A mysterious substance, apparently thrown up by the sea, has caused disfiguring stains to the area around the new Iolaire memorial site at Holm.

The inky stains, with a distinct splatter pattern, give the appearance of having landed during a single moment from a high wave during recent south-westerly winds.

A Comhairle spokesperson said: “Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is looking at options for repair. The damage, which has resulted in staining to paving slab areas, is believed to have been caused by a substance thrown up by the sea during high tides and strong winds over recent days.”

Welovestornoway.com editor Fred Silver visited the site today (Wednesday 23 September) and said: “At first sight it seems as if the slabs just have water splashes on them, but the splash marks have penetrated the slabs and, although no longer wet, seem to have left permanent stains.

“It doesn’t feel oily and doesn’t seem to smell strongly, so it is difficult to guess what it might be – and more to the point, how the Comhairle can remove it short of sand-blasting the stone.”