Cancellations and closures – Thursday 19 March

The Lewis and Harris tour by representatives of the Society for the Distribution of the Hebrew Scriptures due to take place between April 20 and May 4 has been cancelled because of the Coronavirus restrictions.

Citizens Advice Bureaux in Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra are now closed for the duration, with telephone contact only advised.

The Alzheimers Scotland Solas day centre has closed with immediate effect. The Dementia Resource Centre on 18 Bells Road, Stornoway will have variable opening hours for the next few weeks and contact is available via Marion MacInnes (locality leader) 07771 925730, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ellie Donnelly (dementia advisor) 07500 762041 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Barvas and Brue Community Centre committee has closed the main hall and activity room, but the committee room will remain open for post office services. No bookings are being taken at present.

The Kitchen Centre in Stornoway is currently open to customers by appointment only.

The Old Mill Veterinary Practice has put in place special measures to protect staff and customers as they continue their work. Customers who have symptoms are asked not to bring a pet in, but to ask someone else to attend appointments and people are also being asked to maintain distance from other pet-owners, including by staying in their car with their pet after letting reception know they have arrived. Full guidance is at https://www.facebook.com/100000434949205/posts/3117327671625034/?d=n

This year's 50th Reunion for former classmates born in 1970 has been postponed until further notice. The celebrations were due to take place on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 May at Stornoway Golf Club, but the organising committee have now agreed to postpone the event

The Baha’i celebration of Naw-Ruz, scheduled for Saturday (21 March) at the Failte centre on Bayhead, has been cancelled.

 Wednesday night bingo nights at the Masonic Lodge are suspended until further notice.

Coronavirus cancellations and closures – Wednesday 18 March

Stornoway Historical Society: Due to the coronavirus and the need to restrict meetings, events and gatherings; the Stornoway Historical Society has made the necessary decision to cancel the AGM and lecture due to be held on Monday March 30th 2020 in the Town Hall. This will also mean that the planned Summer Exhibition will not now go ahead.  Further updates will be posted on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stornowayhistorical and on our website at www.stornowayhistoricalsociety.org.uk

All activities at the Kinloch Community Hub are cancelled with immediate effect, this includes the museum, archive and café and weekly clubs. The charity shop and launderette will continue to operate, but no new donations will be accepted at the charity shop.

Western Isles Whisky Club has cancelled their planned launch event and tasting on 30 March. Club convenor Jim Allan said: “It is unfortunate that no sooner did we come together to arrange a tasting than it had to be postponed, but I trust you are all with me and hope that the country gets over this quickly and moves forward.”

The Shed youth centre next to Martins Memorial Church in Stornoway is closed from today (Wednesday) until further notice. There will be no youth clubs, drop-ins, or other activities. Organisers said: “Although our facility may be closed, we will still be working our regular hours remotely and we will be available to contact through our social media platforms. (https://www.facebook.com/theshedstornoway/).”

The committee of the ‘60 in 2020’ reunion have postponed their planned reunion weekend and hope to hold it later in the year. The committee said: “The committee will remain in place. We have advised all our suppliers and both we and they hope we can have a celebration event exactly as planned in the future.”

Callanish visitor centre will remain closed for a week while they review future arrangements. Centre manager Victoria Harvey said: “We will be closing to the public up to and including Tuesday 24th March. This is a pre-emptive step to hopefully help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  We are in deeply uncertain times at the moment and our hearts go out to everyone - please look after yourselves!”

The Leanne Fund has closed their Stornoway office to visitors but remains available for support by telephone at 01851 702020 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Stornoway Trust’s estate office has closed to the public  but anyone who needs to contact the office may do so by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 01851 702002.

The Isle of Harris Distillery has closed to the public with immediate effect. Those who have booked tours in March and April have been contacted and some of the distillery team are working from home, while a small production team continues to work behind the scenes. The online shop at www.harrisdistillery.com remains open and the team will also be busy on Facebook, Instagram on Twitter. A spokesman said: “There is great strength and support to be found in community. So, please continue to look after yourselves and each other and we'll get through this together.”

All sport and leisure facilities, libraries and museums throughout the Western Isles closed indefinitely from 5pm Tuesday 17 March 2020.

Following the advice from Scottish Government that all non-essential social contact should be avoided - as a precautionary measure - all sport and leisure facilities, libraries and museums throughout the Western Isles closed indefinitely from Tuesday 17 All after school lets are also cancelled until further notice.

Arts centre closed

Stornoway’s An Lanntair arts centre is to remain closed from Tuesday 17 March for one month or until further notice.

A spokesman said: “Our top priority is the safety of our staff, audiences, customers, artists and participants. Sending love to all from everyone at An Lanntair in these challenging times.”

Also cancelled is an unusual small-venue performance at Stornoway Town Hall by the Glasgow band rock band Mogwai, who announced only last week that they were to perform in Stornoway as part of a Highlands and Hebrides tour in April.

Life-saving skills courses cancelled

  • The Galson Trust and Scottish Ambulance have cancelled two life-saving skills workshops which were due to be held at Sporsnis in Ness on Monday (23 March) and at Clan MacQuarrie community centre on Monday 30 March.
  • The Skye-based charity lucky2Bhere has suspended all emergency life support training, including a session due to be given on Thursday (19 March) at the Marybank Community Hall. Installation of a new defibrillator/AED at Lava’s Garage is to go ahead as planned.

Event cancellations – as of Wednesday 18th March

Piping Competition postponed

The P/M Donald Macleod MBE Memorial Piping Competition has been postponed until later in the year.

The prestigious competition was due to be held in Stornoway on Friday, April 3.

A junior Donald Macleod competition, due to have been held for the first time this year, has also been postponed until further notice. It was to have taken place on the Thursday, April 2.

Dr John Smith, chairman of the Lewis and Harris Piping Society, said: “The Lewis and Harris Piping Society have decided to postpone the Donald Macleod competition which was due to be held on the 3rd of April.

“Our provisional plan is to look at a suitable date in the autumn – possibly late September, perhaps even late November.”

Sport / Keep fit

Stornoway Karate Club has cancelled all classes for four weeks.

All clubs classes and facilities (including the gym) at Back Football & Rec Club are now closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Anyone with questions about an existing booking can contact Terri on 07497925905 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The committee of the Co-operative Community Football League has decided to cancel the rest of the season of Back 8s football matches. A new summer format of Friday night 5s is also liable to delay in starting up.

Stornoway Rugby Club will not be holding junior rugby training until 29 March, in line with Scottish Rugby’s current advice.

T’ai chi classes by T’ai Chi Hebrides at the Bridge Centre and Sandwick Hall on Tuesdays are closed until the end of April.

Stornoway Judo Club is following advice from Judo Scotland and postponing classes at least until after the Easter holidays.

Sharon Mackinnon School of Highland Dancing has cancelled the Mackinnon Festival Highland dancing competition, due to be held on Saturday (21 March) at the Nicolson Institute.

Lochs Football Club announced on Friday that they were cancelling all football activities at all levels. 

Stornoway Athletic (Aths) announced on Sunday (15 March) that all plans for friendly and festival matches and under-7s coaching in Sandwick Hall on Mondays were to be suspended until further notice.

Lewis Camanachd’s 2020 season has been indefinitely postponed, after the Camanachd Association announced on Friday 13 March that all matches are to be cancelled.

Music/ Theatre

Uig community’s performance of Dr Zoolightly, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Uig Community Centre, has been cancelled.

Friday night music sessions at the Failte centre have also been cancelled until further notice.

Support / Youth groups

Point senior citizens group Young at Heart has suspended all meetings until the situation improves. Chair Ken Nicolson said: “Disappointing, but needs must. Good health is more important than anything. Please take care, look after yourselves and one another. Follow all the advice given regarding the virus and look forward to meeting again soon.”

The Tong community hall is closing to bookings and groups for the foreseeable future

Point Youth Club, which meets on Friday evenings at Tiumpanhead Community Centre in Aird, has cancelled all meetings until after the Easter holidays, when they will update parents further.

Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative (WICCI) trustees have taken the decision to close the WICCI centre on Cromwell Street for treatments as of Monday 16 March.

The Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group have cancelled their next four Friday meetings and postponed their AGM, due on 25 March.
In Barra, the Garadh a Bagh a Tuath community project is closing their Thursday café until further notice, although the garden itself remains open for the time being.

Stornoway’s Failte Centre on Bayhead have discontinued their Thursday Lunch Club lunches as from Sunday 15 March until further notice.

Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland is temporarily suspending meetings of the Stornoway Monday Stroke Club on advice from their national office.

Alzheimers Scotland – Western Isles has cancelled their programme of support groups as a precaution. Groups suspended include: Dementia café at Clan MacQuarrie community centre and football memories at Ionad Stoodie in Garrabost, both on 3 April; music for memory at the Failte centre on 7 April; Tolsta café on 14 April and the men’s café at Back football club on 28 April.

Pairc Trust have decided to suspend healthwalks in Pairc for the time being, because of the social, face-to-face contact they involve.

Outer Hebrides for Independence has postponed the Independence March planned for Stornoway on 18 April. A new date is expected to be set in August or September.

The Gambia Partnership/Hebrides Alpha/SHFC Moldova Mission/Stornoway RNLI fundraising auction planned for March 27-28 has been postponed until further notice.

Autism Eilean Siar has cancelled their coffee morning, planned for Tuesday (24 March) at the Failte Centre on Bayhead.

Catherine Macritchie Beauty Therapist is postponing all appointments for the time being and is contacting all clients with a booking.


Tourist sites

The Harris Tweed Authority’s Story Room display is closed to the public for the time being and their office is closed to the public from today (Tuesday 17 March). Please use This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. email address or call 01851 702269 if you wish to order labels, loom spares or other supplies. For our local customers, the office will open from 11am-12pm daily to allow public to collect items if need be.

Callanish visitor centre is closing to the public from today (Tuesday 17 March). Centre manager Victoria Harvey said: “The safety of our staff and visitors is paramount and we are going to take today to seek further clarity from the government guidance. We will post an update across our social channels and on our website later today which will detail any changes to the services we provide. The stone circle will be open as normal."

Gearranan Blackhouse Village is closing to the public from today (Tuesday 17 March) until the end of June.

Visit Scotland have decided to close all i-centres, including their Stornoway office. However information and bookings can still be made through their website www.visitscotland.com

Cruise cancellations

The cruise line Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) has been the first to announce that it is suspending all worldwide cruise embarkations. All departures of their cruise vessels until 24 April are suspended. Astoria was due to make a total of three visits to Stornoway during April and May this year and her sister vessel Marco Polo is also due to call in May.

Also cancelled is the visit of the Norwegian training ship Gann, due into Stornoway on 6 May. The ship, which provides training to maritime students from Norway and other countries, has closed to students and cancelled all registrations. She is due for her second call to Stornoway in September.

Care Home Visiting Restrictions   Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is implementing a practice of having a single representative as residents’ named visitor at its Care Homes.

The Comhairle is also restricting visiting times in all its Care Homes to the hours of between 2pm – 3.30pm and 6pm - 7.30pm.
The only exceptions to these times will be where the named representative is supporting a resident during meal-times. Residents’ representatives will be contacted directly by Care Home staff to discuss this.

These measures started from 7.30pm on Saturday 14 March 2020.

The Care homes affected are Dun Berisay, Dun Eisdean and Ardseileach in Stornoway, Harris House in Tarbert, Isle of Harris, Trianaid, in Carinish, North Uist, Taigh a’Chridhe Uile Naomh in South Uist and St Brendan’s in Castlebay on Barra

Blar Buidhe care home in Stornoway was closed to non-essential visitors as of 12 noon on Thursday 12 March in a move to protect residents. Non-essential visits include social visits from relatives and loved ones, visits from individuals such as hairdressers and entertainers and from professionals and contractors carrying out non-essential services.