Friday, December 14, 2018
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A three-vehicle accident has taken place near Bernisdale and the road is currently blocked.

Police say the accident was reported at 2:53pm on the A850 and involved a Range Rover and an Audi S4.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland told Skye Times Online that there didn't appear to be any serious injuries.

Recovery has been arranged for the vehicles.

 

 

An event on Skye last week brought together sheep farmers, chefs and the business community to promote a new island brand: Skye mutton.

Over a hundred guests enjoyed haggis-spiced mutton faggot, the winning result of a recipe competition, prepared by chef Scott Davies of the island’s famous Three Chimneys restaurant, at a Skye Connect dinner on November 22.

The meal showcased the result of months of hard work by a Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) group, a Scottish Government and EU-funded rural development initiative, set up to find out whether there might be appetite on the island for Skye mutton rather than just lamb.

“There was 100% positive feedback!” says Janette Sutherland of SAC Consulting, who led the group. “It was tremendous, really tasty. It’s always struck me that although people on Skye eat mutton at home, you never see it on menus, so tourists don’t get the opportunity to try it.”

Voting for the Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh By-Election begins next week (Thursday 6 December.)

Polling stations will open their doors at 7am and remain open until 10pm.

The nine candidates are Gavin Berkenheger, Christopher Birt, Irene Frances Brandt, Harry Christian, Jean Davis, Les Durance, Richard Greene, Alexander MacInnes and George Scott.

Anyone who has applied for a postal vote who may not yet have posted their ballot paper is reminded that they can hand it in to any of the polling stations up until 10 pm on Thursday 6 December.

Two local photographers' images has been shortlisted in the Mountain Photo of the Year competition.

Run by Trail Magazine, 20 images have been selected from over 800 entries featuring UK mountains.

Adrian Trendall, whose image of the Cuillin Ridge from Sgurr na Stri was chosen, told Skye Times Online: "This competition is normally won by photos from Lake District or Snowdonia so it'd be fantastic if a Skye photo could do well."

Also featuring Skye is a moody image of the Fairy Pools, taken by Matt Deamer.

The other finalists include Brian McCready, Chris Dingwall, Chris Himsworth, Catriona Webster, Gareth Owen, Giles Pease, Chris Mutton, Graham Noble, Jeffery Hamilton, Graham Niven, Mark Gamblin, John McSporran, Martin Brown, Martin Kryda, Michael Eyton, Sarah Baynham and Stanislava Krydova.

The winner will be selected by public vote.  Voting is open until 10 December at 5pm.  The short-list can be viewed here.

Image by Adrian Trendall.

 

The first acts have been announced for local festival, Skye Live.

Peatbog Faeries will be playing their first Skye gig since 2015 at the festival.  They will be appearing along with Niteworks.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the festival, which will be held on Friday 6 September and Saturday 7 September 2019.

 

An information session will be held in Portree as part of a review of progress on the Ritchie Report.

Sir Lewis Ritchie will attend the evening session, which will take place in the Tigh-na-Sgire council chamber from 5:30pm to 7pm on Tuesday 4 December.

It will follow a day of meetings between Sir Lewis and local councillors, senior NHS Highland management, the board’s partner organisations, health care groups and representatives.

Catriona MacDonald, chair of both the external view steering group and group, SOS Skye, said: “The evening information session will begin informally with people able to speak with members of the panel and the different external view workstream groups such as Urgent Care, Community beds, Transport and Accessibility etc.

“At around 6pm a panel made up of Sir Lewis Ritchie, Hugo van Woerden, NHS Highland’s director of public health, David Park, chief officer of the Highland Health and Social Care Partnership and Councillor Ronald MacDonald will be held.”

She said each member of the panel will make a short summary and assessment of the day’s proceedings. These summaries will outline what has been achieved so far and views on the way forward.

There will then be an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions of the panel as well as members of the workstream groups.

Power will be disrupted in Portree on Thursday 6 December.

Essential work will be carried out to electrical equipment in the Dunvegan Road, Springfield area.  Such works include tree cutting in the vicinity of the overhead power lines.

SSEN say the power will go off at 9am and be returned by 3pm.

Unfair delivery charges will be tackled during a new action plan from the Scottish Government.

Unveiled in Inverness on Cyber Monday, the plan sets out a series of aims.

These include a proposal to map the worst affected areas and share people's experiences.

It is aimed to improve accuracy of postcode classification tools by the end of 2019 to stop accessible locations being mistakenly categorised as rural or remote.

Research suggests that consumers across the north of Scotland pay on average at least 30% more than people elsewhere in the UK.

Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: "Unfair delivery practices are not only frustrating and discriminatory for consumers, they are a barrier to small businesses operating in rural and remote areas.

"We have long called for an end to unfair delivery charges."

 

A power cut has been planned in the Sleat area.

The power cut will take place on Wednesday 28 November from around 5pm until 6pm.  

The SSE emergency number is 0800 300 999.

 

A multi-agency search was carried out for a missing female yesterday (Sunday 25 November.)

Portree, Dunvegan, Duntulm and Kyle Coastguard Rescue Teams all assisted with the search after the initial call from Portree police.

The female had been missing from her home since the early hours, but was found shortly after the search commenced. 

A spokesperson from Police Scotland told Skye Times Online: "She was reported missing yesterday afternoon and traced safe a short time later."

 

 

An eight-day festival that will bring traditional music to village halls kicked off tonight (Friday 23 November).

The festival comes from SEALL and was inspired by similar events in Prince Edward Island, Canada.  

Elgol Village Hall was the first venue to host the event.

The event was opened by Councillor John Gordon, who said village halls are often the focal point for a community coming together.  He congratulated the SEALL team for their hard work and festival concept.

Skye Crofters are looking to boost their income and tickle the taste buds of tourists by raising the profile of island reared Mutton.

At a tourism conference organised by the areas Destination Management Organisation Skye Connect, crofters unveiled their plans to market locally reared meat from island sheep that are more than a year old.

Mutton was once a dietary staple for islanders but has gained an unfair reputation for being overly tough. Crofters want to get it back on the menu of local restaurants, so diners can appreciate its true qualities.

The project already has the backing of Skye Connect Chair, Shirley Spear.  “Mutton is beautiful meat with a unique flavour created by the sheep grazing on open pasture, moorland and seashore. It tastes distinctively good with an excellent texture. It will be great to see Skye Mutton back on menus – just another fantastic ingredient produced on Skye.

The Skye Mutton project is being led by Janette Sutherland.  “It is hoped we will be able to take Skye Mutton from the field to fork. This could be a really welcome additional income stream for Skye Crofters and an additional treat for visitors to the island.”

The mechanical harvesting of kelp by dredging is to be banned in Scotland after Holyrood voted in favour of legislation proposed by a Green MSP.

Mark Ruskell’s amendment to the Scottish Crown Estate Bill won support from the government and MSPs from all parties bar the Tories.

The legislation outlaws any form of kelp harvesting which prevents the plant from re-growing, potentially devastating the habitats of the many species of fish that live in kelp forests.

Mark Ruskell MSP, the Scottish Greens’ environment spokesperson, said: “Congratulations to the coastal communities throughout Scotland who have campaigned tirelessly for the Scottish Government to have a change of heart.

“Kelp forests are hugely important to our marine environment. They dampen waves, protect coastal communities from flooding and erosion, act as a habitat for hundreds of species including commercial fish and store more carbon than the rainforest.

“Greens have been working extremely hard to ensure unsustainable dredging practices are prohibited in legislation and I am delighted that this has now been realised.”

We are urging businesses to be aware of how to spot suspected counterfeit bank notes during the festive period.

Several reports have been received across the Highlands & Islands relating to the use of fake currency and officers are keen to encourage people to be aware of the warning signs.

Officers from the divisional Preventions and Interventions Unit have been visiting businesses across the region this week in the build-up to Black Friday and the festive period offering advice about retail crime.

Constable Keri Jones from the unit said: "We have been asking retail workers who regularly handle cash to be on their guard so they are able to spot the warning signs relating to counterfeit money.

"Our message is simple - please thoroughly check all bank notes, particularly if they are of high value and being used to purchase a low cost item, before completing a transaction.

"Please examine the notes carefully for texture, watermark, sharpness of print and size.

A 65-year-old has achieved her goal of traversing the Inaccessible Pinnacle.

Sue Reeves, with the help of local guides, Adrian Trendall and Bridgette Blackmore, climbed the pinnacle earlier this month.  

Sue's long-held ambition took a step closer to reality when Adrian's Facebook group, All Things Cuillin, ran a lucky draw and one of the options was for a day in the Cuillin.

Adrian stated: "Sue entered and said that if she won then she'd choose to climb the In Pinn. Her post intrigued me as she said she'd been wanting to do it ever since she sat at it's base 23 years ago. Pointing up at the climbers, she told her friend that one day that would be her.

Kyleakin Primary School received a prestigious national award this year.

The school was awarded gold in the sportscotland School Sport Award, given for innovation and achievement in delivering school sport.

The award also encourages sporting links between schools and the communities around them, providing opportunities for young people to progress.

Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said: “Congratulations to staff and pupils in the Highlands who are putting sport and physical education right at the heart of their school and local community. They should be proud of this fantastic achievement.

“Along with our partners, sportscotland is committed to building a world-class sporting system for everyone, and a crucial part of that is putting young people at the centre of our efforts. Working with local authorities and governing bodies of sport, we are creating closer links between physical education, school sport and club sport, which benefits young people by providing more and better opportunities to take part in sport.

Rock works at the Stromeferry Bypass have been completed.

Highland Council say the work included installing 278 anchors and putting an active netting system in place.

The road to rail bypass will be removed this week and reinstatement works will be carried out to the road.  The road is now open to all traffic from 7am until 10pm - but will remain closed overnight to all traffic.

The road is expected to be fully reopened by 7am on Friday 23 November, although there will still be traffic control on the road whilst reinstatement works are completed and short delays should be expected.

A discussion on future plans for the Armadale and Mallaig crossing will be held.

Kate Forbes MSP will meet with the Scottish Government's Islands Minister.

The MSP said she would be making the case at Thursday’s (29 November) meeting with Paul Wheelhouse MSP that the Skye crossing “needs to be well-supported.”

Earlier this year it was revealed that the route was CalMac’s fifth most popular crossing on the network – surpassing even Ullapool to Stornoway – with 285,483 passengers for the 2017 season.

CalMac's online booking system will be unavailable until 7pm today (Wednesday 21 November.)

The ferry company cite essential maintenance as the reason.

They have stated: "During this time, customers can book over the phone, by calling 0800 066 5000, or by going into one of our local Port Offices."

Calls have been issued for children aged five and under to take part in a new documentary.

Coming from Wall To Wall television, the series will explore child development over the first few years of life.

Producer, Laura Frost, told Skye Times Online: "We hope to capture the milestones in those first years that are universal to us all as we follow the lives of children from across the globe.

"We are currently looking for families with young children to take part in the series, and would love to speak to anyone with children between 0-5 years old, who might be interested in finding out a bit more about the series."

To find out more, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0207 241 9321.

 

Vehicular access to The Plock from Heathmount Place is to be closed off.

Kyle & Lochalsh Community Trust stated they have been approached numerous times by residents who have raised concerns.

The Trust stated: "Things which were raised with us include:

- increased vehicular traffic,
- cars racing up the Plock,
- cars speeding past small children playing on the road,
- cars and buses unable to reverse when other vehicles are approaching from the opposite site
- cars parked on private driveways being damaged on regular basis by drivers unable to reverse properly
- tour buses being left at that Plock entrance despite there being no space.

A female has qualified to command the Kyle RNLI lifeboat for the first time ever. 

Yesterday (Monday 19 November) saw Emma Noble sit and pass the assessments required to become one of the two newest helms on the lifeboat.  Also qualifying with Emma was Andrew MacDonald.  

31-year-old Emma, has been a part of the lifeboat crew for the past five years, and has been working towards qualifying to become a helm for the past year.

Speaking of the achievement, Lifeboat Operations Manager, Sandy Murray said: “It is an historic day for our lifeboat station, as Emma has become the first woman to hold the position of helm since the station was started almost 30 years ago.

"Emma has been a dedicated volunteer with us for a number of years, and this was the natural evolution for her. Everyone at the station would like to congratulate both Emma, and fellow crew member, Andrew MacDonald, who also qualified yesterday.”

A survey of crofters’ attitudes taken this month by the Scottish Crofting Federation shows that crofters are wary of the future of the livestock industry in the Highlands and Islands.

Only 14% of respondents are confident about the future, as compared to more than twice that number who are despondent (31%). Fifty five per cent said they were uncertain, citing Brexit and the knock-on effect that might have on prices and support payments.

Crofters and farmers are having to make decisions on stock numbers without knowing what sort of market they are going to be selling animals into. With both sheep and cattle producers, more people are reducing stock numbers than increasing them. For cattle the figures are 24% reducing stock and 13% increasing; for sheep the numbers are 26% reducing stock and 19% increasing. Most people are maintaining numbers while waiting to see what happens. But the drift of livestock from the hills is set to continue.

Steps are being taken to prevent Skye's meteorite sites becoming further victims of geo-vandalism.  

Located in south Skye, the sites gained widespread media coverage after Dr Simon Drake of Birkbeck College and Dr Andrew Beard discovered evidence of meteorite impact earlier this year.  The deposits contained vanadium rich Osbornite and niobium rich osbornite -  mineral material never before found on the planet.

However, the site at the chambered cairn was recently targeted by meteorite hunters, who sold samples online.

Ewen MacPherson from the Estates Office in Portree, advised that both he and the crofting graziers were pleased to agree to carry out a few small  measures  on the site in order to help protect it.

Dr Simon Drake told The Skye Times: "The site has existed for 60 million years through wind, rain and glaciation - and then is partly destroyed in minutes, presumably with a pick and shovel."

Inverness' Eastgate Centre and Victorian Market are working together this Christmas.

The Eastgate Centre will have reindeer-themed decorations, while their existing festive decorations have been donated to the Victorian Market.

Jackie Cuddy, Eastgate Centre Manager, stated: "We have always believed that a City Centre is only as good as the parts it is made up of.  The Victorian Market has as big a part to play in the vitality of the City Centre as Eastgate Centre. As a member of the stakeholder group for the Victorian Market it seemed an obvious choice to donate the decorations to the Market.

"In addition it is always good to recycle and refurbish decorations especially when they can be utilised for the benefits of the local community elsewhere."

Accepting the donated decorations, Victorian Market Manager, Jo Murray, said: “This is an exceptionally generous gift that the Victorian Market has received and I thank Jackie Cuddy for supporting us in this way. We could not have afforded this type of internal decoration otherwise. It goes to show how collaborative working among Inverness city centre businesses can benefit the public for the least amount of expense. We are installing some of the decorations in Market Arcade this year with a view to adapt the rest for future use around the Market.”

 

Further updates have been released on a road traffic collision, which occurred yesterday (Sunday 18 November.)

The crash, which took place on the A87 close to Sligachan Hotel, involved a Fiat 500 and a Renault Megane.  

A spokesperson for Police Scotland told Skye Times Online: "All occupants of the vehicles taken initially to Broadford Hospital and then occupants of the Fiat - a man and a woman - taken to Raigmore Hospital. Injuries are not life-threatening.

"The road was closed until around 6.45pm to allow for investigation work and for the vehicles to be recovered."

Two disorientated walkers had to be assisted from the Quiraing to the car park yesterday (Sunday 18 November.)

Skye Mountain Rescue Team posted an almost entirely black video with the sobering warning: "This is what you see if you find yourself lost in the hills with no torch..."

Seven members of the team went to the Quiraing to assist the walkers.  Thanks to the efforts of SARLOC rescue, involving using a person's phone to find their location, and local police, their position was already known.

 

The Sligachan to Portree road is currently closed (Sunday 18 November.)

A road traffic collision, believed to have involved two cars, took place around 2pm earlier today.  Police are currently attending the scene.

The Struan hill road is currently open to traffic heading one way from Portree to Struan.

Police are appealing for information to identify the driver of a car, which collided with a pedestrian in Portree.

Police say the incident took place on Thursday 8 November around 1:30pm.  

They stated: "We are appealing for help in identifying the female driver aged 50-60 of a red Volvo that collided with a pedestrian on Dunvegan Road, Portree about 1.30pm on 8 November near to the petrol station."

The police confirmed that the driver did stop, but more information is required.  To assist, call 101 with incident reference 3977.

 

 

Two temporary fuel pumps are open in Broadford.

Improvements to the Co-Op and petrol station are ongoing.  It is aimed to open the food store and fuel station in March 2018.

Currently, two temporary diesel pumps are available.  The store is open from 7am until 10pm.  Diesel will available during the shop's opening hours.

 

Glencoe ski centre is set to offer a guaranteed opening and closing date for the ski season.

The news follows the announcement of funding for new snowmaking equipment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

HIE has awarded the operator, Glencoe Mountain Limited (GML) £140,000 towards the £350,000 costs of acquiring the equipment from Italian firm, TechnoAlpin.

Having it in place permanently at Glencoe will guarantee a start date to the skiing season and will help maintain snow cover during periods when there is a lack of natural snow.

The snowmaking equipment will give continuous cover over part of the hill which will benefit the business and safeguard and generate employment.

The project is part of a wider programme by GML which includes the development of additional visitor accommodation, online ticketing and ski hire facilities which help to develop Glencoe as an all year-round attraction.

It will also enable the centre to guarantee skiing during the three key holiday periods of Christmas, half-term and Easter. This will help mitigate the impact that lack of natural snow can have on the company’s profitability and workforce.

The Stromeferry Bypass will be open to all daytime traffic on Monday 19 November, Highland Council has said.

From 7am onwards until 10pm at night, all road users will be able to use the A890.

There may still be traffic controls on the road during daytime operations and short delays should be expected.

The road will remain closed to all traffic overnight from 10pm until 7am.  Highland Council say this is to allow the removal of the road to rail bypass and associated reinstatement works.

The road is expected to be fully reopened by 7am on Friday 23 November, although there will still be traffic control on the road while works are completed and short delays should be expected.

Weekly updates are available on the Council’s website here.

Ten finalists have been chosen for the Skye Photo Challenge competition.

Featuring dramatic images of Skye, including Elgol, the Old Man of Storr and the Cuillins, each photograph was selected by competition judges.  The winner will be chosen by public vote.

Finalists include Paul Milne, Graham Binns, Stuart Robb, Edwin Rem, Dietmar Herzog, Stephen Dauris, Olaf Edler, Dave Brightwell, Sean Speed and Diogo Rodrigues.

Skye and Lochalsh primary school pupils still have time to enter a Christmas Card competition, which could see their design featured on a gondola.

Kate Forbes MSP has asked young people in primary schools across the Highlands to design a festive card for the consultancy.

This year, the winning design will feature on the UK's only mountain gondola.  Courtesy of the Nevis Range, the winner will also get a gondola trip up Aonach Mor near Ben Nevis, as well as seeing their front cover distributed across Kate Forbes MSP's Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency.

The Stromeferry Bypass is on schedule to completely reopen near the end of this month.  However, a recently released report suggests the rock face is still at risk of collapsing.

Robert John MacInnes, admin of the Stromeferry Bypass Updates 2018 Facebook page, told The Skye Times: "The 2018 report for the rock face inspections carried out on the Bypass was released a week or two ago. It details some very horrifying evidence that the Bypass is not just a 'potential collapse' risk, it is collapsing. Rocks and boulders are actually falling continuously down the rock face and are being caught in a roadside deer fence, as well as some actually reaching roadside ditches and the road. There are pictures attached to the report including large swollen cracks in huge boulders further up the hill, and collapses behind the already installed rock catch netting.

"Four sections of rock face are classed as 'very high risk' for collapse (five including the rock face currently being worked on), with seven sections marked as 'high risk.' The number of sections of rock face classed as high or very high risk has increased since 2017. 'Rock failure could potentially exceed net/reach road and railway' is a common statement throughout the report, along with 'due to budget constraints' meaning that the Council have not had the money to carry out full stabilisation work to many sections."

The Bypass is set to open without road on rail diversion from Saturday 24 November.  

A dog, which went missing earlier this month, has been located today (Wednesday 14 November.)

Kara went missing in the Staffin area during a firework display.

Owner, John MacKenzie, asked for help to locate the Golden Retriever after she went missing on Saturday 10 November.

Mr MacKenzie told The Skye Times today: "She was found in Valtos thus morning at a house where residents are currently away!

"She is fairly fit and well apart from being thin and with some cuts and scratches!

Raasay Primary School pupils raised £863.01 for Social Bite charity.

The pupils slept out in their school on Friday 9 November to raise funds for the charity, which aims to end homelessness in Scotland.

The pupils also ran a pop up cafe, while their own meal consisted of pasta and tinned fruit from a box of community donations.

A new initiative has been developed by Police Scotland.  

The development aims to make it easier for people from remote and rural areas to apply and train to become Special Constables.

Training would be delivered locally both face to face with officers and online, allowing students to access materials related to their role as Special Constables.

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr, of local policing, said: “Volunteering has an extremely positive impact on people and we know the benefits this can bring between local officers and local communities.

“We want to make people feel like they can volunteer with Police Scotland – regardless of where they live.

“Very often travelling to the Scottish Police College in Fife for training is simply not practical or appealing for an applicant in areas such as Skye or Stornoway.

A crewman on a fish farm vessel was rescued near Dunvegan Head yesterday (Monday 12 November.)

The crewman had sustained a head injury and was airlifted off the vessel, Fame, by coastguard helicopter.  

The injured man was taken to Broadford Hospital for treatment.  

 

 

A recent charity dinner in Sleat raised over £5,600 for The Highlands Support Refugees.

The money will pay for a 40ft container of aid to be shipped to Chios in Greece. The event was organised by Gwen Culbertson and Angela MacGillivray and plans are now under way for a clothes collection in Portree in the new year. 

"The incredible support we have from local artists, local businesses and the local community ensures that ever penny raised goes directly to The Highlands Support Refugees and the amazing work they do," said the duo.  "We have raised almost £10,000 in the past year and we have been overwhelmed by people's generosity and support for this important cause."

Windows have been damaged at a house in Portree on Sunday 11 November.

Police say the property was located at Fraser Crescent and was damaged in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch on 101, using the reference NP/4238/18.

 

The search is ongoing for a dog last seen on Saturday 10 November.

Owner, John MacKenzie, told The Skye Times that Kara, the Golden Retriever, went missing in the Staffin area during a firework display.  He said: "Kara was out in the garden with me in the evening as I was pottering about."

When Mr MacKenzie went inside, he left Kara to enjoy herself in the garden.  "I was sorting out dinner when I looked out the window and saw the fireworks!" he continued.  "We went to the door and saw that she wasn't there.  She does quite often wander round to my folks' house, so initially wondered if that's what she did...  but no!"

Mr MacKenzie has asked those in the surrounding areas to keep an eye in their sheds and outbuildings for his dog.

Searching with a drone for the missing dog has so far proved unfruitful. 

Photograph from John MacKenzie.

 

Delays are to be expected if travelling on the Portree to Sligachan road.

A vehicle is currently being recovered from the road.  The road is open to single-file traffic.

This follows a one-vehicle accident which took place earlier this morning (Monday 12 November.)

A spokesperson for Police Scotland told The Skye Times that a van left the A87 road near Sligachan.  This was reported at 8:27am.

The van had only one occupant with no serious injuries.  

A major power cut is currently leaving parts of Skye and the surrounding areas without electricity (Monday 12 November.). It initially affected around 30,000 consumers.

Now (4pm) SSEPD say: "Due to logistical issues in coordinating a complex restoration plan, we are now expecting to restore supplies by 18:00 [6pm] as quickly and as safely as we can."  This is seven hours later than they first claimed today.  Some areas will be served by mobile generators.

Portree's lights went back on briefly just before 2pm but flickered off again soon after.

Roads within Portree centre will be closed tomorrow (Sunday 11 November.)

The Remembrance Day Parade is set to take place and roads will be closed between 10:40am and 12:30pm.  

Roads set to be closed include Wentworth Street, part of the Somerled Square road and part of Bank Street.

Highland Council have said that temporary traffic prohibitions will affect vehicular traffic on Bank Street, closed at the access to the Skye Gathering Hall to its junctions with The Green and Wentworth Street.  This will be closed between 10:40am and 11:00am, and again between 11:30am and 12:30pm.

Wentworth Street will be closed between 10:40am and 11am and again between 11:30am and 12:30pm.  

Also closed will be the Somerled Square road between its junction at Home Farm Road and Wentworth Street.  

 

A cook at Broadford Primary School has won Highland Council's Employee of the Year 2018 Award.

Annette Burfooot, who has been at the school for 11 years, is described as a skilled and dedicated member of staff who is passionate about promoting healthy eating and regularly goes into classrooms to chat to the children about nutrition and developing healthy eating habits. She also encourages them to proactively get involved in the planning of menus for school meals making the most of fresh herbs and vegetables grown in the school garden.

With the encouragement of the Council’s catering service, earlier this year Annette entered the annual Scottish national competition, Scottish School cook of the Year. She won the Highland heat and then went on to compete with cooks from throughout Scotland and came away with the runner up award.

Before competing, Annette consulted and trialled menu options with primary 6 and 7 pupils who helped her select the mouth-watering menu she put forward. All the fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit used in her award winning dish that impressed the judges were grown by the pupils. After attending the award ceremony she laid on a party with lots of tasty treats to personally thank pupils and staff for all their help and support.

Skye sheep producers and chefs are encouraged to have their say on Skye menus.

One Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) group led by SAC Consulting, part of Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), is researching the potential for mutton to be featured in Isle of Skye restaurants and cafes.

A group made up of Skye sheep farmers, chefs and restaurant owners, is investigating the opportunity to market Old Season Lamb (12-24 months old) and/or mutton (two years plus).

Chefs and restaurant owners are being asked whether they think there is demand for Isle of Skye Mutton or Old Season Lamb in their restaurants and what they feel is the consumer perception of the meat.

In a separate survey, local sheep producers are being asked if they would be interested in producing mutton, and if they would have any concerns about doing so.

Police are appealing for information after a Jansvans vehicle was vandalised in Portree.

Police say the white Ford Transit van was damaged on Thursday 1 November between 1:30am-7am.  

The vehicle was parked at Cruachan Place when its window was smashed.

Police have asked anyone with information to contact PC Low at Portree Police station by phoning 101 and quoting Crime Reference NP'4175/18 or by contacting Crimestoppers if you wish to remain anonymous on 0800555111.  

Delays are still to be expected as Stromeferry works continue.  

The road will be closed at night from approximately 10pm until 7am.

Short road closures are scheduled throughout the day.

Councillor Allan Henderson Chair of Environment, Development and Infrastructure stated: “The work at Stromeferry is progressing well, and the new signalling has made a huge difference.

"We remain committed as a Council to undertaking the stabilising of the rock slopes and we will ensure that funding is provided to undertake future priority works.

"The monitoring work that officers currently do will be backed up with geotechnical expertise from our consultants. Full costings will need to be done as we try to accelerate the funds for high priority repairs such as this. We also need to consider possible speed limits in the area to safeguard travellers.”

 

Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant is backing the company proposing a controversial kelp harvesting plan off the Western Isles.

Mrs Grant has today (Thursday November 8th) issued an invitation to all MSPs to a briefing meeting with Marine Biopolymers Limited (MBL) next Wednesday, (14th November) ahead of the Scottish Crown Estates Bill, which will have its third and final reading at Holyrood on Wednesday 21st November. In its current form, the bill would ban MBL's business as unsustainable and harmful to the environment.

Directors and advisers from MBL will join Mrs Grant to explain their business, why it will be good for Scotland and why a campaign group, set up specifically to stop it harvesting this kelp, is wrong.

In her invitation to MSPs today, Mrs Grant said: “Sustainable economic development is critical for the Highlands and MBL is at the heart of Scotland's National Industrial Biotechnology Plan and HIE's MaxiMar strategy; its "marine biorefinery" is part of a bigger picture of biotech-based marine business development.

“Using a revolutionary "green" process, MBL plans to make several biopolymers that have very high value applications in healthcare and food. It will extract these products from the "stem" of Laminaria hyperborea kelp, Scotland's dominant seaweed.”

The campaign group No Kelp Dredging has run a campaign protesting against MBL’s planned harvesting scheme since a pre-licensing application was submitted to Marine Scotland.

Public drop-in consultations will be held regarding salmon farming.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have announced proposals for a revised regime that aims to strengthen the regulation of the salmon farming sector.

The proposals follow one of Scotland's largest, most comprehensive research projects into aquaculture., in which SEPA stated that Scottish salmon farm medicine is significantly impacting local marine environments.

The survey, ‘Fish Farm Survey Report – Evaluation of a New Seabed Monitoring Approach to Investigate the Impacts of Marine Cage Fish Farms’ examined environmental impacts from eight Scottish fish farms. 302 chemical samples were analysed from 93 sample stations and 296 ecological samples from 142 sample stations.

Dulse & Brose at The Bosville has been awarded a prestigious Good Food Award for 2019.

The restaurant at 9-11 Bosville Terrace, Portree, was established more than three years ago.

The Good Food Awards say that: “Over the last twelve months we have evaluated customer feedback and these premises have demonstrated exceptional levels of food quality, service and value when compared to our industry benchmarks in their category.

The 38th annual Colonel Jock Memorial Music Festival on Saturday (3rd November) saw a tremendous gathering of musical talent at Viewfield House, Portree, with competitions in chanter, piping, fiddle, clarsach, Gaelic singing and mixed instrument duets.

A Public meeting is to be held as Skye Cycle Way project gets ready for next phase. 

The campaign to create a safe path between the Skye Bridge and Broadford is gaining momentum as it reaches its 1-year anniversary.  Volunteers involved in the project are to host an open meeting on 8 November to update people on progress and discuss next steps.

Faye Macleod of Portree and Braes Community Trust SCIO was interviewed yesterday (Thursday November 1st) by BBC ALBA  about the trust's plans to deliver improvements to Portree harbour.

The interview follows the launch last month (October 2018) of a vision document which set out the trust’s ideas for greater community involvement with the management and facilities offered by the harbour.

A yellow ‘be aware’ warning for heavy rain has been issued by the Met Office, covering Skye throughout the day on Saturday (November 3rd).

The warning suggests that extremely wet conditions are highly likely, with spray and flooding on the roads making journey times longer and with likely impacts on bus and rail travel.

The warning period lasts from midnight to midnight, describing heavy rain spreading from the west on Friday evening, lasting for much of Saturday, before slowly clearing from the northwest. 30-50mm is expected quite widely, especially on high ground with 60-80mm possible in a few areas.

The closure of Broadford’s 24-hour petrol station has led to warnings for drivers coming to Skye about making sure they have enough fuel to complete their journey.

CalMac has advised travellers heading for Uig ferry services to ensure they have enough fuel for their journey.

Police, bank representatives and advisors from Citizens Advice Scotland got together in Portree last night (Wednesday October 31st) to give timely advice on the ways to spot and avoid a scam.

A patient who needed to be airlifted from Broadford Hospital was taken to Glasgow by Coastguard helicopter yesterday (Wednesday October 31st) because freezing weather made it unsafe for the Scottish Air Ambulance to fly.

NHS Highland board has approved a business case to modernise services in Skye and Lochalsh.

The board plans to invest in modernising and delivering more sustainable care and services for the communities, including investment in new or refurbished community hospital ‘hub’ at Broadford.

For Skye Lochalsh and South West Ross, prior to submission of the Full Business Case, more work is required to determine what services may be required following the closure of The Haven, a private care home, and what that might look like (care at home, housing solutions and care home places).

This is something that will be discussed with the relevant communities and other providers. Funding implications for a transport solution for both projects, meanwhile, will also be clarified at the Full Business Case stage.

At the NHS Highland board meeting at Assynt House, Inverness, on Tuesday 28 November 2017, the board was told that the ‘foundations’ of the redesigns were based on investing in staff, services and infrastructure to help more people to be independent at home or as close to home as possible while disinvesting in old buildings and outdated models of care.

Broadford Youth Club made it to the finals in sportscotland's Thanks To The National Lottery competition.

In October, a group of young footballers made a 20 second video on how the new sports pitch in Broadford has affected their lives and communities.  The video can be seen here.

If the Youth Club win, they receive £2000 to go towards football and sporting activities.  

To vote, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "6 Broadford Youth Club."  Voting closes at midday on Friday 1 December.  People can vote as many times as they wish.

Preliminary designs for Broadford's new hospital hub will be displayed in December.

The drop-in event will have technical representatives from the design team available to explain the initial design ideas for the new healthcare facility.  

The event is part of the planning process for the new hospital.

NHS Highland submitted a pre-planning application in July 2017. If the process progresses as planned, work should start on the new hospital in 2019 with completion by the end of 2020.

The facility is to be sited on land adjacent to Dr MacKinnon Memorial Hospital.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch is backing a new campaign calling for fairer delivery charges to remote and rural communities.

With less than a month to go to Christmas, Kate Forbes MSP said it was "ridiculous" that parts of the Highland mainland are classified as "overseas" by some retailers.

A website has been launched here, where consumers who have been ripped off by extortionate delivery fees are encouraged to sign a petition as well as name and shame cowboy firms online.

It has already been reported that one company wanted to charge more than £40 extra for taking an item to the other side of the toll-free Skye Bridge.

The campaign is being led by Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, in a bid to stop rip-off parcel delivery charges that discriminate against homes and businesses in many parts of Scotland.

A yellow "Be Aware" warning has been issued regarding ice on Skye and Lochalsh.

The warning is active from 6pm on Tuesday 28 until 10am on Wednesday 29.

In addition, there is a slight risk of snow accumulations above 200m. 

 

A place has been awarded to the Skye and Lochalsh Running and Athletics Club for the London Marathon in 2018.

The chosen entrants have yet to be decided and the names will be drawn from a hat on Saturday 2 December.

Highlands and Islands Police have said that the A86 near Roybridge will be closed this evening (Tuesday 28 November.)

The area will remain closed for several hours to allow for recovery of an overturned HGV.

The lorry was involved in a one vehicle road traffic collision about two miles east of Roybridge on the Newtonmore to Spean Bridge road on Sunday 26 November.

The road will close at 8pm tonight to allow recovery of this vehicle to take place.

This is expected to take several hours and the only diversion will be via the A9 and A82 through Inverness.

Motorists are asked to plan ahead and leave extra time for their journey if needing to travel on this route this evening.

Isle of Skye Distillers will be opening their Portree shop and Gin School on Friday 1 December.

The official opening will take place from 2pm and will enable visitors to see round the premises and see various selected island gins, including a special mulled Christmas gin.

The shop will also be selling local crafts and produce.

Gin School dates will be announced soon.

The new shop can be found behind the Portree Hotel on Bayfield Road.

 

A new app is being developed, with the aim of making it easier to learn Gaelic.

The app aims to help people build confidence in using and pronouncing Gaelic by listening to a phrase on your device and then repeating.

Using automatic speech recognition, a technology that is widely used by Apple, Google and Amazon, the application provides feedback on your pronunciation. Users can work through a number of challenges and only pass to the next level once they have successfully completed each step.

A vintage recipe book made to raise funds for the Skye and Lochalsh Crossroads Care attendant scheme could be redone.

Crossroads Care attendant scheme evolved into Crossroads Care Charity - and the team are currently interested in locating other copies of the recipe book and anyone who can remember it.

Kay MacDonald, Crossroads shop supervisor, told The Skye Times: "We would love to hear any stories from anyone who might remember anything about the recipe book.

"Last year was Crossroads 30th anniversary, so little things like this mean a lot to us.

"We would love to find out if anyone else has a copy."

Anyone with any information is asked to telephone 01478612399 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Officers from Police Scotland working with a range of partner agencies have worked together to remove a number of abandoned and untaxed vehicles from the roads of the Highlands.

The first week of action has seen in excess of 50 vehicles seized and 40 clamped.

This action has followed a number of complaints from local residents regarding apparently abandoned vehicles and vehicles which have clearly been used without excise.

Over the course of the week of action, further road traffic offences have been detected, such as vehicles being driven without insurance.

Highland Council and the DVLA will continue to carry out enforcement action across the region, supported by Police Scotland.

Chief Inspector Iain MacLelland said: “I am delighted to have the support of partner agencies in this co-ordinated approach to abandoned vehicles in our community.

"Local residents have consistently raised concerns about anti-social behaviour linked to these vehicles and there is the obvious danger of vehicles being used which are not roadworthy.

Police in Skye and Lochalsh are continuing to carry out enquiries to trace missing fisherman Alasdair Macleod in the Applecross area.

The 57-year-old was reported missing on the afternoon of Monday, November 20 after his boat "Varuna" was seen on rocks north of Applecross Bay.

Extensive search activity has been carried out during the week by police and partners in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and RNLI as well as local

Police activity in the area has included land-based searches by specialist officers and the Police Scotland dog unit, with aerial support from the Police Scotland helicopter on Wednesday.

Further activity planned to continue in the area over the course of the coming days.

Kate Forbes has called for "sensible and proportionate" fees for the use of electric vehicle charging points across the Highlands.

Currently there is no cost for people using them, but last month Highland Council leaders signalled their intention to move towards a pricing strategy.

The latest figures show that usage at the council's current 22 charge points is costing the local authority around £20,000-a-year in electricity.

Kate Forbes MSP said she hopes that the charging scheme in Moray is not replicated, where there is a flat charge of £3.80 per use, regardless of how much or little electricity is used.

Staff at a Skye Hospital earned praise for responding “admirably” to a major incident exercise while still coping with their normal day jobs earlier this month.

Almost 30 staff were involved in the two-hour-long exercise at the MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford designed to test NHS Highland’s current clinical and tactical procedures in the event of a major emergency.

The exercise, known as ‘Exercise Insight’, began at 11am on Thursday 2 November 2017 and virtually everyone working on shift at the hospital – whether doctors, nurses, radiographers, physiotherapists, office staff or porters – was involved.

A year in the planning, the exercise’s scenario involved a van overtaking a tour bus on the Kyleakin straight in the south of Skye colliding with an oncoming family car.

Rather than having real people playing the part of pretend casualties, 22 virtual casualty profile cards – giving personal details and clinical information - were used in what is known as a Practical Exercise Without Casualties (PEWC).

Director of the exercise, Dr Alistair Innes, said: “The PEWC stretched the whole team at Broadford, but everyone performed admirably.

Ownership of the Fairy Pools car park will transfer to the Minginish Community Hall Association (MCHA).

The Scottish Land Fund has today (Thursday 23 November) announced a grant of £38,500 that will allow the MCHA to take ownership of the car park.

The existing traffic congestion around the popular tourist attraction, and the impact of this on local residents, has been well documented in recent times, and a decision by Forestry Enterprise Scotland to sell the land at a discounted price, under the community asset transfer scheme, was warmly welcomed earlier this month.

Today's Scottish Land Fund grant gives the group the means to purchase the existing car park and adjacent 30 acres of woodland to make way for a new and improved car park with an additional one hundred spaces, as well as exploring the possibility of providing much needed toilet facilities.

A forest school is planned in the Broadford Community Woodland.

The planned forest school is in response to the wishes of Broadford Primary School pupils, who in 2012 stated they would like to use the woodland to build dens, watch animals, put up bird houses, collect pine cones and much more.

The Directors of Broadford and Strath Community Company are now pleased to announce an award of £32,500 from the Aspiring Communities Fund to explore the options for delivery and submit a funding application to develop a Forest School in the woodland.

Shirley Grant has been appointed as project officer to take the project forward, prepare the business plan and submit the funding application which, if successful, will allow a pilot Forest School to be established.

The first taste of winter has arrived on Skye.

Traffic Scotland tweeted earlier today (Thursday 23 November) that there were reports of a HGV stuck in snow on the Portree to Uig road.

The Met office has issued a yellow warning for snow for the Highlands and Western Isles.  

Above image from Mikey Mahon, who went off the road earlier today in Waternish.  

Discovery of an unusual fossil on the Isle of Skye could significantly advance scientists’ understanding of prehistoric times in the region.

The fossil, from the jawbone of a small crocodile-like creature, was found near Duntulm Castle on the north coast of the island. It is thought to be approximately 170 million years old.

Scientists examined the structure of the jawbone using high-resolution X-rays. From studying this fossil and others previously found on Skye, they suggest that crocodile-like animals from a family of close crocodile relatives, known as neosuchians, were becoming more diverse on the island’s shores at this time.

Scientists cannot assign the fossil to a specific species owing to its incompleteness and size. However, they say that the discovery of further fossils from Skye may be key to classifying this species.

A Scottish Parliament investigation into the redesign of healthcare services by NHS Highland in Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross will continue after evidence from Kate Forbes MSP.

Earlier yesterday (22 November) the cross-party Public Petitions Committee agreed to write to the Cabinet Secretary on Healthcare to ask questions on the timescale and the terms of reference of the independent, external view that was announced by NHS Highland last month.

On 27 October, NHS Highland confirmed that the Scottish Government had approved a request for an external view to look at the arrangements for North Skye in terms of urgent care, minor injury and access to A&E services after a round of meetings with local elected members and community council representatives. NHS Highland stated at the time that this review was not about the wider service redesign for Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.

The creation of two teachers from Skye earned the award for Innovation in Education at the prestigious Gaelic Awards 

The online Gaelic Education resource site for Primary School Teachers “Lasadh” is the creation of two Highland Council Gaelic Medium Primary School Teachers, Mairi MacDonald and Gwen Culbertson who teach at Bun-sgoil Shlèite on the Isle of Skye.

The Scottish Gaelic Awards which were held in Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow on 15 November are part of a drive to celebrate all aspects of Scottish culture and were sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig. 

Councillor Alister Mackinnon, Chair of The Highland Council’s Corporate Resources Committee and Chair of the Gaelic Strategy and Implementation Group congratulated Mairi and Gwen, he said: “This award for Innovation in Education for Lasadh is a fantastic achievement by Mairi and Gwen who have worked tirelessly over a number of years to develop the web resource for Primary School Teachers. Their dedication to furthering Gaelic Medium Education strongly reflects and supports Highland Council’s Programme commitment to the Gaelic language and I commend them on their creativity and perseverance.”

A new group could be started with the purpose of building a new cycle round from Broadford to Kyle.

 

Broadford and Strath Community Company are looking into the possibility of a new, purpose-built cycle route.  Part of the plan involves submitting an application to the European Regional Development fund, administered by the Energy Saving Trust.

The Community Company say they will need people to help with finding the best route, negotiating with landowners, sourcing legal advice, costing the construction and finding matched funding.

A meeting will be held and everyone is welcome to attend it at Broadford Village Hall on Thursday 23 November from 4pm to 6pm.

For further information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Local birth services have been temporarily suspended at Broadford hospital, due to a shortage of available midwives.

NHS Highland has also suspended the Out of Hours (OOHs) midwifery service for Skye and Lochalsh from Tuesday 21 November.

They state that the changes are due to a temporary but significant shortage of available midwives and expect the services changes to stay in place for a minimum of a month.

NHS Highland wishes to stress that midwifery services will continue during normal working hours from 09:00 – 17:00 hrs, seven days per week (including Saturday and Sundays).

Sarah McLeod, lead midwife for Skye & Lochalsh, said: “At the present time, we must ensure that we continue to provide the normal daily midwifery service for women and babies on a scheduled basis.”

“Due to unexpected staff absence and vacancies, there are insufficient midwives to cover a local birth and OOHs service safely. We are endeavouring to find support via the staff bank; however, this means we will be unable to maintain a full 24/7 service for the time being.”

The search continues for a missing fisherman.

Alasdair Macleod, 57, from the Applecross area was reported missing on the afternoon of Monday, November 20 after his boat "Varuna" was seen on rocks north of Applecross Bay.

The boat was found to be empty and a search was launched in the area.

Search activity has continued today with Police Scotland working with the RNLI, volunteer vessels, Maritime and Coastguard Agency helicopter and a large-scale ground search involving coastguard and police search teams, including the dog unit.

A Skye band have created an especially commissioned score to accompany Edinburgh's Hogmanay fireworks.

Electronica band, Niteworks, were commissioned to create a nine-minute sequence to be matched to pyrotechnics.

Niteworks will be performing live at the event and will be working with award-winning film composer and sound designer, Dan Jones, and pyrotechnicians, Titanium.

The band, formed by a group of high school friends on Skye in 2008, has won the commission ahead of an appearance at the Hydro in Glasgow in January with the Skye-born stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill as part of the Celtic Connections festival.

A new fundraising challenge will see local runner, Alistair Macpherson, run from the Isle of Barra to Skye.

The challenge, which will take place in May, involves Ally covering ten islands in the space of just two days.

To date, Ally has raised £50,000 for cancer charities.  

His Facebook page, and more details, can be found here.

A large scale search is taking place for a fisherman who is currently missing today (Monday 20 November.)

Portree Lifeboat was launched at 3:13pm today to Applecross, where a fishing boat was found around a mile off shore.

Numerous other vessels have responded to the emergency, including Kyle of Lochalsh RNLI, HM Coastguard helicopter and Applecross Rescue Team.

Ardvasar Hotel sees temporary closure under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.  

The Hotel Management have apologised for any inconvenience and hope to get the hotel reopened as soon as it is safe to do so.

 

125 years of Skye shinty was celebrated under sparkling lights on Saturday 25 November.

The Shinty Ball was held in the Portree Community Centre, starting with a drinks reception.  

Skye Camanachd Social Club chairman, Douglas MacDougall, opened the evening and welcomed the many in attendance.

Internationally acclaimed mountaineering author, Simon Yates, is gearing himself up to present a lecture, My Mountain Life.

The Isle of Skye is somewhere he has visited many times, his most notable visit being to complete a winter traverse of the infamous Cuillin Ridge some twenty five years ago in his early climbing days. Simon has also toured to Glasgow, Dundee, Stornoway, Lerwick, Ullapool with his final night in Portree.

Best known for his harrowing expedition to the Andes documented in ‘Touching the Void’, Simon is one of the most famous and accomplished exploratory mountaineers of his time. ‘Life and death’ is a common phrase used to express a difficult decision, but few people ever really have to face the reality of that choice. Simon is a man who had to take such a decision, whilst trapped on his descent from Peru’s Siula Grande with climbing partner Joe Simpson.

There was nationwide admiration and support over the weekend for Skye and Lochaber Police as they used their Twitter feed to appeal directly to women who are the victims of violence and intimidation in their own homes.

In a series of co-ordinated tweets, they addressed “A letter to a young woman in #Skye” saying “We know you follow this account and want you to see this. We’ve told you previously that we think you are at risk of domestic abuse from your partner.

“You might not see us, you might not even like us being involved but we are always thinking about how we can help you

Gwen Culbertson and Mairi Macdonald pictured with journalist Torquil Crichton, Donald 'Ryno' Morrison of Storlann, and Cathy Macdonald

A website of resources for Gaelic Medium Education, run by two primary school teachers from Skye, has won for the Scottish Gaelic Award for Innovation in Education, after being shortlisted last year.

The website, Lasadh, is managed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig and led by teachers Gwen Culbertson and Mairi Macdonald, who both teach in Bun-sgoil Shleite.

The streets will be filled with Santas of all shapes and sizes, as the Skye Santa Dash returns this year.

The fun run will take place on Saturday 16 December.

The two mile run will raise funds for Crossroads Care Skye and Lochalsh.  

The chosen charity in 2016 was Skye Mountain Rescue.  

Anyone who wishes to entre the run can do so here.

The Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre will be closed for the morning of Friday 24 November.

The Centre will reopen in the afternoon from 2pm tp 5pm.

Highland Council have issued a dangerous building notice for the Inverness Retail Park.

The notice follows an incident on Tuesday 14 November where two glass panels fell from a shop window and injured a visitor.  

Highland Council say the park cannot reopen until measures have been put in place to meet the conditions of the notice to make the site safe.

A crofting surgery will be held at SCF Kyle HQ on Thursday 16 November.

The surgery will enable those who attend to hear views and questions regarding crofting matters.

Phil the Barber will make a welcome return to business later in November.

He will be operating from Monday 20 November at Portree Community Centre.  

New methods to prevent sea eagles from preying on lambs are to be trialled on Skye.

The scheme involves the use of audio or light-based devices to scare the birds away from lambs.

Scottish Natural Heritage is working with other organisations, such as Forest Enterprise Scotland, on the trials.

The methods will also be trialled in Argyll.  

 

Parents are asked to pick up their children from Portree Primary School today (Wednesday 15 November.)

The school has no electricity, resulting in the telephones being inoperable.  

Loopallu music festival is set to return next year, despite previous concerns that the 2017 festival would be the last.

Preparations have now begun for the staging of the festival on 28 and 28 September 2018.

Loopallu's Robert Hicks said: "During this year's event festival goers told me that regardless of whether Loopallu continued or not, their accommodation for 2018 was booked so they would be making their annual journey to Ullapool.

An Inverness retail park is temporarily closed to the public.

Inverness' largest retail park next to the A96 on the east side of the city was closed after two glass panels fell from a shop frontage and injured a shopper on Tuesday 14

The incident happened outside one of the shops at the park.

The site's owners said that the entire site would remain closed until further notice.

Customers are asked to check the park's website for updates.

Budding young entrepreneurs with ideas for social enterprises or businesses are encouraged to submit their idea to the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise are offering two young entrepreneurs membership to the newly-established Impact Hub Inverness for the whole of 2018, which marks the Year of Young People. The successful applicants will gain access to a year-long business support package to help bring their business ideas to life.

The closing dates for submissions is Thursday 30th November 2017. 

More details can be found here.

Communities across Skye and Raasay are being reminded that the deadline to submit nominations for the 2017 Eilean a’ Cheò Civic Awards is Wednesday 29 November.

This is the seventh year of the Awards which are organised by the Ward 10 Highland Councillors to recognise people from all age groups and walks of life who have contributed to the success and wellbeing of their local communities.

This year’s award categories are:

A man from Kent has completed an epic walk that saw him head around the British coastline to raise money for the RNLI.

Alex Ellis-Roswell completed his walk on Saturday 11 November, about 2pm, Alex crossed the finish line in Kent after 9,500 miles and three years on the road. 

His walk took him through the Isle of Skye in March.   

So far, Alex has raised over £65,000 for the RNLI.

A pub in Pollokshaws will be celebrating Skye in a new event.

The Boyd Roderick, owned by National Pub Company Punch, and run by Campbell Dixon and Callum Giles from Caledonian Skye Ltd, will be celebrating the island with locally sourced food, drink and entertainment.

Campbell Dixon stated: "This will be a fantastic event to showcase all things Skye to the wider audience of Glasgow."

The event will start on Friday 1 December from 7pm.

A BBC1 series is still looking for people to take part in various shows.

Escape For The Winter will follow people based in the UK who are planning to head abroad for the winter.

Filming has already started, but the team are still casting for the later episodes in the series. Anyone wishing to take part should call 0141 212 2897 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A female with a spinal injury was rescued from Knoydart and transferred to Mallaig on Wednesday 8 November.

Mallaig Coastguard and RNLI Lifeboat, along with ambulance personnnel, assisted in the rescue.

The lack of road access results in the coastguard often transferring casualties.  

In urgent cases, the routine is normally that paramedics will be taken over on RNLI lifeboat.  Casualties are then prepared by Ambulance Service and loaded on to Lifeboat for transfer back to Mallaig, where the Coastguard Rescue Team assists in safe transfer from pier to road ambulance then on to hospital, usually Fort William.

If medical decision is so urgent that air evacuation is better, then helicopter will be tasked to transfer direct and only Coastguard Rescue Service involvement would be provision of helicopter landing site safety. Air asset choice is handled by the Aeronautical Rescue Co-Ordination Centre based in HM Coastguard National Maritime Ops Centre in Fareham – may be a Coastguard Helicopter or Helimed in that case. 

A Scottish Parliament committee that was today (Thursday 9 November) expected to consider a petition seeking an independent review into the redesign of healthcare services by NHS Highland in Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross, will now do so at a later date.

Due to a full agenda, the cross-party Public Petitions Committee decided to give the petition more time and deferred the item for a future meeting.

Under Holyrood rules, no committee can meet whilst there is formal business taking place in the main debating chamber.

Although not a member of the committee, Skye MSP Kate Forbes attended the meeting and intended to represent the concerns of her constituents.

Speaking afterwards, Kate Forbes MSP said: “I attended the Public Petitions Committee meeting because the petition about the redesign of healthcare was going to be discussed again by a cross-party panel of MSPs.

“This was another opportunity to highlight the concerns voiced by residents in north and west Skye about the future of Portree Hospital.”

A brand new series of Elaine C. Smith’s Burdz Eye View – starting on STV on Friday 17 November – sees the actress and comedian continuing her travels around Scotland as she takes her one-woman stand-up tour across the length and breadth of the country.

The new six-part series, which will air on Friday evenings at 8pm, follows the acclaimed Scottish entertainer as she visits the Highlands & Islands, exploring the region and getting to know the people who live, work - and laugh - there.

This third series features Elaine enrolling in a Gaelic beginners’ class on the Isle of Skye and flying to Barra beach to join an all-female waulking/singing group.

Elaine C Smith said: "I'm so excited about the third series of Burdz Eye View and delighted that STV viewers can join me for another journey around our beautiful country. This time I've headed north to the Highlands & Islands to take in some of the most incredible scenery I've ever seen, and meet with some of the fantastic folk who live there.

"I had the pleasure of visiting Lewis and Harris for the very first time and I'm confident I'll be back. From laughter yoga and axe throwing to making black pudding, weaving and arriving on Barra beach by plane, this series is full of fun and discovery and I hope the audience enjoys the chance to see this stunning part of Scotland through my eyes."

Consultation events will take place in November 2017 about the Fort Augustus to Skye Project

The project will provide an increase of electrical capacity for the Isle of Skye, an additional 132kV overhead line to Skye is required to enable the connection of new generation located in the north of the island.

This will also improve the resilience of the transmission network between Fort Augustus and Skye.

The sound of popping corks filled the autumn air at one Portree care home, as the staff and Residents of HC-One's Home Farm helped Mrs Mary MacPherson celebrate her 103rd birthday in style.

Mary, who was originally a native to the Isle of Skye, spent her working life as a District Nurse.

To celebrate her special day, Mary joined her fellow Resident Mary McNeil in planting bulbs for the home's sensory garden, before being presented with a card made from pressed flowers from the garden and enjoying a meal out with her family at Uig Hotel.

HC-One Home Farm Home Manager, Linda Baillie said: "We are all very fond of Mary and it was lovely to see her enjoying such a wonderful day celebrating with her friends and family."

For more information on Home Farm, call 0333 999 8541 or visit www.hc-one.co.uk

Ian Blackford MP is calling for the "urgent" replacement of Broadford primary School due to extremely poor state of the present building.

After a visit to the school last week at the invitation of the Parent Council he said he was ‘dismayed’ at the damp conditions pupils and staff are working in every day. This was underlined by the arrival of a pest control company to carry out some work on the school but found that the walls were too wet to proceed with the job.

He has now written to Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson asking that building of the planned replacement be accelerated. He wrote:- “I was dismayed to see the deterioration of the building and the advent of time in our climate, will only exacerbate the problem.

Charlotte Poynton, Sommelier and Assistant Restaurant Manager at the world-renowned Three Chimneys Restaurant, has won the 'Highland Rising Star' award at the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards 2017.

Charlotte was recognised as showing real promise as a rising star in Scottish tourism, having shown a passion for her future and the progression of the industry.

Charlotte joined The Three Chimneys team in the summer of 2015. As well as excelling in her role as Sommelier and Assistant Restaurant Manager, she has achieved her Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Sommelier qualification, and most recently, a Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Award of Excellence 2017 in the Restaurant Service final.

Kate Forbes MSP is encouraging anyone with an interest in the future of education in Scotland to contribute to the Scottish Government’s new consultation on the Education (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill guarantees new powers for head teachers and ensures that young people and parents have a stronger say in decisions about children’s learning and development.

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “Our teachers in the Highlands deserve our unreserved praise for the education they are providing our young people, day in and day out.

“With more of our young people getting excellent exam results and going onto a job, training or continuing their studies - we have so much to be positive about.

Police on Skye are appealing for witnesses following the theft of civil engineering equipment from a compound in Staffin.

Approximately seven 3m long push pull props, which looks similar to scaffolding and a number of 3m lengths of wood were removed from a site on the Quiraing road.

The items were to be used in the construction of waters tanks and would have required a van or another large vehicle to move them.

They were removed from the construction site sometime between mid-October and Friday 27 October.

Constable Lesley Campbell said: "We are keen to hear from anybody who has seen a person or a vehicle acting suspiciously around the Staffin area during this period of time.

"We would also ask anyone who has received anything they believe to be suspicious for sale to get in touch as soon as possible.

"Anyone with any information is requested to contact police in Portree on 101, using reference NP10052/17.

"Information can also be passed anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

A Portree optometrist has won a top award at the Scottish Health Awards 2017.

Craig Campbell, an optometrist at JM Macdonald Opticians in Portree, took home the Optometrist Award.

Craig's desire and commitment to provide a professional service to the local community has seen his reputation grow, and his introduction of a domiciliary service for those who are unable to attend his practice has been described by colleagues as testament to his enthusiasm to provide eye care to everyone on the island.

Kate Forbes MSP will be attending Thursday’s (9 November) session of the Public Petitions Committee, as it considers a campaign from SOS Skye that calls for an independent scrutiny panel to examine NHS Highland’s major service change proposals in Skye and Lochalsh.

Since being lodged at the Scottish Parliament in 2015, the petition has been discussed six times by the cross-party committee.

According to official papers for the meeting, the committee will have the choice of closing the petition – meaning the matter goes no further at Holyrood – or “to take any other action the Committee considers appropriate.”

Kate Forbes MSP said: “I will be attending the petitions committee once again this week as they consider the petition on the redesign of healthcare on Skye.

Road improvements are scheduled to be carried out in Carbost and Glenbrittle over the winter months.

The Highland Council were successful in obtaining funds from the Scottish Timber Transport Fund to carry out improvements to the Carbost, Glen Brittle and Eynort public roads for the extraction of commercially grown timber.

The B8009 improvements will be carried out between the River Drynoch Bridge and the Glen Brittle Junction with the Glenbrittle improvements being between the Carbost Junction and the first forest access.

Unfortunately no work will occur on the section of road between the forest access and the Fairy Pools Car park.

Ian Blackford MP visited Broadford Primary School on Friday 3 November at the invitation of the parent council.

He stated: "I have to say I was dismayed to see the deterioration of the building. I am aware that Highland Council has a replacement school for Broadford in its capital plan. I would suggest that the deterioration of the building means this is a matter of some urgency.

"Whilst I was visiting last Friday, there was also a visit from a pest control firm that advised that due to the wetness of the walls they could not proceed and take the action that they had been invited to do. Having seen around the buildings it is clear that there are multiple areas of water ingress and much of the construction is rotting.

"The advent of time, with our climate being as it is, will only exacerbate the problem.

"For pupils and staff having to work in a damp climate is clearly not acceptable. It was put to me that the incidence of asthma related illness is a cause for concern.

"I have today written to the council asking them to respond to the deterioration of the building as a matter of urgency."

In October, the Highland Council told The Skye Times: "The Council is currently reviewing its capital programme, the outcome of which should confirm a capital investment plan for the next 10 years.

"Investment in Broadford (and other Highland schools) is being considered as part of that process.  We expect there to be a decision on schools capital investment early in 2018."

Sparks flooded the ink-black sky during the firework display at Broadford tonight (Saturday 4 November.)

The bonfire was lit with a flaming arrow shortly before the fireworks filled the sky.

A large crowd gathered in and around Broadford Community Hall to watch the display.

A Skye tourism summit meeting was hosted today (Friday 3 November) by Kate Forbes MSP.

The meeting, held at Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Sleat, provided an opportunity for those who attended to share their experience of tourism.  

Kate Forbes stated that three key things were needed to alleviate tourism pressure: a strategic plan; a strategic group to deliver the plan and funding.

Ms Forbes invited Cabinet Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, to address the audience.  The Cabinet Secretary mentioned the tourism taskforce that had been announced earlier today.  

Earlier today (Friday 3 November) Kate Forbes MSP joined the Cabinet Secretary for Culture in opening a new office on Skye for the largest rural touring arts organisation in the Highlands.

SEALL - Skye Events for All - promotes around 80 high quality touring events each year, such as the Skye Festival in July and August, and the Skye Swing Jazz Festival in late October.

They recently moved into a new office in the old courtyard of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, which SEALL are developing as a cultural hub for south Skye.

Chairperson Eileen Armstrong and artistic director Duncan MacInnes welcomed Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop and Skye's constituency MSP Kate Forbes to officially open the new office.

Since being established in 1991, SEALL have been responsible for putting on 1,800 events.

The Isle of Skye will soon have its own tourism taskforce similar to that of the North Coast 500, the Scottish Government have announced.

At today's (Friday 3 November) tourism summit arranged by Skye's constituency MSP Kate Forbes, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Fiona Hyslop will tell 130 delegates that the new strategic group will aim to secure a "successful and sustainable future" for the industry.

It is understood that the tourism taskforce will be led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise representatives, and will also include officials from Visit Scotland and Police Scotland as well as from local businesses and communities in the area.

The need for a co-ordinated approach to tourism management has become increasingly evident this summer, with some of the roads and facilities around the island's major attractions coming under significant strain with a six-fold increase in the population during peak months.

Kate Forbes MSP, who invited Fiona Hyslop to visit the island on a fact-finding mission, welcomed the news.

The constituency MSP for Skye said: "Following months of meetings and extensive consultation with residents, businesses and key strategic partners, it's clear that Skye needs a co-ordinated plan to help improve tourism infrastructure across the island.

Plans to help alleviate congestion at one of Scotland's most iconic tourist attractions have moved a step closer after the Scottish Government announced the community asset transfer request at the Fairy Pools will proceed on favourable terms.

The Minginish Community Halls Association has secured the land from Forestry Enterprise Scotland for £2,500, a discount of £27,5000 on the market value, in a move which was been warmly welcomed by Skye's constituency MSP Kate Forbes.

With well over 108,000 visitors last year, the existing 35-space car park has been struggling to cope during the peak season – but under its proposals the community hopes to accommodate 137 cars and approximately 20 mini-buses and camper vans.

Earlier today (Friday 3 November), Ms Forbes went to see the Fairy Pools site along with Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Fiona Hyslop – who is visiting Skye on a fact-finding mission.

Skye MSP Kate Forbes said: "I am absolutely delighted to see us move one step closer to a vastly improved car park for the Fairy Pools - and it's a testament to all the time and effort that the project group have put into this.

The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fiona Hyslop, will give a keynote address on the Isle of Skye this week as well as take questions directly from local residents and businesses.

On Friday (3 November) over 100 people are expected to attend the event at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, on the south end of the island. Senior representatives from Highland Council, Visit Scotland, Police Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise will make up the top table panel along with the Cabinet Secretary.

The meeting has been organised by Kate Forbes MSP as part of an ongoing process to identify and find solutions to tourism infrastructure pressures on Skye.

Over the summer season some of the roads and facilities around the island’s major tourist attractions have come under significant strain with a six-fold increase in the population during peak months.

Police in Skye and Lochalsh have warned residents in remote and rural areas that geography will not not protect them if they choose to become involved in the trade in illegal drugs.

The message follows the recovery of class A and B drugs in the Applecross area on Monday 30 October.

Local officers acting on intelligence seized quantites of cocaine and cannabis and a mid four-figure sum of money during a search of a property yesterday.

A 29-year-old man has been charged in connection with the recovery and has been reported to Procurator Fiscal.

Lochcarron-based Constable Craig Allan, who led this operation, said "This action taken today should serve as a reminder to anyone in the Skye, Lochalsh and Applecross area that the remoteness of the area will not prevent local officers taking action against those intent on supplying controlled drugs and anyone involved in this activity can expect to receive a visit from us in the future.

"I ask anyone who has information about drugs in this area to contact 101 to speak to a local officer or if they wish to remain anonymous they can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Mairead Hamilton, who is 27 years old, from Sleat, and a trainee director on BBC ALBA’s Gaelic drama Bannan, has won a one-year placement on the coveted MA Television Fiction Writing Course at Glasgow Caledonian University.   

Mairead is pictured above working on the set of Bannan.

MG ALBA, the Gaelic media service, is committed to offering its support to current and aspiring Gaelic media industry professionals through a number of initiatives.

Work continuing at the new hub building

 

Safety concerns around the still under construction An Crùbh community hub building has led to a change of arrangements for the planned open evening and AGM.

Camuscross and Duisdale Initiative have drawn up alternative plans for tomorrow evening (Dec 1) and are determined to go ahead and showcase the new building which is set to become the new heart of the local community.

They say: "The evening IS going ahead in an amended form this Thursday. However the building contractor has just let us know about safety concerns and about the availability of parking, with a larger number of people expected on what is still a very active building site. So we have had to make some changes to the format of the evening

 

It's the big Christmas lights switch on in Portree this Friday evening (Dec 2)

Festivities begin at 6pm in the Portree Community Centre with a Christmas Concert , followed by a procession into Somerled Square where the lights will be switched on.


Highland Council Trading Standards is warning  residents to be on their guard against Council Tax scam telephone calls

The scam involves unsuspecting consumers receiving a phone call from an individual regarding their current council tax bill and if they feel that they are paying too much. The caller then offers to investigate further for an up-front fee.

The scammer then asks for the resident's debit card payment details in order to pay an up-front fee of £69.00. The caller ID number used in one of the incidents reported to Highland Council Trading Standards was from telephone number: 0203 769 3102

Mary Ann Kennedy and Tony Kearney


BBC ALBA is to once again provide live coverage of the highpoint of the traditional music calendar - the much-anticipated 2016 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.

Hosted by Mary Ann Kennedy and Tony Kearney live from the Caird Hall in Dundee, on Saturday 3 December the evening of music will acknowledge Scotland’s best traditional musicians for 2016.

Joining the party will be BBC ALBA viewers across Scotland plus a global audience, with live worldwide streaming via the BBC ALBA website at www.bbc.co.uk/alba. For radio listeners, live coverage of the event will also be available on BBC Radio Scotland from 9.00 until 11.00pm.

Your daily news and information website for the Isles of Skye and Raasay is adding a new facility – super low-cost advertising for local businesses to help people trying to shop, trade and buy products and services locally.

With thousands of users every week, The Skye Times is offering businesses throughout Skye and Raasay a new kind of chance to promote themselves through our new page for only £50+VAT year.   (http://www.theskyetimes.co.uk/index.php/advertising-page)

Each advert links through to any existing web presence – the key idea is to broaden the impact of that – just because you already have a Facebook Page or website doesn’t mean that anyone else knows that!  And we can design your advert for you!

Breaking down the barriers is the theme of an event to be held at Portree's Aros Community Centre.

On Thursday, 8th December, 11am to 1pm, there is an open invitation to pop along and find out more about the funded and part funded qualifications that can be delivered in Skye.

The Virtual Learning Academy in Invergordon are passionate about breaking down the barriers to learning across the Highlands & Islands. They will be in Portree to deliver an informal presentation about some fully funded and part funded qualifications which can be delivered in Skye.

The public meeting to seek local views about a new primary School for Dunvegan takes place on Wednesday evening (Nov 30).

Highland Council is seeking the views of local communities on a possible relocation of the school, in connection with the proposed construction of a new school. Under the proposal the current school would move to new site at Lonmore, on the edge of the village of Dunvegan.

 

Skye's MSP's Ian Blackford and Kate Forbes met with David Alston, Chair of NHS Highland to discuss health care provision in Skye, Raasay and Wester Ross.

Also present were local councillors with the talks very much centred on a brand new hospital for the island at Broadford.

Mr Blackford said: "In particular on what facilities must be provided by the new hospital , which should include an operating theatre.

 

Raasay was celebrating today (Nov29) after being told their community shop... is the best in Scotland!

CORRA Chair Tekela Koek travelled to a star studded ceremony in London to discover that the island's popular business had taken First Place in this year's Rural Community Ownership Awards.

The Awards are designed to celebrate the most inspiring examples of people in rural areas working together to improve their communities, to raise awareness of the issues that many rural people face and how they can overcome them through collaborative action.

Swapping his sea legs for sleeping rough, David MacBrayne Ltd chief executive officer Martin Dorchester will join 100 business leaders in Edinburgh to raise money for Social Bite.

Each of the 100 has signed up as part of the charity’s CEO Sleep Out in Charlotte Square on December 15 to raise both cash and awareness of the issue of homelessness and the vulnerable people affected by it.

Martin is also managing director of CalMac Ferries – operator of the UK’s largest ferry network – and has long been a vocal supporter of social enterprise and responsible business behaviours; he is chairman of FirstPort, which provides support, resources and funding to enable social enterprises to be established and grow. And, indeed, it was FirstPort which supported Social Bite in the first instance.

Portree law firm, Inksters,  is leading by example and encouraging others to do the same by learning how to restart a heart. In doing so, they have become part of the British Heart Foundation’s Nation of Lifesavers.

Inksters Solicitors with offices in Glasgow, Inverness, Forfar and Wickare holding various winter events and fundraisers in aid of the BHF. Staff members at the law firm’s Glasgow office recently attended Cowcaddens fire station, where they learned life-saving skills such as CPR and how to use a defibrillator.

Trainee Solicitor, Evonne Morrison, said “We thoroughly enjoyed our hands-on training at Cowcaddens fire station and are extremely fortunate that this opportunity is available to us, and indeed everyone, in Scotland. It’s a great feeling to now be equipped with the skills to potentially save someone’s life should they go into cardiac arrest.

Highlands & Islands Police Division have issued a warning, urging local shops and supermarkets in the Highlands to be on their guard following a recent report of fraud commonly referred to as "Ringing the Changes."

The fraud involves a person asking a member of staff to exchange a large sum of money for them into notes of smaller denominations. While doing this they deliberately confuse the staff member to obtain more money than they came in with.

 

A three year project which piloted the role of a full time Macmillan Rural Palliative Care Pharmacist Practitioner in the Skye, Kyle and Lochalsh area has been praised in its final evaluation.

The aim of the project, which started in February 2013, looked at the development of new models for rural areas in particular improving the link between primary and secondary care services in order to improve pharmacy care for palliative patients.

A number of strands were looked at including developing community pharmacy capacity to effectively, efficiently and safely support the needs of those in the rural community with cancer and palliative care needs regardless of where they were being cared for; and improving service provision and coordination while ensuring there was training and peer support.

Improvement works on the A835 at Rogie Falls will soon road re-surfacing accompanied by convey traffic management.

The £135,000 investment by Transport Scotland will see improvements to just over a kilometre of the A835 near Rogie Falls, creating a smoother and safer journey for motorists.

Resurfacing is due to start on Thursday 1 December and will take up to a week to complete. The improvement works are scheduled to take place between 7am and 7pm each day, with no works planned over the weekend.

Here's the latest Skye planning applications to be submitted to Highland Council

Land 660M SE Of Storr Loch Lodge Portree. For EE telecommunications apparatus, ancillary equipment cabinets and a fenced compound

Plans to complete re-open the Sleat's Ord Road after repair work to a collapsing culvert have been put back.

Highland Council had hoped to have finished all the work on Friday (Nov 25) but now the local community has been notified that it will be the the middle of this week before it is fully operational.

The new timetable is as follows:

Part of the secret instructions

It was a set of secret instructions that were never needed but a wartime document unearthed in Staffin has revealed just what would have happened if Hitler's stormtroopers had managed to invade.

The memo, labelled “Secret & Urgent”, was sent by a police chief to the Staffin Exchange – in May 1944 as the Second World War raged. At the time Britain was still a year away from the end of the war and the German surrender. 

In the directive, Traffic Superintendent W.D. Kay, based in Aberdeen, outlined a change to previous emergency measures to be taken in the event of enemy invasion, which has been circulated to Staffin two years earlier. The exchange was the current Staffin Post Office in Brogaig.

Highland Council is the latest to jump to the defence of apparently under threat Highlands and Island Enterprise.

Leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson, is seeking clarification from Depute First Minister John Swinney about reports claiming that the Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise is to be scrapped and replaced with a centralised committee.

Councillor Davidson said: “If it is correct - it is totally unacceptable that the Scottish Government is to centralise the decision-making powers of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.  The centralisation of economic development in Scotland runs contrary to the process in England, where powers and budgets are being devolved.

A new children's writing award, Duais Sgrìobhaidh do Chlann ann an Gàidhlig, has just been launched. 

The award, created in partnership by Gaelic publishers Acair Books, Stornoway's An Lanntair arts centre and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Libraries), is aimed at inspiring original Gaelic writing for children and hopes to encourage new authors who may not have thought of writing before.

The award is open to all aspiring writers for children in Scottish Gaelic, wherever they may be. The winner of the 2017 award will be chosen by a panel of independent adjudicators and will be awarded a prize of £500.

In 2017, the judges are looking for a story for children between 5 and 8 years, between 1000 and 2000 words.

The closing date for all submissions is 31 January 2017 and the winners will be announced in March 2017 at an award ceremony at an Lanntair.

For more information about Duais Sgrìobhaidh do Chlann ann an Gàidhlig, please visit www.cne-siar.gov.uk/library or contact Western Isles Libraries at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Out at the Fairy Pools

 

Police on Skye look to be leaving no stone unturned in their search for new specials.

For in what must be some of the most scenic places possible to advertise the local team put up their recruitment poster - if only a short while - at the popular Fairy Pools and also down at Storr Locks.

No word yet on their success rate!!

The chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) says he is fully confident about the future of the organisation.
Responding to reports this week speculating about the agency’s future following the Scottish Government’s review of enterprise and skills bodies, Professor Lorne Crerar, said he had absolute reassurance from Scottish Government that HIE will continue in its present form.

He added: “The report on Phase 1 of the Enterprise and Skills Review made very clear that HIE will continue to manage and direct dedicated support for economic and community development across the region.

"The Review has recognised the outstanding success of HIE.  Indeed it is testament to that success that there is to be a South of Scotland Agency to replicate the impact HIE has had for businesses and communities across the very diverse economies of our region.

“There will be changes at Board level, with the formation of a new overarching strategic Board to oversee the activities of all the enterprise and skills bodies, which of course includes HIE.

“The Governance arrangements for HIE and how its Board operates has been an important factor in the organisation’s success by ensuring the actions we take are cognisant and reflective of the variety of interests and priorities of our businesses and communities.

Shirley with her OBE

Skye's Shirley Spear was in London today to receive her OBE

The Three Chimney's founder was amongst others invited along to Buckingham Palace as she becomes an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to the Scottish Food and Drink Industry.

A £450,000 upgrade for Dornie New Bridge on the A87 begins at the start of December meaning possible slight delays for travellers due to traffic light operations.

The aluminium parapets along both sides of the bridge are to be improved for safety reasons with upgrades also being made to the safety barriers on approach to the bridge.

The improvements will be carried out between 8am and 6pm each day for six weeks starting Friday 2 December. To avoid disruption over the festive period, works will be suspended from 24 December until 8 January after which works will resume as before.

Police on Skye, who have a reputation for their light-hearted tweets, are chasing success in the Police Tweet Awards with their favourite tweet

On January 3, they put out a message which might have had a serious side for some.

It read: "If you get back to your house tonight on #Skye and realise your cocaine is missing – we have it in the Police Station."

This is now their favourite pinned tweet - heading their Twitter display at @LochabSkyePol

And they are also using it to draw attention to the 2016 Police consultation process (http://www.scotland.police.uk/about-us/decision-making/public-consultation/local-policing-consultation)

And on Twitter via  #yourviewcounts

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brand new online resource designed to support communities interested in land acquisition has been launched.

‘Ten Steps to Community Ownership’ is a series of guides developed by the Community Assets Team at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) designed to support community groups through the process of buying land or assets that are important to them.

The resource includes a range of easy-to-view guides and templates which will help groups from developing their initial ideas, right the way through to owning the asset. A series of short video guides has also been developed, featuring members of the Community Assets Team at HIE and community organisations sharing their experiences.

Hugh Ross, Staffin Community Trust's local development officer, thinks that the new guides should be a great help to groups across the Highlands and Islands.

Highland Council’s website is the only council website in the UK to have been awarded a gold standard Certificate of Accreditation from the Digital Accessibility Centre.

This is the highest level of accreditation possible and The Highland Council is the only council in the UK that currently holds this.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, who is Scottish Labour’s Spokesperson for Rural Economy and Connectivity, has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for a debate on the decision to disband the board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), formerly the Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB).

Mrs Grant said “The HIDB, which later became HIE, was set up to assist the people of the Highlands and Islands to improve their economic and social conditions and to enable the region to play a more effective part in the economic and social development of the nation.  Why then take decision making powers away from the area the board is there to represent.

Work continues apace at the planned new Raasay Distillery.

While the old Borodale House is being converted into a visitor centre construction of the new building for distilling is also well advanced.

In addition to the steels and part of the roof being in place this week saw the pouring of concrete in the production hall.

Clan Donald Lands Trust on Skye are aiming to keep local individuals and families on the land at Sleat.

It has unveiled plans to offer at least two of the units planned at Tarskavaig at a discounted rate to those who live on the peninsula but want a home of their own.

The proposals are all part of the planned new township at Gillean and discounted rates of around £70,000 for the crofts are now available.

Comedian Shappi Khorsandi brings her entertaining national tour to Skye s next year.

The star of Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Have I Got News for You and Q.I, is set to perform at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, in Sleat, on April 6, 2017.

Her latest show celebrates the fortieth anniversary of her arrival in Britain.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is holding a public consultation on its Gaelic Language Plan 2016-21 and your views count.

During the consultation SFRS will engage directly with key stakeholders across Scotland to hear their thoughts on what its priorities should be.

It's easy to take part, simply visit the dedicated Gaelic Language Plan to complete an online survey.

The SFRS said: "The six week consultation closes on 02 January 2017 and your views matter and we hope you will help us shape our approach to working with the Gaelic language medium.

Skye Camanachd have confirmed their management teams for the 2017 shinty season.

The club have moved quickly to fill the vacant first team management position after John MacLeod and his backroom team stood down at the end of the 2016 shinty season. They will be replaced by Willie Cowie and Peter Gordon, two players who served Skye with distinction on the field of play. Cowie and Gordon will immediately set about plotting the team’s return to shinty’s top division

Meanwhile the search for a new second team manager continues after Davie Pringle confirmed that he is standing down after two years in the hot seat.

New stamps inspired by Sue's work

 

Lochcarron marine biologist and diver Sue Scott's efforts thousands of miles from home will soon be there for all to see.

For some of the work carried out by the local lass is set to appear in two new sets of stamps for the world's most remote inhabited island.

Over the last 12 years, Sue has been surveying wildlife on Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic and now some of the images she has captured are being used for a set of stamps due to be issued by the UK Overseas Territory next month.

Dylan's winning entry

 

Tormore Forest down in Sleat has a new logo thanks to local youngster Dylan Cameron.

His entry in a specially organised competition was picked the winner with Esmae Micski, Eva Mahon, Freya MacNeil and Kallah MacPherson also winning prizes for their highly commended entries.

Meanwhile a Community Consultation session is to be staged on Wednesday 30 November between 3pm-7pm to discuss proposed house sites in the forest.

Attending the consultation event

 

A series of changes designed to significantly improve the visitor experience to one of Skye's most popular attractions have been given the thumbs up by locals in Staffin.

The local community trust described as "encouraging" the response from local people who attended a consultation event in early November designed to outline progress on the Old Man of Storr project.

According to Staffin Community Trust (SCT) all respondents felt satisfied with the idea of a new one-way route through the site, starting at the existing car park and coming out at the existing forestry track.

Together with a series of small car-parking areas distributed between native woodland planting it was generally agreed that the visual impact of the proposals would not negatively affect the scenic quality of the area.

Skye's towering Blà Bheinn mountain is one of three Scottish hills up for adoption.

To support the work of conservation charity the John Muir Trust lovers of wild mountain landscapes can adopt an acre of the well known peaks - or give it as a gift for someone this Christmas.

For £25 there is a chance to support the Skye hill as well as Ben Nevis and Schiehallion  with each gift sold helping the trust with its work which includes:

native woodland restoration to help enhance wild habitats for wildlife and plants

wildlife monitoring to support the regeneration of ecosystems

footpath maintenance to allow people to enjoy wild places and minimise human impact on the mountains.

The Big Braes Bake Off brought a taste of something special.

Competition was intense in the various categories and here are the winners and runners up.

MP Ian Blackford

MP Ian Blackford had to miss is own planned surgery on Skye last week as he joined in a national debate at Parliament.

The SNP MP for Ross, Skye & Lochaber was due to be in Portree on Friday (Nov 18) but was forced to cancel and send along a staff member to take a note of any matters raised by local people who did attend.

Speaking on social media he said that while the surgery would be going ahead: "Unfortunately I will not be able to attend in person as I have to stay in parliament to debate and vote on the proposed constituency boundary changes."

The following applications have been submitted to Highland Council this week.

Farm-related building works (non-residential) at 7 Roag Dunvegan.

Erection of house & detached garage on land 50M West Of Dun Ela Teangue.

Pupils at Plockton High School were sent home shortly before midday today (Nov 21) because of a lack of water, heating and power.

Rescue exercise on Kilt Rock

Skye was a busy place for HM Coastguard at the week-end.

Personnel were called to the Broadford heli pad landing site to assist Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 951 which was involved in a medical transfer to Raigmore Hospital.

Then as part of a training weekend Skye teams were joined by Scottish Ambulance and Police Scotland to go through their paces at Staffin's Kilt Road with a series of first aid, water and rope rescue exercises.

Once again MG ALBA, S4C and TG4 are to unite in this the second year of the Celtic Formats pilot scheme. 

We are inviting original unscripted factual entertainment ideas with must see, compelling and surprising content that taps into the zeitgeist and will appeal to intergenerational audiences alike across the Celtic nations and beyond.  

The ambition is to discover a refreshing, distinctive and authentic format that the Celtic Nations can be proud of and that will be talked about across the three nations. The ideas should show creative ambition and heart that will touch the emotion in some way, be it laughter, tears or surprise yet shouldn’t feel overly formulated or forced. 

The campaign for a new airport for Skye, Raasay and the western Highlands at Ashaig near Broadford has won wider support in recent months.

The key argument is about expense…but an article for The Skye Magazine on-line, editor Fred Silver concludes that the costs of building a new airport are miniscule compared both to the likely gains to the local economy and to infrastructure costs elsewhere, particularly as there is no chance at all of any significant improvements in the roads to Skye through the Highlands. 

Even the most expensive airport option, which would allow 40-seater planes to land, comes in at a shade under £50 million.  Sounds a lot, but around £70 million has just been invested in the Stornoway to Ullapool ferry route, and the Isles of Harris and North Uist are having more than £30 million spent on a new ferry and improved port facilities. Yet since the Skye Bridge was completed in 1995, there has been no significant infrastructure gain for the Isle of Skye.  (And ferries have to be replaced every 20 to 30 years whereas building the airport is a one-off investment.)

SEALL Events welcomes back one of Scotland's finest pipers this week.

Fred Morrison is to hold a piping concert at Talla Mhor, Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Sleat on Wednesday 23rd November at 7.3opm.

Fred will be supported in the opening set by the students of the Plockton Music School. Tickets are available for what should be a great concert from SEALL at the link here.

A chance to discuss and help shape Skye’s sporting opportunities is coming to Portree.

On Wednesday 7 December a public meeting has been arranged in the Fingal Centre as part of the Highlife Highland backed Community Sport Hub project.

According to Highlife Highland: “This meeting will provide you with the opportunity to discuss the needs and ambitions around sport and physically activity in the area and ensure the initiative is tailored to support these local ideas.

Road to close for repairs

 

Travel around Sleat could be disrupted for some over the coming week with a planned road closure to carry out essential repairs.

A culvert on the Ord road between the A851 and Ord has been in danger of collapse for some time and Highland Council are now planning to carry out work from Monday 21 November to early afternoon on Friday 25 November.

A Coastguard helicopter rescue team raced to the small island of  Muck to airlift a 14 month old to hospital.

The alarm was raised yesterday (Nov 17) and after landing and taking on board the aircraft was forced to fly and land at Fort William instead of Raigmore because of bad weather.

No further details are availble at the moment.

Police were called to two seperate accidents on the A87.

The first on Thursday (Nov17) occurred around 1pm just onemile east of Kyle, when a Skoda and Kia collided. A man and woman within each vehicle escaped injury although one lane of the major route to and from Skye was blocked until recovery of the vehicle complete.

Then an hour later this time one mile north of Broadford, a Fiat left the road with a man and woman inside, again escaping injuries.

The winning events team

 

A Gaelic language initiative staged at two venues, one on Skye,  has won the 2016 Scottish Gaelic Award for Best Event.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) were named as winners for their careers events ‘Siuthad!’, which means ‘Go on!’, run as a partnership between SDS and Highland Council, with the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The events were held in Inverness and Skye in March and November and were aimed at Gaelic learners and fluent speakers and showcased a range of Gaelic related careers.

Skye's Fairy Pools

As well as being a top tourist destination Skye has now been voted the most desireable place to live in Britain.

Nearly 24,000 people surveyed by website Rightmove said that the island with his rugged landscape and fantastic sea views was the dream location for them.

Many of the most desirable places to live in Britain have house prices which are relatively cheap compared with the national average, the study found.

The average asking price for a home on Skye is just under £231,000, according to Rightmove - well under the average price tag of a home generally across England and Wales, at £305,670.

Professional landscape photographer Lee Metcalfe will be taking home more than just a great picture of Skye.

For not only did he capture this wonderful shot on the Storr but minutes later proposed to girl friend Karen Gladstone...and now she's going to be his wife.

Karen and Lee

On social media Lee from Lancaster described just how it happened.

Skye & Lochalsh Running Club are planning a scenic run session this week-end.

On Saturday 19th November from The Coral Beach CP nr Dunvegan. meeting at 9.30am at the Claigan car park, there will be an off road session involving a 1 mile jog warm up, 22 min beach/grass intervals in pairs, 30 mins of self paced hill loops with rests in between, 1 mile crawl/jog back to cars. Then there's a chance to eat cake and have hot drinks. All are welcome.

 

Firefighters are asking for help to keep older people safe from fire this winter.

All this week we are asking people to talk to family members, friends and neighbours and arrange a FREE Home Fire Safety Visit from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

More lives are lost to house fires in winter than any other time of the year and people over the age of 60 are most at risk. Over the last few years two thirds of people killed by fire have been people over the age of 60.

Loopallu, the Highland's highly popular music festival is set for change next year.

Organiser have been unable to secure the continued use of the usual venue in Ullapool and so for 2017 it is to be held on the town's pier with support from Ullapool Harbour Trustees.

Because of this no campsite will be available and tickets for next year's event on September 29 and 30 September will be restricted.

Over the last 12 years, Loopallu's performers have included Paolo Nutini, Franz Ferdinand, Mumford and Sons and Jake Bugg. This year's festival's headliners included The Wonder Stuff and The Stranglers.

   

Mairi (left) and Gwen

 

Two Skye teachers have been shortlisted in this year’s Daily Record Scottish Gaelic Awards.

Today (Nov 16) Gwen Culbertson and Mairi Macdonald will discover if they are to be honoured at the awards, sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig; during the finals ceremony to be held in Glasgow’s Grand Hotel.

The pair have been nominated in the Innovation in Education category for, a website for teachers involved in Gaelic Medium Education which aims to create new primary school resources for Gaelic Medium Education. Other teachers are welcome, and encouraged, to contribute their own resources to help build a bank of material.

Gwen and Mairi come under the umbrella of the Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig which has been nominated for three awards which aim to "reward all aspects of our Gaelic culture, education and language" and "highlight the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage".

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the review of the Crofting Commission recently initiated by Scottish Government, stating that the governance of crofting is at stake.

“We asked for a review of the way in which the Crofting Commission has handled itself over the past six months”, said Fiona Mandeville, chair of the SCF. “Three grazings committees have been removed and ordinary folk, trying to do a difficult job in maintaining this crofting asset, have had their reputations dragged through the mud. This cannot be the correct way for a regulator to behave.

"We appreciate that the board of the Commission has recognised its mistakes and has issued an apology to the crofters, albeit without the acquiescence of the convener, Colin Kennedy. It is time to move on and we hope a review of procedures will enable a better way of working.”

 

Margaret Nicolson presenting Eilidh Rankin with her award

 

The fifth Sir Iain Noble Memorial Lecture was delivered by Ian MacDonald at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, where he gave a wide-ranging talk, entitled “Sorley MacLean: Life and Poetry”, on the life and work of the famous Raasay bard.

The annual lecture was established five years ago by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and Urras an Eilein (Skye Gaelic Trust) - two organisations which Sir Iain helped to establish and with which he enjoyed enduring ties during his lifetime - to honour the work and achievements of Sir Iain, especially with regard to the College, the island and the Gaelic language.

As part of the evening’s proceedings, the inaugural “Skye’s Young Gaelic Person of the Year” award was presented to Eilidh Rankin from Kilmaluag in North Skye for her contribution to the use and promotion of Gaelic.

Eilidh attended the local primary school in Kilmuir and then Portree High School. She was involved in many Gaelic events in her youth -  including drama groups and productions such as “Na Mo Chuid Aodaich” as well as local and national Mods where she competed in various competitions for poetry, storytelling, conversation and reading.

Operator of the UK’s largest ferry network, Caledonian MacBrayne, is refreshing its online ticketing to make it easier to use.

The new look web system will introduce a step-by-step timeline across the screen to help customers follow their booking process, as well as a helpful summary of their reservation. It will also be fully scalable across all devices.

Customers should be aware that in order to implement the change, the company’s booking system will be taken off-line for an overnight period during the week beginning November 21 – the exact date is yet to be confirmed and passengers are advised to check both CalMac’s website and its social media channels for updates closer to the time.

Portree's Aros Centre will showcase a unique new dance theatre piece tomorrow evening (Nov 15)

For the live show explores the complex character of Lady Macbeth but ...with a cast of 3 men, all playing the leading lady!

Using the language from Shakespeare’s Macbeth as a source, British Sign Language will become a part of the choreography producing a piece of dance and movement theatre which will reach hearing impaired and hearing audiences on different levels and in different ways.

A Skye life sciences business is reaping the rewards of investing in research and development with the help of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Dunvegan based Gaeltec Devices Ltd received an approval of £331,000 from HIE to employ an R&D manager, develop new products and promote them in domestic and international markets.

As a result, new and innovative medical devices serving niche markets have been developed and launched over the past three years. One of these is a specialised catheter for the treatment of horses with irregular heartbeats. There is a growing global demand for these throughout the veterinary world and Gaeltec is the only company making them.

Gaeltec has also launched the Cuillin Nanologger, named after the famous mountain range on Skye. It is a portable medical device worn by patients to record physiological information for up to 24 hours. It is typically used to assist in the diagnosis of human gastrointestinal and urological disorders.

A new survey has been launched as part of research examining the impact of Gaelic media on learning of the language.

The Big Gaelic Survey, which has been commissioned by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and MG ALBA, is being conducted independently from the two organisations by Meriel Young Consulting, a research consultancy based in Edinburgh.

Three questionnaires have been launched aimed at those with varying levels of Gaelic proficiency: Gaelic speakers, Gaelic learners and those who are interested in learning Gaelic in the future.

 

New homes for Portree


A former Portree bus garage is set to have a new life offering additional affordable new homes.

Planning permission is being sought by Lochalsh & Skye Housing Association to convert the former Highland Country Bus garage at Park Road into a building containing a total of 17 flats.

Full details can be obtained by following the link here

Amongst other applications is the siting of a 10 m high mast with dishes at land south of Rock View,  Camustianavaig, Portree to provide superfast broadband to the area as part of a government backed initiative

First Deer Farm for Skye

 

Oh deer! They say Scottish venison farming is in a rut as it struggles to cope with demand.

But with thousands of tonnes of meat having to be imported into the UK every year, Borve crofter Robert MacRae believes he has hit a money earner with stag..gering potential.

For the former Portree guest house owner has now established Skye’s very first Deer Farm and its right on his own doorstep with the fully fattened up venison eventually being eagerly snapped up by the likes of M&S and Tesco whose customers just can’t get enough of the new power food.

Already thousands of motorists on the Portree-Uig route have passed by his deer fenced croft little suspecting that inside there’s a whole new industry starting up on the island.

But, for those who do take to the time to have a good look then wandering around the grassland they might just spot the stag and 30 hinds that will form the foundations of Robert’s breeding stock.

 

Calmac have made public the figures surrounding its Mallaig-Armadale service which has seen a string of cancelled sailings this summer following the removal of MV Coruisk.

In the period March to October of this year there were a staggering 395 cancelled sailings compared to just 76 during the same period in 2015.

The full figures given for the route and the number of passengers and vehicles are shown below:

 

 

 

Following on from her previous publishing successes, Three Chimney's founder Shirley Spear OBE has produced another tasty treat.

Birlinn Books have published 'The Three Chimneys Marmalade Bible' priced at just £4.99


Plockton is one of two Highland sites selected to help save the red squirrel.

Conservation experts at the charity Trees for Life have announced plans to carefully relocate red squirrels to suitable habitat around the coastal village as well as a similar re-introduction near Kinlochewe.

The Red Squirrel Reintroduction Project aims to establish 10 new populations in the northwest Highlands, significantly increasing both the numbers and range of the red squirrel in the UK.

“We are giving red squirrels a helping hand to return to some of their long-lost forest homes. Many Highland woodlands offer the species excellent habitat far from disease-carrying grey squirrels – but because reds travel between trees and avoid crossing large areas of open ground, they can’t return to isolated woodlands without our help,” said Becky Priestley, Trees for Life’s Wildlife Officer

Work continues on the new distillery

Job recruitment has begun for Skye's new whisky distillery.

Production staff are being sought for the soon to be opened Torabhaig Distillery in Sleat where the first spirits could be produced in the new year with the facility open to the public in early summer 2017.


Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland have announced the launch of the full programme for the Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2016 – Innovation Edition.

Delegates have signed up from all over the world for the event which will take place from November 17-19 at the Macdonald Resort Aviemore.

The opening day of the Conference will focus on innovation in Tourism and Economic Development; speakers include MTB legend Gary Fisher and Professor Geraint Florida James, the Lead Academic at the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland (MTBCOS).

A successful Gaelic Awareness Fun Day took place in Breakish Hall which was well attended by parents and children from the surrounding area

The event, which was aimed at parents and guardians’ of 0-5 year old children, gave those attending the opportunity to find out about the benefits of Bilingualism and Gaelic Medium Education. They also had the opportunity to engage with the Gaelic Community

Learning and Development Officer, they were able to view and pick up the many resources available including CD’s, books and leaflets and get information on specific websites featuring pre-school Gaelic activities.

The Western Isles, Skye, Lochaber and the Small Isles HM Coastguard representative at this year's Remembrance Parade in London will be Mitchell Thompson.

A member of the  Bragar Coastguard Rescue Team, on the Isle of Lewis, he will form part of the Honour Guard lining Whitehall at the National War Memorial for the service.

 

Portree police and the local RNLI crew were involved in a near two hour coastal search last night (Nov 9) after concerns about a person's safety.

It was around 9.45pm that the Portree lifeboat launched with a full complement of crew and was tasked by Stornoway Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre with a coastline search in the Scorrybreac area of Portree.

This followed a request from Police Scotland who were dealing with an incident which gave rise to concern for the safety of an individual.

Raasay now has its very own website dedicated to its history, videos about it and any other interesting information.

The site www.isleofraasay.com will complement the island's already well established Facebook profile which is reputed to be one of the largest represents a community or island on the West Coast and has ten more followers then Raasay's actual population.

Police in Portree are appealing for help after an incident at the Aros centre.

They say the main entrance gate was damaged and that is thought to have happened some time overnight Sunday into Monday (Nov 6/7) of this week. If you have any information call 101 or go to Portree police station.

The vision of future NHS health care for Skye will see the redesign of services in the area, bringing a new, modern integrated health and social care ‘hub’ in Broadford and a ‘spoke’ facility in Portree.

Plans to redesign services in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross took a step forward this month when the Scottish Capital Investment Group approved the Initial Agreement which had been submitted by the Health Board. NHS Highland has now been invited to submit an Outline Business Case, the next step in the process.

With approval now given on the Initial Agreement the team will be concentrating on further developing the clinical model and workforce plan as part of the business case process.

Gill McVicar, director of operations for North and West Highland, said: “This is a significant point in the formal process and brings us one step closer to having a state-of-the-art facility for the people of Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.”

Skye Chamber Music’s latest concert will be Beethoven Handel Schubert de Falla  & Kreisler with Piano and Violin Duo, Ancuta Nite and Fergus Heatherington.


 
The event takes place on Wednesday 16th November, 8pm at in The Venue, Fingal Centre, Portree High School.

Tickets are £10, Season Ticket £40 and there is free entry for school students


Santa's about to take a dash around Portree and everyone is invited to join him for some festive fun.

For the first time this year Skye is to have its own Santa Dash, a two mile loop that will start and finish in Somerled Square on Saturday 17 December.

One of those behind the new fun event, Skye Bike Shack's Mark Crowe said: "Fifty percent of any surplus generated by the event will go to a nominated charity each year.

"For the first year that is Skye Mountain Rescue, who will also be marshalling the run"

On a specially set up webpage, where full details of the event are available the organisers add: "This year will see the first ever Santa Dash on the Isle of Skye. The idea is to bring folk together into Portree just before Christmas to celebrate the festive season in a fun and active way, whilst raising money for local causes. We are aiming to make this a regular festive event on Skye.

 

Five Staffin crofters may not hit the heights of Hollywood but this week they could find themselves with a little bit of celebrity status.

For the locals are set to "star" in the film premiere “Grazing on the Edge” when it is screened on Thursday (November 10) at the Aros in Portree.

The film features local crofters who have sheep on the Corries and Staffin General grazings, which cover two large swathes of hill ground lying below the Trotternish Ridge and are close to the Storr and Hill of the Red Fox.

The contribution Staffin crofters make to managing land of “high nature value” will be the focus of the 35-minute film which includes appearances by Ronald Angus MacDonald, Dol Alec Gillies, Iain MacLeod (Marrishadder), Donald MacLeod (Culnacnoc) and Donald MacDonald (Clachan).

It was filmed in 2015 with interviews and footage shot on the hill, while the crofters also employed Go-Pros to record themselves out with their dogs going about their work and gathering sheep.

Janette Sutherland, who is the Corries and Staffin General clerk and also works for Scotland’s Rural College in Portree, said the new film illustrated the challenges local crofters faced rearing sheep on hill grazings. “I believe the film showcases the experience and knowledge of those working on the ground and demonstrates their concern about its management and issues they face,” she said.

Made in collaboration with researchers from the James Hutton Institute and the Universities Innovation fund, via the Scottish Funding Council, the film is part of a research project which will outline how upland land use is key for for community, agricultural and environmental benefits.

Janette added: “The JHi team filmed interviews with stakeholders with a wide range of experience of the issues. There was a strong contribution from a local group of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers. Earlier this year that evidence was used to stimulate workshop discussions which in turn helped in the editing of the final cut which is now ready for its public premiere.”

Trotternish Gaelic singer Anne Martin will start the premiere, which is free to attend, at 7.30pm with a short performance.

It may only be November but big hearted youngsters at Broadford Primary School have made sure that Christmas has come early.

For when pupils were asked to help fill yuletide boxes for this year's Blythswood Appeal they showed just how much they care for others.

And now no less than 55 filled boxes have been handed over to the charity and will be available for distribution over the festive period.

Driving to Inverness? Well at least one of the city's roundabouts should be easier to negotiate.

For according to Transport Scotland drivers are now experiencing shorter journey times since new traffic light timings were trialled at the Longman roundabout.

Across the week, the new settings have resulted in an overall reduction in journey times of up to 12 per cent. For weekdays, times have reduced by 17 per cent during the evening peak and 2 per cent in the morning.

Transport Scotland began the trial at the end of this summer in response to concerns about traffic delays and has worked with the operating company BEAR Scotland to analyse the traffic flow, behaviour and journey times through the junction.

Prior Notification for Farm-related building works (non-residential)
7 Roag Dunvegan Isle Of Skye IV55 8ZA

Erection of a 4 bedroom dwelling with parking and turning for 3 vehicles, private drainage via treatment plant and soakaway
Land 50M South East Of 11 Fiscavaig Fiscavaig Carbost Isle Of Skye

Erection for a single storey extension to an existing dwelling also a timber clad garden room.
Mossfield House 5 Camustianavaig Portree IV51 9LQ

 

Kyle lifeboat crew were called out at the week-end in a search for a missing person.

The boat was launched around 7pm on Sunday at the request of the UK Coastguard, to assist local Coastguard teams in the search around the Castle Moil area of Kyleakin.

Fortunately the individual was subsequently found safe and well a short time later and the lifeboat returned to station at 7:45pm.

 

Police can confirm that Colin Haxton, who was reported missing from Inverness and has connections with Skye, has been traced .
 
They have offered their thanks to members of the public and the media for their assistance.

Skye and Lochalsh Access Panel welcomes plans to make Kyle branch of the Bank of Scotland more accessible to people with disabilities

Skye and Lochalsh Access Panel recently received a number of complaints from people with disabilities within the community regarding the announced closures of the Lochcarron and Broadford branches of the Bank of Scotland.

Of particular concern was that whilst the branches to be closed are accessible to all, local customers will now have to use the Kyle branch which in its present state is not. The entrance to the Kyle branch is about a metre above the road level, and bank customers have to climb a number of steps to get into the bank. This makes it inaccessible to wheelchair users, parents with prams and any person with any disability/mobility problems.

PICTURED L-R Dorothy Green Chair of the Inverness Hotels Association, Lord Godfrey Macdonald and Lady Claire Macdonald Kinloch Lodge, Tanya Castell Vice Chair of Scottish Canals

The team at Kinloch Lodge is celebrating after being voted Most Hospitable Hotel at the Highlands and Islands 2016 Tourism Awards.

Godfrey and Claire Macdonald accepted the honour on behalf of the Kinloch team at a celebratory awards ceremony and dinner on Friday 4th November at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness.

The awards - recognised as one of the premier industry hospitality awards programmes in Scotland - are now in their 12th year and they identify, highlight and reward excellence throughout the hospitality industry within the Highlands and Islands.

Kinloch will now automatically be a finalist in the Scottish Thistle Awards to be held in Glasgow, next year.

 

Thirty five Gaelic learners and speakers from Portree and Plockton Secondary Schools attended a Careers Day at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The event was formally opened by Mr John Norman Macleod, Vice Principal/Director of Academic Studies at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye.

The annual event ‘SIUTHAD!’– GO ON!’ is aimed at both Gaelic Learners and Fluent speakers. ‘SIUTHAD!’ showcases a range of Gaelic related careers and encourages young people to continue with their Gaelic studies.

 

A man with connections to Kyleakin has gone missing.

Police Scotland is appealing for information to help trace Colin Haxton, aged 61, who has been reported missing from Inverness.

More road improvement works are scheduled to begin on Skye as part of a £230,000 investment from Transport Scotland.

This time a section of the A87 between Ob Lusa and the Kylerhea junction is involved with work scheduled to begin on Friday 11 November and taking approximately two weeks to complete.

The investment follows on from a previous £1.25M spent on the A87 on Skye during October, with drainage improvements made to Skye Bridge and resurfacing carried out to sections of the route north of Broadford Cemetery, Ard Dorch and North of Kingsburgh.

Runners in the official first race of Skye and Lochalsh Running Club's Winter series were met with the icy blast of winter.

Hailstones greeting competitors in the three and six mile races held at Skinadin Forest by Broadford. The events were run on forest track, paths and some sections of old tarmac road.

Here's how the race was described by the club themselves: "Typical November weather greeted the 24 runners who took part – setting off into brilliant sunshine only to be met by a harsh hail shower within minutes of the start! 


Hospitality has earned Skye's Kinloch Lodge a top award.

For in the 2016 Highlands and Islands Tourism awards it has been named as the "Most Hospitable Hotel.

In July it was announced the competition for the iconic piper trophies had reached new heights with a record 203 entries – up more than 15 per cent on last year’s previous peak figure.

Highland Council Trading Standards has launched a survey to learn about the online experiences of local tourist businesses.  The survey focuses on the interaction of Highland accommodation providers, tour operators, visitor attraction owners and other tourist businesses with the large 3rd party websites that have rapidly become very influential in the industry.

Trading Standards Manager David MacKenzie explained: “The innovations of the internet have brought great benefits to Highland consumers and businesses.  The tourist trade has seen particularly rapid changes in the way it operates, with the growing importance of large 3rd party websites providing services such as reservations, reviews and social media.  But new developments can also bring drawbacks and Trading Standards has the role of monitoring trade sectors to make sure that Highland consumers and businesses are getting a good deal.  Online surveys can be a good way to gather information, good or bad.”

The survey is very short and simple to complete and can be found at:   www.highland.gov.uk/Tourism-survey-2016

The Highland Council’s Community Services Committee has confirmed that the local authority if ready for winter with respect to its gritting service of council roads.

Members have been assured that the council has adequate salt stocks for the region which were replenished in September and October; that the authority will have around 60,000 tonnes in stock for the start of the main winter season and that there are no concerns about future provision of deliveries from the council’s supplier.

The total salt usage for last winter 2015/16 was 50,300 tonnes, which was around 30% (£1.27m) of the overall cost of the service last year.

Whisky, Fire & Song takes over Raasay this week-end for two days - and nights - of family fun.

The community event, tonight and tomorrow, (November 4 & 5 ) brings the community together for a fun filled week-end combing everything from whisky tasting to , architectural tours, architecture inspired cake building and torch lit processions.

Festivities start this evening with an opportunity for islanders and visitors alike to dust off their vocal cords and participate in a lively open mic night at Raasay House.

Skye Local Area Partnership is searching for projects to support in a new round of funding under the Highland Leader programme.

Close to £314,000 is available to support schemes which will benefit communities in both Skye and Rassay.

The aim of the funding initiative is to support projects that help to deliver the Highland Development Strategy and local development priorities. These include:


Time is running out for businesses and creative companies wanting to find space to expand and grow in Staffin.

Fresh expressions of interest in a potential business/storage or arts and crafts space at the area's proposed housing development are being invited but must be in before 4pm on Friday 19 November

Skyeskyns will be helping to raise the island's profile in Glasgow later this month.

From November 17-20, the Waternish based company can be seen exhibiting at the city's annual Country Living Christmas Fair which is being held in the Scottish Exhbition and Conference Centre. held in the SECC from the 17th until the 20th of November. 

Meanwhile the company is also hoping to raise its profile not just locally and nationally but also internationally through its recently re-vamped website www.skyeskins.co.uk

Highland Councillors have given their backing to the business case for bringing air services to the Isle of Skye and are to continue lobbying the Scottish Government and its agencies at the highest level.

Following assessment of the business case at the Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee, members of the Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee had the opportunity to discuss the wider economic and social benefits of having an airport on Skye and examined the short-term action plan to take forward some key development activities.

The Committee agreed up to £30,000 over the next 2 years to take forward the activities that have been identified that will unblock the delivery of air services.

Within hours of the decision local campaigners FlySkye issued their own statement via social media. They said: "At long last!

"We all knew the airport would bring economic benefits to the island and surrounding mainland districts and have been saying that since the very beginning of the campaign to restore regular flights between our airstrip at Ashaig, near Broadford, with the Central Belt, for over 4 years.

"However, we are all going to have to be patient for even longer. Another 2 years may not seem very long in local government terms, but to a small, local business it is a very long time.

"Let's keep up the pressure"

Hot on the heels of its recent £500,000  plus lottery award, Staffin Community Trust are keen to keep the momentum going on their drive to bring about significant local changes.

Earlier this year they held a community consultation exercise about plans for the Storr, now this week-end a follow up drop in session is to be staged.

The Trust secured funding earlier this year to carry out an Options Appraisal into Highland Council-owned land at the Storr. A consortium led by Hazel Allen of Dingwall-based Athena Solutions, Richard Heggie of Urban Animation and Sam Foster Architects, were awarded the contract to carry out the work and report back to SCT.

Since the last consultation in July significant work has been carried out by the project team and a preferred option and site layout will be outlined at the drop-in event this Saturday 5 November. The event will be held in the SCT office, next door to the Church of Scotland, between 10am and 1pm

The Food Standards Agency have announced a product recall notice over bottled beer.

Gower Brewing Limited is recalling four types of beer as their labels do not declare the presence of wheat malt. This makes the products a possible health risk to anyone with an allergy or intolerance to wheat or gluten.

The company has withdrawn four products from its range with best before dates up to and including End of July 2017, mainly 500ml bottles and casks.

For full details follow the link here

TOUR drivers have picked up spades instead of passengers as they carried out badly-needed path repairs to one of Skye’s most famous settings.

They are normally behind the wheel of the small white coaches which have become a familiar sight on the island’s roads.  But staff from Rabbie’s Trail Burners Ltd happily parked up and spent two days working on the Quiraing route in Staffin instead.
Despite inclement weather, eight Rabbie’s drivers and office workers completed the path upgrade at the Quiraing, which is visited by thousands of people each year and is a popular Hollywood film location.  

The path repairs came about through a new tie-up between Rabbie’s and the Staffin Community Trust (SCT).

It comes as the north Skye community organisation recently secured significant Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) investment to extend its Skye Ecomuseum project, which includes the Quiraing path route. HLF approved a £522,000 grant in September to enhance the ecomuseum experience for visitors and the island’s resident communities. As part of the application, SCT tabled a maintenance and management plan for the ecomuseum and intends to provide volunteering opportunities for local people and other groups.

CalMac’s Director of Stakeholders and Communities Brian Fulton, Director of Human Resources Christine Roberts and Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance

 

West coast ferry operator CalMac has been named as Scottish Living Wage Champion for 2016.

In August 2015, CalMac became the UK’s first ferry company to gain Living Wage Foundation accreditation and also the first major transport operator in Scotland.

Indeed, CalMac remains the only UK ferry operator with Living Wage accreditation, which was earned by David MacBrayne Ltd – CalMac’s holding company – and extends to all areas of the business, including Argyll Ferries; a total of some 1,500 staff.

This Saturday 5 November will see fireworks of a different kind when Skye & Lochalsh Runnng Club stage race 2 of their Winter Series.

The event is at Skinadin Forest by Broadford involving both a three or six mile race distance. Run on forest track, paths and some sections of old tarmac road registration is at the Skinadin Forest walks car park (next to Broadford Cemetery) from 11.30am. Race starts at 12 noon.

Cost is £5 (SLRC members £1). All welcome (over-16s only).

 

There was a touch of realism as local Coastguard personnel were put through their training paces during a major training exercise held in and around Mallaig.

 A series of "rescues" were set for the teams drawn from the Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber in what was described as a "great Area week-end".

 

 

Duntulm and Sligachan on Skye are amongst four additional Highland areas which will now see benefits from superfast broadband.

In addition other island locations such as Carbost, Duntulm, Isle Ornsay, Raasay, Skeabost Brridge and Staffin can expect to see some roll out including extended coverage.

The news comes as part of an announcement that the Highlands and Islands will see more fibre broadband coverage for homes and businesses into 2017, thanks to the early success of the region’s Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) project.

Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the rural economy and connectivity, has announced that strong take up figures mean that an additional £2.3m is being re-invested back into the project.

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