides useful information on alcohol during pregnancy which can be accessed at:  www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/alcohol

In addition, the National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome – UK (NOFAS-UK) offers information on FASD, promoting education for professionals and public awareness about the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.  Visit: www.nofas-uk.org

If you would like more information on FASD please contact the Outer Hebrides ADP Support Team on 01851 762022 or visit our website: www.outerhebadp.com

The Lewis and Harris Piping Society would like to congratulate piper James Mackenzie on winning the Silver Medal for piobaireachd at the Northern Meeting in Inverness.

James, 30, who comes from Back and plays with contemporary folk band Breabach, won the traditional solo competition at the event on Thursday, August 29.

Dr John Smith, Chairman of The Lewis and Harris Piping Society, said: “The Lewis and Harris Piping Society would like to congratulate James Duncan Mackenzie on winning the Silver Medal for piobaireachd at the Northern Meeting last week. 

“We remember James very clearly when he was a youngster playing in junior competitions and also at the regular recitals that the Society used to organise. He has subsequently made a name for himself both nationally and internationally playing with Breabach.

“I spoke to him at lunchtime just before he was due to go on to play in the competition and he confessed to being very nervous. A friend of mine also spoke to him and was surprised that he was so nervous, considering he is well accustomed to playing in front of thousands with the band. I assured him that a little bit of adrenalin coursing through his veins would not do him any harm.

“There is no doubt that in recent years there has been a trend for pipers to play in bands with other instruments and there are several examples of that, with some very good pipers playing in bands. But the traditional individual performance of piobaireachd is a different art form and I guess that playing in front of three old men with their arms folded across their chests and pens poised, ready to note down any missed grace note, is just as challenging, if not more so, than playing in a band.”

Dr Smith added: “Having won the Silver Medal, James now qualifies to play in the Gold Medal competitions if he so wishes next year. We sincerely hope that he will continue to develop his skills and achieve the top accolade which is to win The Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal for Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering or the Northern Meeting.

As a youngster James studied with Pipe Major Iain Murdo Morrison, widely regarded as one of the finest players of his generation and a previous winner of many piping accolades, and began returning to him for lessons over the past year, whenever he was ‘home’ to Lewis on holiday.

James now lives in Glasgow and has a degree in piping from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, now The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

He is “chuffed” to have won the Silver Medal. He said: “It’s nice to win a prize. It was my first year competing in quite a few years. The last time I competed was maybe 2010.”

James had also competed at the Oban Games, the previous week, but not been successful. He attributed his changed fortunes at the Northern Meeting to “more focus and proper tuning”.

He also spoke of the differences between playing in big band gigs and traditional solo competition.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing piobaireachd but don’t really get that much of a chance to do it. I’ve been touring and gigging for the last number of years but when I was wee I used to compete a lot in solo competitions and it’s good to come back to it this year.”

He said: “There’s a big emphasis for solo piping on the sound of the instrument. When you’re playing in the folk band the pipes are set in B flat concert pitch and then in solo competitions you kind of play a different chanter – a sharper, brighter sound, so that’s musically one element of it. 

“You also need to be very well set up so that they’re in tune for a prolonged period of time because the tune can be 20 minutes. 

“With gigging and that kind of stuff there’s lots of room for improvisation but competing is very strict. You’ve got to follow the score very closely and that’s part of the beauty of it as well. You’ve got these parameters set for you and it’s up to you to make music with it.”

James said Iain Murdo Morrison had “helped me hugely with the tunes for the past year”, adding: “Every time I’ve been going home I’ve taken the pipes up with me. He doesn’t let anything slip through the net so that’s been good as well. I think he was quite chuffed as well (with the win). I think he was quite happy.”

James admitted he had suffered from “a different type of nerves” during the competition.

“With the band we’ve played at quite a few festivals over the years. You’re comfortable playing in front of a crowd of 6,000 and it all changes when you’re on the boards in front of three judges and a handful of knowledgeable people in the crowd.”

However, he added: “I definitely enjoyed it, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. I played the March, Strathspey and Reel competition earlier in the day and I was maybe slightly more nervy for that, so when I came up for the piobaireachd my nerves were really away and I could focus on the tune.”

So will James be back next year, in the Gold Medal competitions?

“I’ll give it a bash,” he said.

Torman has now achieved charity status in Scotland, number SCO49334.

The group says: "We offer funding support to people between Garynahine and Dalmore who wish to take part in music, singing, dancing and other cultural activities.

"As a result of our fundraising concert in March, we were able to pay towards costs of children from the area attenting Fèis Eilean an Fhraoich from the 22nd to the 26th of July and we were delighted to be in a position to assist so soon after we formed the group.

"As part of the Torman initiative, we aim to support local tuition providers. Here is Ashley MacDonald, who teaches piping to children in the catchment area, receiving a copy of ‘Scots Guards – Standard Settings of Pipe Music, Volume III’ from Torman chairperson Shona Macmillan."

Our next fundraiser will be a bingo night on Friday 20th September in the Carloway Hall – don’t miss it!

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

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

Electronic communications apparatus

Pegasus Group has applied for planning permission to install electronic communications apparatus to an existing telecommunications structure situated at Relay Station, Bentangaval, Castlebay.

 

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

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

New and replacement poles for overhead lines, Ness

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks has applied for planning permission to replace three poles, and erect two new poles to replace the H-pole on the Ness Football Club premises which will be dismantled, at Overhead Line, Fivepenny, Ness.

Change of use from outhouse to house, Newmarket

William Angus Morrison of 146 Newmarket has applied for planning permission to change the use of the outhouse at 146 Newmarket to a house. The external appearance of the structure will remain the same, whilst the interior will be altered to create a one bedroom dwelling. 

Partial demolition, renovation and extension, Point

Point Community Council has applied for planning permission to partially demolish existing buildings, renovate and extend their premises at Urras Storas an Rubha, Old School, Knock. The plan is to improve the community facilities, incorporating enlarged shop, cafe, museum and community office facilities. 

Extension and alteration of house, Tolsta

Annie Maclean of 60 Newmarket has applied for planning permission to extend the house at 8 Lochside, North Tolsta. The extension is to be 9 metres by 4.35 metres. Work is to include altering the porch and dormer roofs.

Polycrub, Ness

Donald MacSween of 20A North Dell has applied for planning permission to erect a polycrub at 20A North Dell. The polycrub is to be 12.7 metres long, 4 metres wide and 2.6 metres tall. The outer is to be constructed from polycarbonate twinply sheeting. 

Five Lewis swimmers who took the plunge at a Lake District swim event are celebrating funds raised for an island charity.

Swimmers Elspeth (Ep) Murphy, Laura O’Halloran, Alasdair Finlayson, Katia Pettlefort and Norma Macleod headed south on Saturday (August 31st) to swim the full length of Coniston Water.

The event was part of the Chillswim open water swimming movement, with 750 swimmers setting out in seven waves to swim the full 5.25miles of the famous lake.

A new app launched yesterday (Monday September 2nd) by Loganair will make booking flights easier, especially for people using an ADS discount.

Customers will be able to make new bookings, manage existing bookings, store flight details, check-in and download mobile boarding passes, with island flyers able to store Air Discount Scheme (ADS) details and use them to make future reservations.

Seaweed harvested in the Isle of Lewis is to be distributed across Europe as part of a deal negotiated by a Newcastle-based company.

The Brexit-beating deal signed by Seaweed & Co will supply processed organic Hebridean ascophyllum seaweed in powdered form from their PureSea range.

The guga-hunters of Ness are heading home from Sùlaisgeir later today (Tuesday September 2nd) after staying on the desolate rocky islet longer than expected.

The men, who set off for the annual harvest on Monday August 19th, will have been away for 16 days, delayed from even starting work two weeks ago by atrocious weather conditions on Sùlaisgeir, 40 miles north of Lewis.

Staff in Medical Ward 1 in Western Isles Hospital were recently delighted to receive a donation of six televisions to the ward from the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group.

The televisions are located in the side rooms and patients are already making use of them.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus B MacNeil has received confirmation from The Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish) that they are interested in holding a workshop in the Outer Hebrides to ensure that seafood businesses are equipped to respond to the changes expected after the UK leaves the European Union on 31st October.

Stornoway Coastguard operations room was put on red alert this afternoon (Monday September 2nd) after a man overboard distress call was picked up from beyond the Butt of Lewis.

The automatically-generated AIS man overboard DSC (digital selective calling) beacon was picked up by Coastguard receivers at the Butt of Lewis and at Portnaguran at 1.25pm today. With no clear position given by the automated signal and a large possible search area, Coastguard officers put into action a plan to determine how and where the signal had been sent.

 

The Annual General Meeting of Stornoway Phab Club will be held

at the Grianan Centre, Westview Terrace, Stornoway,

on Thursday the 12th of September 2019, at 7pm.

 

All are welcome.

 

 

Stornoway’s oldest surviving Harris Tweed Mill changed hands today (Monday September 2).

In an announcement this morning, Kenneth Mackenzie Ltd was transferred from owner Brian Haggas - who is retiring - to its managing director Alex Lockerby.

He said: “I am astounded by this act of generosity by Brian Haggas, also overwhelmed by the confidence he has shown in me.

A woman aged 51 is to appear in court today (Monday September 2nd) after an anonymous report led to police stopping her on Willowglen Road at 1pm yesterday and charging her with drink-driving. She remained in custody overnight tonight.

She was just one of a number of drivers stopped by Stornoway police over the weekend and charged with a variety of offences.

Stornoway ladies rugby club made a flying start to their first ever league campaign with a stunning 36-10 win over Huntly Ladies RFC on Saturday (August 31st).

Steel pile sections will be offloaded at Arnish tomorrow (Monday September 2nd) as a major contract rolls on.

The heavy-load carrying contract vessel BBC Greenland came into Stornoway this morning (Sunday) carrying 75 pile sections, reportedly delivered from Korea.

Hebrides International Film Festival volunteer Sarah Maclean is looking forward to the event in Barra on the Friday and Saturday, September 13 and 14.

It is returning to the Castlebay Hall after being held in Northbay and Vatersay the previous two years – and preparations are under way for movie snacks with a difference, which will be sold in aid of charity.

What do fish farms, renegade environmentalists, Native American Indians, cartoon ladybirds and a choir of sea-shanty-singing Cornish fishermen have in common?

The answer is they all feature in films being shown as part of this year’s Hebrides International Film Festival (HIFF), taking place in venues across the Outer Hebrides from September 12 to 14.

A great weekend of rugby brought Stornoway Rugby Club seniors their first win of the new season on Saturday (September 29th).

The seniors team were playing fellow islanders Shetland and came away battered in body but uplifted in spirit with a 26-7 win in the Tennents Caledonia North Division 3.

Water pressure to homes in Tong dropped dramatically on Sunday morning (September 30th) as a main burst in the garden of a home in the village.

The fault left villagers staring in dismay at soupy brown water as they prepared their Sunday dinners.

Cinema-goers who use the RBS Screen Machine are being asked for their views on everything about the mobile auditorium.

The big blue bus brings an 80-seat digital cinema to the islands, calling in Tarbert, Castlebay and locations the length of the Uists. Screen fare includes box-office blockbusters, family entertainment and small-budget art films, carefully selected to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

Now Screen Machine are asking for viewers to tell them what they think on everything from accessibility to zombie films, with an online survey about the Screen Machine experience.

Plastic waste could be reused in future as part of resurfacing work on the islands roads network.

SNP Councillor John A Maciver (Loch a Tuath) has asked Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to research the possibility of a plastic roads scheme in a bid to re-use waste and cut costs.

Two iconic brands, Triumph Motorcyles and Harris Tweed Hebrides, have teamed up to create a video which charts the spectacular journey between their respective headquarters – all in aid of the fight against prostate cancer.

In advance of Sunday’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, when motorcyclists around the world - many wearing tweeds - take to the open road in aid of men’s health charities, Triumph commissioned a special bike called The Dapper Bonnie which incorporates Harris Tweed into its design.

The announcement today )Friday September 28th) that the Castlebay Branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland has been saved is good news for the people of Barra, says local MP Angus Brendan MacNeil.

Mr MacNeil has been at the forefront of the campaign to save the Castlebay Branch and secured and hosted a visit to Barra by the Economic Secretary to HM Treasury, John Glen MP.

Angus said: “This is indeed very good news for the Isle of Barra and a victory for common sense.

Power engineers worked into the early hours of this morning (Friday September 28th) to get power reconnected to the Back district, after last night’s road-closure and power-cut crisis.

On a wet road, with standing water, a single car hit a power pole near the Golden Sands caravan park around 9.20pm last night (Thursday September 27th), bringing down the pole, transformer and power lines across the main road near Back Football Club and plunging more than 700 homes into darkness.

The finalists in the prestigious Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards have been announced with more than 40 businesses and individuals shortlisted for honours – but only one representative from the Outer Hebrides.

In the running for Best Cultural Event or Festival there’s the Purvai Festival, held at An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway, as well as Oban Live and the Isle of Jura Music Festival.

Motorists using the pedestrian area in central Stornoway are facing a continued crackdown from Police Scotland.

Western Isles police report on Twitter that: “ We have been carrying out checks at the pedestrian area between Point Street and Francis Street, Stornoway.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan raised the issue of social security assessments in island communities duringWednesday’s [26 September] sitting of the Scottish Parliament.

The islands MSP was questioning the new Cabinet Secretary for Social Security, Shirley-Anne Somerville about how assessments will be delivered in island and other rural areas to meet their distinctive needs. 

Certain powers on social security are now devolved to the Scottish Parliament, with legislation being passed earlier this year to set out how 11 benefits, such as Winter Fuel Payments and Personal Independence Payments, will be delivered.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus Brendan MacNeil fears the impact of a 'no-deal' Brexit, described by UK Prime Minister as the only alternative to her 'Chequers deal' which has been rejected by both the European Union and the Brexit-supporting MPs in her own party.

Commenting on reports in the Guardian newspaper that the National Farmers Union in England has warned of ‘catastrophic’ consequences for the farming export industry for six months after March 2019 if there is no Brexit deal, Angus Brendan MacNeil said:

“This is obviously worrying for many people in our islands, but it is no surprise in some circles as it is what the UK Government has been hearing from farmers and veterinary bodies for some time. 

Hundreds of people in the Coll and Tong area were tonight without power following a car crash (around 9.20pm Thursday September 27) - and the main road into the district is also closed. 

It is understood that power is off at 709 properties in the area of Upper Coll, Tong and the surrounding district.

Lewis Wind Power (LWP) will be holding a public exhibition on potential changes it may seek to make to its existing plans for the Stornoway Wind Farm project in Stornoway Town Hall on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th October.

The company announced in April that it was exploring a number of possible changes to the wind farm to ensure that it looks at all the options that could boost its competitiveness in future auctions for government-backed support for renewable energy projects.

LWP is assessing the potential to increase tip heights from 145 metres to 155 metres on the turbines closest to Stornoway and up to 187m in the parts of the wind farm further away from the town.

The best of produce from near and far 21/09/2018

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

Or call 07771645238 to place your order, free delivery within the Town, Broadbay, Point Area.

Vegetables

 

Price Each

 Quantity

Aubergine

 

£1.35

 

Butternut Squash  

 

£2.40

 

Savoy Cabbage
(Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.80

 

Green Cabbage
(Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.80

 

Cabbage (White UK)

 

£2.50

 

Cauliflower (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.85

 

Romanesco (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.85

 

Celeriac (UK)

 

£2.40

 

Celery (UK)

 

£1.25

 

Fennel

 

£1.50

 

Garlic small

 

£0.65

 

Garlic Large

 

£0.95

 

 

 

Price Per KG

Quantity

Beetroot (UK)

 

£2.45

 

Broccoli (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£3.95

 

Dirty Carrots (Scottish)

 

£2.25

 

Ginger

 

£5.00

 

Horseradish

 

£15.00

 

Leeks (UK)

 

£2.95

 

Mushrooms UK

 

£5.00

 

Onions (White)

 

£1.50

 

Onions (Red)

 

£1.65

 

Parsnips (UK)

 

£3.30

 

Duke of York
(Inverness-shire)

 

£1.95

 

Rooster (New Season)

 

£2.15

 

Kerrs Pink

 

£2.15

 

Shallots

 

£4.50

 

Swede
(Scottish New Season)

 

£1.70

 

Sweet Potato

 

£2.95

 

White Turnip

 

3.65

 

 

 

Price Each

Quantity

Little Gem (x2)

 

£1.50

 

Cos Lettuce

 

£1.50

 

Cucumber

 

£1.00

 

Spring Onions

 

£1.00

 

Ramiro Peppers

 

£2.35

 

 

 

Price per Kg

Quantity

Peppers
(Mixed Red, Green, Yellow)

 

£4.25

 

Tomato (Cherry on Vine)

 

£6.25

 

Tomatoes (round vine)

 

£4.25

 

Fruit

 

Price Each

Quantity

Cox (UK Apples)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Gala Apples

 

4 for £1.50

 

Russet (UK Apples)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Red Delicious

 

3 for £1.50

 

Worcester (UK Apples)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Avocado

 

£1.40

 

Grapefruit

 

£0.85

 

Kiwi Fruit

 

£0.50

 

Lemons

 

£0.55

 

Limes

 

£0.50

 

Yellow Melon

 

£1.95

 

Oranges Large

 

3 for £1.50

 

Pears (Conference)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Marjory Plums (UK)

 

5 for £1.50

 

Raspberries (west hardmuir Fruit Farm) 200g

 

£3.50

 

Satsumas

 

5 for £1.50

 

 

 

Price per Kg

Quantity

Bananas

 

£1.70

 

Blueberries (West Hardmuir Fruit Farm

 

£18.00

 

Bramleys

 

£2.95

 

Chillies Green

 

£12.00

 

Chillies Red

 

£15.00

 

Courgettes

 

£2.95

 

Red Seedless Grapes

 

£4.95

 

Local Eggs

 

£2.00

 

Hebridean Tablet (Local)

 

2.95

 

The Carloway Mill has been showing off its traditional Harris Tweed craftsmanship in Venice

The boss of the Carloway Mill - pictured above in the mill - has returned from a major craftsmanship exhibition in Venice after being invited to be an exhibitor.

Brexit could result in a “traumatic failure” to deliver medical isotopes on time to cancer patients, MSPs heard yesterday (Wednesday September 27)

 Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart, who is also Scottish Labour’s shadow health minister, explained how the UK leaving the European Atomic Energy Community – known as Euratom - as part of Brexit’s Article 50 process could affect patients under-going treatment.

He was speaking at his Members’ Debate in Scottish Parliament.

Harris Gun Club members and brother, John and Andrew Hughson are weighing up the gains of their successes, as their trophy cabinet bursts at the seams.

Most recently, John finished second in Britain as junior skeet shooter at the home international in Doveridge, England.  

Andrew became the top junior DTL shooter in Britain at the home international.

We're almost half way though the latest Business Gateway workshop programme, which has been proving to be very popular.  The following free sessions are scheduled to run in Stornoway between October and December:

Facebook for Business (fully booked - waiting list in place)    Wednesday 3 October       0930 - 1230     MG Alba Boardroom  
Blog your way to Success (fully booked - waiting list in place)  Wednesday 10 October 0930 - 1230 Orbit Agency, James Street
Managing Difficult Behaviours in the Workplace Monday 29 October 1330 - 1630 Comhairle Offices
Pinterest, Instagram and Photography for Business Tuesday 30 October 0930 - 1230 MG Alba Boardroom
How to Write a Business Plan Thursday 1 November 1330  -1630 Comhairle Offices
Social Media Platforms Monday 5 November 1330 - 1630 Orbit Agency, James Street
Customer Care Skills Wednesday 7 November 0930 - 1230 Comhairle Offices
Paid for Advertising Thursday 8 November 0930 - 1230 MG Alba Boardroom
Advertising on Social Media Monday 12 November 1330 - 1630 Orbit Agency, James Street
Video Production for Social Media Tuesday 20 November 0930 - 1230 MG Alba Boardroom
Build your own Business Website Tuesday 27 November 0930 - 1230 Orbit Agency, James Street
Time Management Skills Thursday 29 November 1330 - 1630 Comhairle Offices
Business Bookkeeping Tuesday 4 December 0930 - 1230 Comhairle Offices
Mailchimp for Email Marketing Tuesday 11 December 0930 - 1230 Orbit Agency, James Street
Branding and Packaging Thursday 13 December 0930 - 1230 Orbit Agency, James Street  

To book a place on any of the workshops, please contact us on 01851 822775 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  You can also book online at www.bgateway.com/events.

A conference in Balallan on Friday (September 28th) will look at Western Isles projects commemorating the impact of the First World War.

The First World War and The Western Isles: Projects, Funding and Reflection, is being co-hosted by Gateways to the First World War and Living Legacies 1914-18, together with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

A conference in Balallan on Friday (September 28th) will look at Western Isles projects commemorating the impact of the First World War.

The First World War and The Western Isles: Projects, Funding and Reflection, is being co-hosted by Gateways to the First World War and Living Legacies 1914-18, together with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

A conference in Balallan on Friday (September 28th) will look at Western Isles projects commemorating the impact of the First World War.

The First World War and The Western Isles: Projects, Funding and Reflection, is being co-hosted by Gateways to the First World War and Living Legacies 1914-18, together with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

The prospect of further significant cuts to local authority budgets is causing great concern for the UNISON Western Isles Local Government Branch.

In a statement released this morning (Wednesday 26th) the Branch calls upon Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Scottish Government "to explain to our communities why the Western Isles – which has one of the most fragile local economies in the country – is being forced to endure the highest level of budget cuts in Scotland.

"The impact of disproportionate cuts to local government funding by the Scottish Government means that councils are suffering more than other public service providers. UNISON’s view is that this has been a conscious choice by the Scottish Government, which cannot be blamed entirely on the Conservative Government’s ongoing austerity agenda."

Representatives from companies involved in the development of renewables across the globe joined voluntary board members and a range of consultants who work with community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust to discuss progress on the Trust’s projects to date and how the wind, wave and tidal potential of the Outer Hebrides could be harnessed in the future.

A 12-page display of photographs and text about the Western Isles is published this month in the magazine, GEO Germany, which has a format of using photographs and expert text similar to the US-published National Geographic.

Part of Sandwick Road will be closed completely next Tuesday evening (October 2, 2018) for a major emergency test “Exercise Gaslight”

As a result, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, under section 14 of the Road Traffic Act 1984, “hereby orders the temporary closure of Sandwick Road, Stornoway from the roundabout at Smith Avenue eastwards to the junction of Seaforth Road from 6pm to 10pm on 2nd October 2018. 

“Access will be available for emergency vehicles."

Harris Guides and Rangers are fundraising for their first ever international trip.  A group will be spending 9 days at the World Guiding Centre 'Our Chalet' in Adelboden, Switzerland (pictured above), where they will share Western Isles culture with other Guides from across the world and take part in some extreme challenges including hiking and climbing.

To raise the money needed for their Swiss adventure the Harris Guides and Rangers are running two evening events in Leverburgh over the next month:

  • Friday 28th September 7.30-9.30 p.m. Games Night at Leverburgh Hall: Like a quiz but rounds of team challenges that get you laughing as well as thinking. Come as a team or join a pot luck table. Adults £5, 10-17s £3.  Nibbles provided.  BYOB. 
  • Friday 26th October 7.30-9.30 p.m. Quiz Night at Leverburgh Hall: Come as a team or join a pot luck table.  Adults £5, 10-17s £3.  Nibbles provided.  BYOB.  

Everyone is welcome to come along, for more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

All major ferry routes to and from the Outer Hebrides are today cancelled or suspended due to gale force winds predicted to gust up to 58mph, with warnings of disruption or late notice cancellation on some inter-island routes.

Sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool are cancelled for most of the day but the 17.30 saling from Ullapool to Stornoway is currently expected to go ahead.

Ferries between Oban and Castlebay and Leverburgh and Berneray are cancelled for the day. Services between Tarbert, Uig and Lochmaddy are currently suspended but will be reviewed later today. The Ardmhor, Barra to Eriskay ferry is liable to disruption/cancellation at short notice.

For up to date information visit: https://www.calmac.co.uk/service-status

 

Police in the Highlands & Islands are to adopt a new initiative aimed at improving safety on the roads.

Operation CEDAR (Challenge, Educate, Detect and Reduce) will build on established practices and will focus on various agencies working in partnership to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured in the area.

In 2017, 17 people were killed on the roads in the Highlands and 74 seriously injured.  However, in 2018 to date, 18 people have died in road traffic collisions in the Highlands.

Motorists using the road between Stornoway and the Airport and Point have been expressing surprise at the sudden appearance of a 30mph limit at Parkend – where, until September 10th, a 40 mph order was in force.

No publicity was given to the implementation of the change, where the existing 40 mph signs were either removed or replaced, although motorists report police checking speeds in the area recently.

Council services face greater threats than ever as national spending cuts bite deeper…and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is a launching an Islands-wide effort to find ways to keep services alive while spending less on them.

Councillors this week are considering a radical programme of Service Redesign to take account of this enduring climate of financial austerity which threatens services.

CnES says that all Local Authorities in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom are faced with significant financial challenges and possible cuts to local services.

Members of the Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee will be informed tomorrow (Tuesday, September 25) that the Comhairle met the Scottish Government’s target to provide free sanitary products for school pupils by 18 August 2018.

The Scottish Government made a commitment in the 2017 Programme for Government to provide “access to free sanitary products to students in schools, colleges and universities”.

The last cruise vessel of the season has cancelled her planned call to Stornoway tomorrow (Tuesday September 25th) due to a forecast of strong winds and heavy rain tomorrow.

The Silversea Silver Wind was due to bring just under 300 visitors tomorrow, on her way from Ireland to the Faroes.

Some of the ever-changing story of what lies beneath the sand dunes in Vatersay will be investigated at a book event at Búth Bharraigh on Friday evening (28th September).

The Annie Jane was wrecked 165 years ago on Vatersay, with 350 emigrants from Scotland drowned that night. Most of them are buried in a mass grave among the sand dunes.

Come along and join in with a new weekly Health Walk in Castlebay. All abilities. All welcome

The weekly walk series will start on Wednesday 26thSeptember at 4.30pm, meeting at Castlebay Fire Station.

Island horse riders are speaking out in support of a police safety campaign that highlights the vulnerability of horses and riders on the road.

Western Isles police recently issued a warning urging drivers to be aware of horses, after concern from local riders about cars passing their animals too close and too fast.

Now island riders have explained their fear for their own safety – and that of other road users – with impatient drivers who don’t understand horse behaviour.

A 17-year-old dancer from Back has become the second island girl to be selected for the Scotland team, who’ll be heading to the dance and cheer world championships in Orlando, Florida.

Abbie Morrison, a pupil at the Nicolson Institute and dancer and coach with the island dance group North West Allstars, has been chosen for Scotland’s senior jazz dance team, as they rehearse for competition in Florida next April.

Lewis and Harris residents are reminded to make an appointment to get their flu vaccine as the national flu immunisation programme begins on October 1st.

NHS Western Isles is highlighting that the delivery of vaccine to some people may have changed this year – so please make sure you know where to go.

Flu is a very infectious disease which can have serious consequences and can be fatal. Those who have chronic conditions should ensure therefore that they are immunised again with this year’s vaccine.

 

Awards of £500 to £1500 Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards (#VACMA) grants are available to support individuals based in the Outer Hebrides.

Local advice on completing and compiling your application can be sought from:

Elsie Mitchell: Arts Development Officer, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar T: 07949 412 307 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This fund has been established by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar with funding from Creative Scotland. Its primary purpose is to support the creative development of individuals making visual art and craft in the Outer Hebrides.

The deadline for applications is: Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Labour in the Western Isles has called for immediate action to charter a freight vessel for the Stornoway-Ullapool route in order to ease pressure on the Loch Seaforth and the wider CalMac network.

Prospective Parliamentary candidate, Alison MacCorquodale, has pointed to reports in the maritime media that cargo vessel, Clipper Ranger, which was formerly deployed on the Stornoway-Ullapool route, is “resting” at the Cammell Laird yard on Merseyside.

There’s still a chance to get tickets for the Stornoway Golf Club fundraising Poppy event being held on Saturday 29th September.

There’s live music and a variety of charity auctions as well as a meal cooked by Limelite Chef Ross Macleod and his team.

The Linda Norgrove Foundation 10K Run or Walk takes place on Saturday 29th September- less than a week away.

Lorna and John Norgrove say: "You can RUN OR WALK, bring your family, friends, kids in buggies, dogs on leads, pick up a medal if you are one of the first 10 men and first 10 women to cross the finish line, enjoy soup and home baking at the end and generally have a good day out on the Bhaltos Peninsula in Uig.

Two in court over domestic assaults

Two men are to appear at Stornoway Sheriff Court on Tuesday (25th September) after two separate incidents of domestic assault over the weekend.

A man aged 43 was arrested in Stornoway at 7.20pm on Friday (September 21st) following a call for police assistance.

He was charged with domestic assault and has been in custody since then, from where he’ll be taken to court on Tuesday.

In a second incident in Tong, a 49-year-old man was arrested and charged with domestic assault at 1am on Sunday (September 23rd).

He was released from custody under bail conditions, on an undertaking to appear in court on Tuesday.

Drink driving charge

A man was charged with drink-driving after being stopped by police in Sandwick at 4.25pm on Saturday (September 22nd).

He’s been kept in custody at Stornoway police station since then and will appear in court from custody on Tuesday (September 25th).

A solitary spruce tree on the Isle of Eriskay is one of six contenders to become Scotland’s tree of the year for 2018 – if it gets enough support from islanders.

Netty’s Tree, battling the elements near Netty MacDonald’s croft in Eriskay, was planted more than 100 years ago by the poet, priest and land rights activist Father Allan McDonald and was until a few years ago the only tree on the island.

A special remembrance poppy pin designed to commemorate the centenary of the Iolaire disaster is to go on on sale on Monday October 1st.

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A NEW schools resource which celebrates the contribution Runrig have made to the Gaelic language and culture has been launched by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig.

The unit is a significant addition to the Gaelic resource corpus and part of Stòrlann’s Fileanta suite of resources for fluent Gaelic speakers in secondary school, although it can also be used with some learner classes.

The Outer Hebrides are starring on TV tonight (Friday, 21 September) in the final episode of Channel 5’s Britain By Bike series with Larry and George Lamb – and it’s thanks to an alliance of island bike hire and bike repair companies that they were able to complete their journey.

In the last episode in the series, the father and son undertake the 185-mile Hebridean Way, from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis…. but run into trouble early on, when Larry’s gears stop working.

Teenage footballer Rachael Johnstone has achieved her goal this week, helping Scotland’s U16 women’s football team achieve a 2-2 aggregate draw over two friendly international challenges in Poland.

The Isle of Harris Distillery won the biggest award of the night at the Scottish Gin Awards in Glasgow last night (Thursday September 20th).

The ultimate award, Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, was presented to Isle of Harris Distillers, whose mission to create a “social distillery” bringing jobs and increasing tourism to the island was praised. 


School captains for the new academic year have been named at The Nicolson Institute. The captains were elected by their peers, the other school students as well as by members of staff.  The picture shows (left to right) Jessica O’Loughlin, vice-captain; Annie Barber, captain; James Mutch, vice-captain and John Alasdair Bain, captain.

The Norwegian cargo vessel Fame made her way to Stornoway late last night (Thursday September 20th) tying up at west no. 1 pier in Stornoway harbour just after 10.30pm.

It’s not known why she ran aground in East Loch Tarbert early on Sunday morning, given that there were no exceptional tidal or weather conditions.

Hebrides Energy’s partner Our Power has recently given its local customers the opportunity to get Smart Meters installed.

This is the first time that smart meters have been rolled out to island homes.

This is Jubilee, last of the working sgoth Niseach. (Photo from An Eather) She was built by John Finlay Macleod, the man who swam ashore with a rope from the stricken Iolaire in the first hours of 1919.

Murdo Macleod's photo was taken as she sailed off Kebock Head, this summer, to link with skiff-rowers from many clubs, on and off island, and members of Falmadair (tiller).

That time of year again!  In aid of Macmillan Cancer Support - Artizan in Church Street, Stornoway, is participating in their third Biggest Coffee Morning ever!

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has hit out at the UK Government’s handling of Brexit negotiations and says exiting the EU will impact the economy even if a deal is struck.

Mr MacNeil, who is also Chair of the House of Commons International Trade Committee, has repeatedly questioned the Tory Government including the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU on what lies ahead, but has not been given any satisfactory answers.

Kisimul Castle features poetically in a new film by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), as they launch their updated Gaelic language plan for 2018-23.

A huge gap in the island market is set to be filled next month, as the first batch of home-produced milk from Brogaidh’s Dairy in Bragar lands on doorsteps on October 1st.

CalMac faced a new headache on the Uig triangle ferry route, with a new delay this morning (Thursday September 20th) keeping the ferry away from the berth in Uig, Skye.

The best of produce from near and far 21/09/2018

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

Or call 07771645238 to place your order, free delivery within the Town, Broadbay, Point Area.

Vegetables

 

Price Each

 Quantity

Aubergine

 

£1.65

 

Butternut Squash  

 

£2.40

 

Savoy Cabbage (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.80

 

Green Cabbage (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.65

 

Cabbage (White UK)

 

£2.50

 

Cauliflower (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.85

 

Romanesco (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.85

 

Celeriac (UK)

 

£2.40

 

Celery (UK)

 

£1.25

 

Fennel

 

£1.50

 

Garlic large

 

£0.65

 

 

 

Price Per KG

Quantity

Beetroot (UK)

 

£2.45

 

Broccoli (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£3.95

 

Dirty Carrots (Scottish)

 

£2.50

 

Chard

 

£10.00

 

Ginger

 

£5.00

 

Horseradish

 

£15.00

 

Kale

 

£10.00

 

Leeks (UK)

 

£2.95

 

Mushrooms UK

 

£5.00

 

Onions (White)

 

£1.50

 

Onions (Red)

 

£1.65

 

Parsnips (UK)

 

£3.30

 

Duke of York (Inverness-shire)

 

£1.95

 

Rooster (New Season)

 

£2.15

 

Kerrs Pink

 

£2.15

 

Shallots

 

£4.50

 

Swede (Scottish New Season)

 

£1.70

 

Sweet Potato

 

£2.95

 

White Turnip

 

3.65

 

 

 

Price Each

Quantity

Little Gem (x2)

 

£1.50

 

Cos Lettuce

 

£1.50

 

Cucumber

 

£1.00

 

Spring Onions

 

£1.00

 

 

 

Price per Kg

Quantity

Peppers (Mixed Red, Green, Yellow)

 

£4.25

 

Tomato (Cherry on Vine)

 

£6.25

 

Tomatoes (Plum Vine)

 

£4.25

 

Scottish Tomatoes

 

£3.95

 

Fruit

 

Price Each

Quantity

Cox (UK Apples)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Gala Apples

 

4 for £1.50

 

Russet (UK Apples)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Worcester (UK Apples)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Avocado

 

£1.40

 

Grapefruit

 

£0.85

 

Kiwi Fruit

 

£0.50

 

Lemons

 

£0.55

 

Limes

 

£0.50

 

Yellow Melon

 

£1.95

 

Oranges Large

 

3 for £1.80

 

Pears (Conference)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Victoria Plums (Isle of Lewis)

 

10 for £1.50

 

Marjory Plums (UK)

 

10 for £1.50

 

Raspberries (west hardmuir Fruit Farm) 200g

 

£3.50

 

Satsumas

 

5 for £1.50

 

 

 

Price per Kg

Quantity

Bananas

 

£1.70

 

Blueberries (West Hardmuir Fruit Farm

 

£18.00

 

Bramleys

 

£2.95

 

chillies

 

£15.00

 

Courgettes

 

£2.95

 

Red Seedless Grapes

 

£4.95

 

Local Eggs

 

£2.00

 

As part of BBC ALBA’s tenth anniversary debate in the Scottish Parliament yesterday (Wednesday September 19th)  SNP MSP Alasdair Allan called on the BBC to “deliver more for Gaelic broadcasting with better parity of resources between the UK nations.”

BBC ALBA’s BAFTA-winning current affairs programme Eòrpa attracts both Gaelic and non-Gaelic speaking audiences – demonstrating the success the channel has had in delivering for the whole of Scotland, not just the minority language community.

Ness runner Charles Young has reached the halfway point in his challenge to complete two great runs to raise funds for Ness Charities.

Charles, of 7 Fivepenny, completed the Great North Run half-marathon in Newcastle on the 9th September and is keeping his training up ahead of the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on September 30th.

All flight departing and arriving into Glasgow International and Edinburgh Airport are currently suspended until further notice as Storm Ali brings winds gusting up to 63 knots (70mph approx).

Staff at the airports will keep all customers up to date and customers can also view live status updates of their flights using the following link.
https://www.loganair.co.uk/travel-information/flight-status/

Meanwhile, there are ferry cancellations the length of the islands today (Wednesday September 19th). CalMac is reporting south-westerly winds gusting up to 52 knots and high swell conditions.

If the Hebrides International Film Festival does anything this year, it will hopefully “make us pause for a minute and think about what we are doing to the planet and the island”.

That was the message from film festival curator Muriel Ann Macleod on today’s opening day of the festival (Wednesday, September 19).

The fifth Hebrides International Film Festival is taking place in venues throughout the Outer Hebrides from now until Saturday (September 22) – and Muriel Ann said it raised “important questions locally”, such as whether we were “really doing enough to preserve the seas of the Hebrides”. 

The battle between community landowner The Stornoway Trust and several crofting townships over the sites for wind turbines reached a new level today (Wednesday September 19th).

First the Stornoway Trust welcomed the long-awaited decision from the Crofting Commission not to consent the Section 50B application submitted by the Grazing Committees of Melbost and Branahuie, Sandwick and Sandwick East Street, and Sandwick North Street.

In a detailed judgment issued to each applicant who had sought consent to establish wind turbines on the site of the already consented Stornoway Wind Farm proposed development, the Commission explains it considered and accepted, as a matter of fact, that the proposed use would be detrimental to the interest of the Stornoway Trust as set out in Section 50B (2) of the 1993 Crofting Act.

Friday September 28th sees the big annual chance to support cancer care and treatment with the "World's Biggest Coffee Morning"

And Highlands & Islands Regional MSPs Rhoda Grant (above) and David Stewart (below) raise a cup to help people with cancer live life as fully as they can.

Western Isles Citizens Advice Service is urging local people to take part in a national survey on issues relating to food, including cost, choice, access and quality.

The Food on the Table survey will run for the next month. It is available online at www.cas.org.uk/foodonthetable and paper copies will also be available at the local Citizens Advice Bureau offices in Stornoway, Tarbert, Balivanich and Castlebay.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has demanded that the Tory government steps in to save island banking services in a Scottish Parliament debate highlighting the negative impact of branch closures on communities across Scotland.

The debate follows a damning report by Holyrood’s Economy Committee which investigated the impact of local bank closures across Scotland.

The report found that:

The Maritime Department at Lews Castle College will be offering the following Short Courses at the Stornoway Campus from October 2018 until April 2019. Please note that all one-day classes run on Fridays, from 9am to 5pm.

Sea Survival/Personal Survival Techniques. Held on 5th October, 9th November, 7th December, 1st February, and 15th March.

Emergency First Aid at Work/STCW First Aid. Held on 21st September, 2nd November, 11th January, and 2nd March. (The three day “First Aid at Work” is available on request.)

RYA SRC / VHF. Held on 12th October, 16th November, 14th December, 18th January, 15th February,  and 22nd March.

Efficient Deckhand. Held on 12th—16th November, and 4th—8th March.

Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities. Held on 16th November and 8th March.

VHF Evening Class. This two-hour class is held on Wednesdays for 6 weeks from 24th October.

For more information, please contact:

Iain Angus Macaulay: 01851 770287  |   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alistair Macleod: 01851 770284  |   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lews Castle College: 01851 770000

A 47-year-old man was appearing in court today (Tuesday September 18th) for the third time in 36 hours.

The man was taken into custody at the weekend and charged with drink-driving and with a number of breaches of bail conditions.

He was kept in custody and appeared at Stornoway Sheriff court on Monday, and at Inverness this morning.

His third appearance was this afternoon.

Man charged with shoplifting

A 61-year-old man was traced by police after a report of shoplifting from the Co-op superstore in Stornoway at 11.23am on Saturday (September 15th).

Police were called by staff after alcohol was taken from the shop without payment. The man was traced, cautioned and charged with theft and will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

Car on roof on Barvas moor

Police were called to Barvas moor just after 4am on Sunday (16th September) after reports that a car had left the road, hit a wall and was on its roof beside the road.

An 18-year-old man was found to be alone in the car and had suffered lacerations and other non-life-threatening injuries.

He was taken to hospital by ambulance after being treated by paramedics at the scene.

Blood tests were taken and charges may follow the incident depending on the outcome of the tests.

The ferry service into Tarbert remains suspended, with services cancelled and diverted via Stornoway and Ullapool, affecting timings of the Loch Seaforth.

This follows the weekend incident where a fish-farm vessel was damaged and is now moored at the Tarbert ferry terminal pier.

Now Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil is pressing the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to remove MV Fame from the Tarbert ferry berth as a matter of urgency and allow vital ferry services to resume.


A team from the Isle of Harris Distillery are heading off the island on Thursday (September 20th) in the hope of coming home with a clutch of awards for the Tarbert business.

The gale force winds forecast for tomorrow have now officially been named as the first storm of the season, Storm Ali.

An updated Met Office weather warning at 10am today (Tuesday September 18th) covers the period from Wednesday (September 19th) between 6am and 10pm.

The community of Newton is in mourning following the death on Saturday morning (September 15th) of Janet Macrae of Seaforth Road.

Janet, formerly Janet Buchanan, was the chair of Newton Community Association and an active member of community organisations in the town.

At fundraising activities she could often be found cooking and serving meals and providing quiet behind-the-scenes support.

The latest data published by sportscotland that Active Schools is going from strength to strength with national figures at an all-time high and 7.3 million participant sessions delivered in 2017/18, an increase of 6% from 2016/17.

Contributing to the national figures, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar ran 45,397 participant sessions in the last year, and 1,597 individual children and young people took part in a whole range of sports and physical activities in those sessions.

There has been a 2% increase overall in the percentage of the school roll now participating in Active Schools sessions nationally, and a 6% increase in the number of activity sessions, 2,081 of those sessions delivered in the Western Isles. 

Mel Young, Chair of sportscotland, said:  “It’s really encouraging to see the continued growth in participation in Active Schools activities across the country. 

 

Two young local badminton players returned from Orkney with more than their fair share of trophies.

In a field of more than 90 players from Orkney, Shetland and throughout the Highlands, Beth MacPhail, aged 13, of Newvalley and Keith Bray, 12, of Aird Tong, had a successful trip during the second weekend in September.

[gallery ID=81]

Film-maker Zoe Macinnes, from Great Bernera, is interviewed by internationally-acclaimed blogger Katie Macleod, from Eagleton, as her film about the Isle of Lewis gets worldwide exposure.

 “A Lewis man would be homesick in heaven.”

The phrase stands out in the trailer for Cianalas, the short film showing at this year’s Hebridean International Film Festival on 19th-22ndSeptember. (http://lanntair.com/events/event/hiff-leave-no-trace/)

It’s a phrase that sums up director and filmmaker Zoe Macinnes’ motivation for making the film in the first place, and one that the local musicians featured all identify with as inspiration for their work.

UPDATED: 1500hrs, 18/9/2018

Road traffic is now flowing between north and south Harris, albeit in a single lane - but the ferry service remains diverted to Stornoway. 

The debris from last night (seen above)  has now been removed from the road.

The main inter-island road between Tarbert and Ardhasaig in Harris was completely closed on Monday September 17th, following a landslide affecting the section between the Harris Hotel and the Health Centre.

Western Isles Police and members of the Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene, pictured above by Innes Morrison.

A Yellow Warning for wind on Wednesday in the Highlands & Eilean Siar regions has been issued by the UK Met Office.

Already ferry services in the Southern Hebrides have been affected with some cancelled.

Police in the Western Isles are urging drivers to be aware of vulnerable road users, particularly horses.

Officers in the islands have recently received concerned from local riders about cars passing their animals too close to too fast.


Horses and their riders are considered to be vulnerable road users - as are cyclists and pedestrians - and that should be taken into account if passing them.


A meeting is to be held tomorrow (Tuesday September 18th) giving information on plans to upgrade the electricity network to facilitate transmission of power from renewable energy generated on the islands to the mainland.

The public consultation meeting, hosted by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) will look at the proposed construction of 25km of new overhead lines in the system linking Lewis, Harris and Skye.

The plan is to replace an old section of the line, removing the existing line and at the same time constructing a new switching station at Balallan and new connections to the overhead line at Balallan, Stornoway and Arnish.

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

 

Awards of £500 to £1500 Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards (#VACMA) grants are available to support individuals based in the Outer Hebrides.

Local advice on completing and compiling your application can be sought from:

Elsie Mitchell: Arts Development Officer, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar T: 07949 412 307 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This fund has been established by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar with funding from Creative Scotland. Its primary purpose is to support the creative development of individuals making visual art and craft in the Outer Hebrides.

The deadline for applications is: Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Tarbert pier update, Monday 5pm

Ferry disruption looks set to continue into a third day at Tarbert, with the pier out of commission while a stricken fish-farm cargo vessel is tied up awaiting safety clearance.

CalMac has advised that ferry services will continue to run between Uig and Stornoway tomorrow (Tuesday 18th September), with an amended timetable as follows:

Depart Uig 09:30
Arrive Stornoway 12:30
Depart Stornoway 12:55
Arrive Uig 16:00

There will be a review on Tuesday regarding the 18:30 departure from Uig to Tarbert.

The damaged vessel Fame this afternoon (Monday 5pm) remains at the pier with a second vessel, Harvest Caroline II, alongside.

She’s capable of carrying the same cargo as the Fame, which offloaded her cargo of salmon food onto the pier on Sunday as part of the attempt to raise her in the water for repairs.

UPDATE: 10am Monday 17 September

Maritime and Coastguard Agency inspectors are heading for Tarbert from Glasgow today (Monday September 17th) to inspect the fish-farm cargo vessel Fame, which is tied up alongside the ferry pier after running aground yesterday (Sunday September 16th).

The damaged vessel is now blocking all ferry traffic to Tarbert, causing CalMac to re-route the MV Hebrides for the whole of the day today. The full revised service – now operating between Uig and Stornoway – is at https://www.calmac.co.uk/service-status.

Whether the disruption continues will depend on the outcome of the inspectors’ visit, with the damaged vessel unable to move until passed safe. It has been holed below the water-line, and locally-based commercial divers yesterday carried out a temporary repair in the harbour at Tarbert after the Fame and another fish farm vessel had pumped a substantial amount of water out.

UPDATE: 10am Monday 17 September

Maritime and Coastguard Agency inspectors are heading for Tarbert from Glasgow today (Monday September 17th) to inspect the fish-farm cargo vessel Fame, which is tied up alongside the ferry pier after running aground yesterday (Sunday September 16th).

The damaged vessel is now blocking all ferry traffic to Tarbert, causing CalMac to re-route the MV Hebrides for the whole of the day today. The full revised service – now operating between Uig and Stornoway – is at https://www.calmac.co.uk/service-status.

Whether the disruption continues will depend on the outcome of the inspectors’ visit, with the damaged vessel unable to move until passed safe. It has been holed below the water-line, and locally-based commercial divers yesterday carried out a temporary repair in the harbour at Tarbert after the Fame and another fish farm vessel had pumped a substantial amount of water out.

Warmth and companionship were the hallmarks of the 60th anniversary reunion weekend held in Stornoway on Friday and Saturday (14th and 15th September).

There were 98 participants at the reunion, travelling from far and wide to pack into Stornoway Golf Club on Friday night.

 
An island-born chef who has become a TV celebrity has returned to his Lewis roots this week (Sunday September 16th) for his last ever cooking show.

Lewis singer-songwriter Rosie Sullivan is preparing for a performance of a lifetime, as well as a long journey!

Rosie , 16 , has been chosen to play one of her own songs at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Wednesday November 7.

Fresh Hebridean mussel's are available from Harbour Seafoods.

Humans have harvested mussels as food for thousands of years. These tasty nutritious molluscs can be smoked, boiled, steamed, roasted, barbecued or fried and are a popular food around the world!

The Stornoway Trust has responded to critics of its windfarm plans with Lewis Windpower (LWP) by saying that its schemes are key to building the Interconnector to the mainland, without which it is likely that no further sustainable power-generation schemes can proceed.

In a statement this week the community landowner said that: “With the 2019 Contract of Difference auction date fast approaching, Scottish & Southern Energy Network’s (SSEN) long awaited submission of the subsea 600MW cable Needs Case to the Energy Regulator (Ofgem) has been warmly welcomed by the Stornoway Trust. 

“Not only because it offers renewed hope that investment in the link will be approved, but that its stated case, backed up by well-informed independent advice, clearly recognises the importance of LWP and Forsa Energy’s already consented schemes in helping to underpin the strength of their submission.

A memorial bench in Portnaguran has triggered a flood of memories for local residents.

The new bench has been placed at the foot of croft number 5, where the family of Alexander (Sandy) Campbell lived.

Sandy passed away in 2017 and the bench has been placed by his widow, Rose, looking out over Broad Bay and the small village harbour in Portnaguran.

Businesses and social enterprises across the Highlands and Islands fearing on-line cyber attacks are being offered jargon-free, expert advice.

The Cyber Strong Business programme, introduced by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) last year, is back with a second series of workshops, one-to-one consultations, and a Cyber Café in venues across the region.

This is being run in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), The Scottish Government and Business Gateway.

MSP David Stewart is asking Highlands and Islands carers for their views after the Scottish Labour Party launched a major discussion paper and consultation aimed at maximising the incomes of Scotland’s carers.

With the new carers’ allowance supplement starting to be paid into bank accounts, the Party is inviting carers to set out how best Holyrood can use its new powers over the allowance to bolster the support offered alongside the benefit. 

Across the Highlands and Islands carers receive the benefit, which now is worth the same Jobseeker’s Allowance each week after the Scottish Parliament unanimously agreed to increase its value.

Scottish Housing Day will be held this year on Wednesday 19 September - and marked by a major event at Lews Castle College. 

The purpose of the day is to raise public awareness of the latest developments in housing and the different options available to people when deciding where to live.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar says access to good quality housing is vital to the economy of the Outer Hebrides and strengthens Island communities. 

There has been a drastic shake-up in VisitScotland's plans for tourist advice in the Outer Hebrides - which last year saw all the remaining Uist and Barra offices close and a plan to close either Stornoway or Tarbert as well.

Outer Hebrides Tourism says: "We have been working with VisitScotland on visitor information provision. The proposal has come a long way from the initial position of having one hub in Lewis or Harris to service all the islands and we feel this is a better outcome."

VisitScotland says: "The way visitors get information has changed significantly over the past decade with two in three visitors now accessing information online. Research has shown that we might now seek information at the breakfast table, in the pub and whilst out at visitor attractions.

The UK Government is not seeking consent from the Scottish Parliament on this Bill as we are not legislating in areas of devolved competence in Scotland.

No powers that could constrain devolved policy choices in Scotland are being introduced.

Lewis and Harris Auction Mart once again broke records yesterday (Wednesday 12th September) with the top price ever paid for sheep.

A pen of five gimmers from Murdo Campbell, 11a Portnaguran, sold for £125 each and Donald Macleod, 5 Shulishader, made the same high price per head for three gimmers.

Mart director Kenny Macleod said: “The previous record was around £100 per head, so this was quite exceptional. Overall prices were not bad, a wee bit down on the same sale last year and a couple of pounds per head on average down on the August sale.”

Crofter Donald MacSween of Ness has been shortlisted for a new award to be made by the Scottish Crofting Federation, it was announced today (Thursday September 13th).

He’s one of two finalists in the category Young Crofter of the Year, celebrating the Year of Young People and the role of young people in crofting.  

The awards will be presented by Mel Irivine, one of the stars of BBC TV’s This Farming Life, during a dinner at Grant Hall, Rothes on October 5th.

All pupils of the Nicolson Institute had to leave the building earlier today (Thursday September 13th) when a science experiment triggered the alarm system.

The experiment in one of the science labs set off detectors and a full evacuation was set in motion, in accordance with the school’s fire procedures.

Fire service officials checked the building and pupils were allowed back into the building after a short time.

The school said: “Parents and carers can be reassured that there was no danger to pupils, staff or the building. Pupils co-operated well with staff throughout the procedure.”

Balallan teenager Rachael Johnstone has her eye firmly on one goal – and she’s not about to let anyone put the ball into it.

14-year-old Rachael is heading to Poland next week (Monday September 17th), after being selected to join the Scotland women’s U-16 national football team. She’ll be one of two goalkeepers and is almost certain to get playing time, as well as her first national caps.

The S4 pupil at Sir E Scott School has been chosen as part of the squad for two friendly matches between Scotland and Poland u-16s, on September 19th and 21st. It’s a tremendous accolade for a young player, especially one who lives so far from Scotland’s national training facilities.

Balallan teenager Rachael Johnstone has her eye firmly on one goal – and she’s not about to let anyone put the ball into it.

14-year-old Rachael is heading to Poland next week (Monday September 17th), after being selected to join the Scotland women’s U-16 national football team. She’ll be one of two goalkeepers and is almost certain to get playing time, as well as her first national caps.

The S4 pupil at Sir E Scott School has been chosen as part of the squad for two friendly matches between Scotland and Poland u-16s, on September 19th and 21st. It’s a tremendous accolade for a young player, especially one who lives so far from Scotland’s national training facilities.

The best of produce from near and far 14/09/2018

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

Or call 07771645238 to place your order, free delivery within the Town, Broadbay, Point Area.

Vegetables

 

Price Each

 Quantity

Aubergine

 

£1.65

 

Butternut Squash  

 

£2.40

 

Savoy Cabbage (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.80

 

Green Cabbage (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.65

 

Cabbage (White UK)

 

£2.40

 

Cauliflower (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.85

 

Romanesco (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£1.85

 

Celeriac (UK)

 

£2.40

 

Celery (UK)

 

£1.25

 

Fennel

 

£1.25

 

Garlic large

 

£0.95

 

 

 

Price Per KG

Quantity

Beetroot (UK)

 

£2.45

 

Broccoli (Kirkhill Farm)

 

£3.95

 

Dirty Carrots (Scottish)

 

£2.50

 

Ginger

 

£5.00

 

Horseradish

 

£15.00

 

Leeks (UK)

 

£2.95

 

Mushrooms UK

 

£5.00

 

Onions (White)

 

£1.50

 

Onions (Red)

 

£1.65

 

Parsnips (UK)

 

£3.50

 

Duke of York (Inverness-shire)

 

£1.95

 

Rooster (New Season)

 

£2.25

 

Kerrs Pink

 

£2.25

 

Shallots

 

£4.50

 

Swede (Scottish New Season)

 

£1.70

 

Sweet Potato

 

£2.95

 

White Turnip

 

3.65

 

 

 

Price Each

Quantity

Little Gem (x2)

 

£1.50

 

Cos Lettuce

 

£1.50

 

Cucumber

 

£1.20

 

Spring Onions

 

£1.00

 

 

 

Price per Kg

Quantity

Peppers (Mixed Red, Green, Yellow)

 

£4.25

 

Tomato (Cherry on Vine)

 

£5.95

 

Tomatoes (Plum Vine)

 

£3.95

 

Scottish Tomatoes

 

£3.95

 

Fruit

 

Price Each

Quantity

Cox (UK Apples)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Fugi Apples

 

3 for £1.80

 

Gala Apples

 

4 for £1.50

 

Red Robin (UK Apples)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Russet (UK Apples)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Worcester (UK Apples)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Avocado

 

£1.40

 

Grapefruit

 

£0.85

 

Kiwi Fruit

 

£0.50

 

Lemons

 

£0.55

 

Limes

 

£0.50

 

Yellow Melon

 

£1.95

 

Oranges Large

 

3 for £1.80

 

Pears (Conference)

 

3 for £1.50

 

Victoria Plums (Isle of Lewis)

 

10 for £1.50

 

Marjory Plums (UK)

 

10 for £1.50

 

Raspberries (west hardmuir Fruit Farm) 200g

 

£3.50

 

Satsumas

 

4 for £1.50

 

 

 

Price per Kg

Quantity

Bananas

 

£1.70

 

Blueberries (West Hardmuir Fruit Farm

 

£18.00

 

Bramleys

 

£2.95

 

chillies

 

£15.00

 

Courgettes

 

£2.95

 

Damsons

 

£4.95

 

Red Seedless Grapes

 

£4.95

 

Local Eggs

 

£2.00

 

North nursing students had the opportunity to meet Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer when she visited the University of the Highlands and Islands’ nursing department in Inverness on Monday 10 September.

Professor Fiona McQueen spoke to students and staff in person at the Centre for Health Science and addressed students in Stornoway via a video conference link.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am (Thursday September 13th) for the island return of the popular Scottish folk pop band Tide Lines.

Tide Lines have announced that they will play Stornoway Town Hall on December 12th, Tarbert Community Centre on the 13th and Castlebay Hall on the 15th, with a mid-way stop on December 14th at Iochdar in South Uist. After Castlebay they take a short Christmas break before a return to Ullapool on December 30th, followed by Inverness for the Red Hot Highland Fling to bring in 2019.

It will be the band’s third visit to Stornoway this year. Tickets to see them at An Lanntair in March sold out within minutes and they rocked the big tent on the Friday night of 2018’s most successful ever Hebridean Celtic Festival.

Their 27-date UK tour runs from Hallowe’en to Hogmanay at venues from Aberdeen to Hampshire and launches a new EP, Let’s Make Tonight, which is released on October 26th.

The band posted on their Facebook page: “We’ve tried to squeeze in as many gigs as we can and some unlicensed gigs that will facilitate the attendance of U18’s. 
“Tickets for these shows go on sale online at 10am on Thursday morning so be quick! The rest of the UK tour is selling well and the Scottish gigs are close to selling out. So get in fast and we’ll see you all in
October, November, and December.”

Links for ticket sales can be found via http://www.tidelinesband.com/gigs/

Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am (Thursday September 13th) for the island return of the popular Scottish folk pop band Tide Lines.

Tide Lines have announced that they will play Stornoway Town Hall on December 12th, Tarbert Community Centre on the 13th and Castlebay Hall on the 15th, with a mid-way stop on December 14th at Iochdar in South Uist. After Castlebay they take a short Christmas break before a return to Ullapool on December 30th, followed by Inverness for the Red Hot Highland Fling to bring in 2019.

Their 27-date UK tour runs from Hallowe’en to Hogmanay at venues from Aberdeen to Hampshire and launches a new EP, Let’s Make Tonight, which is released on October 26th.

The band posted on their Facebook page: “We’ve tried to squeeze in as many gigs as we can and some unlicensed gigs that will facilitate the attendance of U18’s. 

“Tickets for these shows go on sale online at 10am on Thursday morning so be quick! The rest of the UK tour is selling well and the Scottish gigs are close to selling out. So get in fast and we’ll see you all in October, November, and December.”

Links for ticket sales can be found via http://www.tidelinesband.com/gigs/

Three arrested after town disturbance: 

Police were called to Ross Terrace in Stornoway on Saturday (September 8th) at 10pm, with reports of a disturbance involving a number of youths.

A 17-year-old boy, a 19-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman were all arrested and taken to Stornoway police station, where they were searched. A small quantity of drugs was found in the possession of one youth.

All three will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal for a statutory breach of the peace and possible other charges.

Castle grounds assault: 

A 16-year-old youth has been charged with assault after an attack on another youth in the Castle grounds on Saturday (September 8th).

Police intervened in the disturbance at 10.30pm on Saturday, and the 16-year-old was cautioned and charged and will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal and the Children’s Reporter.

Drink driver in West Harris: 

A car which was driven off the road and abandoned caused concern on Monday afternoon (September 10th) in West Harris.

The vehicle was spotted off the main A859 between Luskentyre and Seilebost at around 4pm.

Police were called and a 47-year-old man was traced in connection with the accident.

He’s been charged with drink-driving, careless driving and other offences related to the incident and will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

Point and Sandwick Trust was cheering on the Under-13s of Point Football Club on Saturday (September 8) as the youngsters took part in the first league of the Manor Dairies Cup – their first outing in their new strips, which the community wind farm charity was proud to sponsor.

The wee Reds looked great in their new gear and made it through to the next stage of the cup, having come second in their group.

Scotland is Working Together to Prevent Suicide – including across the Western Isles

Locally NHS Western Isles is running Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness Month from 10th September to 10th October 2018.

The continuing Choose Life ‘Read Between the Lines’ campaign asks everyone to be alert to the warning signs of suicide in people close to them.

Winners of top prizes at Cannes and a contender for next year’s Oscars sit alongside short films from Lewis and many others in this year’s Hebrides International Film Festival, taking place in venues throughout the islands from Wednesday to Saturday next week (September 19 to 22).

This year’s films include Iranian drama Lerd – A Man of Integrity, which won the Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and American film The Rider, which won the Directors’ Fortnight Art Cinema Award – again, from Cannes.

CalMac warn of delay to the Oban - Castlebay sailing this afternoon, Tuesday 11 September, with an expected ETA of 8pm tonight instead of 6.15pm.

Due to strong winds and a large swell of 4.5 + metre in the open Sea of the Hebrides MV Isle of Lewis will route round the inside of the Small Isles. MV Lord of the Isles sailing to Lochmaddy is also taking the same more sheltered route for reasons of Safety and public Comfort. .

CalMac also warn of possible disruptions to ferry sailings on the Ardmhor, Barra - Eriskay route from this afternoon, Tuesday 11 September, onwards.

For up to date information visit https://www.calmac.co.uk/service-status

 

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Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team were called out at 7.50am this morning (Tuesday September 11th) at the first of several reports of a domestic oil tank beached on the Branahuie side of the Braighe.

With concerns about possible pollution, the team inspected the tank and found it to have been cut up for use as an animal shelter or similar and clean inside, with no oil residues. Stornoway Coastguard Rescue team concluded it had been blown from a croft or garden during force 8-9 south-westerly gales overnight.

There have been several further calls from residents concerned the tank could blow onto the road or cemetery, with further gales forecast today.

The recovery of the tank is now being dealt with by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.


Gale force south-westerly winds forecast today (Tuesday September 11th) mean possible disruption once again to ferry services for Tarbert and Lochmaddy.

CalMac said that all sailings on the Uig-Tarbert-Lochmaddy route are liable to cancellation or disruption from 11:40 onward, possibly at short notice, due to a forecast of winds up to 42 knots. 

September is officially Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Stornoway Rugby Club has joined forces with NHS Western Isles to tackle the stigma associated with suicide and raise awareness of local and national support groups.

The Club – both male and female teams – intend to fundraise for local mental health charities at forthcoming September games being held on 22nd (SRC v Aberdeen University, fundraising for Samaritans) and 29th (SRC v Shetland RC, fundraising for Catch 23), and at their 20th October game (fundraising for The Foyer Project).

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has voiced his hopes for the future of the Arnish yard.

The islands MSP was speaking after meeting with Sean Power, Vice President for Business Development of DF Barnes, to discuss the company’s vision for the future of Arnish.

DF Barnes acquired BiFab – the company most recently operating at Arnish - earlier this year in a deal brokered by the Scottish Government.

Stornoway police have issued an appeal for witnesses after someone removed a rope from a fishing vessel berthed at the inner harbour, opposite Pointers and the Royal Bank of Scotland on North Beach Street.

The rope was removed some time between 8pm on Saturday (8th September) and 11am on Sunday (9th September), causing the vessel to drift away from the pier.

Police said that, if there had been adverse weather at the time, damage could have been caused to the vessel and to other vessels nearby.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Stornoway police on the non-emergency number, 101 or at Stornoway police station, quoting reference NH1841/18.

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Saturday (September 9th) turned out to be a beautiful day for making memories, as the Lewis and Harris branch of Alzheimer Scotland put their best feet forward on the annual memory walk.

A total of 94 adults, 12 children and four dogs were in high spirits setting out from the Bridge Centre to walk around the castle grounds in the sunshine. Marion MacInnes of the local Alzheimers group said people had varying motivations for getting involved:

“Some people walk to support the cause, for the company or in memory of someone dear to them who has or had dementia. We were so pleased with the numbers – almost double the turnout of last year, and the weather certainly helped!”


Engineering teams from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) will begin a new phase of work on Wednesday (September 12th) in the race to get areas around Stornoway prepared for winter weather.

About 60 customers in Steinish have been connected to a temporary supply from portable generators since Tuesday 4th September, while SSEN replaces poles and connectors.


The cruise ship Corinthian is in port at Stornoway today, Monday September 10th, for the last of a dozen visits to the island during summer 2018.

Her last call signals the close of the season for cruise visitors to the islands, with just three more scheduled calls – Silversea’s Silver Wind is due to bring just under 300 passengers on September 25th and the Hebridean Princess is due to make two further calls in October, weather permitting.


Airport staff who set out to cycle from Eilean Glas lighthouse to the Butt of Lewis on Saturday (September 8th) believe they may double the money they hoped to raise for cancer charities.


Airport staff who set out to cycle from Eilean Glas lighthouse to the Butt of Lewis on Saturday (September 8th) believe they may double the money they hoped to raise for cancer charities.

A convoy of vehicles carrying 15 cyclists, their kit, cycles and support staff left Stornoway airport at 6.30am on Saturday, headed for an epic 135k trip to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care and Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative (WICCI).

Once they reached Scalpay there was a three-mile walk to make sure the challenge really did start at Eilean Glas lighthouse, but it soon became obvious that there was a good reason for a quick getaway. Challenge team leader Donald Macmillan said: “The midges were horrendous in Scalpay, so we were glad to get on the bikes and get underway!”

Awards of £500 to £1500 Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards (#VACMA) grants are available to support individuals based in the Outer Hebrides.

Local advice on completing and compiling your application can be sought from:

Elsie Mitchell: Arts Development Officer, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar T: 07949 412 307 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This fund has been established by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar with funding from Creative Scotland. Its primary purpose is to support the creative development of individuals making visual art and craft in the Outer Hebrides.

The deadline for applications is: Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Awards of £500 to £1500 Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards (#VACMA) grants are available to support individuals based in the Outer Hebrides.

Local advice on completing and compiling your application can be sought from:

Elsie Mitchell: Arts Development Officer, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar T: 07949 412 307 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This fund has been established by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar with funding from Creative Scotland. Its primary purpose is to support the creative development of individuals making visual art and craft in the Outer Hebrides.

The deadline for applications is: Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Isle of Lewis dancer Kayleigh Nicolson set out with determination at the weekend for the first step on her road to making a dream come true.

Kayleigh has been selected to join team Scotland in the world dance and cheerleading championships in Orlando, Florida next April.

There are more cancellations for travellers to and from Tarbert and Lochmaddy today (Sunday 9th September) and tomorrow (Monday 10th September) – but this time due to the weather.

Strong south-westerly winds forecast for tonight mean today’s 20:40 sailing from Lochmaddy to Uig and tomorrow morning’s 5:15am sailing from Uig to Tarbert have been cancelled, although the 7.20am sailing from Tarbert to Uig will be as timetabled tomorrow (Monday 10th September).

Police Scotland has officially launched "Trauma Teddies" in the Highlands & Islands with partners from the charity Safe, Strong and Free.

It follows the generous donation of more than 800 teddies, which have been hand knitted and crocheted across the region.

It’s the end of an era for daytime eating out in south Harris as Skoon Art Cafe will soon become Skoon Gallery and abandon its long-established mixed menu of art and food.

Hosts Andrew and Emma Craig say: “We are coming to the end of our 14th season and we feel the time is right for a change.

“We plan to run winter cafe days as often as we can from November to March each year, but from April 2019 we will only be offering tea/ coffee and scones in the Gallery.

At the start of 2018, Mairi ‘Ord’ MacKenzie found herself aiming to raise £500 for brain cancer research after her husband Michael was diagnosed with the condition.

By August, she had far surpassed those early expectations and is overwhelmed by the response her appeal received.

The BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 requires public bodies to publish BSL plans from October 2018.  

The BSL National Plan 2017-2023 was published on 24 October 2017 following extensive engagement with D/deaf and Deafblind BSL users.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant queried the funding deal struck by the Government and CMAL for MV Loch Seaforth with the newly appointed Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday (September 6).

The MSP says she “has been fighting to get the Scottish Government to be transparent with regard to the funding and ownership of the MV Loch Seaforth.”

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil has contacted the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAC) seeking details of why First Responder teams are not being called to assist at as many local incidents as in the past.

First Responders are trained volunteers who are available to be dispatched by an ambulance control centre to attend calls in their local area and assist until the arrival of the Ambulance.

Stornoway RNLI lifeboat launched last night (Wednesday, September 6th) at 2115 hours to reports of red flares being spotted between the Point Peninsula and the Shiant Islands.

The RNLI lifeboat launched at the request of Stornoway Coastguard and, along with fishery protection vessel ‘Minna’, commenced a search from the Shiants in a northerly heading towards Point.

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People poured into the Caladh Inn on the evening of Monday September 3 for publisher Acair’s latest event.

As it became clear the Garry Ballroom conference suite was not going to be big enough for the growing throng, hotel staff hurriedly threw open the sliding doors to the Tonga Lounge and brought in a host of additional chairs.

Malcolm Macdonald, author of The Darkest Dawn about the Iolaire tragedy, with Faclan director Roddy Murray. Photo: John MacLean

Faclan:the Hebridean Book Festival returns from 31 October to 3 November, it was announced today (Thursday September 6) – with tickets to all events now on sale.

Protests have erupted following the latest major disruption to ferries across the Hebrides – with the Hebrides ferry off the Tarbert-Lochmaddy-Uig route and knock-on service disruption from Stornoway to Oban.

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday September 5th) CalMac announced that: “Repair work to MV Hebrides has been successful” after almost three days of being marooned in Uig.

And cancelled services were suddenly rescheduled. “The previously-cancelled 1410 Uig-Tarbert will be delayed until approx 1600 and the previously-cancelled 1620 Tarbert-Uig will be delayed until approx 1815.”  Knock-on disruption continues today on services between Mallaig, Armadale and Lochboisdale.

Video-conferencing to link island some patients and their doctors based elsewhere is set to become an everyday event at Western Isles Hospital.

Although NHS Western Isles has utilised video conferencing for clinics in the past, a dedicated NHS ‘Near Me’ room has now been established at the Hospital with appointments for island haematology patients now being booked.

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Final preparations are underway for the fifth Hebrides International Film Festival – taking place throughout the Outer Hebrides from Wednesday, 19 September to Saturday, 22 September.

The festival, which is supported by Creative Scotland, HIE and other agencies and presented in collaboration with An Lanntair, has developed into a high-quality event, which brings the latest in world cinema to the islands.

Only films made within the last three years are eligible to be included in the programme, which is curated by Muriel Ann Macleod, director of the Rural Nations Community Interest Company, with the support of Paul Taylor, the cinema programmer at Eden Court Theatre.

 Final preparations are underway for the fifth Hebrides International Film Festival – taking place throughout the Outer Hebrides with films being shown at Vatersay Community Hall on Wednesday, 19 September and Thursday, 20 September.

 

The festival, which is supported by Creative Scotland, HIE and other agencies has developed into a high-quality event, which brings the latest in world cinema to the islands.

 

Only films made within the last three years are eligible to be included in the programme, which is curated by Muriel Ann Macleod, director of the Rural Nations Community Interest Company, with the support of Paul Taylor, the cinema programmer at Eden Court Theatre.

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Time-lapse pictures showing a special milestone for Sgoil an Rubha mark the very first intake of pupils to pass through the new district primary school for Point.

Point and Sandwick Trust yesterday (Monday September 3rd) yesterday revealed their sentimental project to record time passing.


Beinn Ghrideag wind farm, as seen from Point - photographed by Sandie Maciver

Community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust is continuing its awards streak and has been shortlisted for three more accolades – this time for innovation and success in social enterprise.

The Trust, which operates the biggest community wind farm in the UK at Beinn Ghrideag just outside Stornoway, has been listed as a finalist in both the Scottish and UK Social Enterprise Awards for its work in operating a commercial business for social good.

A Harris tweed designed by a six-year-old boy from Scalpay will be swinging through Edinburgh on Sunday September 16th – and it’s already raising money for charity straight from the loom.

The tweed is this week (Tuesday September 4th) being woven by Tarbert weaver Heather Campbell as a commission for an island couple taking part in the Edinburgh Kilt Walk.

There will be a whole lot of pedal power on the roads on Saturday 8th September when 18 Stornoway airport staff leave behind their usual modes of transport and take part in the Lighthouse2lighthouse 135 Km charity cycle.

The wild rabbit population of Lewis and Harris is being decimated by a new outbreak of myxomatosis, with reports of dead and dying animals around the islands.

The news comes as no disappointment to gardeners, who have increasingly suffered from crop raids as the rabbit population boomed in recent years.

But wildlife-lovers have been distressed by the sight of ‘myxy’ rabbits dying in dunes and across machair, with afflicted animals also seen on roads and in gardens.

A tourist who drove off the ferry while over the limit found herself in Stornoway Sheriff Court this morning (Monday September 3rd).

The 59-year-old Swedish woman left the ferry having drunk too much on Saturday lunchtime and was immediately stopped, tested and charged by Stornoway police.

She appeared in court today and was fined for the offence of drink-driving.

The National Osteoporosis Society will be holding a meeting in the Caberfeidh Hotel on Thursday, September 6 between 2 – 4 pm.
Refreshments will be served from 1.30 pm.

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

In youth league football, Kevin Macmillan was awarded the Willie Reid cup on Saturday night (September 1st) for his services to junior football.

The presentation followed a season of late school nights, washing football strips every week and constant support for young footballers from the sidelines.

The impressive sight of the offshore supply vessel Gary Chouest will please ship spotters this week after she came into Stornoway this morning (Sunday September 2nd).

A pyrotechnics amnesty at Stornoway Coastguard station on Saturday (September 1st) has been hailed a success, with out-of-date flares and marine pyrotechnics many years old handed in for safe disposal.

Coastguard officer Carl Taylor said: “Very many thanks to all who came to the Coastguard Station in Stornoway yesterday to hand in out of date flares. We had a busy few hours and by the end of the day we had over 300 items handed in, some of which were over 30 years old!”

The Leverburgh RNLI Chaplain, Rev Mark Macleod, offered prayers today (Sunday September 2nd) after a sad outcome to a lifeboat launch on Saturday (September 1st).

Stornoway Coastguard ops room were called at 1.15pm on Saturday, after concerns were raised about an unmanned recreational fishing boat, drifting off the pier at Loch Dunvegan in Skye.

Other boats in the area had reported a fishing boat with two lines out and a dog on board but no person to be seen.

Point Community Council were asked by ‘Seafarers UK’ to fly a Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day which is 3 September each year and did so on behalf of all the retired and serving seafarers from the Point area, using the pole at the Seaview football pitch.

This month, entrepreneurs from the Western Isles have the chance to attend a workshop that will leave them pitch perfect.

Business leaders will develop and hone their business pitches thanks to workshops organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) through its Entrepreneurial Academy.

The pitching skills workshop, which is free to attend, takes place in Stornoway on 19th September 2018 and will be followed by a workshop on brand development in 2019. The workshops aim to help entrepreneurs of businesses and social enterprises, and their employees, improve skills in these key business topics. 

Young Scots have the chance of extra help to realise their potential thanks to £18m funding from Young Start.

Voluntary sector organisations which involve young people in the design, running and evaluation of projects can apply for grants ranging from £10,000 to £100,000 for activities that focus on changing the lives of children and young people between eight and 24 years of age.

 The funding is available for projects that:

Fishermen in Stornoway clubbed together with Islander Shellfish on the Cromwell Street quayside to raise £1000 for the Western Isles Kidney Patient Association.

More than 50 tourism businesses have taken a step nearer being crowned the best in the Highlands and Islands after being named as finalists in the industry’s annual ‘Oscars’ yesterday (Friday 29 September).

Competition to win a coveted Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) trophy has reached an unprecedented level with entries and nominations this year surpassing previous record-breaking levels.

In the Outer Hebrides, finalists include Hebridean Celtic Festival as Best Cultural Event or Festival (a title it won in 2014) and Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd, Tarbert as Best Visitor Attraction.

The community of Sandwick has been able to purchase its own defibrillator thanks to donations from SHARE, Sandwick Community Council, Parkend, Holm and MacKenzie Estate Residents Association, CNES and Ward Funding from local Councillors.  The defibrillator is now live and fully operational after a successful Lucky2BHere training event in the community hall on Wednesday night (pictures below).
 
Councillor Charlie Nicolson, who organised the training, extends his thanks to everyone who donated and all those involved, especially trainers Christine, Elaine, Roddy and Councillor Angus Morrison. 
 
The new defibrillator is situated in front of the Sandwick Community Centre on the School House wall and is available 24 hours a day. Murdo Johnson of Holm will be checking t