Sunday, 26 May 2013
The authorities at the University of the Highlands and Islands have devised a course about the islands in their vicinity and some beyond. Take a look at the perspectives of this Postgraduate Course and see what you think. Where would you say the islands above are situated?
Scottish Islands Explorer - a course of words and images every eight weeks
Saturday, 25 May 2013
The world's largest wave farm is lined up to be located off Lewis. Do take a look at the ways in which off-shore power could be harnessed. It's featured on the BBC website and is an indication of what's to come. Financial centres in London, call centres in Leeds, media centres in Manchester and, to be set up, resource centres in Stornoway?
Scottish Islands Explorer - its powers will only be intellectual
Friday, 24 May 2013
There's getting away from it all and extreme getting away from it all. The latter certainly applies here with the track leading down to Loch Hamnavay from the remains of the settlement at Ardveg, to the south of Uig, Isle of Lewis. An account of his ventures here in 2001 is outlined in Marc Calhoun's Blog which makes fascinating reading about places visited by few people. More people are likely to be exploring the vicinity on Saturday 29 June when The Islands Book Trust is organising an outing to, as well as a book launch connected with, the area.
Scottish Islands Explorer - will be represented at Ardveg, weather permitting
Thursday, 23 May 2013
Last weekend saw some unusual action on Papa Westray. The Great Auk flew in. This was quite remarkable for the 33" high bird is flightless and the last one in Britain was shot exactly 200 years ago on ... Papa Westray.
The story appears on the Orkney News Today website and makes good reading - for it includes references to the world's shortest scheduled air-service, a stuffed passenger sitting with the pilot, a London newspaper reporter being taken in and much fun experienced. The serious side is that a complete species - the first to be given the then new term of 'penguin' - was eliminated. Here on Papa Westray (below) in 1813 and finally the last known Great Auk on Earth was shot in 1844, off an Icelandic island.
Scottish Islands Explorer - hopes never to become extinct
Wednesday, 22 May 2013
It's the last day for sales of the final issue of the Stornoway Gazette as a broadsheet. Tomorrow will see it produced in a smaller size. Will it be termed a 'tabloid' - associated with the more sensational elements of the British press - or will it be a 'compact' - linked with the so-called 'quality-newspapers'? Let's make judgements when it's in our hands and endeavouring to feed our minds.
Scottish Islands Explorer - A4 and staying that way
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Large ships in small cities are something of a dilemma for tour operators. The Caribbean Princess, the largest cruise-ship ever to dock at the Hatson Pier in Kirkwall, arrived last Friday. So on that day the population was boosted by 3200 passengers and 1000 crew. That's exactly 50% of the number of residents.
2000 of the passengers, and some crew members, thronged the streets. The remaining 1200 passengers were taken in 25 buses to see the sights of Orkney Mainland. Did the urban and rural areas as well as the roads have an authentic feel, the sort described in the brochures? The Orcadian reports on the event.
The irony is that when everyone returned to the ship they were able to experience the sights of its interior - apparently on the same scale as St Magnus Cathedral! This was the first of five visits in 2013 by the cruise-ship with considerable capacity.
Scottish Islands Explorer - fills a more limited space
Monday, 20 May 2013
Some 15 participants joined the Islands Book Trust walk on Saturday from Urgha on the Tarbert - Scalpay road over the track towards Rhenigidale and then turned right at the elegantly-carved stone sign above.
It is quite a hike especially with low cloud and a gusty north-easterly coming head-on from whatever direction the group was facing! At least it was dry. Were the party to have been helicoptered in, then above is what they would have seen.
As it happened this is one of the views of the settlement they had. Simon Fraser was there to greet and give them a tour of his restored buildings and of the former village. It included the long-house from, perhaps, Norse times and of the side-school, established for the legal requirements for education implemented in the late 19th Century.
Scottish Islands Explorer - worth walking to explore as well
Sunday, 19 May 2013
Research into the rowan tree, surprisingly prolific in high altitudes and latitudes, led to these photographs coming into view. The berries above were photographed by Mike Briggs and his gallery displays some compelling views of the area around his home - Bunabhainneadar in North Harris. The one below is of the ever-photogenic Islay.
Scottish Islands Explorer - bears fruit bi-monthly
Saturday, 18 May 2013
The proposals to harness the tides in the straits between Skye and the mainland have their detractors and objectors. Read about them on the BBC Website item. The Glenelg ferry has, of course, performed the function of a 'propelled bridge' at Kylerhea since there was a demand from vehicle owners for a short, fast crossing. The vessel goes admirably backwards and forwards - suitable indeed for the longest place-name palindrome in Britain.
Scottish Islands Explorer - keen to get across the variety of interesting places
Friday, 17 May 2013
Archaeologists in Orkney are, as ever, house-hunting. They are currently uncovering a Neolithic (New Stone Age) settlement within the vicinity of Kirkwall and the house that is being exposed appears to be in good, appropriate shape, although constructed in the very distant past. Details are at The Orcadian and further information of a technical nature is linked. The image above is of the burial mound from the same era at Maeshowe.
Scottish Islands Explorer - often features unearthed relics