Skye dancers are disappointed after being unable to compete at their local games, say local Highland dance group, Dannsairean an Eilein Sgitheanaich.
The group, which consists of 75 dancers, stated that the Skye Games Committee run an Open Only competition, meaning that dancers working through the rankings are unable to take part. They claim this results in over 40 Skye-based dancers, as well as dancers from off the island, are excluded from the Games.
A petition has been started to allow Beginner, Novice and Intermediate dancers to compete at the Games.
The petition stated: "Of course, we understand that the Skye Games do attract world-class Highland dancers, and indeed Champions, and while this is wonderful, no dancer ever became a champion without first going through the ranks! It is so disheartening that some members of the committee appear to have no interest in developing talent, disregarding the young up-and-coming dancers so eager to tread the boards in the most iconic of locations.
We annually visit the games in both South and North Uist and are welcomed with open arms to their Official Board Registered Competitions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were able to offer the same hospitality in return?
"This is not, however, just a local issue. There are dancers the world over who would dearly love to compete in Skye, in fact, one school travelled all the way from Canada to enter, only to be bitterly disappointed when not one of their pre-premier dancers was able to take part."
In the petition, Dannsairean an Eilein Sgitheanaich shared the story of Canadian dancers who were disappointed after being unable to dance. Lee Vossler from Diamond V Highland Dance said: “I had the great pleasure of bringing my dance school to Scotland during the summer of 2016. Being Canadian, we were all very excited, and ,of course, used the experience to also see the beautiful country and sites.
"We decided that Skye would be one stop during our trip, and that we would dance at the Highland games. We were blown away by the number of competitors and tourists the community could bring in with their games. It was truly spectacular and so great for the village of Portree.
"It was with much disappointment that we realized this was an unsanctioned event, therefore the pre-premier dancers were unable to dance; a real disappointment for the little ones who just wanted to dance, and didn't really understand that the "rules" say they can't. We did have a wonderful time at the games, and it would have certainly been nice for everyone to dance, as this was the main purpose of our trip.
"I hope to bring my dancers back in a couple of years and would love for this to be another destination point for us as it was so beautiful, and very welcoming.”
Dannsairean an Eilein Sgitheanaich conclude by stating: "We would like to ask the people of Skye whom we are proud to represent, as well as Beginner, Novice, and Intermediate dancers from all over the world, their teachers and families, to support us in our request to the Isle of Skye Games Committee: Please hold a Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing Registered Competition."
As of the time of writing, the petition has received over 1,600 signatures. It can be viewed here.
Isle of Skye Pipe Band approached the end of a busy season with another success at the Pitlochry Highland Games.
Joining another 17 Pipe bands with each band marching through Pitlochry to the Games field, the Skye band competed in the afternoon led into the competition arena by Pipe Major Alan Mackenzie and and were successful in achieving second place.
Drum Major Peter MacDonald together with DM's Duncan MacDonald Badenoch Pipe band and Kenny Forbes', Vale of Atholl Pipe band provided a drum major's demonstration in the Arena in front of a large international audience.
The Pipe Major's son, Alexander, aged 3 accompanied by mum, Megan, and drummer, Andrew Martin, led the Skye Band down the Main Street of Pitlochry.
On Saturday 16 September, the Skye Pipe Band will be part of the opening ceremony for the new Isle of Raasay Distillery.
Above: A celebration picture at Pitlochry Highland Games.
A leatherback turtle was found dead, floating off the Isle of Raasay last month.
Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme posted about the turtle as part of their August strandings report.
Unfortunately, the turtle could not be recovered for necropsy.
A story with a happier ending was a report of a common dolphin entangled in fishing gear and floating at the surface at in Kylerhea Sound.
The animal was spotted from the ferry and, through great efforts of the ferry crew, was approached and released.
The animal was not very active at first, but after a while started swimming in a northern direction and has not been seen since, so the team are hopeful it has recovered well.
The full report and a video of the common dolphin can be found at their Facebook page here.
Sound, sight and taste – all three of those senses will be delighted at this year's Skye Live Festival.
Festival organiser, Niall Munro, along with co-directors Ali MacIsaac and Michael Pellegrotti, have spent the best part of a year planning the festival – and, as well as creating a breathtaking audio experience, aims to utilise the senses of taste and sight.
"We will be back up at The Lump this year and it's important to make it a visual show, as The Lump is such a magical site," he told The Skye Times. "The site lends itself perfectly to this music event, so we want to make it picturesque and iconic."
To do this, Niall has organised two stages - including one very special stage built around the Apothecary's Tower. "Double Take Projections, who recently opened up the new Forth Road Bridge with a fantastic visual and light show, will be in charge of the tower projection duties," explained Niall. "They are going to light up the tower and make it really atmospheric. I'm excited to see what it looks like!"
Niall's brother, Calum Munro, will be giving the audience a true flavour of Skye. Calum, owner of Portree's Scorrybreac restaurant, aims to feature Skye produce at the festival. "The focus will be rustic, but local, fresh produce," Niall said. "The Scorry pop up is going to be called Scorry Scran."
The event, which will take place on Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23, will feature Django Django, Niteworks, Optimo and Joy Orbison. "Those acts are a good representation of the festival as a whole," Niall stated. "The overall feel is Celtic, dance and electronic."
Niall's love of music festivals goes back to when he was at school. "I remember the weeks prior to the original Skye Festival," he said. "The excitement of knowing it was on, going there and finding out about new music I'd never heard before was phenomenal. I want to create that same kind of thing for people on Skye and those coming from far away. I love the fact that we are able to bring such a world-class line up to Skye."
To get tickets for two days of entertainment, visit www.skyelive.co.uk. Tickets are also available at the Skye Music Shop in Portree.
Above: Skye Live 2015.
For the first time, Donnie Munro performed at the Aros Centre tonight (Friday 8 September.)
Donnie Munro and Friends were playing at Portree as part of the international Sweet Surrender tour.
The concert proved to be so popular that a second performance was added and will take place tomorrow (Saturday 9 September.)
The audience included fans new and old, including one who had followed Donnie's career through his early Runrig days until now and was in the audience thanks to her sister arranging a surprise night out!
The A82 is blocked east of Glencoe village because of an overturned crane.
Police are on scene. Nobody is thought to be seriously injured but the road is blocked and the vehicle needs to be recovered.
The police have advised road users to try and avoid the road if possible.
SSE will begin the transportation of turbine blades from Kyle of Lochalsh harbour to the Skye Aerodrome.
The route encompasses the local road network, the A87 and A887. The network includes Kyle Prospect Road, where the harbour's lower level car parking bays will be closed off for the duration of the deliveries. Alternative parking will be made available at the Lochalsh Hotel and Lochalsh Leisure Centre.
The blades will be transported between Monday September 11 and the end of October 2017.
Deliveries will be slow moving and under police escort.
Work is underway in Skye which is set to revolutionise diagnostic endoscopy services across the Highland are.
Capsule endoscopy or PillCam is being piloted in Skye, and aims to provide easy access to diagnostic endoscopy. Instead of having to travel to hospital for an invasive procedure, a pill - which includes a tiny camera - can now be taken. As well as being less invasive, the capsule can be taken at home with the results discussed at home or the Medical Centre.
Commenting on the new development Dr Steve McCabe, who met the research team and proposed the local trial, said: “This is really exciting for our patients. It puts Skye and NHS Highland at the forefront of the development of Gastro Intestinal investigations. With the new technology, diagnostic endoscopy can be organised and supported locally from local practices without having to travel for an invasive procedure.”
He added: “It is a fantastic development and good example of how technology developed for other fields can and should be used to deliver high quality clinical care to remote communities.”
Dr Will Nel, clinical lead for the locality, and an endoscopist, said: “The pilot, which is also taking place in Ullapool practice, and being co-ordinated by senior clinicians from Raigmore Hospital, is going well. It will hopefully demonstrate that this approach will work in any practice irrespective of the locality.”
The test is for diagnostic scopes only. Anyone requiring biopsies or treatment scopes would still have to travel to Belford or Raigmore Hospital, as currently happens.
The endoscopy service in Dr Mackinnon Memorial Hospital was stopped several years ago due to health and safety concerns. At that time, NHS Highland was of the view that the service could be resumed in the new facility. Now the Board has confirmed that the Endoscopy unit will not be included in the specification for the new hospital.
A review conducted by Mr James Docherty, colorectal surgeon and NHS Highland’s clinical lead for Endoscopy, highlighted a number of reasons why this would no longer be appropriate.
He said: “The low level of activity would mean the service would only run for one session per week. This alone would mean it would not be sustainable including staff not able to maintain skills.”
£20,500 from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise will enable the Meanish Pier development project to take a step forward.
The slipway, pier and surrounding area of land at Meanish were taken into community ownership in 2013 by the Glendale Trust. Plans were put in place to develop the area to meet the needs of the local community and bring the area back into use. Plans including, visitor moorings, safe walk ashore access to the water, improved parking and improvements to the slipway were developed through detailed community consultation by the now Chair of the Crown Estate Scotland, Amanda Bryan who carried out the initial community consultation work on behalf of the local community.
Since then volunteers have secured a Local Management Agreement for Loch Pooltiel as well as planning approval from the Highland Council for the proposed improvements. A new head of terms has also been negotiated with Crown Estate Scotland for the proposals.
The Meanish Pier Working Group made up from members of the local moorings association, community council, Glendale Trust and boat operators have agreed to work with Kames Fish Farm Ltd Oban who were granted planning permission for the production of salmon or trout in the local Loch Pooltiel. Kames as part of the planning process have offered to work with the community group, and using their expertise and resources deliver much needed infrastructure and subsequent wider benefits to the area.
The award from Highlands and Islands Enterprise will provide funding for the professional services required to formalise agreements between Kames and the community group.
Stuart Cannon Managing Director of Kames said I look forward to working and co-operating with the community and Glendale Trust to the mutual benefit of all that participate. We hope that the deep-water moorings will provide a safe anchorage for passing yachts, men and women who wish to stop over for a night or two to enjoy the fine foods that the local area produces along with appreciating the fine scenery from land.
The floating walkway will provide continuous access for small boats, canoes and small vessels to the shore, no matter what state the tides are.
These facilities and perhaps improvements to the pier and the slipway, should allow the community to generate more activity and jobs.
Local boat operator and Glendale moorings association secretary, Greg Lane spoke positively about the proposed improvements: “This will be a much needed improvement and enable boat users easier access to the moorings at all states of the tide."
Karen Redfern director of the Glendale Trust made clear: “the Trust understands the importance of our role as owners of the pier, slip and surrounding land at Meanish in our negotiations with Kames. We are pleased that the HIE funding will enable the Trust to secure the professional services that will formalise agreements moving forward and ensure they deliver the maximum benefit to the local community and area users. We look forward to demonstrating that community organisations can work successfully with commercial operators and ensure all parties including the environment can benefit.”
Jennifer Macpherson, development manager at HIE’s Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross team, said: “The redevelopment of Meanish Pier and the surrounding area is an important growth project for the community of Glendale, having been part of its Community Growth Plan for a number of years. Our assistance for this project ensures that the community benefit is maximised from a commercial operator leasing a community owned asset. We look forward to seeing more benefits being realised following the valuable work of the HIE-funded Local Development Officer employed by The Glendale Trust.”
A casualty with leg injuries was assisted from Sconser Golf Course earlier in the week.
Portree and Kyle Coastguard Rescue Teams were tasked to assist the Scottish Ambulance Service. The casualty was transferred to the Helimed for onward transport to hospital.