NHS Western Isles has produced a local ‘We’re here to support you’ Coronavirus (COVID-19) infosheet which is currently being made available throughout the Outer Hebrides, with the support of local community organisations and groups.

Whilst the majority of households have access to internet, social media, radio, newspapers and television, NHS Western Isles recognises that there may be a number of individuals who may not be able to access or receive information, for various reasons.

Paul Nicoll, Store Manager, Coop (Cromwell Street, Stornoway)

‘We’re here to support you’ provides information on the common symptoms of COVID-19 and advice on what to do if someone within your household has symptoms.  It also reminds individuals not to ignore warning signs of serious conditions, and that they should continue to seek support for non-coronavirus health related concerns, through either their GP, NHS 24 (111) out of hours, or their emergency department for emergencies.

Information is included on how to access the local Community Support Hub and Helpline (tel. 01851 600501), which offers households access support to food shopping or if they are experiencing any financial concerns, especially those who are self-isolating or may be considered vulnerable or at high risk during COVID-19.

In addition, information on how to access the local dedicated COVID-19 website (www.coronavirus.wi.nhs.scot) is available, as well as the Psychological Resilience Hub (tel. 01851 708022 or 601151), which offers anxiety support to general public and local NHS and healthcare staff.

Jana Tuskova, Store Supervisor, Coop (Macaulay Road, Stornoway)

The local COVID-19 Health Concern Helpline (tel. 01851 601151) is also featured, which helps answer local Coronavirus health-related queries or concerns from members of the public, health and social care staff and category 1 responders.

To complement the infosheet, a number of large posters have also been produced for displaying in local supermarkets, with community shops also to receive copies.

NHS Western Isles Communications and Claims Manager, Maggie Fraser, commented: “We hope this infosheet will be of value to those within our communities who are struggling to access information at this difficult time. Our aim is to ensure everyone has access to the information and advice that they need. We would like to sincerely thank Third Sector Interface – Western Isles; local Community Councils, Land Trusts, supermarkets, community shops, and other local organisations and businesses for their support in making this infosheet available to their communities. Community groups across the Western Isles are doing an exceptional job in such challenging circumstances to support the most vulnerable individuals within their localities and we would like to take this opportunity to highlight and applaud their invaluable input at this time.

“The info-sheet is available below and can also be downloaded from our website at www.coronavirus.wi.nhs.scot and copies are also available on request from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.t"




Shadow Finance Secretary Donald Cameron is flagging up the availability of a new Bounce Back loan scheme to small businesses.

Mr Cameron, a Highlands and Islands MSP, said: “For many smaller businesses across our region this is a very anxious time with a collapse in income being a common experience.

“There is a great need for a cash injection to bide businesses over this incredibly difficult period so I’m very pleased that the Chancellor has managed to get this scheme up and running so speedily.

“The UK Government’s new Bounce Back loans  provide quick and easy-to access loans of up to £50,000 and are available from yesterday (Monday 4th May).

“Small business owners can apply to accredited lenders by filling out a simple online form, with only seven questions.

“More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

“I very much hope that it will prove helpful to our hard-pressed business community which provides the backbone of our economy.”

More details available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-bounce-back-loans-to-launch-today

NHS Western Isles is this week commencing a new long-term approach to addressing COVID-19, known as Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support.       

The principles of this approach - in line with with Scottish Government policy – are to:

  • Test people in the community who have symptoms for 48 to 72 hours consistent of COVID-19, to identify cases of infection
  • Contact trace to identify close contacts of the case who may have had the disease transmitted to them
  • Isolate cases for 7 days and contacts for 14 days, so that if they do develop the disease, there is less risk that they will pass it on to others.
  • Support these people to remain in self-isolation, which may happen more than once if they have contact with another person who becomes a case.   We will monitor cases to ensure prompt management of symptoms, and follow up contacts, advising on actions if they develop symptoms and require testing (and subsequent contact tracing of their contacts). 

So far, there have been 268 coronavirus tests conducted in the Western Isles.  For regular updates see (https://www.coronavirus.wi.nhs.scot/?page_id=1884) That is about 1% of the population. In the Faroes (see https://www.welovestornoway.com/index.php/articles-auto-3/16912-faroes-subdue-covid-19-threat) so far, 16% of the population has been tested.

NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Dr Maggie Watts, explained: “It is inevitable that lockdown will come to an end at some point in the future and in the Western Isles, we need to ensure we are well placed to manage the impact of such release. This is where the new approach of Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support comes in, as our method to combat COVID-19.

“The Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support approach will be most effective when levels of infection are low and stay low, as is currently the case in the Western Isles. The success of this approach relies on all of us knowing and agreeing what to do if we have symptoms, and being prepared to self-isolate when advised to do so.”

So what does this mean in simple terms for members of our community?

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you can check with NHS Inform what to do.  If it is an emergency, dial 999 and tell the operator you may have COVID-19.

For further advice you should continue to contact NHS 24 on 111 who will advise you on how to access testing, if this is appropriate. 

Symptoms are specifically a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater).  A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour
  • have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual.

The test for COVID-19 usually involves a swab through the nose. If your result shows presence of the virus, you will be given the appropriate advice, care and support, depending on your condition, and you will be required to self isolate for seven days. We will ask you about the people you have been in contact with (within two metres and for a minimum of 15 minutes) from two days before you had symptoms to the time you were tested for COVID-19.

This will help us to identify who may have been at risk of transmitting the virus as a result of contact with you. We will then work to contact those people, explaining to them that they have had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.  This means that they may develop infection within 14 days of this close contact and they will be asked to isolate for 14 days.  The purpose of isolation is to break the chain of transmission.

Dr Watts added: “The support aspect of this approach is vital as we recognise that this is not easy for our communities. We will be asking people to self-isolate, possibly more than once, as they come into contact with different individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

"We will not know for sure if these individuals have contracted COVID-19, but they are being asked to self isolate in order to protect others in case they have. We want to make sure support mechanisms are in place for these individuals to help them with essential aspects of their daily life during times of self isolation.”

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson said: “The Test, Trace, Isolate and Support approach is at this point our best chance of suppressing and preventing transmission of the COVID-19 virus. I would urge everyone to co-operate and comply with what will be asked of you. It is all intended to protect you, your loved ones, friends and family.”


Our first week back in Perceval Square, I think it went reasonably well and it was nice to be back.

We will be doing the same again this week, so if you could have your orders in before 12.30 on Monday and we will do Deliveries on Wednesday and pick ups at the Stall on Thursdays.

Below is this week's Price List.

In this week we have Scottish Tomatoes, Cherries, Blueberries, Bunched Carrots, Corn on the Cob as well as all our usual Fruit and Veg

Enjoy your Weekend and Thank You!

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

Or call 07771 645238 to place your order



Price Each










Butternut Squash  




Round Green Cabbage




Celeriac (UK)




Celery (UK)




Garlic (Large)




Local Bay leaves, Goathill Road




New Season, Bunched Carrots, come with Ferns, approx. Weight 500grms




White Cabbage




Corn on Cob each





Price Per KG


Broccoli (UK)




Bunched Beetroot




















Onions (Red)




Cyprus Potatoes




New Season Pembrokeshire Potatoes





Jersey Royals




Ayrshire New Season Epicure








Swede (Scottish New Season)




Sweet Potato






Price Each


Little Gem (x2)




Cos Lettuce








Spring Onions






Price Per KG


Peppers (Mixed Red, Green, and yellow)




Tomato (Cherry on Vine)




Plum Tomatoes




Scottish Tomatoes










Price Each


Blueberries   120gr Punnet, possible doubt on supply




Flat (Doughnut) Peaches


3 for £1.75


New Season Nectarines


3 for £2.10


Gala Apples


4 for £1.80


Red Delicious


4 for £1.80




4 for £1.50








4 for £1.50






Kiwi Fruit












Oranges Large                 


3 for £2.10




3 for £1.80




4 for £1.50


Yellow Melon






Price per Kg






Chillies Red




Green Jalapeños








Green Seedless Grapes




Red Seedless Grapes












Local Marmalade. 340grm

Three Fruit marmalade,

Orange and Lemon


Hint of Ginger

Mixed Berry

Rhubarb jam

Rhubarb and Strawberry


Strawberry Jam

Raspberry Jam



























Per Cake,


4 Plain Scones






Per Packet


Hebridean Tablet




Local Eggs ½ Dozen

(Supply can be limited)




Tonight at 9pm, An Cèilidh Mòr will premiere on Cèolas Facebook and Youtube accounts.

Please help Cèolas in sharing and engaging, and if you'd like, you can donate towards our work via #GoFundMe here.

Cèolas have got quite a treat for you tonight and they're sure you'll enjoy it!

Running just over an hour, pour yourself a dram after Na Dùrachdan and enjoy the best of Gàidhealach music and dance hosted by Uist’s own Alana MacInnes.

Performances include:

  • Cathy Ann MacPhee
  • Allan MacDonald
  • Calum Ailig MacMillan
  • Frank McConnell
  • Stan Chapman
  • Angus Nicolson
  • Ingrid Henderson
  • Iain MacFarlane
  • Mary MacMillan
  • Seonaidh MacIntyre
  • Mìcheal Steele
  • Sarah Hoy
  • Fin Moore
  • Gabe  McVarish
  • Alana MacInnes
  • Shona Masson
  • Jayne MacLeod
  • Shelly Campbell
  • Tory MacGillivray
  • John Pellerin
  • Ruairidh Gray

An Cèilidh Mòr, which has been edited and mastered by Hamish MacLeod, will also premiere on BBC ALBA on Friday 17 July.

As the dizzying pace of 'unlockdown' continues to unfold, CalMac Ferries have stated the following:

Following discussions with Transport Scotland, we are pleased to update that from today Friday 10 July customers will be able to book travel within a rolling 4-week period.

For example:

Date and time

Period in which customers will be able to book travel online

11 July at 9am

12 July - 9 August

12 July at 9am

13 July - 10 August

13 July at 9am

14 July - 11 August - and so on

We will soon be able to open bookings for the remainder of the season - up to 18 October. We will update our customers when we have more information to share. 

What this change means for our capacity

When bookings reopen each day, there are customer reservations already in the system, which were made before our bookings closed earlier this year. This, together with the implementation of the latest physical distancing guidelines means we still have less capacity than we would have in 'normal' circumstances.

Changes to bookings

If we need to make changes to a reservation, we will contact you directly four weeks before your sailing. We will only make amendments where we have to - based on capacity constraints.

Changes to physical distancing

The Scottish Government has today provided an update on physical distancing. Two metres will be retained as the default physical distancing requirement in Scotland - however from 10 July, some areas of public transport can move to a 1m rule where strict conditions and mitigations are in place.

We have assessed the effect of a reduction in social distancing to 1m on our vessels. We have incorporated this into our fleet capacity in line with official guidelines.  

Moving to 1m is a significant change will result in more capacity being released across our network - however, things won't go back to 'normal'. Although the number of passengers we can carry will increase, the capacity per vessel will still be limited.  

Changes to how you sail with CalMac 

Some of our familiar processes have changed. Take a look at our guide on how to prepare and plan ahead for your journey with us - which includes wearing a face covering when travelling with us, and when in our port offices, unless exempt.

You can also find out more about the other health and safety measures we are implementing to help keep everyone safe in our FAQs.

Finally, it's crucial to remember that when you sail with us, you do so safely. Please always follow safety advice to help protect each other, the islands and the communities CalMac serves.

Stay up to date with the latest travel advice and guidance via our regularly updated FAQs.


Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is urging eligible local businesses who have not applied as yet to apply for Government-funded coronavirus support grants ahead of the cut-off tomorrow, Friday 10th July 5pm.

The Scottish Government’s Coronavirus Business Support Scheme opened for applications at the end of March and to date over £8 million has been paid out to businesses in the Western Isles.  

The government has brought forward the deadline for submission of applications to 10 July 2020.  Eligible businesses must ensure that applications are submitted before this date.

 There are 3 categories of grant, aimed at supporting businesses during this period, through protecting jobs, preventing closure and assisting with recovery:

 Small Business – grants of £10,000 or £7,500 are available to businesses in receipt of specific categories of rates relief.

 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure – grants of £25,000 or £18,750 for businesses with properties in these sectors and with Rateable Values in a specified range.

Tenants of ratepayers of business properties, where they can show that a lease is in place, staff are employed and that they have a business bank account.

Details of all the grants are available at https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/coronavirus/coronavirus-business-support-fund/




Stag Bakeries in Stornoway is today (Thursday July 9) named Scotland's Customer Choice Wholesale Baker of the Year having received more than 750 votes from its customers

More than 14,000 bakery customers in Scotland still voted for their favourite baker in the event organised by Scottish Bakers, the industry organisation with over 200 bakery members Scotland-wide.

Daniel Smith of Stag said, “This means the world to us, thank you so much, we are absolutely delighted with that. It is going to mean so much to our staff, they will be so proud. And I can’t thank our customers enough, it is wonderful to know that so many of them rate us their favourite Wholesale Baker.

"We are really touched so thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for us and we are looking forward to continuing to serve our community with freshly baked, quality produce for many more years to come.”

Scottish Bakers ambassador and star baker in her own right, Mich Turner MBE said, “It’s not just for our daily bread that we rely on our local bakers and who doesn’t love a tasty treat, perfect pie or super sausage roll so to be able to celebrate the success of our winners today is wonderful.”

The competition runs every year to help find the best bakers in Scotland and the 2020 competition, which got off to a great start in February before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, saw the first ever “Customer Choice” awards.

Shoppers simply voted for their favourite baker and from these was identified a “Customer Choice” winner in each of the four business categories; Craft Baker, Retail Craft Baker, Wholesale Baker and Bakery Café.

Mich Turner said, “I am delighted to announce the winners today and bring some sense of celebration back to the great Scottish Bakers family. And as lockdown eases, we’re asking consumers everywhere, if you haven’t shopped in your local baker for a while, perhaps now is the time to pay a visit and try some of their fantastic fresh bakes. Each product you buy helps recognise the hard work and skill of your favourite local baker and to help their businesses bounce back.”

Alasdair Smith of Scottish Bakers, who organise the competition, says, “We are delighted to have been able to give the public a say in 2020 with our new Customer Choice awards. It was a great opportunity for Scottish bakers to reach out to their customers and communities and get people buzzing about great, traditional Scottish baking. Stag Bakeries are a worthy winner of the Customer Choice Wholesale Baker of the Year award sponsored by Rondo.”

Scottish Bakers has been supporting and protecting the interests of Scotland's bakery trade for almost 130 years.  Scottish Bakers core purpose is to promote and protect the interests of the trade; representing, advising and supporting all aspects of Scotland's baking industry to ensure it remains competitive and equipped for growth.

Scottish Bakers manages both The World Championship Scotch Pie Awards and The Scottish Baker of the Year Awards each year to recognise and celebrate excellence in the sector.

One of the Maritime Coastguard Agency’s fixed wing aircraft was called from a training exercise west of Lewis yesterday (Tuesday 7 July) to investigate an alert over a possible overturned vessel.

Stornoway Coastguard operations centre received a call from an informant at 1.20pm, saying that an object was visible about a mile offshore, close to Breanish in Uig district.

Coastguard rescue aircraft CG 21, normally based at Doncaster airport, was on exercise in the area at the time and was tasked to overfly an investigate the report.

Also called to the scene were Miavaig and Breasclete Coastguard Rescue Teams, on standby in case a rescue was needed.

The object spotted by the aircraft turned out to be a badly decomposed whale carcass, measuring about 16ft in length.

All teams were stood down at 2.20pm and the call was classed as a false alarm with good intent.

The fixed-wing aircraft went on to refuel at Stornoway airport, giving spotters a chance to have a close-up look at the King Air 200 aircraft (pictured).


Lifeboat fundraiser Jane Maciver is on the road today (Wednesday 8 July), sticking to her commitment to walk 24 miles for charity.

Jane had been signed up to take part in the Glasgow Kiltwalk in April, but since that was cancelled she was determined to honour her pledge and earn the money already donated by doing the distance somehow.

Today she and her friend Jade Chapman, also of Stornoway, will be on the road with border collie Ripley to cover 24 miles.

Jane is a committed member of Stornoway Lifeboat Fundraising Guild, and she’s doubling the value of today’s effort to add some pennies to the much-depleted coffers of the local station.

Jane said: “Folk are asking us if they can still donate, but the links for our chosen charities are now closed and the money already been given out. So if anyone is still wishing to sponsor us or Ripley we are asking kindly if they would give it to the Stornoway RNLI.”

The RNLI Stornoway fundraising page is at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stornoway-rnli

Picture shows Jane (holding the banner on the right) during last summer’s Carnival parade.


The final miles are due to be pedalled today (Wednesday 8 July) as fundraising cyclists complete the 2020 Butt2Barra cycle in strange times.

More than 50 cyclists picked up the challenge to cycle the 165-mile distance from the Butt of Lewis to Castlebay in Barra – despite the fact that the actual journey was out of the question.

Logistics of inter-island travel, overnight stays and meal stops were all scuppered by lockdown and social distancing regulations, so organisers took the event online to raise as much as they can for Bethesda Hospice, against the odds.

Cyclists had a week, from 1 July until today, to complete the distance, but some decided to smash out the miles much more quickly. First to finish the epic distance, in just two days, was Murdo Macdonald, closely followed on Saturday (4 July) by Fraser Maclennan.

The pack mostly spread their effort over the full week, cycling in pairs and small teams, as well as making solo efforts, over a range of locations from Uist to Tolsta, Scalpay, the Westside and North Lochs.

The result is a total that’s fast closing in on £9,000 as team members finish their distances today. You can still donate, to individual cyclists or to the team as a whole, at https://www.justgiving.com/team/Butt2Barra2020

Yesterday (Tuesday) saw the most entertaining finish of the event, as members of Lewis band Peat & Diesel completed the miles along the quayside at Stornoway harbour.

Accordionist Innes and drummer Uilly were actually cycling, while Boydie’s exercise bike, which sailed through at least one mile aboard the trawler MV Comrade, is allegedly to be auctioned to support the charity effort.

You can see the video of their finish here (https://www.facebook.com/PEATANDDIESEL/videos/952828335169637/)

The picture shows (from centre) Boydie, Innes and Uilly with (from left) the ‘cove on the bike’ made famous in the P&D anthem Brandy in the Airidh, Tony Duffy, serious cyclist Mark Maciver and non-cyclist Murdo John Mackay, who has promised he’ll be in the saddle next year.


Some local owners of shops and cafés are saying they are baffled by the new face covering restrictions which are due to start this week.

"We have been serving people without masks for weeks - now, as the risk of the coronavirus is receding, we have to wear them. This doesn't make sense," said one.

The official guidance can be seen here - https://twitter.com/scotgov/status/1280532028614602754?s=21

And retail trade union Usdaw says it has received numerous calls from concerned members after the Scottish Government announced that face coverings will be mandatory in shops from this Friday.

Usdaw officials met with Government ministers on Monday (July 6) to urge retention of the two-metre rule and seek assurances that shop workers will not have to enforce the wearing of face coverings.

Usdaw is now concerned that Government guidance has not yet been published - as of last night (July 7).

Stewart Forrest – Usdaw’s Scottish Divisional Officer says: “Our big concern is who enforces mandatory face coverings and we made that clear to the Scottish Government on Monday.

"Shop workers are worried that they will be expected to turn people away from the store because they do not have a face covering or it is not being worn properly. Incidents of abuse against shop workers have already doubled through the coronavirus emergency and this would be yet another flashpoint.

“Government guidance has not yet been published and that is a concern when we are so close to the new face coverings rule coming into force on Friday. We need assurances that the existing two-metre rule will be observed and enforced. In our experience retailers have taken the two-metre rule seriously and are complying, we see no reason why it should be relaxed.

“Safety in stores needs customer co-operation and we urge the public to respect staff and observe social distancing. At no time should abuse be a part of the job. Shopworkers deserve respect.”

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

Over the past couple of weeks, business at the Comhairle has continued across all services, says Council Leader, Councillor Roddie Mackay.

"I was involved in meetings with the Cabinet Secretary for Transport and also the Islands Minister, where we covered the Islands Deal, the Islands Act and Transport; and meetings with the UK Government Energy Minister regarding the Interconnector and Energy issues.

"We pressed the need to move on with energy and digital initiatives and to commit to capital projects as soon as possible.

"The challenges we faced pre COVID-19, requiring prudent management of our financial resources, have been brought into sharp focus with the additional costs and lost income arising from the impacts of the pandemic.

"We have had significant support from both Governments but will still face a shortfall in covering the direct costs of COVID-19, the loss of income from a variety of sources, such as the Sports Centre, and further significant additional costs in, for example, delays to capital projects.

"Last week we launched a new Economic Recovery Strategy which aspires to ‘reimagine and reform the economy of the Outer Hebrides’ by helping to create strong and resilient communities where community capacity and wealth is built up and where there is a focus on the green economy and digital inclusion.

"As the Comhairle has suffered loss, our local economy has also taken a severe blow from this pandemic, particularly in the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors, but there are unquestionably opportunities going forward and we have to be ready to embrace them and we will work alongside our business sector to do just that.

"It was also good to see that members were once again unanimous in their support of the work done via the Western Isles Poverty and Social Inclusion Programme in directing funds to the Financial Welfare Support service. The Comhairle plays a key role as a Lead Partner on the Poverty and Social Inclusion Programmes which have three main functions which contribute greatly to responding to the challenge of poverty in our islands; the Financial Inclusion Service, the Fuel Poverty Advice services and the Financial Welfare Support Fund.

"One of our long terms partners in the above Poverty programme, and also in the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes, has been Tighean Innse Gall (often referred to as TIG) and we were pleased to reappoint them as the Managing Agent for the programmes. They have been doing this successfully for the last seven years during which time TIG have overseen the installation of over 7,800 energy efficiency measures in houses throughout the Outer Hebrides.

"As we heard about the changes in back to school plans for August, I thought we should all acknowledge the excellent provision made available at the school hubs, which were established in response to the COVID-19 school closures, for the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils. There has been a great ongoing service provided there by teams of education staff including teachers, support for learning assistants, education apprentices, nursery workers, admin, janitorial, catering and cleaning staff. A big well done to all who have been in involved and I know those who needed to use this service greatly appreciated it.

"As the islands inevitably open up to families coming and going, key workers moving about and holiday visitors arriving on our shores let’s ensure that we maintain common sense and wise decision making for as long as the potential remains for COVID to spread. It will unquestionably be good for families and friends to reconnect and for all of us to re-establish a degree of social interaction which is an essential part of normal living, and also for people to get back to work wherever possible, but that has to be done in a responsible and sensible manner, keeping to the rules on physical distancing particularly."

Comhairle nan Siar Leader, Roddie Mackay, has welcomed the announcement that the Comhairle’s share of the Crown Estate net revenue for 2018/19 will be £2.3m.

This sum is a £600,000 increase from the £1.7m received last year for 2017/18 and is a result of the Comhairle’s continued engagement with both the UK and Scottish Governments.

Councillor Mackay, said: “This latest announcement on the increase for the 2018/19 allocation is very welcome and will allow us to have further dialogue with communities on how we can support each other and the services which we all need and value during these challenging times.”

“Decisions on the 2017/18 projects will be made this month and I will also be proposing that the Comhairle agrees how to allocate the funding from 2018/19, in August, so that communities can benefit from this funding as soon as practicably possible.”


Stornoway airport is seeing 'something like a return to normality' today (Monday 6 July) as regular scheduled services return to a new timetable.

A regular direct daily flight to Glasgow recommenced today, Monday 6 July, departing every morning from Monday to Saturday. On Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays there'll also be an afternoon departure to Glasgow, while Sunday will see a single afternoon flight. 

The weekday service between Inverness, Benbecula and Stornoway also becomes daily from today.

Airport manager Duncan Smith said some elements are still to resume their regular service, with the café due to re-open next Monday (13 July) and car hire services currently operating on an as-needed basis. 

Safety protocols will be followed by everyone, whether staff or passengers, while they are inside the terminal or on board planes.

Duncan Smith said the new measures have been put in place to minimise risk to passengers and staff.  He said: "The measures include some restrictions – only travelling passengers will be permitted into the terminal building and they must wear a face covering at all times throughout their journey.   

“We have installed screens throughout the terminal building and physical distancing measures are in place. Regular deep cleaning of the airport buildings is also being carried out.

"There will also be face masks and hand sanitiser available as people enter and, if they wish to carry their own sanitiser, bottles of up to 100ml will be allowed in hand luggage or pockets. Larger bottles must be carried in hold luggage."

Around the airport building, contractors have returned to work on the re-surfacing of the main car park, with parking currently in the side car park. Landscaping of the area at the front of the terminal doors is also under way.  Contractors at the airport are also required to adhere to the new procedures. 

The total effect is a sense of some normality returning to airport operations, according to Duncan. He said: "We're nowhere near a full schedule, but we are beginning our journey to get back to normal.

“We really have to thank passengers for their co-operation during what has been a very difficult period. Everyone who has travelled with us, and all our staff, have been fantastic.

“It's good to see things start to return to how they should be and we do wish to assure our passengers and staff that we are doing everything we can to protect our community and minimise risk within the airport."


Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has highlighted the warnings of an independent expert group that The UK's proposed new immigration system could halve the number of people coming to Scotland, risking labour shortages in key sectors.

New research shows that migrant workers would be barred from 68.7% of jobs in the Western Isles under Westminster proposals. This would mean that the islands would be affected worse than any other local authority area in the country, shutting the door on our ability to recruit talented, skilled and dedicated workers from Europe and elsewhere.

According to previous analysis by the Expert Advisory Group, 53% of roles filled by employees in Scotland earn less than £25,000, including up to 90% of jobs in the care sector.

Holyrood’s Finance Committee has also warned that demographic changes could pose risks to Scottish public spending, and our ability to fund the NHS.

Alasdair Allan MSP said: “The COVID-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated the UK’s reliance on key workers who have come to Scotland from all over the world.

“It should now be beyond doubt that people working in the roles which the Tories describe as ‘lower-skilled’ are absolutely vital to our communities.

“The islands are facing a demographic crisis and we sustained inward migration is a critical necessity. But despite the clear evidence, the Tories seem utterly determined to back Boris Johnson’s closed-minded plans which will be immeasurably damaging to the Western Isles and Scotland as a whole.

“We need the power to attract and retain the workers we need to fund our public services, and allow our economy to flourish.”

Table 1: Percentage of jobs falling below the £25,600 limit by Scottish local authority.

 Local authority

Wage threshold £25,600

East Renfrewshire


East Dunbartonshire




Shetland Islands




North Ayrshire


South Lanarkshire


East Lothian


Aberdeen City


City of Edinburgh


West Lothian






East Ayrshire


South Ayrshire


North Lanarkshire






Perth and Kinross


Scottish Borders






Glasgow City


West Dunbartonshire


Dundee City








Argyll and Bute


Dumfries and Galloway


Na h-Eileanan Siar


The RAF’s VIP Voyager aircraft has been in action off the Western Isles on a quick reaction alert today (Friday 3 July), it’s been reported.

The jet supported RAF typhoons scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth in response to a possible incursion by a potential aggressor into the UK’s ‘area of interest’ north-west of Lewis.

Since it was re-liveried for use by the Royal Family and the Prime Minister last month, it has returned to its normal job as what the RAF calls a ‘petrol station in the sky’.

It operates out of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and supports operational training with air-to-air refuelling (AAR) to RAF Lightning and Typhoon fighters

Typhoon jets based at RAF Lossiemouth are currently taking part with the Voyager in Exercise Crimson Ocean, a joint Royal Navy and RAF operation to hone fighter and helicopter operations from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The Voyager is a hugely capable tanker aircraft, able to carry up to 111 tonnes of fuel, the highest capacity of all tanker aircraft, with the ability to dispense 50,000 kg of fuel while ‘loitering’ up to 1,000 nautical miles from its take-off point.

The jet was at the centre of a political storm last month, when it was rebranded for use by the Royal Family and the UK Prime Minister, with a distinctive Union Flag livery, at a reported cost of £900,000.

Its use today follows its return from 26 June to normal operational duties and was reportedly on an incident supporting Typhoons scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray to a location off the Western Isles.

Picture shows the RAF Voyager jet refuelling fighters in the sky (RAF).


Police are appealing for public help to identify who vandalised a car parked in Stornoway town centre in the early hours of Saturday (4 July).

The white car was parked on Bayhead in Stornoway when, between 1.5oam and 2.10am, an unknown person appears to have deliberately smashed the windscreen of the vehicle.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them on the non-emergency number 101, referring to incident number NH758/20.


Cyclists have been getting the miles in all over the Western Isles and beyond, as the annual Butt2Barra fundraising cycle ride keeps on rolling despite social distancing.

In small teams, as duos and as individuals, cyclists have been getting their wheels rolling round the Westside, Point, Tolsta and Stornoway, as well as through the Uists and as far away as Glasgow to raise funds for Bethesda Hospice.

Butt2Barra 2020 has been less of a logistical challenge than usual, with no need to try and plan for over 30 cyclists travelling the length of the Western Isles over three days. Organisers took the 165-mile pedal-a-thon online to encourage wide participation, following the lead of many sporting events since lockdown began.

As a result up to 50 cyclists are taking part this year, with new cyclists joining the stalwart annual participants to attempt 165 miles – the official length of the real route from the Butt of Lewis down to Castlebay – before Wednesday (8 July).

Among the newcomers have been Uilleam Macleod and Innes Scott of Peat & Diesel fame, both blowing away the cobwebs as they challenge the pain to cover (they hope) 35-40 miles a day each. They’re planning to finish the ride together on Wednesday.

Stacey Macrury and Rhoda MacCormick are covering their miles around South Uist and Eriskay, Alan Mackay dubbed his ride ‘tour de Glaschu’ and seasoned Butt2Barra rider Murdo Macdonald smashed the distance in just two days.

The team total on JustGiving at https://www.justgiving.com/team/Butt2Barra2020 has already passed £6,000 – there are ten linked pages to be found from the main page, with more than £6,000 already given between them.

Organisers hailed the ‘fantastic team effort’ and are sharing pictures and route details from those taking part on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/butt.barra.9

Pictures show – six keen cyclists, including Peat & Diesel’s Innes Scott (right) reaching Callanish at the halfway stage in their challenge, fellow band member Uilleam Macleod putting up with rain and midges in Point and Stacey Macrury and Rhoda MacCormick smiling through the miles in South Uist.


Reliquary is a participatory art commission by See Me and the Mental Health Foundation, in partnership with An Lanntair (http://lanntair.com/events/event/reliquary-2/)

It had been intended to open in March this year…but this was impossible because of the pandemic restrictions.

Artists Martyn McKenzie and Kate McAllan were commissioned by See Me and the Mental Health Foundation to work with staff and participants from Catch 23, Penumbra and Western Isles Foyer, three Stornoway-based mental health organisations.

The project, Reliquary, saw participants working with Martyn and Kate to design hand-made wooden boxes whose appearance and content reflect the lives of the people creating them. The project is part of See Me’s ongoing mission to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination.

Maeve Grindall, See Me social movement officer, said: “Mental health stigma is reduced when people are able to share their experiences and speak openly about mental health. We all have mental health and any of us could go through a period where we struggle, so it’s important that we all feel comfortable speaking about it.”

Kate McAllan and Martyn Mckenzie have worked in partnership for seven years, curating exhibitions, running community art workshops, and delivering three public art commissions. They describe their Reliquary project as follows:

“We are interested in the psychological possibilities of a box, its interaction with the idea of public and private, and its ability to protect its contents. We are also interested in its simplicity and beauty as an object. In its essence it asks to be opened and shared. We will host a series of workshops where each participant will create their own hand-crafted ‘Reliquary’ box and fill it with artwork, writing and objects. This will culminate in an exhibition of all the participants’ work alongside further collaborative elements including a film and illustrated map.”

Penumbra Western Isles Support Manager, Christine Darby-Munro, said:  “It’s important to challenge the all too often negative stereotypes associated with mental health, and encourage an environment where people feel able to talk openly about their mental and emotional wellbeing. This project is a really creative way of getting people to think about the idea that we all have mental health.”

Reliquary, the exhibition, was due to be open at An Lanntair in March this year, just as the lockdown was announced. The work, and a short film by Zoe Macinnes documenting the project, is now being made available at both An Lanntair’s website and as part of the online programme for this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.

The roll-out of mobile devices by Police Scotland has freed up more than 400,000 hours of officer time in just one year, transforming policing in communities across the country.

In summer 2019, police officers in Tayside were the first in Scotland to start using the devices as part of their operational duties. 

Response, community and frontline specialist officers (dog unit, roads policing, firearms) in all of Police Scotland’s 13 divisions are equipped with devices enabling them to access a wide range of police systems without the requirement to return to their station and log on to a computer.  

The increased functionality and ability to conduct checks and process administrative tasks whilst on the go has saved officers a total of 444,496 hours. 

This means officers can spend more time in their communities dealing with incidents, supporting victims and focusing on crime prevention.

Previously, when officers dealt with a crime, they would have to return to base to record details of the incident on the appropriate systems and to complete paperwork. 

Statements which traditionally would be written into a notebook and transcribed, are now typed directly to the device through the digital notebook function Pronto.

Officers can now carry out their own checks which could previously only be done via the area control room. When investigating missing person enquiries, officers can now upload and share images immediately with fellow officers which is a vital tool when time is critical.

Superintendent Craig Smith, of Police Scotland’s Digitally Enabled Policing Programme, said: "Mobile working for response, community officers and frontline specialist officers is a major milestone which is positively changing the operational policing approach in Scotland.

“Our officers now have vital information at their fingertips meaning they can react quickly when dealing with incidents, searching for missing people who could be extremely vulnerable or investigating crimes.

“This piece of kit is revolutionising the way officers work and is helping to keep people safe.

“The devices will be further enhanced over time with the addition of future policing applications, including national systems as they become available.”

PC Garrie Watson, Tayside Division, has been using a device as part of his duties since last summer. He said: “The introduction of mobile devices has been a real benefit which has ensured I am able to remain visible within communities and also conduct checks and process administrative tasks whilst out of the office.  When attending a fraud involving bogus workmen I found having access to a range of police systems whilst at the incident was extremely useful.  This allowed me to carry out checks on the persons and vehicles involved quickly and easily. 

“A large part of my work involves liaising with partners, councillors and the public via email therefore having access to this facility whilst out of the office has been a great advantage.”

PC Watson added: “The device allows me to save time on a daily basis in various different ways.  After compiling a witness statement this can now be electronically copied from Pronto into the Tayside Division system.  This is a significant time saver when compared with the paper notebook which requires statements to be manually typed and processed.

“The ability to generate crime reports and access documents and emails whilst protecting a scene, at custody or on mobile patrol saves me time at the end of the day when I would typically access a computer to complete my paperwork.”

David Crichton, Vice Chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) said: “The introduction of mobile working was much needed and has brought real benefits to the police and the public by making the service more responsive, visible and efficient. Communities are better served and better protected as a result and the Authority is committed to making the case for continued investment in technology to ensure that policing in Scotland keeps pace with changing needs and demands‎."

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I am very pleased to see that the investment in mobile technology has released considerable police officer time in just one year.

“This innovative technology is helping to transform policing and allows Scotland’s officers to increase their focus on engaging with the public and keeping our communities safe.”

The £21million Mobile Working Project was part funded by the Scottish Government’s capital budget allocation and included partnership working with BT, Motorola and Samsung.

Reacting to the progress of the Coronavirus unlockdown in relation to Public Worship, the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) has protested.

At their meeting by teleconference on 23rd June the Presbytery of the Outer Hebrides recorded their concern at the apparent inconsistency in the reopening policy as the lockdown restrictions due to the Covid- 19 outbreak are eased.

On 19th June the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that from Wednesday 15th July shopping centres, public houses, restaurants, museums, libraries, galleries, cinemas and hairdressers will be able to reopen, yet no mention was made of churches being able to reopen for public worship.

"We appreciate that it is the Scottish government’s role to deal with a public health crisis of this kind, and recognise that the aim of the government in its phased reopening is to ensure that the Coronavirus continues to be contained.

"It grieves us, however, that churches are still not yet able to look forward to resuming their services of worship, when the facilities and amenities listed, which we would submit are less important, are to be allowed to reopen shortly.

"We pray that in the coming weeks there will be a reopening of churches for worship, with social distancing and other safeguards in place as necessary."

This Sunday, 5 July 2020 marks the 72nd Anniversary of the start of the NHS, as well as 2020 also marking the 72nd year of the social care system. 

To mark these remarkable milestones, more so significant during these current times, NHS Western Isles is excited to announce the launch of its new and refreshed website at: www.wihb.scot.nhs.uk

Our 'Looking Back' section celebrates the 72nd Anniversary and the rich history of healthcare and the NHS in the Outer Hebrides. 

This includes nursing careers and stories, photo gallery, video archive, and useful links.

Visitors to the new website will find changes with our user-friendly navigation, increased service listings, useful information and rich content.  The new and improved website, boasting a clean design, features images representing the islands from throughout the Outer Hebrides, and offers easy access to essential and accurate information.

The front landing page features three important new sections titled ‘I am a Patient’, ‘I am a Carer’ and ‘I am a Visitor’ to help individuals find the information relevant to them, at the right time.

This includes patients being able access information relating to their Outpatient appointments or Inpatient stay, carers being able to access help and support for themselves and the person they look after, whilst visitors can access information on hospital facilities, refreshments and what they must do if they plan on visiting during the coronavirus pandemic.

As well as including the Near Me virtual appointment system, maternity services, dental health, patient travel and virtual visiting, the revised ‘Our Services’ section features a wide range of newly added services offering an overview of each team.

This includes who teams are aimed at, services each offers, location(s), referral methods, patient information literature and links, and their direct contact details.  Newly added services includes nurse-led services, sexual health services, substance misuse, chaplaincy and spiritual care, and work and health.

We have also made it easier for visitors looking to get more involved within their local health service, from finding out about current consultation and engagement to volunteering, and submitting feedback.  In addition, anyone looking to apply for a job with NHS Western Isles is encouraged to visit our new section ‘Working, Studying and Volunteering’.  All items can be found in our ‘Get Involved’ section.

As well as links to our social media (Facebook and Twitter) channels, the site also features a link to the Vimeo platform, where all films which have been produced by, or in partnership with, NHS Western Isles can be viewed.

The new site also links to our local coronavirus website (www.coronavirus.wi.nhs.scot), where information relating to COVID-19 can separately be found.

So what are you waiting for, come and explore our new site at www.wihb.scot.nhs.uk and see for yourself! ​

Stornoway police have been detecting poor driver behaviour and road traffic offences in and around Stornoway on routine patrols since yesterday afternoon (Thursday 2 July).

A driver was stopped on Sandwick Road at 4pm yesterday and issued with a vehicle anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) because of his driving behaviour. A vehicle ASBO was also issued to a driver on Bayhead at 9.30pm yesterday.

Two drivers were detected using mobile phones while driving in separate incidents at 8pm and 8.30pm on Bayhead yesterday evening.

This morning (Friday 3 July) police on routine patrol stopped a driver on the A859 Lochs Road near Arnish, after witnessing a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre. He’s to be reported to the Procurator Fiscal for the offence.

Police are also currently actively engaged in a summer drink-driving campaign, which resulted in a man being arrested and charged in Stornoway last weekend.

Inspector Donnie Mackinnon from the road policing division based in Dingwall said: “Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is entirely unacceptable, the consequences can be catastrophic so please make the sensible decision to think twice and don’t do it.

“If you have information or concerns about anyone who may be drink or drug driving, please call us on 101. Information from the public can help take dangerous drivers off the road and also helps us to identify areas where we may need to increase proactive patrols.”


A burst water main in Stornoway has left some customers without water since mid-morning today (Friday 3 July).

Scottish Water has engineers at Cross Street excavating the site of the ruptured main.

About 30 customers are without water, or experiencing low water pressure.

It’s expected that the repair will be completed and supply restored to customers by 2.30pm.

A spokesman for Scottish Water said: “While we carry out the repair please be aware that you may experience no water supply, low/intermittent pressure or discoloured water.”

The Hebridean Celtic Festival has announced an online programme of short film sessions which will see a variety of leading musical artists and creatives producing new work for festival week this month.

Dubbed Seisean HebCelt / HebCelt Sessions, the commissions will feature Freumhan / Roots featuring Calum Alex MacMillan, Norrie Maciver (Skipinnish) and James D. Mackenzie (Breabach) (Wednesday 15th July, 8pm); Julie Fowlis and an array of Gaelic singers, accompanists and dancers (Thursday 16th July, 8pm); Colin MacLeod with Rory Macdonald of Runrig and a handpicked cast of musicians with a new recording of Runrig anthem ‘Only The Brave’ (Friday 17th July, 8pm).

Closing the weekend sessions will be a film including footage and interviews gathered over recent HebCelt festivals together with some current lockdown interviews (Saturday 18th July, 10pm)

Each song commission lasts for approximately five minutes, with the film running for approximately 30 minutes. They will be streamed across the festival’s YouTube, Facebook and Instagram channels.

Festival director, Caroline Maclennan, said: “Our focus was to contract with artists and other creatives from the Hebrides to produce new high quality engaging online content to reach out to our global audience following the requirement to postpone this year’s event due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are so fortunate to be able to work with such talented and dedicated Hebridean artists and to bring these fresh commissions to our HebCelt audiences, albeit virtually. We will so miss not partying with them all this July. We are grateful to Creative Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for their continued festival support.”

“We know that HebCelt’s huge local economic impact will be missed this year and the festival team wanted to be able to give something back. We chose Bethesda Hospice as the charity of preference to benefit from Seisean HebCelt. This will allow us to help generate donations for a very worthwhile cause, one close to the hearts of many Hebrideans.”

The festival have set up a Just Giving charity page, making it possible for all who wish to donate directly to the Bethesda Hospice in Stornoway which provides four hospice beds for specialist palliative care and 30 care home beds.

General Manager at Bethesda Hospice, Carol Somerville, said: “HebCelt is a very important part of the culture and local economy so we are extremely pleased to have this support. These Sessions will provide some welcome relief and enjoyment. At Bethesda we are required to raise over £370,000 per year to keep the hospice openso any donations will be gratefully received.”

The array of other artists engaged as part of the sessions include: Kathleen MacInnes, Cathy Ann MacPhee, Eilidh Mackenzie, Fiona Mackenzie, Anna Murray, Ceitlin Lilidh, Josie Duncan, Alyth McCormack, Éamon Doorley, Innes White, Alex Tearse, James D. Mackenzie, Jane Hepburn Macmillan, Niteworks, Sorren Maclean, Scott Macleod, Keith Morrison, Jason Laing, Willie Campbell, Sean Harrison and Rosie Sullivan.


Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in Loch Erisort in Lewis.

Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles, or razor fish from these areas may pose a risk to human health and notices to warn the public and casual gatherers will be posted at various locations on the shore.

Commercial shellfish harvesters in these areas have been contacted by the Comhairle and steps taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside.

It is a sensible precaution to avoid eating shellfish from these areas until further notice.

The council is monitoring the situation and will remove warning notices when it improves.


The essential role of local media with a genuine journalistic presence in their communities has been emphasised this week by politicians of opposing parties.

The Scottish Conservative party launched a newspaper recovery plan on Monday (29 June) developed in conjunction with the National Union of Journalists and designed to support the long-term future of the industry.

And MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar Alasdair Allan has said that the SNP-led Scottish Government is also acutely aware of the cultural importance of local media in post-Covid society.

The Scottish Conservatives’ recovery plan includes additional funding streams, additional Scottish Government advertising spend, rates relief and a journalism foundation to support local media.

Shadow finance secretary Donald Cameron, who is also one of the Highlands and Islands MSPs, said: "A thriving local media is crucial for a well-functioning democracy as people need a reliable source of news for many reasons, not least so that they can hold to account their political representatives. This is just as important at a local level as at a national level.

"Here in the highlands and islands, our concerns are often far removed from those of the central belt and we need local newspapers so that local issues get the coverage they deserve."

Dr Allan said today (Thursday 2 July): “There’s a thirst for information just now like I have never seen before, as reflected in the huge number of people contacting me. Local journalism has a huge part to play in our cultural future.”

The comments from politicians come as the gradual release of lockdown restrictions sees some island businesses back to full operation and others announcing that they will either postpone re-opening or will remain closed permanently.

With a heavy reliance on advertising and businesses stopping advertising, media beyond the public service broadcasters have struggled to maintain their presence and to provide their service.

The Broadford-based West Highland Free Press says that it will return to print from the 7 August edition, after announcing on 17 April that publication would be suspended for the first time in the paper’s 48-year history.

The paper has remained active online during lockdown and announced on social media: “During our enforced hiatus we have been so grateful for the support, both in your kind words and the financial donations you have given to us. We will continue to need this support in the months and years ahead.”

Stornoway Media Centre’s stable of publications, including www.welovestornoway.com and EVENTS newspaper (http://www.hebevents.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/EVENTS_173.pdf), has remained in operation throughout lockdown, aided by a Government-backed bank loan, the Scottish Government small business support grant, the Coronavirus Income Support Scheme and the support of its landlord, Car Hire Hebrides.

welovestornoway.com has had its highest online readership, with more than 51,000 website users during June.

When Annismarie Macfarlane reluctantly closed the doors on her barber-shop as lockdown began, regular customer George Whyte of Anderson Road nurseries presented her with a brand-new pair of garden shears.

Everyone laughed about it at the time, but now, as she begins preparing to unlock the doors at Back&Sides on Bayhead, Stornoway, Annismarie is wondering whether she might actually need to use the shears for some of her customers.

Annismarie said: “We treated it as a bit of a joke when George brought the shears in, but who knew that four months would have passed before we could welcome customers again."

Since the Scottish Government announced last week (Wednesday 24 June) that hairdressers and barbers will be able to re-open from 15 July, Annismarie and her staff team have been making their plans.

So keen are they to get back to serving their customers, that the doors will open from 8.30am on Wednesday 15 July to add an extra hour on to the working day.

There will also be big changes both for customers and for staff, as Back&Sides works round Coronavirus regulations, customer concerns and staff timetabling.

Annismarie said: “Our customers are very important to us and we want to make sure they’re safe, so we are re-organising the room to make sure that all our chairs are at least two metres apart, with screens between them, meaning we can all work at once without exposing staff or customers to risk.

“There will be hand sanitiser at the door as people enter and we will be wearing masks ourselves and asking our customers to wear masks too.

“But the biggest change will be that we will not be operating the walk-in and queue system that all barbers have always used.

"Instead we’re now asking people to book their appointments by phone, so they will see fewer people when they come in and that will be in place for the foreseeable future.”

That in itself is a culture change for barbers, but one which Annismarie expects all barbers will have to adopt. In her 21 years in the trade, barbers have always had a line of men awaiting their trim, quite content to wait their turn and catch up on the news while they do.

There could be more changes in the pipeline, with guidance for barbers coming in a slow drip from health and government sources, but for now Annismarie’s principal concern is making sure her staff and her shop are ready for everyone to come back safely.

They’ve got extra stock in as well – especially to cope with the amount of hair that’s had time to grow over those four months. Those garden shears could come in handy after all….

Annismarie said: “I’m expecting that we’ll be facing everything from the people who wouldn’t let anyone near their hair for four months and have grown quite a fleece, to those who have let wives, girlfriends and friends have a go at cutting their hair and need ‘corrective’ work. We’re expecting a lot of shedding!”

The picture shows Annismarie ready to go with the garden shears – the customer is her nephew, Stuart Forbes Evans.

The Gaelic language is on the verge of collapse, say researchers from the University of the Highlands and Islands Language Sciences Institute and Soillse, a multi-institutional research collaboration, who are launching a new book today (Thursday 2 July 2020)

‘The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community: A comprehensive sociolinguistic survey of Scottish Gaelic’ is the most comprehensive social survey on the state of Gaelic communities ever conducted. The book presents new sociolinguistic research about Gaelic communities in the Western Isles, in Staffin in the Isle of Skye and in the Isle of Tiree.

In addition to in-depth analysis of the use and transfer of Scottish Gaelic as a community language, the book presents contemporary data on the societal and spatial extent of Gaelic speakers and Gaelic speaking in the remaining vernacular communities in Scotland.

Evaluating the research, the authors’ main findings show that the language is in crisis, and that within remaining vernacular communities of Scotland, the social use and transmission of Gaelic is at the point of collapse.

The authors urge a radical new approach to vernacular Gaelic revitalisation and propose a new agenda and strategy for Gaelic revitalisation in the islands. They argue for a dynamic language-in-society model that is based on a community development trust for the Gaelic-speaking community that is under the direct control of the community.

Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, Professor of Gaelic Research at the University of the Highlands explained the motivation behind the new book: “It is important that we are clear about the immense scale of the challenges involved in reversing the ongoing decline in the use of Gaelic in these areas.

“Our statistical evidence indicates that the Gaelic vernacular community is comprised of around 11,000 people, of which a majority are in the 50 years and over age category. The decline of the Gaelic community, as especially shown in the marginal practice of Gaelic in families and among teenagers, indicates that without a community-wide revival of Gaelic, the trend towards the loss of vernacular Gaelic will continue.

“We found a mismatch between current Gaelic policies and the level of crisis among the speaker group which must be addressed to face the urgency of the language loss in the islands. The primary focus of Gaelic policy should now be on relevant initiatives to avert the loss of vernacular Gaelic.”

In order to make Gaelic policy viable, the researchers call for a multi-faceted Gaelic engagement strategy rooted in the broader context of community development, re-aligning national policy to address the decline in the use of Gaelic as a community language. Whilst some elements of national policy have had some success, such as the numbers of primary pupils in Gaelic Medium Education, without an overarching revitalisation approach, as outlined in their research, the authors believe the decline in the Gaelic vernacular community will rapidly continue.

Iain Caimbeul, research fellow at the Language Sciences Institute in the University of the Highlands and Islands added: “If Scotland is to continue to give practical expression to its commitment to sustaining cultural diversity, it is vital that strategy for the Gaelic group is rooted in the broader context of community revitalisation.

"We hope this research will be valuable to those interested in seeking to shift public policy assumptions from a sole dependence on the school system for creating the next generation of fluent Gaelic speakers. It is vital that we change the basis for allocating resources to protect against further decline.”

The book, ‘The Gaelic Crisis in the Vernacular Community: A Comprehensive Sociolinguistic Survey of Scottish Gaelic’, is available from the Gaelic Books Council 

The Heroes of St Valéry were remembered today (Friday 12 June) on the 80th anniversary of the ‘other’ Dunkirk, at which the forgotten army of the 51st Division, including the Seaforth Highlanders, made their stand.

St Valéry was the rearguard action defending the retreating British forces as they escaped mainland Europe from the beaches of Dunkirk.

Pipers in Stornoway and at Kinloch were among those who joined an international tribute, with pipers in 16 countries playing the tune Heroes of St Valéry at 10am this morning.

The tune was written by Pipe Major Donald Maclean of Balantrushal in Lewis, himself one of the 10,000 members of the 51st battalion captured at St Valéry. They were subsequently marched through Belgium and Holland to East Prussia (now part of Poland) where those who survived the march were kept as Prisoners-of-War in the Stalags, or work camps, run by the Nazi regime.

Among the pipers playing today was Larry Ferguson, who took up his post at the Kinloch war memorial just before 10am.

Larry said: “From my village of Laxay three men left to fight in the 2nd Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders and all of them were captured at St Valéry. Thankfully all three of them returned after five years as prisoners of war.

“From 30 Laxay my uncles Donald ‘Dolly’ and Angus Ferguson went to serve in the Seaforths. There was also John ‘Polcain’ Macdonald of 19 Laxay.

“Angus was a piper who had been a regular soldier before the war and was on his way home, having decided to leave the army, when war was declared in 1939. He came off the boat at Stornoway and police Sergeant MacPhail ordered him to return to his unit immediately.

“He borrowed a bike to cycle home to Laxay and see his family. The police officer turned a blind eye, making him promise to report back before the boat sailed the next morning. Angus cycled the 15 miles to see his family and reported for duty the next morning.”

After being captured at St Valéry on 12 June 1940, Angus played a pivotal role in the lives of many of the men who were being marched from France to Prussia. Over the years Larry has heard first-hand stories from veterans of the battle who returned to Lewis.

He said: “I was told by more than one person that it was thanks to Angus that they kept marching and survived, because he played the pipes and kept them going. Otherwise they would have fallen by the side of the road on the way to Poland.”

Today was not the first time that Larry has played the tune Heroes of St Valéry as a tribute – ten years ago he was at St Valéry itself, piping before veterans of the actual battle. Their memories of events at the battle gave particular poignancy to Larry’s piping tribute today.

His playing this morning came at the same time as students from The Nicolson Institute’s pipe and brass bands played the same commemorative tune at the Clock Tower in Stornoway.

Angus MacNeil MP and Alasdair Allan MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar have both laid motions, respectively, to the House of Commons and Scottish Parliament this week to remember the 80th anniversary on June 12th 1940 of the capture of 10,000 men of the 51st Highland Division taken prisoner near St Valery en Caux, six days after the Dunkirk evacuations. The 51st Highland Division were attached to French defence forces.

Angus MacNeil said:  “It is important that we remember those who tragically lost their lives when they were forced to surrender, after they had been left behind following Dunkirk, as they were fighting with the French at the time in defending the retreat from the Somme. Later, in 1941, 134 of the 219 returned escapees to Britain were from the 51st Highland Division, of this three men were from Ballachullish who used Gaelic to confuse the Germans to convince them that they were from a part of the Soviet Union.

“The bravery and heroism of the soldiers is most notably captured in the memorial in St Valery en Caux “La a bhlair is math na cairdean” - “On the day of battle it is good to have friends/relations”.

"A gripping account of events at St Valery, capture and captivity is given in the book by Donald John MacDonald of South Uist "Fo Sgail a Swastika" (Under the Shadow of the Swastika) and I would recommend it for anyone interested in further reading about the 51st Highland Division.”

Alasdair Allan said: “While the anniversary of the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk draws significant national attention, what happened to members of the British Expeditionary Force who were left behind in France is less well known.

“The soldiers of the 51st Highland Division, made up of men from the Western Isles, North and West Coast of Scotland, were charged with the task of recapturing a strategic position on the Somme after the rest of the Allied Forces had been evacuated. Under heavy bombardment, outflanked and greatly outnumbered by Rommel’s 7th Panzers, the 51st fought a retreat to the coastal town of St Valery where, when all hopes of evacuation faded, they were forced to surrender.

“Their story deserves much greater prominence. On the 80th anniversary of their capture, it is important that we remember the courage of 51st Highland Division, the sacrifice of the fallen, and the suffering endured by captured soldiers who would spend the next five years as prisoners of war.”

Today’s commemorations have also been welcomed by Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron.  Mr Cameron, who submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament last week marking the anniversary, said: “The tributes that have been paid to the heroes of St Valery here in the Highlands and Islands, and across the world, have been very moving.

“It is striking how those sacrifices made by an earlier generation have struck a chord and generated such a heartful response today, the 80th anniversary.

“We will never forget what was done on our behalf and I’m sure the tradition of pipers playing Donald Maclean’s tune will endure for many years to come.

“It is difficult to imagine a more fitting tribute than the sound of the pipes on an occasion like this.”

Picture: Larry Ferguson piping at Kinloch war memorial today

The restaurant and café at the the Harris & Lewis Smokehouse on Sandwick Road will not reopen after the end of lockdown.

On their social media today. (Wednesday June 17) the company said: "We have made the difficult decision not to reopen the Harris & Lewis Smokehouse Restaurant following its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Smokehouse will continue to run as a development facility."

There had been discussions earlier the year about the production area being expanded by taking over land on sites adjacent to the building which was too cramped to encompass all the planned developments of new products.   

The company went on: “We are currently consulting with affected employees and, where possible, will look for opportunities to redeploy them elsewhere in the business.

A meeting at the Smokehouse in happier times

"Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any queries regarding restaurant gift vouchers.

The Smokehouse is part of the Scottish Salmon Company which is fully engaged in all stages from smolt production through freshwater andmarine farming to processing, as well as sales and marketing activities. They produce over 33,000 tonnes of the finest quality Scottish Salmon and export to 20 countries around the world, from North America to the Far East. They employ over 650 staff across remote and rural communities and are passionately committed to the environmental, cultural and economic sustainability of rural Scotland and are one of the biggest employers in the Outer Hebrides. 

Last year it was taken over by a firm in the Faroe Islands, for more than £500m.  Bakkafrost agreed to take on 69% of the shareholding from the then majority owner, investment fund Northern Link.

There was sadness on Facebook as people reacted to the news.

  • "Absolutely gutted for all involved. I’m so glad I got to eat there & it really was spectacular service. A sad day for all the staff."
  • "Sorry to hear this ...lovely place to eat.
  • This is so sad. Hope staff manage to be redeployed as they were wonderful. Food outstanding."
  • "Oh what a shame we loved to visit for brunch on our shopping trips up from Harris. Will we still be able to buy the salmon? If so how?"
  • "Big loss for the island so very sorry to be reading this…tough times ahead for everybody, unfortunately."
  • "Sorry to hear this. We enjoyed your breakfasts."

Writing on the Harris and Lewis Smokehouse Facebook page, John Alexander Smith, from Stornoway, said:"It's sad as the town invests in new infrastructure for tourism: the marina and the new port developments that the supporting and necessary service infrastructure is not going to match up to the challenge.

"The restaurant was a great showcase for local seafood, local produce and culinary skills. I think that understanding the true benefit of added value services are sometimes only realised when they are gone.

"I was excited to see this innovation and investment. It was a real spotlight on fresh local produce - from farming production and smoking to having the confidence to take that final step to meeting the end customer was enlightened indeed.

"But perhaps a new opportunity exists to repurpose for the benefit of the industry in the creation of a culinary training centre focusing on Scottish salmon, seafood and excellence in training chefs and buyers in the necessary skills to maximise the benefits of Scottish salmon and. Seafood. and through that process keep the Hebrides on the international culinary map."


A variety of events were held to commemorate yesterday Friday June 12 the battle at St Valéry in June 1940.

Here's a www.welovestornoway.com video of events in Kinloch and Tarbert


Other events are shown here


Other reports are shown






Next week would usually see arts organisation Fèisean nan Gàidheal host two of its popular week-long summer events, Sgoil-shamraidh Dràma (Gaelic Drama Summer School) and Fèis Alba, however not deterred by the pandemic, these events will be hosted online for the first time to ensure that youngsters across Scotland don’t miss out on the top class tuition.

Sgoil-shamraidh Dràma Air Loidhne (Gaelic Drama summer school online) will be led by actor, Lana Pheutan, who regularly appears on BBC Alba’s Bannan and FUNC. The event will offer young Gaelic speakers the opportunity to develop their acting skills and collaborate creatively while at home due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Applications from Gaelic speaking teenagers interested in drama, aged between 13 and 17 at the time of the School, are welcome.

Fèis Alba offers Cèilidh Trail participants and advanced musicians, aged 14-20, the chance to learn new music from some of the country’s top musicians whilst also learning invaluable skills and knowledge from industry professionals through a variety of masterclasses, workshops and Gaelic lessons.

This year participants will have the chance to learn new tunes and songs with Oban musician and choir conductor, Sileas Sinclair, Breabach’s Calum MacCrimmon and Glenfinnan harpist Ingrid Henderson. They will also learn Gaelic with Shannon Cowie and Iain-Murdo MacMillan, pick up playing for dancing tips from dancer Frank MacConnell, get crucial advice about being a self-employed musician from Firefly Productions founder and Dogstar Theatre producer, Donna MacRae, as well as gaining PR and social media skills from former Cèilidh Trail participant, Katie Mackenzie. 

Arthur Cormack, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s Chief Executive said: “Since lockdown, with support from Creative Scotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and HIE, we have supported local Fèisean in organising music classes online and we are continuing, as best we can, to offer our usual varied summer programme, albeit in a different format.  While the online events will have some limitations, for example there will not be the normal level of peer-to-peer interaction, we are confident participants will gain skills from the sessions on offer.  We have been encouraged by the response with some young people we might not normally reach able to take part this year.”

A limited number of places are still available for both events and to secure a place please contact Angus Macleod (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.t) for the Sgoil-shamhraidh Dràma and Nicola Simpson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for Fèis Alba. 

For more information about the range of summer events organised by Fèisean nan Gàidheal, please visit www.feisean.org or www.facebook.com/feisean

Eleven volunteers are giving of their time, many of them daily, to pick up freshly cooked meals from 'The Chief Cook' Donald Smith, who has temporarily relocated his kitchen to the Old School in Knock, and deliver them to recipients throughout Point and Sandwick. 

The meals service is part of a Community Wellbeing project along with a befriending service for vulnerable people.

The project was launched by community wind farm organisation Point and Sandwick Trust as part of its efforts to combat the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis and made possible by funding from the Scottish Government Wellbeing Fund.

As of the end of June, there were 65 people receiving meals through the project.  Wellbeing project co-ordinator Sandra Macleod said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have volunteers. The whole project wouldn’t be happening without them.” 

The 11 volunteers who are delivering meals are: Dene Campbell, Tom Joyce, Grace Smith, Anna Mactaggart, Janette Ramsay, Graeme Macleod, Caron Buchanan, Peigi MacSween, Catherine Low, Jamie Martin and Maggie Mackenzie.

As they lined up for their group photo, in their Point and Sandwick Trust polo shirts by the Hebridean Design Company, Sandra said: “This is the first time I’ve seen them all. It’s amazing.”

Maggie Mackenzie from Parkend delivers to North Street, East Street and Plasterfield. She said: “People say it’s something to look forward to and nice to see a smiley face. They all say the food is beautiful and everybody that I’ve delivered to is just so thankful. 

“I’m on furlough just now. I’m not working and just wanted to do something, if I could help out in any way. It’s great being able to. It makes you feel good that you’re doing something nice for people. It’s a wonderful thing.”

North Street resident Janette Ramsay is also delivering to North Street and East Street, as well as Lower Sandwick. She became involved after a chance meeting with Sandra, who was delivering a meal early on to Janette’s 90-year-old mother. “I asked her if she had volunteers and I said I could do Sandwick and Parkend, no problem. It’s absolutely fantastic because I come from Sandwick and I know most of the people. I can do it and I’m happy to do it. I work it out with my work.” 

Peigi MacSween from Lower Bayble is delivering to Knock, Upper Bayble and her own village. She said: “It’s good. It was a wee bit nervy at first because of Covid but it’s a lot easier when you get used to it and everybody is really positive about the service. 

“It feels good because you’re helping people who couldn’t get out and are isolating. Sometimes you are the only person that they see all day.”

Tom Joyce, from Garrabost, is delivering to Aird and Portvoller. He had registered as a volunteer on the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Scottish Government websites early on in the crisis. “Then I got a call from Sandra, saying there was a vacancy here, if I was interested. I joined because I believe in the project. I had been working in the food bank, so I knew there was a need. The project in general is excellent and well done to Point and Sandwick Trust for financing it.”

Chief Cook Donald Smith said. “My sense of satisfaction for providing meals for the elderly and the vulnerable in Point and Sandwick is incredible. It’s good to be doing work that benefits the community and I’m delighted that they asked me to do it.” 

A choice is provided every day and each meal is two courses. Meals are provided seven days a week, with all the weekend meals being delivered together on Friday.

Point and Sandwick Trust general manager Donald John MacSween said more than 30 people had volunteered to help Point and Sandwick’s pandemic response, in one way or another – a number he described as “remarkable”.

“We are fortunate to live in a community that has willingly risen to the challenge of the times in such a positive way, and very fortunate to have great support from the Community Councils in Point and Sandwick, our project partners.”

Point and Sandwick Trust initiated its responce to Covid-19 in March, with the creation of its Pandemic Community Fund and its pledge to commit every spare penny generated by the wind farm this year to fighting the crisis. Since then, it has made significant donations to NHS Western Isles and the Point, Sandwick and Stornoway Community Councils.

The Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) has launched the Gaelic Representation Project to enhance the voice of Gaelic-speaking and Gaelic-learning students across the University of the Highlands and Islands.

With funding awarded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the Gaelic Representation Project will develop structures for Gaelic representation to support HISA’s ambition to become a truly bilingual organisation. It will aim to allow Gaelic-speakers and learners to fully engage with their students’ association in Gaelic should they wish to.

This will ensure a strong voice and widened opportunities for all Gaelic-speakers and learners no matter where or what they study in the Highlands and Islands, and use the language as part of everyday life at college, at home and in the community.

Commenting on the launch of the project, HISA Vice President for Higher Education, Andrew Bowie, said: "I am thrilled that we are launching this project. Widening representation for all our students has always been one of my top priorities this year, and I am delighted that our Gaelic speakers will be able to benefit from this project as we work with them to understand their unique experiences as students.

“I'm really optimistic that this project will not only have some significant benefits for our students who study or speak Gaelic, but for Gaelic culture across the Highlands and Islands as a whole – it’s important that HISA plays its role in the development and resurgence of Gaelic. I'm very proud that HISA and the Gaelic students of the Highlands and Islands will be leading the way with this ground breaking project.”

Professor Neil Simco, Vice-Principal (Research and Impact) of the University of the Highlands and Islands and Chair of the Gaelic Representation Project board, said: “The Highlands and Islands Students’ Association Gaelic Representation Project is a highly significant development in the University of the Highlands and Islands. Linking to all that is being achieved through the University’s ambitious Gaelic Language Plan, it will further ensure that the language has increasing visibility and use in HISA’s activities.”

Third year Sabhal Mòr Ostaig student, Anna Smith, said: “I’m so glad to hear that HISA are widening their use of Gàidhlig. Gàidhlig has been an integral part of my time at university, and in my life in general. As a student at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, it’s a natural and easy thing to speak Gàidhlig everywhere I go. If I wasn’t in a place where this was so easy I would definitely miss Gàidhlig and I would be so happy to have more opportunities to speak it and meet other Gàidhlig speakers.”


Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 30 July) long serving Harris GP Dr Andrew Naylor MBE opened the 2019 South Harris show as the sun shone over a packed Leverburgh show ground.

This year’s show was a buzz of activity with each area of the show ground housing a different attraction or point of interest.

Steve Colley attracted the biggest crowd of the day with the former Scottish, British and World trials champion wowing show goers with his death defying stunt show.

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn has confirmed that detailed planning of a replacement business centre at South Galson is under way.

Neuro Hebrides is inviting all islanders living with a neurological condition and their carers to come along to their upcoming Neuro Day.

Niall O’Gallagher is the first Bàrd Baile Ghlaschu/ Glasgow’s City Gaelic Poet Laureate, an appointment which runs until 31st October and is part of the Merchant City Festival’s Gaelic Literature and Song Trail.

Bard Baile Ghlaschu is a municipal role with a city profile and the Bard will be in post during the Royal National Mòd in October 2019. 

The post is based on the City’s Poet Laureate model, which is in the gift of the Lord Provost’s Office (Glasgow City Council).

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

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

Comhairle na  Eilean Siar, under section 14 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, hereby Orders the temporary closure of the following roads at the following times and dates:

Willowglen Road from its junction on Macaulay Road and its junction with the main A858 road between 12noon to 1pm on Saturday August 3rd 2019.

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

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

Both Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan and Highlands and Islands Conservative  MSP Donald Cameron have spoken of the need for more detail about UK Government funding for the three island councils as part of the Islands Deal.

This follows yesterday’s announcement from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to Scotland that £300 million would be put towards Growth Deals, including the Islands Deal.  

Alasdair Allan MSP commented: “There was a frightening lack of detail available in yesterday’s statement by the Prime Minister, a failing which I suspect will be characteristic of his premiership.

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

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

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

The Lewis Carnival Committee has taken over the Murdo Maclean's window in the centre of town for the week of the carnival. Passersby watched as the girls filled the window with information about the coming weekend. 

The Lewis Carnival Committee told welovestornoway.com: "We want everyone to know just how much is happening, so this window contains information about the Lewis Carnival parade, the food & drink festival and the ceilidh. Two of these events are brand new, and we want them to be as successful as possible. We're particularly excited about the food & drink festival, which will showcase some lovely local food. The parade also looks set to be the best in years - which is all thanks to local people getting together to support the event - so we're very excited!" 

This weekend's events include:

In a bid to promote and improve physical activity levels in Lewis and Harris, a team of new Walk Leaders was recently trained by NHS Western Isles.

A total of seven new Walk Leaders have been trained to lead group walks in their local communities, joining a team of 50 volunteers already trained by the ‘Walk on Hebrides’ project in recent years. These volunteer Walk Leaders are invaluable in providing walkers with an opportunity to reap the health rewards from group walks.

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

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

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

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

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

With prosecco, Downpour Gin and cocktails!

Official opening: 12.30pm


The Western Isles Citizens Advice Service: offices on the Isles of Barra, Harris, Lewis and Uist, are holding their AGM on Tuesday 13th August 2019 at Lewis CAB 41-43 Westview Terrace Stornoway.

Please come along to see what we do and what we want to do in the future.

We would welcome any new volunteers and members to our board

We will have a some refreshments from 4.00pm ( come and have some of the CAB’s 80th Birthday Cake )

The actual meeting is at 6.00pm

Any questions : please contact us on 01851 705727 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photograph by Sean Purser. 

This summer, one of Scotland’s leading traditional arts organisations, Fèis Rois, is hosting the Scotland Pavilion at the acclaimed Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany, France for a second year, with over 80 hours of music, song and dance from some of Scotland’s best up and coming artists programmed.

Six Scottish musicians will perform alongside six Breton musicians in a brand new collaboration organised by Fèis Rois in partnership with Festival Interceltique de Lorient. Female Gaelic song trio, Sian, featuring Eilidh Cormack (Skye), Ellen MacDonald (Inverness) and Ceitlin Smith (Lewis) have been working with three female Breton singers to come up with material for a shared performance in Lorient on Thursday 8th August.

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

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

On Friday (26th July) the West Side Agricultural show returned for its second year at the Barvas Community Centre show ground.

In past years the show has gone on in spite of adverse weather conditions but on Friday in blistering sunshine the only complaint that could be heard was, “tha e teth.”

A group of drivers heading south on the main road to Harris today (Monday July 29th) include some owners heading for Uist at the end of a real tractor marathon.

The 2019 Tractor Run from Stornoway to Leverburgh set off from the Porter’s Lodge in Stornoway at 9.45am this morning, heading south to raise funds for the Hebridean Men’s Cancer Group.

Nurses currently working in NHS Western Isles can apply for the University of the Highlands and Islands Shortened Midwifery Programme.

The postgraduate diploma, which has been developed in partnership with NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles and NHS Orkney, will enable registered nurses to become fully qualified midwives in 20 months, helping to meet the needs of communities across the north of Scotland.

Members of the public are invited to a NHS Western Isles Annual Review meeting in Castlebay Community Hall.

The meeting, which will be attended by Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe FitzPatrick, gives members of the public the opportunity to hear about the Health Board’s achievements and challenges.

It also provides the chance to hear about progress, proposals and options for healthcare development in Barra.

Leverburgh’s RNLI Lifeboat station and crew need extra help from the people of Harris to continue their valuable work saving lives at sea.

RNLI Leverburgh have vacancies for volunteer fundraisers and event supporters, each essential to the professionalism and effectiveness of the lifeboat team.

Tidal conditions on the Sound of Harris mean changes to the ferry timetable between Berneray and Leverburgh from Wednesday (July 31st).

Extreme tides mean revised timetables will be in place every day from July 31stto August 5thinclusive.

You can find full details of the timetable changes at https://www.calmac.co.uk/service-changes/berneray-leverburgh-summer-tidal-amends-2019

Western Isles Weather is marking ten years since Stornoway’s own tornado with a special blog post today (Sunday July 28th).

The tornado formed around 10pm on July 28th2009 during a period of intense storms across the whole of the islands.

It first crossed Goat Island, sinking a small boat at her moorings, and then hit the Sea Angling Club, blowing in windows and leaving customers sheltering under tables.

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

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

The Lochs Show crowds this afternoon (Saturday July 27th) showed that a little bit of rain - indeed, quite a lot of rain at times - was not going to stop them having a good time.

Anderson MacArthur on South Beach Street, Stornoway says it is proud to have joined Cancer Research UK’s Free Will Service.

The Free Will Service helps people aged over 55 to write or update their Will free of charge.

A student from Stornoway has developed an engine concept for supersonic jets with the help of the Innovation Centre at Lews Castle College UHI and had his ideas published in a prestigious scientific journal.

Two sets of marina facilities in Harris were officially opened on Wednesday 24 July.

The facilities, owned and operated by Harris Development Ltd (HDL), provide the last vital link in the chain of marine facilities.

Shetland yachtsman, Andrew Halcrow, was guest speaker and he cut the ribbons at the two Isle of Harris Marina facilities in Tarbert and Scalpay. 

Additional flights between Barra and Glasgow have been added into the timetable to try and ease congestion for island travellers.

Loganair has put additional flights into the schedule on August 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th and 30th to try and meet some of the demand for seats during the busiest period of the summer.

A barbecue being held tomorrow afternoon (Saturday July 27th) marks the official celebration of 10 years since the Clan Macquarrie community centre opened.

The new centre in Borve replaced a much older village hall which itself commemorated a momentous event on the Westside of Lewis.

Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative (WICCI) is hoping to hit a high note with their very first project in a new drop-in centre in Stornoway.

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

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

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

The second annual Tong scarecrow competition is set to start on Monday (July 29th) and there’s already an early contribution in the village.

For a week, villagers can construct their own scarecrows in gardens, crofts and verges around the village, entering the contest for a donation to Tong Recreation Association of just £5. On Friday next week, judges will carefully evaluate the entries before awarding first second and third prizes.

Staff at the Stornoway TalkTalk call centre are to be given a farewell dinner by their bosses before the doors close on the centre.

A total of 59 employees were handed their notice after broadband services company decided in January that their Stornoway centre was to close.

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

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

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has called on incoming Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack to ensure the UK Government gives the go-ahead to the Islands Deal.

The islands MSP ensured that the Islands Deal was one of the first items on the new Secretary of State’s desk by writing to him urging to take forward a date for announcing the Deal.

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

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

Isle of Barra

Angus Maclean of 123 Craigstone, Castlebay, has applied for planning permission to site a twin-unit caravan to be used as a holiday let at 123 Craigstone, Castlebay.

Work is to include the construction of an access road, including the addition of three parking spaces, and the installation of a septic tank. 

Nicki McCallum of 9 Ardmhor has applied for planning permission to build a house at 9A Ardmhor, Northbay.

Work is to include the installation of a treatment plant and the construction of a new access and the addition of 2 parking spaces. The house is to consist of one bedroom, one bathroom and kitchen/living space. 

The following planning applications are approved by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Planning application to build a house with access road and septic tank at 106A Upper Borve, Castlebay, which was received on January 23, has been decided and has been permitted with conditions.

Planning application to create a camper van park at 5 Vatersay, which was received on January 17, has been decided and has been permitted with conditions.

Planning application to create 3 camper van parking sites at 1-3 Vatersay, which was received on January 17, has been decided and has been permitted with conditions. 

Planning application to create camper van parking at 4 Vatersay, which was received on January 17, has been decided and has been permitted with conditions. 

Comhairle na  Eilean Siar, under section 14 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, hereby Orders the temporary closure of the following roads at the following times and dates:

Willowglen road from its junction on Macaulay Road and its junction with the main A858 road between 12noon to 1pm on Saturday August 3rd 2019. 

Macaulay Road / Bayhead Street / Kenneth Street from Manor roundabout through Macaulay Road and Bayhead Street to the junction of Kenneth Street. This also includes the a short section of Kenneth Street between Bayhead Street and Scotland Street between 1pm and 2pm on Saturday 3rd August 2019. 

Cromwell Street / Church Street / North Beach Street / Castle Street / Point Street / Bank Street from Bayhead Street along Cromwell Street and part of North Beach Street through the west lane of Castle Street to its junction with South Beach Street. The section of Church Street between Kenneth Street and Cromwell Street will be closed for through traffic. This also includes the pedestrianised section of Point Street and Cromwell Street and the full length of Bank Street between 1pm to 5pm on Saturday 3rd August 2019. 

Perceval Square Car Park from 6pm on Friday 2nd August to 6pm on Saturday 3rd August  2019.

Fisherman's Car Park from 00:01 on Wednesday 31st July 2019 to 23:59 on Saturday 3rd August 2019. 

This year’s Lochs Show on Saturday (July 27th) is set to be bigger and better than ever – literally bigger as they have the Mighty Smith Show, Adrian Smith, three times Winner of UK’s Strongest Man Competition, on hand to wow everyone with his daring feats of strength. 

Jim the Magician and Bubbles the Clown will be touring the showground providing entertainment for all.  

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

Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe – the Ui Church Trust – is holding its annual Open Day on Saturday, 27th July from 10.00am until 4.00pm.

On Saturday 29th June, a group of 11 directors and Friends of Ui Church wielded wheelbarrows and shovels to fill the numerous rabbit holes in the graveyard at the Church. 

Faclan: the Hebridean Book Festival today (Thursday June 27th) reveals this year’s programme, with events running at An Lanntair arts centre from Wednesday 30 October to Saturday 2 November.

The festival’s theme this year is Human Nature and the programme includes:

  • Julie Brook’s breath-taking environmental art
  • Dan Richards’ journeys to the world’s remote places
  • Margaret Fay Shaw’s pioneering island photography
  • Niall Iain Macdonald’s epic solo attempt to row the Atlantic
  • Cult musician Momus brings his ‘Unreliable Tour Guide’ to Stornoway
  • Faclan Fringe returns for 2nd year, supported by Outer Hebrides LEADER
  • The festival’s acclaimed children’s programme, Faclan Òg.

The date has been announced for an emergency services event which will throw the doors of search and rescue wide open.

On Saturday 17th August, from 1pm to 4pm, Stornoway Coastguard Operations Room will be open for the first time since its major refit three years ago, providing an excellent opportunity for the public to view at first hand the latest state-of-the-art technology that contributes to search and rescue – locally, regionally and nationally.

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

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

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

Fundraisers Belinda and James Richardson are seeking help from companies, individuals, groups or families to sponsor them £238 to visit each of the 46 SCOTTISH RNLI Lifeboat Stations for this year’s RNLI-911 Challenge in Scotland.

And Stornoway, Leverburgh and Barra stations are still without sponsors.

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

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

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

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

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

A variety of activities and events that are taking place in Kinloch during the months of July and August related the Kinloch Community Hub in the former Balallan school, and the Kinloch Inclusion Project. 

The passing of Dr John MacInnes at the age of 89 was reported over the weekend (Saturday May 11th).

Dr MacInnes was born in Uig, Isle of Lewis, on April 3, 1930.

When he was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2015 because of his work recording and analysing traditional songs, he was described by tribute writer Jim Gilchrist as “the foremost living authority on the oral traditions of Scottish Gaeldom.”

The best of produce from near and far 26/07/2019

Email 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. 



Price Each






Butternut Squash  




Green Cabbage




Cabbage (White UK)








Celeriac (UK)




Celery (UK)








Garlic Large




Small Garlic




Organic Chard






Price Per KG


Beetroot (UK)




Broccoli (UK)




New Season Dirty Carrots




Bunched Carrots












Leeks (UK)




Mushrooms UK




Onions (White)




Onions (Red)




Ayrshire Potatoes








Duke of York




Premier Potatoes








Swede (Scottish New Season)




Sweet Potato




White Turnip






Price Each


Little Gem (x2)




Cos Lettuce




Organic Lettuce Leaves








Spring Onions






Price Per KG


Peppers (Mixed Red, Green, and yellow)




Tomato (Cherry on Vine)




Scottish Tomatoes




Tomatoes (Plum Vine)






Price Each


Fugi Apples


3 for £2.00


Gala Apples


4 for £1.50


Red Delicious


3 for £1.50






Donut Peaches


3 for £1.50






Kiwi Fruit












Yellow Melon




Charentais Melon






3 for £1.80


Oranges Large


3 for £1.50




3 for £1.80


Pears (Conference)


4 for £1.50


Raspberries (West Hardmuir Fruit Farm) 200g






4 for £1.50




Price per Kg


















Chillies Red








Red Seedless Grapes




Local Fresh Eggs




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best of produce from near and far 19/07/2019

Email 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. 



Price Each






Butternut Squash  




Green Cabbage




Cabbage (White UK)








Celeriac (UK)




Celery (UK)








Garlic Large




Small Garlic




Organic Chard






Price Per KG


Beetroot (UK)




Broccoli (UK)




New Season Dirty Carrots




Bunched Carrots












Leeks (UK)




Mushrooms UK




Onions (White)




Onions (Red)




Ayrshire Potatoes








Duke of York




Jersey Royals




Premier Potatoes








Swede (Scottish New Season)




Sweet Potato




White Turnip






Price Each


Little Gem (x2)




Cos Lettuce




Organic Lettuce Leaves








Spring Onions






Price Per KG


Peppers (Mixed Red, Green, and yellow)




Tomato (Cherry on Vine)




Scottish Tomatoes




Tomatoes (Plum Vine)






Price Each


Fugi Apples


3 for £2.00


Gala Apples


4 for £1.50


Red Delicious


3 for £1.50






Donut Peaches


3 for £1.50






Kiwi Fruit












Yellow Melon




Charentais Melon






3 for £1.80


Oranges Large


3 for £1.80




3 for £1.80


Pears (Conference)


4 for £1.50


Raspberries (West Hardmuir Fruit Farm) 200g




Strawberries from Tong 300g






5 for £1.50




Price per Kg














Chillies Red








Red Seedless Grapes




Local Fresh Eggs




Isle of Lewis

Change of use of building, Newmarket

Blackwater Survey Services has applied under Section 42 to remove condition 1 of planning permission, the effect of which would be to allow the storage facility to be a storage building and ancillary hardstanding to create a separate Class 5/6 unit at Commercial Storage, Blackwater, Newmarket.

New house build, Point

John Angus Morrison of 4 School Park, Knock, has applied for planning permission to build a house at 4a School Park, Knock. Details of the house are unavailable as of yet.

Information has gone out to stallholders and others in relation to the format of this year's event on Saturday August 3rd.

The organising committee says: "The Lewis Carnival is organised by a small group of volunteers. It takes six months of plans, emails, letters, calls, and applications to bring the event together.

Pop over to the quayside and grab your lunch at the Lewis Carnival Food and Drink Festival - only today and tomorrow! 

Gael Force Group have established a base in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador, to serve aquaculture producers in the province and across Atlantic Canada with their high quality and robust range of marine equipment, technology and services. 

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

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

Roadworks are due to start next month on Sandwick Road, Stornoway, adjacent to the Engebret Ltd garage, to replace the small bridge that crosses the drainage canal which runs from the sea shore in Broadbay towards Stornoway Harbour.  

The world’s most scenic tennis court in North Harris was a place where dreams come true on Saturday (July 20th), with a celebratory birthday doubles match being played by three generations of one family.

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

Barra RNLI Lifeboat was called to assist during a battle to save a fisherman pulled unconscious from the water yesterday afternoon (Wednesday July 24th).

Stornoway Coastguard control centre received a call at 12.53pm saying that a fisherman had been found unconscious and immersed in water on rocks in Loch Carnan, South Uist.

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

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

A poignant anniversary is to be turned to public benefit by Stornoway RNLI Ladies Guild member Jane Maciver on August 1st, with a 25-mile walk for the RNLI.

Jane is being joined by other Guild members and Stornoway RNLI volunteer crew to walk 25 miles from Bernera to Stornoway, in memory of her late partner Craig, a fisherman who passed away at sea.

Thursday (18th July) saw the North Harris Agricultural Show return to an overcast Urgha showground.

The well attended show saw locals and visitors alike enjoy the events on offer, from life stock judging to highland dancing, there was something for everyone.

Writer and poet Donald S Murray, originally from Ness, has a new chance of an award after being longlisted for an award for a debut novel from the Historical Writers Association.

The nomination is for his recently-published novel "As the Women Lay Dreaming", described in the citation as "a passionate, atmospheric and evocative novel inspired by the Iolaire disaster" that "explores how an event can have a dramatic impact on communities."

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

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

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

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

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has written to the chief executives of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and NHS Eilean Siar asking them to assure him that they have measures in place to deal with risks associated with food allergies.

Mr Cameron acted after research undertaken by the Scottish Conservatives indicated that neither council nor health board provides training courses for their staff or the public.

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

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

The CalMac ferry MV Isle of Lewis is returning to service this afternoon (Tuesday July 23rd) after a period of extensive disruption to services to and from the Isle of Barra.

Experts are still attempting to discover the identity of nine killer whales, spotted near Vatersay.

The whales were encountered during the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust's annual marine research expeditions last year. 

The Trust now hopes to encounter the mystery pod again during its surveys this summer. It says that the unexplained killer whale pod sighting highlights how much there is still to learn about the remarkable marine life in Hebridean waters, and the need for long-term monitoring of cetaceans and basking sharks.

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

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

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

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


Transport Scotland is examining the impact of the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) that was introduced in October 2015 - and wants to know what you think if you are a user of CalMac ferry services, whether as a business, resident or occasional ferry user.

RET is a consistent set of passenger and car fares across all routes based on a fixed fare plus distance based element. 

Job vacancy: Electoral Canvasser - Barra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elizabeth MacGregor, has applied for planning permission to extend the house at 11 Garrygall, Castlebay. 

Fèis Mara na Hèaradh is offering people the chance to hear from battling round-world sailor Andrew Halcrow tomorrow night (Wednesday July 24th).

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

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

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

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

On Friday 21st June there was a large gathering in the Tarbert Community Centre to mark the retiral of Morag Munro as co-ordinator of Crossroads (Harris). 

This was a role Morag carried out, unpaid, for 34 years following a year of hard graft to set the scheme up. 

Work is well under way on a £6.5 million Scottish Water project to protect the future of the water supply for the district of Ness. 

Scottish Water partner Efficient Service Delivery (ESD) is carrying out the work to expand the existing water treatment works at Airigh Na Gaoithe and to fit upgraded water treatment equipment and controls. A new filtration system and generator are to be housed in an extension to the existing main building, as well as a separate new raw water storage tank. 

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

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

Stornoway RNLI lifeboat was called to help when a fisherman lost power on his vessel on Friday afternoon (July 19th).

The lone fisherman aboard the small fishing boat Ceol na Mara used VHS to issue a distress call when he lost engine power and was unable to control the boat, in Loch Roag off Bernera at 1.20pm on Friday.

It was shearing time for the Callanish alpacas yesterday (Tuesday July 16th) – and owner Clare Lewis made sure her herd had only the best when it came to shearers.

Specialist alpaca shearer James Dixon came off the lunchtime ferry and headed straight over to the West Side, eager to get the alpacas shorn before any chance of rain could stop him.

'Blasasd Fèis Uig' was held in Uig Community Hall on the afternoon of Friday 12th July.

It was run to gauge demand for running a full Children’s Fèis through the medium of Gaelic in the future. And the answer was…a resounding yes!

The new North Lewis Coastal Walk is to be launched as part of Community Land Week celebrations between August 15th and 17th.

The walk encompasses the whole of the Galson Estate and Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) will be launching it in traditional style – walking the whole 37km route.

A new management team at the Callanish visitor centre are looking ahead to the 2019 visitor season with confidence – and they’re buzzing with ideas.

Victoria Harvey and Gregor Macleod took the helm of visitor service provision at Callanish after the retirement in January of Angus Mackenzie, centre manager for nearly 10 years.

Angus has plans to spend more time on his croft, and for a big trip to Canada in autumn this year, but Gregor says with relief: “He’s just down the road, and if we need anything, he’s always there.”

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

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

Stornoway police are appealing for witnesses to an altercation in the town centre very early on Sunday July 21st, after a man was assaulted.

The assault happened at 12.10am on Sunday outside licensed premises in Point Street and police want to hear from any witnesses who may have noticed the events leading up to the assault, or the assault itself.

The bandwagon that is Lewis band Peat & Diesel keeps on rolling, with the latest announcement that a Celtic Connections gig scheduled for January next year is to move to a bigger venue.

Peat & Diesel announced this morning that their scheduled show at Glasgow’s Òran Mòr on Saturday January 25th has been cancelled – after selling out all the tickets within two minutes of going on sale this morning (Tuesday July 23rd).

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

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

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

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

Fèis Mara na Hèaradh is offering people the chance to hear from battling round-world sailor Andrew Halcrow tomorrow night (Wednesday July 24th).

On 5th July, 2 young people from the Westside Open Group and Sir E Scott Open Group attended a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award presentation in the gardens of Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has issued an amber flood warning for the Western Isles tonight (Monday July 22nd).

The warning, issued at 3.44pm today, says: “A period of heavy rain may affect the area on Monday evening and overnight, which could cause flooding impacts from surface water and small watercourses. This could include flooding to low-lying land and roads with difficult driving conditions.

Sixteen customers in Vatisker Park have been without power since 6am this morning (Monday July 22nd) and could be waiting until early evening before their power is restored.

An underground cable fault was reported to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks at 6.06am and the cable repair team is still trying to pinpoint the exact location of the fault. Engineering teams are already on site ready to tackle the problem once it’s located.

Police are appealing for information after two plant pots were removed from a North Tolsta garden.

The plant pots were taken from a garden at Camach Park between 7pm on Saturday 20 July and 12pm on Sunday 21 July.  

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

Stornoway police are asking for public help after a car was damaged in Stornoway town centre on Friday (July 19th).

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

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

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

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

HebCelt has once again teamed up with Loganair to help ensure one of the festival’s main acts makes it to the stage on time.

The airline has had a long-running association with the award-winning festival and this year as part of its sponsorship flew members of Hudson Taylor from Dublin to Stornoway ahead of appearing at 6.15pm today on the main stage today (Saturday July 20th).

Peat & Diesel's astonishing climb to local stardom saw more packed and overflowing venues at the Hebridean Celtic Festival yesterday (Friday July 19th).

In the evening, the band totally redefined the meaning of 'acoustic' as huge queues snaked across the field from their scheduled performance in the 'Acoustic Tent'.  Large numbers had to listen from outside what is the smallest of the three covered venues.

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

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

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

Award-winning singer songwriter KT Tunstall took a ride in an electric car to support HebCelt’s drive to improve the environment which also includes working with Lewis Wind Power and Essence of Harris.

Work has begun on adding Scottish Gaelic to Duolingo, a popular online language learning service.

The course is currently in Duolingo’s “incubator”, where language courses are constructed with the help of a community of volunteers, and has an expected completion date of July 17 2020.

Islands MSP, Alasdair Allan, started a campaign on this issue after being inspired by the success which the Irish language had on Duolingo.

Travellers leaving the island from Sunday (July 21st) after the weekend’s festivities at Hebridean Celtic Festival could find themselves battling the odds to get home.

Bad weather forecasts, full ferries and strike action at airports could combine to cause changes to travel plans, with flights especially subject to unexpected disruption.

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

Barra Atlantic gin has been named a finalist in the Scottish Gin Awards.

The gin is shortlisted in the London Dry Gin of the Year Category, along with Isle of Harris Gin.

Winners are due to be announced in October.

Harris gin is also in the running for its taste experience, while the Isle of Harris Distillery is also shortlisted as growth business of the year, exporter of the year and as the Scottish gin destination of the year.

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

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

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

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

Today is the first day for new Essence of Harris shop in Tarbert.

They have moved to a new shop right in the heart of the village, opposite Hotel Hebrides and across from the ferry terminal which was formerly the tourist office.

Come Aboard!’ for the annual Stornoway RNLI Open Day and Family 5K on Saturday, July 20th.

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

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

A public event on Thursday (May 16th) at Stornoway Town Hall will offer an inside view of the science behind the regulation of fish-farming.

Organised by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) the event also gives a chance to get on board the boats that check and monitor fish-farms.


The biggest event on the Stornoway Running and Athletics Club calendar is almost here, the Stornoway Half Marathon on 25th May!

This year the Half Marathon is already sold out and there are just 10 spots left in the 10k, between both races and the fun run up to 550 runners are expected. This will probably be the biggest ever road running event in the Western Isles! Just under two thirds of those entered will be travelling to the island to take part, from all across the UK and as far as the US and Australia. 

A lot of helpers and marshals (up to 70 marshals) are needed around the town and castle grounds route to make it run smoothly (excuse the pun), if anyone is able to help on the day the organising committee  would be really grateful.

Acclaimed new and up and coming acts will join established festival favourites as the main arena line-up for this year’s HebCelt is finalised.

Another ten artists and bands from Scotland, England and Ireland are confirmed today (Thursday March 14th) ahead of day tickets going on sale tomorrow (Friday).

HebCelt Festival is pleased to announce that Peat & Diesel will be playing an additional gig today (Friday, 19 July) at 2.15pm on the main stage.

This will be a 30-minute show and open to all main arena ticket holders.

Members of the public are asked to help researchers look into the effect of plastics on birds.

A new website has been launched by researches from the University of the Highlands and Islands to gather information about the interaction between birds and debris such as plastics.

Members of the public are being asked to upload details and photos of birds which have become entangled in debris or which have incorporated it into their nests to www.birdsanddebris.com

A Gaelic praise evening will be held on Sunday 21 July at 8pm at the Stornoway High Church on Matheson Road..

The event will feature Celtic songs of praise, performed by Domhnall Michael MacInnes, Noel Eadie, Isabel Macleod and Craig Parks.

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

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

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

Lewis Wind Power is delighted to be supporting the Lochs Show for the second year in succession.

The show, to be held on Saturday 27th July at Laxay showground, is always a highly anticipated event in the Lewis and Harris summer calendar with competitions ranging from flower shows to photography to agriculture. Alongside the numerous competitions, attendees will also enjoy a range of attractions and shows.

The start of work on the massive homes project on land from the former Goathill Farm on Perceval Road, Stornoway, was marked this afternoon (Thursday July 18th) with a large official event.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said it was delighted to welcome Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, to formally mark the commencement of the Goathill Farm Care and Housing Development, with a turf-cutting ceremony on the site, where preparatory work is already well under way.

Point Agricultural Society issued an urgent call for help yesterday (Wednesday July 17th) after strong winds took hold of one of their marquees and blew it into the community centre at Aird.

Tiumpanhead Community Centre’s gable end wall took the brunt of the impact as the large marquee flew across the showground. When it was spotted by neighbours, it was wrapped round the centre and across the roof.

Lochs goalie Rachael Johnstone is heading for Denmark at the weekend, after being picked by her club, Celtic FC, to play in next week’s Dana Cup youth tournament.

Celtic FC announced a squad which they say combines experience with youth to defend the under-15s cup, won by the Celtic FC girls last year.

The unexpected island phenomenon that is Peat & Diesel struck again yesterday afternoon (Wednesday July 17th) with youngsters shut outside a venue which was too full for safety.

The island trio has been building a storm of support, especially amongst very young fans, with a mixture of rousing tunes and off-the-wall, very sing-able lyrics penned by guitarist and songwriter Calum ‘Boydie’ Macleod.

Senior Government officials have relayed concerns raised by Isles MP Angus MacNeil to the energy regulator Ofgem ahead of the final decision on the Western Isles interconnector.

Mr MacNeil is calling on Ofgem to do what is best for the environment, the consumer and the economy and approve the Needs Case for the construction of a 600MW link to the islands.

And Highlands and Islands MSP, Donald Cameron, has also written to the Chief Executive of Ofgem, Dermot Nolan, in a final push to encourage support for a 600Mw transmission link between Lewis and mainland Scotland.

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

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

It was shearing time for the Callanish alpacas yesterday (Tuesday July 16th) – and owner Clare Lewis made sure her herd had only the best when it came to shearers.

Specialist alpaca shearer James Dixon came off the lunchtime ferry and headed straight over to the West Side, eager to get the alpacas shorn before any chance of rain could stop him.

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

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

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

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

The Stornoway Trust recently welcomed two new additions to its Castle Grounds Squad: Head Gardener, Jack Pocock (below), and Gardener, David Bayly (above), who will both work from the Trust Nursery.  

They will be working closely with Jonathan Torrance, the Estate Nurseryman, as they focus on restoring the Castle Grounds, making good use of its rich resource of trees and shrubs.

'Blasasd Fèis Uig' was held in Uig Community Hall on the afternoon of Friday 12th July.

It was run to gauge demand for running a full Children’s Fèis through the medium of Gaelic in the future. And the answer was…a resounding yes!

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

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

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

Newton Faulkner is currently taking his music on tour, but he is also on the road to a new stage of his career.

The singer songwriter, who plays at the Hebridean Celtic Festival which opens tomorrow (Wednesday, 17 July), has sold more than 1.5 million records, with 180 million streams, making him one of the UK’s most successful singer-songwriters so far this millennium.

A call by one of the contenders for the Liberal-Democrat party leadership to end domestic flights in the UK has been derided as ‘out of touch’ and isolationist for Scotland’s islands.

Kingston and Surbiton MP Sir Ed Davey is contending with East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson to become leader of the Lib-Dems. On Sunday (July 14th) he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on that he stood by previous calls for domestic air travel to end.

The MV Loch Seaforth is to be transformed from Monday morning (July 15th) when it becomes the HebCelt Ferry for a week, as the influx of visitors builds for the start of Hebridean Celtic Festival week.

Earlier this month CalMac announced a new, three-year sponsorship deal with the internationally-renowned festival, which includes launching the HebCelt Ferry with a pop-up information and ticket office on board and a festival-themed menu in its restaurant.

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

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

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

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

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

A sweet-seller from Skye has created the ultimate HebCelt delicacy – a stick of rock that says HebCelt right the way through!

Inga Bonk of Inga’s Sweet Treats has been a long-time fan of Hebridean Celtic Festival, attending every year from her home in Skye and this year selling her sweet treats not just at the Town Hall craft market but from her stall at the festival arena itself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transport Scotland is examining the impact of the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) that was introduced in October 2015 - and wants to know what you think if you are a user of CalMac ferry services, whether as a business, resident or occasional ferry user.

RET is a consistent set of passenger and car fares across all routes based on a fixed fare plus distance based element. 

A 45-year-old man was arrested at an address in Stornoway in the early hours of Thursday (July 11th) and charged with domestic breach of the peace.

Police were called at 1.53am to an incident at the address and took the man into custody, from where he appeared in court and was released on bail.

A review of all fishermen's training and certificate regulations is being carried out.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency are aiming to update and modernise the training and examination system for fishermen.

The Western Isles Island Games Team landed at Stornoway airport on Saturday afternoon (July 13th) to a heroes’ welcome from family, friends and supporters, after a week of truly memorable sporting action in Gibraltar.

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

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


Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has today commended the Western Isles team following on from their participation in the 2019 NatWest Island Games.

The Island Games are held every two years. They allow athletes from different island groups across the world to compete internationally and help to forge links between different islands.

Latest news: Due to the delayed ferry Buth Bharraigh will close at 18:30 this evening and reopen at 23:30 to assist travellers disembarking from the late ferry.

Also today they have some Uist treats just in. @ampaipear and MacLean’s meat

This was announced on Twitter

A wedding was under threat from the cancellation of all sailings between Oban and Castlebay today (Friday July 12th)  and Saturday due to a technical fault with the MV Isle of Lewis.

Angus MacNeil MP has again been in touch with Calmac this morning regarding this "unacceptable situation."

Five singers from Lewis will be off to Gothenburg in Sweden at the beginning of August, to take part in a Eurovision singing competition.

The Eurovision choir competition is being organised by the people behind the massive song contest and is being held for only the second time this year.

A wedding was under threat from the cancellation of all sailings between Oban and Castlebay today (Friday July 12th)  and Saturday due to a technical fault with the MV Isle of Lewis.

Angus MacNeil MP was in touch with Calmac this morning regarding this "unacceptable situation."

Great news from Leurbost…the wanderer returns, none the worse for wear but anxious to replenish his energy reserves.

The best theory is that he had been accidentally shut in a shed somewhere nearby.

It was on Wednesday July 10 that Hilary Heggie was asking for help to find the family's missing cat.

She stated: "Our beautiful black boy has been missing since Monday 8th July from Leurbost, old school/telephone exchange area.

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

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

Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington MP flew out of Stornoway airport this morning (Friday July 12th) after an unannounced visit to Lewis and Harris yesterday.

Mr Lidington, who is MP for Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, visited island businesses and briefed the island’s Conservative Party executive committee during a whistle-stop tour of the Highlands and Islands. He flew in yesterday afternoon after a visit to Moray and is today in Oban.

Come along to the first Lewis Carnival Ceilidh.

Tickets on sale at Intermedia Services (Sign Print entrance).

£10 per ticket - limited tickets available!

Welcome drinks by Harris Gin, bar by the North Uist Distillery.

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

This evening (Thursday July 11th) has started with a one-two-three of medals for Western Isles athletes at the Natwest Island Games in Gibraltar  - and appropriately two out of three have come in the triple-jump.

Mary Macleod jumped a silver medal distance of 11.14m tonight, with Heather Marie Mackinnon close behind her for the bronze with 11.10m.

Come along to the first Lewis Carnival Ceilidh...

£10 per ticket - limited tickets available!

Welcome drinks by Harris Gin*

Bar by the North Uist Distillery*


Tickets on sale at Intermedia Services (Sign Print entrance), Church House, 16 James Street. 

*ID required for the purchase and consumption of alcohol.

**Children MUST be accompanied by an adult. Limited kids' spaces available. Purchase early to avoid disappointment. Free allocated kids' spaces will be assigned upon purchase of adult ticket. 


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

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

A community shop is up for an award in the Retail Industry Awards.

Uig Community Shop could be awarded the Independent Community Retailer of the Year title.

The Retail Industry Awards aim to celebrate excellence in grocery retail, giving recognition to both small retailers and large supermarket groups.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you dynamic, diplomatic and able to act as a link between national tourism strategies and local delivery?

If so, you could be the new Development Manager for VisitScotland in the Outer Hebrides.

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

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

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

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

Work has started on the vast £46m project for new homes on Perceval Road, Stornoway.

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

Western Isles athletes put in maximum effort at the NatWest Island Games in Gibraltar yesterday (Tuesday July 9th), to achieve a raft of firsts for the team across their competitions.

The team are competing in the badminton event for the first time this year, and had something to celebrate when first Beth Macphail, and then the men’s doubles team of Kedar Paul and Davie Fraser notched up first wins for the islands.

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

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

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

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

The business of publishing is no mystery to Lewis author Gary Ross-Jordan, since intrigue, suspense and action are the raw materials of his trade.

And 45-year-old Gary had his business head on when he set the local launch of his latest novel for tomorrow (Thursday July 11th). The book’s mainly set on a cruise ship, and Thursday is the day that more than 2,000 cruise passengers are set to inundate the town of Stornoway.

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

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

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

Island music-lovers are being urged to pick up their tickets for the Hebridean Celtic Festival – before the big influx of visitors begins to swamp the shop.

Off-island festival-goers – both visitors and homecomers – are expected to begin arriving from Saturday, making the most of a holiday week in Lewis while the festival is on. That means Buth HebCelt will soon see queues forming and longer waits to pick up tickets.

Poster Boards promoting the annual Point Show have been placed in various places across the district.

Point Agricultural Society engaged in a community involvement initiative with the children in Sgoil an Rubha to create poster boards with an agricultural theme.

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

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

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

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

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

Police are appealing for information after a charity shop window was damaged.

The incident took place on Kenneth Street some time between early evening on Friday 28 June and mid-morning on Saturday 29 June.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 101 and quote NH/848/19

Consultation events in relation to the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 for the National Islands Plan are being held on: 

  • Tuesday 16 July – Stornoway – Town Hall - Doors open and refreshments served 7.15pm – 7.30pm event start – 9.45 event finish
  • Wednesday 17 July - South Lochs – Balallan School - Doors open and refreshments served 7.15pm – 7.30pm event start – 9.45 event finish
  • Thursday 18 July – Leverburgh - Leverburgh Hall - Doors open refreshments served 1.45pm - 2.00pm event start - 4.15pm finish

Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, Donald Cameron, has denounced SNP ministers for failing to get on top of an ongoing air dispute that is causing harm to the Western Isles economy.

Mr Cameron said: “The first duty of the Scottish Government should be ensuring that the essential transport services linking our island communities to the mainland are fit for purpose and running smoothly.

Kara Hanlon has earned the first Western Isles gold medal of the NatWest Island Games, touching the pool end first in the women’s 50m breaststroke this evening (Monday July 8th).

In dazzling Gibraltar sunshine, Kara swam her best, covering the 50 metres in 31.08 seconds.

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

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

The public have been advised not to eat shellfish from the East and West Loch Roag areas.

Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in East and West Loch Roag.

Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter R948 was sent to the rescue of an elderly lady who had fallen ill aboard a cruise ship in the Minch yesterday evening (Sunday July 7th).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Labour Party has challenged “the Western Isles silent men” to defend the way the islands' local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has been more harshly treated than any other in Scotland.

The islands have suffered by far the most severe cuts of any local council in Scotland over the past five years.

Stornoway Golf Club last night (Sunday July 7th) joined in the public row over whether waste bins should be removed from the Castle Grounds.

On their Facebook Page, they stated:"One bit of positive news, folks.

"Stornoway Golf Club has just managed to secure grant funding in the main for 14 new litter bins (general waste/dog waste).

Following public reaction to the Stornoway Trust's proposal to remove all waste bins from the Grounds, we are publishing their social media statement of Friday 5 July at 14:58 in full.

  • At the June meeting, Trustees were updated on progress with the Castle Grounds Regeneration by Project Officer, Jo Bagrie.

The Stornoway Trust is facing a backlash from dog-owners and walkers, after using social media to announce the removal of all waste bins from the Castle Grounds.

A statement issued by trustee Catriona Murray on Friday (July 5th) included reports on progress with the major works in the grounds, but also detailed a decision to remove every bin in the grounds as a move towards eradicating litter.

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

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

Barra lifeboat is currently (Sunday July 7th 6.30pm) standing by to assist a fishing vessel which is grounded on a reef north-east of the island.

The lifeboat was called at 5.29pm to the assistance of the vessel, with seven people aboard, grounded near Rubha Bhruairnish in Northbay.

Western Isles athletes raised the yellow banner of the islands with pride on Saturday evening (July 6th) as the Gibraltar 2019 NatWest Island Games got under way.

Carrying the flag for the Western Isles in the opening ceremony on Saturday night was assistant team manager Eve Carrington, who is at her eighth consecutive Island Games and who will compete in the women’s shot put and hurdles this week.

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

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

The air traffic control pay dispute is being stepped up with rolling strikes to hit different airports on different days.

Earlier this week Prospect tabled a counter-proposal to Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd.

This was rejected by the company following a meeting on Thursday.

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

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

A Market Assessment and Feasibility Study for the North Harris Trust (NHT) into the provision of new business premises in North Harris is under way.

It was recently announced that Highlands & Islands Enterprise is supporting the study.

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

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

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

Bosch cordless drill

14.4 volt with 2 batteries and charger

In good working order

Surplus to requirement


tel/text: 077 867 702 67



The University of the Highlands and Islands is leading 30 island universities from across the world in an open letter to the United Nations, European Union, Scottish Government and the UK Government.

The letter calls for urgent action on the threats posed to the world’s islands, in particular, by micro plastics in our oceans.

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

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

A new development will see a 52-bed care home, 50 extra-care units and 74 houses built.

The development is planned for the land adjacent to Goathill Farm.

58 of the houses will be for rent and 16 for purchase through the shared equity scheme.

  • £1m Government investment in fishing safety
  • Free training and hundreds of new life vests for those working in the UK’s most dangerous industry
  • Part of the first Maritime Safety Week, run by the Department for Transport

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

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

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

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

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

An appeal has been issued to find an adult grey seal that needs urgent assistance.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) Hebrides say the female seal was last seen on 28 June at the Shiants.

The seal has rope and plastic filament around her neck, causing a deep, strangulating wound.

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

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

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

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


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

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

A writer from Ness is taking part in an Art Residency in Gibraltar.

Award-winning author, Donald S Murray, is one of seven visiting artists taking part in the Gibraltar 2019 Natwest International Island Games, Art Residency.  He is pictured above with two young Gibraltarians, Gabriela and Zoe.

The visiting artists are joined by a number of Gibraltar-based creatives.  Together, they are exploring a range of topics and sites in Gibraltar aimed at stimulating creative production.

Mrs Stacey Macdonald has been appointed as project manager to drive forward the case for a Business Improvement District (BID) to be established in and around Stornoway.

A Steering Group has been working with a wide range of businesses on the case for the past 18 months, but the appointment will take the project to the next level, expanding the range of engagement with all businesses. 

Stacey, from Timsgarry, Uig, has 25 years’ experience in business, mainly in customer facing and consultation roles; and will be responsible for the project management of the initiative.

A lunchtime talk on Peace and Armistice in 1919 will be held next week.

Professor Lucy Noakes from the University of Essex will be giving the talk on Thursday 11 July in the Town Hall.

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

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

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

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

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

A 20-year-old woman reported for drink-driving on Sunday morning (June 30th) was one of ten drivers reported in connection with drink driving offences in the Highlands and Islands during the last week.

Nine men - aged from 18 to 60 – also have been, or will be, reported in connection with alleged drink driving. The 58-year-old man will be reported in connection with two incidents within the week.

A community garden on the outskirts of Stornoway is growing well, thanks to support from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust and a lot of time and energy on the part of local residents.

Bayview Community Gardens, organised by Mossend Residents Association, is looking more mature with every year that passes since it was established on derelict waste ground more than a decade ago.

It has been awarded grant funding of £2,239 from Point and Sandwick Trust, the community wind farm charity which runs the three turbines at Beinn Ghrideag, and this year’s money will go towards shed repairs and new maintenance equipment.

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

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

The tall ship Lady of Avenel is providing a fine sight in Castlebay this week, offering short trips out from the village during her short stay en route between St Kilda and Mallaig.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Youngsters from Stornoway Running and Athletics Club were in action at Grangemouth Stadium yesterday (Sunday July 29th) as part of the Islands Select team competing in Scottish Athletics finals.

Scotland Office Minister Lord Duncan held a major meeting today (Friday July 27th) about Hebridean fisheries prospects in the premises of Islander Shellfish on the Cromwell Street Quay.

The meeting was described as focussed, constructive and realistic by others present, including Duncan Macinnes, secretary of the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association; Ronnie Scott of Islander Shellfish; and Alasdair Macleod, vice-chair of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Policy and Resources Committee, all pictured above.

Swimmers, runners and cyclists showed tremendous endurance and speed in challenging conditions, as they took part in the Hebrides Triathlon (HebTri) on Saturday (July 28th).

The triathlon was open to individuals, duathletes and triathletes, with some completing the newly re-designed course as individuals and others working as a team.

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

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

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

[gallery ID=48]

There was fun galore at the Lochs Show 2018 in Laxay yesterday (Saturday July 28th) as the threatened change in the weather held off allowing all the fun possible for young and old alike with new and traditional events, stalls and displays.  

A party from Lewis and Harris were among up to 14,000 people who marched in Inverness on Saturday (July 28th) in support of a new Referendum on Scottish Independence.

[gallery ID=47]

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

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

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

A show of scarecrows in Tong in the first days of August will draw visitors, raise funds and keep the children of the village busy.

The idea’s been launched by the committee of Tong Village Hall, looking for ideas to raise much-needed funds to fix the roof of the village hall. Committee member Isobel Ann Macdonald spotted the trend of village scarecrow shows on the mainland and decided to give it a try in Tong.

The University of the Highlands and Islands - including Lews Castle College -  has received its highest-ever rating from satisfied students.

The National Student Survey 2018 results issued yesterday (Friday July 28th)  place the university fifth in overall satisfaction in Scotland, with an increase of six per cent  in overall satisfaction.

The university has performed above the Scottish sector in almost all measures and this high level of student satisfaction can be found across all areas of the partnership.

[gallery ID=46]

In its first year back at the Barvas and Brue community centre show ground, the Westside agricultural show was once more a well-attended event today (Friday July 27th) 

The show was opened by Agnes Rennie of Urras Oighreachd Gabhsainn, who hailed the effort of volunteers who had again come together to make the successful show happen.

A rare ‘blood moon’ and possible lightning flashes could be competing for the attention of Stornoway skywatchers tonight (Friday July 27th).

The long-expected blood moon – a total lunar eclipse during which a red shadow from the earth itself is cast over the full moon – will rise over the south-east horizon in Stornoway at 9.48pm, with 24 minutes of total eclipse left before the shadow of the earth moves slowly away.

The new international arts festival and Carnival for Harris is on next week, Wednesday 1st to Saturday 4th August, showcasing the best of local talent alongside visiting Scottish and International actors, singers, musicians and visual artists (The full Festival programme is below).

Stornoway-based Rural Nations have been able to secure Creative Europe funding to develop this new Arts Festival and Carnival as part of a collaborative project with five other international theatre companies including artists from Sweden, Latvia, France and Portugal.

The Festival presents a wide range of tastes in music and performance catering for local people and visitors, with the aim of presenting Harris as a creative and exciting place to live and to showcase our unique Gaelic culture alongside international performances from visiting international partners. The Creative Industries are a major part of island life and economy in Harris with many skilled artists, musicians and craft makers living on the islands.

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

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

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

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

A 26-year-old man has been arrested after a car was left burning in the Willowglen area of the Castle Grounds on Monday evening (July 23rd).

The same car, a Vauxhall Corsa, had earlier been involved in a collision on Matheson Road.

Police issued an appeal on Monday for two men seen running from the scene after the car was set alight.

Yesterday (Wednesday July 25th) the man was arrested and charged with a variety of road traffic offences, related to both the collision on Matheson Road and the abandoning and burning of the car. He’s to appear in court at a later date

The following is from the Facebook Page of Point FC  today (Saturday July 7th):

“It is with deep sadness that the club announce the passing of Donald “Tuff” MacDonald.

An island football referee has resigned and his colleagues are boycotting club matches in a row over an assault which threatens to overshadow the climax of the island football season.

Tomorrow’s (Friday July 27th) Eilean an Fhraoich cup final and some other matches have already been postponed.

The referee was assaulted by the 32-year-old man in Stornoway town centre in the early hours of Sunday July 15th.

An island football referee assaulted by a Lochs FC player has resigned and his colleagues are boycotting club matches, in a row which threatens to overshadow the climax of the island football season.

Tomorrow’s (Friday July 27th) Eilean an Fhraoich cup final and other matches have already been postponed and there’s no agreement between island footie supporters on what should happen next.

The referee was assaulted by the 32-year-old player in Stornoway town centre in the early hours of Sunday July 15th. The player was arrested, charged with assault and kept in custody over the weekend. He appeared in court the following day and was fined for the offence, which is no longer a police matter.

But the referee also raised the matter with the Lewis and Harris Football Association, who yesterday (Wednesday July 25th) issued a full account of their position. They expected action by the disciplinary committee of the Scottish Amateur Football Association (SAFA) and said they could not force a suspension of the player in question.

A chance to put Tiumpanhead on Scotland’s Whale Trail map is being offered on Saturday (July 28th) by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.

HWDT are developing a network of whale-watching and whale heritage sites across the west coast of Scotland and plan to include Tiumpan and its famed spotting opportunities on the trail.

The project’s been funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, with money from the Crown Estates marine assets.

There was sweet music in the Comhairle’s main chamber yesterday (Tuesday July 24th) as a group of young musicians from the Republic of Ireland entertained their hosts during a tour of the building.

The students are in Stornoway attending Fèis Eilean an Fhraoich, and were invited to visit the Comhairle as part of their off-duty activities. During the Fèis itself they’re participating in tuition, learning some Gaidhlig and teaching students some Gaeilge words in return.

Fèis Eilean an Fhraoich started on Monday (July 23rd) and runs until Friday at Stornoway Primary School, with children from pre-school to teens taking part in classes and sessions.

The picture shows the Irish students at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, with convenor Norman A Macdonald centre back.

Police in Stornoway are looking for a man thought to have carried out two thefts from Stornoway shops yesterday (Tuesday July 24th).

At 11am after-shave was taken from Boots in the town centre, and just before 2pm electrical goods were taken from the Co-op on Macaulay Road.

Police believe the same man was involved in both incidents.  They say they are following a positive line of enquiry, but have yet to trace the man

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

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

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan recently visited the Shiant Isles to see for himself the work that has been done to improve conditions for nesting seabirds.

The Shiant Isles are one of the most important breeding colonies for seabirds in Europe and play host to one of Britain’s largest puffin colonies.

The culture minister has led a chorus of praise for the record-breaking Hebridean Celtic Festival which ended at the weekend after its most successful year.

The 23rd HebCelt, headlined by Deacon Blue, The Fratellis, Eddi Reader, Roddy Woomble and Skipinnish, was held from 18-21 July in Stornoway and sold out on all four days.

Fiona Hylsop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “HebCelt is a marvellous example of how a well-organised event, supported by its community, can be an international success economically, culturally and socially.

A family spending their summer in Lewis have praised islanders for rallying round to help them out of a tight spot.

Emma Tilley, her husband John Officer and three young daughters are visiting from Glasgow, staying with family in Back for the summer.

Yesterday (Monday July 23rd) they planned a short trip to the beach to let the girls, aged two, five and six, burn off some energy before lunch.

Police in the Western Isles are appealing for information following a vehicle fire in the Castle Grounds in Stornoway.
The car - a silver/grey Vauxhall Corsa - was found on fire shortly after 6pm on Monday, July 23rd, in an area of the grounds close to Willowglen Road .
The fire was extinguished by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and nobody was injured.
Officers are treating the fire as suspicious and are seeking to identify two men seen leaving the area in the direction of Bennadrove Road.

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

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

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

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

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

[gallery ID=45]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air tickets to reach the mainland for the final two concerts by Runrig are almost completely sold out, despite extra flights laid on by Loganair for the weekend of August 17th and 18th.

Runrig are to play two farewell concerts at Stirling’s City Park on Friday August 17th and Saturday 18th, having added the Friday gig when tickets to the Saturday sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Western Isles fans plan to travel in force to the mainland for the Last Dance, billed as the final concert ever by the island favourites.

This year the Westside agricultural show, taking place on the 27th July will return to the Barvas and Brue Community Centre following a number of years at the Barvas Machair.

The show will be opened by Agnes Rennie of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn with cattle judging from Ruaraidh MacDougall and sheep judging by Thomas Muirhead.

As well as livestock judging the show will also feature vehicle displays, agricultural produce, arts and crafts, heavy events as well as various stalls and children’s activities.

A major support package for UK industry to power millions more homes and businesses over the next decade is also being announced today (Monday July 23rd)  by Energy & Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry.

Offshore wind and, for the first time, remote island wind providers will be able to bid for contracts to power up to four million homes from Cornwall to the Shetland Isles. These clean electricity auctions will be held in 2019 and every two years from then on, signalling support worth up to £557million for the industry.

Announcing the significant package on a visit to the Offshore Renewables Catapult in Newcastle, Energy & Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry will say: “The UK renewables sector is thriving, with more offshore wind capacity here than anywhere else in the world and 50% of electricity coming from low-carbon sources last year in what was our greenest year ever. 

An intensive road safety campaign around Lewis and Harris over the weekend of July 20th to 22nd left numerous drivers facing penalties.

The Road Policing Unit were on the islands having travelled over from their base at Dingwall and were on the lookout for a variety of offences.

An upbeat festival weekend in Stornoway showed the town and islands off at their best, with police reporting the town centre in a good humour and with very little trouble in the streets.

Just two incidents at the arena site itself needed emergency action.

At 6.30pm on Saturday (July 21st) police were called to the entrance of the arena where a 66-year-old man was causing a disturbance. He was arrested and taken into police custody, where he has remained since. He’s been charged with breach of the peace and issued with a fixed penalty, and is expected to be released soon.

[gallery ID=44]

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

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

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

Headlining acts for Hebridean Celtic Festival were caught up in ferry delays last night (Thursday July 19th), after a road accident closed the road south of Ullapool.

Passengers heading for Stornoway on yesterday afternoon’s 5.30pm sailing of the Loch Seaforth were brought to a halt after a fatal motorcycle accident. Police confirmed that a 50-year-old man died following the two-vehicle collision, on the A832 at Corrieshalloch Gorge, just south of Ullapool, yesterday at 2.30pm.

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

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

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

This year’s Hebridean Celtic Festival is set to become the most successful in its 23-year history after selling out all four nights of the event photographed by Colin Cameron, above.

Festival-goers have snapped up the few remaining tickets for the multi award-winning event, which started on Wednesday and closes on Saturday evening.

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

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

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

A new method for people with diabetes to measure their glucose levels is coming into use in the Western Isles.

Flash Glucose Monitoring FGM) is the newest method of glucose testing.  The Abbott FreeStyle Libre is currently the only flash glucose monitoring product available, and it is currently only approved in Europe

Libre became available for prescription on the Scottish Drug Tariff on 1st November 2017.

Western Isles Libraries in Stornoway have won a national competition for the best Golden Man Booker library display!

The Booker Prize Foundation  launched the Golden Man Booker Prize to mark their 50th anniversary. This special one-off award was tocrown the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public.

Libraries were asked to participate in the promotion and send in photographs of their displays.

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

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

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

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

An iconic artwork marking 100 years since the ed of the Great War may add a new date to its anniversary programme by ending its centenary tour in Stornoway.

Three London-based members of the planning committee organising the 14-18 Now Centenary Art Commissions were in Stornoway yesterday (Monday July 16th) studying possible sites for a river of red poppies, flowing from a landmark building.

HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan; Dr Vicki Ooi; Steve Taylor; festival site manager Iain Macphail; Oscar Fung  

The Hebridean Celtic Festival opens for the 23rd time tonight (Wednesday July 18th) and has already proven inspirational for some overseas visitors.

A delegation from Sha Lo Wan, a village of just 50 people in Lantau Island, Hong Kong, has travelled to Stornoway to learn from HebCelt ahead of hosting its first music, dance and drama festival in November.

Food retailer Iceland has come under fire after a national discount for emergency workers specifically excluded customers in the Hebrides.

The national chain, Iceland Foods, launched a UK-wide promotion on Twitter on Friday (July 13th) offering 10% off any shop for police, fire, NHS, coastguard and RNLI workers, saying: “Because you do so much for us… we want to do something for you.” But it was the small print which caught the attention of some, as the footnote read: “Offer available in the UK only, excluding the Hebrides.”

A 32-year-old man appeared in court yesterday morning (Monday July 16th) charged with assault. He’d been arrested in Stornoway town centre in the early hours of Sunday morning and kept in custody until his court appearance. He was released following the court appearance and has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

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

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

An incident of domestic violence in Stornoway on Sunday lunchtime (July 15th) led to a 55-year-old man being arrested and charged with assault with domestic aggravation.

The man appeared in court on Monday and has been remanded in custody, pending a future court appearance.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

A race between five rowing skiffs will be taking place tomorrow (Tuesday 17th July) in Stornoway Harbour starting at 5.30pm.

The race will set off from Cuddy Point heading up to the Starboard (green) buoy, spectators are encouraged to come down to watch and cheer the rowers along from either Cuddy Point or Esplanade Pier. There will also be a barbecue and refreshments at Cuddy Point.

The race is part of the 2018 Sail Stornoway Hebridean Maritime festival, listed below are further events planned for this week:

It has been announced this morning (Monday July 16th) that the a’Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland will be the site of the UK’s first spaceport, confirming rumours that proposed locations in the Western Isles had not been favoured.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil called the decision ‘hugely disappointing’, since it means that North Uist has missed out on selection as the site of the UK’s first spaceport. North Uist had been identified as a possible spaceport site due to the existing rocket range, with exercises in long-range missile firing seen as a good advert for the site’s potential.

The only rocket ever to reach space from UK soil was launched from the Uist rocket range in October 2015, as part of the NATO military exercise Joint Warrior. The rocket, which had been shipped to Uist from the US, reached space before being shot down by USS Ross, the US Navy’s guided missile destroyer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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