Page 1

Auctioneer Kenny 48 years at island marts Page 13

Gwen Hardie skin paintings and drawings Pull-out art supplement from Taigh Chearsabhagh

Peter May

launches new book in Lochmaddy Page 15

Pages 9 - 12

island news Edition 11

February 2013



UIST RALLIES TO HELP GEMMA AND HER ORPHANS The Uist community has rallied to help South Uist’s Gemma Steele after her children’s home in Kenya was attacked by armed thugs. Gemma, 21, from Lochboisdale founded St Jerome’s in Nakuru last year to care for children orphaned in the 2007/8 ethnic war in Kenya. Her inspirational venture was prompted by her determination even as a young child to help children in Africa, and her time teaching slum children and working in another Nakuru orphanage after she left Sgoil Lionacleit. She fund-raised tirelessly to raise enough money to get St Jerome’s off the ground and in 2009, building began. The orphanage opened its doors a year ago and is now home to 16 youngsters. But Gemma, her staff and the children experienced a horrific ordeal last month when three machete-wielding men in balaclavas burst into the home at night, dragged Gemma out of bed and stole everything they could lay their hands on, including £1,500 cash. Far from buckling under the strain, Gemma has come up fighting, declaring “My heart broke in a million pieces when I saw some of the boys go to bed with batons and knives, kids shouldn’t have to live like that and I won’t let those people win and I won’t leave until the place is safer than Fort Knox.” As soon as word reached Uist, the community mobilised to show support. Sgoil Daliburgh hosted a fund-raising Robert Burns afternoon with the pupils dancing, singing, piping and reciting poetry. Tea, coffee and shortbread made by the pupils was served for a donation.

Gemma Steele last summer in South Uist.

Donations from businesses and individuals flooded into the Uist Celtic Supporters Club based at Custom Prints in Benbecula for a spectacular bingo night at the Dark Island. A bank account has been opened to receive donations: RBS,sort code 83-24-26,account number 00155349. Meanwhile advice for Gemma on security for the orphanage has come through Island News from Judy Westwater, a former street child in South Africa and founder of Pegasus Children’s Trust, a charity which runs a number of well-established centres for street children in Johannesburg and Cape Town. She expressed her sympathy for Gemma’s plight, and suggested she adopt a tactic which has worked to protect Pegasus centres from robbery and attack. Mrs Westwater said: “The key is to get the whole community involved with the orphanage, then they will look after security. “Talk to the churches and clubs, get the leaders on board and then they will bring in the rest of the community. Invite them over to share the garden and watch the children play. We keep a spare room in our centres for the community to use for meetings. They’re thrilled to become involved, and they then watch out for the home and look out for suspicious people. No-one dares attack the centres after that.”


island news & ADVERTISER - February 2013 Issue 11



UIST STUDENTS EXHIBIT IN EDEN COURT Four Fine Art students based in Taigh Chearsabhagh are to exhibit in Eden Court, Inverness this month. Jackie Cowie, Margaret MacLellan, Fiona MacIsaac and Mickey Finnegan are third year BA Fine Art (Hons) students studying

in Uist remotely from their academic base at Moray College UHI, Elgin. As part of their Professional Practice module, they must curate and hang an exhibition, which they have hitherto done in Taigh Chearsabhagh.


There will be a fund-raising day for RNLI in Lochmaddy Hall on Saturday March 23. Events include an auction, raffle, table-top sale, competitions,refreshments and entertainment,all in support of the Leverburgh Lifeboat. Look out for further details in the March issue of Island News & Advertiser. Further information from Stella on 01876 500306 or Barbara on 01876 500849.

Editor’s note: Leverburgh lifeboat station was set up on a trial basis last May to cover the Sound of Harris and beyond.The lifeboat has been launched 11 times so far, rescuing 25 people including two children.The crew spent 341 hours at sea on callouts, and 225 hours on exercise. RNLI will make a decision about the future of the Leverburgh station this year, and a lot will depend on the support the community has shown for it.

Daliburgh pupils triumph in comic book competition comic book Daliburgh pupils scooped almost half the prizes in a Western Isles wide competition. in P1-S2. An Lanntair and Western Isles Libraries held the competition for pupils world.’ this of out ing ‘someth about book Entrants were asked to create their own comic d are Picture pupils. ful success five had School rgh Of the 12 winning entries, Dalibu Eilidh and Steele Dawn llan, MacMi Annie n, Harriso r Kathleen Campbell, Summe can view the Campbell with Daliburgh School’s librarian Seonag MacInnes. Parents are currently winning entries on the Golden Board in the school. All 12 winning entries being displayed in An Lanntair in Stornoway.

This year they have chosen to join up with their fellow students from Skye, Argyll and Moray and will all exhibit together in the three Eden Court theatre foyers and the Bishops’ Palace. The exhibition runs from February 6 – 28.

Carinish school fund-raising bingo success Carinish primary held a bingo night at Carinish Hall to raise funds for the school. With participants coming from Benbecula to Berneray and enthusiastic parent and pupil support, it was eyes down as the numbers were called by Donna Murray. The evening raised more than £820, to the delight of all,including head teacher Selina MacKay. Mrs MacKay said:“We had loads of donations and support from local businesses. The money will go towards our school trip to the outdoor centre at Badaguish in Aviemore, and other more local trips, and to things we need for the classroom.”

St. Patricks Day Irish Dance Display


New bilingual page in Island News & Advertiser

Iochdair Youth Club’s activity weekend Iochdair Junior Youth Club, South Uist recently took some children and helpers to Fairburn Activity Centre in Rossshire. The children took part in various activities over the weekend. They thoroughly enjoyed their weekend and were also pleased to be able to attend the Pantomime Mother Goose at Eden Court Theatre,and fit in some Christmas shopping and visit to cinema. The youth club committee would like to thank the following for their funding and donations that enabled this trip to take part, Awards for All,Cashback for Communities,QinetiQ and Benbecula Community Council. We would also like to thank the following for their help with this Buchanan Coaches Benbecula,Captain & Staff of MV Finlaggan, SPA Coaches Strathpeffer,Eden Court Theatre staff and of course Instructors and Staff of Fairburn Activity Centre. Thank you all.

A regular new Gaelic-English page begins this month, edited by Uist tutor Archie Campbell. In a project assisted by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the bi-lingual page will run for the next year and be open to all Gaelic writers, be they fluent or learning. Archie is on hand to help contributors with their written Gaelic, and hopes to see many writers coming forward, not only from the islands but also the mainland and elsewhere. He can be contacted on 01870 602321 or 07733 844598. Daibhidh Boag, head of Gaelic Usage at Bòrd na Gàidhlig said:“Tha am Plana Cànain Nàiseanta Gàidhig 2012-17 a’ toirt prìomhachas dha “Coimhearsnachdan” mar raon leasachaidh cudromach agus tha e a’ toirt prìomhachas a bharrachd do sgìrean far a bheil sgilean Gàidhlig aig còrr is 20% den t-sluagh – leithid na h-Eileanan an Iar. Tha na coimhearsnachdan seo bunaiteach san dealbh mòr airson a bhith a’ fàs Gàidhlig agus cleachdadh na Gàidhlig air feadh Alba ann an suidheachaidhean làitheil. Cruthachaidh am pròiseact seo pìosan sgrìobhaidh ùr sa Ghàidhlig a bhios tarraingeach do luchd-leughaidh air feadh nan eilean agus bidh e a’ toirt taic agus misneachd do sgrìobhadairean ùra Gàidhlig de gach aois. “The National Gaelic Language Plan 2012-17 identifies ‘Communities’ as a priority development area and goes on to emphasise the importance of areas where 20% or more of the population have Gaelic abilities – such as the Western Isles. These communities are a vital part of the Scotland-wide picture to grow Gaelic and the use of the language in a range of everyday activities. This project will provide new Gaelic content that will undoubtedly be of interest to readers the length and breadth of the islands and it will also support and encourage new Gaelic language contributors of all ages.” Turn to page 8

Grimsay Luncheons Kallin Canteen,noon - 2pm , £6 and Baking Stall February 2,16 March 2,16

7pm til late Adults £5, OAPs & Children £2

Artists Studio Trail and Island Guide Uist Art Association Planning for the Art on the Map 2013 year is already underway offering a fantastic opportunity for the work of artists and makers of all kinds to be seen by visitors and islanders alike. A great showcase for our art and craft.

Everyone enjoyed the Fairburn weekend.




NEWSDESK 01876 510758 ADVERTISING: 01871 810634 Design: Tim Mason Managing editor: Susy Macaulay

Friday 15th March


Come and enjoy a Saturday with friends Grimsay Com munity Association Edition 01

Dark Island Hotel

Readership 30,000 and growing

A change to the style of the ART ON THE MAP guide this year. The usual pop-up studio trail will run from June 29th - 20th July. Any artist or craftsperson, living and working on the Uists, is invited to join this exciting trail of studios and the exhibition at Taigh Chearsabhagh. From Berneray, North Uist, Benbecula, down to South Uist, Art on the Map is an integral part of summer on the islands. New for 2013 we will also be giving artists and makers the opportunity to spread the word about their year-round opening. You will need to have a venue for your work - it often helps to share. We aim to have the map/leaflet printed in time for Easter. Apply to Louise Cook for an application form which has all the details of how to join - Tel 01876 580 372or email - (mark email AOTM 2013)

Forms must be returned by 9th February

February 2013 Issue 11 - island news & ADVERTISER

“We need to know why timetabling has been changed, why she hasn’t sailed in quite favourable conditions, and why she is late even on calm days.” Mr Robertson added: “Quite often it has not been possible to use the gangway and foot passengers have to enter via the car deck. This is due to the construction of the pier, with piles on the side to spread the weight of the boat. In certain tides, this means that the ferry is higher than the pier, creating very difficult and potentially dangerous access for foot passengers entering via the car deck.”

FERRY CHAOS as Finlaggan fails to pass ‘‘ muster

In all my 43 years of going back and forth I have never seen a boat not sail in those conditions.

The ship replaces MV Hebrides until March. MV Hebrides is being used as cover for the refit periods of four other CalMac vessels. MV Hebrides has plied the Uig triangle since 2001 and has won a place in residents’ hearts for her reliability in all but the very worst weather.

Cathie Laing

Mr Robertson said passengers’ initial patience with the new ferry had worn thin and annoyance was growing by the day. He said he could not understand why the Hebrides was moved at all, and added: “CalMac promised us reliability when they announced they were putting on the Finlaggan. We must campaign not to have this ferry on this route next winter. The Lochboisdale-Oban route is cancelled a lot, the only boat we could depend on for the Southern Isles was the Hebrides.” Cathie Laing of Knockline, North Uist called the service ‘second class’ after she

was forced to overnight at Uig on Monday January 21. She said: “I was heading for the 18.00 ferry that evening when the bus driver told me it was cancelled due to weather. In all my 43 years of going back and forth from the islands I have never seen a boat not sail in those conditions. There were fishing boats out. We were told it was because of weather conditions in Lochmaddy, but by all accounts it was fine there too. “Next morning the ferry didn’t leave early to go to Lochmaddy and then Tarbert as I would have expected, it sailed just before 10am and went to Tarbert first. I didn’t get home until 2pm. “It looks like we’re getting a second class service.” A CalMac spokesman said: “The decision to cancel any sailing is never taken lightly and we regret any inconvenience caused. We are aware that the MV Finlaggan has had some unexpected operational difficulties since coming onto the Uig triangle but these have been addressed and the recent cancellations are entirely due to extreme weather, which would present a challenge to any ship. “The MV Finlaggan is covering the route during the winter refit period and the MV Hebrides will return to the route when that is completed. “The deployment of vessels during the winter refit is always difficult as we have limited options available to us but we do not accept criticism of our use of the MV Finlaggan on this route as it was done with the best of intentions, which was to provide the best service to as many remote and vulnerable communities as possible.”

North Uist councillors and community council last month received a list of complaints about MV Finlaggan. Cllr Uisdean Robertson said: “There’s no doubt about it, she is a very comfortable ship. But for our relatively short crossing, we need reliability first.

North Uist Development Company


Barra outcry goes global Reduction of Benbecula-Stornoway service is bad news for patients,say Southern Isles residents Plans to reduce Benbecula- Stornoway flights to three days a week will hit the sick worst, Southern Isles residents say. North Uist community council has written to Alasdair Allan MSP and health minister Alex Neil to ask the how they propose to ensure that the people of Uist are served appropriately and to invite them to a public meeting. North Uist councilor Uisdean Robertson said: “The Comhairle has been trying to engage with the health board over this issue. The health board pays nothing towards the inter-island flights, so the council is effectively subsidising every patient and the consultants who use the air service.” He added: “It makes no sense, especially after GP surgeries have been


Poor time-keeping, too many cancelled and disrupted sailings and dangerous pedestrian access- a catalogue of complaints from Uist residents about MV Finlaggan, deployed on the Lochmaddy-Tarbert-Uig triangle since early December.

told to refer all their patients to the Western Isles hospital in Stornoway rather than Inverness or Glasgow.” Meanwhile a campaign to save the Barra-Benbecula service has gone global after an e-petition was launched by Barra resident Stephen Wilson. Mr Wilson said: “They should be enhancing transport links, not cutting them, it’s like going back in time. I raised the petition mainly to find out what people outside Barra think, because I know what everyone here thinks, they’re against the cuts. People from all over the world agree that the service is vital for the local economy, residents, tourists and hospital patients.” The petition can be found at

Growth at the Edge /Fas aig an Oir Local Development Officer Full-Time : 35 hours per week


Salary £24,480

This post is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and fixed for 12 months. North Uist Development Company – a locally elected group – is looking to recruit an energetic and self motivated individual to act as a catalyst for innovative and sustainable community development. The successful candidate will work with the group, and the wider community, to develop and implement a community growth plan, which takes account of opportunities to enhance the socio-economic, cultural & environmental welfare of the North Uist and Berneray area. Support for this process will be provided by a nominated person within Highlands and Islands Enterprise, under their Community Account Management approach, which seeks to deliver intensive development of the most remote and disadvantaged communities within the Highlands and Islands. The longer term sustainability of the North Uist Development Company will also be a key objective as community capacity develops. It is hoped that this will be achieved through the development of a community wind project. The project is in the advanced stage of planning and the post holder will be required to work with Directors to progress this project to funding stage and develop a framework for the fair distribution of the turbine income. The applicant will have a good understanding of the issues affecting fragile rural areas and be IT literate. A relevant qualification or prior experience in community-led development would be advantageous as would a knowledge and affinity for the locality. The ability to work on your own initiative is essential. For a job description and further information please contact: Ada Campbell, Secretary Urachadh Uibhist Claddach Kirkibost Centre Claddach Kirkibost Isle of North Uist HS6 5EP

Tel: 01876 580 390 Fax: 01876 580 390 email: Closing date for applications is 08 February 2013


island news & ADVERTISER - February 2013 Issue 11

Plaque planned to honour tireless service by family of North Uist doctors


The 78 year service of a family of North Uist doctors is to be honoured with the raising of a plaque to their memory in Lochmaddy. Drs Alexander, Julia and their son John Macleod served North Uist and Berneray between 1932 and 2000. A group comprised of representatives from organisations dear to the heart of the late Dr John has been formed to bring the plaque to fruition. The Drs Macleod Memorial Fund is chaired by Philip Harding of North Uist Angling Club, with input from Comann Na Mara, the society of the sea founded by Dr John in his retirement, and the North Uist Highland Games committee. The group’s co-ordinator is Margaret MacQuarrie of Knockquien who spent many years working closely with all three doctors as a community nursing sister. She said: “I had the idea five years ago even before Dr John passed away for something in the community to

pay tribute to the doctors. It’s difficult to imagine how hard they worked as rural GPs, with Dr Alexander and Dr Julia starting before the days of the NHS, on call 24/7 and often unpaid. “The stories about them are legendary. Dr Alexander was even known to swim out to his patients where necessary. They saved countless lives through their complete dedication. “The late Dr John was known and recognised throughout the world for his contribution to rural general practice. I remember he always said

that a rural practitioner always needs his wife to support him, as Lorna did for 27 years.” Dr John’s widow Lorna said: “I’m delighted about the plaque and will give the group my help and support in any way I can. I’m sure the three doctors would be pleased to think it’s happening.” Collection boxes are being placed in 20 locations all over North Uist and Balivanich, and a Bank of Scotland account will shortly be open for donations. For further information please contact Margaret MacQuarrie on 07881 417 118 or Philip Harding on 01876 580341

The dining room in the new care home.

A newly refurbished two bedroom home for respite care is set to open this month in South Uist. Iochdar respite care home in Rhuba Doigheag, near the primary school, opens its doors to the public for viewing on Wednesday February 20, from 12 - 4pm and 6 - 8pm. Tagsa Uibhist took over the lease from the CnES in 2011, and deployed their own handymen Mark Tebutt and Iain MacSween to strip out and transform the premises completely. Two ensuite bedrooms of hotel standard have been created in simple neutral tones with splashes of colour. There is also a carer’s bedroom, sitting/dining room and shiny new kitchen. Philip Dempsey of Lochboisdale was the painter/decorator, John MacDougall did the plumbing and the electrician was Alastair MacInnes, Grimsay. Some clients will be referred to the home by Tagsa, and it is also available for open referral by private individuals. Contact manager Kathryn Martin on 01870 602111 for further information. Meanwhile five transport staff made redundant at Tagsa before Christmas in the face of looming council cuts will know on February 14 when CnES finally sets its budget whether they will get their jobs back or not. Tagsa faces a 2.5% cut across the board each year for the next two years, a shortfall which manager Kathryn Martin says they will look to other sources of funding to make up.

Hang out the bunting,Barra’s a winner The Barra Bunting project has won Voluntary Arts Scotland’s Scottish Epic Award 2013. Barra Bunting is run by Sarah Maclean of Garrygall, and invites everyone who has ever set foot in

At the heart of the Community ●

Wide selection

Local meat, fish, eggs and seasonal veg

Fresh baking


Friendly service Daily papers

Open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm

Telephone: 01876 510257 Bayhead, North Uist

Barra or Vatersay to make a flag for a giant string of bunting. Launched last March, the bunting already has 180 flags, donated from around the world. In September, a Big Stitch Up enabled Barra Adult Learners to string all the bunting together ready for launching at the Barra & Vatersay annual produce show.

VA Scotland director Jemma Neville said: “The Epic Awards are truly epic because they showcase the very best of amateur arts and crafts across the UK and Ireland. “Barra Bunting is a worthy winner of this year’s Scottish Award. By stitching together the personal narratives from visitors and locals to the island, Barra Bunting have created an inclusive, global arts project while keeping its heart and soul still in the village hall. It shows what can be done with imagination, ingenuity and a sewing machine.” For more on Barra Bunting go to

February 2013 Issue 11 - island news & ADVERTISER


MOD blames ‘radar line of sight’for spate of turbine planning refusals Uist’s strategic position in UK air defences is proving a sticking point with the MoD against wind farm development on the islands. A spate of blanket objections by the MoD to planning applications for turbines in Uist prompted the Hebrides Range Task Force to call on two representatives from the RAF to explain the decisions. Flt Lt ‘Dujon’ Goncalves-Collins of 1 Group AIR command in Hemel Hempstead gave a presentation to a meeting chaired by Angus MacMillan, and attended by local councillors and council officials, representatives from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Storas Uibhist, the Outer Hebrides Commerce Group, Qinetiq along with architect Robert Fraser. Mr Goncalves-Collins said that when a turbine was proposed in radar line of sight, physics was to blame for interference on air defence radars caused by rotating blades. He said: “On the radar they jump in height and move around. “We don’t know if they are false clutter or a real target. Too many false returns cause the computer systems to crash.” There are seven radars in Uist, and two mobile radars deployed from time to time. Mr Goncalves-Collins said the increasing size of turbines and number of wind farm

MoD objections leave turbine applications grounded.

developments were creating a cumulative effect when they are all in radar line of sight. He blamed this for the apparent policy of

blanket planning objections by the MoD. He said: “Anything within five nautical miles of a radar will attract an objection. Within 30 nautical miles of radar line of sight, everything above 11m in height will be opposed. Within 50 nautical miles, the radar will pick up big turbines. A concentration of turbines in certain areas is a problem.” He said “ground truth” was essential and urged all wind turbine developers, current and historic, to let the MoD know what stage their plans were at. He said: “We never get feedback so we never know the truth of what is actually planned, going ahead, or not.” Howard Manning, local Qinetiq Trial Safety Officer said from his point of view 11m tip height was too high. He added: “There is not a lot of ground in Uist not covered by radars.” Robert Fraser said: “We need to know alternative locations and heights. We need to give options at the planning stage although the planning process doesn’t fit this.” CnES chief executive Malcolm Burr said: “There is room for improvement in the preapplication dialogue about height and

location, and quantity and clusters of turbines.” Mr Goncalves-Collins said that the preapplication process had stopped but is possibly starting again this year. He urged developers to be aware of proliferation between pre-application and planning application submission. Angus MacMillan welcomed a commitment by CnEs planning officials present to review all wind turbine applications currently in process and to make the information available to the MoD and other interested parties. He said: “Clearly under this regime there are unlikely to be any further turbines approved in the next wee while until all the planning applications are reviewed.”

Melody,originality and rhythm will win the day in CNM Pipe Tune Composing competition Unprecedented number of entries from all over the world

More than 140 tunes from every corner of the globe have been submitted to the first Comann Na Mara (CNM) pipe tune composing competition. The competition, with the land and seascape of the Outer Hebrides as its theme, is running in collaboration with the College of Piping, Piping Times and Oran Mor in Glasgow. There are six categories with a minimum of two parts each: slow air, strathspey, hornpipe, march, reel and jig. Piping Times editor Robert Wallace said the response has been impressive, with

entries from all over the UK, Europe, US, “As the year progresses we will be in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. touch with all those who have submitted He said: “Our senior tutor Willie Morrison to seek their thoughts on who is from South Uist will be sifting how frequently we should through the entries over the next fortnight to run this open invitation create a short list which we will then place composing composition.” in order. The winners’ concert will “Composing for the pipes is difficult, with take place in the Oran Mor only nine notes. We’re looking for melody and originality and for the dance tunes, good rhythm. In the slow Substance Misuse airs, we’re looking for a Support Worker Gaelic and Hebridean Salary £19,110 - £20,930 pro rata feel, given the nature of 28 hours per week the contest.” Cothrom is seeking a suitably experienced and The winners will be qualified individual to support learners who are announced in March confronting the challenges of alcohol or drug misuse. The post will be based at the Re-Store Project in or April. Bornish and the Training Centre at Ormiclate. CNM chair Gus Funded by the Robertson Trust, this post is for one Macaulay said: year initially. This post will be subject to an “Considering this is enhanced disclosure check. our first year, over 140 For an application form and further details contact entries was beyond my Cothrom on 01878 700 910 or e-mail: expectations and I The recruitment paperwork is also available from thank each and everyone who took Applications should be returned to time and passion to Barbara MacDonald by 15th February 2013 compose. Cothrom operates an Equal Opportunities Policy

on Sunday June 30, and subsequently in Lochmaddy at a date to be confirmed.


island news & ADVERTISER - February 2013 Issue 11

Funding boost for Harris distillery The Isle of Harris Distillers team is working full tilt towards getting the distillery off the ground before the end of this year. The team is working with renewed momentum after the announcement of a Government grant of £1.9m towards the construction of the malt whisky distillery in Tarbert. They still face a funding shortfall of £1m, but Isle of Harris Distillers founder and chairman Anderson “Burr’ Bakewell is quietly confident that other investors will bite soon. He said: “There is so much good will on the island and by Government for this project that we are confident, but not complacent.” It’s been a six year journey for Mr Bakewell, whose Hebridean base is on Scarp. He said: “I’m happy it’s taken so long as we’ve been able to think things through thoroughly and carefully, especially when there will be considerable time without revenue.” All going well, the distillery will start producing by the end of 2014, with the first bottles of Hearadh- a working title, but one which might stick - going on the market in 2019. Mr Bakewell said: “There is a growing market for

younger spirits, with their fresh, less woody qualities.” He added: “It’s going to be exciting for our team to create a whisky which captures the essence of the island, its aromas and elemental qualities. We will be using the best oak, pure Harris water and the best barley.” Mr Bakewell said the barley will be brought in from the mainland, but in Phase Two of the project, it is hoped that up to 25% of the barley will be grown locally in Uist and Harris. “We have done trials to show that barley can be grown in South Harris successfully, but not dependably,” he said. He added: “Our maturation experts tell us the Outer Hebrides offer the best possible conditions for maturing whisky, the low range of temperatures, and the moisture in the atmosphere interplaying with the casks.” The distillery will create 20 local jobs, part of Mr Bakewell’s aspirations for the regeneration of Harris, creating jobs and enabling work-exiles to come home. The building will be ‘easy on the eye, functional but with charm’, he promised, made with stone from South Harris.

(Far right) Burr Bakewell joins (l to r) Alasdair Allan MSP, distillery architect John Coleman and Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead in Tarbert on the announcement of the Government grant.

COMMUNITY CONSULTATIONS ON HOW TO SPEND SOUTH UIST TURBINE INCOME Stòras Uibhist held four meetings last month to seek community views on how to spend the income from their three wind turbines in Loch Carnan. Around 100 people in total attended the meetings which were held in Daliburgh, Grogarry Lodge, Stoneybridge and Benbecula. Stòras chief executive Huw Francis presented a Future Projects Suggested List under the headings Grant and Loan Funding, Land and Asset Improvements, Enterprise and Community Investments and Alternative Projects. Participants were invited to break out into groups to discuss and record their preferred options. Mr Francis said an estimated £3.4million will be available for projects over the next five years. He said: “The meetings are helping us find out how people feel about Land and Assets projects which include township drainage and repairing

Iochdar schoolchildren joined the Storas team on the completion of the turbines last October.

outlets, upgrading Grogarry Lodge, a fencing fund and ranger service; and what kind of investment they want to see in things like marketing, bringing abandoned buildings back into community use, small-scale wind and hydro renewables, croft access upgrades and new commercial investments.” The range of Alternative Projects up for discussion includes footpaths, archaeological marketing, a meat processing facility, live shellfish storage, and 80m commercial pier at Lochboisdale for large vessels and an Eriskay Centre. The results of the community consultations will now be considered by Stòras Uibhist. Meanwhile Stòras is confident that the three 2.3MW turbines standing motionless since October will be connected to the national grid this month, and creating income for the community by the end of this year.

An Radio’s new manager is in post A Fife man with thirty year’s experience in radio as presenter, producer, programme controller and founder is An Radio’s new station manager. Kenny Macalister.

Flùraichean Mhàiri Your Florist in Uist Full range from bouquets to wreaths Every occasion catered for ● Delivery from Berneray to Barra ● ●

tel: 01878 700320 264 Daliburgh, South Uist, HS8 5SS

Kenny Macalister,originally from Newport,takes the reins of Uist radio with a pledge to welcome everyone who wants to be involved with the new station and find a way for them to develop their skills. Mr Macalister, 50, began his career as weekend breakfast presenter with WestSound in Ayr, followed by stints with Ocean Sound in Hampshire, BFBS (Germany), Aire FM (Leeds), Clyde 1, Scot FM, Heart FM (Warrington), Talk Radio, Radio 1 (Kampala, Uganda) and 106CTFM (Kent). For the past ten years he has been programme director on Passion for the Planet (London) a digital service focusing on health and environment issues. An Radio is Mr Macalister’s first venture into community radio. He said: “I will begin by listening to what people want from their station. The door is open for everyone who wants to become involved, from being on air, to doing news, making five minute documentaries, creating promos, adverts and jingles, learning audio editing or just simply making tea. Our volunteer recruitment drive will be starting next month.” A fully-functioning FM station is some months away, but Mr Macalister said an online version would be launched ‘fairly soon’ to trial ideas.

February 2013 Issue 11 - island news & ADVERTISER

Mixed reviews for new community skip system


Berneray community skip has a rota of volunteers.

Council promises help for ‘disappointed’ South Uist township The new system for disposing of bulky household waste in manned, lockable community skips has met with a mixed response in the Uists. Community skips, which used to rotate around townships across the islands, were withdrawn suddenly by the Comhairle (CnES) last year in response to concerns raised by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). Ten closed and lockable skips were ordered by CnES, six for Lewis and Harris, and four for the Uists. Barra & Vatersay have a recycling centre at Garrygall deemed appropriate for the island’s needs. In Uist, Berneray Development Company and Berneray Community Council joined forces to order a skip to be placed near the harbour. The skip is manned by eight trained volunteers, and open on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 10 and 12.

Sue Wilson of Berneray Development Group said: “We each do two hours duty once a month, and it’s working well. It’s giving the community two opportunities a week to dump their domestic refuse.” North Boisdale township, South Uist, now has a skip in place by the old netting station at Orasay. However the community has expressed frustration and disappointment at the restrictions on what they can place in the skip. Township clerk and skip key holder Roddy MacLeod has made himself available to open the skip anytime anyone wants to dispose of rubbish. He said: “The problem is what you can’t put in it. In the past people put everything in the skips, and there was no fly-tipping. Now people are coming along with things and being told they can’t put them in. “There is a huge list on the inside of the door, which includes things like car parts, batteries, tins of paint and sileage waste.

“We already have evidence of flytipping starting on the shore. We have the impression that the Comhairle has taken the opportunity to charge for the disposal of rubbish we didn’t have to pay for before.” Iain Campbell of Zero Waste Western Isles, based in Creed Park, Stornoway said: “We will issue training to North Boisdale township which will help the skip to work well for them. “The items that are now deemed unsuitable for disposal into the skips have nearly always been banned from the skips. It was just that there was no way to enforce this with an unmanned open skip. “As crofting wastes such as silage wrap are categorised as industrial waste, they were not “allowed” to be disposed of in the old community skips but that did not stop this type of material being disposed of in this way. “Any crofter that produces waste has

legal duty to dispose of this waste properly. Fly tipping is not acceptable and just because the waste producer is not willing to pay the appropriate charges is not a justifiable excuse.” Mr Campbell added: “There are now six sites in Lewis and Harris that are working really well and we want it to work well in Uist too.” Meanwhile local businessman Ralph Thomson expressed disappointment that a scheme he has devised for the collection of used silage wrap has not yet attracted funding. He said: “Disposing of silage wrap is a huge problem. With Zero Waste we wanted to pilot a scheme for three years where by each township collected their waste wrap, and it was sent for recycling to Dundee. We had everything in place for the scheme, but obviously this is not a good time to look for funding from Comhairle.”

POPULAR YOUNG UIST BAND RELEASES EP Na h-Eileanaich CD now on sale The six-piece Na h-Eileanaich grew from weekly classes organised by Fèis Tir a’Mhurain in South Uist. The group worked with local musicians with additional guidance from Iain MacDonald (Glenuig), Norrie MacIver (Manran) and with support from Feisean nan Gaidheal. After their debut performance at the opening of HebCelt in 2011 the band quickly became one of the most sought-after acts in events across Uistdespite all being teenagers and in full-time education. Norrie MacIver said “ I met Na h-Eileanaich a few years back through a fèis project and they were great fun to work with. It’s always great to see young folk so keen and interested in the music they play. They played at the Hebridean Celtic Festival and when I heard the sound check couldn’t believe it was the same band I had rehearsals with a few months before. They worked so hard to put these great sets together.” The six-track EP, recorded by Wee Studio of Stornoway captures their energetic interpretation of the traditional music which has been the soundtrack of their lives in Uist. Tracks include Cows, Oran na Cloiche, Strathspeys, Tir A’ Mhurain, The Sleeping Tune and Donella. A concert is promised to celebrate the EP this spring. Meanwhile the EP will be aired on BBC

Radio nan Gaidheal, BBC Radio Scotland, Isles FM, Cuillin FM and other media. The band features Paula MacInnes (lead vocals) Pàdruig Morrison (accordion and piano) Micheal Steele (small pipes, low D whistle and Highland pipes) Mairi Innes (drums, guitar, bass and backing vocals, Angus John MacInnes (drums, bass and backing vocals) and Siobhan Nicolson (backing vocals). The EP, entitled simply Na h-Eileanaich, is available to buy in local shops and on-line, priced £7.


island news & ADVERTISER - February 2013 Issue 11

Gàidhlig/Gaelic Gaidhlig/Gaelic Ceumannan Rosalind

Èideann a dh’ Uibhist a dh’obair comhla rithe.Tha i a’ dol a bhith an-sàs ann an fiolm dannsa, The Time it Takes le Goat Media. Cumaibh sùil amach air a shon. Agus rud a b’ fheàirrd dhuinn uile, dhòmhsa co-dhiù, tha i a’ cumail clas ann an gluasad do dh’inbhich, ann an Sgoil Lionacleit gach Diciadain, 4-5.

Eairdsidh Caimbeul ‘S e Oifigear Leasachaidh Dannsa a th’ ann an Rosalind Masson. Tha i ag obair aig Ceòlas le taic bho Alba Chruthachail, agus ‘s e a dleastanas a bhith a’ toirt dannsa air adhart ann an Uibhist ‘s Barraigh. Rugadh Rosalind ann an Glaschu, ‘s thogadh i ann an Cille Bhearchainn, faisg air Pàislig. ‘S e dannsair proifeasanta a th’ innte. Rinn i a trèanadh aig an Sgoil Dannsa Ùr Nòs ann an Lunnainn, ‘s thug i a-mach MSc ann ann an ealain nam meadhonan cuideachd.Tha i ag obair san dùthaich seo ‘s thall thairis a’ dannsa ‘s a’ teagasg ann an

Lunnainn, Berlin ‘s New York. Tha Rosalind air a bhith uabhasach trang bhon a thàinig i. An-dràsta fhèin tha i ag obair le na hoileanaich bho Cholaiste Bheinn na Fadhla a tha a’ cur air cuirm–chiùil ‘Danns an Eilein’ aig Celtic Connections, le taic bho Thaigh Chearsabhagh. Tha i ag obair gu dlùth le na sgoiltean cuideachd, a’ toirt ionnsachadh na cloinne air adhart tro dhannsa. An teirm seo, tha i a’ cuideachadh nan sgoilearan ann an Dalabrog ‘s Èirisgeidh le pròiseact air Raibeart Burns. Aig deireadh a’ Mhàirt thig buidheann dannsa , ‘La Nua’ à Dùn

Ma tha ùidh agaibh ann an dannsa ‘s an dualchas, feuch am bruidhinn sibh rithe.Tha i ag obair a-mach à oifis Cheòlais ann an Dalabrog, 01878 700 154, rosalind@ceò . Mura biodh gu leòr aice ri dhèanamh,tha i trang ag ionnsachadh na Gàidhlig cuideachd. Gu dearbh, ‘s e deagh oileanach a th’ innte.‘S e an fhìrinn a th’agam, tha mise ga teagasg! Mar a thuirt i fhèin, sa Ghaidhlig :‘s toil leam na h-eileanan.Tha mi a’ fuireach ann an Cille Donnainn, agus ‘s toil leam an tràigh, a’mhuir ‘s na h-eòin. Chaidh mi a choiseachd air beinn ann an Uibhist a Tuath ‘s chunnaic mi iolaire air air an sgiath fodham, bha sinn dìreach eireachdail !

Celtic Connections- seo a-rithist

ROSALIND’S STEPS Archie Campbell Rosalind Masson is a Dance Development Officer. She is employed by Ceòlas, with funding from Creative Scotland, to take forward dance projects in Uist and Barra. Rosalind was born in Glasgow, and brought up in Kilbarchan near Paisley. She’s a professional dancer, and trained at the London Contemporary Dance School. She also took an MSc in Media Arts. She works in this country and abroad, and dances and teaches in London, Berlin and New York. Rosalind has been extremely busy since

Coinneach MacMhànais Tha a’ Bhliadn’ Ùr seachad, ach tha an geamhradh againn fhathast – ‘s beag an t-iongnadh gu bheil daoine a’faireachdainn beagan ìosal aig an àm seo den bhliadhna. Ach, tha fuasgladh againne ann an Glaschu –Celtic Connections. Tha an fhèis seo air a bhith a’ ruith airson fichead bliadhna. Seo fear de na tachartasan as motha a th’ anns a’bhaile-mhòr.A dh’aindeoin an fhacail ‘ceilteach’,tha iomadh seòrsa ciùil ann, agus bidh cuid de dhaoine a’ gearan mu dheidhinn sin. Air an laimh eile, bidh a’ chuid as motha de na cuirmean-ciùil làn agus tha an còmhnaidh feadhainn ann far nach eil ticead air fhàgail. Cluinnidh tu gu tric ‘’Chan eil an fhèis cho math ‘s a bha e an-uiridh’’. Chuala mi sin ceart gu leòr an-

uiridh agus a bhòn-uiridh agus a h-uile bliadhna eile, cha mhòr. ‘S toil le daoine a bhith a’ gearan. Ach smaoinich air na h-ainmean agus an ceòl – Run Rig, Capercaillie, Kathleen NicAonghais, Julie Fowlis, Blair Douglas, Moving Hearts, Paul Brady, the Barra MacNeils,Ashley MacIsaac,Alan Stivell, Dan ar Braz agus na ceudan eile. Sin agaibh cuid de na h-ainmean as ainmeile à Alba, Èirinn, Ceap Breatann ‘s a’ Bhreatann Bhig a thaobh ciùil.Agus bidh ceòl bho na dùthchannan ceilteach eile ann. An-uiridh, bha Tom Jones againn a chàirdean. Bidh esan a’ seinn ceòl soisgeul Ameireaganach anns na laithean seo. Cha robh mi aig a’chuirm-chiùil ach a rèir coltais,tha guth seinn aige fhathast. Agus bruidhinn air ceòl Ameireaganach, a’ chiad turas a chunnaic mi James Taylor ‘s ann aig Celtic

Connections a bha e. Chan e dìreach ceòl bho na dùthchannan ceilteach agus Ameireaga a bhios ann, ach cèol bhon t-saoghail mhòr air fad- Carlos Nunez à Galicia agus Kepa Junkera à dùthaich nam Basgach nam measg. Bhon a thàinig Dòmhnall Shaw a bhith na stiùiriche den fhèis tha barrachd den leithid air a bhith ann. Rud nach eil a’ còrdadh ris a h-uile duine. Co-dhiù, ge be dè ‘ n seòrsa ciùil a tha thu ag iarraidh, tha e ri chluinntinn. Tha an fhèis dìreach air tòiseachadh agus ‘s e cuirm-ciùil an t-Sabhal Mhòir a’ chiad rud a bhios agamsa. Tha an tachartas seo a’ comharrachadh dà fhichead bliadhna bhon a thòisich Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Bidh cuid de na seinneadairean as fheàrr an làthair, a bha, agus a tha, aig a’ cholaiste. Chan eil am Faoilteach a’ coimhead cho dona idir.

coming here. Right now she’s working with the students from Benbecula College who are putting on a performance ‘Danns an Eilein’ at Celtic Connections, with support from Taigh Chearsabhagh. She works closely with schools, developing children’s learning through dance. This term, she’s helping children from Daliburgh and Eriskay Schools with their project on Robert Burns. At the end of March, an Edinburgh-based dance group ‘La Nua’ is coming to the islands to work with her. She’s also going to be involved in a Uist-based dance film The Time it Takes produced by Goat Media. Keep an eye out for it. And something which would

CELTIC CONNECTIONS – HERE WE ARE AGAIN Kenneth McManus The New Year is over, but the winter is still with us – little wonder that people feel a bit low at this time of the year. But we have a solution in Glasgow – Celtic Connections. This festival has been running for twenty years now. Despite the word ‘celtic’ it features all sorts of music, and some complain about this. On the other hand, most of the concerts are very well attended and many sell out. You often hear ‘’The festival isn’t as good as it was last year’’ I’ve heard that right enough, last year, the year before that and pretty much

every year. People like to complain. But think of the names and the music – Run Rig, Capercaillie, Kathleen MacInnes, Julie Fowlis, Blair Douglas, Moving Hearts, Paul Brady, the Barra MacNeils, Ashley MacIsaac, Alan Stivell, Dan ar Braz and hundreds more. These are the biggest names from Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton and Brittany for music. And there is also music from other celtic countries. My friends, we had Tom Jones last year. He sings American Gospel songs these days. I didn’t go to his concert, but by all accounts he can still sing. And talking of American music, the first time I ever saw James Taylor was at Celtic Connections. It isn’t just music from the celtic countries and

America that features but music from all over the world – Carlos Nunez from Galicia and Kepa Junkera from the Basque country among them. Since Donald Shaw took over as director there been more of such music. This isn’t to everyone’s liking. However, whatever type of music you want to listen to, it’s here. The festival has just started, and the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig concert is my first stop. This event is to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the college. Some of the finest singers will be performing from those who attended, and are currently attending the college. January doesn’t look so bad after all.

be good for all of us, for me anyway, she runs a movement for adults class in Liniclate School on Wednesdays 4-5. If you’re interested in dance and culture, make sure you speak to Rosalind. She works out of the Ceòlas office in Daliburgh, 01878 700 154, If she didn’t have enough to do, she’s also busy learning Gaelic. Indeed, she’s a good learner. I’m telling the truth, I’m teaching her! As she said herself, in Gaelic: “I like the islands. I live in Kildonan and I like the beach, the sea and the birds. I went for a walk on a hill in North Uist, and I saw an eagle flying beneath me. That was just magnificent!”

Tha ar duilleag cunbhalach dà-chànanach Gàidhling ’s Beurla air a thoirt thugaibh le taic bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig Our regular Gaelic-English page is brought to you with the assistance of Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Deasaiche/Editor: Eairdsidh Caimbeul/Archie Campbell


February 2013 Issue 11 - island news & ADVERTISER



Kenny MacKenzie.

Going,going - but definitely not gone after 44 years on the rostrum

Popular auctioneer promises to keep coming back to isles marts after his retirement they went away to Kyle and then by train to Dingwall, or from Oban to Stirling. It took a lot of organising. “Change was rapid. 1965 was the last year of droving, by ’66 it was part droving, part floating. The horse was only gone five or 10 years before that, and the tractor started coming in.”

Kenny:You’ve got to know values to set a respectable starting price.

Well-kent Dingwall & Highland Marts auctioneer Kenny MacKenzie has announced his retirement at the end of this year, but says he will keep coming over to the islands to help out when required. Mr MacKenzie is a familiar face at Lochmaddy and Stornoway marts, having wielded the gavel at island sales for the past 44 years. Now he can look back on almost half a century with Dingwall Marts, rising from rookie 16 year old clerk to managing director for the past 12 years, proud of his company’s record in serving the farmers of the Highlands and islands. He says his decades of coming to the islands have been full of fun, humour, parties, dances, good craic- and plenty of change. He said: “I remember my first time on the islands in September 1965. We left Dingwall at 9.30am on the Friday and I got home the following week Saturday. They were the days of droving, when we travelled all round the islands and walked the stock to the various pier heads, and then loose onto the old cattle boats before

Kenny: life-long passion for livestock and farming.

Mr MacKenzie also witnessed changes in breeds with the cross-Highland and cross-Shorthorn declining in popularity, and the rise of the Angus and Hereford. He said: “In the 80s continental breeds came in and there were a lot of changes in breeding. With sheep, breeding programmes came in to improve the blackie stock.” Mr Mackenzie first stepped onto the rostrum aged 20. “You couldn’t hear me behind a newspaper,” he said. Even now he admits to being nervous for the first two or three lots of a sale. He said: “Everyone should be nervous at the start, it shows you’re conscientious and want to do your best for both sides. “You’ve got to know values to set a respectable starting price, and you’ve got

to conduct the sale with decorum and keep control of the situation. “Sometimes people get angry with you if you miss a bid, which can happen to anybody, and sometimes they think you’re favouring someone else. You have to be firm without upsetting people and remember it’s not just about money, but pride too. “Keeping the lots moving is very important. If you start the bidding too low people can be asleep by the time you reach the right price and it’s exhausting.” Mr MacKenzie is originally from Evanton, Ross-shire, and went to agricultural school in Balmacara between the ages of 14 and 16. Determined to work in farming, he had planned to go to Craibstone College in Aberdeen after working a year on a farm to take him to the right age for admission. When the job with Dingwall Marts came up, he decided to give it a go, and has never looked back. After his official retirement Mr MacKenzie will come off the board and will be replaced as MD by Ian Tolmie. His passion for livestock and farming remains undimmed and he will continue running Dingwall Mart’s 700 acre farm.

Kenny: proud to have served the islands.

Turn to page 16 for more crofting news


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Kenny:You have to conduct the sale with decorum and keep control.

He said: “I enjoy it, I’ve always done it and I don’t want to retire completely. I imagine I’ll still come out to the islands as there are sales every day in Dingwall, sometimes two in summer and they’ll need back-up.” Mr Mackenzie added: “I’m proud to have served the farming and crofting communities with the only weekly market on the west side. It’s been the saviour of the Highlands as far as marketing is concerned, with all the other marts closing over the years. If we weren’t there there would be a lot less stock in the Highlands and islands. I’m pleased to hand it on in good shape for the next generation to market stock for the future.”


island news & ADVERTISER - February 2013 Issue 11

Neighbours Colonsay community takes over pub for winter

Colonsay residents unanimously reject new ferry proposals

Scott Weatherstone When Colonsay residents heard that the only pub on the island, in The Colonsay Hotel, might close for the winter, rather than agonising, they started organising. Local Development Officer Donald MacNeill negotiated a deal with hotel owner Alex Howard whereby the community could rent the pub from him and run it with volunteers. Keir Johnston and Grace MacPhee of Colonsay Shop provided bar training for ten locals who stepped forward to man the optics in the island’s hour of need. The curtain was lifted on Colonsay Community Pub at the beginning of December with a whisky-tasting session. Grace said: “Our opening night was a roaring success. We’d like to thank Laphroaig, Bruidladdich, Bunnahabhain distilleries for donating their lovely whisky.”

Pudsey the Bear dropped by when ‘A Gaggle of Colonsay Grannies’ organised a buffet and live music event for Children In Need, raising £725. The Christmas Craft Fayre also went well and Hogmanay saw the place packed to the rafters, with revelers enjoying bagpipe music and fireworks at midnight. Locals will be running the pub until the end of March, when Alex Howard will take it over again. Between now and then, a Games Night and several openings for rugby Six Nations matches are planned.

Colonsay fish farm vote imminent Colonsay residents are preparing to vote on the establishment of a new fish farm off the north-eat coast of the island. Marine Harvest says the venture will provide 4-6 full-time jobs for local people. The company has been consulting the community during the past year. They have sent every islander a copy of their Environmental Statement, which they say scientifically measures the level of risk that the proposal carries. Residents’ reactions have been mixed. Angela Skrimshire said: “This big

document, though a crucial component is NOT the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The EIA won’t event start till the company submits its planning applicationAFTER the island has voted on the proposal.” Coming from a different angle is Caitlin McNeill, a 19-year-old who was born and brought up on the island. She said: “I want to be able to live on my island. By voting ‘no’ we would be condemning ourselves to standing still. I want to raise my

children here. I want a new generation of kids to experience what I did growing up here. That is my dream. I will vote yes for myself; when I come home for good I want to see a working community. I will vote yes for my brother; why should he feel compelled to leave his home because there is no work?” Marine Harvest will shortly hold three Open Days in the village hall leading up to the poll, due to take place later this month.

Colonsay residents rejected out of hand proposed changes to the island’s ferry service at their January community council meeting. Transport Scotland wants the current ro-ro vessel for the Small Isles to be reassigned to provide an all-year-round dedicated vessel for Colonsay. Those present felt that the proposed replacement boat, the MV Lochnevis, would not be able to meet the island’s needs. It can only accommodate 16 cars, whilst the two MV Lochnevis. boats currently assigned to Colonsay can handle 70 and 54, respectively. Colonsay resident Andrew MacGregor said: “If a large articulated vehicle is on the boat, there would only be room for three cars.” Netta Titterton said: “A friend who travelled on the Lochnevis told me that there were not enough internal seats for the passengers on a busy crossing.” The meeting heard that community council members on Eigg and Rum said MV Lochnevis only successfully completed around half of its sailings during the winter. Andrew MacGregor warned that frequent cancellations could disrupt petrol, diesel and gas supplies to the island. Coastguard Jim McLoughlin said that the journey time to Oban would increase from 2hrs 20 minutes to 3 hours. Visitor accommodation providers also complained that the proposals would almost certainly have a severe negative impact on their businesses. A show of hands revealed that nobody present thought that the proposals either represented an improvement or that they were acceptable. Community council chair Sheena Nesbit undertook to feed these views back into Transport Scotland.

Find out more about what’s going on in Colonsay in The Corncrake,editor Scott Weatherstone. Go to and follow the link on the home page.

Mixed fortunes for Canna sea bird population A 25 year UK Seabird Monitoring Programme (SMP) shows some Canna seabird populations declining in line with trends in Scotland, and others holding their own. Each year numbers of fulmar, shag, great skua, mew gull, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, greater black-backed gull, kittiwake, common tern, common guillemot, razorbill and black guillemot are counted.

The breeding success of fulmar, shag, herring gull, great black-backed gull and kittiwake is also monitored annually. Figures from 2011 show that herring gull, great black backed gull and shag have declined on Canna, with black guillemot numbers remaining stable. These results are in line with the trend of a fall of 53% in seabirds breeding in Scotland. Unlike the decline seen across Scotland, kittiwakes on Canna have

increased, and last year recorded their highest productivity since monitoring began, as did great black-backed gulls. Numbers of mew gull and great skua nesting on the island have also increased, and fulmar, shag and herring gull are also showing improved breeding success. Following a rat eradication project in the winter of 2005/6, a small number of Manx shearwaters is now nesting successfully on steep grassy slopes on Canna’s south side.

Guillemots on Canna. Courtesy of Kenny Graham.

February 2013 Issue 11 - island news & ADVERTISER


People The Chess Men completes May’s Lewis-set trilogy which includes The Black House (Quercus 2011) and The Lewis Man (Quercus 2012).

Peter May entertained a packed house in Taigh Chearsabhagh.

Clutching copies of his books for signing, more than 50 people packed the venue to listen to May tell the story of his writing life, and his adventures in Lewis, China and France. They rejoiced in May’s announcement that The Black House is to be made into a two hour radio drama by BBC Scotland, and that a TV company close to signing a deal Peter May signed books for fans. for a three hour drama of his Lewis trilogy for national television. There was more delight when he announced that his series The Enzo Files, a critical success abroad, will be published for the first time in this country late this year. In his talk, May traced his writing career from his first book, aged four, through his years in journalism on the Paisley Daily Express and The

May’s final book in Lewis trilogy launched in North Uist

Scotsman, his move into TV scriptwriting including Take the High Road and his five unforgettable years producing the Gaelic soap opera Machair when he was based in Lewis for five months of the year. Those years getting to know Lewis so well planted the seeds of The Black House, which he embarked on ten years later after five colourful years writing The China Thrillers, a series of six novels which took him to the heart of crime in China for his research. May is festooned with honours from overseas for his writing, and particularly from France where he lives. He said: “After every publishing house in Britain rejected The Black House, I put it to the back of a drawer and tried to forget it for many years. It was my French publisher who read it and loved it, and bought the world rights, translating it into French where it’s a best seller.” The Chess Men is set in Uig and May says, “brings everything to a conclusion, although not too neatly tied up because life’s not like that.”

Glasgow author Peter May kicked off the promotional tour of his latest novel The Chess Men with a talk and signing at Taigh Chearsabhagh, Lochmaddy.

Canadian philanthropic foundation bears Lochmaddy name A Canadian charitable foundation has been named after Lochmaddy, thanks to its founder’s connections to the North Uist village. Investment banker Kevin Campbell can trace his roots back to 1910 in Lochmaddy, and says he used the name to recognise the sacrifice of the generations before him. Mr Campbell visited Lochmaddy with his father in 1999, and met up with some of his relatives, including retired registrar Donald John Campbell of Fairview, Lochmaddy. Kevin related his family history: “John Alexander Campbell, whose brother is Donald John’s father, adventured over to Vancouver from a Lochmaddy crofter’s life around 1910, then promptly turned around and headed back to Lochmaddy. He married a Margaret MacDonald from the Monach Islands. “Then they quickly turned around back to Vancouver and my grandfather was born either in transit or just after arriving in Vancouver (1912). “John Alexander then enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders of Vancouver at the age of 34 to go fight in World War I and died at Passchendaele. Margaret and the

Investment banker Kevin Campbell.

four kids returned to Lochmaddy again from 1918 until about 1924; then went back to Vancouver for good. “My grandfather (Donald John) dropped out of school in Grade 9 to go to

work in a sheet metal plant to help support the family and eventually worked in the shipyards. “My father (also a John Alexander) grew up in a working class area of East Vancouver and became a lawyer. I was raised in a suburb of Vancouver and became an investment banker in the mining sector, for which Vancouver is one of the world’s hubs.” Mr Campell said the risk-taking and hard work of his forebears laid the foundation for the family in Canada, and was the inspiration for the Lochmaddy Foundation which he founded in 2007. He said: “It is really the quintessential westward story of intergenerational economic mobility, repeated so many times over the last century in both the United States and Canada by immigrant families from all over the world. “Lochmaddy Foundation aims to invest the proceeds of some of that hard work towards those that need a hand to repeat the same historical process.

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February 2013 Issue 11 - island news & ADVERTISER

New Crofting Register aims to record all the croft land in Scotland Crofting law expert Brian Inkster explains what you need to know The new Crofting Register came into force on 30 November 2012. The register will attempt to record the full extent of croft land in Scotland, along with associated interests. The register will also record land held runrig

and common grazings. It will contain information on the tenant, owner-occupier along with the landlord or registered owner. The Keeper of the Registers of Scotland will maintain the register, which is – like the Land Register – map based. For the first year of operation, entry into the register is voluntary. After the first year, certain ‘trigger’ events will require compulsory registration, mainly relating to regulatory applications to the Crofting Commission such as assignations and croft divisions. However, somewhat surprisingly, the first purchase of a tenanted croft is not a trigger that induces registration. Sublets will not

feature in the new register, so a duplicate check of the existing Register of Crofts maintained by the Crofting Commission in Inverness will be necessary to ascertain whether any are in existence. And whilst common grazings will be mapped the actual shareholding held by each crofter in those grazings will not be identified in the Crofting Register. Any application made to the register will cost £90, to be paid by the applicant, be it crofter, landlord, or owner-occupier. The Scottish Government has set aside £100,000 to assist and encourage voluntary registration; therefore there will be a reduced fee for voluntary registration of crofts where either 10 or more applications for registration in the same township,

or all the crofts in the same township comprising more than one but less than 10 crofts, are submitted jointly to the Crofting Commission. These joint applications must be received by the Crofting Commission before 30th November 2013. The fee is then reduced by £20 for each application. Due to the often ambiguous nature of crofting boundaries, there is a nine month challenge period following registration. Challenges will be made direct to the Land Court who can order for rectification to be made. The register can be accessed for free at Brian Inkster, Inksters Solicitors, Glasgow, Inverness & Wick.

Goose control main concern in Machair Life meeting The urgent need to control the spiralling greylag goose population on Uist dominated discussions at a recent Machair Life meeting in Benbecula. The meeting, chaired by George Campbell, RSPB, was called to discuss priorities in this, the final year of the Machair Life project,and to look at ways forward after the project finishes. Machair Life has garnered positive support from crofters after its work to support traditional crofting with initiatives such as supplying machinery, collecting and spreading seaweed, and above all, crop protection from geese. The meeting heard from Machair Life’s crop protection co-ordinator Rory MacGillivray that the scheme had been successful last year with with much less

damage reported. Crofters acknowledged the efforts by Machair Life in conjunction with Storas Uibhist and North Uist Estate to keep geese from their crops, but said the population of greylag geese continued to spiral out of control. Archie MacDonald, Torlum said: “The worst is yet to come. The population has reached tipping point. The goose will finish off crofting in Uist.” Crofters agreed that continuation of a crop protection programme was vital after the end of Machair Life, but heard that ways of funding it were unclear in the

light of poor Scottish Government support for goose control. A glimmer of light came from SNH’s adaptive management programme, which started last September and is designed to reduce greylag numbers. SNH officer Johanne Ferguson said the programme was proceeding well with goose numbers already down by 2,500. George Campbell urged crofters to make urgent representation to their MSPs and MP for the continuation of crop protection. He said: “They need to hear of the impact on the Uists. Makes noises!”








island news & ADVERTISER - February 2013 Issue 11

Paw Prints

Welcome to Paw Prints, where your animals get their chance to shine. fridge, Mac looks for cheese in the mfy in while Rosie makes herself co siblings the slow-cooker. The cheeky and live with Jennifer Ambrose h, Neil MacCormick in Daliburg South Uist.

Mitzi may only be nine weeks old, but she already has Cleo the lab under her tiny paw. And Mitzi says: “Hamster? What hamster? In your dreams.” She lives with Julie Kelty in Lochcarnan, South Uist

Email your hi-res photos to pawprints with your name and address, your pet’s name and anything you’d like to say about them. Then look out for your photo on IN&A’s Paw Print page over the coming months!

Paw r her picture in fo g in ok lo is Mopsy g ly has the wron te a n u rt fo n u t Prints, bu attention-loving newspaper. The th. happy this mon princess will be in helagh Davies She lives with S outh Uist. Lochboisdale, S

Cindy found be ing one of Santa ’s little helpers absolute ly exhausting th is Christmas. Sh e lives with Mic helle Macleod in Sto rnoway, Lewis.

DOWN: 1) What’s the point, 2) Fever, 3) Rank, 4) See-saw, 5) Alphabet, 6) Rag doll, 7) Winning streak, 12) Deafness, 13) Lecture, 15) Assign, 18) Elite, 19) Comb. SOLUTIONS: ACROSS: 1) Wafer, 4) Sparrow, 8) Advance, 9) Pagan, 10) Sore, 11) Macaroni, 13) Leer, 14) Cell, 16) Pacifist, 17) Best, 20) In use, 21) Idolise, 22) Treason, 23) Break.

February 2013 Issue 11 - island news & ADVERTISER


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1) Holy food taken to commune with belief (5) 4) Slayer of the robin in the song (7) 8) Technological improvement makes a process better (7) 9) Non-Christian belief and believer (5) 10) Don’t make a rose turn in the wind, it might be painful (4) 11) Soft tubes with cheese, delicious (8) 13) Salacious glance half laughing (4) 14) Where a monk might rest and a convict pace (4) 16) A Quaker would be one without a question (8) 17) The most perfect, desirable and suitable in short (4) 20) Unavailable for anyone to utilize because it is being so already (2, 3) 21) Place on a pedestal and excessively venerate (7) 22) Active work against the monarch or state (7) 23) A short one could mean a weekend away (5)

1) Asking about the sharp end might leave you guessing (5, 3, 5)

1) Light biscuit (5)

2) Heightened state of excitement and expectation (5)

8) Move ahead (7)

4) Tiny bird (7)

3) J. A. had a very big gong at the start of every film (4)

9) Pre-Christian (5)

4) Marjorie played on this while slow little John gained a new apprenticeship (3-3)

11) Pasta tube (8)

5) Order according to which one files (8)

14) Booth (4)

6) Very floppy plaything for a little girl (3, 4)

17) Finest (4)

7) The lucky break you hope will last and last (7, 6) 12) Invites everyone to shout at you all the time (8)

10) Tender (4) 13) Smirk (4) 16) Anti-war person (8) 20) Operational (2, 3) 21) Adore (7) 22) Sedition (7) 23) Smash (5)

13)Admonish severely on the error of your ways (7) CLUES DOWN

5) Set of letters (8)

15) Allocate (6)

1) The purpose? (5, 3, 5)

6) Stuffed toy (3, 4)

18) Privileged (5)

18) Twelve typewritten letters to the inch (5)

2) Agitation (5)

7) Run of success (7, 6)

19) Untangle (4)

3) Rancid (4)

12) Hearing impediment (8)

19) Seen on the head of a cockerel, used on the head of man (4)

4) Up and downer (3-3)

13) Informative talk (7)

15)Transfer formally, property perhaps or a duty (6)

Solutions on page 18.

Island New & Advertiser is published by Island News & Advertiser Ltd, Sandary Lodge, Isle of North Uist, HS6 5ED Printed by Cumbrian Newsprint, Newspaper House, Dalston Road, Carlisle CA2 5UA


A monthly free newspaper for the Hebrides of Scotland

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