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A large crowd gathered in the sunshine for the formal opening of the Cnoc Soilleir project in Daliburgh today (Thursday September 1).

Cnoc Soilleir is the new home to UHI Outer Hebrides and the tuition festival Ceòlas.

Meaning “the bright hill” the building has been purpose built to offer facilities to meet the needs of both UHI Outer Hebrides’s educational programmes, and Ceòlas’ community-led activities and artistic programme.

And Ceòlas 2022 took place in the building after it came into operation earlier in the year.

As a new community asset, the building hosts a bespoke recording studio, a library, exhibition space, and flexible communal space at the heart of the building that will be suitable for events with an audience of up to 60 people.

Mairi MacInnes, chair of Cnoc Soilleir said earlier: “Getting Cnoc Soilleir Phase 1 built during lockdown has been a tremendous achievement and this has been possible because we contracted a local construction company.

“Great credit is due to our staff , the design team and MacInnes Bros for rising to the unprecedented challenges of Covid.”

The building was formally opened by Deputy First Minister John Swinney who spoke of his joy at seeing the building open and in action five years after a meeting which he attended at the Borrodale Hotel across the road at which these plans were outlined.

Mairi Macinnes spoke of the building’s key role in ensuring the strength of the local culture and economy.  She also made an impassioned plea for support for the second phase of the project which involves another £3m for an auditorium capable of seating 200 people.

On behalf of UHI Outer Hebrides (formerly Lews Castle College) board chair Archie Macdonald welcomed the further development of the college’s role throughout the islands.

Pupils from Sgoil Dhalabroig provided dancing and singing and there was also music from Niall Macdonald of Sgoil Lionacleit.