Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Bosky Barra?

Barra has some outstanding features such as the view towards South Uist captured by Father Paul Hackett or the statuary on Heaval overlooking Castlebay, but trees are not part of the environment. A spokesperson for the mobile phone operator, EE, thought otherwise, according to a report in the West Highland Free Press.

Scottish Islands Explorer - not dependent for paper on island trees
Digital Edition: could be hampered by high points

Monday, 30 May 2016

Escape to the Edge

The house may look relatively-small and the ferry somewhat capacious on these images of the Out Skerries, Shetland. It's actually the other way around. Take a look at what's on offer by way of accommodation at the Rocklea Crofthouse and then see what you would get for your money were you to consider buying it through Mouseprice. It's been on sale for over two years at under £100k and that includes eight bedrooms. The 'Under Offer' appears on the promotion so be prepared for being too late.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes to take readers the distance
Digital Edition: also at the bottom end for pricing

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Roll The Heb Way

Follow Mark Beaumont cycling The Hebridean Way through the camera of Kieran Duncan on the BBC website. The Butt of Lewis can look savage, but when you have ridden from Vatersay it will probably appear welcome in any weather.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also the way to go
Digital Edition: at a faster speed

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Something Special on Skye

It's a Bank Holiday Weekend and when better to engage in some speculating about property? Now here's a residence for fantasies of ownership. It has 3800 sq ft and 6.5 acres of land, is gated, has views and ...

... and is situated in a scenic part of Skye. Here is space, that feeling of living on a Highlands & Islands estate ...

... in a house that has been extensively renovated and which offers not only comfort and convenience for entertaining, but the provision of  six double bedrooms.

See more details on the Ballantynes website and consider the asking price of ... £650,000. It's by no means sky-high!

Scottish Islands Explorer - tell the agent where you first saw the property
Digital Edition: see more of Skye and beyond at speed

Friday, 27 May 2016

Mull 90

This view of Lochdon promotes Wild Cottage, which could be passed by teams of rowers circumnavigating the 90 miles of Mull. They are hoping for benign weather as part of their efforts to raise money for the re-surfacing of a community sports pitch at Dearvaig. See and hear more of the activity through the BBC website and for more aerial views of Mull go to the website of Robert Harding.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tends to drive, not fly or row, around Mull
Digital Edition: downloads 90 miles in a split second

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Bear Back on Bike

When Hercules the Bear made international headlines in 1985 by escaping, for three weeks, from his owners and handlers while on North Uist, one islander, on Wiay, teased persistent press reporters by claiming over the phone that the bear was passing his croft on a bike! Now over 30 years later, the creature and cycling come together again. Read in the West Highland Free Press about the charity event to be held on Saturday 13 August.

Scottish Islands Explorer - would like to be recalled after 30 years
Digital Edition: there was no internet in the time of this Hercules

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A Creative Conversion

Not an artist's impression, but images of creative workshop space in Innsbruck that could be achieved in a building vacated in Hellihole Road, Stromness (below). When the former library moved, a building became available and WASPS - Workshop & Artists Studio Provision Scotland - secured permission from Orkney Islands Council to convert it to 'Stromness Studios'. Completion is due in September and details are in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the result of creative work from a space
Digital Edition: a modern way of publishing

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Terns Return

Green for go; red to stop - particularly for the Little Tern of which 80 to 90 breeding pairs (5% of the British total) are to be found on the machair of the Western Isles. Read about this favoured habitat for these birds on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - many readers keep returning
Digital Edition: journeys or waiting for copies avoided

Monday, 23 May 2016

Reviving a Racing Vole

Here is a photograph of an Orkney racing vole, The Skua, built in the early 1930s for the novelist Eric Linklater. The craft will return to being on display again at the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre after conservation. The full story is in The Orcadian, although googling the words 'skua' and 'vole' will bring up birds and beasts rather than boats!

Scottish Islands Explorer - googling will hit the spot
Digital Edition: just click on here without need of a search engine

Sunday, 22 May 2016

'Tight-land Walking'

This image of walkers treading the tidal strip of land to Davaar - with Ailsa Craig in the background - was taken by William McClelland and features in the new gallery of the BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - prefers sailing to 'tight-land walking'
Digital Edition: invites you to take a look

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Kidnapped130 - Off!

The adventure has started. To commemorate the 130 years since the publication of Robert Louis Stevenson's book Kidnapped, a journey of 500 miles by sail and 260 miles on foot, started yesterday from South Queensferry. Follow the progress of the 18-day venture through Kidnapped130.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has outposts en route
Digital Edition: connections available now

Friday, 20 May 2016

The Future Is ... CalMac

The announcement was made yesterday that CalMac will retain the operation of ferry services in the Hebrides and Clyde for the next eight years. Read all about it in the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - sailed to Skye and Raasay on CalMac this week
Digital Edition: also delivers promptly

Thursday, 19 May 2016

I Stand Alone

Earlier this week, while on Skye, I purchased a framed photographic-print from the gallery of landscape photographer, Tim Wilcock. So this image, I Stand Alone, will soon be hanging on the wall over my desk and reminding me of Elgol, in particular, and of Skye, in general. Do go to his website and enjoy the visit.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  stands apart, but attracts attention
Digital Edition: a great way to purchase without paper

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

South Uist Captured

Shona Grant grew up on South Uist and returns there annually, particularly in the winter months. Some of her photographs are here to be enjoyed. Look how she has captured the grey shore- and seascape (above) and brought out the lustre of a shade. Lochskipport (below) is a place that is static with that sinister element of decay - both captured in the image.

Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to presenting Shona's work
Digital Edition: can be captured instantly

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Suisnish on Screen

It was last week that a photograph of Suisnish was featured on this blog. I am now on Skye, but with insufficient time to visit. Here, however, is a alternative - an evocative piece of film footage of Boreraig and Suisnish on YouTube. The abandoned places come to life.

Scottish Islands Explorer - helps resurrect memories
Digital Edition: has integral links to distant places

Monday, 16 May 2016

PS: Pleasure (on) Skye

The acclaimed PS Waverley will be coming over the sea to Skye in early June. That's 69 years to the month after its inaugural voyage and 70 years since its launch. Read about it in, and book tickets through, the West Highland Free Press.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a fraction of the pleasure steamer's age
Digital Edition: launched some three years ago

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Coll A Constable

Looking at you or watching out for a constable? The Crofting Commission has appointed a Constable to replace the Upper Coll Grazings Committee on the Isle of Lewis. The details are in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always on the look-out for commissions
Digital Edition: provided a 24-hour service

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Belfast Launch

Go to The Orcadian for news of yesterday's launching of the world's largest energy generating tidal turbine for Orkney developers.

Scottish Islands Explorer - powered by print
Digital Edition: generating copies regardless of tides

Friday, 13 May 2016

Estate Factors

This evocative image is of part of the cleared Suisnish Estate on Skye. It was part of the historical process featured in Professor Eric Richards' new book, The Highland Estate Factor in the Age Of The Clearances. The launch of this publication by The Islands Book Trust takes place next Friday at 14.00 at Lews Castle College and the way to purchase it now is right here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - launched here daily
Digital Edition: current and past issues moored and summoned with a click

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Go Forth

This weekend sees the opening of the new season on the Forth Ferry that links North Berwick with East Lothian and Anstruther in Fife. It's a 45-minute trip with fine views of the Bass Rock and an opportunity to visit the Scottish Seabird Centre. So from Saturday 14 May it's all go for the season with full details here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also offers destinations and views
Digital Edition: numerous copies can be downloaded in 45 minutes

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

What's In A Name?

The residence may now be a ruin, but the views are good, planning permission is in place, the asking price is low and the name is compelling. So it's little wonder that Crismo Cottage, Costa - on Mainland Orkney - is 'Under Offer'. Check out the details through The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always presents good views ...
Digital Edition: ... at a low price

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Blowing Hot and Cold

Yesterday, while Mercury was in transit across the sun and the temperatures were high throughout Britain - including at Camas Daraich (above) in the south of Skye - it was time to reflect on contrasts. Late last month a party of four hill-climbers had to be winched to safety from a ledge on nearby Bla Bheinn (below). They had misjudged the terrain, the temperatures, wind-speed and fading daylight. The West Highland Free Press covered the incident.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of delights and dangers
Digital Edition: there to be winched from the internet

Monday, 9 May 2016

Transit of Mercury

Today sees the transit of Mercury for seven-and-a-half hours. It is visible throughout the UK, but Orkney is well-placed for excellent sightings. Appropriately the account of the phenomenon in The Orcadian is highly-informative.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has an eight-week transition
Digital Edition: downloaded in some 7.5 seconds

Sunday, 8 May 2016

HMS Hampshire Survey

HMS Hampshire was sunk off Orkney in 1916 and its wreck will soon be surveyed in a joint project by teams from the University of the Highlands & Islands and Seatronics. Delve for more through the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - worth looking into
Digital Edition: easily brought to the surface by internet

Saturday, 7 May 2016

House Proud

Yesterday's blog featured the Sands of Sound, Shetland, through A Zoom With A View. Today's looks at a 'find' on the shore there - probably part of a Neolithic house. Discover more at Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - discovers new households for deliveries
Digital Edition: how things have moved on

Friday, 6 May 2016

A Zoom With A View

Here's a Friday feast of photographs. Go to the website of Anne Macdonald to enjoy her photographic blog, A Zoom With a View. She lives in Shetland, started in 2010 with a retirement hobby, which has become, in her words, 'an addiction'. Be hooked!

Scottish Islands Explorer - depends upon views from all angles
Digital Edition: captured electronically and immediately

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Gallery Again

This image of the Cuillins on Skye taken from the Isle of Raasay by Ann Gillies is one of the new series of readers' photographs that appear on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also features readers' contributions
Digital Edition: great views conveyed electronically

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Beauty on Burra

The Rose-breasted grosbeak is a bit of a beauty and one has turned up in a garden at Burra, Shetland. It breeds in the open woodlands of Canada and north-eastern USA; winters over in Central America, Venezuela and Peru; has been seen by birdwatchers in Scotland only five times; with this the first recorded visit to the Northern Isles. Go to Shetland News for more details and for a sight of the bird itself.

Scottish Islands Explorer - often to be found away from its usual habitats
Digital Edition: easily discovered anywhere

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

BA is Back

BA is back, starting today, with regular services on the Inverness -Heathrow route for the first time since 1997. It is understandable that there are passenger demands for Heathrow connections as it is one of only six airports in the world operating over 50 flights to long-haul destinations. Now it's quicker to get from afar to the Highlands & Islands with British Airways. Go to the BBC website for the full account.

Scottish Islands Explorer - bringing copies more quickly
Digital Edition: infinite internet involvement instantly

Monday, 2 May 2016

Coming to the Surface

For a Bank Holiday Monday 'find' go to the BBC website for an interesting document and compelling gallery of archaeological research into comparatively recent times. A hundred or so aircraft and maritime wrecks have been examined and recorded off the west coast and islands of Scotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - may well be examined even more closely in time
Digital Edition: comes to the surface immediately

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Highs and Lows

The new arrangements on CalMac's Mallaig - Armadale service have led to an increase of 1000 vehicles over a four-week period, although these high figures partly hide the number of cancellations caused by low tides. The West Highland Free Press covers the story.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of variations in demand
Digital Edition: would love to see another 1000 on board