Wednesday, 12 March 2014
The Cockney Alphabet begins A for 'Orses (Hay for Horses), B for Mutton (Beef or Mutton) and C for Miles (See for Miles). The last could now almost be C weed for Camels (Seaweed for Camels) with the news that the recently-established seaweed-processing company, Uist Asco Ltd, will be transporting dried algae to Dubai to assist camels in being sleeker and faster when racing. The story appears, appropriately, in the Scottish Daily Express. From a former quarry in North Uist comes a very different product based upon a prolific plant.
Scottish Islands Explorer - C for Yourself!
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
This aerial view of Samphrey, a 163-acre island between Mainland Shetland and Yell, shows the shallow Bunglan promontory to the left. This is the site of the small graveyard as well as the six houses that were occupied in 1841, but which had disappeared, together with their residents, within 40 years. The relatively few headstones testify to the tradition that 'Samphrey men are always taken by the sea'. Six, who were spared, returned in 1832 after their boat, caught in a violent storm, was taken by the sea across to Norway. They were welcomed home to the island that is named after 'Sandfridr' - a Viking woman.
Scottish Islands Explorer - taken by air, land and sea
Monday, 10 March 2014
'Croft Garden Cottage stands four square on the western edge of Ardvachar Point (South Uist) overlooking the north-west Atlantic.' Click on the link to find out more about the facilities offered and the features described. It one sense it's a world apart and in another ... home-from-home.
Scottish Islands Explorer - aims to be a resilient and resourceful
Sunday, 9 March 2014
Hildasay to the west of the southern part of Shetland mainland is only 267 acres in extent, but has plenty to see. Its name derives from the Norse 'battle island' when it was allegedly used for single combats by Vikings who did not wish to have the possible interference by spectators. The high-quality stone was quarried and exported, some apparently to be included in the construction of some public buildings in Australia. A railway, its route still evident, linked the quarry (below)
with the jetty (below) and was worked, together with a herring curing station, until the end of the 19th Century. The population, in fact, declined rapidly from 30 residents, in five houses, in 1891 to none by 1901. However, nearby inhabitants continued to come to cut the sought-after peat and to enjoy the social occasions that these outings provided.
Features of the west side include the West Loch, with its one isle, and the cliffs giving protection from the prevailing winds.
Saturday, 8 March 2014
You can see why these impressions of stormy weather - above by Cody Duncan at the Butt of Lewis and below by James Smith at Mealboist - are awesome and how reports in the Stornoway Gazette and The Orcadian indicate the impact that both weather and its forecasts can have on island life.
Scottish Islands Explorer - viewed from stable and serene pages
Friday, 7 March 2014
Above is Vementry, Shetland's largest uninhabited island. The last time it was recorded as having permanent residents was in 1841 when two people lived there. Access to it is from Vementry House (below) situated on Mainland to the north of Aith. The description of its accommodation is compelling.
Things to see on the island include the First World War guns at Swarbacks Head and the finest of chambered cairns, to be found at Muckle Ward. It is not visited frequently and has no entrance - probably having been sealed after its final burial.
Scottish Islands Explorer - worth seeing, too
Thursday, 6 March 2014
There's time for reflection as well as preparation on the Isle of Harris. A new distillery is being created; a single malt whisky, The Hearach, is to be its ultimate brand; gin, with a far quicker method of production, will be the first liquor to appear; 20 jobs are to be advertised. Read more in the Stornoway Gazette.
Scottish Islands Explorer - planning equally far ahead
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
The work of Donald Macdonald is being exhibited at Panter & Hall Fine Art 11 - 12 Pall Mall, London, from today until 21 March. Donald was born and raised in Stornoway and now works from a studio in South Dell, close to the Port of Ness (below). His Eoropie Wave (above) was inspired from just along the coast. Bring his work to life on your screen by accessing the e-catalogue of his Exhibition, Paper People.
Scottish Islands Explorer - attempts to be a paper of people and places
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
The most westerly area of Barra experienced characteristic blustery conditions for the opening of the 900 kw wind turbine in Western Europe last Friday. The Stornoway Gazette has an item and a video of the occasion when the retired local priest, the Revd Canon Angus MacQueen, unveiled a plaque. The account on the web describes him as 'Cannon' - a typo suitable for a powerful player in community matters, since he started his ministry on the island in 1952.
Scottish Islands Explorer - harnesses natural forces
Monday, 3 March 2014
A 40' Birlinn, similar to the replica (above), was wrecked on Baleshare Beach (below) some 400 years ago. Funding has been found to locate and investigate the buried craft, signs of which have been exposed by recent storms. Details may be uncovered in the Stornoway Gazette.
Scottish Islands Explorer - reveals more than it conceals