Tuesday, 31 July 2012
This image is of the interior of the Summer Isles, off the west coast and beyond Ullapool. The largest of the isles, Tanera Mor, is inhabited and Summer Isles Enterprises offers an attractive range of both accommodation and activities. Here there are no roads and, as explained on the home-page, you leave both cars and cares on the mainland.
Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to get along without excessive car use
Monday, 30 July 2012
Just being on top of Raasay would give most of us satisfaction, but those seasoned mountaineers who savour the routes to the summit look for special excitement. Find out how the Lochaber-based professional climber, Dave MacLeod, ascends.
Scottish Islands Explorer - always trying to climb circulation heights
Sunday, 29 July 2012
Scottish Islands Explorer - takes readers places
Saturday, 28 July 2012
The choreographed displays at the London Olympics may have a marine equivalent in the off-shore waters this weekend when ordinary individuals are asked to report on the extraordinary activities of dolphins and whales. These bottlenose dophins have been pictured close to Cromarty and the Black Isle and, if they appear between now and tomorrow evening, details should be sent to Sea Watch Foundation
Scottish Islands Explorer - regular reporting from the nation's off-shore waters
Friday, 27 July 2012
Two four-letter words that do not appear to mix readily are 'Jura' and 'Golf'. There is a suggestion that plans are afoot to build a golf course on the island. The walkers above could be heading for the 12th ... or whatever? Any views?
Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to keep ahead of the game
Thursday, 26 July 2012
You can from this image see why peace campaigners chose the beach at Valtos on Lewis to promote their cause during the build-up to the Olympic Games. The beauty of the place would probably appeal to most humans from most nations. Alas, the weather conditions that prevailed during part of the event were neither benign nor peaceful.
Scottish Islands Explorer - promotes peaceful places
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
A home of one's own, in its own grounds, with views, the safety of sheep grazing, a rainbow ... and in Shetland. Is this a recipe for happiness? Some of the findings of the 2001 Census suggest these could be factors.
Scottish Islands Explorer - happily put together
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
I first came across the photographic work of James Smith soon after I started visiting the Hebrides over 25 years ago. The colours that he captures are amazing - and the time he waits for them to appear is incredible. It's all about the craft of the consummate professional.
Scottish Islands Explorer - trying to seize the moment
Monday, 23 July 2012
There's a face in these clouds over Shetland and plenty of photographs to muse over through the Muckle Shetland Blog. It makes an illuminating way to start the week ahead.
Scottish Islands Explorer - looking at ordinary things in extraordinary ways
Sunday, 22 July 2012
Yesterday it was the turn of the puffin to be featured on-line; today the basking shark has its turn. The movements of basking sharks are being studied closely now that eight of them have been tagged. Their whereabouts are close to Coll, Tiree and Hyskeir and details are to be found through a site promoted by Scottish Natural Heritage and the University of Exeter. This promises to be an on-going study worth following.
Scottish Islands Explorer - ears to the ground; eye on research
Saturday, 21 July 2012
The 'puffincam' operated by Visit.Shetland.Org has led to awareness and anxieties expressed by viewers from as distant countries as Chile, the USA and Australia. Sumburgh Head Nature Reserve is relatively easy to visit, but never has it been focused on by so many from so far.
Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of new techniques and trends
Friday, 20 July 2012
Scottish Islands Explorer magazine is designed on Jura and here are some stunning images of the island through the lens of Niall Colthart. It's a place where the design of the landscape and the patterns of sky leave the imagination to grasp elevation, angle and dimension - all captured here.
Scottish Islands Explorer - the product of hours of work, not of countless years
Thursday, 19 July 2012
There are many reasons why walking in Unst, Shetland, is so attractive. There are numerous vistas, more Viking sites than in any comparable area of Europe, 420 million years of geological evolution, 60 miles of coastline, 10 beaches and 19 hours of daylight per day at around Midsummer. Go to Walkers are Welcome and see for yourself why some of the 650 residents of the island have chosen to live there. Look at Skaw Beach below and up to Saxa Vord (above) for here are two locations with pulling power.
Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to harness the pulling power of islands
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
The BBC's Island Parish series on Barra, Eriskay and South Uist attracted large audiences. One of the draws was the personality of the late Father Calum MacLellan, the Eriskay priest who worked well beyond customary retirement years. He has recently died and his obituary is a reminder of a man who recalls the excitement involving the SS Politician which sank off his island and the understandable addiction of people to the television programme which featured him.
Scottish Islands Explorer - personalities assist communities
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
This is the now-defunct slipway at Suisnish in Raasay, off Skye. It was originally built for the iron ore works and the village that serviced them, Inverarish. Celebrations for the centenary of the settlement have taken place and are reported on the BBC website.
Scottish Islands Explorer - will celebrate its centenary in 2100.
Monday, 16 July 2012
Dunnet Head is the most northerly point on the Scottish mainland. It juts out further towards the Arctic than John O'Groats and was the scene of recent activity for a correspondent of the local newspaper. It's worth following Ralph and his Out and About column for he gets to some obscure places and reports back with vigour and insights.
Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to be vigorous and enjoys insights
Sunday, 15 July 2012
People go to islands for many reasons, including the search for wildlife. Those who went to Stroma yesterday and retuned on the final boat-crossing had value for their fare. A pod of orcas or killer whales appeared in their search for food, probably seals. Here is the 'killer app' for prospective sightseers - caught on camera.
Scottish Islands Explorer - always on the look-out for opportunities
Saturday, 14 July 2012
The Islands Book Trust promoted a trip to Stroma that was organised by Caithness Horizons. The Boy James (above) made three round-trips to the now deserted island close to Gills Bay and much observing was completed. The more intrepid made their way to the Gloup - a collapsed sea-cave which provides a glimpse of the Pentland Firth from a position well inland.
Scottish Islands Explorer - Represented on board and on shore
Friday, 13 July 2012
There was a time in Orkney when warriors met in head-to-head battles. Now it's retail-to-retail clashes which, in Kirkwall, take place in Pickaquoy Road. The otter sign (above) is there to alert motorists and pedestrians passing between Tesco and the Co-operative Supermarkets, while in the other direction there is apparently no animal movement between Tesco and Lidl. Customers must benefit with this competitive
set-up until they want to leave in their cars. Then there is congestion.
Thursday, 12 July 2012
Orkney has been settled for many centuries and is something of a paradise for archaeologists. However, the claim of Pentland Ferries is to convey people and vehicles to and from the Orkney Mainland and the Scottish Mainland by a means of transport fit for the 21st Century. The Pentalina, a high-speed catamaran, cuts a distinctive shape on its route from St Margaret's Hope, South Ronaldsay, to Gills Bay, Caithness.
Scottish Islands Explorer - always after distinctive ways
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Places that appeal soon lead to speculating about properties. Here is one close to Tresta Beach, Fetlar. It's the West Manse and illustrates how ministers of religion used to be housed in buildings that resembled mansions.
Scottish Islands Explorer - has a home / office and a back-office
Tuesday, 10 July 2012
Monday, 9 July 2012
There was a paradox in Lerwick yesterday. Most of the streets were empty during the Wimbledon Men's Final, but the very centre was packed with ... Viking warriors. A film crew was there to re-create the Up Helly Aa event that usually takes place on the last Tuesday of January. The Norsemen and their children looked splendid; the town band played on; the crowd extras were animated. The only problem was the weather - for it was, according to a local police officer, more wintry than is customary in January!
Scottish Islands Explorer - always on sale at Conochies in Commercial Street
Sunday, 8 July 2012
The ferry service operated to Papa Stour by the Snolda (above) is remarkable. I was greeted by name, having booked in advance. When I arrived, I was able to greet Jane Puckey, the island's Community Councillor, by name for she has contributed to Scottish Islands Explorer. We then chatted at length about this fascinating place and her blog will now become a source of much interest to me. As I was at the waiting room for the Saturday evening boat which came out empty from West Burrafirth to collect me, the only passenger, something rather errie happened. I received an email message on my phone from a current contributor suggesting a prospective topic about a recorded dispute on Papa Stour in the year 1299. Time and distance were elimated. The road on the island will be travelled again.
Scottish Islands Explorer - always tring to connect
Saturday, 7 July 2012
I feel fired up for I hope to be travelling to Papa Stour in Shetland at around 9.00. The population has fallen to below single figures and, perhaps, all could be accommodated in the island's fire station, the image here belonging to Charles Tait.
Scottish Islands Explorer - ready to give the place cover
Friday, 6 July 2012
The Shetland Amenity Trust building was once an ice-making factory and store. The organisation's Shetland Nature Festival was due to begin tomorrow with the Noss Open Day, but this event has been cancelled owing to a poor weather forecast. However, some 35 events are due to take place between Sunday 8 and Sunday 15 July.
Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to covering the events
Thursday, 5 July 2012
To the west of Fort William is the Ardnamurchan Peninsula which, although an integral part of the Mainland, feels like an island. Its name derives from the Gaelic A'Mhorbhairn - meaning Sea Gap. Reaching islands can involve convoluted journeys and so, for once, including this part for a holiday could be something of a sea-gap year.
Scottish Islands Explorer - getting away with it
Wednesday, 4 July 2012
The combination of retail requirements and on-line opportunities have meant that some residents of Barra are doing their grocery shopping at ASDA in ... Glasgow. The story is delivered here and the image above is of a Barratlantic lorry boarding a ferry. It could be taking island produce south or bringing back supplies.
Scottish Islands Explorer - bringing home the goods
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Monday, 2 July 2012
I set off for Shetland on Wednesday and have been looking at sites about the group of islands. A blog that interested me concerns Extreme Wave Theory in that area. It is to be hoped that, as I shall be travelling by sea, the concepts presented by Janette Kerr (below) will be theoretical rather than experienced.
Scottish Islands Explorer - covering land exposed to countless waves
Sunday, 1 July 2012
Announcing the EarthLines Essay Prize, an exciting new annual essay prize for writing about nature, place & the environment from EarthLines magazine. 2500-5000 words. Writers of any nationality may enter. The prize will be £500 and the judges are writer Sara Maitland, John Fanshawe (New Networks for Nature), James Canton (University of Essex) and Sharon Blackie (EarthLines editor). Entries for the 2013 prize from 1 July to 30 November 2012, online only. For more information please view here.
Scottish Islands Explorer - no prizes for guessing its contents