Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Salt in Sainsbury's

Hebridean Sea Salt comes from the banks of Loch Erisort and will soon be available in all 360 Sainsbury stores nationwide. Natalie Crayton has taken the product from zero to hero and from the shores in the South Lochs area of Lewis to our kitchens and tables. The story is in The Times.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has visited the production unit
Digital Edition: comes as fast as a shake of salt

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

From 'New' to 'Full'

Bluemull Sound separates Yell, Unst and Fetlar. This part of Shetland, which looks so quiet and unassuming (above) has just become the site of a revolution. Its tidal turbines have recently been switched on to deliver electricity to the national grid.

So a 'new era' has started - for this is the first turbine project of its sort to create current on a commercial scale. An aim is to make Scotland a country producing 'full renewable power' and the two 100kw turbines here are part of the national scheme involving hydro-, wind- and tidal-forces. Read the report from the BBC.

Scottish Islands Explorer - powers enthusiasms every two months
Digital Edition: available at the click of a button

Monday, 29 August 2016

Days Out Extended

CalMac is extending its Days Out trips owing to popular demand. See what's on offer by clicking here or for a a report on the services available go to the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - items and images always on offer
Digital Edition: for one issue or for a year at a time

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Feminine Presence

The Stornoway Gazette item on the recent appointment of a Church of Scotland minister to two parishes in the Outer Hebrides indicates how times are changing. Cuithir Church, Barra, (above) and Howmore, South Uist (below) serve Protestant congregations in Catholic heartlands.

The Revd Lindsay Schulter succeeds, after a time caused by vacancies, the Revd Eleanor Muir on Barra and the Revd Jacqueline Petrie on South Uist. So the 21st Century has seen female domination in these posts. Male clergy in the Western Isles have long been the norm - with the Roman Catholic and the Free Church of Scotland traditions.

For those interested in church architecture - the central communion table at Howmore is probably the longest in Scotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some island-names have gender associations
Digital Edition: 'speed-dating' for readers in a manner of speaking

Saturday, 27 August 2016

From Calf to Pod

The Calf of Linga, to the south of West Linga, is a drying island in Symbister Harbour, Whalsay. Activities in this part of Shetland were customarily quiet until Wednesday morning, when a pod of two killer whales and three smaller cubs appeared. Ivan Reid was close and captured some fine, and rather frightening, photographs. See what he saw on Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - photographs always at hand
Digital Edition: see a pod on your pad

Friday, 26 August 2016

Dougie MacLean

Here's a man who has a home on the Isle of Lewis, writes songs about the Scottish islands and was originally famed for his composition, Caledonia. It's Dougie MacLean and his 12th Perthshire Amber Festival will be taking place in November. Tickets have just been released and full details are available here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - now in its 17th year
Digital Edition: connected as fast as his ticket sales

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Nurse Raasay

Islands may attract visitors, but their communities do not always find it easy to engage professional help. Muck has troubles finding a teacher; Raasay a nurse. Do consider the Facebook appeal for the latter, with its SOS focus, and if you know of anyone both interested and suitable, get in touch with the authorities. There are regular, dailyCalMac service from Sconser, on Skye, and well-established facilities on the island.

Scottish Islands Explorer - attracts many
Digital Edition: with speed added

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Centre on St Kilda

The Press and Journal has an article on the St Kilda Centre that could be finished at Uig, Lewis, by 2020. It anticipates some of the interest in what will be the 90th Anniversary of the Evacuation of the island's residents. The response of Iain Thornber on the context of the Centre is well worth considering.

Scottish Islands Explorer - read, then visit
Digital Edition: acquire the magazine with alacrity

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Spiggie Hotel

This Autumn may well see the closure of the Spiggie Hotel in Shetland's South Mainland. Keith Massey, who has been the owner of the establishment since 2007, has been unable to find a buyer and has announced his intention to retire. The details are in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - is interest sparked?
Digital Edition: find out more through the internet

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Rhenigidale Road

Here's Kenny MacKay in a typical welcoming way at his village, Rhenigidale, in North Harris. He was born in 1935 and has devoted much of his life to bringing innovations to a settlement that did not have a maintained, metalled road until the late 1980s. In fact, it was linked only by footpaths and sea-routes; had one wireless-based telephone; a school with one pupil; and a Gatliff Hostel to encourage visitors to make the trek. He has now written a book about his community's fight for survival over past centuries and its flourishing in the 21st Century. Read about it in the West Highland Free Press account by Fiona Rintoul.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a full-page feature on the book in the current issue
Digital Edition: available in Rhenigidale thanks to the broadband connection

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Long Reach

It was a long reach to take the first step on the route from North Tolsta to the Butt of Lewis, but the track never became a road. The Bridge to Nowhere is a monument to the abandoned scheme of Lord Leverhulme. The long beach at Tolsta is obviously attractive, but attracts relatively few visitors owing to its being relatively remote and on a dead end. However, North Tolsta is the first place in Scotland to trial a new hi-tech carrier of broadband - Long Reach VDSL - to bring live, fast connections to some 20 homes. Read more through the BBC.

Scottish Islands Explorer - innovations evident from Buxton Press
Digital Edition: employs hi-tech methods

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Linga for Five Minutes

It's time for a little weekend speculating and lingering for five minutes (well, actually for six-and-a-half) on and over Linga, a 64-acre island that's some 500 yards from Walls, Shetland. Do view what, the solicitor and agent, Neil Risk, is offering and take the impressive YouTube tour. There's a lot to be done, but the project has been planned with a pier, pump and property. We are talking in terms of £250k ... for the initial outlay.

Scottish Islands Explorer - many more to mull over
Digital Edition: saves time acquiring the magazine

Friday, 19 August 2016

Prehistoric Trip

Any crossing of the Pentland Firth has its moments, but when the craft is made of willow and cow-hide in order to replicate prehistoric vessels then, at least, modern life-jackets are a requirement. Read The Orcadian item and watch for the television programmes on the topic.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the new issue was launched yesterday
Digital Edition: unavailable historically; readily supplied today

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Out Today

Here are the front and back covers of the latest edition of Scottish Islands Explorer - September / October 2016 - which is in UK shops from today. Go to the digital edition (the link is below) and you can take a look at the first few pages of the publication. A synopsis of the contents is available from the website below.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always worth looking
Digital Edition: do download

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Colours Captured

The derelict school at Lochportain, North Uist, may no longer have the activity of children, but photographer, Mairead Maclennan, has captured the colours that surround and penetrate it. Her image has been selected as runner-up in the Jolomo Colours of Scotland Photography Competition. The Stornoway Gazette carries the story behind the scene.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to capture the luminous
Digital Edition: the latest issue should be ready later today

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Sheepdyke Progress

Parts of the North Ronaldsay Sheepdyke have deteriorated, but during the recent Sheep Festival some 200 volunteers spent a fortnight completing 200 paces of the structure. Read about and see something of their achievement here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - pacing out improving sales
Digital Edition: slow and steady growth of fast connections

Monday, 15 August 2016

Disorderly at Show

The layout at the Orkney County Show at Kirkwall was its customary, orderly self until winds suddenly developed and caused havoc. See a giant marquee lifted into the air - on a film-clip from the BBC.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of glitches in production
Digital Edition: usually overcomes the elements with delivery

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Carrier to Kerrera

There is a regular carrier that goes to Kerrera and its pictured above. However, for the next 23 days BBC One Countryfile will carry you there via iPlayer and the programme is recommended by one of our regular readers. Just click onto the file above.

Scottish Islands Explorer - takes you to hundreds of off-shore destinations
Digital Edition: getting them to you in seconds

Saturday, 13 August 2016

In Need of Protection

The beach at Skaw, Unst, has little protection from the elements, but four of Shetland's isles - Yell, Fetlar, Whalsay and Unst - have been without a resident police officer for three years. From October, there will be a permanent presence on Yell and the officer will cover the three other northerly islands. The details are in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - its 52 pages are well covered
Digital Edition: forceful and fast links

Friday, 12 August 2016

Rabbit Islands

There certainly are ways of comparing and contrasting here - with these images of the Rabbit Islands, off the north coast of Scotland.  By far the safer craft, or so it appears, is the kayak. The picture below suggests a Greek island. It was a June 2009 shot

Scottish Islands Explorer - can go to extremes
Digital Edition: takes things in quickly

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Skye Mystery

A wedding dress that was discarded by the roadside near Orbost, in north-west Skye, forms part of a mystery. Go to the West Highland Free Press item and, if you have information or a theory, let them know.

Scottish Islands Explorer - mists, but few mysteries
Digital Edition: an item on the topic would be around the world within a minute

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Another Inch Image

We return to St Serf's Inch and an image taken by Kevin Marshall. It appears in the BBC Gallery of photographs that includes ten on the island theme. Take a trip around the coast as well as to the waters of Loch Leven above.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has a gallery of island images every other month
Digital Edition: take them in within seconds

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Take an Inch

Take an 'inch' in Scots and its derived from the Gaelic innis for 'island'. St Serf's Inch is in Loch Leven, in the south-east of Perth & Kinross, and was for many years a centre of the Culdee customs - a particularly ascetic form of monasticism. The Augustinian traditions took over in the 12th Century with the ending of the earlier Irish ways.

Scottish Islands Explorer - features so many inches, gives almost a mile
Digital Edition: distance is no problem

Monday, 8 August 2016

Walls to Waas

Take a last look at the sign - for the well-known bakery in Walls, Shetland, which has been run by Charlie Hodge (below) since 1987. The concern, employing ten people, has been taken over by an American company led by Bruce Gilardi whose family connections with Shetland go back to the 1700s.

The name has been changed to Wass in order to reflect local pronunciation and indicate the change in emphasis of the products. Read about the plans - for a new range which will include the specialist artisan breads - in Shetland News.
Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to sampling the range
Digital Edition: delivered to Shetland, the 'States at same speed

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Count Up to Twenty

How about four bedrooms, three islets, two self-catering units and one each of separate owners' accommodation, a building ready for development, an hotel with proven income, a harbour, the foreshore and ... one fishery spread over four lochs? Together with its history going back until the 1780s, that's 20 items listed - for £800k. It's the Rodel Hotel in South Harris and Rightmove details are available here. It sounds like a commercial concern for on-going business or ripe for conversion to a domestic treasure. Something to weigh up over the rest of the weekend?

Scottish Islands Explorer - also has plenty on offer
Digital Edition: countdown from 20 and it's yours

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Wainwright Winner

The work of Alfred Wainwright is commemorated in a prize for writing that reflects the core values of the British countryside. This year's winner is Amy Liptrot for her book, The Outrun, which documents her life on and beyond Orkney - its Mainland and Papa Westray. The natural, restorative effects of island life helped overcome crises connected with her parents and with alcoholism. Details are in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - restorative features observed
Digital Edition: brings good news at speed

Friday, 5 August 2016

Glamping and Glorious

Here's a Friday treat - an article about 'glamping' on Skye by Claudia Massie published this morning in the new edition of The Spectator. If you fancy following her footprints, then go to Skye Eco Bells.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ventures beyond customary experiences
Digital Edition: an eco-way of subscribing

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Getting A Head

It looks idyllic - a school of six pupils, with a tea-room below and a community-centre across the track - but the residents of the Isle of Muck are concerned. The authorities have been unable to secure the services of a headteacher for the primary school.

Living accommodation is provided; the salary attractive; weekend work is not required; even the shortest of the six annual holidays is a full week long. What's wrong? Perhaps it's all too close for comfort. A BBC reporter covers aspects of the case. However, the vacancy on the island is open and the space of the location below is there to see.

Scottish Islands Explorer - four small schools in the Small Isles
Digital Edition: little need to search far when it's there on-line

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Puffin to Nothing?

"What are we coming to?" could be the remark of one puffin to another. The answer, alas, may be in an article by Mark Cocker in the New Statesman. The forecasts are not encouraging for the word 'peril' is used in the context of their future.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a pursuit that's increasingly popular
Digital Edition: in a hurry to connect

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Howmore at 50

The 50th Anniversary of the Gatliff Hostel at Howmore will be celebrated on the afternoon of Saturday 10 September. The hostel is featured on the GHHT website and the event is detailed here. The improvements to its facilities are worth looking at - on screen or in person.

Scottish Islands Explorer - Gatliff hostels assist explorers of the Western Isles
Digital Edition: more like 50 seconds to upload

Monday, 1 August 2016

Jura by Blog

There is a contrast of roofs between the two MBA bothies on Jura - at Glengarrisdale, in red, and Cruib Lodge, in grey. These are featured in a highly-informative blog from Mark & Deb. They would, in particular, like assistance in identifying the bird they saw on Friday 3 July. See if their conclusion is correct.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has found subscribers in bothies
Digital Edition: needs the internet and under a tenner for a year