Nonstop swimming event, Just Keep Swimming, is set to take place tomorrow (Thursday 29 June.)

Project Manager, Hannah Wilson, was inspired when she was involved in a team 12 house sailing event.  After putting together a team with a similar enthusiasm, Hannah and her swimming partner, Tara Lancaster, will be aiming to swim one hour on and one hour off for a full 12 hours.  Support swimmer, Iain Murray, will be on hand to assist.  

The swimming event will be raising money for local charity, Lucky2BHere, and local school, MacDiarmid Primary School.  

The event will take place on Thursday 29 June from 8am until 8pm.  

To find out more about the project, visit their website here.

 

 

 

Comments are invited on the second edition of NHS Highland’s Gaelic Language Plan, which is now out for public consultation.

Under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, NHS Highland has a statutory duty to play its part in promoting the language. The plan sets out a formal structure for how the board will implement the plan and was informed by a staff survey and support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig.  NHS Highland hope it will be further shaped through the public consultation. 

In Skye & Raasay, Tiree and Colonsay one in five people living in these communities speak Gaelic, and just over half speak Gaelic in the Western Isles, which, although not in the board area NHS Highland does provide a number of services for people of the Western Isles as well as in Raigmore Hospital.

Elaine Mead, Chief Executive for NHS Highland said: “As the biggest employer in Highland and Argyll & Bute there are many opportunities and benefits to promoting the Gaelic language throughout our area. It is important we strive to offer respect for Gaelic language and I am committed to do what I can to raise awareness. I look forward to hearing how people feel we can have a positive impact.”

Commenting on NHS Highland’s role in promoting Gaelic, Michael Foxley, non executive director of NHS Highland and long-time champion of safeguarding Gaelic Language said: “If the long term future of Gaelic in Highland and Argyll and Bute is to be secure then public bodies, like NHS highland have to play their part. We did not deliver on our commitments in our original plan as intended but through the delivery of this plan I hope we can remedy that.”

The Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre will be closed on Thursday 15 and Thursday 22 of June.  

The Archive Centre, based in Elgin Hostel on Dunvegan Road in Portree, is currently hosting a Photographic Exhibition throughout the month of June. 

 

A ramp is on loan from Lochaber to Portree.  

The portable ramp was set up on Thursday June 8 at the red pitch by Portree Community Centre.  

 

Skye and Lochalsh Youth Development remarked that there has been a fantastic response to the ramps, which were all unpacked and set up by young people.

The ramps are on loan until July 6/7.

For more information, visit the Skye and Lochalsh Youth Development Facebook page here.

Young musicians attending Highland Schools are being invited to apply now for musical experiences with the Highland Young Musicians groups in 2017/18.

Norman Bolton, Highland Council’s Music Development Officer said: “There are already some exciting plans in place, and more in the pipeline.  At the March 2018 Concerts Festival in Macdonald Highland Resort, Aviemore the Highland Youth Choir will be performing Rutter’s ‘Sprig of Thyme’ folk-song suite, accompanied by Highland Regional Youth Orchestra in collaboration with Dingwall Choral Society.  This will be a fantastic opportunity for young choral singers to experience full 4-part soprano, alto, tenor and bass choral singing with orchestral accompaniment.”

Application to Highland Young Musicians groups is open to all young musicians attending Highland Council schools regardless of whether they receive tuition from Highland Council or private music instructors. An increasing diversity of young musicians is being attracted to the musical experiences Highland Young Musician groups give.

Travellers on the A890 Stromeferry Bypass are advised that maintenance works will take place in July.

The Highland Council has appointed Geo-Rope Ltd to undertake planned maintenance works to the rock face above the A890 Stromeferry Bypass.  Works are programmed to begin on the 10th of July for approximately 8 weeks. 

The works include the de-vegetation and light scaling of rock slopes, adjusting existing passive netting systems, clearance of rock material behind rock netting, installation of wire rope profiling cables, dowels, active and high strength active rock netting.

There are two sections of slope undergoing maintenance both of which are situated approximately 1km west of the avalanche shelter.  The works will require traffic management on the adjacent single track road and the road may require short closures during certain operations but this will be kept to a minimum.  Supervising staff from The Highland Council will be on site during the works.

Communities on Skye are being asked to hang out the buntings and join in The Big Lunch!

The Big Lunch is the culmination of The Great Get Together, an idea inspired by the late Jo Cox, in celebration of her belief that we have more in common with our neighbours. 

On Sunday, 18 June, Scotland will join in with the rest of the UK for the annual Big Lunch, where communities organise their own BBQs, get-togethers and street parties, getting to know each other and celebrating their communities.

Last year, events in Scotland took place as far north as Stornoway and as far south as the borders.

Co-Op Members will have a chance to support Kyle Lifeboat RNLI, thanks to the Co-Op Local Community Fund.

Co-Op Members in the local community can choose the Kyle RNLI as part of the scheme.  

In 2015, the Kyle Lifeboat was launched 14 times and rescued a total of 11 people.  The RNLI receive no government funding and currently runs solely on public donations.  

This fund would contribute towards the daily running of the lifeboat, its station and continued crew training which currently cost around £75,000 a year to maintain. 

 

Raasay Community Association will be voting on whether or not to open the Hall for hire on Sundays.

In response to requests at RCA’s AGM the Board would be sending all members a letter for a vote on whether the hall should be open for hire on Sundays.

The vote will ask for a simple Yes or No response and in line with RCA's constitution at least 75% of the total votes returned are required to carry the decision. The ballot will be anonymous, although the voting papers will be numbered for security reasons.

The Isle of Skye's Gaelic drama, Bannan, will be screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival later this month.

Thèid trì earrannan bhon t-sreath ùr de Bhannan a shealltainn aig Fèis Fhilmichean Eadar-nàiseanta Dhùn Èideann air an 25mh Ògmhios. Bidh Q&A ann às dèidh làimh.

Those who attend will be able to see the first three episodes of series four of the popular BBC Alba drama from Young Films, which follows a young woman's return to the island she left at 18.  The event will take place on Sunday June 25 at 6pm.

There will be a Q&A after the screening.

Tickets can be purchased from the Edinburgh International Film Festival website here.

Participants are required from the Highland Council region to take part in a new project, The Art of the Future World.

The Highland Youth Arts Hub (HYAH) has partnered with the National Galleries for Scotland (NGS) as part of their new outreach project and are currently looking for five participants aged 17-22 to take part in it.

The Art of the Future World aims to link communities throughout Scotland in a national conversations about their futures. Groups will create their own artworks in response to the ‘Project Box’ which will include materials such as: a reproduction of a NGS contemporary artwork (from the NOW exhibition at Modern 1), sculptural materials, buzzwords and written content. The NGS aim to have an exhibition at the National Galleries in early 2018 as a final outcome of the project. This may be in digital format online.

HYAH participants should have an interest in one or more of the following art forms: dance, drama, film, literature, music, visual art and must be available on the following dates:

- Thursday 10th August: An initial project meeting and afternoon exploring the ‘Project Box’. This will take place in Inverness.

- Thursday 14th September: A trip to Edinburgh to see the NOW exhibition at National Galleries Scotland.

Skye and Lochalsh Young Carers will be undertaking a 5 mile charity trek on Saturday 3 June.

The chosen charities have been a great source of support to the young carers and their families.  Diabetes Care, Friends of Raigmore Hospital, MacMillan Nurses, Highland Hospice and Huntington's Association will receive an equal split of any money raised.

The trek starts at 10am from the Peinchorran/Balmeanach junction to the road end then along the Sligachan lochside to finish at Sligachan Hotel about 1pm.

If you'd like to help support our causes you can donate here.

 

A climbdown by the the Crofting Commission looks to have ended the increasingly bitter war of words over common grazings.

Although centred on Lewis, the clash has been closely watched by crofters elsewhere including on Skye.

The dispute took a dramatic turn when the Commission confirmed today that it has written to shareholders of Mangersta Common Grazings on Lewis to advise that the grazings constable has concluded his investigations and has stepped down enabling shareholders to appoint a new committee of their choice.

In the letter to shareholders the Commission stated that it regrets the conflicting advice the Mangersta Grazings Committee has been given over a considerable period of time in response to the investigations which took place due to a complaint made by a shareholder. 

Following the news a separate statement issued by the former members of Mangersta Grazing Committee stated: “We are pleased and relieved that common sense has finally intervened and that this whole affair has been brought to a conclusion, with recognition by the Commission that we acted with integrity and in good faith at all times.

Bold plans to not only protect but also enhance one of Skye’s most iconic landmarks and its surroundings have moved a significant step nearer

For Staffin Community Trust (SCT) has awarded a key contract which will assess the potential purchase and improvements of local authority-owned land at the Old Man of Storr.

The move is set across a back drop of growing concerns from the local community about major parking congestion, road safety generally and the lack of toilet facilities which has sparked real public health concerns.

The on-going clash between the Crofting Commission and crofters has now been aired at the highest level.

In talks primarily about the impact of leaving the EU with Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) representatives made clear their feelings on the issue.

Fiona Mandeville

For in addition to the Brexit concerns Skye based Chair of SCF, Fiona Mandeville said: “We also had constructive discussion on the Crofting Commission crisis. We are very supportive of a majority elected Commission and fear that the common grazings debacle can jeopardise this.

“We therefore asked Mr Ewing to consider a procedural review of the Commission. At his request, we will send him a note outlining details of our recommendations forthwith.

More than 60 concerts, charity cafes, talks on plants, even a circus big top. This year’s Fèis an Eilein-Skye Festival really does have something for everyone.

Beginning on July 5 with the arrival of Tosta – the festival village from Donastia in the Basque Country  - the giant event, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, has something  taking place virtually every day right through until the grand finale on Wednesday 24 August with Blazin Fiddles in concert.

Lets Circus big top

Playing music too loud ended with the peace restored after police attended an address in Sraid An Eorna, Portree and confiscated the offending stereo because the owner wouldn’t turn it down.

Over two thousand cruise ship passengers were expected to pour into Portree today following the arrival of the luxury liner, Zuiderdam.

Viewfield Garden Collective was today celebrating 10 years of growth.

For the last decade the volunteer run group has steadily increased its activities in Portree and now boasts everything from mixed flower and vegetable gardens, to public footpaths and sales of produce.

Today (June 29) a special Open Day is being staged at the Viewfield Road premises and everyone is invited along between 11am-3pm.

An RNLI crew from Kyle of Lochalsh were called out in the early hours to help yachtsmen in trouble.

It was around 4am on Monday (June 27) when the lifeboat was called to Plockton Bay where the May Dream has broken from its mooring, run aground and begin to list badly on a falling tide.

When the RNLI volunteers arrived on the scene they were able to work with the two man crew and were eventually able to stabilise the yacht until it was possible to re-float the vessel. No-one was injured during the incident.

From left, Lloyd Gudgeon, Kate Earnshaw, Ross MacKenzie

 

Fifty people gathered in Raasay Community Hall as the local community met representatives of NHS Highland (NHSH) to discuss nursing cover on the island.

The meeting was chaired by Lloyd Gudgeon, the development officer for the Raasay Development Trust. District Manager for Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross, Kate Earnshaw and Area Manager (West), Ross MacKenzie, attended the meting to explain changes to the District Nursing Protocol, to outline what future steps could be taken and to answer questions from the floor.

Those attending raised concerns about emergency evacuations, out-of-hours care, primary care and the scheduled care they could expect.

Rosemary with grandchild

Skye’s very first woman priest described her ordination before a packed Portree church as “wonderful” and “humbling”.

Over 100 people attended St Columbus leaving little more than standing room only as former music teacher Rosemary Bungard completed the historic ceremony.

For Rosemary, a resident on Raasay, the ceremony, led by Rt Rev Kevin Pearson, Bishop of Argyll and The Isles, was the culmination of years of work and a moment she truly savoured.

She said; “It really was a wonderful moment and at the same time I felt very humbled.

“The church was full to capacity with congregation members, friends and family. Several retired priests from St Columbus also came along and it was also really nice to have representatives from the dioceses of Moray and Caithness where I had placements in the lead up to my ordination.

“Also it was lovely to have representatives from other churches across Skye there for the occasion. It really made the day complete.”

For many years, the Isle of Skye has been a source of inspiration to renowned artist, Pam Carter.  

After following the suggestion of fellow-artist, Laurence Broderick, Pam started to exhibit her work at Gallery An Talla Dearg, Isle Ornsay.  

This year 2016 marks Pam's 25th Isle of Skye exhibition - a milestone which she will celebrate with a variety of fun events!

Sleat's Ardvasar Community Permaculture Project has received a £2,268 Awards for All Scotland grant from Big Lottery Fund.

The group will use the funding to refurbish and improve their permaculture polytunnel, which was also built with the assistance of Awards for All funding in 2002 and damaged by strong winds last year.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service fought hundreds of needless fires across the country last summer, latest figures reveal.

Firefighters worked throughout the hot summer months of 2015 battling blazes at homes, vehicles, grassland, refuse and derelict buildings.

And the majority of those fires were deliberate and reckless – putting pressure on firefighters when genuine emergencies arose and placing lives at risk.
Assistant Chief Officer Robert Scott is the SFRS Director of Prevention and Protection.

He spoke out ahead of summer 2016 to warn that firefighters will work closely with our colleagues in Police Scotland to identify those responsible for deliberately setting fires.

In 2015 it was nominated for a national award now organisers of an outdoor Gaelic course in Staffin are hoping to attract even more people this year.

Urras an Taobh Sear (Staffin Community Trust) hosts the first part of Gaelic broadcaster Roddy MacLean’s course Àrainneachd, Cànan is Dualchas next month. In November last year both were nominated in the Community, Heritage and Tourism category at the Daily Record and Bòrd na Gàidhlig Scottish Gaelic Awards

The 10-day Gaelic in the environment course is aimed at fluent Gaelic speakers and advanced learners. It is supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.  This year it is offered in two five-day blocks and is suitable for countryside rangers, teachers, people employed in heritage and tourism in Scotland and beyond.

One of the Glendale stalls

Every Tuesday will bring a taste of summer as Glendale showcases itself and all that it can produce.

For the second year running the The Glendale Highland Market is back in business bringing with it fresh tastes, smells and sights of just how good local meat, fish and veg can be.

With much of the vegetables picked just hours before the 11am opening time, according to the community led Glendale Times, those making use of the local retail outlet are guaranteed of putting something good on their plate.

This year promises to see increased availability as the producers are more prepared for the huge demand that saw most of the fresh produce sell out very quickly in 2015.

Follow the buntings that line the streets and they will take you to Broadford Village Hall - the location for the Broadford Gala.  The event was organised by the Broadford Youth Club and today (Saturday June 25) was great fun for all involved!

After a foggy start to the day, the sun put in an appearance and the Gala was held in blazing summer sunshine.  An estimated 250 people of all ages attended the community event.  

Donald Rankin - Photo Staffin Community Trust

 It takes little figuring out to know that Portree accountant Donald Rankin’s latest success has brought him national recognition.

For against 80 other rivals a two year old Aberdeen Angus, called Retties Lady Ruth N228 owned by Donald, has been crowned champion female at Scotland’s biggest and more prestigious agricultural show.

Judges at the 176th Royal Highland show chose the Kilmaluag crofter’s pedigree cow despite strong opposition from across the country.

Highland Council has confirmed that it will sustain the current funding for Additional Support Needs in Primary and Secondary Schools for the new school year – 2016/17. 

While the Council has taken measures to address a £40m budget gap, it will not require to reduce the funding to schools for children with additional needs. 

At the Council’s budget meeting in February, members were told that applications for voluntary redundancy had been received from Pupil Support Assistants, but because these staff were supporting individual children in schools they could not be accepted without further assessment of needs.

The Council has now confirm that while voluntary redundancies have been agreed with managers in Additional Support services, the allocation to schools will continue at the current level, and there will be no reduction in the overall number of Pupil Support Assistants.  This is because that further assessment of needs is now complete, and because the Council has already achieved its voluntary redundancy savings target from other staff groups.

A showdown confrontation looks likely in Raasay next week as the island's out of hours nursing cover row rumbles on.

After months of lobbying by the Community Council, including making an official complaint - which to date has remained unanswered - a public consultation meeting has been agreed by NHS Highland (NHSH) and will now take place on Monday 27 June.

Announcing the long awaited meeting, Raasay Community Council Secretary, Jill Westgarth, said: "We have asked representatives of NHSH to explain the changes they have made to the nursing service for Raasay since summer 2015, how they expect the service to operate at present, and the options for the future. We remain committed to the principle of a nurse/nurses based on the island.

Acair Books are delighted to announce the publication of ‘Crotal Ruadh - Red Lichen’, a striking first collection of Gaelic Poetry from rising prize-winning writer Sandaidh/Sandy NicDhòmhnaill Jones. 

Internationally renowned poet Prof. Meg Bateman will be the guest speaker when ‘Crotal Ruadh’ is formally launched during the ‘Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig’ - ‘Researching Gaelic” conference at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig tomorrow  (Friday 24 June). 

There will be a second publicity event at the tuition music festival Ceòlas in South Uist on 1 July, and subsequent appearances at other Mòds, musical and literary events in the coming months.

Skye voters are being reminded that today is the day to have your vote on the EU Referendum on 23 June.

Steve Barron Counting Officer Highland Council area said: "Putting a cross in a box might seem simple, but there are plenty of things voters need to consider in order to be ‘referendum ready’.

"Your poll card will tell you the location of your polling station, and you will find more information on how to take part at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. Voters can also get in touch with the team here at Highland Council with any further queries."

Shreya Ghoshal

STAFFIN could host a flood of Indian Bollywood fans this summer after one of their country’s most famous voices sung the praises of the Kilt Rock to her millions of fans.

For the popular tourist attraction has been given the approval rating of Shreya Ghoshal, a hugely popular star in India.

The Food Standards Agency has issued the following notice:

Bakkavor is recalling a number of chilled guacamole products with 'use by' dates up to and including the 02 July 2016 as a precautionary measure because the products might contain Salmonella.

 

Scotland’s Gaelic college, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Sleat is this week playing host to an international conference about the language.

The  Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig event, running through until Friday is featuring the latest and most important research in a range of topics relating to Gaelic. The conference itself takes place every second year in universities which house a Gaelic and/or Celtic department.

More than 1,100 air weapons were handed in across Highlands and Islands as part of a national campaign, coming second only to neighbouring North East division, where the total number of weapons reached 1,562.

A further 211 weapons have been handed in across the Highlands and Islands since the campaign came to a close on 12th June. The photo belows shows some of the air weapons handed in across the division.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley has today (Tuesday June 21st 2016) hailed the initiative a resounding success, as he revealed 11,569 weapons were handed in to Police stations across Scotland in total during the initiative.

Gaelic speakers and supporters are being urged to make their views known as Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd goes about assessing the way it promotes and uses the language.

As part of their Gaelic Language Plan 2016 t0 2019, the publicly owned company, which owns property and piers at more than 26 locations across Scotland and leases ferries directly to Calmac, have set a July 29 deadline for comments and views to be submitted.

With Gaelic widely spoken in the communities served by Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) the organisation say they are renewing their commitment to ensuring Gaelic has a strong and sustainable future in Scotland.

CMAL’s Gaelic Language Plan has a three-year timetable of activity, including increasing the amount of Gaelic multimedia content on the corporate website; a Gaelic version of the complaints procedure and the availability, on request, of Gaelic speakers at public meetings.

The Food Standards Agency’s latest alert concerns a pet food recall.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is updating its recall of cat food pouches (pet food) to include an additional product. The FSA have issued the notification as they are responsible for animal feed regulations and the enforcement of pet food labelling through local authorities.

 

Dun Colbost

A five year long archaeological search to reveal more about Glendale and its ancient past is set to take place.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, local woman Ann MacSween and fellow enthusiast, Dave Reed, carried out excavations at Dun Colbost. The purpose of the excavations was to assess the archaeological deposits on top of the knoll, and also below the knoll. Three short seasons of excavation were carried out and there was considerable interest from the community throughout.

As a result of their efforts various finds were made including pottery dating to the Iron Age, over two thousand years ago, which is similar to the pottery from other excavated brochs in the area including Dun an Iardhard near Dunvegan Castle and Dun Beag near Struan.

Now, according to the community published Glendale Times, beginning next year Ann is set to return to the excavation site this time accompanied by John Barber, an expert in broch architecture  who has agreed to co-direct the excavations at Dun Colbost.

Annie receiving her award

The pivotal role played by Skye woman Annie Davidson in establishing a network of volunteers dedicated to saving marine wildlife has been rewarded.

In June of last year Annie witnessed first-hand the heart-breaking sight of a group of pilot whales who stranded themselves on the rocky shore of Staffin.

And it was the tragic loss of some of the whales that spurred her on to do something to make sure that should the same thing ever occur in the future local help would be at hand.

Now Annie, a Youth Development Officer at High Life Highland has received a ‘Staff Award for Exceptional Contribution’ from the charity run company for all the work and effort she has put in over the last twelve months.

 

The Big Friendly Giant could bring a further big boost to visitor numbers on Skye.

For as Britain gears up to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth and in the run-up to the launch of the film adaption of The BFG, VisitBritain is showcasing to the world what makes Britain a GIANT - and family-friendly - tourism destination.

And, high up on the places to visit is the Misty Isle which has seen its fair share of movies shot here including scenes from the Steven Spielberg directed BFG which launches in the UK on July 1.

The Hollywood director used the backdrop of The Storr to create scenes in the new, expected to be, blockbuster movie which joins a growing list of films to have taken advantage of the unique nature of the Trotternish Ridge on Skye.

Now the national tourism organisation has launched an international ‘Where Giant Dreams come to Life’ film tourism campaign in its first-ever collaboration with Disney, producer of The BFG. 

College chiefs keen to continue to support community learning are inviting the public along when they meet in Portree next week.

On Tuesday 28 June from 2pm the Board of Management of West Highland College UHI will gather at its Struan Road campus to discuss a number of issues including how to replace lost funding.

Dozens of P7 pupils from across Skye are getting together as part of the Safe Highlanders and Islanders initiative.

The event takes place at the Fingal Centre in Portree on Tuesday and is part of an educational activity based on a partnership approach, endeavoring to tackle challenging issues of community safety and crime prevention.

Children, following the event, become more aware of personal safety, potentially avoid becoming victims of crime, understand how to react to emergency situations and their chances of becoming good citizens increases.

 

They have travelled from the other side of the globe but this week the Scotch College Pipes & Drums from Melbourne, Australia will be performing where their roots lie.

Dunvegan Castle will be the perfect setting on Tuesday when they set out to entertain from around 11:30 am.

 

 

Rosemary (left) during her ordination as a deacon

Assistant curate Rosemary Bungard will make history this week-end when she becomes the very first woman to be ordained as a priest on Skye.

The historic occasion will take place at St Columbus Church in Portree where Rosemary has been assistant curate for the last twelve months.

A former music teacher at Portree High School she also conducted the Skye & Lochalsh Young Music Makers Orchestra and the Skye & Lochalsh Orchestra. In addition to her duties at Portree she currently plays a similar role at St Mary’s in Sleat and St Michael and All Angels over on Raasay where she lives.

 

Brian Inkster

Crofting law expert, Brian Inkster claims the Crofting Commission is flouting the will of Parliament.

And according to him there is “absolutely no basis in law for this” and, he feels, “it is clear that the Crofting Commission is flouting the will of Parliament.”

(Words and photographs by Roz Skinner)

On Saturday (June 18), an estimated 19,000 people crammed into the Tulloch Caledonium Stadium in Inverness to see and hear the recently-knighted Sir Rod Stewart perform. Many in the audience had travelled from the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Lewis to attend the concert. 

 

MP Ian Blackford

Ross, Skye & Lochaber MP Ian Blackford put down a parliamentary motion, congratulating Skye Camanachd U17 on winning the 2016 RBS MacTavish Juvenile Cup at the Bught Park, Inverness earlier this month.

Mr Blackford was present at the game and afterwards, he congratulated the winning Skye squad on their 2-1 victory over their Fort William counter-parts.

 

A Dutch visitor’s last day on Skye is probably one she will wish to forget.

 Skye Mountain Rescue had to be called out over the week-end when the woman, out walking with his husband on the Quiraing, slipped on rubble and broke her ankle.

 

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has reiterated its call on Scottish Ministers to intervene in the crofting common grazings debacle and to instigate an external examination of the Crofting Commission, following revelations of a cover-up.

“’The Crofting Commission are lying to us’ would perhaps be too strong an accusation” the Skye based chair of the SCF, Fiona Mandeville, said, “but it is clear that they are spinning distortions. Saying one thing and then trying to hide the evidence that they have indeed said something else in the past is duplicitous to say the least.

The Food Standards Agency has issued the following alert:

O.T. (Smoked Salmon) Ltd, is recalling various smoked salmon products because high levels of Listeria monocytogenes have been found in the product. Although the use by date on some of the products has expired, this product is suitable for home freezing, and therefore may have been frozen.

 

 

Skye Forest Garden

Skye Forest Garden on Sleat has now added to its attractions for locals and visitors alike.

For over 20 years the 16 acre wooded peninsula at Arnadale Pier has been a draw with with its eco camping and accommodation, educational opportunities and has been developed and maintained through the ethos and principles of permaculture.

Now the new 'Pier Stores Whole Foods' has opened at the Forest Garden providing a retail outlet packed full of produce including artisan breads, jams, chutney, wholefoods, juices, gifts and much more.

Located just a few yards up the path to the Rubha Phoil garden there is something for everyone and for those taking the ferry a chance to spend some of their waiting time picking up some very special gifts, food and drink.

The store will be open 10am-5pm Mon-Fri and 12 noon -3pm Sat-Sun.

 

 

 

 

Firefighters have joined calls for people to stay safe around water.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews are frequently called to emergencies where someone has gotten into difficulty on rivers, canals and lochs throughout the country.

While firefighters always do what they can to save lives, they know their specialist skills are not always enough.

Around 400 people drown in the UK every year and the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) launched Drowning Prevention Week to make people aware of the dangers and support schools, clubs and leisure centres working to avoid needless tragedies.

It has created activity packs with a video, a lesson plan and guide for educators, which are available on the SFRS website at www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/water-safety/schools-and-community-groups-resources.aspx.

A link-up between the Skye-based charity Lucky2BHere, and a family in the Isle of Scalpay off Harris means that staff at CalMac’s port in Tarbert, on the route from Uig in Skye, have been trained to use a newly donated defibrillator. The vital medical equipment has been gifted by the MacRae family via Lucky2BHere and is now installed at the port office – there is a second defibrillator, also donated by Lucky2BHere, at Tarbert’s Sir E Scott School. Sadly, the family’s son Christopher lost his life in 2005 at the age of just 25 to an undiagnosed heart condition..

Back row (L-R) Angus Morrison (Lucky2BHere), Maree Fraser (CalMac), John Macleod (CalMac), Tina Macleod (CalMac), Kay Macleod (CalMac), Norman Ian Mackay (CalMac); front row (L-R) David Morrison (CalMac) and Cameron Morrison (Lucky2BHere).  Missing from the picture are Catherine Mackinnon (CalMac) and Karen MacRae (Lucky2BHere)

 

U3A members out and about

It may be called the University of the Third Age but on Skye at least the real lesson to be learnt is how to get the very most out of your spare time.

Now Skye U3A are keen to get more locals involved and have drawn up a busy programme of events and activities over the coming months involving everything from searching out local archaeology, flora and fauna to just enjoying a good walk in the company of others

Chair Mo MacQuarrie, said: “There is no age restriction or limit on those who want to join U3A and take part in our activities the only condition is that they must no longer be in full time employment.

 

Bosses at the soon to be Raasay Distillery had to box cleverly when their planned new development hit any unexpected snag.

Work has now began on the brand new facility but it was while in the pre-planning stage that the company behind the project, R&B Distillers, suddenly discovered bats nesting in the old Borodale House which will form part of the new distillery and visitor centre complex.

It turned out the old building was home to two species, the relatively common Pipistrelle and also what has turned out to be the UK’s most North-Westerly population of Brown Long-Eared bats. So to get around any clashes with the normally nocturnal creatures the distillers have now created Raasay’s very own Bat City.

A little over an hour after police were forced to close the busy A82 south of Drumnadrochit today (June 16)  traffic was once again travelling as normal.

A road traffic accident just south of of Urquhart Castle led to police urging drivers to find alternative routes. However, swift action by officers at the scene soon had the road cleared and drivers able to proceed as normal. The incident is said to have involved a motorcycle and a HGV with one woman taken to hospital.

 

 

A82 - Closed, South of Drumnadrochit

Police advise that the A82 is closed just south of Urquhart Castle following a Road Traffic Collision at around 11.30am today.

Please use alternative routes if possible

 

Leopard man Tom

 A Skye man, once acknowledged as the world’s most tattooed person, has died.

Thought to be around 80 years old, Tom Woolridge, passed away at an Inverness nursing home.

Known as the Leopard Man of Skye, Tom was reputed to have spent over £5,000 on his body art yet for 20 years lived in a remote bothy on the Kyleakin shore with only a roof of plastic and metal sheeting to protect him.

 

Work begins this week

 It’s been a long time coming but work has finally begun to build Raasay’s distillery. R&B Distillers are finally moving on site at Borodale House, formerly the Isle of Raasay Hotel.

Earlier this year the company received planning permission for the project which will see the Victorian-era former hotel building converted into a visitor centre for the Isle of Raasay Distillery. The extension to the hotel built in 1980 is being removed to be replaced by the distillery.

An open letter has been issued by the Crofting Commission’s Chief Executive, Catriona Maclean which reads:

There has been much said recently about the Crofting Commission and its actions, in particular in relation to common grazings.  As the regulator for crofting we cannot comment on specific cases but it is clear that there have been a number of issues raised which many people have expressed concern over and the full circumstances of why action was necessary is not yet in the public domain.

I think it is important to say that the Commission is not on a campaign to review the functioning of every grazings committee.  Be assured, we do understand that most of the nearly 500 grazings committees across the crofting counties are working well, and will continue to do so, helping to safeguard this important community asset.  This situation has identified the passion and value that crofters, and those who represent them, put on common grazing land.  The Commission shares that passion and value and it is good to see its management and potential being discussed openly. 

 

Artist's impression of the viewing platform

An ambitious scheme to transform one of Skye’s already popular natural features into a major tourist attraction has been put forward.

The Staffin Community Trust are seeking planning permission for an initiative which, if it is successful, would almost certainly bring a big boost to the local economy.

As part of the second phase of the Skye Ecomuseum they want to install a galvanized viewing platform. This would dramatically extend some three metres over the Lealt Gorge giving breath taking views not only of the waterfall but also the Trotternish Ridge and across to Wester Ross.

Skye Mountain Rescue were out for around seven hours at the week-end as they helped an injured walker to safety.

The 69 years old was knocked unconscious and suffered cuts and grazes after falling around 60-70 feet on Am Caisteal in the Cuillin.

According to Skye Mountain Rescue team leader, Gerry Akroyd, the alarm was raised after a walking companion of the injured man made it back to the roadside.

Gerry added: “That was around 2.30pm. Once we had located the man fortunately his injuries were not too serious and we were able to walk him out. We returned at about 9.30pm.”

 

 

Skye pool to be transformed

A public swimming pool transformed into a giant frog pond! Might sound like a massive leap of the imagination but that’s what is about to happen on Skye.

On Saturday 25 June, for just one day, the popular Fingal Centre pool in Portree is going to be taking on a whole new look. For Froglife Scotland, a charity dedicated to conserving reptiles and amphibians across the country, is bringing its water based, interactive educational activities to the island.

Youngsters, up to the age of 12 years, can take part in the event which will see the public swim facility turned into an outsized pond complete with frog, tadpole and lilypad floats.

The Dragon Finder initiative coming to Skye is Froglife’s flagship project and brings together practical conservation, surveying, data collection and interactive educational activities.

 

Artist's impression of the proposed plant

Skye folk can have their say about a proposed new multi million pound plant which is set to bring new jobs and big investment to the island.

Later this month and following on from the initial first round of public information events, Marine Harvest (Scotland), are to hold further exhibitions.  There further information will be available about the proposed £80 million fish feed producing facility which will bring around 55 new jobs to Skye.

Already the company have earmarked the old Altanavaig Quarry at Kyleakin as the site for the new plant. Once in full production it will make food for Marine Harvest’s Scottish fish farms as well as those in Norway, Ireland and the Faroe Islands.

Full results for the Skye Half Marathon are now available here

 

A plan to increase and improve mobile coverage in Scotland has been agreed with mobile operators, Cabinet Secretary for Connectivity. Fergus Ewing announced today.

The plan will see the Scottish Government work with the industry and other partners to maximise commercial investment in 4G mobile in Scotland, and ultimately, to support 5G-ready infrastructure across the country. This will help to ensure the Scottish Government uses its powers to guarantee people benefit from better mobile coverage, even though the primary responsibility lies with the UK Government.

The announcement was welcomed by Shirley Spear, ‏founder of The Three Chimneys in Colbost who chairs the Scottish Food Commission. She said on Twitter: "Great! Long overdue. My 5* business is in one of those remote, rural areas in great need of improved infrastructure."

The prizegiving for the 2016 Isle of Skye Half Marathon took place in Portree High School this afternoon. The trophies are shown below.

Today  (Saturday June 11) the 2016 Isle of Skye Half Marathon was won by Hugh Campbell of Skye and Lochalsh Running Club with a time of 1.12.48.  He was one of more than 800 entrants in the race which saw runners take to the roads in and around Portree, with the traditional course reaching out toward Skeabost and Tote.

Taking second and third place respectively were Alastair Thurlbeck of Glasgow University Hares & Hounds with a time of 1.15.30 and Jeremy Rossiter of the Skye and Lochalsh Running Club with a time of 1.15.32.

Around 850 runners took part in the Isle of Skye Half-marathon today and the winner was Hugh Campbell.   The first woman across the line was Ellie Buchan from Aberdeen.   Conditions were good with the weather grey but not wet .  The Isle of Skye Pipe Band accompanied runners to the start line in Portree.

 

OBE for Shirley

Three Chimney’s restaurant founder Shirley Spear has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honour’s List for services to the food and drink industry in Scotland.

Today congratulations and best wishes were pouring in for Shirley who is also Chair of the Scottish Food Commission, a FlySkye campaigner, and winner of a Lifetime Achievement Scottish Rural Award in 2016.

Skye cancer research fundraisers Alastair and Helen Nicolson from Skye were also awarded the British Empire Medal for their work over the last 30 years while former Carbost head teacher Jessie Donaldson has received a BME for voluntary service to the community.

 

Skyeskyns on Waternish are spearheading the search to try and reunite a visitor with his lost camera equipment. General manager Dave Till received the following Facebook call for help from a man known only as “Robert”.

“Hi folks, what a place you have to live and work! I walked around the Waternish Point area on Weds 31st May…breathtaking views. Unfortunately, I lost my camera bag + camera + some other gear in the bag. I know it was dropped on the road between Fairy Bridge and the cattle grid where the sign ‘Waternish’ is. Only about 2-3 miles. I’m pretty sure it was picked up by someone either entering or leaving the Waternish area between 7pm – 8pm , as I noticed fairly quickly and proceeded to thoroughly and extensively search both sides of the land by the road, therefore I’m almost certain it’s been picked up from the road. The camera is an expensive one, but the loss of the images contained on the card is what really hurtsme personal stuff. Anyway, I just thought I’d drop you a message to ask if you’d contact me if you’re aware of anyone local finding the bag.

Anyone who can help should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Searches are continuing in the Dornie area for Roger Fletcher, who was reported missing on Sunday 5th June.

Extensive searches have been carried out this week in the Dornie, Bundalloch and Glenshiel areas and around the A87 towards Cluanie. Police Officers, Police and SARDA dogs, lifeboat and Coastguard personnel have been involved in the search effort in addition to Kintail and RAF Mountain Rescue Teams.

 

William Swann

Skye man William Swann was today unwilling to add to the speculation following his sudden resignation from the Crofting Commission.

The announcement that Mr Swann from Ardvasar, Sleat, was stepping down from his role as a Commissioner forthwith, came in a brief statement this week from Chief Executive, Catriona Maclean.

In recent months there has been growing discontent at grass roots level over the decisions by the Commission to remove from office two grazing committees at Upper Coll and Mangersta in Lewis after investigating their financial arrangements.

However, today Mr Swann said he had nothing to add to the resignation announcement made by the Chief Executive.

However, he did say: "The situation is one very much between the Scottish Government and Crofting Commission and something they need to sort out. I hope that things do calm down.”

 

Final preparations were underway today as Skye was once again preparing to welcome hundreds of road runners to the island.

A record number of competitors, some 800, have put down their names for this year’s Skye half marathon and many taking part will be relieved that the recent heatwave type temperatures look set to fall.

The Met Office was predicting, “A rather dull and damp day with outbreaks of mainly light rain at times.”

 There’s a big weekend ahead for Skye based shinty ref John Angus Gillies as he referees his first major final tomorrow (June 11).

 The Grade 1 referee will take charge of the RBS MacTavish Cup Final between Newtonmore and Lochaber at the Bught Park, Inverness.

The Crofting Commission have today confirmed that Skye man William Swann has decided to resign from his position of Commissioner. Mr Swann was appointed by Scottish Ministers in January 2012 and is said to have provided a significant contribution to the Commission during his time and was particularly helpful as the chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. Crofting Commission Chief Executive, Catriona Maclean, commented: “William has provided invaluable knowledge, expertise and guidance to the Commission.  The Commission would like to thank William for all of his hard work and we wish him luck with his future ventures.  “The Commission remain quorate and I would like to assure all crofters that it is business as usual with a continued focus on securing the future of crofting.”

 

The Electoral Commission is urging voters who are not already registered to vote to make an application before midnight on Thursday 9 June.

The Commission called this morning for the Government to consider options for introducing legislation as soon as possible that would extend the deadline, after problems affected the Government’s registration website last (Tuesday) night.

The Government has now announced that they plan to introduce legislation that will allow people who make applications to register on Wednesday 8 and up to midnight on Thursday 9 June to vote in the EU Referendum on 23 June.

 

Flyskye in its on-going campaign to bring scheduled flights back to the island is hoping a planned photo exhibition, to be held locally this summer, will bring further support to the cause.

The Value of Small Airports is the theme of the exhibition which will take place on Skye at the end of August.

However, the visit to Skye will different from the other areas visited so far because it hasn’t had a scheduled air service since 1988, when Loganair withdrew the Glasgow service that had been operating since 1972.

Plans for the new micro abattoir in Portree

It is now nearly 25 years since Skye had its own permanent abattoir and according to supporters of the scheme a return is long overdue.

Rachael Jackson from Orbost who as Project Officer and now a Committee member with the Skye and Lochalsh Meat Supply Group, has helped spearhead the initiative said:

“There is a huge amount of support for this scheme not just from meat producers but from those on the island who want to enjoy local produce.

Western Isles Councillors have agreed to roll out a Skye-based programme providing life-saving equipment and emergency life-support training to schools across the islands making Comhairle nan Eilean Siar the first local authority in Scotland to introduce Emergency Life Support on to the Curriculum for Excellence.

The Education and Children’s Services Committee agreed to grant £30,000 toward the Lucky2BHere project which will see defribillators installed and training provided at all schools in the Western Isles.

Skye’s fight to have its own abattoir on the island has taken a significant step forward.

With full planning permission already given a crowdfunding campaign is about to begun to help raise at least some of the expected cost of the facility, which will be just over £1million.

Local MSP Kate Forbes and the chairwoman of the Scottish Food Commission and founder of Skye’s world renowned  Three Chimney’s restaurant, Shirley Spears, have already given their backing to the fund-raising plan.

The initial intention of the Skye and Lochalsh Meat Supply Group, who are the driving force behind the new abattoir, is to try and raise at least five percent of the total cost through crowd funding. This would involve getting financial support from contributions, both large and small, given to the initiative.

In recent years the only alternative of local crofters and meat producers to have their beasts slaughtered has been to travel to Dingwall with all the inherent costs of transportation and stress for the animals.

 

Family release photo

Police Scotland have now formally confirmed that the 21 year old woman killed during a road traffic collision on the A87 near Sligachan Hotel, Skye, in the early hours of June 6 was Madison Rice, from Australia, who was working on the island at Kinloch Lodge, Sleat.

At the same time the force have also put out a photograph of Maddy given by her grieving family.

 

The Crofting Commission is emphasising the important role of grazings committees in representing shareholders and maintaining and improving common grazings.

Grazings committees are seen as playing a crucial part in the crofting system and in the effective shared management of common grazings across the crofting counties.  The Commission therefore say it is important for them to have, and follow, clear grazings regulations to safeguard the future of common grazing land for the benefit of all crofters.  Vice-Convener of the Crofting Commission, I G Macdonald explains:

World class piper Iain Spiers  has been crowned as the worthy winner of this year’s  30th Anniversary Donald MacDonald Piping Competition on Skye.

Iain, (pictured far left) with the other competitors

 Held at the Stables Restaurant in Armadale Castle Iain, from Edinburgh, proved to be the worthy winner despite facing strong competition from fellow pipers,  Angus MacColl, Cameron Drummond, Bruce Gandy, Stuart Liddell and Roddy MacLeod.

 

 

Skye half marathon this week-end

Billed as one of the world’s most scenic races the Skye half marathon takes to the roads around Portree this week-end.

Some 800 runners have entered the event forcing organisers to close the entry list way back in April and those disappointed at missing out are already being told to await the opening of the 2017 race.

However, for those not actually taking part in the big event they should be aware that some road closures are being put in place to ensure safety for the competitors.

As part of the ongoing search effort to trace Roger Fletcher, who is missing in the Dornie area, Police in Lochalsh have received information about a sighting of a man walking on the A87 on Sunday night. 

Around 7pm on Sunday 5th June, a man in his seventies or eighties was sighted on the main A87 trunk road, approximately 4 miles west of Cluanie, in the Glenshiel area. He was walking with two poles and wearing outdoor clothing.

Raasay Primary School pupils will soon be able to enjoy working in their garden in all weathers.

Plans are in motion to set up a new polytunnel.  It is hoped that the new polytunnel will be better able to withstand the winter weather and allow the pupils to tend their gardens all year round.

To help enrich the soil in the polytunnel, a new composting scheme has been set up.  On Monday, several of the pupils, as well as head teacher Wilma Duncan, visited residents to advertise their new community project.  The scheme will initially take effect in the School Park area of Raasay, with the potential to expand the project at a later date.  Each resident wishing to take part will be given their own compost caddy.  On Wednesdays, the pupils will collect the full caddies and use the compost in the school garden.  With the help of the community, the pupils aim to reduce the area's CO2 emissions by 17.5 tonnes.

David (second right) with other members of the Scottish squad

At the age of 76 years Skye man David Hearn has  yet again become a world beater

Already a European champion and holding three world records in power lifting, David from Hill Place in Portree travelled to Wales at the week-end (June 3,4,5) to take part in World Drug Free Power Lifting Federation’s Single Lift Championship.

There he was joined by around 400 competitors drawn from across the globe, including Americans, Russians, French, Italians and Brazilians but it was the Skye man who, at least in his age category, ruled supreme.  For he grasped not just one but two world titles and narrowly missed out on a third when he took runners up spot.

Police in Lochalsh are continuing the search to trace Rodger Fletcher, aged 77, who is missing from the Dornie area.

Police officers, police and SARDA dogs, Kintail and RAF Mountain Rescue Teams are continuing to search areas around Dornie, where it is believed Mr Fletcher planned to walk.

Maddy and Joe

The woman killed during an early morning road accident on Skye yesterday (June 6) has been identified.

Australian hotel worker Maddy Rice, 21, is believed to have been hitch-hiking home with her boyfriend Joe Perry when the tragedy occurred close to the Sligachan Hotel at 1.15am

Police have confirmed that a Vauxhall car was involved in the incident, the driver of which was unhurt.

Maddy and Joe are thought to have been returning to Kinloch Lodge on Sleat where they have been living and working when the accident occurred leaving the road closed to traffic for nearly nine hours.

MSP Ian Blackford

Calmac’s decision not to bring MV Coruisk back to the Sound of Sleat this summer has been quickly condemned by local MSP Ian Blackford.

Only last week the man who represents Ross, Skye and Lochaber claimed he had been assured that the ferry, currently plying the Oban-Craignure route, would be returned to Mallaig-Armadale in a matter of weeks.

Within hours of hearing of Calmac’s decision Mr Blackford issued a strong statement condemning the move.

 

 

Skye and Lochalsh RC members finishing

The R.House Trotternish Ridge Race took place on Saturday 4th June.  Following a couple of weeks of dry weather, the underfoot conditions were amazingly dry as 36 competitors lined up on the start line at Flodigarry.  It was a brilliantly sunny day with perfect visibility, although the heat was a factor for some of the runners.

Local Donnie Campbell led from the start, leading the pack up over Meall na Suiramach before descending to cross the Quiraing Road.  The runners then faced the long, remote run along the Trotternish Ridge crossing high points of Ben Edra, Hartaval and The Storr.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) has confirmed it intends making no further changes to the Mallaig-Armadale service this summer but has agreed, after listening to community concerns, that it will review vessel deployment for summer 2017 in consultation with affected communities.

CalMac Managing Director Martin Dorchester said the timetable changes made in light of reliability issues on the Mallaig-Armadale service had noticeably improved performance on the route.

He said: “We regret that our plans for the Mallaig-Armadale route have fallen short of some expectations but I would stress that every change to our summer timetable was made after consultation with the local communities and each change was made in good faith with the sole intention of enhancing ferry services and addressing local concerns, some long-standing, about services in their area. We should also not lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of these changes have been warmly welcomed by those local communities.

 

Have you seen this man?

Police in Kyle of Lochalsh are appealing for information that could help trace the whereabouts of 77 year old  Roger Fletcher, who was last seen around 8.30am on Sunday 5 June.

He set off from a holiday home in Bundalloch near Dornie for a walk. He walks with a stoop and uses two walking poles to assist him.  He has white coloured hair and wears glasses. It understood he may have a small khaki coloured rucksack with him.

 

Ringing the changes

You’ll be happy to hear that Portree Parish Church has been ringing the changes.

For years the church bell has only been rung on a few special occasions but now it’s bringing back a little old fashioned atmosphere to the village centre as its peals can be heard on the hour, every hour, right through the day.

Already locals and visitors alike have commented favourably on the return of the regular rings but for the Somerled Square church, Rev. Sandor Fazakas, admits that the new addition was more by accident than design.

 

Ridge race winner

Local man Donnie Campbell did the double when he took first place for the second time running in the R.House sponsored Trotternish Ridge race on Skye.

And, with a slightly lengthened course to 30km it also meant a new race record for the Skye runner who managed to get round the super tough course in just 3.07.52 seconds. First lady home was Jill Stephen in 3.55.03.

A 21 years old woman has died during an early morning road accident on Skye today (June 6)

Just one vehicle and a lone pedestrian are reported to have been involved in the accident which occurred near Sligachan Hotel forcing police to close off the A87 A851 - A863 Sconser to Sligachan to traffic in both directions.  

The incident occurred at 1.15 am this morning and the road was closed to traffic until around 9.30am.

Police with speed cameras have been keeping a careful eye on traffic passing through the Skeabost area of Skye. The action was as a result of complaints from the local Skeabost Community Council and just a few weeks ago five drivers were reported when they were recorded doing over 80mph.

Learning through Living Culture is the theme of a new partnership course to be run on Skye.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is linking up with the Flodigarry Township Trust to run the community based course later in the year.

The 5-day residential is designed for advanced learners of Gaelic who wish to improve their oral and literary skills as well as deepen their knowledge of Gaelic literature, history and culture in the heart of a thriving Gaelic community in North Skye. 

The week, which runs from August 22-26, includes a mixture of tutors and contributors with outdoor education and class-based workshops.  It is expected that this course will be of great benefit to learners who seek to reach fluency in their studies or profession as well as those who wish to reach fluency for personal development.

There were more problems for vintage paddle steamer Waverley yesterday (June 3rd) with over 100 passengers having to be bussed back to Portree.

A planned cruise from Portree round Raasay and back to the harbour had to be aborted, it’s believed because of tide and wind conditions making it unsafe for the vessel to return to its starting point. Instead the 70 year old ship, the last sea going steamer of its kind in the world, was forced to head to Kyle where it docked. There passengers were met by coaches which brought them back to their original starting point.

One passenger said: “We got to Raasay and were then told that the crew had been informed the conditions were not safe enough to return to Portree so we were taken to Kyle. It did seem strange because the sea seem dead flat and calm.”

 

Some 50 entrants were lining up today for the start of Skye’s gruelling Trotternish Ridge Race.

Amongst the favourites is local and last year’s winner Donnie Campbell, the new record holder of the tough Highland Fling race and who only recently took 5th place in Mont Blanc’s 80km event and  current Scottish 100km champion.

All the runner’s though will be put to the test against the 17 miles route which starts at Flodigarry and finishes at Storr Lochs.  In between the competitors will face some of the most rugged running conditions possible. 

Last year, such were the conditions with driving rain and storm force winds, that the organisers, Skye and Lochalsh Running Club, had to reduce the course to 12 miles finishing in Glenhinnisdal.  However, today heat was likely to be the main issue.

Organiser, Neil Turner said: “This will be the fourth running of the ridge race and the weather has thrown everything at us in the past.”

 

The Skye Festival has announced the line-up for a long-hot summer with 70 events throughout July and August.

Also known as Fèis an Eilein, it is organised by SEALL or Skye Events for All, one of the UK’s liveliest and longest running local promoting organisations. Based at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic College, on the Isle of Skye, SEALL brings together a wide range of culturally diverse events alongside a programme of community led cafes, exhibitions and house concerts. This year SEALL celebrates its 25th birthday.

The Grand old lady of the sea - Waverley – was back on scheduled sailing today after high winds and rough seas led to a shortened cruise yesterday.

The ship, described as one of the world’s greatest historic ships – the last sea-going paddle steamer in existence – should have sailed from o Gairloch but instead it was decided, in light of the weather conditions, to visit only Portree and Kyle.

This morning, though excursion staff confirmed that the Waverley would been sailing on the planned cruise around Raasay.

A new tartan has been developed especially for the Isle of Raasay.

The idea came from island resident, Lillian MacLeod, who retired to the Isle of Raasay several years ago. 

Amid growing speculation that the MV “Coruisk” might be returning to the Mallaig-Armadale route, Calmac have made it clear no final decision has yet been made.

Despite the growing clamour of recent weeks the ferry company appear reluctant to make any decision without first investigating all the consequences of bringing the vessel back from its current role servicing the Oban-Craignure route.

In fact only last week in reply to a query from one Sleat resident, Calmac’s Managing Director, Martin Dorchester, made no indication of the “Coruisk” returning but instead that amendments had been made to the present timetable.

Lifting world records just comes naturally to Skye’s David Hearn and now he’s out to do it again!

At the age of 76, David continues to amaze and while he is already a European champion and holds three world records this week-end he will be in Wales as he takes on all-comers in trying to add the World Single Lift Championship to his formidable tally.

Drivers on the Isle of Skye faced delays as fire fighters tackled an out of control heath fire.

Heavy smoke caused driving difficulties which led police to put in place traffic management as the blaze was tackled close to the A87, three miles south of Portree on Wednesday 1 June.  

Wi-fi friendly ferries right across CalMac’s service will soon be the norm.

While the company may still be under-fire for the on-going problems on Skye’s Armadale-Mallaig crossing at least travellers there and throughout the ferry network will have instant access to the internet.

Already almost half of the 200-mile long Caledonian MacBrayne network is now live with free public access wi-fi – and the remainder will be completed in early July.

In total, 88 vessels and land-based locations will be switched on.  The roll out of free wi-fi has been on-going for some time but the programme has gathered rapid pace in the last two months . The service is seen as being a welcome addition to both visitors and locals alike, especially in many remote areas where mobile signal ranges from poor to absent. There is little 3G or 4G provision across most of the network and this new connectivity is seen as a welcome boost to both business and pleasure travelers who can now work or communicate in real time.