Essential repairs at Lochmaddy will result in amendments to the Uig to Lochmaddy ferry services.

Repairst to the linkspan at North Uist will result in changes from Monday 13 November to Saturday 18 November.

The work requires the port to be closed.  This may also affect the sailings between Uig and Tarbert.

An amended timetable will follow and sailings will be operated between Lochboisdale and Uig.  

By carrying out the work at that time the company hope to minimise disruption to passengers and commercial users.

Further information can be found here.

 

The Skye and Lochalsh Running and Athletics Club are in the process of organising their winter race series.

A meeting will be held on Wednesday 30 August at 7:30pm in order to discuss and organise the races.

All are welcome to attend - however the Club stated that anyone who cannot attend but wants to be involved should message them on their Facebook page.

 

The A887 will be closed for several days in September.

The stretch of single track road past the Cluanie dam will be closed for resurfacing.  

The closure will commence on Monday 4 September from 7am to 6pm until Tuesday 12 September.  

Further information on the road closure can be found here.

A survey on possible uses for the Plock is avaible now.

Kyle and Lochalsh Community Trust is working to finalise transfer of the Plock ownership from Hamilton Park Trustees.  

They are keen to hear ideas from the community regarding what should be the priorities for the Plock.  The results will help to direct the Trust's efforts.  

Each idea will take only a small portion of the Plock, with the majority of the area being something for everyone to enjoy.  Additional car park spaces and improved disabled access will be incorporated into the main income generator ideas.

You can collect and submit it at the Kyle Library and the Kyle Village Hall or request it by email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The deadline is Friday 1 September 2017.

The survey is for those who live in the Trust's catchment area.  That includes postcode areas: IV52, IV53, IV40 (excluding Raasay) & IV41 8PG.

A Met Office yellow Be Aware warning has been issued for Skye and Lochalsh this evening (Tuesday 22 August.)

Heavy rain will spread across southwest Scotland and the Hebrides on Tuesday evening, and then affect other western and central areas overnight and into Wednesday morning. Some intense downpours, perhaps thundery, will lead to localised flooding of roads. Some travel disruption should be expected through into the morning commute.

The rain will clear away eastwards during Wednesday morning.

The Chief Forecaster's assessment states that outbreaks of rain will develop during Tuesday afternoon and evening, lasting overnight and into Wednesday morning.

Some of the rain will become heavy and perhaps thundery with locally torrential downpours possible.

15 to 25 mm of rain may fall locally in an hour with as much of 30 to 50 mm falling by morning. Isolated totals of 70 mm of rain could fall across higher ground within the warning area.

The warning starts from 8pm on Tuesday 22 August and will last until 9pm on Wednesday 23 August.

More information can be found here.

The Skye Games will take on an international flavour as a French Pipe Band comes to entertain.

The Piperade Pipe Band was formed in 2010 when a piper settled in the south west of France and met two musicians, attracted by the sound of his pipes.

The number of students grew and included drummers, all keen to learn the Scottish techniques.  Currently, the band now has 30 members.

Many performances have been made since then, including concerts with local orchestras, piping festivals and an appearance at the Bressuire Highland Games in central France.

Every year a part of the band plays for the D Day commemorations in Normandy on the graves of the allied soldiers perpetuating the memory of their sacrifice.

On Scottish exam results day, 8th August, no matter the outcome of your exams, you'll have a lot of fantastic options to help you move forward.

Whether you got the results you had always dreamed of, or you didn’t get the results you had hoped for, it’s not the end of the world.

Along with other regional DYW groups, Developing the Young Workforce West Highland, are following Glasgow’s brainchild of promoting the message that there are many people in interesting job roles across Scotland that may not have taken a straight, obvious or traditional path to get there. 

It will be natural to have mixed emotions about your exam results, so to celebrate the range and diversity of career paths that are followed leaving school.

We are encouraging people from a variety of sectors and professions to share a snippet of their story – what they did when they left school and where they are now.

You may be surprised to see where people were and what they have achieved to date. We want to convey a positive message that there are a range of ways to achieve success into a variety of career roles – and that there is #nowrongpath.

To share your path:

Parents and carers of primary and secondary school children who are eligible to claim for assistance with school clothing for their children are to benefit from an 11% increase in the grant being made available by The Highland Council.

Members of the Highland Council’s Resources Committee have agreed to increase the amount of school clothing grant per pupil to £90 for all applications received from 1 April 2016 for the 2016/17 academic year. Last session (2015/16) the Highland Council paid the joint fourth highest rate (£81) in Scotland.

Tributes have been paid to a man with strong connections -and commitments - to Sleat and Raasay.

The latest edition of Am Bratech, Raasay’s community newspaper, has announced the recent death of 65 years old David Dickson.

Writing in the paper, Donnie Oliphant said: “We are very sad to learn that David Dickson, who divided his time between Sleat and Edinburgh, died in August after a short illness.

The A82 has now re-opened after two separate road accidents involving motorcycles.

The first occurred around 11.15am and closed the road south of Drumnadrochit following a motorcycle and car collision earlier today

The male motorcyclist was airlifted to Raigmore Hospital by the UK Coastguard helicopter. His injuries, at the time, were said to be life threatening.

Scottish Fire and Rescue said: "When firefighters arrived they discovered the motorcyclist had ended up down an embankment. Using ropes and utilising their working at height skills the crews reached the casualty and extricated them to safety.

"Police, Ambulance and the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter were also present. The motorcyclist was placed in the care of the coastguard helicopter crew before being airlifted to hospital.

"Crews made the scene safe and assisted with the clean-up operation. The last appliance left the scene at 1.37pm."

The second accident closed the A82 just south of Invermoriston following a single motorcyle RTC.

Traffic Scotland have issued a high winds warning on the Skye Bridge from midday today (Aug 31)

Earlier this month Skye Times reported how Portree RNLI were called in to ferry ambulance staff to an emergency on Raasay.

The incident was said to have once again highlighted the lack of out of hours medical cover on the island. Now here’s one resident’s take on the incident and its aftermath as related on social media.

"When the paramedics are called out to Raasay these days they are usually brought across by the fantastic RNLI crew. At the same time one of our local volunteers is contacted to drive the (very old) ambulance that is kept on the island down to the ferry terminal to collect the paramedic and take them to the patient. That volunteer then waits whilst the patient is assessed and eventually takes the paramedics (and patient if evacuation is required) back to the waiting lifeboat.

Walkers are being warned that, weather permitting, helicopter lifts will take in place in Glen Sligachan on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd September as part of the John Muir Trust’s ongoing programme of path repairs.

Following the first phase of restoration work on the Druim Hain path that was carried out last winter, phase two starts in September.

It includes further work on the Druim Hain path from Glen Sligachan to Loch Coruisk, plus pre-emptive work on Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach where the steep path is in danger of becoming badly eroded.

The helicopter lift will bring stone into the two sites which will be used to build steps and drainage features.

The Highland Council Waste Team are encouraging people to give quality unwanted items a new home by donating to a good cause.  Passing your stuff on to be used by someone else is a great way to help out family and friends or support a local charity. It’s also great for the environment as it keeps things out of landfill.

There are many re-use and charity stores across the region that sell donated items to support a good cause in the local area, and many of them also help people back into work.

The sort of things to donate include quality clothing, shoes (pairs), books, furniture, soft furnishings (with fire tags) bikes, prams (with fire tags), toys and homeware.  They are also a great place to pick up amazing bargains and in turn support local charities.

Fearless Danny MacAskill, Skye’s own top cycle stunt rider, may not go Youtube viral with his latest offering but it could become a best seller.

For the local lad made good is about to have a book about his life and exploits published by Penguin and as you can see you can pre-order it now.

Entitled "At the Edge" the book will be out from the end of September

 

 

Maybe not quite blowing her own trumpet, but Sarah Watts latest musical course is certain to be sweet music to some ears.

Sarah said: "I am preparing for my Autumn Isle of Raasay Clarinet Course (17th - 21st October). There are still a couple of places left if you want to visit one of the most beautiful islands in Scotland (yes I am biased!) for a week of clarinet playing.

Seven people were brought to safety during two different mountain rescues on Skye.

The incidents happened virtually simultaneously yesterday (Aug 29) with the local Mountain Rescue team managing to cope with both.

The alert was first raised at around 2.30pm when a party of three, one male and two females, found themselves lost and disorientated in thick mist and poor weather conditions on the Cuillin.

Tragedy mum Natalia Spencer has been making her way around Skye determined that her daughter’s memory will live on.

In December last year five year old Elizabeth collapsed the day after showing flu-like symptoms. It was just 18 days later that she died, a victim of Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis, a cold-like virus which triggered an extremely rare auto immune condition that sent her body into overdrive to fight off the original virus

The condition, caused her body to go into septic shock, shutting down her major organs and cutting off the blood supply to her limbs.

Elizabeth was put on life support at Bristol Children's Hospital but tragically died.

Now, Natalia is fighting her grief to raise money and awareness by walking the entire coast of Britain - because the seaside was Elizabeth's favourite place.

Ruth (left)

Dog loving Ruth Winterbourne is about to take "walkies" to a whole new level.

For while most folk might take their canine companion out for a short stroll each day this week Ruth intends to lead the way by covering nearly 50 miles from Dunvegan Castle right through to the Skye Bridge.

After four months of training Ruth is planning to set off at 6am on Thursday (Sept 1) and will walk 26 miles to the Moll Road end. Then, sore feet permitting, she will resume her charity challenge completing the 23 miles over the bridge to Kyle.

Ruth said: "Training over the last 4 months has gone really well so I am now going to do the walk in 2 days instead of the original planned 3 days.

"The main reason is to raise money for two charities very close to my heart, the first, Scottish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue and the second will be Three Counties Dog Rescue .

A series of summits to drive forward the rural economy; discuss investment and consider Scotland’s role in the EU will be hosted by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

The first summit, to be held next week, will focus on the farmed shellfish industry, followed by events tailored to industries including forestry, agriculture and other sectors within food and drink.

The discussions will bring together industry representatives; recommend action to boost investment and consider how to best protect our interests and relationship with the EU.

Engineers from Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) have presented Portree RNLI with a cheque for £5,000 in recognition of the assistance given restoring power to customers in Raasay after Storms Gertrude and Henry battered the Highlands and Islands in close succession earlier this year.

The lifeboat crew twice came to the assistance of SHEPD’s local team, initially taking linesmen to the island on the evening of 29 January to get the lights back on while Gertrude unleashed winds gusting up to 94mph and then again on 1 February when lightning associated with Storm Henry inflicted fresh damage. The severe conditions meant that the Raasay ferry was unable to sail, leaving engineers facing an uncertain wait to bring help to island customers.

SHEPD Team Manager Neil Macdonald, who was one of the engineers transported to the island, said: “The assistance we received from the RNLI was given freely by highly skilled volunteers who are used to saving lives at sea in atrocious conditions. The value of their work for our communities - and on this occasion for our customers who were without power - goes well beyond money. We hope our donation is a small recognition of the unique service they made available to us and the difference it made.

CalMac Ferries Ltd has gone public for the first time with its plans to transform west coast ferry services in a new contract beginning on 1 October for up to eight years.

The company, which was announced as the successful bidder for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services tender in May, signed the contract with Transport Scotland on August 22 following the finalisation of legal agreements.

Scottish Ministers and Transport Scotland place great value on the contribution that the Clyde and Hebrides Service can make to the social, cultural and economic vitality of Scotland, and in particular in the Island and Coastal communities. 

Managing Director, Martin Dorchester, said that CalMac’s winning bid was rooted in ambitious plans to drive improvements which will transform the experience of ferry travellers, exemplify customer focus, and show the company’s determination to make a positive difference to the communities.

Skye Ladies missed out on a Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup victory after going down to a 4-2 defeat to rivals Lochaber.

However, at least there was the consolation of being presented with the Ladies 1st Division trophy after a season long fight for the title.

Glendale Trust want to get the go ahead to bring the local Pooltiel Pier and slipway back into full use.

They are seeking planning permission which, if successful, would see essential repairs and an extension to the low water mark carried out. The extended slipway would then provide safe access to the water at all times.

Steven Fraser in action

Skye and Lochalsh Club stage their annual Skeabost Rally Time Trial next month.

The event, won in 2015 by Steven Fraser, will take place on Saturday 17th September, with spectators, as always, welcome to come along and enjoy the high speed actions.

One hundred and twenty rides cycled their way around Skye this week as the annual Sportive event was staged on the island.

In the 95 miles Skye Mor some 70 riders set off with all but one managing to completed the tough course around the north of Skye before heading for Dunvegan and back via Sligachan.

First male place went to Alan Cope with a time of 4.47.03 while first female home was Marie Meldrum in 5.08.51.

Cuillin Wheel members James Stephenson was 30th in a time of 5.50.32 followed by Simon Hammond in 52nd place at 6.52.30

In the 48 mile Skye Beag there were 50 competitiors and the winner time was Jonathan Bell’s 2.24.42 while first female was 17 years old Ella Conelly in 2.34.00. Cuillin Wheeler, Wheldon Houlsby did a time of 3.53.43 for 40th.

Full results



 

Gina at the oath ceremony

 

Skye now has a new Special Constable after Gina Mills was officially sworn in.

She travelled to Police Scotland’s training centre at Tulliallan Castle in Kincardine, Fife, for the special occasion.

Set in 90 acres of parkland the 19th century built facility castle lies at the heart of the force’s main training facility.
Since opening for police training in 1954, Tulliallan has also been Scotland’s central recruit training base for over 50 years.

Roger and Andrea


A tweed worn by the rich and famous is the inspiration for Glendale weavers Roger and Andrea Holden.

In the past the Glenurquhart Check, probably one of the world’s most famous tweeds, has been worn by the likes of former US president, Ronald Reagan, actor Cary Grant and figured in the creations of designer Ralph Lauren.

Created in the mid-19th century it now comes in a huge variety of related patterns, known as Glen Checks.

Now though this October, to mark Wool Week, a celebration of all things woollen, Roger and Andrea who run Skye Weavers, are setting out to design their very own special variation of this pattern, the Glendale Check.

Portree & Braes Community Trust have landed extra cash to help cover the cost of the local helipad.

Inverness based PDG Helicopters have donated £300 which will be used locally to maintain the pad which helps ensure that it remains available for emergency use for residents of Portree and north Skye

Scotland's most successful rural arts and events promotion group, Skye based SEALL, celebrated its own big birthday bash in style.

The 25th anniversary of its foundation, Skye Events for All, marked the big moment  with a concert held in Sleat by Blazin' Fiddles, who wowed the appreciative audience with some fine fiddle playing.

Experience and expertise honed on Skye is go behind the Bamboo Curtain to help the world’s mostly highly populated country protect its own wildlife.

Despite the incredible difference in population – Skye with just over 10,000 compared to the 1,322,000,000 that China has – still lessons learnt in the North West of Scotland are to be used to establish a whole new conservation network and programme there.

Next month, from September 5-10, Dr Paul Yoxan and his wife, Grace, who are responsible for the International Otter Survival Fund’s (IOSF) Broadford sanctuary on Skye, will travel to Zhuhai in China to stage a five day workshop, the first of its kind to be held there.

There are three species of otter in China, all of which are seriously declining in number.  This is largely due to overharvesting, habitat destruction, water pollution, and lack of prey availability. 

Dr Yoxon, Head of Operations at IOSF said: “2016 is the Year of the Otter and the aim is to draw attention to the plight of the world’s otters and to raise funds for their conservation. 

Dr Paul Yoxon

Police Scotland are hoping to attract Skye businesses to a special "Meet the Buyer" event to be staged next month.

The Preliminary Supplier Engagement,one of a series being held across a few geographical areas in Scotland, is part of their research into deciding the best way forward for a new, upcoming tender for joinery and locksmith services in relation to boarding up premises in the Highlands and Islands.

Skye MP Ian Blackford, has called for high level talks to tackle growing concerns over public facilities and road networks during the tourist season. 

Already a Facebook group with over 250 members has been created, dedicated to protecting and maintaining the natural beauty of the Isle of Skye.  The group serves as a way to report any damage or desecration.  Areas that see heavy footfall are of particular concern, such as the Fairy Pools car park, photographed this morning (Friday August 26) by group member Peter Shepherdson.  

Mr Blackford MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said: "I have written to The Highland Council calling for a summit meeting of everyone involved in tourism on Skye to address weaknesses in infrastructure which have led to problems throughout the holiday period.

"The island is enjoying an amazing season with a huge influx of visitors, but which is also stretching public facilities and road networks to breaking point in some areas.  Particular concerns have been raised over the Fairy Pools at Glenbrittle, where roads are regularly being blocked by an overwhelming number of visitors.  I know this is happening in other areas too.

Scotland’s Transport and Islands Minister Humza Yousaf has been finding out first hand about life on Raasay.

This week (Aug 25) the government minister traveled over to the island. After visiting and seeing for himself the work that is going on to create a new distillery, which will bring extra jobs for locals he carried on to meet staff at Raasay House.

Later there was a meeting with members of the local community to hear their concerns about heathcare cover on the island and what can be done to resolve the issue.

Would be ferry service users are being warned to double check their travel arrangements to or from Skye in September

Sleat perfectly Sleat have highlighted potential problems. On social media they say: “If are you are booked or planning to travel on the Mallaig-Armadale ferry service in September there are a numbers of days and times where the schedule has been changed due to tidal conditions.

“Check your date at the link below or contact CalMac for further information. Please note that this period is now in the late summer 'shoulder' season so overall there are less sailings than in the recent peak months.

To find out more follow the link here

 

 

Schools on Skye could be amongst those across the Highlands who next summer receive new tablet devices for every pupil.

The roll out of the devices is part of a new contract that Highland Council are keen to get up and running. As part of that process its Resources Committee has agreed to select WIPRO Holdings UK Ltd as its Preferred Bidder for the future delivery of its ICT Core Services.

 However, the Council is still in a commercially confidential procurement process and an announcement of a formal award of contract will not be made until around 12 September following the required legal “standstill period”.

 The Council’s requirement is that a new Contract will deliver improvements within the Council and all Highland Schools with a significant investment in ICT to provide improved learning and to enable improvements in service delivery across all Services. This would include the roll-out of some 20,000 new tablet devices to pupils, commencing next summer.

Portree RNLI were called to assist ambulance personnel after a medical emergency on Raasay.

As if to emphasis the need for nursing cover on the island, as reported in the Skye Times, the lifeboat crew launched shortly after 6.30pm last night (August 24) in order to transport Scottish Ambulance Service staff to the island to attend to the call. It was 8.30pm before the boat was back to base and made ready for the next shout.

 

 

Be part of island life

 

Raasay has resorted to social media to try and resolve the long running discontent over lack of nursing cover for the island.

The disillusionment of islanders over the failure to find someone to fill the vacant post was made clear during a recent meeting with NHS Highland when locals made their views known and called for action to resolve the issue.

Now it seems they have decided not to just sit and wait. Via the Raasay's Facebook page they have put out a call to help bring the much need medical cover to the island.

Under a title of "Please share with any nurses or paramedics you know" the island community look to have started their own recruitment campaign with just days left before the closing date for the post.

In an open appeal they say: "Have you ever fancied living and working on a Scottish island?

Supporters of the campaign to bring scheduled air flights back to Skye – or even those just interested – are invited along to a new photo exhibition next week.

Flyskye, the independent campaign group with the single objective of seeing the re-introduction of air links to the island from the Central Belt of Scotland, is hopeful that the event, “The Value of Small Airports”, will add further momentum to their cause.

Close to 3,000 ewes and lambs went under the hammer at Portree this week with prices up on last year.

The average was £44.90 which was up £2.84 on 2015 figures.

The top price at Portree was an excellent £62.50 for a pen of Texel X lambs sold by Donald Alec Ross, Marrishadder. Stewart Clark, of Strathmore, Stenscholl, was close behind sold with his Texel crosses selling for £62.

In the Cheviot, Steve Poole, of 1/2 6 Brogaig, fetched £61 for his lambs and Iain MacLeod, of 28 Stenscholl, got £57.50 for his Suffolk X lambs.

Education chiefs have begun sifting through some 300 applicants keen to take up the head teacher’s post on the tiny isle of Muck.

On Monday (Aug 22) applications official closed for the position which carries a salary of up to £35,000 to run the local island school off Skye which has a population of about 40 and just seven children.

Originally Highland Council bosses failed to find any suitable applicants but a social media campaign by locals led to interest coming in from around the world.

 

Thirty five runners took part in this year’s Quiraing 10K with the weather, for once, being kind.

The race was part of Uig Gala Day which itself attracted locals and visitors alike to enjoy the stalls, sideshows and the sunshine.

For full results and photos of the running event follow the link here

 

 

Film crews, actors and horses were spotted on the Trotternish as cameras came to Skye this week.

Yesterday and again this mornings part of the ridge were transformed into a movie set as scenes were shot for the latest of what Hollywood will be hoping will be another blockbuster, this time “Transformers: The Last Knight”

Over the two days Highland Council exempted land,  between 6am and 10.30am, from the access rights which would otherwise be exercisable.

That allowed the camera crews to move out and shoot what is believed to have been a number of action scenes involving horses and stunt riders.

Skye Camanachd marked the passing of highly respected local mum, Morag Grant, with a minute’s silence during their latest fixture

Morag, from Portree, was a well known local in Portree for many years and was a well-known figure within her own community and further afield until her death last week when she passed away peacefully aged 85 years.

 

Out on the open water

 

They spent nearly 12 hours in open boats but now five sailing club team mates hope they have done enough to support Skye teenager and friend, Sacha MacInnes, to head out to Africa to help others.

Over the week-end Corrina Coll, Murphy Henderson, Kenneth Nicolson, Chloe Urquhart and Chris Whatley were joined by 17 year old Sasha to sail their dinghies non-stop around Raasay.

The aim was not only to complete the challenge but help Sasha raise the £2,000 she needs to cover her costs on travelling to Kenya and covering her costs while there.

The memory of Staffin’s fallen heroes is not being allowed to simply fade away.

Concerns about the condition of the local war memorials prompted the community to step in and now the names of those who died protecting their country are once again there to be clearly seen by all.  

For a specialist power wash and the re-lettering of the fallen soldiers’ names on Staffin’s two war memorials – by the Kilmartin River and at Valtos – has been carried restoring them to a pristine condition and ensuring that the names of those who fell, live on

Stewart Bain and Ronnie Sutherland of Dingwall-based monumental sculptors John Hood & Son were in Staffin to carry out the work at the memorials, which remember the local men who never returned to the district following the Boer, First and Second World Wars. 

Prior to last year’s Remembrance Sunday services, there was a community clean-up of the area around the Staffin War Memorial, which saw trees cut back so the structure could be viewed more easily from the main road.

 

People submitting building standards applications to The Highland Council will benefit from a major new improvement to the Council’s digital services that will be on offer from Wednesday 24 August.

The eBuilding Standards Service will allow customers to submit all Building Standards applications to Highland Council electronically in the same way customers can already make planning applications electronically using ePlanning.

CalMac Ferries Ltd (CalMac) has signed the formal contracts with Transport Scotland and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) to operate ferries and harbours on the west coast of Scotland.

In May CalMac was announced by Transport Scotland as the successful bidder for the Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services contract and it also won a separate, but linked contract to deliver harbour operations at 24 ports on behalf of CMAL. This is the first time that ferry and harbour operations have been split in this way.

Managing Director Martin Dorchester said: “Now that the contracts have been signed we can start to share information with staff and customers about our ambitious plans to transform the experience of ferry travellers during the lifetime of the contract.”

The Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre has finally reopened to the public following major restoration work to the building.

The work, part of a massive upgrade of the Elgin Hostel, meant that staff had to operate out of the adjoining community library.

Now though from today (Monday 22 August) the centre is once again open with all the collections returned and access, as before, will be via the round room

Six cycling friends have set themselves the incredible target of riding non-stop 410 miles in less than 24 hours with Skye being their finally destination

The big event takes place on Friday 26th August from Newcastle and this will be no relay but each member of the team – who have now been in training for months –will complete the full distance.

The riders will start from the centre of Newcastle at 9am, and hope to finish at 9am the following morning. The route takes the riders through the Northumbrian countryside to Carter Bar, the border between England and Scotland. It's then – sort of – downhill to Edinburgh.


Skye could be set to get its very first hand crafted gin distillery and it would be based virtually in the heart of Portree

Brothers Thomas and Alistair Wilson have come up with the ambitious plan which would see the creation of their very own micro distillery sited on land owned by the family at Hillfoot on Viewfield Road.

If planning permission is given the new gin production unit, to be run by the brothers’ Isle of Skye Distillers Ltd, would likely see building work on the new premises begin almost immediately with the first production taking place by the end of the year.

In their submission to Highland Council, the Wilsons say: “The craft gin market has grown dramatically in recent years within the UK particularly in the Highlands. Gin is the 4th most popular spirit in the UK with 70% being produced in Scotland. Edinburgh drinks more gin per head of population than any other UK city.

The Kyle RNLI crew in action

 

There's been another busy 24 hours for the Kyle RNLI crew with yet more call outs

The lifeboat launched at 6:30pm on Saturday at the request of Stornoway Coastguard, after a mother & her son on holiday from Holland got stuck on a small island between Ashaig and Broadford.

While the crew made best speed towards the scene and began a search of the many small islands and rocks along that stretch of coastline, the Coastguard unit from Broadford then located the casualties and updated the crew with their position.

However due to the difficult and rocky nature of the shallow waters in that area, it took the lifeboat a while to reach the 2 people. The crew assessed the condition of the casualties who were cold but otherwise uninjured, before taking them onboard the lifeboat and transferring them to the Coastguard unit at Broadford pier. The lifeboat then returned to Kyle and was refuelled and ready for service again at 7.50pm.

Then at 9:20am this morning the lifeboat crew were back in action for the sixth time in as many days, after reports were received of a dinghy adrift in Scalpay bay. The lifeboat arrived on scene and took the small vessel, which was in a state of disrepair, under tow back to Kyle.

Hugh MacLeod


Clan chief Hugh MacLeod will next month be more concerned about tyres rather than tartan as he heads out to help a cause a long way from his Dunvegan seat.

For the 30th chief of the clan MacLeod is taking to two wheels in September  riding a mountain bike 250km off road in 5 days for The European Nature Trust's Transylvanian Bike Ride in aid of the ‘Regatul Salbatic’ or ‘Wild Kingdom’ initiative.

Hugh said: “This programme provides tens of thousands of children each year with a unique and exciting environmental education – a critical component of global conservation to help save one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across Europe.”

A teenager reported missing on Skye has been found safe and well over 100 miles away from home.

Police officers both on the island and the mainland began enquires after the 16 year old’s disappearance was reported and there was relief when the youngster was located in the Inverness area on Saturday evening (Aug 20).

No further details are available yet about the incident.

Kyle lifeboat was launched after three adults got into difficulty on a late night canoeing expedition.

Initially, at around 10.15pm yesterday the crew were told that two adults and a child were struggling to cope with strong tidal currents in the Kylerhea area.

The crew were paged the request of Stornoway Coastguard, after a member of the public reported seeing the people get into a canoe and leave the shore in Glenelg a short while before getting into difficulty. They launched just 10 minutes later.

The Trotternish Ridge is set to be transformed next week and this time it has got nothing to do with the weather.

Instead movie magic comes to the popular Skye landscape with filming due to take place on Monday and Tuesday (Aug 22 and 23) as yet another Hollywood blockbuster is set in the island scenery.

This time it will be the action packed “Transformers: The Last Knight” which is being filmed, the fifth in the series.
Highland Council have exempted land from the access rights which would otherwise be exercisable between 6am and 10.30am on both days.

In an open letter to Skye residents Three Chimneys founder and director of Destination Skye and Lochalsh, Shirley Spear OBE, has called for a new local drive to tackle tourism related problems.

She said: “From my experience of business in Skye for the past 31 summers, I know that this time of year has always brought an influx of visitors to the island which is almost overwhelming for the resident community. This is nothing new, particularly in July and August.

“However, recent years have seen many noticeable changes in the type of tourists who have been coming to the island, particularly those travelling via the high number of tour buses from the Central Belt, plus the increase in the use of camper vans. More people have their own cars than ever before. People no longer buy postcards to send home to family and friends, but instantly exchange photographs of the places they visit (providing they can get a Broadband or mobile signal, of course!)

“The well-known beauty spots have become widely publicised on social media and as a result, they have been over-run and abused. There is no doubt about this, but as a community we have done very little indeed to come together to plan any sort of strategy to cope with the situation we are faced with now, nor for the future. We have no suitable organisation through which we can speak as one voice on behalf of the island and our vitally important industry, namely Tourism and Hospitality.

Overflowing bins at Neist Point - photo Brian Smith

 


NHS Highland are looking to recruit a full time out of hours GP for Skye.

The post, which carries a salary in the £86,000 - £104,000 bracket, would be based at MacKinnon Memorial Hospital however there would also be duties in Accident and Emergency role covering both the Broadford unit and ortree Hospital in conjunction with GP colleagues and nursing staff.

In their advert NHS Highland say: “As a member of our Rural Practitioner team, you will be based on the Isle of Skye in MacKinnon Memorial Hospital. MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford, is 8 miles from the Skye Bridge.

“Your work will be an exciting amalgamation of all your previous experience but in a magnificent rural setting. You will be involved in running a unique Community Hospital providing Intermediate Care to admissions from colleagues across Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has unveiled its winter timetable except for the troubled Mallaig – Armadale route.

In a press release the company have given plenty of detail about new routes being launched and other amendments to their service for the coming months.

However as far as the Skye route is concerned their own comment in the statement was: “Ongoing discussions with the Sleat Transport Forum mean winter sailings on the Mallaig Armadale route have still to be finalised.”

Fiona Mandeville

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the intervention of rural affairs secretary Fergus Ewing in his letter to Colin Kennedy, Crofting Commission convener.

“We are pleased that the Scottish Government has finally endorsed what we and others have been saying for months, that the actions of the Commission convener, and the decisions he appears to have forced through, have been divisive, unacceptable and not in line with crofting law,” commented SCF chair Fiona Mandeville from Skye.

Calmac are warning that there is a heightened possibility of disruption to some sailings on Friday 18 August on the Mallaig to Armadale route due to strong easterly winds.

Skye Festival brings something completely different this week-end.

For on Saturday (August 20) there will be a Singing Workshop with Bruce Ncube, a drum, music, dance and mbira teacher from Bulawayo, who returns to the UK for the summer to lead workshops teaching us dance and traditional songs from Zimbabwe.

After his visit to Kyle last year, Festival organisers are delighted to invite Bruce onto Skye. His singing workshops are inclusive, emotionally charged and uplifting. Every participant is invited to open their hearts and lungs wide, and enjoy singing beautiful, traditional songs in Zimbabwean languages, such as Shona and Ndebele. Suitable for everyone who just loves singing in groups.

Rhoda Grant MSP, Elgar Finlay (Project Manager- middle) and Geoff Semler (Chairman North Skye Broadband) right


Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has pledge to champion the fight to bring better, faster broadband to Skye.

After a meeting with North Skye Broadband, Ms Grant, the party’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Spokesperson confirmed she would be raising the island’ problems with senior Scottish Government officials next month.

A vocal campaigner to get superfast broadband to all parts of the Highlands and Islands, she was keen to learn details of the local project and its progress when she visited Skye.

Geoff Semler, of North Skye Broadband said: “It is great that our project is being recognised by public representatives. We welcome engagement with all who share our ambition of delivering futureproof robust broadband to Skye.

Work is continuing this month on the upgrade to Raigmore Hospital which equates to the single biggest investment the Inverness hospital has had since it was built.

Approval and funding to upgrade the hospitals critical care service was given by the Scottish Government in March this year with an investment of £28m over the next three years.

Last month Graham Construction, who will be completing the project, carried out invasive drilling surveys to test noise and vibration levels and this month saw Ward GC, which looks after oncology patients, move to a newly refurbished ward on the fifth floor.

Portree Lifeboat Day will take place on Saturday 27 August in Somerled Square, Portree from 11am until 4pm.

Why not pop along have some fun and help them raise money for our local Lifeboat. Stormy Stan will be there and so will the crew cooking their famous burgers . As previously reported in the Skye Times the crew rely on local support to ensure they are their to help save lives.

A young baby otter has made his way over the sea to Skye…by ferry.

Found in Glenelg hiding in a garden after its mother is believed to have been knocked down and killed by a vehicle, the 12 week old youngster was loaded on board the local ferry, MV Glenachulish, to make its way across the water to a new home.

Finder, Lizzie Sanders from Glenelg, quickly phoned the International Otter Survival Fund who have a specialist otter hospital on the island, and she and her husband, Nick, took the boat to Skye.

The ferry run by the Skye Ferry Company (http://skyeferry.co.uk/) crosses to the mainland following the old drove roads and they are well used to seeing a variety of wildlife.  But even they wanted to take a peek at their unusual passenger.

Now the young orphan will be looked after by the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) at its sanctuary in Broadford.

A female walker was hoisted to safety by helicopter during a rescue mission on Skye.

Local mountain rescue members, like their counterparts in the RNLI, found themselves in big demand this week during a series of call outs culminating in an incident at the Quiraing, when the Coastguard were also involved.

Ready for the big adventure

 

They've made it!

Skye rally pair Anne MacAskill and Kay Simpson have crossed the finishing line after the adventure of a lifetime in the 10,000 mile long Mongol Rally.

Since leaving home in early July the pair and their 20 year old van, have driven across England, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and finally into Russia.

Writing on social media yesterday Anne said: "We reached the finishing line this morning at about 9am!"

Kyle RNLI were kept busy with a spate of callouts this week requiring no less than three launches in one day.

The incidents all occurred on Tuesday (August 16) with the crew paged at 12:45pm after reports of a rib with 5 persons and 1 dog on board, having lost power between Kyle and Kyleakin and drifting towards the rocks.

By the time the lifeboat launched, the rib had drifted towards the pontoons in Kyle, and a moored yacht had managed to get them alongside. The lifeboat took the rib under tow back to the slip where it was taken out of the water.

Over 100 riders will be on the roads of Skye later this month taking part in the island’s now annual Cyclosportive event.

Split into two distances, the 95 mile Skye Mor, which has attracted 81 riders and the shorter, but still tough, Skye Beag at 48 miles and with 31 competitors the riders will all be hoping for better weather than 2015 when high winds made for difficult conditions.

Both events take place on Saturday 27 August beginning at Portree High School.

So far Cuillin Wheel cycle club members from Skye, Simon Hammond and James Stephenson have put in entries for the 95 mile ride.

Castle's 100,000th visitors

 

Dunvegan Castle and grounds continues to retain its status as one of Skye’s most popular attractions.

With several months of the season still to go it has just welcomed its 100,000th visitor this week.

The group from France and Belgium were offered free entrance and a goodie bag to mark the occasion.

Portree’s popular Cuillin Hills Hotel is looking to provide further accommodation for guests.

The Scorrybreac Road premises has applied for planning permission to have a two storey extension on the east side of the existing hotel. If given the go ahead the addition will replace part of the existing dining area and form six additional bedrooms.

Road and rail links between Mallaig – Fort William have now been restored.

After a massive landslide late last week which brought 100 tonnes of mud and stones onto the roadway and rail lines normal travel is now possible.

Over the week-end traffic controls allowed vehicles to pass the affected section of the A830 but it was only today that rail services became fully operational.

Police are warning locals to beware of bogus calls from the Bank.

The warning comes after residents in Kyle were contacted by scam callers. The advice is “don't engage & report anything suspicious to 101.”

The wedding dress found under a rock

 

It looks like there isn’t going to be any fairy tale reunion between a bride and her wedding gown but there might still be a happy ending!

Earlier this month The Skye Times reported how Orbost local Rachael Jackson had bizarrely discovered the dress under a rock in a peat bog on Skye.

Since then despite being widely reported on social media and through news outlets the true owner has not turned up.
Rachael said: “It’s a real shame because it is a beautiful dress and I would very much have liked to be able to give it back to the original wearer.”

Sasha

Teenager Sacha MacInnes really is set to put her back into helping those in need in Africa.

For the 17 year old is planning to head off to Kenya next year to help improve the lives of local people there but first she needs to raise the cash to cover her costs.

So on Saturday (August 20) she will be joining forces with a group of other Skye Sailing Club Cadets who have all committed to the sponsored challenge of sailing dinghies around the island of Raasay, in what will be their first open-water dinghy sailing challenge and a significant achievement in its own right for each of them.

A member of Skye Sailing Club, Sacha needs to raise £2,000 before the planned trip in June 2017

Saturday was definitely salmon day down on the River Snizort. Pictured is just one of dozen fish pulled from the fast running waters in the north of Skye. One Skye Ghillie will certainly be pleased!

The annual Skye Agricultural Show today (Saturday 13 August) featured livestock, tractors and exciting competitions.  

The King George V Field in Portree was buzzing with activity.  This year's Skye Agricultural Show was sponsored by NFU Mutual and featured a host of animals and activities.  

The A830 east of Lochailort has reopened under traffic signal control after teams from BEAR Scotland worked to clear debris from the carriageway.

The traffic signals will remain in place over the weekend to allow teams to safely clear the remaining debris from the culverts and ditches next to the route.

The landslip occurred on Thursday evening and approximately 100 tonnes of material is estimated to have washed onto the railway and A830 carriageway due to heavy rain.  Network Rail teams are working to address the railway line. 

Real-time journey information is available from Traffic Scotland on www.trafficscotland.org or twitter @trafficscotland.

Meanwhile ScotRail say that they anticipate disruption on the Mallaig-Fort William line to continue through until Monday.

The web based 38 Degrees site is the centre of a new campaign to see big changes in Skye.

Under the banner, “Bring Isle of Skye into 21st century tourism” an online petition has begun on the site which was established to, in its own words, “ promote democracy, peace, human rights, equality and sustainability

Addressed to the Scottish Minister of Tourism, the campaign says:

“The Isle of Skye is currently seeing a massive increase in tourist visitor numbers. Meanwhile the experience of these visitors is severely hampered by a lack of investment in road maintenance, car parking spaces for main attractions and very poor signage. I would like to see central and local government combine to produce extra money to give the hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to the island an improved experience.

Road and rail links have been badly affected on the main Mallaig - Fort William route after a major landslip.

Police are advising motorists that the A830 between Lochailort and Drumsallie junction is reduced to one lane and ScotRail say it will be later on Saturday before their service is likely to be back to normally.  

Bear Scotland said teams cleared away material from the road on Thursday evening, but further debris was washed onto the carriageway due to the heavy rains. The conditions hampered the clear-up operations, resulting in the road remaining closed overnight.

Police in Portree are appealing for information after damage was caused to a house in Mathieson Place.

The incident is said to have occurred between 8pm on Wednesday (August 10) and 9.30 am on Thursday (August 11). If you can help either call in at Portree Police Station or telephone 101

A decision has been made to allow restricted visiting to most of the wards at Raigmore Hospital this afternoon following a reassessment of the visiting suspension announced yesterday.

Visitors had been asked to stay away in order to prevent further outbreaks of norovirus within the Inverness hospital.

However Wards 7C, at the centre of the outbreak, remains closed and visitors are being asked to not visit these wards unless by prior arrangement with the nurse in charge. Testing has confirmed norovirus on three patients in this ward.

Dr Jonty Mills, consultant microbiologist for NHS Highland, explained that even though ward 7C remains closed due to norovirus and, therefore, closed to visitors, restricted visiting will be now allowed on the rest of the hospital wards.

David (second right) with members of the Scottish squad earlier this year

A freak accident has ruined Portree power lifter David Hearn’s chances of gaining even more world titles

At the age of 76, David was already a European champion and held three world records in power lifting before, in June of this year, taking part in World Drug-Free Power Lifting Federation’s Single Lift Championship where he became world champion in his age bracket in the squat and dead lift events.

However, any hopes he had of taking another title at the World Championships to be staged in Italy in November have been dashed by an incident closer to home.

David said: “I was felling a tree and just didn’t get it quite right so it caught me a glancing blow as it came down and I then fell heavily onto a tree stump.”

Portree RNLI crew

 

Portree RNLI are hoping local folk will swing into action to help them carry on their life-saving work.

Later this month the crew are holding their annual Open Day and in advance are hoping to get some voluntary donations.

On their Facebook page they say: We are very grateful and often touched by your messages of support throughout the year when the pagers go off. Amazingly we are still able to do what we do thanks to being entirely funded by voluntary donations from the public.

Artist Pam Carter sees the peak of her 25th anniversary celebrations next week at An Talla Dearg in Sleat.

Pam explained earlier in the year: “This year is my 25th year exhibiting at Isle Ornsay. 

"As always I'll be painting in the Gallery.  I've arranged a few fun events.” These include a Landscape Painting Competition for young people, an Oil Painting demonstration and a Fundraising Raffle in aid of the local Camuscross & Duisdale Initiative.

DCC Ruaraidh Nicolson

 

One of Police Scotland’s top law enforcers, Ruaraidh Nicolson, who has strong family connections to Skye, is to leave the force

The Deputy Chief Constable who originally joined Strathclyde Police in 1983, will officially retire from the service later this year.

During his time in the police he served in a number of specialist roles including the Serious Crime Squad and Head of the Force Fraud Squad, rising through the ranks. 

In 2001, he was seconded to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for three months as part of an exchange programme to develop and exchange ‘best practice’ amongst forces and 2002 was promoted to area Detective Superintendent and then to Deputy Head of Crime Division (Operations).

Starsky's Paint Store, previously located at Lisigarry Place in Portree, will soon be moving to brand new premises.  From August 26, you can expect to find the paint store located behind Portree Community Centre.  

Since the business was formed in 1993, it has grown to provide painting and decorating services as well as supplying paint.  

With the move, will come new developments for the company - including their own range of paint with a colour scheme chosen to reflect the shades of the Skye landscape.

August 26 will also see the company hold an open day to welcome customers to their new location and reveal details of their brand new paint range.  

 

A unique new cruising business for the waters off Skye and the West Highlands has been set up by experienced worldwide sailors Scott Atkinson and Mary Waller… called Red Moon Cruises.

Now couples, families or groups of up to four people can book to stay on the motor-sailing boat Red Moon - and travel around local waters to their own itinerary.

Scott and Mary are operating from the pontoons at Kyle of Lochalsh.  Trips can vary as preferred by customers - maybe a crossing of the Highlands via the Caledonian Canal or a stop-wherever-you-want trip to the Small isles.

Following on from Met Office warnings. ferry company Calmac, have announced that the possibility of high winds, some gusting to over 40 mph, may bring disruption to the Armadale- Mallaig service. This covers both August 11 and 12.

Travellers are urged to check with Calmac.

 

Just days after their last Yellow Weather warning the Met Office have issued another – this time for heavy rain – affecting Skye and the North West Highlands.

The warning covers the period from 0005 on Thursday 11 Aug to 1800 Friday12 Aug.

The Met Office say:

The existing fish farm in Portree waters

 

Scottish Salmon Company are seeking planning permission to site a new fish farm in the waters off Portree.

Comprising a total of ten 38 metre cages to hold Atlantic salmon, the new facility is to be sited just south of the existing Portree farm owned by the company.

According to Scottish Salmon Company the farm will mean full time work for 3-4 staff with the cages situated in Loch Portree and the Sound Of Raasay

Skye really is the limit for those taking part in a sporting spectacular later this year.

Once again Highland Hospice, working with Sport Ecosse, are to stage their duathlon fund raiser amongst some of the most impressive scenery the Highlands have to offer.

On September 17, competitors will set off from the Sligachan Hotel to run and bike their way to the finish, a total of just under 40 miles as part of “Skye’s the Limit” event.

Polaris is coming to Portree…no, not the former nuclear missile system but the ATV and quad-bike brand.  This is the latest innovation for Jan's, the vehicle-hire, D-I-Y to storage company based in Portree's main industrial estate.
Jan's is becoming the local agent for Polaris, a US-based company established more than 60 years ago which built its initial success on the invention of the snowmobile and has now got a well-established market in the ATV (all-terrain vehicle) sector and also for producing quad bikes.
Jan's will cover the Isle of Skye, the west coast of the Highlands and the Outer Hebrides, which have previously been without a local service base, the nearest being in Dingwall.

This week brings the final build up for the annual Skye Agricultural Show.

Saturday 13 August will once again see the King George V Park in Portree transformed with a packed programme ranging from four legs to two wheels.

The main attraction of the year – besides the stock competitions – will be Scotland’s premier cycle stunt team, The Clan. Performing since 2008 they have amazed over 500,000 people live and enthralled a TV audience of over 10 million people, from BBC Children in Need and prime-time ITV shows, to performing at the Olympics and small community galas across the UK.

The Clan in action

Livestock judging begins at 10am with this year’s Horse Section followed by the Cattle and Sheep starting at 1-0.45am. The Poultry judging will be at 1.45pm.

Other events will be;

A medical ward at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness has been closed to new admissions and visitors are being asked to stay away while staff deal with several cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.

Ward 7C, which was closed today, has three confirmed cases of norvirus and four patients currently affected with symptoms. The Infection Prevention and Control Team are monitoring the situation and infection control measures are in place.

The virus, which causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, spreads in the air where someone has had diarrhoea or vomited and is extremely infectious. It is important that everyone plays their part in reducing outbreak risks.

Dr Adam Brown, Consultant Microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: “It is disappointing that we have had to close the ward so soon after it was reopened but we know there is significant norovirus in the community and we do believe that this is an infection that has been brought into the ward and has affected new patients.”

Gleaming and fully-restored at the recent Wheel Nuts event at Portree High School was a 1938 Albion flatbed lorry.  This was a project for John 'Jan' Nicolson of Jan's in Portree.

His father was a driver with the Co-operative organisation and drove a vehicle exactly like this one.  Jan had heard of this surviving example in a place near Eaglesham not far from East Kilbride and the owner agreed to sell it to him after his own collection grew too large. 

Jan says the Albion was virtually the same as the one his father used to drive and which he remembers sitting in as a child.  When he brought it back to Skye, he decided - with the permission of the family concerned - to restore it in the colours of Ewen Macrae, the original transport pioneer in Skye and whose lorry firm originally ran the Crossal premises which Jan's now owns. The flatbed lorries from Crossal were also used for transporting for whisky barrels from the Talisker distillery to the mainland and Jan has restored the lorry with whisky barrels under netting as it would have been in the past. The Albion's visit to the Wheel Nut's event was its first outing since restoration was completed.

MV Coruisk

 

Two Skye politicians are backing the continuing calls to see MV Coruisk return to the island on a permanent basis and now want Scotland’s Transport Minister to intervene.

The comments from Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber and MSP Kate Forbes follow on from the recent statement issued by Sleat Transport Forum.

Mr Blackford said: “I fully commend Sleat Transport Forum in the way they have represented the community interest in speaking out for a reliable ferry service between Mallaig and Armadale.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the opportunities that should have come from the Road Equivalent Tariff scheme would have seen a dramatic increase on traffic on the route and yet this has been undermined by the failure to deliver a reliable service.

"It is not acceptable that CalMac has yet to respond to the failure to provide suitable vessels for the service over the summer period.

Skye doctor Jonathan Hanson  (right) is obviously finding time to meet a famous face or two during his stay in Rio.

As reported in The Skye Times the 43 year old is just one of two NHS Highland doctors who is at the Olympic Games in Brazil. With him is Culloden based Dr Derick Macleod and the pair have been chosen to serve as medical officers for the Performance Services Team.

 

Bad weather forced the cancellation of the week-end's planned Round Raasay event.

Skye Sailing Club decided that with winds expected to freshen to a level that would not be suitable for many of the smaller boats hoping to take part coupled with the difficulty for visiting crew to return home after the event meant that the race officer believed it in the best interest of the race, and those hoping to take part, to postpone.

The Dutch cruising Tall Ship, the Thalassa, was in port ar Carbost yesterday as part of one of its regular whisky tours which set out from Invergordon.  

Ferry disruption over the weekend is giving an unusual look to ferry services from Uig today (Monday 8th August)

Because of a forecast of high winds in Mallaig, an amended timetable will operate as follows for the Lord of the Isles ferry in the Calmac fleet, connecting Uig directly with Lochboisdale in South Uist as well as with Lochmaddy in North Uist. And travellers to/from South Uist expecting to depart from Mallaig - or arrive there - will face an additional journey across Skye.

Some of the other rally competitors

 

 You thought Skye's roads were bad for potholes? Well apparently they are not a patch on Kazakhstan!

That's the latest news from the island's own adverture rally pair Anne MacAskill and Kay Simpson as they continue on their way in the 10,000 mile long Mongol Rally.

As previously reported in The Skye Times already they have passed through England, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and into Kazakhstan.

The pair are hoping to raise cash for charity on the way so if you want to help out follow the link here

For the latest news from Anne and her rally partner.

The directors at Carbost Pier Ltd. have announced they have a tenant for their latest development at Carbost Waterfront.  

Jamie Fletcher of Portnalong will be tenant of the new retail unit.  Set to open in March 2017, the takeaway will specialise in coffee, home baking and other refreshments.  

Jamie will also be responsible for caretaking duties at the adjoining public toilet and shower facilities, currently being constructed opposite the Talisker Distillery.  It is hoped that the toilets and showers will be open to the public at some time in September.  It is intended that they will be open from 8am to 10pm every day, including Sundays.

One of the best pipers of his generation, Roddy MacLeod MBE, has taken his seventh victory in the prestigious Silver Chanter competition.

Highly regarded as a teacher, recitalist and adjudicator, uniquely, he is a Grade 1 Championship winning Pipe Major and a four time Glenfiddich World Solo Piping Champion and in 2012 was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Awards Hall of Fame.

Staged at Dunvegan Castle the Silver Chanter event, now I its 50th year, honours tunes written by the Chief's personal pipers, the MacCrimmons. Roddy played “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon”

MV Coruisk

 

Sleat Transport Forum is to continue the fight to ensure Skye is properly served by the Mallaig-Armdale ferry service.

Officials for the group say they will strive for a high quality, robust, reliable and efficient service on the route for the summer of 2017 and beyond.

And they are adamant that it was a “flawed decision” to re-deploy the ‘MV Coruisk’ designed specifically for the route, to the Oban-Mull service this summer, which has seen the service on the Sound of Sleat since March has descend into what they described as “chaos”.

Following a meeting with Transport Scotland officials attended by Ian Blackford MP and Kate Forbes MSP, together with Councillor Allan Henderson, (Caol and Mallaig) the Forum expressed disappointment at the inability of the officials to give any indication about the future quality or level of service on the grounds that the new contract awarded in May had not yet been signed between CalMac Ferries Limited and Transport Scotland.

 

Crofters in some of Scotland’s rural and remote communities, including Skye, will benefit from better housing through funding under the Croft House Grant.

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, confirmed 21 crofters will share over £705,000 from the scheme. The funding allows crofters to build or improve homes, helping to retain and attract people to rural communities.

Since the start of 2007, over £15 million of grant payments have been awarded. From 1 April 2016, changes made to the grant support mechanism include a significant increase in individual grants, with some crofters now eligible for £38,000 of funding.

Bank of Scotland have given more information about the closure of the Broadford and Lochcarron branches which will take place in November.

They have confirmed that customers’ accounts for Broadford will be transferred to the Kyle branch, located 9 miles away, adding that there are five free ATMs within an 8 mile radius.

For the Lochcarron branch, customer accounts will also be transferred to the Kyle branch, located 22 miles away and while there are also free ATMs in the area the bank intend to provide a new mobile branch service in Lochcarron and continue to provide a mobile branch service in Broadford.

A spokesman said: "Once routes and timetables have been finalised, we will update customers and colleagues. We are also working with the Post Office to increase the services that Bank of Scotland customers can access through its network. There is a Post Office in both Broadford and Lochcarron.

Commenting on the decision, Ian Blackford MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said: "Banks play an important role in many small communities for both local people who may not have the luxury of broadband for internet banking, or indeed the desire to use it and for local businesses who make transactions in cash and need somewhere secure to deposit it.

A period of strong winds is expected to develop across Scotland - including the Isle of Skye, and the Outer Hebrides - and northern England from late Saturday, most likely to peak on Sunday morning, before easing through Sunday afternoon.

Whilst the expected gusts (widespread 45-50 mph and isolated 60 mph) are not exceptional for these areas of the country, increased outdoor activity at this time of year will lead to a greater likelihood of disruption.

Would you leave your wedding dress in a peat bog? Well that’s what’s happened on Skye.

Now Orbost local Rachael Jackson is trying to reunite the gown with its true owner after she discovered it in the Dunvegan area.

On Facebook Rachael wrote: “: "FOUND!!!! A complete wedding dress left on the side of the road UNDER A ROCK!!!!! I have bought it home out of the rain to prevent damage, but also was concerned the sheep might take up residence in the netting as a midge hood!

“If anyone knows whose it is I have it here safely if they decide they want it back. If however it was left for the faeries, I do apologize, but it was far to beautiful and precious to leave in the mud and rain! IDEAS ANYONE????!!!!"

Skye residents and visitors brought out their raincoats and umbrellas at the Highland Games.  Despite the wet weather, the crowd of around 2,000 spectators were treated to a celebration of sport, a piping display... and a visit from a celebrity!

Set for closure

 

Broadford is to see its Bank of Scotland branch close.

The shock news comes as the bank confirm that 23 branches are to shut across Scotland as part of a planned series of closures.

The announcement comes as part of a "strategic review" and the move is said to be as a result of, amongst other factors, falling customer demand

Also affected by the closure announcement will be the branch in Lochcarron.

Repairs out on the road

 

Nine days without the internet but Skye adventure pair Anne MacAskill and Kay Simpson are still going strong.

Now 1700 kms from the Russian border and the eventual finish line of the 10,000 mile long Mongol Rally their journey so far has taken them and their 20 year old van across England, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and into Kazakhstan.

The last time they were in contact was the night before trying to cross into Iran with fears that they might have to pay as much as $3,000 dollars to gain entry.

The pair are hoping to raise cash for charity on the way so if you want to help out follow they link here

If you want to know what’s been going on in the meantime then read on from Anne’s diary to date, their adventures, the places they have been to and their ups and downs.

FORTY Staffin residents gave their views on the Old Man of Storr site at a special community drop-in event.

A project team is carrying out an options appraisal of the site Staffin Community Trust (SCT) and held a consultation event in Staffin Hall to gauge local views and listen to what the community had to say.

Richard Heggie of Urban Animation and Sam Foster Architects and SCT representatives discussed the project with attendees, highlighted the issues which were highlighted in the community consultation carried out in November last year and invited people to plot a revised layout using a model of the site. The people who attended the key consultation were positive about SCT’s involvement at the site and keen to see improvements.

 

Europa 2

 

Adding to the crowds in Portree for today’s Skye Highland Games are some 500 plus passengers on board the luxury liner Europa 2

Described as "the ritziest ship in the industry." And built in France the vessel. with its seven decks, has the greatest space per passenger of any cruise ship.. Also the art collection onboard  Europa 2 is one of the largest at sea, with 890 originals commissioned exclusively for the vessel. The collection's focus is on contemporary pieces; it includes works works by Ólafur Elíasson, David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Adam Fuss and Hans Hartung.

Euan and Harris

 

A proud father has described how his two young sons played their part in preventing a tragedy.

Paramedic Danny Kerr and his family were on holiday on Skye when they found themselves caught up in not only a dramatic rescue but in helping to ensure accident victim Angus MacDonald from Portree stayed safe until help arrived.

Danny together with his wife Allison and boys Euan, 14 and 10 years old Harris had descended into Bearreraig Bay to go fossil hunting but ended up instead saving a life.

Unknown to them 19 hours earlier Angus had fallen heavily around a dozen feet on to sharp rocks and been knocked unconscious. Badly injured he lay out overnight and although he had attempted to crawl his way to safety he had made little headway.

Danny from East Kilbride said; “We come to Skye every year I love the place and had gone down to the bay to collect fossils however, the river was quite high so we decided to just mess around on the rocks.”

However, as Danny and the boys moved across the bay they heard noises.

He added: “We honestly thought it was seals at first and couldn’t believe it when we discovered Angus. He was able to talk us and give me his name and we discovered he lives with his daughter in Crauachan Place, Portree but he was obviously suffering from having been injured and outside for so long.”

As the training kicked in Danny examined the injured man. He said: “I was fairly certain he had significant chest injuries, certainly fractured ribs and possibly a punctured lung as well as a break to his left arm.”

Danny and the boys then faced a real dilemma about how to raise the alarm.

Portree’s wonder dog, border collie Blaze, is once again hoping to sniff out cash for a worthy local cause.

Together with owner Steve Miller, the pooch with a passion for high places, has during his four and half years managed to climb in excess of 80 Munros making him, without doubt, a real top dog..

So it seems only appropriate that in 2017 the pair, through the annual calendar Steve produces, hope to raise at least £3,000 which will go to Skye Mountain Rescue team.

Once again the all colour calendar shows Blaze on some of the most scenic mountains Scotland as to offer.

Sachin Tendulkar at Raasay House

 So if you are a world renowned cricketer with millions of fans in your own country where do you go for a holiday…well, Raasay of course!

Over the last couple of week Sachin Tendulkar, hailed by many as one of the best batsmen of all time, has been staying on the island with his family.

The Tendulkars have been at Raasay House and while there Tendulkar has been letting his 11 million followers on Twitter know just how much he is enjoying his Highland surroundings.

Co-op shoppers in Portree, Broadford and Kyle are being put on alert over a mislabelling issue.

The retailer is asking all those who have purchased one of their Simply Cheese and Tomato Pasta to retain them to the store that they were bought in. The recall comes because the product contains chicken and mustard which are not mentioned on the label leaving those with an allergy or intolerance to mustard possibly suffering an adverse reaction.