Wednesday, 27 May 2015

New Lease of Life?

Turn to The Scotsman for an item on a proposed distillery to be situated in the derelict Victorian hotel, Borodale House, Raasay. The plans are to create 11 jobs - that will be almost 10% of the current resident population of 120 - on this island of 24 square miles situated off Skye. Accommodation and a visitors' centre will also be provided, if planning permission is given.

Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to featuring this facility

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


It's worth returning to the Aird Bheag Estate, Isle of Lewis. Above is an interior shot of one bedroom in the house while below is the expanse of some of the 2754 acres. However do go back to the Knight Frank website (via yesterday's page) or on today's YouTube view from a helicopter - going south to Scarp and back with Loch Resort to the east. Even more compelling is to stay on, after the nine-minute ride, for the next feature where suburbs, towns and transport links in and beyond London are featured. The company could be marketing different planets!

Scottish Islands Explorer - makes light of arduous journeys

Monday, 25 May 2015

Two Views of An Estate

The Aird Bheag Estate to the west of Uig, Lewis, has come onto the market with 2,754 acres and an asking price in excess of £375k. The full details and a fine gallery of images can be seen by clicking onto the website of Knight Frank. They indicate that access is by boat or helicopter. If I recall from a visit on foot to the house featured above, the route was trackless. However, Marc Calhoun writes clearly about and illustrates his trek to the settlement on Loch Hamnavay (below), presenting some memorable features of a place that is certainly 'at the back of beyond'.

Scottish Islands Explorer - will cover anywhere within the hinterland

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Three Hours ... or Minutes

The Old Man of Hoy is not quite as old as it looks and until relatively recently was part of an arch. The weather had a role in reducing it to one-legged status. The RSPB advises three hours for the journey while we have a special trip of three minutes (plus some 23 seconds) via aerial views taken by Jason Baxter and available through The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - keeping up on, if not over, islands

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Back in the Day

Here the pupils at Loch Croistean School, Uig, in 1959.  Their identities will be revealed in the June issue of Back in the Day, published by the Stornoway Gazette. Their school was built in about 1875 and continued for just over a hundred years.

Following 30 years of disuse it was purchased and converted into a coffee shop and tea room by Marianne Campbell. The story of her acquisition of the property appeared in The Sunday Times.

Scottish Islands Explorer - every building (and issue) tells a story

Friday, 22 May 2015

Smooth Surface?

The former ferry crossing to Eriskay from South Uist could occasionally be 'bumpy' - now the connecting causeway has as smooth a surface as possible. That 'smooth surface' does not extend to the island's football pitch, as illustrated on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has smooth surfaces of high paper quality

Thursday, 21 May 2015

See Swona

The grass looks lush on Swona, in the Orkney group. It was inhabited from about 500BC until 1974 when its last residents moved away. They left a herd of beef cattle which have survived and become feral. About 17 creatures are to be found on the 227 acre island with a population in the mid 19th Century of over 50. Take a look around through a YouTube presentation.

Scottish Islands Explorer - monitors changes; records the passing of lifestyles

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Long Life

A quarter-acre piece of land, with planning permission, is yours for £27k through the Hebridean Estate Agency. It's at Urgha, on the road from Tarbert, Harris, to Scalpay. The Inverness Courier carried an interesting piece about a 112-year-old man who led an active life - born near Uig, Lewis, in 1734 and dying in Urgha. Once he had settled there, he never ventured far.

Scottish Islands Explorer - content to cover the islands

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Flagging the Difference

Last Sunday was ... Norwegian Constitution Day and celebrations took place throughout the world from Seattle (above) to Shetland (below). The formal independence of Norway from Sweden did not occur until 1905, but the concept of a nation goes back until the first millennium. Followers of Scottish Islands Explorer may be interested that one of its main stockists is Conochies, in Commercial Street, Lerwick, where the parade took place.

Scottish Islands Explorer - sold in shops throughout the UK

Monday, 18 May 2015

Basic Distinctions

The use of the word 'skydiving' on this site has been corrected. It should refer to jumping from an aircraft, not from, for example, the sea-cliffs of Foula or, as here, from the sea-stack of the Old Man of Hoy. These activities are 'base-jumps' and BASE refers to descending from a fixed point such as a Building - Antenna - Span - Earth.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes distinctions about distinctive pleasures