Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Destination and Inspiration



The Gatliff Hostel on Berneray provides a place of destination on an island of inspiration. May I suggest that you make a cup of tea (at home or work, if you are not at the hostel), sit in front of this screen, click the button here and settle down for just under ten minutes to see, hear and experience something of this accessible and stimulating accommodation in its setting of an idyllic environment. The YouTube creation of Julian Paren will transport you from the building ...


... to the beach ... and beyond.


Scottish Islands Explorer - take the 'tube' and start your journey

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Protrusion, Explosion



The Scotsman has a full account of this mine that has just been dealt with by a Royal Navy bomb disposal unit in a controlled explosion on the island of Eigg. It was thought to have been a buoy and was used by children and animals as a plaything, until recent storms and sand movements revealed something sinister. The composition of Eigg itself, with its protruding volcanic core, makes the wartime mine appear to be a microcosm of the island's geological past.


Scottish Islands Explorer - elements can spark interest years later

Monday, 21 April 2014

No Trace of Ourmark


The Maryfield House Hotel, Bressay, Shetland, was run by David and Linda Woods for 26 years until last August. Then they leased the hotel to a Canadian couple,


Patrick and Morgan Blanch (above), on a three year arrangement, including an obligation to purchase. Local residents were soon aware of changes - for example, the hotel never opened at lunchtime.


Now Mr  & Mrs Blanch have disappeared - they were last seen two weeks ago, on Monday 7 April - leaving behind a trail of debt. Their company, Ourmark Ltd, was registered in East London, so far from the waters of Bressay. The details are to be found in a Shetland News item.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has been traced for over 100 issues

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Derek Cooper


The former BBC presenter, Derek Cooper, who founded The Food Programme, has died aged 88. This BBC item recalls his life, times and contains a clip of one of his programmes. An archive of his writing is be found in the Islands Book Trust Collection at the Ravenspoint Centre, Kershader, Isle of Lewis

Scottish Islands Explorer - a life recalled with gratitude

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Easter Exercise


Easter is late this year and so many have ventured out to enjoy Spring weather and stunning views. This is particularly true of Islay, featured here with two images from its Photoblog. Dogs have ground-level views and the camera has ways of showing sand-waves in Machair Bay.


Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to focus on a variety of angles

Friday, 18 April 2014

Nice Work ... Get It?



Recall the George Gershwin number, 'Nice Work If You Can Get It'? Well, there are a hundred permanent jobs coming onto the employment market, through BP, at their Sullum Voe Terminal, Shetland. The upside is that they will be on the offshore pattern of two weeks on / three weeks off; a downside could be that they demand the right, specific skills. More information is available through an item in Shetland News. Gershwin repeated the line - 'And you can get it - if you try' - four times. Revive memories with Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra in performance.

Scottish Islands Explorer - Working to promote islands

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Tongue Twisters


The Abhainn Dearg (Red River) Distillery, at Carnish, Uig, Isle of Lewis, is the most westerly distillery in Scotland. Its owner and founder, Marko Tayburn (below), looks forward to an event - from 26 - 31 May - to celebrate Homecoming Scotland 2014. An item in the Stornoway Gazette features the local MSP, Dr Alasdair Allan, who is the the Scottish Government's Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages. That's not a job title to be pronounce faultlessly after a dram of malt whisky. The tongue twister - 'The Leith police dismisseth us' - is, however, marginally more difficult.


Scottish Islands Explorer - easy on the eye

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Lo Lo to Ro Ro


The conveying of cars to and from CalMac ferries was - until 50 years ago - always undertaken by the Lo Lo method of Lift On; Lift Off. Then on Wednesday 15 April 1964 the first of the Ro Ro - Roll On; Roll Off - services was introduced on the triangular route linking Uig - Tarbert - Lochmaddy. The details are in this Stornoway Gazette item and the image below is taken from an early 1980s postcard of Tarbert, Harris, by which time the Ro Ro practice was widespread through the company's routes.


Scottish Islands Explorer - changed from three to multiple colours in 2002

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

More To Come


The week started well for Shetland, in general, and Sumburgh Airport, in particular, with the maiden flight of Loganair's 50-seater Saab2000 on services to and from the mainland. The full details are at Shetland News, but, suffice to say, the increased capacity of 40% means that more passengers will be flying the routes for both business and pleasure.


Scottish Islands Explorer - always keen to increase those on board

Monday, 14 April 2014

Speak Up; Talk On


There are enclaves of longevity throughout the world where people attain remarkably high ages. Among the factors to be found in them are living close to the sea, having a diet of fish and residing in an area with a strong sense of community. Now research is being undertaken into the effect of being bi-lingual. Apparently it keeps the memory working and resists the onset of such conditions as dementia. See the Stornoway Gazette item on a prospective study of some Lewis residents.

Scottish Islands Explorer - remains young in years