Two Isle of Skye doors have been nominated as the best of their kind in Scotland.

To celebrate the launch of Doors Open Days 2017 and its own 50th anniversary, the Scottish Civic Trust has invited people to nominate their favourite Scottish door.

The Colbost Folk Museum, nominated by stunt cyclist, Danny MacAskill, is one of the doors in the running.  In his nomination, Danny said: "I have literally been there since I was two or three years old and have many good memories. The smell of the peat fire and the rusty old chain that locks the door, come straight to mind, talking about it now. You even have to duck to walk in beneath the thatched roof."

The door of Ostaig House in Sleat also received a nomination from Gaelic singer, Anne Martin.  She stated: "This door has welcomed hundreds, if not thousands of performers through its doors - offering a sanctuary during hectic touring schedules! The occupants have given time, energy, love, beds, food and drink to people from all over the world which ensures that Sleat has a vibrant art scene to match any worldwide."

Click here for a full shortlist and information on how to nominate your favourite Scottish door.

Gaelic speakers, particularly those in the Staffin area, are wanted to assist with a PhD in Gaelic dialects.

Charles Wilson told The Skye Times: "I will be in Skye on the weekend of 15 and 16 September. I am looking for one gentleman and one lady, preferably older, who have not lived away from Staffin, or at least have lived most of 

 their lives in Staffin."

Ideally, the candidates will speak Staffin dialect of Gaelic.

The study will only take 30 minutes, and includes some conversation and some questions about how certain things would be said in Staffin.  It is audio recorded, but all personal information is anonymised.

Charles continued: "Once my PhD is submitted, I am happy to send an info pack to participants and to the Staffin Community Trust. The info pack will include the conclusions of my PhD, and how Staffin helped me with that.  As part of my PhD, I am collecting the traditional dialects of the Hebrides, and comparing them with previous accounts of dialects.  I would like to include the Staffin dialect in this study, so I am reaching out to you, hoping that you will be able to help me find suitable participants.

"I am following the footsteps of previous dialectologists that toured Scotland in the between 1951 and 1963 to document and describe the regional dialects of Gaelic.  Their data is available in the School of Scottish Studies Archives at the University of Edinburgh. 

"During my meetings with speakers, I talk to them about their lives on the island, documenting history and dialect at the same time.

"Then I ask them how they would say certain things naturally, or what they'd hear and what they prefer. If this were in an English context, I may ask, "would you say "if I was" or "if I were"?

"What do you hear people saying? How does "if I were" sound to you?" By the end, I should have a relatively useful dialect bank, though it will be by no means thorough because I'm just one person travelling around in one summer."

 To find out more about Charles and his project, you can click here, email cThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 07450 462 543.

Above: Charles, second from left, with a family in Ness who helped him with his work.

 

 

hub North Scotland has announced that Balfour Beatty has been appointed the main ‘tier 1’ contractor for NHS Highland’s proposed new hospital for Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross (in Broadford).

The latest announcements follow on from other recent key milestones for the new hospital with the appointment of the design team and the submission of the pre-planning applications.

As a ‘tier 1’ supplier for hub North Scotland, Balfour Beatty International (North Scotland) will work alongside the project’s design consultants – architectural firms Oberlanders based in Edinburgh and Portree-based Rural Design – who were appointed in June, in conjunction with engineering design firms Waterman Group and Rybka.

The hospital is being produced by hub North Scotland as part of a £30 million design, build, finance and maintain contract for NHS Highland which will see the Skye project ‘bundled’ with a planned hospital in Badenoch and Strathspey (in Aviemore).

 

 

Gill McVicar, director of NHS Highland’s North and West operational unit, said: “This is another very exciting step in the process towards developing a new facility for the people of Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.  I understand that the contractor will be starting exploratory work on site in the near future.”

hub North Scotland’s chief executive Michael Padzinski said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with NHS Highland to develop and deliver these important new facilities for the communities they serve.”

Both hospitals form part of wider redesigns across Badenoch and Strathspey and in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.  The arrangements on Skye will see a new, modern integrated health and social care ‘hub’ in Broadford and a ‘spoke’ facility in Portree with all the inpatient services provided from the ‘hub’.

One of five similar organisations in Scotland, hub North Scotland is the driving force behind the planning, procurement and delivery of community-based infrastructure projects working with partnership and private investors; Scottish Government involvement through the Scottish Futures Trust and some 16 health boards and local authorities across the north of Scotland.

Design work that focuses on improving the Longman Roundabout is expected to take place.

Transport Scotland announced on Thursday 31 August the intention to award a contract to carry out option assessment and design work on the A9/A82 Longman roundabout improvement scheme.

Subject to a standstill period, Jacobs UK Ltd will start design work on the project.  It is expected that the options assessment process to identify a preferred option for this busy junctions will take approximately 15-18 months to complete.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “The Scottish Government recognises the need to provide high quality road infrastructure to support economic growth and improve journey times for road users in and around Inverness. 

“As part of the Inverness and Highlands City-Region Deal significant investment will be made in the trunk road network to deliver the grade separation of the A9/A82 Longman junction and the A9/A96 Inshes to Smithton Link Road to improve congestion and accessibility to Inverness.

“Improving the traffic bottleneck at Longman is a key priority of the Scottish Government and the appointment today of a design consultant to look at options for improving this well-known junction in Inverness is a major step forward in delivering this improvement.  We will continue to work in collaboration with The Highland Council whilst taking this scheme forward.”

The Highland Council’s third Gaelic Language Plan that will direct the council’s corporate aims and ambitions for Gaelic over the next 3 years was approved today (Wednesday 30 August) by Members of the Council’s Corporate Resources Committee.

The ‘Gaelic Language Plan 3’ received cross-party support and Members thanked the public for submitting their comments while the Plan was out for public consultation. They also highlighted that Gaelic Language Plan 3 does not replace the current Plan and expressed the importance of increasing the numbers of pupils entering Gaelic Education and learning the language during the life time of the Plan.

Chair of the Council’s Corporate Resources Committee Cllr Alister Mackinnon said: “I am delighted that Gaelic has now become part of the Corporate Resources Committee. I believe this is an opportunity for Highland Council to play a leading role, nationally, in developing Gaelic in both educational and cultural events including Feisean and National Mòds. The corporate priority being given to Gaelic emphasises that the Council will want to continue to hear the view of Gaelic speakers, learners and Gaelic bodies through our Gaelic Strategy Improvement Group in order to take the Gaelic Language Plan 3 forward.”

He added: “Today by fully adopting the draft Gaelic Language Plan 3 we have reaffirmed our commitment to Gaelic and in doing so we recognise that Gaelic is an integral part of life in the Highlands.

“To meet the Council’s statutory obligations we followed guidance issued by Bòrd na Gàidhlig on the development of Gaelic Language Plans during the formation of our third Plan.

“There are 6 themes in the Plan, all of which contribute to language usage as we must increase the opportunities available for people to use and encounter the language, whether by offering language learning classes, extending the visibility of Gaelic as this continues to enhance the status of the language.”

Director of Care and Learning Bill Alexander added: “The 2017-22 plan sets out the Council’s aims and ambitions for Gaelic over the next five years and details how these will be achieved.  This Plan does not replace the Gaelic Language Plan 2, but builds on the Council’s on-going successes and achievements in growing Gaelic, especially as we now have a Gaelic Medium Primary School in Caol, Fort William and early next year we will be opening a new Gaelic School in Portree, on the Isle of Skye."

He added: “Partnership working with the key agencies in relation to Gaelic and Cultural development is crucial especially as we move forward in Council redesign, rationalisation and ever decreasing resources. We need to continue to maximise on technologies, shared resources and genuine partnership co-operation. We are hugely encouraged by the number of young people learning and taking an interest in the language and its associated culture and believe this Plan will go along way to both encourage and support this.”

The 6 themes of the Gaelic Language Plan 3 are: Home and Early Years, Education, Community, Workplace, Arts, Culture & Heritage and Economy these were set out in high level aims by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The Highland Council organised 2 cross party Gaelic Strategy group meetings and constructive comments from the meetings have been incorporated into the Plan.

A 6 weeks public consultation period took place on-line, and 4 public meetings were also arranged in Portree, Fort William, Dingwall, and Thurso, feedback from this process has been included within the Plan.

Gaelic Language Plan 3 will now be submitted to Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

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

Motorists are advised to expect around a 2 week delay to the completion of road repairs on the A832 which was damaged following flooding last Friday 25 August. The road was flooded between Corriemoille and Lochluichart.

Highland Council is pleased to confirm that repairs to the section of road at Corriemollie have now been completed and all traffic management and traffic lights have been removed from this section. 

Completion of repairs to the section of road at Lochluichart will take longer than initially anticipated. The Council apologises for any delay, however this is due to the extent of the clear up required which has now become fully apparent.

Traffic lights will be in operation at Lochluichart for an expected further 14 days with effect from today.

SkyeConnect, the new Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Skye and Raasay, is delighted announce that funding for a full-time project officer has now been approved following its application for assistance from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Formed in 2017 the organisation brings together the business and tourism industry in the islands, working with key stakeholders including the Highland Council, the Elected Members, Visit Scotland, the Scottish Government, Business Gateway and HIE together with community bodies and residents.

SkyeConnect welcomes the support of Kate Forbes MSP who has been a driving force to highlight the challenges and opportunities for tourism in Skye and Raasay, the second most popular visitor destination in Scotland after Edinburgh.  SkyeConnect has been collaborating with other DMOs across the Highlands and Islands which included presentations at the first of a series of tourism forums held in June.

In the next few weeks an extensive recruitment process will commence to seek a high-calibre candidate to join SkyeConnect and its interim board to map the way forward to establish the company as an effective tourism and business hub representing the communities of Skye and Raasay.

Shirley Spear, interim chair SkyeConnect, added: SkyeConnect has been working hard with many partner organisations and community groups to create an organisation that aims to ensure a sustainable future for tourism in Skye and Raasay, in a continuing climate where ‘tourism is everyone’s business’. We are grateful to Highlands and Islands Enterprise for their financial support and to Faye MacLeod of Campbell, Stewart and Maclennan and Co. for her great work recently supporting SkyeConnect achieve this key milestone in its first year.

Councillor John Gordon, Elected Member for Eilean a' Cheò said: "SkyeConnect has worked hard to get to this place and we congratulate everyone involved, this is excellent news for our area and an important development in having a more strategic approach for Eilean a' Cheò.

"SkyeConnect and the Highland Council, along with other stakeholders work collaboratively to drive economic growth because of the vibrant tourism industry, to maintain sustainability and to ensure our infrastructure and visitor experience meets the needs of our expanding tourism, businesses and population."

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, added: “After a busy summer, it’s great to see some progress on the tourism front. I commend HIE for the funding of a project manager and SkyeConnect for pulling together a plan of action. There is huge potential here and I’ll be supporting the new project officer and the SkyeConnect team.

"I’ve long said that what is lacking on Skye is a strategic plan for the future, and I have high hopes that this new project officer will be just the person to do it. This summer is evidence that we need a plan in place to make the most of tourism”.

Alison Gainsford, account manager at HIE, said: “SkyeConnect will assist in developing the tourism sector in Skye and bringing businesses and community groups together for the success of this vitally important sector of our economy. We are delighted to support the project officer post and we look forward to working with the group in the future.”

Skye needs a "shared transport system for time-poor tourists" in order to help alleviate pressure on the island's creaking roads infrastructure, the constituency MSP has said. 

Kate Forbes MSP added that she has also been exploring the possibility of "protected status" for the island to ensure the tourist hotspot remained as "unspoiled" as possible. 

Over the past few months the Skye MSP has been discussing the issue extensively with tourism groups such as SkyeConnect as well as other local businesses and residents – and she recently spent a week on the island as part of her summer constituency tour. 

Media reports have said that the island's 10,000 population has increased at least six-fold during the height of the summer season, which has exacerbated problems with basic amenities, such as toilets, parking and litter.  

Kate Forbes MSP wrote: "We need a map that recognises that it is TripAdvisor which is setting the agenda. 

"That means we need to help visitors travel to hotspots in another way – not in hundreds of cars, or mega-size coaches, but with some sort of shared transport system. 

"It is already happening to some extent, but needs to grow. 

"It is a broad generalisation, but tourists are time poor; they want to visit key sites, take a selfie and then move on. 

"Let's help them do that – and at the same time take traffic off the road."

The Skye MSP also said: "The question is not whether there are too many tourists, but about whether it creates a sustainable future for Skye – permanent jobs, higher incomes and opportunities for entrepreneurs. 

"The State has a role to play; we need to protect the land, and alleviate pressure at the pinch points. 

"It is difficult to legislate for common courtesy – don't litter, don't light damaging camp fires and don't leave unpleasant presents for someone else to step on. 

"The sheer numbers walking to the Fairy Pools, or leaving bits and pieces at the Fairy Glen undermines the marketing man's definition of Skye as 'unspoiled'. 

"That's why I've been exploring the possibility of some kind of protected status for Skye, which would recognise the incredible geological, natural wealth of Skye."

Before the summer Kate Forbes MSP organised the first of a series of meetings as part of an ongoing process led by the Skye MSP to identify and find solutions to the pressures on the island caused by increases in tourism. 

It is hoped that the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fiona Hyslop MSP, will address a gathering of community representatives, local businesses and public bodies at the second of this series of meetings later in the year.  

A date has yet to be finalised, but will be announced in due course.

An inspection was carried out at Scorrybreac on Tuesday 29 August.

The inspection followed the recent rock slide.  

A spokesperson told The Skye Times: "We found that the two very large rocks that worried about have now also fallen and and are now situated on the shoreline below where the path once was.

"This still leaves an area of overhanging turf on the ridge and also a large crack in the rock face where the boulders came loose.

"We would ask all members of the public to not go past the signs and fencing that now blocks the path, as the area is still very unstable.

"We expect a contractor to be back on site early next week.

"After this we’ll have an idea of timescale for making the area safe and reopening the path."

Police Scotland is appealing for information and offering security advice after a series of thefts in rural areas.

A number of garden tools were stolen after entry was forced to a shed in Morar some time between 11pm on Saturday, August 26 and 9.30am the following morning.

The equipment included a green and white petrol lawnmower, a yellow petrol chainsaw and a Stihl branded petrol strimmer.

Another separate incident occurred in the Lochinver area where entry was forced to a shed at a commercial property and a quantity of cash stolen.

Police have previously appealed for information after reports of thefts around the Wester Ross, Lochaber and Sutherland areas - including in Poolewe and Glenfinnan - and officers are encouraging residents and businesses to take steps to make sure their property is secure.

Sergeant Kay MacRae said: "I would like to take the opportunity to remind householders in rural areas to take precautions to make sure they do not become victims of crime.

"Isolated areas allow opportunistic thieves the opportunity to operate undisturbed so it is sensible to take steps to make sure your property is secured.

"Make sure you store your valuable items securely and out of sight from outside the building.

"It is also good practice to take a note of serial numbers or give your property a unique mark.

"If any doubt about suspicious activity, report it giving as much detail as possible to help us.

"Anyone with concerns or information information can contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."