Monday, November 19, 2018
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Photo credit: Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos 

One of the most prestigious piping competitions in the world, the Pipe Major Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition, has been secured in its home town of Stornoway for the next few years thanks to a lifeline donation from wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.

Point and Sandwick, which runs the community-owned turbines at Beinn Ghrideag, has pledged £5,000 to the competition every year for five years.

It means the annual competition, which is organised by the Lewis and Harris Piping Society, can continue to be held in Stornoway, instead of having to be relocated to somewhere like Glasgow to reduce costs.

The competition costs a lot of money to stage – around £11,000 – because the Piping Society foots the bill for the air fares and accommodation for all the pipers taking part, as well as the judges.

Roadworks will be carried out at Breakish between 7 May to 8 June.

BEAR Scotland will be carrying out drainage and verge improvements on the A87 trunk road.

The works cover the final phase of ongoing improvements to the drainage system in Breakish with associated provision of a hardened verge, starting at the Old Church House and ending 5-10 metres into the Sleat/Armadale junction, directly opposite the existing footway.

The works are provisionally programmed for between May and June and will be carried out between 7am to 5pm daily.

Constructions will be carried out under temporary traffic lights with single lane closure.  

Kate Forbes made history today (Thursday 29 March) as she became the first female MSP to give a plenary speech entirely in Gaelic in the current Scottish Parliament chamber.

Ms Forbes said she decided to give her speech in Gaelic, during a debate on Scotland’s support for the (UNESCO) Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, to show that the language was not dead.

Fellow MSPs in the chamber were able to follow her contribution as it was simultaneously translated through headsets.

Winnie Ewing gave a full speech in Gaelic back in 2000 whilst the Parliament met in the Church of Scotland General Assembly hall on the Mound in Edinburgh. Fiona Hyslop and Linda Fabiani have previously given part of their ministerial responses in Gaelic in the present Parliament chamber, whilst several male MSPs including Alasdair Allan and Dave Thompson have given entire plenary speeches in the language.

MSPs at the Scottish Parliament have decided to host a further hearing on a petition seeking to reverse the proposed controversial redesign of healthcare services in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.

Kate Forbes MSP called for the petition to remain open, along with cross party Highland MSPs, because of unresolved ‘grave concerns’ about healthcare provision in the north of Skye, and the Public Petitions Committee agreed to defer a decision on the final course of action on the petition until a separate review by Sir Lewis Ritchie is completed.

The Holyrood petition, which was first heard in 2015, calls for an Independent Scrutiny Panel (ISP) to be established to examine NHS Highland’s major service change proposals in the region.

Today’s (Thursday 29 March) committee meeting was the ninth time the petition has been discussed by MSPs.

A woman in difficulties at Coral Beach was rescued by the coastguard.

Dunvegan, Duntulm and Portree teams assisted the lost woman and she was recovered safe and well yesterday (Wednesday 28 March.)

Above is a picture of the casualty with her rescuers safely back at the road.  Picture from HM Coastguard, Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber Facebook page.

 

The new National Gaelic Language Plan, which sets out the framework for the faster growth of the language across Scotland, has been launched yesterday (Wednesday 28th March) at the Scottish Parliament.

The central purpose of the Plan is to encourage and enable more people to use Gaelic more often and in a wider range of situations.  The key messages, aims, priorities and new commitments contained in the Plan all contribute to achieving this increased use of Gaelic.  Principal amongst these are the following:

Gaelic belongs to the whole of Scotland
Promoting a positive image of Gaelic
Increasing the learning of Gaelic; and
Increasing the use of Gaelic

Kate Forbes MSP will today (Thursday 29 March) become only the second female MSP – and the first in the current Scottish Parliament chamber – to give an entire speech in Gaelic during a plenary debate.

Ms Forbes, who chairs Holyrood’s cross-party group on the language, is expected to give her whole contribution in Gaelic as MSPs consider a motion on Scotland’s support for the (UNESCO) Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Those in the chamber will be able to follow her speech as it is simultaneously translated through headsets.

Winnie Ewing gave a full speech in Gaelic back in 2000 whilst the Parliament met in the Church of Scotland General Assembly hall on the Mound in Edinburgh.

Fiona Hyslop and Linda Fabiani have previously given part of their ministerial responses in Gaelic in the present Parliament chamber, whilst several male MSPs including Alasdair Allan and Dave Thompson have given entire plenary speeches in the language. 

An event was held on Saturday 24 March to celebrate the end of the Raasay Roots Fruits and Shoots project.

An application for further funding was unsuccessful.  However, the team behind the project are continuing to look for other sources of funding to ensure the garden continues to be productive.  

Raasay Walled Garden Facebook states: "Whilst this is a real blow following the huge progress we have made over the last year we are continuing to look for other funding streams and are discussing with the board of Raasay House Community Company (who own and manage the house and garden on behalf of the community) whether they can continue to employ a gardener until additional funding is found and / or in the absence of any other funding.

Twelve people have benefited from an employability course held on Skye.

The five day course took place at Kyleakin last week and was aimed at supporting unemployed people prepare for work, specifically focussing on the job opportunities coming to the area following the announcement that Marine Harvest are opening a new plant.

The course, commissioned by The Highland Council’s Employability Team, delivered in association with West Highland College UHI and Job Centre Plus covered a wide range of topics and provided many practical tips. These included sessions researching employment opportunities, building self-esteem and confidence, training on completing application forms and creating CVs, holding mock interviews and covering basic health and safety guidance.

At the end of the week all those taking part were presented with a SQA Certificate in Employability Skills and an RYA Certificate in Maritime First Aid. They also had an opportunity to meet with a representative from Marine Harvest to discuss the job opportunities expected when the plant at Kyleakin opens.

The initiative for a micro abattoir on Skye has been welcomed by the Crofting Commission.

Crofting Commission Convenor, Rod Mackenzie said: "It's great to see this volunteer group take the initiative and look to providing an abattoir based in Skye, a similar project was also launched in Shetland a few years ago and it has gone from strength to strength.

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