Sunday, December 09, 2018
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Raasay Primary children will be sleeping in the school in an effort to highlight homelessness in Scotland.

The school will be taking part in the Social Bite Wee Sleep Out, a junior version of the Sleep In The Park event.

To raise money for the event, the pupils will be running a Pop Up Wee Bite Cafe in Raasay Community Hall on Friday 9 November from 2pm until 4 pm. They will be serving refreshments and cakes, as well as explaining what their night at the school will involve.   People in the community can donate food down at the Raasay Community Shop.  

Headteacher, Wilma Duncan, told The Skye Times: "In the evening, at the school, pupils will watch a video on Social Bite, the charity.

A yacht in danger of being broken up was towed to safety on Friday 26 October.

The yacht, which had one person aboard, had a steering problem.  Kyle RNLI say it was stuck against the windward side of Broadford pier and, due to being battered by high winds and large swell, was in danger of breaking up.

Communities across Skye and Raasay have until Thursday 29 November to get their entries in for the 2018 Eilean a’ Cheò Civic Awards.

This is the eighth 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 well-being of their local communities.

This year’s award categories are:

Sports
Arts/Music
Environment
Community
Enterprise
Young People


All nominees must be resident on the Isle of Skye or Raasay and be able to demonstrate their actions or activities have resulted in a significant benefit and deserve recognition.

A Skye restaurant has been named as one of only five restaurants genuinely worth travelling for.

The Three Chimneys was one of the restaurants chosen in the Wall Street Journal list. 

The list also featured restaurants in Maine, Australia, the Faeroe Islands and Sweden.

Writer, Margot Dougherty, said of the Skye restaurant: "When nothing but Isle of Muck red-legged partridge will do, Three Chimneys is your go-to.

"Other examples of chef Scott Davies’ take on farm-to-table cuisine: local Rose beef with Isle of Barra snail ravioli and honey-yogurt parfait with a dusting of Douglas fir and almonds."

The Three Chimneys team stated: "Wow! ...what a surprise and a great end to the day for #TeamThreeChimneysSkye."

They continued: "Thank-you Wall Street Journal for this brilliant recommendation and very encouraging boost for Head Chef, Scott Davies, and all of our team here on the rugged and enchanting Isle of Skye."

 

A team of drone pilots has formally joined Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR).

Search and Rescue Aerial Association Scotland (SARAA-Scotland) supported a search for a missing person in East Lothian in September.

Following a vote at the SMR's AGM, the association became a full member shortly after the East Lothian incident.

An RAF team, two Search and Rescue Dog Association teams and three Police Scotland teams are also members.

SMR's other members include Aberdeen, Arran, Braemar, Borders, Dundonnell, Oban and Skye MRTs.

12 in-patient beds will be restored to Portree Hospital.

NHS Highland have agreed to restore the beds and provide 24/7 Urgent Care at the hospital by May 2019.

Save Portree Hospital stated: "There is still much to be done to ensure there are adequate health services in [Skye & Lochalsh]. Please continue to support us."

NHS Highland’ Head of Community Services, North and West Division, Tracy Ligema, told a meeting of work stream representatives on Tuesday that she was willing to go ahead and re-open the beds while being aware that recruitment, which has been a problem in the past, could still be an issue. She asked for community support in ensuring that the recruitment process had the best chance of success.

After the meeting, Ms Ligema said: “It is clear that ensuring that an appropriate number of beds are retained at Portree Hospital, until the new proposals in the overall redesign are in place, is of paramount importance to the community.

“I am happy to say that we have listened. Recruitment is still an issue from our perspective and we look forward to working with the community to try to resolve that.”

Sir David Attenborough, the UK’s best-known naturalist and vice-president of Fauna and Flora International (FFI), has today (Thursday October 25th) added his voice to those calling for protection of kelp forests from the threat of mechanical dredging.
The veteran wildlife and environment campaigner has never intervened before on political issues in Scotland, but threats to kelp forests around Skye, the Western Isles and off the west coast of Scotland have inspired him to speak out.
A proposal from a company called Marine Biopolymers Ltd (MBL) has identified kelp forests east of Lewis, Harris, Barra and Vatersay as potential harvesting sites. Their proposal to use a dredge or ‘comb’ to extract whole kelp plants is in the pre-licensing stage with Marine Scotland.

To mark a hundred years of women's suffrage, ATLAS Arts hosted a two-day Wikipedia edit-a-thon in Portree with the aim to address the gender imbalance that exists on Wikipedia by focusing on women of Skye.

During the two-day event, which was led by Delphine Dallison of the Scottish Libraries and Information Service, was held in Portree Community Library and in conjunction with Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre, 13 new articles were created, 14 new editors were trained (of which 13 were women). A total of 6.34 thousand words were added to Wikipedia and so far the new entries have been garnering hundreds of views so far.

An example of a new entry includes, Dr Alexandrina Matilda MacPhail (3 June 1860 - 6 November 1946) OBE. Born in Knock, Sleat in the Isle of Skye, MacPhail was a Scottish physician who graduated from the London School of Medicine for Women. In 1887 she became a missionary and doctor in India, where she founded what would become a large hospital in Madras. During the First World War, she also worked for the Scottish Women's Hospitals for Foreign Service as a doctor in Serbia and France. In 1912 MacPhail received a silver Kaisar-i-Hind Medal for public services in India from the Indian Viceroy, and in 1930 she was awarded an OBE.

Officers in the Skye & Lochalsh area have been leading activity for road safety initiative Operation Cedar for the last week.

This has included reporting two drivers after vehicles were detected driving at more than 50mph in a 30mph limit in the Broadford area.

Three motorists were also detected for alleged drink driving offences on Skye over the course of the week.

Issues relating to driving without insurance, vehicle faults and careless driving were also detected over the course of the week.

Officers carried out general patrols across Skye & Lochalsh, resulting in engagement with drivers about speeding and other issues on the roads.

The Highlands and Islands are one of the top travel destinations, according to Lonely Planet.

The travel authority today (Tuesday 23 October) named the region as one of the top 10 Best In Travel destinations for 2019, praising the distillery experience, purpose-built campervan parking and designer cottages.

The Highlands and Islands are the only Scottish destinations to be included in the list.

 

The guide stated: "Whisky is the essence of the Highlands and islands, a thousand years of history and culture distilled. And whisky is experiencing a boom not seen since the 1890s: no fewer than 20 new distilleries opened in Scotland in the past two years, and at least 20 more will open by 2020.

A temporary fuel supply will be available at Broadford while renovations are carried out.

The temporary supply will be diesel only, due to regulatory restrictions of petrol storage above ground.

There will be no fuel supply for a period of around two weeks prior to the installment of the temporary supply.

It is understood that there will be a 40,000 litre tank with two pumps, planned to be replenished three times a week.

 

An engagement ring has been lost in the Old Man of Storr area.

The ring, belonging to Angelika Buzan, was lost on Monday 17 September.

Angelika told The Skye Times: "It was a gold ring with a dark pink ruby inside."

Anyone finding the ring can get send a message to Angelika via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

A Portree man won gold at the Royal National Mod.

Ruairidh Cormack won the men's Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal at the Mod in Dunoon.

Ceitidh Campbell, a Gaelic teacher from Inverness, also won gold.

Chair of the Care, Learning and Housing Committee, Councillor Andrew Baxter said: “Well done to Ceitidh and Ruairidh for bringing the Mod Gold medals home to the Highlands.

“On behalf of the Committee, I extend a special thanks to Ceitidh for her success. While this is a truly personal achievement, her success will also reflect positively on pupils that she teaches. The Mod Gold medal is a pinnacle to which many Gaelic singers aspire and her achievement is inspirational. Well done Ceitidh.”

An injured walker was rescued from the Cuillins yesterday (Wednesday 17 October.)

The walker, who had fallen, was transported by coastguard helicopter and taken to Broadford.

 

 

Youngsters in the Trotternish area won a top prize at the Mòd.

Clann Thròndairnis won top prize in the Folk Group Competition for Under 13 year olds.

Clann Thròndairnis also won other significant competitions in the children’s categories’ at the Mòd.

The winning group received £500 prize from Wipro Limited, a leading global information technology, consulting and business process Services Company.

Councillor Alister Mackinnon, Chair of the Highland Council’s Gaelic Strategy and Implementation Group, said: “This is an excellent competition, as the young people are able to select their own choice, which can be accompanied by musical instruments if they desire. The young people do perform to such a high standard. Congratulations to everyone who took part.”

A 22-year-old singer from Skye has been announced as the Gaelic Ambassador of the Year 2018.

Eilean a' Cheò councillors for The Highland Council have welcomed the recent announcement at the Royal National Mòd that Eilidh Cormack is Gaelic Ambassador of the Year 2018.

Cllr John Gordon, Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee (Cathraiche) said: “Eilidh is a very worthy winner of the Gaelic Ambassador of the Year award, she is a great role model for the Gaelic language and culture and I am delighted her achievements and commitment have been recognised by her winning this award.”

A Skye-based business has been named among the best rural businesses in the country after winning a regional Amazon Rural Business Award.

Skyeskyns won the Best Rural Manufacturing Business at the North regional finals of the Amazon Rural Business Awards.  The business will now go on to represent Scotland at the national final in February 2019.

Now in its fourth year, the Rural Business Awards is the only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses. It is run in partnership with Amazon.

Speaking after picking up the top award, Skyeskyns' General Manager, Dave Till, commented: "Receiving the award for Best Rural Manufacturing Business is such an honour. We are the sole remaining commercial sheep tannery in Scotland, preserving a heritage skill for the modern era by turning our traditional manufacturing business into an immensely popular tourist attraction. Rural businesses play a vital role in supporting remote communities like the Isle of Skye, and we can't wait to share news of this award with our hard-working team at home."

The ferry sailing from Lochmaddy to Uig has been cancelled today (Tuesday 16 October.)

Due to swell conditions and high winds, CalMac say the ferry will sail from Tarbet to Uig at 3pm and from Uig to Lochmaddy at 5:30pm.

However, the 4:15 sailing from Lochmaddy to Uig has been cancelled.

The ferry company will issue an amended timetable for tomorrow (Wednesday 17 October).

 

A plaque at the Fairy Glen has been removed.

Created by Pauline Jewett from Invergordon, the plaque reminded visitors not to move or stack stones.  

Sylvia Porter, manager of Staffin, Isle of Skye, Facebook page, told The Skye Times: "[The plaque] was erected onto a wooden plinth and cemented in the ground just below Castle Ewan on October 5." 

When Sylvia visited the Fairy Glen on Sunday 14 October, the plaque was removed from the plinth.  

Stone piling has attracted multiple debates, with many environmental experts siding against the trend, while others see it as harmless.

A sign was stolen from the roadside at Skeabost last week.

Police are looking into the theft of the sign, which they estimate was stolen overnight from Tuesday 9 into Wednesday 10.

The sign is identical to the one above.

Anyone with any information is asked to call 101.

 

A Fairy Pools clean up is planned for tomorrow (Saturday 13 October.)

Organiser and founder of All Things Cuillin Facebook group, Adrian Trendall, was approached by organisers of The Real 3 Peaks Challenge, who run a coordinated deep clean of Scotland, England and Wales' mountains.  Adrian told The Skye Times: "They wanted us to clean up rubbish on a mountain, but I explained they were pretty rubbish free and cleaning a mountain would be more for the kudos of climbing it than any need to clear trash. I suggested somewhere more roadside and visited by tourists where a voluntary effort could do more good hence the Fairy Pools plan was drawn up."

A car collided with railings near the Royal Hotel in Portree in the early hours of the morning (Friday 12 October.)

A black Ford Mondeo struck the railings at around 1:50am-2am.  

A spokesperson from Police Scotland told The Skye Times: "The vehicle is understood to have travelled from the direction of Uig along the A87 prior to the collision.

"Enquiries are ongoing into the incident and anyone with information is asked to contact police in Portree by calling 101, quoting reference NP3993/18."

Power will go off again in the Minginish area today (Friday 12 October.)

The SSE will be carrying out repairs to tree-damaged power lines between the hours of 12:30pm and 2pm, affecting 400 properties in Carbost and Sconser areas.

Engineers were alerted to a fault on the electricity network, affecting over 1,000 properties on the Isle of Raasay, as well as Carbost, Sconser and surrounding areas.  

A spokesperson from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), said:

“We would like to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused and thank them for their patience, reassuring them our teams are working to safely restore their power as quickly as possible this afternoon.”


Sconser and Raasay sailings have been cancelled today (Friday 12 October.)

CalMac stated that the service has been suspended due to adverse weather.

A Skye chef will be the latest guest in a series of afternoon tea events.

Lady Clare Macdonald of Kinloch Lodge will be hosting the fourth installment in the Gleneagles Afternoon Tea events.

Bringing her classic cooking techniques to Gleneagles, Lady Macdonald’s Afternoon Tea will showcase Scottish ingredients from across the country with an exciting twist. The limited-edition afternoon tea will be created by Gleneagles’ team of expert pastry chefs and will include dishes such as warm crab and Mull cheddar melt and mini Welsh rarebit. There will also be sweet treats including marmalade gingerbread, toasted hazelnut shortbread and dark chocolate brandy squares.

Lady Claire Macdonald said: “Afternoon tea has always been a feature of British culture, but these days it is achieving status as a meal in its own right. Combining celebration with indulgence, it is something that can be enjoyed by all generations.

“These afternoon tea menus are inspired and contain exquisite and delectable items, both savoury and sweet, from Scottish chefs of renown. As a cook I feel so very honoured to be in the company of these great guest chefs and to be invited to participate by Gleneagles - itself synonymous with top quality."

Uig, Tarbert and Lochmaddy sailings originally scheduled for tomorrow (Friday 12 October) have been cancelled.

Forecast adverse weather has resulted in the services being disrupted.  

CalMac have warned that the weather could also result in disruption or cancellation to the Sconser/Raasay and Mallaig/Armadale sailings.

A step forward has been taken towards easing delays at the Stromeferry Bypass.

Network Rail and the Office of Rail and Road have agreed a new operations document for an alternative signalling system.  The new system will required trains to stop at a point adjacent to the site.  The train driver will then communicate with the signaller, who will contract the site controller of site safety.  Trains will then proceed through the works with the signaller instructs the train.

The installation of fixed signals and a magnet warning system is scheduled to begin within the next week.

Ian Blackford MP stated: "This will allow longer opening times based on the train schedule rather than the existing long token section.

A major step forward in improving Edinbane's paths and access has been taken.

The Edinbane Community Company (ECC) has been awarded £80,000 by the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links programme

The ECC are aware of at least five local paths and cycle routes earmarked for improvement.  Speaking on behalf of the ECC Chairman, Alistair Danter said: "Our priority would be to see the path extended from the caravan park to Flashadder, others include the top road into the village as well as the Greshornish loop and extending a recovered section of old road as far as the Fairy Bridge, all of which would provide a great deal of benefit to the area. We look forward to working with the residents and businesses as we shape our local environment and link the places they live, with where they want to go.

A yellow rain warning has been issued for Saturday 13 October.  

The Met Office state that "heavy and persistent rainfall on Friday will begin to move north on Saturday, extending the potential flooding risk."

The Met Office has also issued a yellow gale warning for Friday 12 October.  

The warning covers Skye and Lochalsh.  

 

A call for a volunteer to help at the RNLI's Kyle workstation has been issued.

The role, that of Inshore Lifeboat Crew, would require being on call for lifeboat shouts, attend exercises and contribute to overall upkeep of the station, lifeboats and equipment.

Applicants must be between 17-55 and live or work within the vicinity of the station.

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

The close date for applications is 26 October 2018.

CalMac have issued a yellow service status for the Sconser to Raasay ferry today (10 October 2018.)

The ferry company say that, due to adverse weather conditions, the service is liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice.

Dunvegan Primary School is the latest building to fall victim to the severe rain.

The school's disused basement became severely flooded with groundwater.  

A local maintenance team is arranging for the water to be pumped out of the area, which will then be dried out.  

Elgar Finlay, Chairman of the Dunvegan Primary Parent Council, described the crisis as an "emergency situation" today (Tuesday 9 October.)  He shared a video of water pouring through the walls of the basement and noted that this was directly below the children's classroom.  

Mr Finlay stated: "It is only a matter of time before this school causes serious health issues for our children.

"I have no idea if the structure of these walls remains safe or if the school could collapse."

Mr Finlay continued: "The need for a new school for the area was recently highlighted to have been ongoing for over 30 years and having been removed from the Highland Councils capital plan due to budget cuts, having previously been told we were getting a new school is causing further distress and damaging our community. The conditions of the school are now simply unsafe, for educational purposes they are appalling and have been for some time. Our community is rightly becoming more angry, each week that passes as there is another significant issue being reported.

A motorcyclist from Skye has thanked medics who cared for him after a road accident.

42-year-old Chris Prior, who works in human resources in Glasgow, was travelling to Skye on his Kawasaki Ninja motorbike on June 15 when a collision sent the him flying off his bike before clattering into a crash barrier.

Mr Prior said: “I was in a long line of traffic and moving really slowly. I manoeuvred out and I drifted out behind a car.

“Just as I popped out to have a look, a van – coming in the opposite direction – glanced me on the side and hit me.

“I flew off the bike and flew half the width of the road and into a crash barrier, and landed in a heap.”

A landslip resulted in the closure of another road today (Tuesday 9 September.)

The Shielbridge to Glenelg and Rattigan village road was affected by a landslip.

Previously this month, a landslip necessitated the closure of the Moll Road.  

A spokesperson from the Highland Council told The Skye Times: "All debris cleared and the roads reopened before 11am today."

A Skye "Restaurant with a Room" has received recognition in the Good Hotel Guide Editor's Choice 2019 awards.

The Three Chimneys and The House Over-By was named as one of the best Restaurants-with-Rooms in the country by the awards.

The Good Hotel Guide said: "Long-standing owners Shirley and Eddie Spear are welcoming hosts at their loch-side island retreat. Suites are generously equipped. Chef Scott Davies uses excellent local produce in his highly creative cooking."

Shirley Spear, Owner at The Three Chimneys, added: "May Day 2019, will be our 20th anniversary of opening The House Over-By beside The Three Chimneys Restaurant in Skye. It goes without saying that Eddie and I are delighted to learn we have been voted Editor's Choice "Restaurant with Rooms" in this year's independent Good Hotel Guide.

A "Heroes of the Hills" exhibition has opened in Portree.

Featuring three Cuillin pioneers, Danny Macaskill, Norman Collie and John Mackenzie, the exhibition links the past and present in a fascinating display.  

The exhibition also highlights a Skye Heritage group's campaign to build a sculpture of Norma Collie and John Mackenzie.  A metre high maquette of the proposed sculpture which was made by Skye artist and teacher, Steve Tinney, can be viewed at the exhibition.

Portree High School and Mount Boucherie Secondary School in Canada have collaborated to produce art work for the exhibition.

Morag Nicolson, Chair of the Collie Mackenzie Heritage Group, said: “If it hadn’t been for Collie and Mackenzie, Danny our modern day hero, wouldn’t have cycled along Collies ledge! Danny is admired all over the world and all three who feature in the exhibition are indeed our heroes of the hills!

A Skye hotel has been named Luxury Hotel of the Year in the 2019 Good Hotel Guide.

Kinloch Lodge received the accolade in the guide, published today (Monday 8 October).

 

Kinloch's owner, Isabella Macdonald said: "We are all overjoyed at Kinloch to receive such a prestigious award. The Good Hotel Guide is 100% independent, based entirely on recommendations by their readers, which makes this an award from our many guests. 'Luxury' means many different things to different people.

Caisteal Maol has been stabilised after the lightning strike, the Highland Council say.

The castle was damaged by a major storm in February this year, making the site unsafe.

A final site inspection visit will take place on Tuesday 9 October by Historic Environment Scotland. Following the inspection, local Highland Councillor John Finlayson, along with representatives from local community groups, will view the work and meet those involved in the project.

The stabilisation work consisted of painstakingly photographing each step before it was taken to ensure that every stone that needed to be removed was put back in exactly the same place. The inner core of the wall was capped using a rough racking technique in lime mortar. Samples of the original mortar were analysed and new mortar was mixed to match the original. The stabilisation work also included the installation of a lightning protection system which has been designed to protect the whole of the ruin from any future strikes and damage.

A planning application has been submitted for the new £15 million community hospital in Broadford.

NHS Highland stated: "The planning permission for the hospital is part of wider redesign of services that will include alterations and/or refurbishment to the Portree Hospital building, as well as the Broadford and Kyle Health Centres. "

As well as in-patient accommodation, the facility in Broadford will include an Emergency Department, X-ray and Ultrasound Services, Out-patient Clinics, an Infusion Suite and a midwife-led Community Maternity Unit. 

The site for the new hospital is located between the current Dr Mackinnon Memorial Hospital and Broadford Health Centre. An archaeological and ecological assessment of the site has been completed to identify any potential problems at an early stage. Initial results have been positive with no findings likely to affect construction.

Anyone wanting to book their ferry trip with CalMac will be unable to do so from 6pm Tuesday 9 October to 6pm on Wednesday 10 October.

CalMac cite essential maintenance to their servers as the reason.  They said: "During this period, you will be unable to make or amend a reservation, through our Customer Contact Centre or in our ports.  Online reservations will also be unavailable.

"Please make or amend your reservation outwith this maintenance period.

"Tickets for immediate travel during this time will be available at our ports."

Further information can be found here.

The Old Man of Storr and Blabheinn are the latest Skye beauty spots to be allocated funding from the Scottish Government.

£300,000 of funding will go to new toilet and motorhome facilities at the Old Man of Storr and £65,579 will be spent on improved car parking and "green toilets" at Blabheinn.

The announcement was made today (Friday 5 October) and brings the tally of Scottish Government investment in tourism infrastructure projects on Skye to over £750,000 this year.

Kate Forbes MSP, who campaigned for the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund,  said: "After years of planning, it's great that the Storr has secured funding from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund. This funding will be a catalyst locally in making the plans happen.

"I campaigned hard for a Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund because I knew that it would ensure that local projects actually happened. To date, Neist Point and the Fairy Pools have benefited. Now, the Storr and Blabheinn will also.

"This summer has not been free of negative publicity relating to tourism, but we have come a long way since the summer of 2017."

 

 

Raasay's popular newsletter, Am Bratach, has ended for the foreseeable future.

The Editorial Team published the final edition for October, along with a farewell note.

"We've had a fantastic two years running this project as volunteers, but lives and circumstances change and our numbers have been steadily dwindling to the point that the production of Am Bratach has become impossible to sustain," the team stated.

Dunvegan Castle and Gardens were given prestigious award for restoration and developmental work.

More than 200 rural business owners and industry leaders gathered at Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 3 October for the Scottish Land & Estates Helping It Happen awards.

The Helping It Happen Campaign aims to highlight how landowners and rural businesses play a key role in enabling and supporting success in rural areas.

The award case study commented on the Castle: "As the home of the clan MacLeod for 800 years, Dunvegan Castle is a major heritage attraction and key driver of economic growth on the Isle of Skye, acting as a magnet for over 168,000 visitors each year.

"Ranked 18 out Scotland's Top 20 Paid Attractions by the Moffat Centre last year, the Estate is one of the island's largest private sector employers with around 60 employees, 17 of which are permanent.

"Annually the estate contributes £700,000 through a combination of employment, purchase of local goods and services and since 2008 alone, it has contributed in excess of £5.2m to the Skye economy."

A competition has been launched in memory of a Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Depute Chairman of Trustees and Project Development Manager.

Donald John MacKay's outstanding contribution to Gaelic and industrial development throughout the Highlands and Islands will be marked by this annual competition.

Launched by trustees of Urras Dhòmhnaill Iain - The Donald John MacKay Educational Trust - the competition will run from a period of 10 years starting in 2018.

The competition is open to any student in Scotland, in full-time or part-time study, at further or higher education level, or working towards a doctorate.

Speaking on behalf of the Trustees, Duncan MacQuarrie said: "The main aims of the Competition are to promote all aspects of Gaelic culture; to promote education in and through the Gaelic language; to promote the study, appreciation and use of the Gaelic language; to encourage young people to continue the seminal work of revival which Donald John MacKay inspired; to enable young people throughout the Highlands and Islands to develop entrepreneurial skills; to build community confidence through strategic planning; and to facilitate social inclusion and lifelong learning. Donald John was a key figure in many Gaelic-related developments in the 20th and 21st centuries. This Competition will enable young people to demonstrate innovative ideas, fresh thinking and develop personal interests."

A blue Ford Mondeo was damaged at Cruachan Place in Portree.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the damage, which was caused between 8pm on Satuday September 29 and 2pm on Sunday September 30.

The damage consists of a large, deep scrape from the rear passenger wheel arch to the back passenger door.

It is suspected that the damage may have been caused by a trailer or a SUV style vehicle with a tow bar.

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact police in Portree on 101, quoting reference number NP/3873/18, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A special edition of Misty Isle Gin has been launched for the festive season.

Portree's very own gin distillers say the seasonal gin brings together "all the traditional festive flavours that you would associate with a mulled wine."

The Mulled Gin contains orange, lemon, cassia bark, star anise, Tonia beans and a pinch of liquorice root, giving it the same flavour profile as a mulled wine with a juniper hit.  

Information on ordering the gin can be found here.

 

 

Mallaig and Armadale ferry sailings have been cancelled today (Thursday 4 October.)

CalMac cited winds of up to 40 knots as the reason for the cancellation, which will affect 7:40am, 9:40am and 11am sailings from Mallaig and departures from Armadale at 8:40am, 10:40am and 12:15pm.

A review will take place at 11am regarding the 12pm departure from Mallaig.

All other sailings between Mallaig and Armadale for the remainder of the day are liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice.

 

A popular boat trip company has won an award.

Misty Isle Boat Trips came runner up in The Scottish Outdoor Leisure Awards under the Best Visitor Attraction category.  They lost out to the Falkirk Wheel.

The boat trip company, based in Elgol, regularly head to Loch Coruisk and the Inner Hebrides.  

A full list of winners can be found here.

 

 

 

A vehicle was left stranded on the Glenelg ferry when the vessel went aground yesterday (Tuesday 2 October.)

The popular ferry, Glenachulish, ran aground in the Kylerhea narrows as the vehicles were being offloaded. 

Attempts by Kyle Lifeboat and two working vessels to tow the ferry free proved unsuccessful.  

Mallaig and Kyle lifeboats eventually managed to free the ferry after the tide had risen.  The vessel was refloated without visible damage.

Speaking of the incident, a Kyle lifeboat spokesman said: "The Kylerhea narrows is a fast flowing stretch of water, which has fierce currents running through it at 8 knots. Even the most experienced skipper can fall foul of these changing currents, and the crew on board the ‘Glenachulish’ were well prepared, extremely professional and did the right thing in calling for assistance when they ran aground."

Sailings from Mallaig and Armadale have been cancelled for tomorrow (Wednesday 3 October.)

CalMac say the 13:30pm and 3:20pm sailings from Mallaig and 2:40 and 4:35 sailings from Armadale will not be going ahead.  They have cited high winds elsewhere in the network as the cause.

 

Portree Gaelic School won the Cupa Iomain na h-Òige on Friday 28 September.

Iomain Cholmchille, the Gaelic Shinty Project, partnered with Highland Council to organise a six a-side national shinty event for Gaelic Medium pupils.

The project was launched at Bun- Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh and pupils were presented with new Gaelic strips for the school Shinty team. The funding for community projects aims to build on Iomain Cholmcille’s successful work, in partnership with the Highland Council’s Gaelic Team running Cupa Iomain na h-Òige.

This year the competition took place at the Bught Park in Inverness which is a national stadium and 14 teams have entered with approximately 100 pupils participating in the event.#

Kate Forbes is in the running for the Rising Star award at the Scottish Politician of the Year awards.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch is one of four Holyrood backbenchers in the running for the award.

Kate Forbes MSP, who is serving her first-term as a politician after the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, is a finalist in the ‘One to Watch’ category – which organisers say is “an award that recognises the MSP demonstrating the most potential to rise through the ranks of their party and/or in Parliament”.

She is the only Highland politician from any party to be nominated for an award at the annual ceremony, which takes place in Edinburgh on 17 November.

Raasay Community Stores will be closing half an hour earlier with their new winter opening hours.

The winter hours commence today (Monday 30 October) and mean that the shop will close at 5:30pm instead of 6pm over the next few months.

Deliveries of logs from Elgol to Tormore will take place this week.

Due to delay in the next round of harvesting timber from Tormore Forest and to ensure continuity to the woodfuel customers of Sleat Community Trust, five truck loads will be delivered to the forest from Wednesday 1 November to Thursday 2 November.

The deliveries will total around 100 tons.  This has been agreed with Highland Council and follows the existing Haulage Accord for Tormore.

The times will be similar to the usual transport and Fergusons will do all they can to minimise any disruption.

Residents who have any concerns are invited to contact the Trust office on 01471 844773.

Ian Blackford MP and Kate Forbes MSP are welcoming the NHS Highland announcement that an external review is to take place of urgent care, minor injuries and A&E provision for North Skye.

Whilst both Ian and Kate are firmly behind plans for a new hospital in Broadford, they have also long campaigned for the retention of A&E facilities as well as beds in Portree to compliment the new hospital.

They each spoke in support of the review at last Saturday’s rally in Portree attended by several hundred concerned islanders, demonstrating the level of worry and demand for the retention of A&E services amongst the local population.

Ian Blackford said: “There are legitimate local concerns as to the future of A&E provision and I am delighted that these will be addressed through the establishment of an external review of the arrangements of urgent care, minor injuries and access to A&E.

A search was made last night (Saturday 28 October) for a female walker, who had found herself disorientated on Kinloch Coast.

Kyle Lifeboat was launched at 9pm at the request of the UK Coastguard.  The crew arrived on the scene at 9:20pm and put a crew member ashore.

The dense vegetation made the search more difficult.  However, the crew member was able to reach the casualty and confirm that she was uninjured.  

The female was then handed over the UK Coastguard and Police Scotland at 10:10pm.

The Skeabost 5k was won by Dean MacLeod with a time of 18 minutes and 14 seconds.

The race was held on Saturday 28 October.

Sam Crowe was the first lady across the finish line, with a time of 23 minutes and 2 seconds.

The full results are below:

Hundreds gathered in Somerled Square today (Saturday 28 October) for a day of action regarding island health care.

The crowd heard from Councillors John Gordon, Ronald MacDonald and John Finlayson, as well as Kate Forbes MSP and Ian Blackford MP - all of whom marched through Wentworth Street carrying a "Save Portree Hospital" banner.

NHS Highland stated on Friday 27 October that the Scottish government has 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.

Councillor John Gordon told The Skye Times: "It was good seeing so much support from the day of action in Portree.

"Yet again our communities gathered to send a clear message to NHSH and the Scottish Government that we will not accept decisions about health care as a result of mismanagement and incompetency.

"NHSH are out of touch with reality and what is going on in our communities and its time they listened and acted.

A female rock climber, reported to be in her early 20's, was rescued from Neist Point.

Dramatic rescue footage of an injured fallen rock climber has been released by the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Stornoway.

The female fell about 2 metres directly underneath Neist Point Lighthouse on the Isle of Skye.

HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public just after 1pm on Friday 27 October, reporting that a climber had sustained a lower leg injury after falling and needed medical assistance.

Portree, Dunvegan and Kyle Coastguard Rescue Teams, Leverburgh All Weather Lifeboat and the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter were all sent to the scene.

The young climber was winched into the helicopter and taken to Stornoway Airport where she was met by the Scottish Ambulance Service for onward transfer to the Western Isles Hospital. 

The footage can be viewed here.

Scorrybreac path has reopened, following extensive repairs after a rock fall.

An abseil team worked to clear the rock, which had been left in a precarious position.

The path will need further work, but is easily passable with care.

 

An external view will be commissioned to look at arrangements for urgent care, minor injury and access to A&E services in North Skye.

NHS Highland confirmed today (Friday 27 October) that the Scottish Government has approved the request for an external view.

Commenting on the announcement David Alston, chair of NHS Highland said: “Despite all our efforts to date, A&E services, emergency planning, and access to 24/7 medical cover, particularly in the north of Skye, continues to be a source of both concern and some confusion.

“I heard this again when I met with representatives of north Skye in August and ongoing also through discussions with others. This is why I made an offer to involve local clinicians and relevant consultants to meet with community representatives. I am in the process of arranging this and I am confident it will take place in early December.

“I would also like to take this a step further and link this into some external opinions of our current arrangements.

“Once this work is completed we would take the findings to the wider public and set up a local forum to oversee any actions.”

Businesses in the Highlands and Islands are urged to be on their guard.

The police have issued a warning following reports of a telephone scam involving people claiming to represent the force.

The attempted fraud involved a business in the Highlands being contacted by an individual claiming to represent Police Scotland seeking advertising sponsorship in relation to an upcoming road safety campaign.

The business which had been contacted terminated the call and contacted Police Scotland on 101 to establish whether the contact was genuine or not.

No money was handed over.

Police Scotland is now urging other businesses to be vigilant against such an approach and offer reassurance that in no circumstances would such contact be made using a "cold calling" approach.

Anyone who receives a similar call should end the contact and then phone Police Scotland on 101 to verify the call and report any concerns.

Enquiries are ongoing into the recent incident and any further information can be passed to officers by calling 101, quoting reference NN27485/17, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Dunvegan Primary School received a very special visit on Tuesday 24 October.

Pudsey the bear, the BBC Children in Need mascot, headed for Dunvegan as part of the Pudsey Schools Roadshows.

Dunvegan Primary School was one of just 20 schools nationwide to win the Pudsey Schools Roadshow visit, having been one of the first to sign up for a free Big Spotacular charity fundraising kit.

The Big Spotacular is a schools fundraising campaign, organised by Lloyds Bank and BBC Children in Need.

Ahead of Pudsey’s visit Dunvegan Primary School was provided with a celebration kit, including lots of Pudsey goodies, to help welcome the BBC Children in Need mascot and turn their school truly spotty.

Pudsey entertained the children with games and music, and encouraged them to come up with the most imaginative ways that they can raise money in advance of Appeal Week. The children even received the rare opportunity to pose for photographs with the BBC Children in Need mascot.

Tanya Rabin, BBC Children in Need Partnership Lead at Lloyds Banking Group said: “Our partnership with BBC Children in Need continues to produce fantastic results, and we have been so inspired by the brilliant fundraising happening in schools across the country. The Pudsey Schools Roadshow is our way of giving a little back to the schools and children that have contributed so much to this fundraising success.

“Through our unique role as exclusive schools partner we are thrilled to be able to make a huge difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people. The partnership has played an important part of the Group’s Helping Britain Prosper Plan, helping tackle disadvantage and improving young people’s lives for the better.”

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive, BBC Children in Need, added: “This year’s The Big Spotacular schools campaign has been sensational, we have been blown away by the UK’s schools fundraising efforts so far. Everyone’s efforts will make a huge difference to young lives across the UK so join the fun, get involved and together we can help raise more money than ever before for children and young people who need a little help.”

Those interested in finding out more about the Big Spotacular, requesting a free fundraising kit and downloading a host of free resources can visit the website here.

A drafting and submission of a Harbour Revision Order affecting Uig Harbour has been approved.

This follows the decision by Transport Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) and CalMac to provide a larger vessel for the Uig/Tarbert/Lochmaddy Triangle lifeline ferry service to the Western Isles.

Work is in place in order to develop the three ports in preparation for the larger vessel and the potential for additional passengers and vehicle traffic.

Highland Council state that the funding for the works will be recovered through increased harbour dues, levied on CalMac ferries.  The increase in harbour dues will also cover the additional routine revenue operations. The harbour dues for Uig Ferry Terminal will increase from October 2017, to cover the capital borrowing for the detailed design works which are ongoing.

Work outlined in the report includes land reclamation, berthing structure strengthening and widening, new fendering, dredging, new gangway, linkspan refurbishment or replacement, passenger walkway shelter on the approachway and widening, the demolition and rebuilding of the existing old pier head, and relocation of harbourmaster’s office.

CalMac has set out its plans for ferry services affected by the essential maintenance work at Lochmaddy Harbour.

The work is scheduled to take place for one week from November 13.

The linkspan will be closed between the 13th and 19th November and a daily vehicle and passenger service will operate on an amended timetable between Uig and Lochboisdale.

The amended timetable will include a daily service between Uig and Tarbert.

Arrangements will be put in place for foot passengers requiring transport between the ports of Lochmaddy and Lochboisdale and anyone planning to travel by foot should telephone CalMac customer services on 0800 066 5000 on the day prior to travel.

CalMac's Head of Service Delivery North, Robert Morrison, said: "The essential works will cause some unavoidable inconvenience but we have put in place what we believe is the best possible alternative to minimise disruption.

"Details of the temporary diversion will be advertised extensively and frequently asked questions and the temporary Uig - Lochboisdale timetable can be viewed at the CalMac website."

Ferry operator CalMac has finalised its winter maintenance programme.

Including inter island services, CalMac runs a total of 50 routes served by 32 vessels each of which is required to undergo a period of annual dry dock maintenance.

This presents the company with a complex logistical problem to keep all of its lifeline services running with minimal disruption.

"This is always a challenging time of year for us. The communities we serve all have different service requirements, continuing to meet these over the winter months when weather also becomes a factor is a real test for our staff," said CalMac's Director of Community and Stakeholder Engagement, Brian Fulton.

"We know the attachment communities form with their own vessel and that having it taken away is an inconvenience, we appreciate people's patience and understanding during this short maintenance period."

The schedule may change depending on operational priorities, but currently the arrangements are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 15 metre section of the road on the Knoydart Peninsula collapsed on Tuesday 24 October. 

This 4.8 mile single track road between Scottas and Airor is a lifeline road for the communities beyond the slip which include Airor, Doune and Sandaig.

The Highland Council's Roads Inspector has been on site on Wednesday 25 October and carried out an initial inspection.

A full engineering assessment is planned for Thursday 26 October.

Preliminary plans have already been made for the transfer of staff and materials to the area and contact has been made with a local landing craft operator.

Due to the geographical and physical constraints it is anticipated that the repair will take several weeks depending on the availability of specialist equipment and materials.

In the meantime the local community have set up a “road shuttle” arrangement with a vehicle on either side of the landslip.

Funding is being sought for a new post in the Broadford Youth Club.

The position of Youth Worker would be dedicated to running sessions for girls.

Broadford Youth Club has identified a need for expansion to what it currently offers for females in the south of Skye.  

The Club stated: "We hope to receive funding for a part-time (five hours) Youth Worker post so the Club can create a Girls Group project - Arts & Crafts, textile workshops and small leadership awards."

The Club revealed that the aim of the Girls Group is to increase their skills, their ability to work as a team and to enable them to receive the same opportunities as the Boys Session.

They have said: "In order to achieve this we will recruit a new youth worker with specific experience in running activities for teenage girls.

"Funding would enable a single-sexed programme for girls to be increased, which would in-turn attract more girls to the club."

To vote for the Broadford Youth Club Girls Project in the Aviva Community Fund Competition, visit the website here.

A consultation will commence, enabling people to have their say on the potential closure of 53 police premises.

Two of the premises potentially up for disposal include those in Dunvegan and Broadford.  

These premises were identified following a review.

Police Scotland stated: "The demands facing policing and the way people engage with us and contact us have changed over the years, however our estate, which had been developed many years ago, has not changed.

"We are consulting with local communities, partners and stakeholders because we want you to have your say on the future of our estate. The feedback gathered from this consultation will be used to shape our final proposal on how many of the premises should be disposed of.

"Of the 53 premises identified for disposal, 43 of them are not used to permanently base Police Officers or Police Staff and are empty, some of them for a number of years. The remaining 10 are currently used as a base for Police Officers or Police Staff, however these staff can be relocated to other permanent facilities while still maintaining service delivery."

The engagement period will run from Wednesday 1 November until Wednesday 31 January 2018 and you will be able to have your say on the future of these properties. 

A 17-year-old has died after his car came off the A82 near Spean Bridge in the Highlands.

The teenager was driving a blue Audi A3, which left the road between Letterfinlay and Invergloy, at about 11:30 on Wednesday 18 October.

The teenage driver, who was the only occupant in the car, was pronounced dead at the scene.  No other vehicles were involved.

Police Scotland have appealed for witnesses to contact them on 101, quoting reference NP9811/17 with any information that might be helpful.

Sgt Alan Henderson said: "Our thoughts are with the young man's family and friends at this sad time."

The road was closed for more than six hours to allow for a police investigation.

 

The constituency MSP for Skye has confirmed she will participate in this weekend's Save Portree Hospital demonstration, as local fears grow about the future of the hospital.

Kate Forbes MSP has already sought assurances from Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about emergency care provision at the hospital, and after meeting with campaigners last month raised further concerns to the Cabinet Secretary for Health Shona Robison.

Ms Forbes previously expressed her dismay that the experiences described by scores of her constituents has not matched NHS Highland's assurances.

Saturday's (28 October) protest begins at 2pm in Portree.

Four from Skye received recognition for their courage at the Brave@Heart Awards on Tuesday 24 October.

The awards were presented by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at Edinburgh Castle.  

Elisabeth and Paulus Temming, who own the Flodigarry Hotel, and their employees, Leon Passveer and Mark Thornber, rescued one of their colleagues from a burning caravan.

In the early hours of the morning, a fire broke out in a caravan where one employee was sleeping.  The fire and heat made it impossible to open the doors, and the blaze was too strong to be tackled by fire extinguishers.

Mrs Temming threw a beer keg through the caravan window, allowing the group to pull their colleague to safety- seconds before the caravan was completely engulfed in flames.

Unesco World Heritage status could be sought for the Isle of Skye, suggests a paper published by the Highland Council.

The suggestion was put forward in order to help attract funding to improve facilities for tourists.

The paper contains short and long-term ways of easing the pressure caused by the island's popularity with tourists.

Another long-term proposal includes the staging of a tall ships sailing race on a route between Skye and the remote archipelago of St Kilda, which has dual World Heritage status.  This could draw new investment to Skye. 

Highland Council has described its paper, Skye and Raasay Tourism Infrastructure: A Dynamic Workshop Approach, as "ambitious."

The report's findings include:

In 2013-14, Skye was visited by an estimated 1.3 million people.  Between 2014 and 2016, that number of visitors may have increased by 12.7%

Highland Council said tourism infrastructure issues on Skye and neighbouring Raasay "came to a watershed" this year, with the "exponential growth in tourist numbers colliding with an infrastructure that is no longer fit for purpose."

Dunvegan Castle and Gardens closed its gates earlier this month.

The attraction will open again at Easter 2018.  

The team stated that they are looking forward to launching some new attractions, facilities and exhibitions, which they will be working on this winter.  

A two vehicle crash on the A9 resulted in the road being completely blocked yesterday (Tuesday 24 October.)

At 6:45pm, Police Scotland, Fire and Ambulance responded to the crash on the A9 carriageway near to Alvie by Aviemore.  The crash involved a car and a heavy goods vehicle.

As a result of this crash the 58 year old female car driver sustained fatal injuries.

A full collision investigation was undertaken and diversions were put in place.

If you have any information regarding this incident and have not already come forward please contact Police Scotland on 101 quoting incident NM/7388/17.

Skye Mountain Rescue carried out what they described as a "reasonably straightforward rescue" today (Tuesday 24 October.)

The team came to the aid of a foreign male with a leg injury at the Fairy Pools.

The man was conveyed by stretcher to an ambulance.

 

The A9 south of Aviemore has been totally blocked due to a serious road traffic collision,

Police are currently (Tuesday 24 October) in attendance on the A9 just south of Aviemore and just north of the new dual carriageway section.

They advise that the road is likely to be closed for some considerable time.

A diversion via the B9152 from Kingussie to Aviemore is being set up at present.  Further updates to follow.

The owners of a Portree business were surprised when they received payment for a forgotten cup of tea.

Barry and Liza Hawthorne of the Isle of Skye Baking Company received a card with several dollars inside.

A couple on holiday had visited the Baking Company in Portree and ventured upstairs to the gallery - each thinking the other person had paid the bill.  On the way home, they discovered that neither had and quickly sent payment and a card all the way back to Scotland.

Barry and Liza said: "If they are reading this, we have to say the biggest thank you - not for the cash, but for caring.  You made our week special."

An event will be held at Portree High School as part of a programme of early engagement of a Culture Strategy for Scotland.

The Scottish Government is committed to developing a culture strategy and are working with artists, cultural organisations, communities and individuals across the country to gather their views and reflect on their experience to help shape the strategy.

The event is free and open to all, limited only by the capacity of the venue.  Registration is recommended via Eventbrite to secure a space and anyone attending on the night without registering will be admitted on a first come, first served basis.

Alternative arrangements are also available for anyone who cannot access Eventbrite. Further details are available via the website here.

The event will be held on Thursday November 2 from 5pm to 7pm.

A Portree woman abseiled 165 feet to raise funds for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS).

On Sunday 15 October, Mary MacDougall, along with others, abseiled from the Forth Rail Bridge.    Mary raised an outstanding £1,300 for the charity with more still coming in.

Mary spoke about the event, saying: “It was a fantastic experience and was so well organised.  I loved every minute of the descent and would encourage others to take part in this unique fundraising event.  I’m very grateful to all those who donated and I’m delighted to have raised so much money for the charity!”

All the money raised from the event will help to improve the quality of life for people in Scotland after a stroke or diagnosis of a chest or heart condition ensuring they get the support and services they badly need.  The fundraising event has raised £124,000 for CHSS.

Mary took part in order to support her husband, Douglas MacDougall, who works for CHSS as the Remote Link Worker for the Skye & Lochalsh area.  For more information on services in the area Douglas can be contacted via mobile 07788 587 562 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To stay informed about what CHSS is doing across Skye & Lochalsh, visit their new Facebook page here.

Those travelling on the A82 in October are advised to leave extra time for their journeys.

As part of Transport Scotland’s trunk road maintenance programme, Scotland TranServ will deliver road surface improvements on the A82 Southbound between Garshake Road and Greenhead Road in Dumbarton from 8pm Friday 27th October until 6am Monday 30th October.

Work to address defects and structural cracking on the southbound dual carriageway has been specifically scheduled for a weekend outwith school holidays, in order to reduce disruption to the local community and others using the route.

Darren Mitchell, Scotland TranServ’s Roads Design Engineer said: “This is an important road through Dumbarton, for local drivers, but also freight and tourism traffic alike. This essential programme will significantly improve the quality of the road surface, and has been scheduled in order to reduce disruption as much as possible.”

"The health and safety of our workers, and of road users, is of the utmost importance to Scotland TranServ. Therefore, due to the depth and width of the repair work, it is necessary to close the southbound dual carriageway to complete this £220,000 project. The northbound lanes of the A82 will be unaffected."

The closure will be implemented on the A82 between Barloan Toll Roundabout and Greenhead Road from 20.00 on Friday 27th until 06.00 on Monday 30th October. Those travelling southbound should follow signed diversions and leave extra time for their journeys.

Local authorities, community councils, Police Scotland and transport companies have also been extensively involved in discussions around the scheduling of the project. Access will also be maintained throughout the project to both the Police Station and Argyle Avenue.

Those travelling southbound should follow the signed diversions and leave extra time for their journeys; additional journey time of up to 50 minutes can be expected, with traffic volumes in Dumbarton also likely to be higher than normal. 

More information can be found here.

UK Government plans to introduce an energy price cap must mean an end to the Highland energy rip-off, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch has said.

After Theresa May promised to “end to rip-off energy prices once and for all”, Kate Forbes MSP said the Prime Minister must now end the surcharge that sees residents of energy-rich rural Scotland hit with higher bills.

Currently Highland customers face a 2p electricity surcharge which leaves them with higher bills – despite the region facing some of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the country.

Kate Forbes MSP hopes to raise the matter in the Scottish Parliament chamber on Thursday (26 October), if her general question on the issue is selected.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said: “Highland Scotland is energy rich, with huge potential as a green energy powerhouse.

“The SNP’s commitment to establishing a publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company will ensure that the public greater choice and the option of a supplier whose only job is to secure the lowest price for consumers.

“But residents in the Highlands face a completely unfair surcharge on their bills, despite the region facing amongst the highest rates of fuel poverty and often being most exposed to extreme weather.

“If Theresa May is serious about tackling high electricity bills, it’s time for her to end the Highland energy rip-off and tackle this surcharge as part of her price cap.

“I intend to ask the Scottish Government to join me in pressing the UK Government to ending unfair energy price discrimination.”

Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) has set out its plans for ferry services affected by the essential maintenance work at Lochmaddy Harbour, which are scheduled to take place for one week from November 13.

The linkspan will be closed between the 13th and 19th November and a daily vehicle and passenger service will operate on an amended timetable between Uig and Lochboisdale.

The amended timetable will include a daily service between Uig and Tarbert.

Arrangements will be put in place for foot passengers requiring transport between the ports of Lochmaddy and Lochboisdale and anyone planning to travel by foot should telephone CalMac customer services on 0800 066 5000 on the day prior to travel.

CalMac's Head of Service Delivery North, Robert Morrison, said: "The essential works will cause some unavoidable inconvenience but we have put in place what we believe is the best possible alternative to minimise disruption. Details of the temporary diversion will be advertised extensively and frequently asked questions and the temporary Uig - Lochboisdale timetable can be viewed at www.calmac.co.uk." 

Over 350 students and their friends and families attended this year’s Graduation Ceremony at the Nevis Centre Fort William on Friday 6 October.

Connor Dougan from Broadford received the Springboard Scotland Tourism Award and Heather McNeill, Crofting and Countryside Skills lecturer from Broadford, Isle of Skye Highlands and Islands Students Association received Best Academic Support.

This year over 250 students successfully gained their awards and over 120 of them were able to come to Fort William to celebrate their achievements at every level in the college, right up to degree and postgraduate level and they were accompanied by family, friends and guests representing local and national organisations as well as lecturing and support staff from the College.

Lydia Rohmer, Principal and Chief Executive of West Highland College UHI welcomed all the students and their families to the ceremony and congratulated them on their achievements saying: “We are all extremely proud of all your achievements and delighted that we can share this celebration with you. Just remember, there is no such thing as failure, only new opportunities to succeed in whatever you aspire to do.“

Two students were recognised as exceptional in their achievements. Both students received a certificate and cash award. Kelly Adams and Samanta Milzaraja, both from Fort William, were selected as for higher and further education Students of the Year respectively – more information follows in Background Information. 

A United States poet has won the MacDonald of Sleat poetry prize for the second year in succession.

Deborah Moffat, who began writing Gaelic poetry in 2013, hails from Vermont but now lives in Fife.

The competition which is run by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig was instituted by Sir Ian MacDonald of Sleat in memory of his daughter, Deborah. The competition has a tree related theme each year and this year it was a branch or branches. The Branch of Hope was the title of the poem composed by Deborah and selected by the panel of three judges.

Deborah received her prize from Sir Ian MacDonald at a gathering at the Museum of the Isles at Armadale on Saturday 30 September. Sir Ian MacDonald commented: “I particularly liked Deborah’s poem which also read like a prayer. My daughter, Deborah, would have loved it and understood the feeling and words of hope."

Speaking on behalf of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Principal, Professor Boyd Robertson, said: “This competition is important as it inspires people to write new verse in our language and adds to the body of literature in Gaelic. And it is a felicitous way of renewing memories of a daughter cut off in her prime.”

Deborah's poem can be read below:

A major programme of repair work has been given the go ahead to improve the A82 between Tarbet and Crianlarich.

Bear Scotland say the programme of work is worth almost £900,000.

The project, which includes full replacement of over 400m of crash barrier heavily damaged after an HGV incident in May, will see 12 different road maintenance schemes carried.

Risk assessments determined that day time road closures are required to complete the safe installation of the new barrier due to the geography of the location – the narrow verge, steep overgrown embankment, drop into loch and the need to work on the slope itself to install the foundation for the barrier. 

Teams from BEAR Scotland carried out a full public consultation with the local community, Emergency Services, MSPs, MPs, the Local Authority, local businesses, residents, hauliers, transport operators and other relevant stakeholders to gauge their feedback regarding the proposals.

Traffic in Inverness is badly affected today (Monday 23 October.)

Police in Inverness have advised that there currently is a problem with the barriers on the Tomnahurich swing bridge on the A82 Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.

Engineers are enroute but traffic in the area is badly affected meantime.

Drivers are thanked for their patience.

CalMac have advised that their phone lines will be closed this evening (Monday 23 October.)

The ferry company cites essential system improvements as the reason for the closures, which will take place from 7pm on Monday 23 until 7am to Monday 24.

Officers based in Portree and Kyle of Lochalsh have carried out a four day road safety operation focusing on ensuring vehicles and their drivers are prepared for the dark nights and winter months.

As a result of these proactive patrols over the last weekend 13 drivers were issued with vehicle defect rectification notices requiring them to have lighting and tyre faults repaired.

In addition to this, during these patrols officers charged an 18-year-old local man with driving at 60mph in a 40mph zone in Dunvegan.

In a separate incident a second 18-year-old man was charged with drink driving with a provisional driving licence and carrying passengers in a dangerous manner in Broadford. He will appear in court at a later date.

Constable Alasdair MacKenzie, who took part in the operation, said: "As the dark nights arrive and road conditions are likely to worsen it is vital that road users ensure their vehicles are suitably prepared.

"Take time to check your lights and tyres, ensure fluids are topped up and always drive according to the road conditions.

"It is disappointing that two young men have been dealt with for drink driving and a significant speeding offence during this operation and our patrols will continue to focus on this type of dangerous driving behaviour.

"Anyone with concerns about road safety issues in Skye and Lochalsh should contact a local officer on 101."

After eight days of competitions, performances and festivities, the Royal National Mòd said goodbye to current host, Lochaber.

Scotland’s biggest Gaelic festival has been hailed a huge success, with a record number of participants.

Thousands of Gaels and supporters made their way to the festival to enjoy all that the Mòd has to offer, with somewhere in the region of up to £2.5m expected to have been generated for the local economy.

Officially closing on Saturday 21 October, the final event took place on the streets of Fort William, as the massed choir made its way along the High Street for a final sing-a-long.

Representatives from 2018 host town Dunoon were present for the ceremonial handover from this year’s hosts. The Gaelic festival will return to Dunoon for the eighth time next year, taking place from 12th-20th October next year.

Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, the event is the biggest and most important festival of the Gaelic language in the world. This year saw a rise in under 18s competing in traditional singing events and literature events, with at least 200 more entrants than the previous year. The rising interest in the festival and traditional Gaelic culture bodes well for future events and the Mòd’s continued success.

The top prizes this year went to Alasdair MacMhuirich and Rachel in the Gold Medal competition; John Joe MacNeil and Hannah Knight in the Traditional Gold Medal and Ishbel Campbell and Coinneach MacLeod took home the Silver Pendants.

A day of action is planned to protest against rural health issues.

Portree and Caithness Health Action Team (CHAT) & Galloway will each be holding a day of action in their respective areas.

Organised by SOS-NHS, the Portree day will begin at the Bank Street car park and will be followed by a march with the pipers to Portree Square.  In case of bad weather, the pipers will march to the Community Centre.  

The day will also have flags, burgers, fundraising, dancing, balloons, music, face painting and information.

The day of action will take place on Saturday 28 October at 2pm.

 

Raasay Ramblers raised £173 for BBC Children In Need on Saturday 21 October.

The Countryfile Ramble started at Raasay Stores and ended at Raasay Community Hall, where the walkers enjoyed well-earned drinks and cake.

Anyone travelling to Raigmore Hospital within the next few days will find access to the front entrance restricted.

Due to ongoing construction work there will be restrictions in place this weekend (Saturday 21 to Sunday 22) to the front entrance of Raigmore Hospital.

Cars will not be able to pick up and drop off from the main entrance and patients, visitors and members of the public will be directed to alternative entrances.

Signage is in place to direct visitors to the hospital and people will be manning the front entrance both internally and externally to direct visitors.

Normal service will resume on Monday 23 October. 

 

 Further work took place yesterday (Friday 20 October) to restore the Scorrybreac path to an area of safety.

The rope access team started work to dislodge a large area of rock above the path.  The rock has been left in a precarious position since the recent rock slide.

The three man rope access team have been working in the area since Tuesday 10 October.  Their work will include heavy scaling of all the large unstable rocks using hydraulic jacks, and cutting away the overhanging turf above the rock failure.

This will be followed by light scaling of all loose material within the area.

It is hoped that the path will reopen shortly after the work is completed.  

A website of resources for Gaelic Medium Education, originally set up and run by two primary school teachers based on Sleat in their spare time, has been shortlisted for a Scottish Gaelic Award for the second year running.

The website, Lasadh, is managed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig, based in Stornoway, and led by teachers Gwen Culbertson (pictured above right) and Mairi Macdonald (left), who both teach in Bun-sgoil Shlèite.

Lasadh is up for the Innovation in Education Award in the Daily Record’s Scottish Gaelic Awards, as it was last year, but is also nominated in the Learner Award category this year.

Police are appealing for anyone who travelled the A82 overnight on Friday 29 September to come forward.

The police hope this appeal could lead to information on the whereabouts of missing man, Tony Parsons.

The 63-year-old left an address in the Ross Court area of Tillicoultry around 9.30am on Friday 29 September and travelled to Fort William by train.  He arrived in Fort William around 4.10pm and it is believed he then set off to cycle back to Tillicoultry along the A82.

Officers are eager to hear from the driver of a people carrier-style vehicle that was seen travelling south on the A82 at around 2am on 30 September at the Green Welly Stop, Tyndrum.

A group of kayakers worked to clear a 100m stretch from a shore in Sleat.

The kayakers were inspired by the growing movement to reduce plastics and debris floating in the oceans.

Georgina Maxwell of Plastic Planet UK and sea-kayak instructor, Kate Duffus, led the party last weekend as they removed debris from the shore at Boreraig, across Loch Eishort from Ord in Sleat.

A canoe was used as a bin lorry, aided by a sail and paddled by Jessica Leggatt.  

A Skye woman is aiming to spread some cheer this December.

Tiffany Maberley, owner of The Thistle Snack Bar in Portree, came up with a plan last year to use the 5p bag charge for people who needed cheering up.

The 5p's soon mounted up and totalled around £160, which meant Tiffany was able to deliver twelve sacks.

On her Just Giving page, she wrote: "I was so humbled by how the community got behind me and donated - some donated the whole money for a sack some donated the few pounds they could afford - but all in all i managed to deliver twelve sacks and a few extra bits to some elderly single people too!

Skye Ecomuseum's full-time programme manager, Angus Murray, has been working in the role for three months.

He wrote a short update for the Staffin Trust news page, updating readers on the events held as the project's activity plan, as seen below:

"COMUNN EACHDRAIDH AN TAOBH SEAR

"One significant part of the Ceumannan project got underway in October. A big target is to get people in the Staffin community more involved with local history. There are many good examples of active groups up and down the west coast of Scotland and we hope that this will grow significantly over time. To start the ball rolling, we held the first two meetings looking for people who are interested in being involved. A really good mix of people attended with a good mix of those who brought up in the area and some newer residents with an interest in history on both days. What followed was an interesting discussion around the abandoned villages of the east side of Trotternish and included archaeology and place-names of the area.

A Skye marketing website has recently added a feature to enable visitors to search for accommodation.

This feature aims to make it easier for visitors to quickly find places to stay using one website.  

Isleofskye.com is now working in partnership with FreetoBook to bring visitors the option for a single search.  

Kyle Lifeboat crew went to the aid of a man in a rigid-inflatable boat (RIB) in Lochalsh.

The RIB had run out of fuel on Monday 16 October.  The man was alone on board and was unsuccessful in getting a VHF (radio) reception to contact the coastguard.  His mobile phone also proved to be out of action.  

He pressed the emergency button on his VHF, which sent an automatic mayday message to the coastguard.  He also set off a flare.

Kyle Lifeboat was launched and towed the RIB safely into Kyleakin Harbour.

 

 

Two pupils from Portree and one from Sleat received recognition during the Literary Day at the Mòd.

Held on Wednesday 18 October, the Literary Day saw Eubha Campbell from Sleat Primary School take second place in the 11-12 category.  

Two Portree High School pupils took first and second prize in the 16-18 category.  Dougal McKiggan took first place and Eoin Urquhart took second place.

Above: entrants pictured.  Photograph taken by John Paul Peebles.

 

The Three Chimneys has once again received recognition as it makes the top five of a TripAdvisor list.

The list names the Best Fine Dining Restaurants in the United Kingdom.

Reviews for the Colbost restaurant include words like "outstanding" and phrases such as "a superb taste of Skye."

A ram has been stolen near Balmacara.

The animal has a distinctive horn in the middle of its head.

Police estimate that the ram was stolen from its field on Plockton road on Tuesday 17 or Wednesday 18 October.

Anyone with any information is asked to inform PC Reid at Kyle via 101.

Stronger financial controls, better forward planning and improved links with service providers and users are essential if Scotland’s ferry services are to be maintained and developed in the future.

That’s the verdict of a major report from Audit Scotland on Transport Scotland’s ferry services, issued today (Thursday October 19th) which shows that Government subsidies to CalMac ferries have risen 185 per cent in ten years. This is mainly due to an increase in services, new vessels and the introduction of the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET).

There are an estimated 66 scheduled ferry routes in Scotland, managed by a range of public and commercial operators - with the complexity of the arrangement shown in the graphic above.

Further steps were taken to get Glendale Community Hall back up and running again.

Visitors came from the Scottish Flood Forum and from the Highland Council.  A flood door was recommended for the front and fire exit, but a full report will be submitted in due course.  

The hall has been emptied and the contents have either been disposed of or sanitised and taken away to be stored.

The committee are now in the process of negotiating replacement items.

Very soon the lower internal walls, which stand at approximately three feet high, will be removed and dried out, then re-instated. 

 

Come up with a name for this house - and you could win yourself a bottle of Misty Isle Gin.

The House With No Name is currently being built in Glenbernisdale and will be used as a small self-catering house.

The enterprise is that of Alison Crawford.  She and her husband told The Skye Times: "The house is designed to be in keeping with the local area so will be larch clad to allow it to blend in and has a traditional slate roof that just went on this week. Not to be confused with a camping pod this is a house but in miniature.

 

The Boundary Commission for Scotland has published Revised Proposals for United Kingdom Parliament constituencies in Scotland as part of its 2018 Review. 

This marks the start of an 8 week public consultation process, lasting from Tuesday 17 October 2017 until Monday 11 December 2017.

The UK Parliament has decided to reduce the number of constituencies from 650 to 600.  In Scotland this means that 59 constituencies will be reduced to 53. 

In the Highlands this means losing one MP, with three MPs will be left to represent 40% of Scotland’s total land mass.

The largest proposed constituency by area is Highland North, at 12,985 square km (currently Ross, Skye and Lochaber at 12,768 square km).

Two of these 53 (Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles) and Orkney and Shetland) are defined in the legislation and will not be subject to change.

As set out in legislation, each of the remaining 51 constituencies must not exceed the maximum permitted area of 13,000 square kilometres; and be within five per cent of the UK electoral quota of 74,769.2 (ie to have between 71,031 and 78,507 electors), except where a constituency is larger than 12,000 square kilometres when it may have fewer than 71,031 electors.

A Highland MSP has welcomed a series of Scottish Government funding announcements that were made at the official opening of the 2017 Royal National Mòd in Fort William.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney pledged £20k per annum for the Mòd in addition to £35k for various projects, as well as £50k for the popular BBC Alba series Bannan and £30k for Spòrs Gaidhlig.

Kate Forbes MSP, who officially opening the Mòd on Friday evening (13 October), is chair of the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Gaelic.

She said: "The opening night of the Mòd was a great showcase of Gaelic talent, with music and speeches.

An elderly couple from the Isle of Skye have proven that love lasts a lifetime as they celebrated 44 years of marriage at HC-One's Home Farm Care Home recently.

Care workers surprised resident Neil McInnes and his wife Mary with a cake and flowers to celebrate the special day, with the couple enjoying a small tipple to toast their happy marriage.

Linda Baillie, HC-One Care Home Manager, commented: "It's apparent that Neil and Mary are devoted to each other and they set a real example to the rest of us that despite ill health and living separately, true love really can overcome any obstacles. We wish them many more happy years together!"

The couple tied the knot in 1973 and share three daughters and four grandchildren. Neil served in the Merchant Navy for years, following which he settled down in Portnalong and worked at Talisker Distillery as well as running a croft. Mary worked for the Highland Council.

Tiny tots from Portree Nursery bounced into HC-One's Home Farm Care Home on the Isle of Skye recently for an afternoon of intergenerational activities.

Residents entertained the children by playing with an Octaband, designed for use by the elderly and children with physical and cognitive challenges, as well as to encourage movement and interaction.

The initiative enables the development of relationships between generations and has been shown to reduce the likelihood of social isolation in the elderly, teach children news skills, as well as aid in cognitive simulation.

Linda Baillie, HC-One Care Home Manager at Home Farm, commented: "It was lovely to have the children come in for a visit. Their inquisitive nature and chatter created much discussion and laughter amongst our residents and it was fantastic to see the interaction between generations."

The Totachocaire path in the Dunvegan area will be closed.

The Macleod estate has been issued with a notice regarding the identification of a pathogen dangerous to larch trees.  

Eighteen rhododendrons have been tested and need to be felled, burned on site and the stumps treated with chemicals.

In the meantime, walkers are asked to stay away from the area in order to minimise the risk of contamination and the pathogen being spread.

Hard of hearing ferry passengers are set to benefit from a new video interpretation service that will make it easier for them to manage their ticket bookings.

CalMac is the first transport operator in the country to offer the British Sign Language Interpreting Video Relay Service (VRS) to hearing impaired customers.

The VRS system provides an easy and flexible way to interact with sign language users through their mobile phone.

Passengers with hearing problems simply down load the sign language app to their mobile and call a number to connect to an interpreter via video link. The interpreter then calls CalMac's customer care team and then interprets back through sign language via video to the hearing impaired customer.

CalMac's Head of Customer Experience, Sandra Crighton said: "CalMac is committed to making our services as accessible as possible to passengers whatever their individual needs. Our team is constantly monitoring new industry developments to see how we can improve our customer care standards. We will always be early adopters of the latest technology if it is is going to improve a passenger's experience of travelling with us.

The Skye winter 17/18 bus timetable has been released.

The timetable can be found here.  Hard copies of the timetable will be available as soon as possible.

Portree is set to be the location for a VisitScotland regional hub.

VisitScotland said 39 of its 65 centres would shut over the next two years, leaving 26 "high impact regional hubs" in response to the popularity of digital services over information centres.

Decisions regarding the location of the regional hubs in Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and the Outer Hebrides are to be made following a consultation with the local tourism industry over the coming months.

In the meantime, sites located in Peebles, Jedburgh, Gretna, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries, Tarbert (Harris) and Stornoway will continue to operate as normal for now.

VisitScotland said there had been a significant decline in the number of tourists visiting their information centres, amounting to a 58% drop in footfall over the past 10 years.

The 26 regional hubs will operate in locations of greatest visitor demand and offer information about attractions across wider regions, said VisitScotland.

The current number of information centres will be replaced with 1,500 "information partners", made up of local businesses, such as bed and breakfasts, distilleries or local retailers.

A heroic act 70 years ago resulted in a Glendale man being awarded the RNLI Bronze Medal for gallantry.

On 14 October, Mr Kenneth MacLeod single-handedly rescued three fishermen.  The three men were at the entrance to Loch Pooltiel when a rope fouled their propeller.  Though the men attempted to anchor, their anchor was carried away in the rough seas and the boat was thrown onto the rocks.  

Mr MacLeod set out to rescue the men and signalled for them to climb to a protruding rock.  Three times, he backed his boat to it and rescued the men one by one and transferring them to a larger boat.  

Very few such medals have been bestowed on non-RNLI personnel.

In 1947 the nearest RNLI Lifeboats were stationed at Barra Island, Mallaig and Stornoway - all several hours away from the location of the distress. 

 


Ian Blackford MP is welcoming plans for a new publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company to be set up by the SNP Scottish Government.

The new company, which they aim to be fully operational within five years, will deliver electricity to consumers “as close to the cost of production as possible”.

Ian Blackford has long campaigned in Westminster against Scotland’s higher electricity distribution costs, which see consumers in the Highlands paying up to 15% more for their electricity than other parts of the UK.

He said: “I welcome this announcement by the First Minister at the SNP conference which will benefit so many people and make a real difference to their lives.

“The Highlands and Islands weather is more severe than most parts of the UK and many people depend on electricity to heat their homes. Due to higher prices imposed on us by the big corporations who answer only to shareholders, a large number of our people are living in fuel poverty, unable to heat their homes properly.

“For many the only choice at present is ‘heat or eat’, which is not acceptable.

“The Scottish Government has taken action to directly combat this disgraceful situation by offering consumers a supplier whose only job is to secure the lowest price for their energy”.

Kate Forbes MSP is calling on local groups in her Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency to apply to the Scottish Government's new Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

The Scottish Government announced the new £6m fund in response to the tourism boom across rural Scotland, and the money will be invested over the course of two years (2018/19 and 2019/20) to help ensure the services and facilities tourists and communities need are provided.

The new fund will support a wide range of improvement projects – such as parking, camping facilities, recycling points and footpath access, in areas such as Skye and Fort William as well as at Historic Environment Scotland sites.
Kate Forbes MSP said: "The tourist industry is vital to the Highland economy, which attracts visitors from all over the world each year.

"The new £6m Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund will help cater to the very welcome increasing tourist numbers in Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch and help alleviate pressure on transport, services and facilities.

"This support for infrastructure will enable even more people to enjoy this most beautiful country in the world and is an example of the Scottish Government listening to and responding to the needs of rural Scotland."

It is understood that more details on the application process will be available soon.

Communities across Skye and Raasay have until Wednesday 29 November to get their entries in for the 2017 Eilean a’ Cheò Civic Awards.

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: Sports; Arts/Music; Environment; Community; Enterprise and Young People.

All nominees must be resident on the Isle of Skye or Raasay and be able to demonstrate their actions or activities have resulted in a significant benefit and deserve recognition.

Councillors will then consider all applications received and awards will be presented at a ceremony held in Portree at the Ward Forum on Monday 18th December.

Chair of the Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee, Councillor John Gordon encourages people to put forward nominations. He said "We’re inviting people to forward the name of someone or a community group who they feel deserves recognition for the work they do and the contribution to the lives of others that they make. Often such people work quietly behind the scenes without a fuss. These Civic Awards are the ideal opportunity for their efforts to be officially recognised and for us to show our appreciation."

Nomination forms are now available on the Eilean A’ Cheò page of The Highland Council’s website here.

Completed forms should be returned to the Ward Manager Willie MacKinnon by the 29 November.  Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Following recent media coverage, Chair of the Isle of Skye & Raasay Committee, John Gordon has provided the following statement on behalf of the 4 Elected Members:

“I would like to clarify that it is not the principle of a project to develop facilities at the Storr site or reluctance by Highland Council to transfer Assets under the Community Empowerment Act which led to the refusal of the Asset Transfer Request.

"The Council’s Asset Management Board, having used the guidance on the legislation, identified there were key elements relating to the conditions set by the Staffin Community Trust, and of the specific area of land requested, that resulted in the decision to refuse.

"This is now subject to a formal review as requested by the Staffin Community Trust and as such would not be appropriate for the Elected Members to publicly comment on at this point.

“However, Members can confirm that a meeting took place on the 3rd October between Highland Council officers and representatives of Staffin Community Trust and that a further meeting has been scheduled to meet with the Trust’s Board at the end of October.

"An invitation has also been extended to Kate Forbes MSP to meet with her to provide more information on the decision that was made.”

The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism is set to visit the Isle of Skye next month, after accepting an invitation to visit the island by the constituency MSP Kate Forbes.

On Friday 3 November Fiona Hyslop will be the keynote speaker at the second of a series of meetings organised by Ms Forbes as part of an ongoing process to identify and find solutions to the pressures on Skye caused by increased tourism.

It is understood that the Cabinet Secretary will also take questions from the floor, giving Skye residents and businesses the opportunity to raise concerns directly.

Kate Forbes MSP said: “I am delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism to Skye.

“I believe that the tourism industry has even greater potential for the Skye economy, so long as the benefits are distributed fairly and widely.

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, has hailed a new £6m Scottish Government fund that aims to ease pressure on creaking infrastructure following the recent tourism boom across the Highlands.

The fund, which is expected to launch next year, is set to be announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP conference in Glasgow today (Tuesday 10 October).

It is understood that the money could assist projects seeking to improve parking, camping facilities, recycling points, roads and footpath access.

Funding will be administered by public sector partners working with councils, communities and the industry to identify projects in need of support.

Kate Forbes MSP said: "Nicola Sturgeon's commitment to fund tourism infrastructure projects is spectacularly good news for Skye.

"It comes off the back of a number of conversations I've had with the Scottish Government since early summer about how we properly fund improvements to parking, campervan parks and basic amenities on the Isle of Skye.

"The First Minister's answer, by earmarking £6 million to be spent in conjunction with communities, is precisely what is required to prepare Skye and the west coast for next summer."

A local police Twitter account has been named as a finalist in the Police Twitter Awards.

The @LochabSkyePol Twitter feed covering the Skye, Lochalsh and Lochaber areas of the West Highlands is familiar to locals and visitors for their informative updates and use of humour.

They have been nominated in Category 1 - Laws Communication as one of the Best Tweeting Corporate Police Accounts, along with @ShrewsburyCops and @JerseyPolice.  

 

Trading Standards are looking for young people to take part in test purchasing exercises.

Teenagers aged from 16 to 17 years old would be used to help find out which shops are breaking the law by selling age restricted products to young people under 18.

If you are 16 or 17 years old and your parent or guardian would be happy for you to get involved with this, expenses would be paid and refreshments provided.

Further information on test purchasing and a test purchasing application form can be found at: www.highland.gov.uk/agerestrictedsales or phone 01463 228700



A graduate who completed an honours degree despite suffering from a serious medical condition has been named as the University of the Highlands and Islands' Student of the Year 2017.

Hannah McDiarmid, aged 22, achieved a BA (Hons) in Gaelic language and culture while managing cystic fibrosis - a chronic, life limiting condition which affects the lungs and the digestive systems.

Enrolled as a distance-learning student with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, she completed her degree from her hometown of Torvaig, Portree, on the Isle of Skye.

Hannah was nominated for the award by her programme leader, Mark Wringe. He explained: "As a programme leader and lecturer for some of Hannah's modules, I only saw a capable student who consistently turned in work on time, who always prepared for classes and who achieved good results. She participated in class discussions and answered questions thoughtfully, but didn't draw attention to herself. She just got on with things.

"When she first appeared on a video link from a hospital bed, she carried on in such a matter of fact, nothing to remark on way, I wished her well and didn't ask questions. I took her lead in carrying on as normal, not feeling I should expect her to volunteer information. I have only recently gained an idea of what it must have taken for Hannah to have such a normal, uninterrupted student journey. My respect for her wish to achieve her goal on the same basis as anyone else is enormous. It's ironic that her reliable, regular performance was, in fact, anything but normal."

Lesley Blaikie, a cystic fibrosis nurse specialist with NHS Highlands, is one of the medical team who cares for Hannah. She said: "As an experienced nurse, I have never come across such an inspirational young lady. Despite living a constant battle with severe fatigue and ill health, Hannah always put her study first. Even being admitted to hospital didn't deter her. She would lay books on her bed and have her laptop to hand for dial in sessions. This type of determination did not go unrecognised by medical staff. It has been humbling for us all to see how this young lady has not let her ill health define who she is."

Speaking about her award, Hannah said: "I chose to study Gaelic because I have an interest in languages and, after learning a bit in school, I wanted to carry on and learn more about the culture as well. It's an honour to receive this award, especially as I wasn't brought up speaking Gaelic, and I will always be very thankful to everyone at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, at home and from the cystic fibrosis team for their kind support and encouragement, which has meant so much to me."

Professor Clive Mulholland, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: "Hannah was unanimously selected as our student of the year by all representatives of our judging panel. Her determination and dedication in the face of challenging personal circumstances has been exemplary, showing what can be achieved when you set your mind to it. I am delighted that Hannah has gained an honours degree in a subject she feels passionate about and I wish her every success for the future."

Hannah received a certificate and a cheque for £200 at the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI graduation ceremony on Friday 6 October. Now she has completed her academic studies, she hopes to continue to learn about Gaelic and practise it as much as possible.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is running a campaign to collect views on the Scottish bus services.

CAS stated: "Public transport is a priority for the Scottish government with a new transport bill being introduced in 2018."

Those who wish to share their views have until October 22 to do so.

More information can be found here.

Rubha Phoil is more than just the location of a campsite - it's home to a walk way, a permaculture and a vision for the future

Owned by Ludwig Appeltans (pictured below), Earth Ways at Rubha Phoil is based in Armadale, close to the ferry.  

An open day was held today (Saturday 7 October) to allow members of the public to come along and learn more about the young permaculture community.

Parents of 2-5 year olds in the Highlands are encouraged to ensure their children get flu vaccination.

GP practices across the NHS Highland area are providing the free nasal flu vaccine in a bid to ensure young children are protected. Primary school children will receive their vaccination at school.

By reducing transmission of the virus, particularly to at-risk groups like the elderly, the child flu vaccination programme is expected to eventually prevent an estimated additional 200 deaths per year, and 1,100 hospitalisations from flu.

Lorraine McKee, flu immunisation coordinator for NHS Highland, said: “It’s very important that children between the ages of two and five receive the nasal flu vaccine this winter.

“The vaccine is the best defence against flu and not only helps to help protect your children, but also helps to reduce the spread of the virus amongst others.

“Getting the vaccine itself only takes a few minutes; it’s painless and will provide protection for up to a year.”

The date for the 2018 Isle of Skye Half Marathon has been confirmed.

The race is set to take place on 9 June 2018.

Portree Harbour now boasts a two-cubicle toilet block.

Portree and Braes Community Trust stated: "It's taken longer than expected, but at last our two cubicle toilet opened at Portree Harbour last week.

"The funding for the toilet came from LEADER, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Highland Council Ward Discretionary Fund and Lochalsh & Skye Housing Association.  There was also community contributions from Sea Breezes Restaurant, Brigadoon Boat Trips, Rosedale Hotel, Pier Hotel, Lowerdeck Restaurant and Portree and Braes Community Trust.

"A short term agreement is in place with the Highland Council, who will clean the units on a daily basis.  It's hoped that with further negotiations a long term plan can be put in place.

"We learnt recently that cruise liner bookings are going to rise by 20% next year in Scotland.  It’s unclear if these figures will translate to Portree, or if our harbour has that capacity.  At least for now we've made a start in improving facilities in this busy area of the village.

"Thanks to contractors Craik & Macrae, Jans and Caberfeidh Electrics.

"Also a special mention to Trust member Roger Liley who has worked tirelessly on this project for a considerable amount of time. Without his dedication and perseverance this unit would not be in place today."

Businesspeople trying to visit and work on Skye in the summer – along with visitor groups seeking affordable accommodation – are the target market for the newly announced Skye Snooze project - artistic impression above.

This involves the siting of 13 accommodation letting units and a reception unit along with related car parking spaces at Jansvans, 6 Broom Place, Portree.

Donnie Nicolson, the managing director at Jan’s, says the idea started out with the concept of actually re-using freight containers in the same way they have used them for self-storage facilities.

An incurable tree disease has once again been found on the Isle of Raasay.

The Forestry Commission has confirmed that the die back disease of Larch has reappeared on the island.  

Phytopthera Ramorum is an incurable disease that can infect a number of different species of tree.  It was first identified on Raasay in 2015.  This resulted in a statutory plant health notice being served on the Forestry Commission.  A period of six months was given for an attempt to eliminate the disease by felling all the infected trees and susceptible species within a 250 meter zone.

The return of the disease means the same action will be taken.

A statement from the Forestry Commission says: "Only one tree is infected but it means we’ll have to fell all Larch within a 250m buffer...  We will endeavor to minimize the impact and extent of felling."

A fundraising event on the Isle of Raasay raised over £3,500.

Raasay Primary School Coffee Day was held on Saturday 30 September and produced a total of £3,682.05.  

Head Teacher, Wilma Duncan, said: "Yet again, the community near and far have supported the event and the day would not be possible without the input of staff, parents, Parent Council and the local community, businesses and groups. The incredible total raised this year was £3682.05 which will go towards providing educational opportunities for our youngsters, school resources and the development of specific areas within the curriculum identified through consultation with the Parent Council and Pupil Council.

“On behalf of the pupils, staff and parents of Raasay Primary School, thank you one and all for making the day such a success. Moran Taing!"

More details on Raasay Primary School can be found here.

The constituency MSP for Skye has described Highland Council's decision to reject a community-led buyout for land at the Old Man of Storr as "out of step with the spirit of community empowerment".

Kate Forbes MSP commended Staffin Community Trust for its proposals, as it seeks to embark on a major project including a new off-road car park, public toilets and interpretation at one of Skye's most popular landmarks.

Highland Council's rejection of the Asset Transfer Request – the first in the Highlands under the new Community Empowerment Act – follows another busy summer on Skye as infrastructure comes under growing strain.

The future looks bright for the new artists' residence at the former home of Vice Admiral Sir Roddy Macdonald - war veteran, painter and Chief of the Skye Highland Games.

This summer saw Wasps Artists' Studios run a limited number of residencies to make sure the three units, at Braes, met the needs of artists and makers. These were successful and Wasps is now ready to take bookings for 2018.

As part of the project Wasps, and Portree-based Atlas Arts, are offering an annual fully-funded and supported residency to an artist, maker or designer.

Skye MSP Kate Forbes is bringing constituents' concerns direct to the Health Secretary Shona Robison.

On Friday (29 September) , a day after seeking assurances from Scotland’s First Minister about emergency care provision at Portree Hospital, Kate Forbes MSP met with SOS Skye campaigners in Portree.  She spent an hour and a half listening to and fielding questions from a 40-strong group in a round-table meeting format. 

Ms Forbes expressed her dismay that the experiences described by scores of her constituents did not match NHS Highland’s assurances.

Traditional storyteller and Gaelic TV scriptwriter Chrisella Ross, from Upper Bayble on Point, on the Isle of Lewis, has died at the age of 55.

Most recently, Chrisella was a scriptwriter for the Gaelic drama Bannan, produced by Young Films in the Isle of Skye. Earlier this year producer Chris Young said of her: “Chrisella is one of my favourite scriptwriters. Her writing – a unique and powerful mix of originality and authenticity infused with her own rich sense of humour – creates characters with a depth of emotion and humanity that makes for great drama.”

The idea at the heart of the drama – a high-powered lawyer returning to her home island – was hers. She came up with the idea while studying on Glasgow Caledonian’s Master of Arts in TV fiction course.

Earlier, with the former national Gaelic arts agency, Pròiseact nan Ealan, she created and led a national Gaelic storytelling project for more than seven years. After that, she moved into telling stories herself and then began writing for theatre.

Kinloch Lodge’s Isabella Macdonald was quick off the mark yesterday (Monday October 2) to congratulate the new winner of a Michelin Star on Skye, even though her own restaurant’s star was removed at the same time from the list of Scottish eateries for 2018.

Reacting to the announcement from the Michelin panel, she said: “We are so sad not to have retained our precious Michelin Star after seven years.

“Our wonderful team of chefs, headed up for ten years by Marcello Tully, are as brilliant and dedicated as ever and we will continue to do what we do best – provide delicious and wonderful food in our own unique style.

Police in the Highlands and Islands are urging motorists not to drive under the influence of alcohol following a number of recent reported incidents.

The safety message comes after five drivers were detected to be over the legal limit or refused to give a breath sample over the course of the last weekend alone.

Detections were made across the Highlands, including in the Inverness, Ross-shire and Skye areas from Friday morning until Sunday night.

During the awards ceremony

 


Portree firefighter John Shaw's twenty years of helping keep others safe has been officially recognised.

The local crew manager was amongst a number of fire service personnel to be presented with their long service medals during a special ceremony in Inverness involving  Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Officer Alasdair Hay.

During the ceremony Chief Officer Hay presented 14 Long Service medals and four retirement statuettes and certificates in front of proud family members.

He said: "I am delighted to be here in Inverness to present these Long Service and Good Conduct medals and retirement medals to these members of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service family.

November 1 sees the re-launch day for Cuillin FM's annual  “Cram the Van Christmas Appeal” .

Over the coming weeks they will be gathering new toys and cash donations via the various donation points around its listening area and literally “cramming the Cuillin FM van” with all your contributions to then distribute to the local children and families who will appreciate it most this Christmas.

Since it started the appeal in 2014 they have donated hundreds of new toys and gifts and have helped 131 individual children (that’s dozens of local families) in Skye and Lochalsh have a better Christmas.

This is what Cuillin FM has to say about the appeal:

New kids on the block, South Skye Junior Shinty Club, have scored a major success in their search for funding.

The relatively new sporting group, which is affiliated with the Camanachd Association, has been notified of an Awards for All £6,037 grant.

Established since 2007 the club has previously raised funds to cover equipment costs with support of parents and volunteers

For the Club, Kenny Smith said: "We are delighted with the award and this will help the club push on even more to help the 60+ kids currently at the club to develop and have fun with the glorious game of shinty".

Police are currently carryng out enquiries into damage caused to Broadford Hotel sometime over night between Friday 28 and Saturday 29 October. The incident occurred some time between 7pm and 7am during which the exterior door was damaged. Anyone with information is asked to call 101.

Further coastal protection for Churchton Bay

 

An old pottery workshop at Carbostmore, Carbost could be converted into three self contained units if planning approval is given.

The scheme is one of a number of applications put before Highland Council. Others include the construction of a small rock armour costal defence at Raasay’s Churchton Bay.

Other applications are as follows:

Raasay Community Stores is set to step into the stoplight after being nominated in this year's Rural Community Ownership Awards.

Now staff will head to London next month after being nominated in the Scottish regional award sections of the competition.

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.

The first of Skye and Lochalsh Running club's Winter Series of events was staged with the Skeabost 5km.

Seventeen runners took part. The next event will be the Skinadin Forest - 3 or 6 mile routes, at Broadford.

Full results of the Skeabost race are as follows:

Plans to retain but move Isle Ornsay’s post office to the area’s new community hub, An Crùbh, have been given the official stamp of approval

The Post Office’s Regional Network Manager, Suzanne Richardson, has confirmed that public consultation has begun and now local people will also have a chance to have their say.

In a letter to Sleat Community Council Chairperson, Mr Roddy Murray, she said: “I’m writing to let you know that we are proposing, with the Postmaster’s agreement, to move the above Post Office branch to a newly built premises at An Crùbh, Duisdale Beag, Isle Ornsay, Isle of Skye, IV43 8QU.

"I’m pleased to tell you that if the move goes ahead, subject to consultation, the new premises will be built to incorporate a convenience store and Isle Ornsay Post Office, where it will change to one of our new local style branches."

As the clocks go back this weekend, Police in the Highlands are reminding householders to remain vigilant and consider their home security arrangements.

Darker nights make it easier for thieves to target your property so follow our advice to keep your home safe during the darker winter months.

Area Commander Chief Inspector Ian Graham advises: "We are lucky to live in a community with relatively low crime levels, however it's important we don’t become complacent. In most cases thieves will be trying doors in the hope they find one unlocked, so please don't give them a head start.”

Shirley Spear

 

A host of industry leaders and major names in tourism and adventure greeted delegates from across Scotland, as they assembled for the CalMac Travel and Tourism Conference 2016 in Glasgow.

Now in its third year, the conference specifically helps to unite tourism-related businesses from across CalMac’s 200-mile Clyde and Hebrides network – many of which are remote – with influential industry organisations and leaders, allowing them valuable time to network directly.

Opening the packed programme which explored a theme of Navigating Changing Waters, well-known journalist, broadcaster and author Muriel Gray described herself as ‘probably the biggest CalMac fan in the world’.

She was joined in the day’s line-up by adventurer and broadcaster Mark Beaumont, co-owner of Skye’s internationally-acclaimed The Three Chimney and food campaigner Shirley Spear and CalMac master Captain Lachie Wotherspoon, amongst many others.

The tide may just have turned for Glendale's ambitious plans to make the most of a local community assest.

Little over a week after being told that the area had lost out in its hopes of obtaining funding to repair and extend the slipway at Meanish Pier along with installing a pontoon, locals have now been told that they have got planning permission to go ahead with the project.

However, before that can happen they will still have to source cash support.


More road improvement works will mean delays once again for drivers across Skye.

On Monday 31 October to Tuesday 1 November, from 7pm- 7am on both nights the A87 Portree will see work along a section of the road heading north from Portree School Junction along Dunvegan Road. The road will remain open, however a 10mph convoy system will be in place on both nights to ensure the safety of roadworkers and motorists. This will be lifted outside of working hours allowing traffic to run as normal.

Then two nights of resurfacing will take place on the A87 south of Sconser to improve the road surface  will take place from Wednesday 2 November and Thursday 3 November.

Skye Mountain Rescue Team have been given a demonstration of what a six-wheel Polaris ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) can do.

Jan's has become the local agent for Polaris, the company that produces ATV's and quad-bikes, and will cover the Isle of Skye, the Outer Hebrides and the west coast of the Highlands.

Richard Coleby, a salesperson from Polaris, was present along with the vehicle to explain how it could benefit the Mountain Rescue Team and answer any questions.

Jacobite Queen

Loch Ness based Jacobite Cruises have been fined a total of £8,000, against the owners and a ship’s master after a serious accident which cost a crew member her leg.

The company admitted charges brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 after Aurelia Thabert lost her leg in the incident in June 2012.

The master Andrew Paul Lach (47) pleaded guilty to a charge brought under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.
On 20th June 2012, the Loch Ness cruise ship Jacobite Queen was returning to her berth at Tomnahurich Bridge, Inverness when the incident happened in Dochgarroch Locks.

Aurelia Thabert, then aged 25, was working as a crew member onboard the Jacobite Queen. She was attempting to release a rope from the side of the lock when her right foot became entangled in a bight of the rope.

Highland Council is to seek the views of local communities on a proposal to relocate Dunvegan Primary School to Lonmore, on the outskirts of the village.

Members of the Council’s Education, Children and Adult Services Committee have agreed to undertake a public consultation on the proposal.

A major Coastguard exercise centred on Mallaig is scheduled to take place this week-end

Co-ordinatoring officers have said that a large number of Coastguard vehicles, team members and at least two visits by the helicopter are expected as they test their capabilities to react to any serious incidents off Skye.

 

Police in Portree have expressed concerned about men who were reported attempting to sell tools from the back of a van. Officers are endeavouring to track them down with enquiries ongoing. Any info call 101

Donald (second left back row) pictured with the other winners

 

Local shinty coach Donald Martin's commitment to the sport on the island has been recognised with a top award.

The man who has been involved with Skye Camnachd for over four decades has been honoured with a Lifetime Coaching Achievement Award.

The 2016 Highland Coaching Awards were held at Inverness Leisure and are run by High Life Highland in partnership with sportscotland to recognise the outstanding contribution and significant impact of local coaches. These coaches enable quality sport and physical activity opportunities to happen in communities across the Highlands.

 A Skye based scheme is amongst 56 projects in Scotland receiving a share of £4.1 million funding to help boost the fishing sector and make it more sustainable.

The funding, which is part of the second round of the European and Maritime Fisheries Fund, is intended to contribute to the sustainable management of fisheries and marine ecosystems.

Although the Skye project, involving Corgill Fishing and centred around a trawl monitoring scheme, is only put at just over £19,000, the Scottish Government are keen to point out that it is benefitting from continued EU membership for Scotland’s fishing and coastal communities

Some £3.07m of the funding is coming from the EU and £1.03m from the Scottish Government.

Coffee and a chat could lead to more cancer support on Skye.

Skye Cancer Care centre a keen to open a Portree drop in centre where people affected by life changing illnesses can call in for a cuppa, get support and advice or just have a friendly chat.

Now to gauge public support, a Coffee morning has been organised at Portree Parish Church Hall on Saturday 12 November, 10am-noon, to try and engage with as many local people as possible.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart still fears for the future of Highlands and Islands Enterprise with the Government's announcement that a new national board to co-ordinate the activities of Scotland’s enterprise agencies is to be set up.

“Despite assurances from Nicola Sturgeon that HIE’s services will be protected, this announcement seems very rushed and there is no fine detail about protecting jobs that are based here,” he said.

“I know that staff at HIE have undergone numerous changes over the past two decades and this will give those remaining more uncertainty about their futures.

A specialist cardiac nurse has taken part in a NHS Highland-produced YouTube video to help people on Skye beat heart disease.

Charlie Bloe, charge nurse at the coronary care unit at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, is urging them to attend one of the two session drop-in events on Wednesday 2nd November to find out how emergencies such as heart attacks are managed across Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.

In the video, Charlie said that the key to successful outcome for patients with a heart attack is early recognition and prompt specialist intervention.

Just days afer announcing the disappointment of missing out on funds for an exciting local project, Glendale Trust has again got something to smile about

For Glendale's IT project coordinator, Catriona Canning, has received funds from The Allen Lane Foundation to see the continuation of the popular IT project.

Planning permission is being sought to carry out repair works to Raasay's Free Church at Clachan.

If the go-ahead is given for work on the listed building, improvements will be carried out to the roof, bell tower, skews and harling.

Sleat Community Trust have stepped up a gear to improve transportation links in the area.

For they have set up a new book a taxi initiative allowing locals to take a ride...for only half price.

How does it work?

The Crofting Commission Convener crisis has moved into the realm of absurdity, says Patrick Krause, chief executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation.

Mr Krause says: "In his latest statements to the media, Colin Kennedy, the Convener of the Crofting Commission, has said that he has no intention to stand down, despite widespread calls for his resignation.

"He refutes any wrongdoing and claims to have operated within the law, notwithstanding the fact that lawyers and the Cabinet Secretary for crofting, Fergus Ewing, who is himself from a legal background, have said he is wrong.

The details of two funeral services are available in our Funeral Services page. This is a free service on offer to the bereaved in order that people may be more quickly informed.

http://www.theskyetimes.co.uk/index.php/funeral-notices

Oifigear Leasachaidh airson nan Eilean Siar agus an Eilean Sgitheanaich
Tuarastal £26,462 - £30,098 (Ìre C3) gach bliadhna + peinnsean
Cùmhnant ùine-shuidhichte 12 mìosan, 37 uairean san t-seachdain


Tha cothrom air leth air èirigh airson neach adhartach a thighinn a dh’obair le Sgioba Leasachaidh MG ALBA.

’S e obair ùr a tha seo, air a mhaoineachadh ann an co-bhoinn ri Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd is nan Eilean (HIE). Bidh an neach soirbheachail ag obair le MG ALBA agus na companaidhean neo-eisimeileach sna h-Eileanan an Iar agus san Eilean Sgitheanach, gus beachdan agus cothroman co-obrachaidh a rannsachadh agus a leasachadh gus cur ri eadar-nàiseanachadh riochdairean phrògraman Gàidhlig.  Tha sùbailteachd ann a thaobh suidheachadh na h-obrach agus faodaidh an obair a bhith stèidhichte ann an Steòrnabhagh, an t-Eilean Sgitheanach no Uibhist. 

A thuilleadh air eòlas dearbhte sna meadhanan Gàidhlig, bu chòir sgilean làidir coimeirsealta a bhith aig an neach agus an comas dàimhean-obrach làidir àrach taobh a-staigh na roinne agus am measg luchd-ùidhe.  Bhiodh eòlas air margaidh nam meadhanan gu h-eadar-nàiseanta na bhuannachd.  

Tha comas a bhith ag obrachadh gu sùbailte agus a bhith a’ siubhal tric deatamach.  Tha comas agus miann a bhith a’ bruidhinn na Gàidhlig deatamach san obair agus ’s i a’ Ghàidhlig cànan-obrach na h-oifis.

Ma tha ùidh agaibh san obair seo, gheibh sibh dealbh-obrach agus fios mun phròiseas iarrtais air làrach-lìn na buidhne aig www.mgalba.com.
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Faodar ceistean neo-fhoirmeil a chuir gu Claire NicLeòid, Comhairliche HR, air 01851 707219 no aig This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bu chòir tagraidhean foirmeil a bhith a-staigh ro 5f, Dihaoine 11 Samhain 2016.

An exciting and challenging opportunity has arisen for an ambitious individual to join the MG ALBA Development Team.  This is a new fixed-term post, jointly funded by HIE, and the successful candidate will work with MG ALBA and independent companies in Western Isles and Skye to research and develop ideas and collaborative opportunities to deliver internationalisation of content producers. Flexibility is offered in terms of location, and the post holder may be based in Stornoway, Skye, or Uist.

 

A reform of enterprise and skills agencies and how they operate has been announced by the Scottish Government .

A new report from the first phase of the review of enterprise and skills services has outlined a raft of reforms which will include:

Creating a new Scotland-wide statutory board to co-ordinate the activities of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, including Scottish Development International, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council.

Protecting services in the Highlands and Islands and creating a new service for the south of Scotland

Scotland’s first ever Gaelic Gospel choir was formed to take on the challenge of entering the BBC Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year competition.

A new BBC ALBA programme follows the choir’s formation, starting with the selection process narrowing down the 128 applicants from all over Scotland, to the first rehearsal in Inverness. The choir must record two songs as their entry into the BBC competition, with only one month to complete all their training and rehearsals.

Skye Bike Shack owner Mark Crowe is set to be wheelie busy over the coming few days.

For the local man is gearing up for a series of events on the island after joining the Big Bike Revival, a national campaign aimed at encouraging more folk to take to two wheels.

 

New Muck Primary School Teacher, Laura Marriner (holding son Atticus) with husband Dean and son Charlie.

 

Muck Primary School's new teacher has been named as mother of two Laura Marriner.

Chair of The Highland Council’s Education, Children and Adult Services Committee Councillor Drew Millar congratulates Mrs Marriner on her appointment he said: “I am delighted to welcome Laura to Muck and the Highlands of Scotland, I am sure that she will enjoy her time teaching here and she will receive all the support required from Head Teacher, Andrew Murray.”

Glendale has missed out on vital funding to complete an ambitious waterside scheme.

The Glendale Trust has been told it was unsuccessful at being accepted onto the second stage of the Coastal Communities Funding (CCF) programme.

Local Development Officer, Elizabeth MacLeod said: "We were applying to this fund to repair and extend the slipway at Meanish Pier along with installing a pontoon.

"I have spoken with a CCF funding officer and the reasons are that it was extremely oversubscribed. They had over 80 applications and of these 63 projects were deemed as fundable. Our application was deemed as fundable and he highlighted that it was also seen as a worthwhile project. Unfortunately they could only take 20 of these applications forward to stage two and 10 or less of these are likely to receive funding.

Minginish Community Hall will be the setting on Saturday 29th October at 2.0pm for an Extraordinary General Meeting.

The gathering is to propose financial changes in support of Fairy Pools car park Project. All welcome, there will be teas & coffees.

(Cameron Highlanders from Elgol.)

Would you like to find out more about ancestors who fought in the First World War?

The Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre is running a two-week block of classes as part of a You Time programme this autumn.  

The first week's session will be led by Graham Ross, author of the Roll of Honour for Skye and Lochalsh.  Graham will introduce his work on local war memorials and his sources for researching World War One casualties.  This will take place on Wednesday 9 November at 10am-12pm at the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre.

Skye and Lochalsh Running Club are coming under starter's orders for their annual winter race series events.

At least seven events, scattered across Skye and over a range of distances, are planned to make up the programme of races.

The first is Saturday 29th October at Skeabost Hall, for what is described as "a friendly 5k out along the Tote road and back"

Time is running out for any comments about how Skye's planning process will work in the future.

Noon on Friday 28 October is the final dates to have a say as the Highland Council continues preparing a new Local Development Plan for the West Highland and Islands area, to be known as WestPlan. WestPlan will be used to assess planning applications for future development, so it will affect how places grow and change over time.

From April 1st until June 10th 2016, the Council carried out a consultation on the first stage of WestPlan, known as the Main Issues Report. During the consultation some people suggested new sites that had not previously been considered for inclusion.

Skye MSP Kate Forbes has made it clear she wants families to still be able to get together and enjoy Bonfire Night fireworks.

Rebuffing a parliamentary motion to restrict the use of fireworks, primarily to large organised events she said: “Remember, remember the family on the fifth of November”

The motion tabled at the Scottish Parliament seeks to ban small fireworks displays in favour merely of community events, but the

SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch has instead that Bonfire Night should be celebrated for bringing families and friends together.

Communities across Skye and Raasay have until Friday 18 November to get their entries in for the 2016 Eilean a’ Cheò Civic Awards.

This is the sixth year of the Awards which are organised by the Ward 11 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:
•Sports
•Arts/Music
•Environment
•Community
•Enterprise
•Young People

All nominees must be resident on the Isle of Skye or Raasay and be able to demonstrate their actions or activities have resulted in a significant benefit and deserve recognition.

 

Budhmor

 

Six Portree teenage pals are out to prove that when it comes to art age really doesn’t mind.

For the youngsters, Molly Wood, Charlotte Webb , Conor Munro, Jacqualine Nicolson, Conan Macleod and Abbey Clark have come together to spearhead a new project aimed at bringing some extra colour into the lives of elderly residents at the local Budhmor care home.

Already, with the support of local youth development officer, Annie Davidson, they have secured the funding they need to get the project off the ground and are currently looking to employ a community arts worker to help guide the multi-generational mural creation project. It is expected to take around 12-14 weeks to complete the project but with funding time limited the first suitable arts worker candidate will be selected to make the earliest possible start.

Broadford's Cafe Sia missed out on a top award at this year's Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards

Although shortlisted as a finalist in the New Business Award category the island eatery didn't manage to take the number one spot.

Blacksmith (UK) Ltd is recalling a batch of Sena Farali Lot Flour because it contains gluten which is not mentioned on the label. This means the product is a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to cereals containing gluten.

For full details follow the link here

Police in Portree are appealing for help to find a missing Jack Russell.

The dog was last seen around the Portree Industrial estate area. Any sightings please call 101 and re-unite the pet with its owner.

Staffin slipway

STAFFIN Community Trust (SCT) has welcomed fresh proposals for an organic fish processing development which could create significant employment opportunities and much-needed infrastructure investment.

The improvement and redevelopment of the Staffin Slipway has been a priority of the local community for some time.

Basic amenities such as water, fuel and electricity cannot currently be accessed. There are no boat storage facilities, while increased shelter for vessels, and the ability to berth at all times of the day were frequently highlighted by local people and fishermen in public consultations run by the SCT. Potential marine tourism opportunities through the potential installation of pontoons were also identified.

High Life Highland Youth Service is seeking an arts worker with experience of facilitating community projects.  Their role will be to lead a short-term intergenerational mural project in Portree.

 

Drivers are advised that one lane of the A82 is now open south of Drumnadrochit following a collision involving a motorcycle.

Delays may be encountered until the road is clear - drivers are thanked by Police for their patience.

 

The Highland Council is anticipating it may have to make savings of £47 million to £72 million over the next 3 years, with a budget gap of some £26 million next year (2017-18)

The financial environment is very challenging, with an unprecedented degree of uncertainty which makes planning very difficult.

There will be a very short timescale to react and provide options for budget savings once the Scottish Government settlement is made known on 15 December. It is expected that the budget will be for only one year.

(L-R) – John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, Councillor Norman MacDonald, Chair of the Local Organising Committee in the Western Isles and Convenor of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), Helen Carmichael, Provost of Inverness, John Macleod, President of An Comunn Gàidhealach

 

As the Royal National Mòd reaches its final day of competitions in the Western Isles, it has been announced that Inverness will host the Mòd in 2020. Scotland’s biggest Gaelic cultural festival will return to the capital of the Highlands for the first time since 2014.

The news comes the morning after Claire Macauley (Claire Nicamhlaigh), and Torquil MacLeod were announced as winners of the Traditional Gold Medal competitions.

In the final day of competitions this year, the area choirs will compete in the highly anticipated Lovat and Tullibardine Trophy and Margrat Duncan Memorial Trophy at the Lewis Sports Centre. Stornoway Town Hall will hold the ladies area choir competition and the Nicolson Institute will host the men’s competition.

Mallaig Coastguard Rescue Team assisted Mallaig RNLI lifeboat during a joint operation to assist a vessel in distress.

The call out occurred afer the fishing vessel, Independence, suffered engine problems five miles out from Mallaig. She was eventually brought to safely berth.


Crofters on Skye are being urged to play their part in shaping the future.

A Crofting Roadshow is set to come to the Skeabost Hotel on November 24 and locals are being urged to attend and secure the future of crofting by taking part in the upcoming Crofting Commission elections.  There will be a chance to find out more about the elections, the role of the Commission and Commissioners and the importance of making your voice heard.

The Crofting Commission along with Registers of Scotland, Scottish Crofting Federation, SAC Consulting and NFUS are hosting a series of Crofting Roadshows over the next 2 months to provide crofters with an opportunity to find out more about the elections and a one-stop shop to discuss crofting issues.

Rare find

An unusual sighting on a beach in Loch Eishort on Skye has caused a ripple of excitement among marine biologists in the area.

Amphioxus – otherwise known as a lancelet – has a nerve chord down its back and is believed to be one of the first animals to have evolved something resembling a backbone. Two of these strange creatures were discovered near Ord, Loch Eishort in Scotland by Eileen Armstrong and biologist James Merryweather, both from the South Skye Seas Initiative.

The lancelets were spotted at low-tide flipping about on the exposed maerl gravel. One stood on end and burrowed into the maerl, but the other remained still long enough to be photographed before being safely returned to the sea.

MV Loch Seaforth glides across the walls of Dunvegan Castle

 

A ship sailing along the walls of Dunvegan Castle may sound like a mariner's worse nightmare but it's happened...well sort of!

In an innovative film exploring its enduring role at the heart of Scotland’s west coast, CalMac has launched its Your West Coast campaign in collaboration with well-known band Skipinnish.

In the film, massive scale projections of campers roasting marshmallows light up the side of Duart Castle on Mull and the full height of Ardnamurchan Lighthouse suddenly transforms in to a highlander dancing a fling while Mingary Castle flickers with images of surfers running towards the waves.

Barrels are pounded in to shape on the elevation of Castle Stalker, a CalMac ferry dances with the tides in Oban Harbour and grainy footage of a woman casting a line shimmers on a rocky outcrop at Burg on Mull, while the company’s MV Loch Seaforth glides across the world-famous walls of Dunvegan Castle.

 

POLICE in the Highlands say their focus on commercial vehicles will continue following a week long campaign - including checks at the Skye Bridge - which resulted in the detection of over 70 offences and the detention of a male wanted for bogus workman offences.

Between the 10th and 14th October 2016, road policing officers and partners in the Highlands took part in the national Truck and Bus campaign which is carried out simultaneously throughout the UK on prominent arterial routes and focuses on casualty reduction and denying criminals the use of the road.

During the week long campaign mobile and static checks were carried out by road policing officers on the A87 at the Skye Bridge, the A82/A830 at Fort William, and the A9 at Brora and Dalwhinnie.  A multi-agency day of action was also carried out in Inverness with partners that included the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Trading Standards and HMRC road fuel section.

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has expressed its support for the rapid appointment of an interim CEO to the Crofting Commission.

“We were very concerned when Catriona MacLean left the Commission for another post in the Scottish Government,” said Fiona Mandeville, Chair of the SCF, “as, with all the recent turmoil still unresolved, a delay in re-appointment could leave the organisation in a very vulnerable state. I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing, expressing this fear. It is very heartening then to see swift action and an interim appointment.”

Ms Mandeville continued, “We wish Bill Barron well in the job and all strength to his arm in tackling the changes that will be necessary to help the Crofting Commission back to its feet. I look forward to meeting with him to give him these good wishes in person and to learn from him what his strategy will be to address evident issues concerning the Commission.”

 

The Three Chimneys restaurant has won yet more praise.

The Skye eatery has been named amongst the top ten fine dining restaurants in the UK through TripAdvisor's 2016 Travellers' Choice Awards.

 

As work on the Inverness West Link route continues, road users are being advised of temporary traffic restrictions on the A82 at Tomnahurich Bridge in Inverness next week which are likely to cause delays for road users using this route into and out of the city.

The remaining traffic disruption works on the A82 associated with the West Link project start on Monday 24 October and require for an overnight closure of the road over Tomnahurich Bridge from 7pm until 7am. A sign-posted diversion will be in place during this period via Muirton Canal Bridge.

On both Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th October lane narrowing restrictions will be in place during the day on the same stretch of road so drivers should expect delays and allow extra time for their journeys.

The Crofting Commission  has announced the appointment of Bill Barron as its Interim Chief Executive.

Bill Barron will be joining the Commission on an interim basis from the 24 October 2016 and will lead the organisation until a permanent appointment is made.  Bill takes on the role following the departure of its previous Chief Executive, Catriona Maclean, to take up a promotion within Scottish Government.  

Food Standards Scotland say urgent action is needed to improve food and drink eaten outside the home for both adults and children in Scotland.

FSS is calling on caterers and other out of home providers to recognise the impact of their sector on Scotland’s diet. A new report published supports the call by showing that eating out in Scotland has increased and is still skewed towards less healthy options.

In particular, the report indicates that less healthy food and drink such as beef burgers, chips, fried chicken, ice cream and sugary drinks were more likely to be consumed by children in Scotland, compared to what is consumed by adults in Scotland and children in the rest of Great Britain.

This report confirms that the out of home sector has to be part of the solution to tackling obesity and FSS is seeking co-operation from this sector to introduce a number of measures to help combat high fat, salt and sugar in food and drink, including changing recipes (reformulation), reducing portion sizes, providing more consumer information (such as calorie labelling), improving children’s options, and reconsidering marketing and advertising approaches.

Today is the day to have your say - and help shape - local GP healthcare.

Workshop sessions surrounding experiences at local GP surgeries and to talk about the shape of future GP digital services are taking place at Aros in Portree on  between 12pm – 6pm but you can also drop in to the evening session between 6pm – 8pm.

Cllr Hamish Fraser meets the young leaders.  Image courtesy of the Highland Council.

Eight young Gaelic medium leaders from across the Highlands were put through their paces by tutor, Active Schools Co-Ordinator, Danny Steele.  

The High Life Highland Leadership Programme currently has around 1400 young people across the Highlands aged between 12-25 years registered.  

Due to the sparse and scattered communities the Gaelic medium leadership programmes are delivered on a residential basis at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig College on The Isle of Skye, using translated material provided by Sports Leader UK.

The Gaelic Books Council, an association with Book Trust of Scotland, is seeking two writers to participate in the New Writers Awards scheme 2017.

The 2017 Awards are open to Gaelic writers of many genres on the condition that they are based in Scotland and have not previously had a book published.  

Clare Gray has won the competition to inspire the brand new Glendale Check.  Her photograph received over 41 votes on Facebook, as well as votes via email.  

Minginish Community Hall Association will be holding an Extraordinary General Meeting at 2pm on Saturday October 29 at Minginish Hall.

The children’s competitions are well underway at this year’s Royal National Mòd in the Western Isles. Islay Junior Gaelic Choir, led by choir master Arlene MacKerrell, won three trophies in choral singing competitions. The choir, all under 19, walked away with The Queen Elizabeth (1937) Coronation Trophy, The Martin Wilson North Berwick Trophy and The Tom Crawford Trophy.

NHS Highland is currently advertising for people to join the Rural Support Team.

The Rural Support Team is a new multi-disciplinary model, providing primary care services in and out of hours using  team of professionals from different backgrounds.

Led by GPs, the team also includes Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Advanced Paramedic Practitioners. These practitioners work autonomously to provide scheduled and unscheduled care across North Skye, Ardnamurchan and Wester Ross, often working alone in remote and rural locations of the Highlands.

Pelican Design is flying the nest – or, rather, leaving the converted garage which previously housed the website and graphic design company.  

Co-owners, Luke Slater and Heckie Cormack, made the decision to relocate their company to Office 3 at Jans in Broom Place, Portree.  Says Luke: “It's a great base, with excellent parking, and has improved our visibility.  It feels more professional.  Plus, the ability to go downstairs to the Red Brick Cafe and pick up some Munchies and an Irn Bru is great!”

October 14 was the last day of sailing this season for the original Glenelg to Skye ferry.

An Extraordinary General Meeting was held by the Glendale Trust yesterday (October 14).  

The meeting focussed on various projects, including the redevelopment of Meanish Pier and an affordable housing project.

MV Hebrides is set to resume service on Monday October 17, depending on the result of sea trials on Saturday.  The ferry normally services the Uig, Tarbert and Lochmaddy route.  However, after the vessel was involved in an incident at Lochmaddy in September, she has been in dry dock at Greenock for repairs.  

Monday will also see MVs Clansman and Lord of the Isles resume their normal service route.  

Tomorrow (Saturday October 15) is your last chance to visit Dunvegan Castle and Gardens this year!  

After a busy season welcoming over 140,000 visitors, the Castle will be closing its doors to the public.  

What shall we call it?

Skye's Camuscross & Duisdale Initiative want locals to help name what is set to be the new heart of the community.

Next Easter the organisation expect to see their new hub complex, made up of a shop, café, post office, hall and office and employing around six people open and ready for business.

Now in advance the Iniitiative is seeking a new name for the new facility.

In their latest newsletter they say: "We know what it’s going to be - a hub for community life - but now that building is about to begin it’s time to leave the generic description behind and choose the name.

Gaelic speakers all over Scotland are encouraged to apply for an exciting new role that will involve developing the Gaelic Wikipedia, Uicipeid.

The quest to develop Uicipeid is part of a collaborative project involving the National Library of Scotland (NLS), Gaelic organization Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Wikimedia UK.  

BT has informed The Highland Council that they have removed three phone boxes from proposed closure.  Public phone boxes at Glenbrittle, Tighean-Na-Glibe (Staffin) and Glencoe are no longer in scope for closure as BT has concluded that there is no mobile coverage in the area.

Members of the public are reminded that Highland Council is encouraging members of the public to look at BT’s proposals and comment, giving as much information as possible.

Police on Skye can confirm that a 51 year-old woman, who was reported missing from the Staffin area, has been traced safe and well locally.

Earlier today, the Highlands and Islands Police Division asked people to look out for the missing woman, who disappeared from the Clachan area of Staffin.  Christine (also known as Teeny) was last seen in the area around 11am yesterday (Tuesday 11 October 2016).

The final phase of the £1.25m improvements to the A87 on Skye gets underway next week bringing with it inevitable delays for drivers.

This time a 1.6 km section north of Kingsburgh will be affected bringing overnight works from  Monday 17 October to Friday 28 October between 7pm to 7am.

Again due to nature of the resurfacing improvements, overnight road closures will be in place for safety. Local access and other traffic will be able to pass through the works by hourly amnesties.

Missing Person Christine MacLean - Staffin, Isle of Skye

Police on the Isle of Skye are anxious to trace Christine MacLean, who is missing from the Clachan area of Staffin, in the north of the Island.

Christine (who is also known as Teeny) who is 51, was last seen in the area around 11am yesterday (Tuesday 11 October 2016).

Christine is described as 5'7'' tall, green eyes, is very thin and suffers from alopecia. She may be wearing a green woolly hat with a peak, thick grey woolly jumper, blue or black jeans and fawn coloured shoes.

Filled with exuberance and excitement, Skye-born Danny MacAskill's latest film celebrates the beauty of rural areas near Edinburgh and the joy of riding in the countryside.

The film, entitled Wee Day Out, show Danny transforming a hay bale into a unicycle, leaping onto and riding over a cottage, somersaulting through the woods, patting a Highland cow and cycling through a deep puddle.  Wee Day Out also features a cameo from Danny's father, Peter.

The owners of Skye Weavers have revealed from their recent competition to design a new tweed.

Seven photographs celebrating the colour and beauty of Glendale have been selected and one of those photographs will form the inspiration for a brand new tweed: the Glendale Check.  

(Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s 2016 Graduates, teaching staff and honorary guests.)

A total of 53 students graduated last Friday (7 October) from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig which brings the overall number of students to have graduated from the College since graduations began in 1985 to 985.  

The Gaelic college was established in 1973 and is the only college of its kind offering further and higher education opportunities through the medium of Scottish Gaelic.  

The strength and depth of education at the College was to the fore once again, with one graduate receiving the award for the best UHI dissertation on a subject related to the Highlands and Islands and two post-graduate students being awarded PhDs. The ceremony also included an award for two leading figures from the world of Gaelic literature who received the Sàr Ghàidheal honour in recognition of their tremendous contribution to the language and its culture.

A former teacher at Portree High School has recently completed the formidable Camino de Fisterra walk, also known as the walk to the "End of the World!"  The walk, located in Spain, requires an approximate total of 204,894 steps to complete.

Ms Dunan aims to raise money to provide care for underprivileged children in the Narcissa Centre in Slatina, Romania.  She explained: "During last winter's visit, I was concerned to see some of the children arrive in summer sandals and bare feet in bitterly cold conditions.  Thanks to friends and family, I was able to buy them all warm socks and winter boots and ensure that the children did not go hungry.  I would very much appreciate your assistance in continuing to provide for the underprivileged children of Slatina this winter."

A small part of Sleat's historic past has been preserved albeit with a slight change of location.

Isle Ornsay Post Office has been in existence for over 100 years and, incredibly, has been in Duncan R MacDonald’s family for all of that time. At one stage it was the main post office for the south of Skye, with all letters coming to Isle Ornsay for distrubtion to other areas.

According to the Camuscross and Duisdale Initiative that has meant it has always played a very important role in the life of this and the wider community.

However, when the present post mistress, Flora Ann MacDonald decided she wanted to retire, there were concerns the historic coonection could be lost until she asked the Initiative if it would be a good idea to relocate the post office to the planned new community hub due to be opened next year.

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has called on the Cabinet Secretary for crofting, Fergus Ewing, to halt the waste of public money and to oust the Crofting Commission Convener, Colin Kennedy, following his stated intention to stay.

“This dreadful humiliation of crofting regulation and complete waste of public money has got to stop”, said Fiona Mandeville, Chair of the SCF. “In his latest statements to the media, Mr Kennedy has said that he intends to stay in place as Convener of the Crofting Commission. He still refutes any wrong doing and claims to have operated within the law, despite the fact that lawyers and the Cabinet Secretary for crofting, who is himself from a legal background, have said he is wrong. That is some arrogance.

Cuillin FM’s new presenter Alec Mcleod hits the airwaves this week but it’s the movies that will be on his mind.
For his new Wednesday evening show “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” mixes classic interviews and tracks with nonsensical movie chat.

This week Alec speaks to Dr. Graeme Baxter of Robert Gordon University about Skye's airports, then and now and Martin Lumb - a Uig local and former airline pilot.

Cathy MacDonald, BBC Alba presenter

BBC ALBA will broadcast daily programmes from this year’s Royal National Mòd in Stornoway including three live programmes covering the most coveted events from throughout the festival.

The Mòd, organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, is the Gaelic community’s most prestigious festival celebrating cultural heritage, Gaelic language, music and arts.

Cathy MacDonald will present BBC ALBA’s week-long coverage which is being produced by BBC Gàidhlig, with programmes being broadcast each night from Monday 17th to Friday 21st October. 

This year, for the first time ever, there will be live coverage from the final day of the festival when the Choral competition takes place as choirs battle it out to win the Lovat and Tullibardine Shield. This will complement the two live programmes covering the premier solo singing competitions, the An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal on Wednesday and the Traditional Gold Medal final taking place on Thursday.

BBC ALBA’s full Mòd coverage includes:

Joint Warrior - the bi-annual military exercise - will bring 5,700 military personnel from armed forces across the world to the seas around Skye over the coming days.

Countries taking part include Norway, Sweden, Germany and the USA as well as those from the UK.

Some thirty-one warships and submarines as well almost 70 aircraft, many of them being flown out of RAF Lossiemouth in Moray and Prestwick in Ayrshire, are being used in the training off the Scottish coast.

Playtime could be about to get bigger and better at MacDiarmid Primary School.

For a planning application has been lodged with Highland Council which, if given the go ahead, will see an extension to the existing playground by using adjoining land currently used for agricultural.

Full details can be found here

Just what will the £500,000 plus Heritage Lottery Fund award mean to Staffin and the Trotternish generally?

According to the Staffin Community Trust, who have received the funding, it will enable the construction of a viewing platform at Lealt Gorge, new footpaths and interpretation, a central Staffin “orientation point”, a full events programme and the creation of a project manager’s job on a three-year contract.

An economic impact study estimated that the Staffin economy would be boosted by an additional visitor spend of £165,000 through the project’s next phase. This is particularly welcomed in Staffin which has suffered a recent 5 per cent population decline and lacks permanent employment opportunities.

Scottish Land & Estates has said targeted rates reliefs for businesses and communities would further encourage economic growth in rural communities.

The organisation has today responded to the Barclay Review of Business Rates, a consultation initiated by the Scottish Government.

In its response, Scottish Land & Estates has said more could be achieved with:-

• A competitive rates regime, comparable with the rest of the United Kingdom
• Regular revaluations at five yearly intervals with no slippage in timescale
• The ability to address material changes in circumstance within the five years period
• Adequate resourcing of Assessors and suitably qualified staff
• Targeted reliefs 
• Consistency in application and efficiency in process

Police in Portree are warning locals to be wary of door to door callers trying to sell electrial items

The call follows the seizure of several items which were discovered not to meet current safety standards.

Portree's Pelican Design man, Heckie Cormack, has appealed on social media for local help ..to find his missing moggy.

The black and white cat which has a grey coller, disappeared three days ago in the village. Have you seen it?

An allergy alert has been issued via the Food Standards Agency.

Island Delight is recalling its Vegetable Short Crust Pattie as due to a manufacturing error, some packets may contain its Salt Fish Short Crust Pattie and will have incorrect allergen information on the packaging. For full information follow the link here

Community and independently owned shops selling groceries in remote and rural parts of the Highlands and Islands are being asked to take part in a survey into the role they play in sustaining communities.

The survey will help understand the factors affecting rural shops, and the strategies that could be adopted to remain sustainable and adapt to changing market conditions.

It is part of research, commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), on rural retail across the region. The focus of the research is on community and independently owned shops where grocery is a core provision.

Highland Archaeology Festival 2016 is now under way and with it the chance to celebrate the heritage of the Highlands.

Provided by the Highland Council and running through until October 16, a whole range of events and activities have been organised.

Gateway to the outdoor musuem

Staffin’s innovative ecomuseum – the first of its kind in Scotland - has been awarded a massive half a million pound grant.

The £522,100 award from Lottery funding will now be used to further develop the unique outdoor museum which uses the landscape and its industrial past as outdoor showcases.

The funding is awarded to Staffin Community Trust (SCT) who want to enhance the Skye Ecomuseum, which opened almost a decade ago. At the time paths were opened up at 14 different sites across the Staffin district including Lealt, Brothers Point, Garafad, Brogaig, Digg and Flodigarry and attractive interpretation was installed illustrating each area’s attributes including heritage, crofting, wildlife, geology, archaeology etc.

It became the first ecomuseum in Scotland and the UK, with funding from a variety of European and national sources, including the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Also known as Ceumannan, the Gaelic word for footsteps, the project is estimated to have helped attract thousands of extra visitors annually to Staffin and encouraged them to stay longer, which boosts the local economy. 

Lealt - one of the outdoor settings

Fund raising occasions may be about to get a little more complicated with changes to the licencing laws for public events due to be introduced next month.

Highland Council is advising voluntary organisations and personal licence holders who obtain occasional licences for the sale of alcohol under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 for events they are organising may shortly also require to obtain a public entertainment licence under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 for the same event.

Premises with a premises licence or an occasional licence for the sale of alcohol under the 2005 Act have both up till now been exempt from the requirement also to hold a public entertainment licence ( PEL) under the 1982 Act.  However, for premises with only occasional licences,  that exemption will be removed as a result of an amendment to the 1982 Act which comes into effect from 1 November 2016.

A potentially exploring soft drink has forced Irn Bru manufacturers, AG Barr to issue a recall.

According to the Food Standards Agency, four batches of Rubicon Sparkling Mango soft drink should be returned to their places of purchase on a precautionary basis because yeast fermentation has occurred in some bottles.

According to the Agency this may cause the bottle to burst and the presence of yeast has resulted in spoilage of the products, making them unsuitable for human consumption.

For full details follow the link here

 

Walks around Skye are among a a series of exciting events planned by the Highland Countryside Rangers over the coming months.

According to Eilidh–Ann Phillips, Senior Ranger for South Highlands. “There is something here for everyone”

The Highland Council Ranger Service have been extremely busy this year with over 8000 primary school pupils benefitting from a Ranger visit since January this year, being involved in 373 Ranger school projects. From Durness to Ballachulish, and from Ardesier to Dunvegan , the wildlife projects this year have included everything from exploring the seashore to woodland, from birds to minibeasts, from environmental art to creating wildlife gardens and bush craft activities.

Police Scotland are reminding the public, particularly those who are employed in shops or who regularly handle cash, to be aware of counterfeit banknotes.

Two further cases have been reported in the Highlands this week in the Inverness city area.

Detective Constable Gregg MacDonald advises:  "Recently Police have received a number of reports of counterfeit banknotes being used in the Inverness and Nairn areas in recent weeks. These include First Trust Bank £50 notes which bear the serial number AA294395. These are being tendered for low cost items in shops in the Highlands and later being found to be counterfeit currency."

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) have expressed bewilderment that the Convener of the Crofting Commission is still in place despite it being clear that he now stands alone.

“The Crofting Commission board meeting last week was certainly an eye-opener”, said Russell Smith, Vice-chair of the SCF. “It quickly became apparent that the Convener had lost the support of his board and it came as no surprise that he left the meeting with his tail between his legs. What is astounding though is that he still has not resigned. What does it take for him to get the message?”

At the turf cutting ceremony on the new Kilbeg housing sites are (from left) Steven Gregg, Highland Small Communities Housing Trust; Cllr Audrey Sinclair, The Highland Council; Prof Boyd Robertson, Principal, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig; John Swinney, Deputy First Minister; Angus MacDonald, James MacQueen Building Contractors; and Dr Donnie Munro, Development Director, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

 

Construction of two new affordable homes will begin shortly at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig through The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust’s Rent to Buy Scheme.

The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) is working in partnership with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (SMO) to provide two sustainable low-cost homes for rent and then purchase next to the College in Kilbeg, Skye. This is the first stage of an exciting wider development which is strongly supported by the Scottish Government, The Highland Council and Highlands & Islands Enterprise. It is anticipated the scheme will provide a varied range of housing and commercial opportunities over the next few years to enhance the campus facilities and to create a more vibrant, sustainable community.

Dr. Donnie Munro, Director of Development, Fundraising and the Arts at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig said: We are delighted to be working with the Highland Small Communities Housing Trust to facilitate the development of these first two houses on the new Kilbeg site and also delighted that the works have been awarded to two local companies. HSCHT has a proven track record of working sensitively and innovatively within economically fragile rural areas throughout the Highlands to provide housing in a manner which takes full account of local need. With Phase 1 of the Kilbeg Development successfully delivered, this is the next step on an exciting journey to creating a sustainable model for a 21st Century Highland village which has Gaelic language and culture very much at its heart. To achieve this, we will work creatively and innovatively through key partnerships to provide affordable housing and enterprise opportunities in the area.

Councillors at the Skye and Raasay Area Committee have welcomed the creation of a new Community Partnership which will be launched this autumn and will play a key role in taking forward local planning arrangements.

The Highland Community Planning Partnership Board agreed at their meeting on 30th June to establish 9 local partnerships across the Highlands, including one in Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross. These partnerships will provide a focus for local discussion, engagement with communities and identifying priorities for the local area.


The photogenic Glenelg - Skye ferry finds itself the centre of more filming tomorrow (Oct 56)

As a result of having cameras aboard their will be no service betwee 2pm-3pm.

 

For the seventh year in a row Sleat's Kinloch Lodge and its chef Marcello Tully have retained their prestigious Michelin Star.

The Skye hotel and restaurant is one of only 12 in Scotland to hold the award.
 

Drone wars are set to hit the seas around Skye next week.

As part of Unmanned Warrior - the Royal Navy's first major training exercise using drones  – the unmanned machines will take part in a massive demonstration of the new technology

The exercise, a world’s first, will see a large-scale deployment of unmanned systems alongside a major multinational naval exercise.

Over 50 unmanned vehicles from more than 40 suppliers will work cooperatively on missions from anti-submarine warfare to mine countermeasures.

QinetiQ's transportable command and control centre

Held off the Scottish and Welsh coasts in October 2016, and on ranges managed by QinetiQ on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), Unmanned Warrior will involved over 500 participants, observers and visitors.

Just one of Skye's backdrops for movie magic

VisitScotland have put together a list of most - if not all - the movies that have used Skye as their backdrop.

Think you know them all? Want to find out what they are? Then follow the link here

Better broadband, improved transportation links and the impact of tourism on Skye are just some of the issues identified by Highland Council and are now part of a draft list of local strategic priorities

At the Isle of Skye and Raasay Area Committee held today (Oct 3) local Councillors, who identified the priorities met to discuss the issues. They include:

• Strengthening local democracy and community engagement
• Working with partners to support tourism
• Improving road, air and ferry links and broadband/mobile connectivity
• Improving school estate and developing further and higher education opportunities
• Affordable homes
• Community transport solutions
• Improved local healthcare and social care access
• Community works to meet local needs

Ashaig airfield at Broadford

Councillors today (Oct 3) gave their backing to plans to resume scheduled air services from Skye.

A draft business case to bring Broadford airport back into use was approved by a meeting of the Isle of Skye and Raasay committee and there is now speculation that flights could resume in around two years.

One of the FlySkye campaigners, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Principal, Professor Boyd Robertson, expressed satisfaction with the thrust of the Report. “The case for the re-introduction of an air service has been enhanced by new and additional information about the wider socio-economic benefits that would ensue and by the finding that the costs of re-opening Broadford Airstrip can be reduced by the adoption of Instrument Approach Procedures based on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology.

The case for the restoration of commercial flights to, and from, Skye is considerably strengthened by the Benefit Cost Ratio analysis which in one scenario could be as high as 2.2.”

Public consultation is now underway on newly suggested development ideas in the West Highland and Islands area.

As part of the process of creating a new Local Development Plan for the area, to be known as WestPlan, The Highland Council consulted on a document called the Main Issues Report (MIR) from April to June of this year.  The MIR asked for views on the main issues for people and places in the West Highland and Islands area, and showed options for future development.  Some of the comments received during that consultation included details of sites not already considered through the plan process.  As a result, The Highland Council is now running an Additional Sites Consultation, which seeks comments on selected sites that the Council considers significant enough to require further consultation.

MP Ian Blackford has added his voice to the growing concerns about NHS Highland's plans to redesign hospital services on Skye.

Less than a week ago the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee said it would be taking a more detailed local at the plans. They now want to further consult the Scottish Government and Scottish Ambulance Service on a petition from island campaigners which have called for an Independent Scrutiny Panel to examine NHS Highland's proposals.

Already MSP Kate Forbes has supported moves for greater scrutiny and now Mr Blackford has also commented.

 

Police in Portree I have issued a not so cryptic message on social media to youngsters whose actions could have had serious consequences. They said:

"Dear kids in #Portree who made hoax 999 calls today please note that you delayed us attending a car crash. Thanks a bunch. #WeKnowWhoYouAre"

Food Standards Scotland have notified of a urgent recall of a cheese product after E. coli O157 was discovered following testing.

The Connage Highland Dairy Organic Smoked Dunlop cheese is said to contain the bacteria which can cause serious illness. Infection may cause diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, and occasionally can result in haemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure and can be fatal.

For further details follow the link here

Dunvegan Castle & Gardens has been shortlisted in the Best Visitor Attraction category at the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards 2016.

Having been awarded the coveted 5* Visitor Attraction grading by Visit Scotland earlier this year, the MacLeod Estate team are delighted that Dunvegan Castle & Gardens has been nominated in the Best Visitor Attraction category at these prestigious awards this year. It is further confirmation that Dunvegan has recovered its rightful place as a world class heritage attraction on the Isle of Skye.

The second phase of the £1.25m improvements to Skye’s A87 are underway

Work on a section of road through Ard Dorch. will see 10 nights of resurfacing through until  October 14 involving around 1.5km of carriageway. 

Due to the nature of the resurfacing works, an overnight road closure will be in place each night from 7pm-7am to carry out the resurfacing safely.  Measures will be in place to allow local access and other traffic to pass through the closure approximately every hour or when it is safe to do so. 

The resurfacing works are planned to take place Monday nights to Saturday mornings, avoiding working Saturday and Sunday nights.

As previously reported in the Skye Times the four projects will involve resurfacing at three locations on the island with essential maintenance works to replace drainage pipes beneath the Skye Bridge.



Skye’s fight to bring scheduled flights to the island could now be set to really take off.

For a new report commissioned through HITRANS (Regional Transport Partnership) as a collaborative study involving Highland Council and Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) has shown not only the economic benefits such a move could have but also just how it could be done.

Now on Monday (Oct 3) the local Skye and Raasay Committee will be told how once feedback from Transport Scotland has been received the the initial report can be finalised for publication. At that point the full final report along with options for how the project can be moved forward will be presented to a future meeting of Highland Council's Planning Development & Infrastructure Committee.

According to the report reviving the airport could be worth up to £46.8million over the next 30 years. Two significant aspects which are said to influence the potential for re-opening at Broadford are the development of Global Navigations Satellite Systemss which would enable Instrument Approach procedures to be adopted at Skye. While new and additional information available has highlighted the huge economic benefits to the local community.

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