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.

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.

 

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."