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013 AUGUST 2 ISSUE 4 -



island news & ADVERTISER


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Four page pull-out

SUMMER THLY SUPPLEMENTS THIS WITH IN&A’s REGULAR MON supplements are supported by Scottish Natural Heritage


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t screening 7 - 31 augus 1- 4pm 11studio 1 mon.- sat. 1

august 8pm preview tuesday 6 refreshments all welcome.

free. n & The artists Jon Thomso the attend Alison Craighead will their preview and talk about practice.

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August 2013

island news Edition 17

IN&A’s summer wildlife




Kerry wins her first gold of the Games.

South Uist’s Kerry MacPhee is training hard to secure a place in the UK Commonwealth Games mountain biking team after her triumph in the World Island Games. Kerry & Christina with their gold medals.

Kerry, 27, from Kilpheder, took gold in the Women’s Individual Triathlon in Bermuda, and with her teammate Christina Mackenzie (Stornoway) took gold in the women’s Triathlon Team event. The duo also took bronze in the Women’s Cyc-ling Time Trial team event, and Kerry found herself on the podium yet again with another cycling bronze.

Now she’s decided to focus on mountain biking as she feels she’s not good enough at triathlon to compete at a senior level. Kerry, who is the current Scottish Duathlon champion and last year’s British CrossTriathlon champion, said: “I didn’t swim when I was younger so I don’t have the muscle build to compete at a high level. “Mountain biking is my main sport so I’m concentrating on that.” She added: “There are four of us chasing three Commonwealth selection places. My next competition is the British Mountain Bike Elite trial at the Olympic course in Essex where I’ll be trying to improve my ranking for the games.”

Kerry began her athletics career in North Uist Amateur Athletics Club, coached by Mairi Levack and Norman Macleod. She was granted her elite racing licence less than two years ago. She now lives in Cambuskenneth, Stirling and works for Alzheimer’s Scotland, coaches at a private school and finds time to work in a bike hire shop. She also coaches with Stirling Triathlon Club. Gaelic-speaker Kerry’s media career is about to take off too with a request by BBC Alba to present a series of six programmes on healthy lifestyle/triathlon.

Island News & Advertiser wishes Kerry good luck in getting to the t Commonweath Games

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island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17


Express your view in 400 words: IN&A does not take responsibility for the views expressed or facts mentioned in readers’ letters

Dear Editor Edition 01





01870 602151 editor@islandnews

I was surprised to discover that adults in the UK have an extraordinary £2.3bn of leftover foreign currency lying around at home.


March 2012

island news

According to a YouGov poll, commissioned by easyJet, in the Scotland alone £108 million is left discarded at home. UNICEF has teamed up with easyJet, the UK’s largest airline to raise money for UNICEF’s work vaccinating children against deadly diseases. Everyday, thousands of children around the

Poet on a Bike Poet, teacher and keen cyclist Chris Powici is peddling his way from his home town of Dunblane to Nairn via the islands at the end of this month, giving poetry readings and writing workshops along the way.

ads@islandnews Design Tim Mason Managing editor Susy Macaulay

8.00 - 10.00pm

Chris is also raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support.

All these are ‘open’ events. Feel free to bring a poem of your own to read during the ‘open mic’ session.

You can support him on the Just Giving website

The company enjoyed spectacular home-baking washed down with music by South Uist’s Gillebride MacMillan, Fort William fiddler Ewen Henderson, Mull singer Alasdair Whyte and traveller’s tales from Maureen Macleod of Ness.

Categories also include The Bairn’s Jam , International Jam and The Team Entr y. The Jampionships take place on Frida y September 6 at the Dundee Flower and Food Festival. More information at www.worldjam

Information boards at An Teampull Information boards are now in place at Teampull na Trionaid, Carinish, North Uist.


In 65 outlets from Tiree to Stornoway; also Oban,Inverness and Glasgow

All you need to bring to a workshop are pen and paper.

Staff from the Gaelic Books Council and their guests raised more than £500 for Marie Curie with a tea party and raffle at their Glasgow HQ.

Organisers of an international jam-making competition have bow ed to a century of experience by setting up a category just for members of the Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes, and they want Isles rurals to participate. Entries for the World Jampionships are invited from now until the closing date on August 16 and can be posted or drop ped off at three points across Scotland.

IN&A’s new website for more local news daily


Catherine Cottrell Deputy Executive Director of Fundraising UNICEF UK

Friday August 30 Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre 9.15 - 11.15am

Calling Isles SWRI jam-makers

Yours sincerely,

Thursday August 29 Taigh Chearsabhag Museum & Arts Centre Lochmaddy, North Uist

Reporter Martin Graham

linger at home after your holiday, put them to good use.

GBC fund-raising tea party


01870 602151

world die needlessly from preventable diseases when the cost of providing a life-saving vaccine to a child is a mere 40 pence. I would urge holidaymakers this summer to donate their leftover currency to UNICEF, onboard easyJet’s aircraft, and help save children’s lives. Don’t allow your Euros to

L to r Margaret MacQuarrie, Angus Macphail, Willie MacDonald of Teampull na Trionaid Conservation Association.

An honesty box for donations by gate to the site has been removed however following a suspected vandalism attack.

The display boards tell the story of the sacred site, and are the final touches of the major conservation project carried out over the past three years to strengthen and preserve the temple buildings. With the completion of the project,

Teampull Na Trionaid Conservation Association chairman Willie MacDonald and secretary Margaret MacQuarrie have stepped down from their offices. Longstanding committee member Iain MacDonald, Blashaval is now chair.

College House, Balivanich, Isle of Benbecula, HS7 5LA Tel: 01870 602228 Fax: 01870 602865

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August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER

Council tackles MoD over Uist turbines ban

South Uist community wind turbines.

As Island News & Advertiser goes to print, it has emerged that the company proposing to open a dispensing pharmacy in Benbecula has also submitted an application for their services to cover North Uist.

Council planners are to go head-tohead with the MoD over their objections to two proposed community wind turbines for North Uist. The MoD has placed a blanket ban on new turbine developments in Uist on the grounds that the turbines could interfere with the Air Defence Radar installations at South Clettraval, South Uist and St Kilda. The proposed windfarm project by North Uist Development Company (NUDC) could see significant income being created for the local community. Planners say they are minded to approve NUDC’s application for the good of the community, “subject to mitigation measures being agreed through discussion with the MoD to address its objection.” North Uist & Benbecula councillor Neil Beaton said: “Councillors are becoming quite frustrated at the delays in development in Uist, both commercial and private, being caused by the MOD’s actions. “The benefits of MoD and Qinetiq’s presence on the islands is almost

becoming outweighed by the limitations they are placing on local development plans like these.” Mr Beaton recently resigned his seat on the board of NUDC to avoid any conflict of interest. Meanwhile Uist businessman Stephen Peteranna of the Isles Hotel Group has commissioned his own report from Buccaneer Consulting to assess the impact of the wind turbine on radar installations. Mr Peteranna has lodged a planning application for a turbine for the Dark Island Hotel at Lionacleit, Benbecula. The independent report found that the MoD’s objections were ill-founded, and that they were not explained properly. Mr Peteranna said: “Based on discussions with the planning department, I knew there was a strong chance of my application being challenged by MoD. “I wanted to get as much information as possible in advance, so

The site of the proposed pharmacy.

that’s why I commissioned the report. “Many councillors have said that they found the report informative, and that it gave them confidence to challenge the MoD position. “The Dark Island hotel has been there for 32 years and supports 40 jobs. “I want it to be around for another 32 years, and to make the business sustainable we have to reduce costs, energy being one of the biggest outgoings.”

Caledonian MacBrayne Crewing (Guernsey) Limited has a requirement for:

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The successful candidate will report to the Master, and will be responsible for the safe and efficient running of the deck department. Applicants must be qualified to a minimum of OOW II/1 Unlimited and in possession of a valid ENG1 certificate and Crowd Control & Crisis Management. Risk Assessment, Human Performance & Resource Management, Entry into Enclosed Spaces, Manual Handling and Working at Heights are desirable however if you are not in possession of these certificates training will be provided. The successful candidate will also have exceptional technical and professional skills, and be able to demonstrate good leadership and communication skills, as well as the ability to think in a creative and

Local Pharmacies originally said their application would only cover Benbecula. If their revised application is successful, dispensing services by the Lochmaddy practice will be transferred to Balivanich, and North Uist patients will be obliged to make a round trip of up to 50 miles to pick up their medication. The development has been greeted with dismay on local social media, with residents questioning the need to change something that works. The pharmacy proposal was greeted with scepticism at a public meeting in Lochmaddy in June when local GPs expressed their fears of the impact on medical services across the Southern Isles. Jamil Khalil of Local Pharmacies said: “I feel there is a need for a dispensing pharmacy in the community, and that the community doesn’t know what a pharmacy can offer. “There has been lots of scaremongering, but the pharmacy offers benefits to the doctors and to the community as a whole. “There has never been a case where GPs have been affected by a pharmacy opening in a rural community, the GP contract is not affected, only the pharmacy contract is affected.” Dr Kate Dawson of Benbecula Medical Practice claims that the practice would lose the income that pays for one GP and three dispensers, and would be unable to offer out of hours service and hospital support at current levels. North Uist Medical Practice has mounted a letter-writing campaign to lobby parliament for a change in regulations favouring the establishment of rural dispensing pharmacies. A spokeswoman for NHS Western Isles confirmed that the application had been received and was being checked. Assuming the application is competent and contains no omissions, the Board has ten working days to inform the relevant board committees of the detail of the application and to start the 60 day public consultation. Dr Dawson said: “After ten days the NHS board will contact all affected patients requesting feedback. I would urge patients to reply via the NHS’s consultation process.”

Councillors clip Clipper plans


Applications are invited for the position of Mate onboard MV Loch Portain within the Berneray/ Leverburgh Route of the CalMac Ferries Limited Fleet.

Dispensing pharmacy application submitted and it includes North Uist

Ref: 377-SG

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar councillors have decided against spending £350,000 to sponsor a ship on a round the world voyage.

innovative manner. You will also be able to demonstrate an awareness of the business environment, have a clear understanding of the customer interface and have a proactive approach to customer care.

Organisers of the Clipper Round the World race had asked the council to underwrite the funds necessary to sponsor a ship in the race.

A shift pattern will apply and this will normally consist of 2 weeks on / 2 weeks off.

The plan was to contact island-related businesses for sponsorship, with the council guaranteeing to meet any shortfall.

The successful candidate should live within daily commuting distance of Berneray as accommodation is not provided.

However, councilors voted down the plan given the current cuts to budgets.

Please send a copy of your CV quoting reference number 377-SG and return no later than 11 August 2013 to: Alternatively, please post your CV to: David MacBrayne HR (UK) Limited Ferry Terminal, Gourock PA19 1QP t: 01475 650100 f: 01475 650268

Caledonian MacBrayne Crewing (Guernsey) Limited is an equal opportunities employer.

North Uist & Benbecula councilor Neil Beaton said: “Many councillors were unhappy with the proposals. “It is a bad idea at a time of job cuts and would have sent the wrong message right now. “There was some uncertainty about getting the businesses on board. “The feeling was that this was potentially a good idea, but it came at the wrong time.”



island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17

Sainsbury’s isles salmon claims under fire

Dr Alexander Macleod.

Site prepared for Drs MacLeod memorial

Uist salmon producers have hit out at Sainsbury’s for labelling mainland farmed salmon as being from the Western Isles.

Earthworks and site preparation have been undertaken at the site designated for the Drs MacLeod Memorial plaque near Clachan, North Uist. The memorial is to commemorate the medical service of Drs Alexander, Julia and John Macleod to their community over almost seven decades. The fund for the plaque now stands at £5,500, including £1200 from collecting boxes placed in North Uist and Benbecula, and a £2000 donation from NHS Western Isles. The wave-shaped steel plaque will be placed alongside the Air Ambulance memorial cairn. A parking space and path have been created on the site, which will be gated and fenced, and planted with bulbs and shrubs. Royal College of General Practitioners Scottish chairman Dr John Gillies and UK president Dr Mike Pringle met members of the memorial committee, including chairman Philip Harding and secretary Margaret MacQuarrie, during their recent visit to the islands. They thanked the committee for their dedication in raising a memorial to the MacLeod doctors. The memorial is expected to be in place for a September unveiling.

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The supermarket giant was reported to the Advertising Standards Agency in May for selling fish in packaging stating the fish was ‘reared in sheltered, fast-flowing seawater locations around the Isles of Skye, Lewis and Uist.’ However, the packages are labelled as coming from fish farms at Rubha Stillaig, Meall Mhor and Tarbert South, all in Argyll.

Industry body the Salmon and Trout Association reported Sainsbury’s again last month for the misleading packaging after the products were found on sale in English supermarkets. Sutherland-based Loch Duart Ltd farms salmon in North and South Uist. Managing director Nick Joy said: “It is irritating when you consider that we are trying to create employment in areas where there are economic challenges.

“Then someone else tries to claim that their product comes from an area which sounds exciting in people’s minds, but they aren’t doing anything for the area. “It’s a pretty nasty thing to do.” Christopher West, general manager of Hebridean Smokehouse said: “It’s not right, it’s mis-selling and it’s misleading. “This does damage across the board in eroding the public’s confidence in what they read on packaging. “They are making claims which the consumer does not have time to check for themselves. “If Sainsbury’s have apologised and continue to do it, then it’s clearly not right.” Hughie Campbell-Adamson, Chairman of Salmon and Trout Association Scotland, said: “It is an almost unbelievable state of affairs, whereby Sainsbury’s is continuing to pass off mainland farm-reared salmon as having come from the Hebrides. “If Sainsbury’s cannot justify their claims, then they must stop making them.” A spokesman for the supermarket admitted: “Unfortunately, there has been an error in the information on the packaging of some our Taste the Difference salmon products in recent months.”

Royal College GPs tour isles Members of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) visited the Outer Hebrides last month to see for themselves some of the challenges faced by remote and rural practices. They identified recruitment and retention as a major challenge to isles practices, along with trying to ensure that services are delivered fairly across the islands. The visit was the idea of chairman of the RCGP in Scotland, Dr John Gillies, who was born in Lochmaddy (Strumore) and had his early schooling on the islands. He said: “When the RCGP’s new president, Dr Mike Pringle asked to see remote and rural practice in action I thought immediately of the islands, as the College has never visited here before.” Dr Gillies, now retired from general practice in Selkirk, arranged for the delegation to visit GPs from Stornoway to Barra. He said: “We looked at the out of hours service run by GPs in

Lewis and Harris. They run A&E with nurses with extended skills. “We also looked at Uist & Barra Hospital.” Dr Gillies said he was impressed with the range of specialities among GPs particularly in Uist where they have additional skills enabling them to provide consultancy services in Uist & Barra hospital. He said: “With many of the Uist GPs aged over fifty, we have to ensure that the new cohort coming in have additional skills for hospital work.” Dr Gillies said that island practices, echoing a global trend, found it difficult to recruit young GPs, who prefer urban settings to the additional challenges posed by remote, rural practice. He said: “We will raise the

issues we found here with the Royal College in Edinburgh, and the Scottish Government.” Dr John Gillies.

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August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER

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island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17

War graves commission visits Southern Isles Two representatives from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) visited the Southern Isles as part of a three yearly inspection cycle. CWGC director-general Alan Pateman-Jones joined the organisation’s Scotland regional supervisor Iain Anderson on a tour from Barra to Lewis to inspect and maintain war graves in most of the 44 cemeteries in the Outer Hebrides which contain war dead. On their list were the two war graves in Teampull Na Trionaid, Carinish, North Uist. The commission erected the WWI

Alan Pateman-Jones of CWGC working on the inscription on one of the war graves in Teampull na Trianaid.

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Alan Pateman-Jones (left) and Iain Anderson of the CWGC have placed new signs in many of the cemeteries in Barra and Uist.

stones in the 1920s, but in the past decade had been unable to visit and maintain them due to the dangerous condition of the temple. Now that the temple has been conserved and the cemetery around it tended and mown, Mr Pateman-Jones and Mr Anderson visited the site with Teampull na Trionaid Conservation Association chair Willie MacDonald and secretary Margaret MacQuarrie. Mr Anderson said: “We were delighted to be able to get access to the graves again, and we congratulate the

association for their achievement with the temple. “We were able to clean the stones and retouch the inscriptions with paint marker pens.” The team travelled from Barra northwards, checking all the Southern Isles sites, retouching inscriptions, and putting official CWGC signs up. “We ran out of signs in North Uist,” Mr Anderson said. “We still have a few more to do and hope to be back to do so next year.”

Garden Menace Beware the earthworm - chomping alien A total absence of earthworms in his North Uist garden rang alarm bells with naturalist Steve Duffield. Eventually he found the cause accidentally imported New Zealand Flatworms. Steve writes: New Zealand Flatworms (Arthurdendyus triangulates) were first recorded in the UK from Belfast in 1963. Two years later they were picked up in The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Since then they have spread to many areas of Scotland and are widespread in southern Harris and the north part of Lewis including Stornoway.

Flatworm curled up.

They feed almost exclusively on earthworms at night but may be found during the day under rocks, plant pots, plastic bags etc. where they roll themselves up like a miniature Swiss roll. They can locally eradicate earthworm populations which has a knock-on effect for soil structure and fertility. They are brown above with a pale fringe and pale underside. The flat body is covered in mucus that some people react badly to if touched. They are easily transported accidentally in plant pots

New Zealand Flatworm.

as an egg (8mm long shiny red then black capsule) or as an adult which is probably how they first arrived in the UK. They tend to prefer damp areas and during dry spells can bury down into the soil where they survive in a state of torpor until the conditions improve again. Once you’ve got flatworms it’s proved impossible to eradicate them, so it’s better to avoid introducing them at all in the first place. The best thing you can do is check likely areas for them i.e. under plant pots, flagstone etc. and squash them if you find any. If you don’t have flatworms be vigilant and careful as to where you take plants in from. If you do buy pot plants examine the soil around the plant and the pot very carefully for adult worms and if there’s any suspicion that a garden or garden centre may have flatworms it would be better to avoid taking pot plants from them at all. If you find flatworms please report the sighting to the contacts below. Please help the research into these aliens by reporting any sightings to: Brian Boag, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA. Telephone: 01382 562731 fax: 01382 562426 email: Please also contact: steveduffield70 with any sightings.

August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER


Bleach horror at Lochmaddy pier A toddler has suffered burns after bleach was used to clean steps at Lochmaddy Pier, North Uist. “Luckily one of the people in our group was a doctor, she examined the boy and helped the family. “There was a strong smell of bleach. “We went out on a trip, and when we came back the smell was even stronger, and we had to scrub down our clothes. “When I got back to the outdoor centre, I hung a bag on top of a brand new baseball cap, and although the bag was undamaged, the cap became discoloured with the bleach residue on it. “I know that the council uses chemicals such as bleach to clean the stairs at low tide to remove algae and make them less slippy but they should be more careful and warn people about it. “If this was my operation and I did it then council would be down on me like a ton of bricks.� A spokesman for Western Isles Council said: “We are aware of the incident and it is regrettable about the boy. “We are investigating what happened and will be reviewing our procedures for cleaning slipways and steps.�

Niall Johnson’s new cap was bleached after contact with a contaminated bag.

The two year old was playing on steps leading down to the water as he waited with his parents for the ferry. The steps had been treated with a bleach-like chemical mixture by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, which owns the pier. The area was not cordoned off and the chemicals were not rinsed away following the treatment. The child suffered burns to his skin and clothes. Niall Johnson runs the Uist Outdoor Centre, and was working with a group of clients at the harbour when the incident happened. He said: “Our group was jumping into the water and getting towed behind the boat around the harbour, just having fun. “Then we noticed a commotion at the top of the stairs which lead down into the water. “A young boy was crying and was very distressed. “I got closer and could see that his clothes were changing colour.

Niall Johnson on the steps at Lochmaddy Pier.

Call for isles to become Crown Dependency A Uist businessman has proposed a radical step to ensure the economic future of the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland. Calum Macaulay, proprietor of the Lochboisdale Hotel, South Uist would like to see the three archipelagos becoming Crown Dependencies, just like the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Mr Macaulay said: “If you think about the population of the Western Isles 26,000 people is insignificant to the central belt government. “But combined with that of Orkney and Shetland it starts to become significant. “If we got Crown Dependency status, we could potentially become centres for offshore banking, like the Isle of Man and



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the Channel Islands.� Mr Macaulay said such a move would stop the island graduate brain-drain, enabling them to build their lives with good jobs at home. He went on: “The population decline on the islands is not sustainable, I read somewhere that there are more over 65s Calum Macaulay. than under 15s on the Uists. “If you can draw in professional people then you will create jobs for tradesmen, builders and so on. “There are also tax advantages to being a Crown Dependency, for instance in Guernsey there is no national insurance to pay. “And if we were outside the EU, then we could rip up all the stifling EU bureaucracy. “The model has worked elsewhere in Europe – Spain has the Canaries, Denmark has the Faroe Islands, it’s not a new model.� Councils from the three regions are working together to make sure their interests are maintained through the Scottish independence referendum process and beyond.

CnES leader Angus Campbell said: “The Crown Dependency system as per the Isle of Man is one of the models we are looking at through the new joint islands’ initiative ‘Our Islands Our Future’. “Whilst there are plus factors such as an attractive tax structure there are some issues which are not so advantageous. For instance, the island is not eligible for assistance from the European Union’s structural funds or under the support measures for agricultural markets.� Under the so-called Lerwick Declaration, a ministerial working group has been set up to consider greater autonomy and powers for island councils. A major conference ‘Our Islands - Our Future’ is

planned for September this year in Orkney to discuss constitutional reform in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum.









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island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17

Eriskay house is polystyrene-perfect It may look like a conventional house, but beneath the pristine white paint lies a secret. Rather than conventional bricks and mortar, the structure of Donald and Kathleen MacDonald’s new house on Eriskay is composed of giant polystyrene blocks. The blocks are clipped together like a giant Lego set, then concrete is poured in. The insulating properties of polystyrene create an ultra-energy efficient house. Builder Roddy MacInnes  explained some of the features that make the house so special.  Energy Performance Certificates He said: “We built the house on standard foundations, but the whole idea is to create an airtight  Thermal Imaging living space. “So the windows on this house have no vents, and there isn’t even a letterbox. “Once the concrete is poured, it’s just one continuous wall around the house. “We then put a special silicon render on the outside which can be painted, and plasterboard on the inside, so it looks and feels like a normal home. “The other clever part of the design is the air pump which circulates air round the house.

Western Isles Energy and Property Services Air Tightness Testing

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Two doubles

Two lounges, one

“Heat is redistributed between with bed settee the rooms rather than being lost to  Wood-burning stove the outside.  Five minutes from “So if you are cooking a pot of beaches soup, the heat will be retained and  Furnished to a very high standard used in the house.  Free wi-fi “And the air is filtered and cleaned once an hour.”  Wheelchair accessible The house was built for Donald  Pets welcome McDonald,a property developer in Glasgow. It’s currently being let out as a luxury, eco-friendly self-catering home. Donald plays in the well-known Contact owners Don and Kathleen on 07796 272748 band Eriskay Lilt, so it seemed Early booking advised natural to name the house Eriskay Lilt too. Donald said: “I always watch ‘Grand Designs’ on the TV and this type of property often features. “I was interested in a green home with reduced energy bills. “The speed of the build was amazing, it went up very fast, it was good to see the progress.” The electrics in the home were installed by South Uist renewables company West Coast Energee. Donald is currently discussing with West Coast Energee the possibility of erecting a wind turbine on the site to create an even greener enterprise.

07810 603188

Donald and Kathleen MacDonald outside Eriskay Lilt.

Passenger numbers plunge at isles airports Passenger numbers are down significantly at Barra and Benbecula airports, according to figures released by Highland and Islands Airports (HIAL) last month. Numbers at Benbecula fell by 25% between June 2012 and June this year. There were 23% less passengers using Barra airport over the same period. Figures for both airports show increasing numbers of passengers in 2013 until the cuts in air services between Barra, Benbecula and Stornoway in April this year. This March, Barra had 11% more passengers than in the previous year. By May there were 32% fewer. For Benbecula, there were 3% more passengers in March 2013 than in the Benbecula airport.

same month in 2012. But April saw the figure plunge by 16.4%. Despite the declining figures, HIAL have reiterated their commitment to providing air services through these airports. A spokesman for HIAL said: “We are committed to providing these lifeline air services to these communities. “There is no question over the future of the airports. “It is part of our public service remit and the routes are subsidised by the Scottish Government.”

August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER


IN&A bioblitz creates biodiversity snapshot of Howmore Public and experts gathered on Howmore machair, South Uist over the last weekend in July to record the biodiversity of the area, including the nearby loch and seashore.

Bill Neill recorded the finds for OHBR.

BSBI botanists recorded 146 species.

A passing snail joined the bioblitz.

Caravan & Campsite in the heart of the Balranald Nature Reserve ● ●

Pitches -10 Caravan/Motorhomes & 10 Tents ● Electric Hook-ups Modern toilet and shower block ● Dish washing facilities

Tel: 01876 510304

Using a modified leaf blower to suck up insects.

Hougharry, North Uist, HS6 5DL Mob: 07748 267996 email:

Stewart, University of Sussex brought a modified leaf-blower to suck up insects from the vegetation for further study . They had been carrying out insect surveys on machair plots for Machair LIFE+. Some 60 species of insect were collected, with Bill Neill and Chris and Christine Johnson of Outer Hebrides Biological Recording (OHBR) identifying the species and setting aside some for further investigation. Surprises included two migrant moths, a Silver Y and Rush Veneer, from Southern Europe. Bill Neill said the bioblitz had provided useful data for the National Biodiversity Network, which has virtually no records for Howmore. He said: “We’re looking for people to train up in recording, as we need more experts. Many of us have taught ourselves from scratch in the past few years.” Thirty species of bird were recorded including Corn Bunting and Great Northern Diver. A delegation of eight botanists from the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) recorded 146 species of plant over a 2km square area. Led by Paul Smith, Outer Hebrides recorder, they visit the islands each summer with a 30 year plan of recording all the flora of the islands. Derek Gorrie and Dr Evelyn Gray of UHI Talking Science donated a box of Food cabin based at Balranald Hebridean Holidays Campsite equipment to Island News, A complete list of and said they hoped that the Open to non-residents the IN&A bioblitz IN&A bioblitzes would Soups finds can be become a sustainable event Homebaking found on the repeated over all the islands Freshly filled rolls and sandwiches IN&A website in years to come.

The 30-hour bioblitz was organised by Island News & Advertiser and brought together representatives from RSPB, SNH, Machair Life and Shorewatch throughout the weekend to offer fun activities and information to the public. UHI Talking Science supplied nets, sample jars, pond-dipping trays and other equipment for members of the public to collect insects and rock pool finds. Trawling through the machair with insect nets proved a particular hit with visiting and local children. A delegation of eight botanists from the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) recorded 146 species of plant over a 2km square area. Led by Paul Smith, Outer Hebrides recorder, they visit the islands each summer with a 30 year plan of recording all the flora of the islands. Visiting etymologist Mike Wilson of the National Museum of Wales (pictured) and Alan

● ● ● ●

Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks, Ice Cream

Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 11am - 3pm Sat & Sun 11am - 4pm

A complete list of the IN&A bioblitz finds can be found on the IN&A website.


island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17

Gàidhlig/Gaelic Gaidhlig/Gaelic Gàidheil Ontario Mu dheireadh thall thàinig sinn a dh’Uibhist son ar bogadh sa Ghàidhlig ‘s beatha a’ choimhearsnachd. Tha e doirbh a chreidsinn gu bheil còrr ‘s bliadhna bhon a thòisich sinn bruidhinn air an toiseach. Dè thug oirnn tighinn a dh’Uibhist? Mar a dh’innis sinn dhuibh roimhe, tha sinn uile a’ dol gu clas ann an York, Ontario, le Oighrig Keogh ‘s Frank Wilson gar teagasg.Tha buintealas làidir aig A bheil sinn uile ann? / Are we all here? Oighrig le Uibhist. Nuair a bhruidhinn sinn air seo an toiseach, cha robh ann ach feall-dhà le Oighrig ag iarraidh oirnn a dhol a dh’ Uibhist.Ach beag air bheag thàinig e gu buil,‘s chuir Deirdre NicEachainn, Oifigear Leasachaidh aig Stòras Uibhist, ar turas air dòigh ‘s bha sinn a’ dol a bhith a’ fuireach ann an cofhurtachd Loidse Ghrògheagearraidh. Gu mì-fhortannach cha b’ urrainn dhan a h-uile duine tighinn ged a bu mhiann leotha, Oighrig nam measg.Ach bha sinn a’ faireachdainn gun robh i faisg oirnn. Thug e toileachas mòr dhuinn gun d’ fhuair sinn cuireadh gu dachaigh piuthar Oighrig, Mairead, ann an Taobh a’ Chaolais, Uibhist a Deas far an d’fhuair sinn deagh aoigheachd. Gu dearbh cha dìochuimhnich sinn gu sìorraidh an t-aoigheachd a fhuair sinn bhon a h-uile duine ann an Uibhist. Bha sinn a’ faireachdainn gun robh sinn am measg ar daoine fhèin ged a tha cuan farsaing eadarainn. Thòisich gach latha le clasichean Gàidhlig le teagasg bho Eairdsidh Caimbeul ‘s Rachel Redshaw a thàinig a-nall còmhla rinn. An uair sin chaidh sinn a-mach air chuairtean gu àitichean inntinneach far am biodh cothroman a bhith a’ cur seachad ùine le muinntir an àite ‘s Gàidhlig a bhruidinn riutha. Fhuair cuid cothrom coinneachadh ri càirdean, agus an rud a b’ fheàrr buileach gun do choinnich cuid ri càirdean nach b’aithne dhaibh roimhe seo. Chuir sinn seachad latha air leth còmhla ri Flòraidh NicDhòmhnaill no Flòraidh Fhearghais mar ‘s fheàrr ‘s aithnichear i.Thug Flòraidh sinn gu a Deagh chupa ti / A good cup of tea seann dachaigh ann am Meànis air taobh- an-ear Bheinn a’ Bhaoghla. Dh’ fhàg Flòraidh Meànis bho chionn fhada ‘s chan eil duine ann an-diugh, ach shaoileadh tu gur ann an-dè a dh’fhalbh i. Ghabh sinn srùbag am broinn an taighe,‘s leugh Flòraidh pìosan bàrdachd a-mach às an leabhar ùr aice ‘Cuantan Dìomhair’, ‘s bha buaidh mhòr aig seo air a h-uile duine. Chaidh sinn a thogail shrùbain air an aon latha ‘s bha iad againn airson ar dìnnear an ath fheasgar. Am measg gach rud eile,bha am biadh san Loidse air leth math, chan eil cuimhn’againn cuin a ghabh sinn biadh cho math ‘s na h-uiread dheth.Tha eagal oirnn gum bi duilgheadasan aig a’ phlean gar toirt dhachaigh. Co-dhiù, tha sinn cho toilichte gun tàinig sinn.Tha barrachd Gàidhlig againn a’ fàgail na bh’ againn a’ tighinn ‘s barrachd misneachd a bhith ga bruidhinn ‘s bha turas againn nach dìochuimhnich sinn cho fad ‘s beò sinn ann an àite eireachdail ‘s daoine coibhneil. Chan eil sinn ag ràdh nach bi sinn air ais ann an ùine nach bi ro fhada.

OUR TRIP TO UIST BY THE ONTARIO GAELS At last, we made it to Uist to be immersed in Gaelic and the life of the community. It’s hard to believe that it’s over a year since we first discussed it. What made us come to Uist? As we’ve already told you, we attend a class in York Ontario, taught by Oighrig Keogh and Frank Wilson. Oighrig’s roots are in Uist. When we first talked about it, it was just a bit of fun, with Oighrig suggesting that we make a trip to Uist. But, little by little, it began to take shape. We contacted Deirdre MacEachen, Development Officer with Stòras Uibhist, and she organised things from the Uist end. We were to stay in the comfort of Grogarry Lodge. Unfortunately, not everyone who wanted to come was able to, including Oighrig. But, we felt that she was close to us while we were here. It was a great pleasure for us to be invited to Oighrig’s sister Mairead’s house, in Taobh a’ Chaolais, South Uist, where we received great hospitality. Indeed, we’ll never forget the hospitality shown to us by everyone in Uist. We felt like we were with our own people, even if there is a wide ocean between us. Each day started with a Gaelic lesson taught by Archie Campbell and Rachel Redshaw, who came over with us. We then went for trips to places of interest where we had the opportunity to meet local people and speak with them in Gaelic. Some of us met up with relatives, and best of all, some of us met up with relatives we never knew we had. We spent a very special day with Flora MacDonald, or Flòraidh Fhearghais as she is better known. Flora took us to her old family home in Meanish, on the east side of Benbecula. Flora left Meanish a long time ago, and no-one lives there today, but you’d think she had left yesterday. We had tea and a snack in the house, and Flora read us some verses from her new book ‘Secret Oceans’. We were all very moved by this. We went to pick cockles the same day and had them for dinner the following evening. As well as everything else, the food was excellent in the Lodge. We can’t remember when we had such good food and so much of it. We fear that the plane will struggle to take us home with all we ate! Anyway, we’re so pleased we came. We have more Gaelic than we came with, and feel more confident in using it. We had a trip that we’ll never forget in a beautiful place with kind people. We’re not saying that we won’t be back in the near future.

Urram Coinneach MacMhànais ‘S e tidsear Gàidhlig a th’ annamsa agus ‘s iomadh rud a chluinneas tu anns na clasaichean. Latha a bha seo thug boireannach seachad beachd a thog beagan deasbad sa chlas. Bha i ag iarraigh duine a chur air adhart airson urram. ‘S e Colin Mark an t-ainm air an duine a chaidh a mholadh. Seo an tùghdar den fhaclair Ghàidhlig,“The Gaelic-English Dictionary.” Nam beachdsa, agus beachdan ceudan eile, seo am faclair as fheàrr airson faighinn a-mach ciamar a tha faclan Gàidhlig ag obair. Leabhar mòr a tha seo air a chur le chèile le obair mhòr, mhòr.Agus ‘s e neachionnsachaidh a th’ ann an Colin Mark. A-nis bha a h-uile duine anns a’ chlas ag aontachadh gun robh e airidh air duais; ach bha cuid againn beagan mì-chinnteach mu dheidhinn OBE no MBE. Faodaidh tu ràdh gu bheil a leithid a’ sealltainn aithneachadh air obair no seirbheis air leth math a rinn cuideigin. Mar eisimpleir, daoine a rinn mòran airson carthannas fad am bheatha gun a bhith ag iarraidh sìon air ais.Ach air an làimh eile tha na duaisean seo a’ comharrachadh Ìmpireachd Bhreatainn. Mar ìmpireachd sam bith bha iad a’ gabhail thairis dùthchannan eile, a’ cumail muinntir an àite fo smachd fhad ‘s a bha iad a’ dèanamh feum air beairteas na tìre. Cuideachd, feumaidh tu faighneachd an robh a h-uile duine a fhuair urram den seòrsa airidh air. Chaidh rìdire a bhuileachadh air a h-uile bancair gun fheum, cha mhòr.

AWARDING HONOURS Kenneth McManus I’m a Gaelic teacher, and many discussions arise in my classes. One day, a woman expressed a view that triggered much debate in the class. There was someone she wanted to nominate for an honour. Colin Mark was the name of the one who was recommended. He‘s the compiler of the ‘Gaelic-English Dictionary’. It’s my opinion, shared by many, that this is the best dictionary for understanding the way the Gaelic language works. It is a major publication, and a great deal of work went into it. And Colin Mark is a learner. Now, everyone in the class agreed that he was worthy of recognition, but they weren’t so sure about awards such as the OBE and the MBE. Such awards do indeed recognise exceptional work or service, often from those who sought no recognition. However, they carry some of the baggage of the British Empire as well. As with all empires it dominated and subjugated native people, and exploited the resources of its colonies. Also, you may well ask if many recipients of such honours were truly worthy of them. You only have to think of the incompetent bankers who were awarded knighthoods.

Bha feadhainn ann a dhiùlt na hOBEs ‘s na MBEs: Hamish Henderson, saighdear, bàrd, fear a chruinnich beul-aithris air feadh Alba agus an seinneadair, David Bowie mar eisimpleir.Thug John Lennon an duais aige air ais.Ach ghabh am fear-ciùil, Dùgaidh MacIllEathain e. Le cuid de na hòrain a sgrìobh e chuir sin iongnadh mòr orm.

Some have declined the awards of this type; Hamish Henderson, soldier, poet and collector of the oral tradition of Scotland, and the singer, David Bowie. John Lennon returned his award. But the musician Dougie MacLean accepted his. Considering some of the songs he composed, this puzzles me.

Tha mòran eile a fhuair urram airson cho math ‘s a rinn iad ann an saoghal a’ chiùil. Uill, tha sinn uile eòlach air fear a tha air a bhith a’ cluich ‘s a’ seinn airson bhliadhnaichean. Fear a tha air a bhith gu math soirbheachail agus tha e ag obair fhathast.Ar caraid fhèin – Sydney Devine! Fàgaibh mi agaibhse, a chairdean anns a’ chànan eile,“Arise Sir Sydney”.

There are many others who received official recognition for their success in the world of music. Well, we all know someone who has been playing and singing for many years and shows no inclination to retire. Our own friend – Sydney Devine. So, my friends I’ll leave you with the words “Arise Sir Sydney”.

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



August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER

ission, The Crofting Comm ngly to be s increasi unfortunately, appear ay that obstructs the in a w interpreting the Act Brian Inkster ability to decroft.



Commission faces new de-crofting issue A crofter purchases his house and garden without de-crofting it, and remains tenant of the surrounding croft. What happens when he wants to sell his house and garden? Crofting Law specialist Brian Inkster reports.


The Scottish Government has dealt with the problems associated with decrofting by owner-occupier crofters by passing the Crofting (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill, which will become an Act shortly when it receives Royal Assent. In anticipation of this the Crofting Commission has been processing decrofting applications by owner-occupier crofters to the stage where decrofting directions can be issued quickly following the grant of Royal Assent. However, there is a current situation where the Crofting Commission is not currently processing decrofting applications.

The situation is as follows: 

A croft house and garden ground is purchased by the crofting tenant without being decrofted.

That crofting tenant becomes the owner-occupier of the croft house and garden ground and remains the tenant of the surrounding croft.

The now owner-occupier sells the croft house and garden ground onto Mr. A and remains the tenant of the surrounding croft.

Mr A’s solicitor does not pick up on the fact that the croft house and garden ground has not been decrofted.

Mr A, many years later, is in the process of selling the croft house and garden ground to Mr. B. Unfortunately for Mr A it is picked up by Mr B’s solicitor that there is no de-crofting direction.

The solution to the problem is, of course, for Mr A to apply to the Crofting Commission for a decrofting direction. He immediately does so but receives this response: “As the croft house site has not previously been removed from crofting tenure, it remains part of the croft... Unfortunately, where a croft is partly owned and partly tenanted, as in this case, the status of the owner is currently unclear. We have sought legal guidance on this matter and are unable at present to determine whether you are entitled to lodge a decrofting application. We will provide you with an update as soon as this guidance has been obtained.” That was the situation in May. Two months later and Mr A has been told that legal advice has now been obtained by the Crofting Commission who will be considering his plight at their meeting on August 6. Prior to the introduction of the Crofting Reform (Scotland)

Rural charity seeks volunteers The Scottish rural charity RSABI (formerly The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution) is looking for fundraisers and volunteers to help support its work. Melissa Kelly (pictured) is RSABI’s new development officer for the north of Scotland, with one of her main roles to help raise essential funds for the charity. For more than 115 years RSABI has been dedicated to providing advice, support and financial help for people who have depended on land-based occupations and who now find themselves facing hardship and in need.

The organisation helps hundreds of beneficiaries with backgrounds in farming, crofting, forestry, horticulture, fish-farming, game-keeping and rural estate work, where low income, illness, accident or other circumstances conspire to undermine their quality of life. Melissa said: “The charity is an approachable and caring source of advice, support and financial assistance, tailored to the needs of the applicant, and delivered in complete confidentiality. Gatepost, the rural listening service, is also operated by RSABI.” She added: “RSABI relies on the generosity of its supporters - individuals,

businesses and trusts - in order to ensure that we can continue to provide effective relief to those in need. With your help, we’ll help! We are keen to hear from anyone who would like to get involved, either by raising funds at an event of your choice, or by joining a voluntary committee based across Scotland to help with fundraising and events.”

If you are interested please contact Melissa for the North of Scotland

September start for crofting training courses Suppliers of Tractors, Farm Machinery and Parts to the Farmers and Crofters of the Highlands & Islands Visit our website for details on current stock: McLaren Tractors Ltd. Strathpeffer Road, Dingwall, Ross-shire IV15 9QF

Tel: 01349 867521 • Mob: 07775 584 565 Email:

The Scottish Crofting Federation’s new range of courses in modern crofting skills will start in Uist from September. Those who have already registered an interest in the two-day intensive courses, and the series of six, day-long practical courses will be updated over the coming weeks. There is still time to register your interest. For Uist, contact For Barra,

Act 2010 this was never an issue and I do not believe that it was the intention of the Scottish Parliament to create problems for decrofting when it passed that Act. The Crofting Commission, unfortunately, appears increasingly to be interpreting the Act in a way that obstructs the ability to decroft.

Hopefully common sense will prevail on August 6.

Machair LIFE+ farewell conference This month sees three days of activities by Machair LIFE+, marking the project’s four years in Uist. A one-day conference with speakers from Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Crofting Federation, RSPB, CnES and various universities will take place in Talla Iochdar, South Uist on Thursday August 29, followed by field trips on Friday August 30. A Mad Machair LIFE+ Tea Party with hat-making workshops and prizes, exhibitions and a film screening will take place on Saturday August 31 in Talla Iochdar from 14.00 - 18.00.

island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17



Roads advice for Tourists/ Motorists visiting Western Isles over the Summer months

Throughout the year a large number of people come to visit our beautiful islands to enjoy a well earned holiday in the peace and tranquillity of the Western Isles. However there is a hazard which some drivers may never have come across - single track roads.

Here are a few tips for people driving on these roads: ●

Use passing places properly – you stop on your nearside (passenger side) please do not cross over to the other side of the road.

Don’t be distracted – you may be enjoying the scenery but please let traffic flow freely. Check your mirrors regularly and allow vehicles to pass.

Speed – don’t drive too fast for the road conditions and especially when you don’t know the area.

Expect the unexpected – animals may decide to wander onto the road at any time and also be aware of mud or other debris.

Beware of cyclists/walkers – please allow them plenty room as you pass by.

In relation to cyclists – please wait at the passing place for them to reach you and also cyclists please wait at the passing place if you see a car coming rather than try to carry on. ● Horses – Drivers should watch out for horses on the road, especially when approaching bends and on narrow rural roads. Always slow down when seeing a horse and pass by slowly. Give them plenty of room and be ready to stop if necessary. Drivers should never sound their horn or rev their engine near horses. ● As always – do not drink and drive,do not use your phone whilst driving and always wear your seatbelt. ●


South Uist Church of Scotland


Summer Services in 2013 August 4: 11am at Howmore only


August 11, 18 and 25: 10.30am at Daliburgh and 12 noon at Howmore September 1: 11am at Daliburgh only EVERYONE WELCOME

Uist Community Riding School Balivanich, Isle of Benbecula BHS approved ●

Open all year for all ages and abilities

Beach rides and paddles, lessons, fun days in or out

Indoor riding school

Qualified staff

Large selection of well trained horses and ponies

Booking essential

Contact: 01870 602808




Fresh ground coffee Speciality tea Light lunches Home Baking Takeaway

Dunganachy, Benbecula

Tel: 01870 602796

Fishing available in Hebridean tidal and hill lochs on the Isle of Harris. Excellent wild brown trout are to be had as well as the possibility of sea trout and salmon with optional accommodation in Two Waters Lodge (sleeps 12) and Cliff Cottage (6). Three new chalets for Telephone for brochure. 100 Loch Fishings Tel: 01859 530397. 2014 season.

STRUAN HOUSE Your lochside haven in North Uist ●

Comfortable, relaxing ground floor B&B Close to beaches and Balranald RSPB reserve ● Dozens of birds to spot, from tiny wren to majestic sea eagle ● Trout fishing by permit in loch ● Glimpse our neighbourhood otter and corncrakes ● Enjoy home baking and local produce ●

A warm welcome from Anne and Graeme

Telephone: 01876 510787 Mobile: 07514 534628

Lochboisdale Coffee Shop & Post Office has ■

Computer/Wifi Access

Espresso Coffee, Home Baking

Variety of Paninis & Bagels

Cheeseburger and Chips, Grill Menu

Homemade Salar Salmon pate

In our Shop we have Retro Sweets, Costume Jewellery, Harris Tweed Handbags and Mice.

Wide range of Contemporary Greetings Cards, Local Artwork and Canvas Prints

Not forgetting our Mr Whippy Ice Cream, it’s Heavenly!


Permits from £4.50 per day, available from Estate Office, Lochmaddy Post Office, Kenneth Drive, Lochboisdale, South Uist HS8 5TH

Tel: 01878700313 f: Lochboisdale Internet Coffee Shop T: UistCoffeeShop

Tel: 01876 500329 or from Lochmaddy Hotel Tel: 01876 500331

Rods available for hire


island news & ADVERTISER

wildlife of the Hebrides Discover the rich biodiversity of our islands

WITH IN&A’s REGULAR MONTHLY SUPPLEMENTS THIS SUMMER IN&A’s summer wildlife supplements are supported by Scottish Natural Heritage

island news & ADVERTISER

Discover the flora and fauna of the Hebrides with IN&A’s summer supplements

Featured Rueval,Benbecula Walk


insects to look out for in August

Uist naturalist Steve Duffield takes you on an inland walk with stunning views and wildlife. How to get there: The walk begins at Market Stance which is signposted off the main north-south road (A865) through Benbecula; 1.5 miles south of Gramsdale and 2.5 miles east of Balivanich.

● The

Painted Lady Butterfly

Public Transport: A regular bus service passes through Gramsdale which is just less than 1.5 miles to the north. Parking: There’s plenty of parking space either outside the household waste disposal and recycling centre or along the road to this.

● The

Eleven-spot Ladybird

● The

Common Froghopper

● The

Black Darter, a dragonfly

● The

Great Yellow Bumblebee

● The Whirligig Water


flowers on the machair ● Tufted


● Burdock ● Red


● Yellow


● Lesser

Butterfly Orchid

● Knapweed

things to find on the shore

● Toothed Wrack

Although this 3.5 mile walk begins rather inauspiciously by the household recycling centre it holds many surprises and a short climb is rewarded with superb views. Much of the terrain is along a rough track although the hill section is often boggy in patches and the slope from the top of Rueval to the east is steep. The walk begins outside the household waste disposal / recycling centre from where you head east across a cattle grid and along a stony track. Short-eared Owls may be seen hunting over the damp, grassy area to your left whilst the old quarry on your right often holds Ravens. After about 5 minutes you reach a gate from where you start seeing Bog Myrtle along the side of the track. Continue along this track for another 15 minutes keeping an eye out for Merlin, Stonechat and Twite; until you reach a marker post and a grassy path leading up the hillside by a group of willow bushes. Take the path leading up the hill across a series of steeper sections interspersed with more level ground. The path crosses one or two boggy areas becoming drier the higher you climb. Amongst the heather you may also find Crossleaved Heath and Bell Heather as well as the

Insect of the Month Sexton Beetle Nicrophorus

● Knotted Wrack ● Bladder Wrack


● Blue

Rayed Limpet and Common Limpet

Drawings courtesy of South Uist artist William Neill of Askernish.

Nicrophorus Investigator

© Chris Johnson

● Razor

Key species:

Red-throated Diver

Hen Harrier (all year)

Merlin (all year)

Golden Eagle (all year)

Black-throated Diver (May - September)

Red-throated Diver (May - September)

Black Darter (August / September)

Four-spotted Chaser Dragonfly (June - early August)

Dog Rose (flowering June - July)

Bog Myrtle (all year)

Black-throated Diver

yellow flowering spikes of Bog Asphodel. After 20 minutes you reach a trig point and the top of the hill. The views from the summit of this rather modest hill are superb on a clear day and well worth the effort. From the trig point head east, down the steep hillside towards the track leading to the old, abandoned

Hen Harrier

village of Roisinis. Keep the sbend of the track to your left and trend to the right towards a shallow ridge that allows you to take Round-leaved Sundew the easiest slope down. Damp areas hold Round-leaved Sundew and Lousewort. Hen Harriers are often seen on the northLousewort east slopes but may be encountered almost anywhere on the walk.

In the insect world the beetles (Coleoptera) are masters of the universe with over 400,000 species worldwide.

Once you reach the stony track turn right and back towards the start of the walk (approximately 20 minutes). The large freshwater loch in front of you often has Blackthroated Diver in summer whilst Red-throated Diver also occurs in the area. Golden Eagle, Arctic Skua and Curlew can also be seen over the moor. On the left of the track there are a few scrubby areas where you can find Dog Rose and naturally regenerating Rowan growing up through the thicker areas of willow.

Black Darter dragonfly

Smaller birds such as Robin, Wren and Stonechat can be found here whilst the track often provides a basking site for the Black Darter dragonfly in August. All photos by Steve Duffield

are the best-known members of the family Silphidae (carrion beetles). Most of these beetles are black with orange markings on the elytra (forewings). They are nature’s undertakers burying the They are very variable in size carcasses of small birds and and shape with forms that rodents as a food source for their range from the beautiful to the larvae. They are unusual among bizarre and inhabit a wide insects in that both the male and range of habitats. Like all Nicrophorus Humator female parents take care of the insects they have six legs and brood. The female beetle lays her eggs in the two pairs of wings, but the forewings are hard soil, close to the buried carcass, and remains and form a protective wing case (elytra). there until the eggs hatch.The female beetle All beetles begin life as grubs and then form a regurgitates a brown liquid of partly digested pupa and metamorphose into their adult form. food for the young larvae, until they are large Beetles carry out many crucial roles in nature enough to eat on their own. The fully grown such as pollinating plants and recycling dead larvae burrow into the soil to pupate and wood, dung and the bodies of dead animals, as eventually emerge as new adult beetles to start well as occasionally causing problems as pests the cycle over again. attacking crops and stored products. Christine Johnson, Outer Hebrides Burying beetles or sexton beetles (Nicrophorus) Biological recording © Chris Johnson


The Flat Earth h T Trilogy rrilogy y is a series serie of documentary artworks each made entirely from information found on the worldwide web. They are shown together for the first time in their single screen Taigh Chearsabhagh form at Taigh Chearsabhagh.. The trilogy gy cov covers vers a six-year y p peri period od beginning b gi i g with ith Flat Fla Fl att Earth E th (2007) ( (2007), ) A sho short hortt film about W a arr ((2009/2010) ending g fil b War 010)) and d ending h case, the view with Belieff (2012). ( (2012) ). IIn each viewer i wer encountering g is taken around d the world encountering fragments g taken from f real peoples' l ' bl blog blogs, g gs, knitt to fo rm which hi h are knitted k ittted t d together t th t fform something resembling story. thi resemb b bli bling a story t . In all of these works, the artists are interested in exploring explo oring g how our own spheres hav ve b been extended a have of influence h and he internet, allowing us to transformed by th the p i d broadcast b d t iinformation informati f experience and d the h globe g around in ways unheard of even fifteen years ago.

stills from Flat Earth (2007)

screening 7 - 31 august studio 1 mon.- sat. 1 111- 4pm preview tuesday 6 august 8pm free. all welcome. refreshments

The artists Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead will attend the preview and talk about their practice.

In Flat Earth, we see the visual language established where Google Earth is used as a way of joining each of these narrative together. A Short Film about War War moments together. focuses more specifically on the collective gaze of photo-sharing communities like flickr as a way of apprehending the locations being spoken about, while Belief, supported Vital Spark by Creative Scotland's Vital programme, New Media Scotland's Alt-w TLAS Arts and Animate Projects, T Fund, A ATLAS looks to the video sharing community youtube and the phenomenon of video blogging and to a lesser extent ‘trolling’, where individuals attempt to sow discord online as an end in itself.

stills from A short film about War (2009/10)

Flat Earth was made with Channel 4 and Animate Projects for television broadcast, but A short film about War and Belief have been developed as gallery installations as well as the single screen videos seen here. In the gallery version of A short film about War, a second screen logs the provenance of images, blog fragments and GPS locations of each element comprising the work, so that the same information is simultaneously communicated to the viewer

in two parallel formats - on one hand as a dramatised reportage and on the other hand as a text log. The gallery version of Belief adds a synchronised floor projection of a compass, which interacts with the montage showing us where each clip originates in relation to the geographical location of the artwork thus placing the viewer at the centre point of a cinematic data-visualisation. In both cases, the artists’ want us to

consider our own relationship with this material - the way in which information changes as it is gathered, edited and then mediated through networked communications technologies or broadcast media, and how that changes and distorts what things mean; especially for (the generally wealthy minority of) the world's users of high speed broadband networks, who have become used to the treacherously persuasive panoptic view that Google Earth (and the worldwide web) appears to give us.

A short film about War (2009/10) installation

You include footage of the American girl speaking about the Japanese tsunami, which was a viral sensation of sorts and the first time I’d come across footage in one of your films that I’d seen online before – do you purposely choose material for your films that is relatively unknown on the whole, and why did you choose to include this infamous clip?

Interview with Thomson & Craighead Love, sex, money, war and now religion – what inspired a focus on religious musings and assertions in your final desktop documentary?

You are right that we usually search out stuff that is less known so that when we include it in our documentary artworks it has a more neutral status. In Belief we decided to try shifting things a little by using some clips that already have a history and place in popular online consciousness, having been cloned and re-blogged many times already. To our minds the clip at the end of the work taken from one of the Heaven's Gate cult initiation videos is also well known, or was in the late nineties, and we wanted to represent this cultural tendency of things going viral and then being duplicated online, while creating a kind of seepage between the narrative trajectory of Belief and the wider online and physical world.

For us, the whole 'Flat Earth Trilogy' has tried to take a wilfully inadequate look at what might be described as big subjects, and war and belief seem inextricably linked together. Obviously a 'short film about war' is a kind of impossibility, just as a thirteen minute video about belief is, but in making these desktop documentaries we want to at least infer the enormity of the subjects they glance at, while thinking more specifically about how information is mediated via the worldwide web and in turn how that then relates to us as individuals. There must be thousands of videos under the ‘religion’ tag on YouTube you could have selected, can you tell us a bit about the process that went in to selecting the clips that make up Belief?

Well the tag or keyword in the work is, belief and not religion. From beginning to end, this work takes you through a trajectory that looks at supernatural belief, fundamental religious belief, belief as a vector for racism, economic belief systems, self belief, belief in the afterlife, cults, spiritualism, animism and belief as a meme in popular music. That train of thought comes out of a relatively short but intense research period where we and Steve Rushton sat down in Rotterdam for a week and just looked and looked and looked and looked at stuff while generating a collective chat log and discussion document. You are absolutely correct that there is a lot out there, as the idea of self broadcast and belief go hand in hand and it became quickly clear that we could either make a work that would be over an hour long or to pair it down to roughly ten minutes, which is what we did ultimately, not least because it is in keeping with Flat Earth and A Short Film about War. In Flat Earth you use the Google Earth view to link the blogs, in A Short Film about War you incorporate the log of URLS and GPS location feed, and with the installation version of Belief you’ve created a compass to point to the location and approximation to each clip’s uploader - why is incorporating the location of the bloggers and vloggers an essential element of each film?

It is important to us because these works are about how information is distorted by its very dissemination online, but also how we individually might authenticate information as it comes into view when part of decentralised global communications networks like the worldwide web. In A Short Film about War we use the text log as a way of undermining the dramatisation taking place on the left screen. It produces a kind of double vision where you are seeing the same data visualisation simultaneously in two different ways. In Belief we use a compass for two reasons; firstly to remind us the web is a layer of information that relates ever more to our place in the physical world, but also as a way of placing the viewer at the centre of the work, thus making a direct spatial connection to each movie element and the viewer/artwork on a 1:1 scale.

installation view & stills from Belief (2012)

Belief feels the most critical of the three films, was it difficult to maintain a critical distance with this work or were you looking to be more provocative with this work?

That's a difficult question to answer. We don't feel much critical distance from any of the three works in 'Flat Earth Trilogy' nor to we wish them to have critical distance in the sense that some objective truth might be the product of it. As artists using documentary practices, we would rather be bringing the very idea of what documentary is to the fore, as something for us all to contemplate. What really is the difference between fact and fiction when both seem to inhabit each other so readily? There is some wonderfully grainy VHS footage included in Belief giving the film much more of a personal, user generated feel than the other two works in the series. Can you talk about why you chose to make an HD film integrating this lo-fi footage?

Well, it is partly for convenience: you might as well make something in HD so that it can be played easily in places where that technology predominates, but it is also so that we could get some more detail into the Google Earth transitions. When you see the work in HD (it doesn't really get there online), each Google Earth move has a slightly more vertiginous feel than in the earlier works and as a contrast to the lowres videos, the (Google) earth feels bigger while each person in each blog feels smaller and as such, part of a larger more endless network of connections. Now that you’ve finished the trilogy have you plans to make any other work using blogs, videos and images from the web?

Who knows? We are currently making karaoke videos out of unsolicited scam emails, and looking at the curious phenomenon of realtime statistics, but it would be interesting to come back to this way of making work in a few years time perhaps, because things will have changed so much by then. Reproduced with permission. thomson_and_craighead_belief

freu freumh umh h/take root

Eilidh Stewart & Michael Andrew UHI Fine Art BAHons Graduates 2013

gallery one - 6 august - 28 september info

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Corn Bunting

A busy time for the RSPB

EMBERIZA CALANDRA The Corn Bunting is the largest member of the bunting family.

Occasionally we get calls concerning injured birds and just recently the

© Cliff Reddick

Corn Bunting

The song is often described as a “rattling bunch of keys”.

The male sets up a territory and tries to breed with as many females as he can, within it. One male is known to have had 18 females in a single season!

Yes, it’s safe to say – no two days are the same.

Close up of Corn Bunting in song

We spend an equal amount of time working with schools and leading guided walks around various sites on the islands as well as on Injured Gannet Balranald Reserve itself.

Released Gannet

The Corn Bunting has had several local names in different regions of Britain. Other names include “Corn Dumpling”and “Barley Bird”.

The waterlogged,acidic,nutrient-poor conditions associated with peat bogs make them a challenging environment for plants to grow in,so many of them have evolved ingenious mechanisms to overcome these constraints. One such mechanism is the absorption of essential nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from insects (which the plants capture and digest) instead of collecting them from the soil.If you associate this macabre dining habit only with tropical species such as pitcher plants you’ll be surprised to learn that there are some lurking very much closer to home which use the same strategy.

Sundews (Drosera rotundifolia,D. anglica & D.intermedia.) Sundews are easy to spot with their bright red,stalked leaves covered in hairs.At the tip of each hair is a ‘dew drop’which is actually a sticky,

P. vulgaris

Butterworts (Pinguicula vulgaris & P.lusitanica.) Charles Darwin was fascinated by butterworts and carried out many experiments to investigate if they are carnivorous. He demonstrated that they attract, trap and digest insects in much the same way as

sundews.As sundews and butterworts are not closely related the evolution of this mechanism is an example of convergent evolution – where traits have evolved several times in unrelated species.

Bladderworts (Utricularia spp.)


mucilaginous secretion with a sickly sweet scent to attract insects.The unsuspecting insect becomes instantly stuck in the ‘dew drop’and as it struggles,the surrounding hairs close in around it and secreting more liquid.The insect can take up to 15 minutes to die, D. rotundifolia either as a result of exhaustion or asphyxiation as its respiratory system becomes blocked.The leaf then curls over the insect to enclose it fully in the trap where enzymes are released to digest it. D. anglica


Blanket bog accounts for 23% of Scotland’s land area and is such a familiar part of the Western Isles landscape and culture that we probably think it’s rather commonplace.In fact,blanket bog is a rare habitat in global terms which means we hold a significant proportion of the habitat,not just in Europe but worldwide too.


Flora Donald of Scottish Natural Heritage heads for Uist’s moors to explore the shady underbelly of the plant community: the carnivorous plants of the blanket bog.


Flora on flora

The Corncrake is an iconic bird of the islands and it keeps even more anti-social

casualty was a Gannet (pictured) which has a formidable bill so great care needed to be taken with this bird. Birdwatchers had found the bird in dunes near a car park and knew that it was injured so gave us a call.The bird which is normally seen gliding over the sea was curled up and looking very sorry for itself.The reason soon became clear. It was entangled in nylon fishing line which was easily unravelled and the bird released back out to sea. A success story, but it should be noted that any injured birds or animals should be reported to the SSPCA in the first instance.

© Cliff Reddick

The months of May, June and early July can be a particularly busy time as the breeding season is in full swing and early starts and late finishes are in order to monitor the populations of the breeding wading birds and Corn Buntings. The latter are not having a good time at present and were once widespread throughout Britain where suitable habitat (mainly farmland, machair, rough grassland and stubble fields) was found. On the mainland the population has fallen by 80% since 1970 and this decline has been linked to agricultural changes. The Uists are one of the species’ last strongholds in Britain but now even here their numbers are declining drastically.

Local crofters and fishermen help out with some of our work and just recently the RSPB has worked alongside Marine Harvest monitoring a White-tailed eagle nest site. A fish farm and an eagle’s eyrie are situated close to each other and the staff at the fishfarm keep an eye open for any activity in the nest area when time permits. So far the eagles have not come into conflict with the fish stocks but have been observed robbing gannets of their mackerel catch in acts of aerial piracy! Nine pairs of Sea Eagles have reared 12 young around the islands this year.

Corn Bunting in song Unlike other buntings, the sexes look alike although the male can be 20% larger than the female.

© Simon Davies

That is definitely true when it comes to working for the RSPB.The work of their team in Uist for example varies not just through the seasons but through days of the week.

hours than the 4 am starts required to count breeding waders.The best time to count the calling/singing male Corncrakes is between midnight and 3 am which means an almost nocturnal lifestyle for those who monitor them. In 2012 a record of around 350 males were counted, the best for several years.

© Cliff Reddick

© Cliff Reddick


Golden Eagle in flight

Not many people have jobs where they are able to say ‘no two days are the same,’ writes Stuart Taylor, RSPB officer in Uist.


P. lusitanica

Bladderworts are simple plants which do not have distinct roots,stems and leaves but have evolved a highly complex trap mechanism to catch prey in structures known as bladder traps.In the UK,all Utricularia species are aquatic and submerged apart from the flowers which are raised out of the water.The bladders have thin walls and a small opening (mouth) lined with leaf structures that act as levers.As water is pumped out of the bladder the walls contract inwardly,creating a vacuum.When a passing insect brushes against a lever,the bladder walls relax,suddenly opening the trap mouth through which a torrent of water is sucked in,including the insect which triggered the reaction.The whole process can take only 1/500th of a second making it one of the fastest plant reactions in the world.

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Learn to spot dolphins and whales with WDC Shorewatch


OF THE MONTH MINKE Balaenoptera acutorostrata Minke whales are the smallest and most abundant of the baleen whales. They have a long, pointy snout and a long ridge along the head with two blowholes. They have hundreds of baleen plates 20 to 30cm long growing from their upper jaws creating a strainer inside the whale’s mouth. They are lunge-feeders and have long pleats extending from the snout to the navel enabling massive distention of the throat when they take in huge quantities of water using their baleen to trap its prey and filter out the sea water.

TheOuter Hebrides are ideal for spotting whales and dolphins. Photo by Regina Asmutis-Silvia

The Minch’s topography and other environmental conditions make it a good place for them to find a variety of food, from octopus, to white fish to seal pups. On a calm summer’s day you might be lucky enough to encounter a wide range of species – from our smallest, harbour porpoise, to one of our largest, the fin whale. Other regular visitors to the Minch include white-beaked, common, Risso’s and bottlenose dolphins, as well as minke whales and even orca. Anne Milne (pictured) is a WDC Shorewatcher at the Rodel site on the Isle of Harris. She says:“I saw my first whale about 20 years ago while on holiday in Harris, I didn’t know much about whales then so had to look it up to find that I had seen a minke whale. I have always been interested in sea birds and mammals, and so when I knew that I was moving to live on the Isle of Harris, I found out about Shorewatch. However, there was no group in Harris – the nearest group was in Lewis about 70 miles away.

Minke Whale.

Minkes can stay under water for up to 20 minutes and can swim up at speeds of up to 24 mph. They are black, dark brown, or grey on their upper side with a lighter belly and a dorsal fin positioned far behind the centre of their back. Minke whales in the northern hemisphere have a white band on each flipper. The fluke of a minke whale is rarely seen above the surface. An estimated 60% of Europe’s minke whales are found in UK waters in the summer months.

“Fortunately other people were interested in developing a group on Harris and we were delighted when there was a training session here in April 2012.We have a small group of interested watchers now from a point North of Rodel, looking out over the Minch. “Species that can be seen from there include minke whales, dolphins and porpoises. The second time I visited the site I was lucky enough to see a minke whale, and we have all regularly seen porpoises from the site. Other sightings include a basking shark, skuas attacking gannets and seals, so there is always lots going on.” For more information about Whale and Dolphin Conservation or to get trained up as a Shorewatcher visit

Ann Milne carrying out a Shorewatch



White Tailed Eagle


FAC T F I L E Morus bassanus Around 226,000 pairs nest in Britain which is 70% of the world population. The average lifespan of a gannet is about 16 years although the oldest recorded was 37 years old. Gannets mate for life and re-establish the pair bond with regular displays. Unlike most birds, Gannets do not Male and female Gannet have a “broodpatch” and the adults take it in turns to

incubate the single egg under their webbed feet. After being looked after by their parents for 90 days, young birds are abandoned by their parents which forces them to leave the nest. Gannets plunge-dive for fish and have air sacs beneath their facial skin to cushion the impact with water. Herring and mackerel form the major part of the gannets’ diet. Gannets are known on the islands as ‘gugas’, once hunted for food. The men of Ness, Lewis still keep up the tradition of guga hunting.

Haliaeetus albicilla



also known as

Sea Eagle

The White Tailed Eagle was wiped out due to persecution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of today’s birds are descendants of re-introduction schemes. Occasionally wanderers from Northern Europe find their way over to Britain. Only adults have the white tail. The tail starts off dark brown and get whiter with each moult as the bird reaches maturity. Due to its large wings the bird is often described by birdwatchers as ‘flying barn doors’. As well as hunting its own food, this species will also eat carrion and rob other birds of their prey. Geese feature heavily in the Sea Eagles diet.

August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER


W E N Short Course



Full & part time places are still available for session 2013-14 For further details and applications please contact: e:

t: +44 (0)1851 770500 find-us/north-uist-campus FineArtOuterHebrides

Lews Castle College, Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Art Centre, Lochmaddy, North Uist, HS6 5EU

B.A. Fine Art New Art Short Course programme The start of another academic year is fast approaching with Lews Castle College, UHI students enrolling on courses in early September. Both Benbecula Campus and Taigh Chearsabhagh in Lochmaddy will welcome another group of students either relocating to the islands to study or opting to stay in their home location to pursue their education. Lews Castle College rents the fabulous Taigh Chearsabhagh studios to deliver visual art courses and this year a new programme of short courses will run alongside the existing NC Art and Design and BA Fine Art. The short courses are designed to introduce, engage or extend approaches to the visual arts and offer an opportunity to those who are not able to commit to more regular classes. The courses will each run for 2 or 3 days and explore a range of themes and approaches: Art and Gardens (3 & 4 October 2013), a workshop which will encourage participants to explore their own ideas through site-specific garden based creative activities. Exploring Objects (21 & 22 November 2103),


a workshop exploring the poetic potential of objects as carriers of memory, meaning and history. Further short courses in 2014 include: Collaboration and Creative Practice, The Map is not the Terrain and Art of the Season – Spring. The courses offer an exciting opportunity for participants to come together to work creatively with tuition from lecturers and practicing artists, Michelle Letowska and Sophie Morrish. The NC Art and Design and the BA Fine Art level (1 & 2) continue to offer students exciting and challenging opportunities at both further education and degree level and we look forward to another year of creativity and achievements from our new student groups. There are still places available on these courses. For further information on the Short Course programme contact Michelle Letowska on 01876 500871 or Also on Enquiries for the NC Art & Design and BA Fine Art to or

Consideration of and response to ‘place’ underpins this unique and challenging course. Students are encouraged to engage widely with the island environment to explore and develop their individual creative identity.

N.C. Art & Design A one year open-access course which attracts both school leavers and adults returning to education. Portfolio preparation is embedded into the course. Painting, sculpture, photography and textiles are just some of the units delivered.

Short Courses A programme of short courses designed to introduce, engage or extend creative approaches to the visual arts will run throughout the year.


island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17

P7 Paible

The Class OF 2013

April MacLellan, Donna Mackinnon, Toney Robertson, Hamish Rodger, Kenny Mackillop, Jessica Rose, Jessica Kemp.

Two Uist head teachers retire Farewell Mrs Matheson Staff and pupils at Paible School bade a fond farewell to head teacher Thalia Matheson on her retirement. Colleagues paid tribute to Mrs Matheson, who has been headteacher at the school for two years, and worked on the islands for the past 15 years. Mrs Matheson said: “I have been lucky to work with great staff, the teachers here are wonderful, they work very hard.” She had a career as a special needs teacher before moving into education management. Mrs Matheson is now set to enjoy her retirement by splitting her time among family in Inverness, Stornoway and the Uists.

Farewell Mrs MacDonald Janet Macdonald, head of Lochmaddy School, retires this month after a 35-year career in teaching. Having started out as a teacher at Lochmaddy in 1977, Mrs MacDonald was delighted to close her career as head of the school. She has always taught on the islands, including stints at Paible and Berneray schools. She said: “I didn’t expect to end up feeling like a granny, but pupils who I taught early in my career are now parents and I was teaching their kids. “I’m going to miss the children, they keep you young, but I will get used to it, I’m sure.”

At the heart of the Community ●

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Friendly service Daily papers

Open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm

Telephone: 01876 510257 Bayhead, North Uist

Barra Fèis.

North Uist Fèis.

South Uist Fèis.

Another successful fèis season Close to 400 children took part in fèis weeks in Uist, Barra and Harris last month. In North Uist, 101 pupils attended Fèis Tir an Eorna at Paible school enjoying a full timetable of music, art, dance and traditional sports. Some 40 pupils from Paible school attended, with the rest made up of children from Benbecula and South Uist, visitors from the mainland, and some from overseas. Traditional musical styles such as pipes, chanter and clarsach were featured, along with Highland dancing to modern pop music, a technique taught by South Uist’s Gemma Steele. Classes in art and animation also took place (pictured above), with students creating animation to go along with the music created during the fèis. Fèis Bharraigh was held in Castlebay Community School with more than 130 children in attendance from the age of 4 upwards, all eager to spend the week learning new musical skills with their friends. From the age of 8, children were able to receive tuition in up to four subjects including a choice from various instruments, art, Gaelic

MY FÈIS Thomas Graham, 9, from Paisley was holidaying in Uist and joined in Fèis Tir a Mhurain. He writes: Today I went to the fèis. I decided to play drums. I wanted to do this because I had

singing, drama, step dancing and shinty, and the younger participants had a fun-filled week with games and Gaelic activities. Fèis Eilean na Hearadh took place this year in the new Sir E Scott School in Tarbert, with 38 children in attendance over the course of the week from all over Harris. With a multitude of talented and enthusiastic tutors on hand, tuition in several instruments was offered including accordion, drumming, chanter, fiddle, clàrsach and guitar as well as unique classes of cèilidh dancing, shinty and a highly popular new addition – Harris Tweed craft. Children as young as five were also involved, partaking in arts, crafts and games, and on a couple of occasions were given the chance to visit the instrumental classes and have a go at a few notes. In South Uist, Fèis Tir a Mhurain at Daliburgh school received an unexpected visitor as Western Isles Council’s Director of Education took time out from his holiday to look around.

Peter Carpenter (pictured) and his wife Sue hired a classic blue VW campervan for their summer holidays as a way of seeing the islands up close. Peter Carpenter at Daliburgh School during the fèis.

They were delighted with the artistic talent displayed by the youngsters at the fèis, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. Peter said: “It’s important to link Gaelic language teaching with a variety of fun activities. “The enthusiasm of the young people is clear to see and the dedication of the staff is amazing.” As well as music and dance lessons for the older kids, the youngsters tried their hand at baking and shinty. Around 70 youngsters took part, many of them visitors from the mainland.

already played drums before and I wanted to learn more. Everyone was really nice. It was a full Gaelic programme which meant I didn’t understand a thing however everyone could speak English. When everyone spoke Gaelic the accent sounds German! In the drum lesson you can chose any type of drum, but no drumstick instruments. I used a cajon, a drum that you sit on and hit the front of it. At the start I was very nervous but you fit in easily. Go, its fun.



August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER

sixteen It was good to see and also so er 15s, entries in the Und from throughout many competitors MacFadyen the islands. Iain



Three Camerons win Young Piper 2013 Top honours in Highlands & Islands Young Piper of the Year 2013 went Cameron Sharp (Under 15) Sandy Cameron (Under 18) and Cameron Drummond (Under 30). The competition, organised by Commun Phiobaireachd Uibhist agus Bharraigh (Uist & Barra Piping Association) unfolded at Lionacleit School, Benbecula, judged by Malcolm MacRae, Neil Mulvie, Iain Morrison and Iain MacFadyen. From a bigger than usual field in the Under 15s, Cameron Sharp from Plockton emerged overall under 15 winner. Local Under 15 winner was Chloe Steele, South Uist.

Mairi MacInnes plays ceol mor before judge Malcolm Macrae.

Winner of the Under 18s Sandy Cameron, 16, is from Roybridge and

Uist tutor Donald Ban prepares one of his pupils for the competition.

tipped by his tutor at Dollar Academy, Iain MacFadyen as one to watch. Mr MacFadyen said: “I’m not just saying that as his tutor for four years. He played in 51 categories last year and won 49. That must be some kind of record.” Overall local under 18 winner was Anndra MacIsaac, South Uist. Under 30 winner Cameron Drummond, 26, is from Edinburgh and currently teaches piping at Strathallan School, where he is also an assistant housemaster. He began his piping career in his school

band, Craigmount High Pipe Band, and now plays in Glenfiddich’s Spirit of Scotland. Cameron said: “I was in second place in the morning in a strong field. I was Cameron Drummond. happy with my pibroch but I knew I had to play well and hold it together in the light music events.” Judge Iain MacFadyen said: “Cameron was first in a very strong top three which included Jamie Forrester and Derek Midgely. “The standard of the competition continues to go up and up each year, thanks to good teaching in the schools, and the encouragement of the tutors and parents. “It was good to see sixteen entries in the Under 15s, and also so many competitors from throughout the islands.”

Full results at

Glasgow showcase for winning Pipe Tunes The six winning pipe tunes from the Comann Na Mara Pipe Tune Composing Competition were showcased in a concert in the Oran Mor, Glasgow on June 30. Comann Na Mara, Uist’s Society of the Sea, established the competition this year in association with the College of Piping (CoP). CoP tutor Willie Morrison, and director Robert Wallace judged the competition, working ‘blind’ through 140 entries from around the world. Four winners for the six categories emerged: March ‘Oran Mor’ George Johnston th Strathspey ‘The 6 Earl Granville’ George Johnston Reel ‘Happy Feet’ Pipe Major Angus Lawrie Slow Air ‘Mrs Detmer’s Fancy’ Sean Detmers Hornpipe ‘Comann Na Mara’ Derek Boyce Jig ‘Paddy’s Dilemma’ Pipe Major Angus Lawrie The winners received £100, and a Quaich, with sponsorship from Comann Na Mara, Island News & Advertiser, Inksters, Macaulay of Field Illeray, Oran Mor and Earl Granville.

Comann Na Mara made two special presentations at the concert, to Norman Johnson of Lochmaddy, for his services to piping in Uist, and to Colin Beattie of the Oran Mor in recognition of his generous support of the competition. Stuart MacMillan, MSP, official piper to the Scottish Parliament presented the special awards, and was prevailed upon to play for the company. The concert also featured music from South Uist’s Marie Therese Gilfedder and friends Samantha Pake and Alasdair Turner, and Gaelic singing by North Uist’s Linda Macleod. In the second half of the concert, the Ross Ainslie Trio raised the roof with a virtuoso display of contemporary pipe music, with drums and guitar. CNM chairman Gus Macaulay: “We are very pleased at the way the piping fraternity received and responded to the composing competition. The 140 entries from around the world came from serious pipers and composers and were of a very high calibre. “The winning tunes will be played in Uist this autumn at an evening of pipe-related music, more details to follow.”

Cameron Sharp.

Sandy Cameron

Cameron Drummond ready to play at the North Uist Games.

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island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17

Highland Games Brave face on misty South Uist games Sunshine may have been in short supply but organisers, competitors and visitors kept smiling as the South Uist Games & Piping Society Highland Games forged ahead under a blanket of mist.

As the rest of the country basked in glorious heat, visibility on Askernish machair was down to a few hundred yards. It didn’t stop competitors enjoying the sporting challenges and pitting their abilities against those of local people and visitors.

Highland dancers wore ‘crocs’ over their shoes to protect against the mud, and capes were much in evidence to protect those in full Highland dress from the dampness. The piping was judged by Malcolm Macrae, Iain McFadyen and Neil Mulvie. Winning hammer thrower Ranald Fraser, from Lewis, trounced the competition with his excellent technique and a secret weapon – spiked boots. The spikes protruded from the front of the boots and were dug into the earth prior

to throwing to ensure stability and achieve a longer distance. Ranald, pictured right, is following in the footsteps of his uncle Uisdean who was also a regular competitor in the heavy events at South Uist games. The weather led to fewer visitors to the games than in previous years. Chairman Angus MacDonald said: “The weather didn’t stop us going ahead, but we were a couple of hundred visitors down in numbers on last year. “There has only been one occasion in the past 25 years or so when we have had to move the piping and dancing indoors. “The running events drew a lot of competitors this year, and so did the dancing.” The South Uist Games have been going for over 100 years.

August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER


Highland Games Sun splits skies for North Uist games Although only two days after the mist-shrouded South Uist games, North Uist’s Highland Gathering took place under cloudless skies and soaring temperatures. The perfect weather drew crowds of almost 1,000 and a healthy turnout of pipers, dancers and athletes competing for the games’ total prize pot of £2,408. New local records were set in U16 Boys and Girls Long Jump, with Magnus Fraser clearing 15’4” and Anna M Beaton 12’5”. Anna also set a new local record in the High Jump with 1.27m. Seonaidh MacLeod also set a new local record in the U16 High Jump with 1.6m and in the Men’s category with 1.7m. Gemma Beaton cleared 1.38m in the Women’s High Jump, also a new local record. Paible athlete Iain MacCorquodale won the hill race, with Marina MacDougall, also Paible, first of the women racers. The men’s tug o’ war was won by Lochmaddy Hotel, and the women’s by Carinish. Sollas took the district cup. Champion heavy Lewisman Ranald Fraser swept the board in North Uist. He set a new local record of 40’10” for putting the 16lb shot. He said: “I compete in Highland Games all over the country, but there’s something special about the Uist games, the setting is fantastic.

Senior piping at the games.

Dancers at the North Uist games.

Start of the hill race.

The field events were as popular as ever.

WANTED People Serious About Losing Weight No Classes - No Calorie Counting TRY OUR NEW 3 DAY TRIAL TODAY !! Call Rachel on 07825 710214 We Deliver All Over the UK Ranald Fraser set a new local shot putt record.

Local piper Fiona Maclean.

“You have the Atlantic on one side, the hills on the other and amazing views out to St Kilda and the Monachs, there’s really nowhere else like it.” Full results at


island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17

Record field and sweltering temperatures for Berneray 10k Runners braved sweltering heat and the odd horsefly to take part in the 7th annual Berneray 10k race. As temperatures reached 23 degrees, there was some relief from the intermittent breeze, but not much. The event proved popular, with 43 competitors making it the biggest ever field, surpassing the previous record of 38. Organiser Andrew Ross explained the history of the event.

He said: “It used to be a fun run as part of Berneray week, but it was quite informal. “Now we have numbers for runners and properly measured distance. “The race is fairly unique as it passes over sand and cockle beaches.” First over the line was Lomond Hill Runners’ Donald MacKenzie, from

L to R Kenna MacInnes, Morag MacKinnon and Ginty MacKinnon from Daliburgh Jog Scotland.

Also taking part were Kenna MacInnes, Morag MacKinnon and Ginty MacKinnon from Daliburgh Jog Scotland group. A team from Stornoway Running and Athletics Club also made the trip to Berneray to take part.

First woman Shona Morrison.

Kingskettles, Fife with a time of 42.09. In second place was Nick MacKenzie from Bayhead in 42m 59s. In third place was Alastair MacDonald, of North Uist Amateur Athletics Club in 43m 26s. First woman home was Shona Morrison of Uist in 44m 42s.

L to R Nick MacKenzie, Donald MacKenzie, Alastair MacDonald.

Sheepdog Trials

Waternish, Skye on July 13. On Berneray machair, she took to the field and commanded her dog Bill like someone three times her age. Speaking about her performance in Berneray, Shannon said: “I missed two gates, but the time was OK. “Bill did a good job and he listens to me. “I was taught by my dad and my uncles.”

Shannon is Hebridean Circuit’s youngest competitor CO CHOMUNN AN IOCHDAIR LTD

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2013 SHEEP DOG TRIALS Berneray, North Uist July 15 Judge J.P MacGhee, Ireland

Shannon Conn with Bill.

This year’s Hebridean Circuit sheepdog trials featured an unusually young contender amidst the seasoned veterans and crofters. Shannon Conn, from Limavady in Northern Ireland, only competed in her first sheepdog event last year- aged 10. This year she competed in every event in the seven day Hebridean Circuit, starting in

The team from Stornoway running club.

23 Competitors 39 Dogs

LOCAL COMPETITION WINNER She was visiting Scotland with her dad Loughlin Conn. The family has a farm at their home in county Londonderry, mainly rearing cattle, but with a herd of sheep specially for training the family’s working collies. Proud dad Loughlin said: “Shannon will be taking part in the Irish National sheepdog trials in Roscommon. “There’s lots of things can affect the performance, if you are on form and the dog is on form then you work well together.”

Neil MacAskill, Berneray with Spot

OPEN COMPETITION 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Neil MacEachearn Carol Mellin Loughlin Conn Claire Neill Kenny Donald Loughlin Conn Shannon Conn Hugh Johnson

with Anne with Mirk with Nell with Blake with Nell with Ben with Tweed with Bella

89 points 85 points 81 points 81 points 81 points 79 points 77 points 76 points

BEST PEN - Stuart Grant with Kim BEST SHED - Stuart Grant with Kim BEST OUTRUN - Neil MacAskill with Spot

August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER


WRITE ON, UIST Uist finds itself in the middle of a literary boom

'West Uist' setting for murder most foul An island-hopping trip to the Outer Hebrides was the inspiration for the setting of the fifth crime novel by a Yorkshire-based part-time GP turned novelist. Keith Moray, originally from Fife but now living in Wakefield, has set Death In Transit (pub Robert Hale) on the fictional island of West Uist, considerably further west of our own Uist, "on the same kind of longitude as St Kilda," Moray says. Lack of light pollution makes West Uist the ideal place for star-gazing, and a group of amateur astronomers has descended on the island. Unfortunately, the West Uist Astrological Society is also staging a series of lectures and the scene is set for conflict. Murder most foul ensues, and Inspector Torquil McKinnon must tear himself from the golf course to track down the zodiac killer. Moray said as a GP he wanted to write a book remote from labs and the 'DNA' forensics style of sleuthing, which is why he conjured up West Uist, an amalgamation

of all the Outer Hebridean islands he visited, and Mull where he has spent a lot of time. Moray said: "I'm a method writer. My detective plays the pipes, so I learned to

play too, and when a scene called for it, I picked up the pipes to get the action into my head. Gary Houston, a pipe major from Skye began to teach me, before he sadly died. I have continued to learn. Luckily, there is a tradition of new pipers not being heard in public for seven years." Moray describes his style as 'cosy and light-hearted.' It took him five years to complete the novel, and he completed it appropriately on holiday in Agatha Christie's house Greenway in Devon where he and his wife had gone to celebrate his sixtieth birthday. The astronomy interest echoes Moray's own fascination for the subject, inspired by his friendship with the late Sir Patrick Moore. Golf is another of his passions and Moray played all the isles' courses when he visited. The course he calls St Ninians in the book is closest to the Barra course, he said.

Death in Transit by Keith Moray is published by Robert Hale and available in bookshops, online and direct from the publisher. RRP ÂŁ19.99.

South Uist inspiration for Libby's debut novel Uist-based writer Libby Patterson has released her ďŹ rst novel, using the islands as inspiration and setting. The book, “Hebridean Stormâ€?, is a crime novel with certain elements drawn from Libby’s own life experiences. Libby said: “In 2012 I was made redundant and decided it was time to fulfil a lifelong ambition to write a novel. “I attended a Crime Writer’s Workshop at Lionacleit Library with Caro Ramsay, author of Absolution; Singing to the dead; Dark Water and Blood of Crows. “That is where our hero Matt MacAulay came to life. “Matt is a disheartened, medically retired Royal Marine, who feels trapped, back at home on South Uist. “His self esteem and drive abandoning him as he felt the Navy had. “Travelling to Glasgow on family

business, he intervenes to help a woman; Marieke and her small child who he thinks are being mugged. “He is unwittingly dragged into their nightmare, being hunted down by ruthless villains led by Nick Parson, a bent London copper, who will stop at nothing to silence her and recapture the evidence she holds against him.� Libby’s own son was medically discharged from the marines due to a neurological condition. He also intervened to help a woman who was being beaten up in an alley, this event provided inspiration for the plot of the book. Libby explained how the Uists came into the plot: “To keep them safe, Matt brings her home to Uist, thinking no one will find them in the peaceful hills of the remote community. “But he underestimates Parson, who follows them home like an unrelenting Hebridean Storm. “They hide, but even here, nowhere is safe.

Seonaid signs five to ThunderPoint ThunderPoint Publishing is a new literary enterprise based in the Uists. It was founded by Seonaid Francis and she already has five authors signed up to produce books. Ms Francis completed a masters in Literature at UHI in 2012, and previously taught English Literature at international schools around the world. She noted the similarities between the role of publisher and teacher: “It’s amazing how similar it is, editing work and guiding writers towards the completion of their books. “I’m keen to follow UHI’s approach of using Skype and emails to stay in touch with authors around the world. “We have a Turkish writer who is going to write a non-fiction book on the recent Turkish revolution. “And we have a South Uist writer, Lorna Nicholson, who is completing a book on the possible impact of Scottish Independence on the islands.�

Hebridean Storm

ThunderPoint’s first book, ‘Mule Train’, was written by Seonaid’s husband Huw Francis of Storas Uibhist. It is an adventure set in Pakistan and Afghanistan, based on Huw’s own experience of living and working in those countries.


“Matt seeks help from friends and family, but will it be enough to escape with their lives and to protect the safety of those they love?� Hebridean Storm by Libby Patterson is available on Amazon or

ThunderPoint’s books are published in traditional paper form and also in ebook format, a development which Seonaid welcomes. She said: “Ebooks have revolutionised publishing, it was a very arcane business before. “But now, people can self-publish, and in areas like the Western Isles where there are few bookshops it means people can download books quickly to their Kindle.�

island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17




Jamie and his brother were both officers in the Black Watch, and my bro ther Donald and I both served in the Black Watch, now we are all living in North Uist.


Norman and Jamie’s strange coincidence Norman Johnson of Lochmaddy and Jamie Campbell of Dunganachy have been firm friends since Jamie moved to the island in 1977.

Salmon Run coming your way Look out for employees of The Scottish Salmon Company (TSSC) running, cycling or rowing their way from Lochboisdale to Stornoway this month. The team are raising money for The Sandpiper Trust, RNLI Leverburgh, The Leanne Fund and MacMillan Nurses. Fund-raising begins with a dance on Saturday August 17 at Talla an Iochdar, South Uist, with Stornoway band Rock Island Line playing. Between August 21-23 the Salmon Run team will cover 150 miles in relay, passing all the TSSC sites along the way.

Taking part from Uist and Benbecula are: Alister Macleod (Daliburgh, South Uist) – cycling 20 miles from Lochboisdale to Creagorry DR Macrury (Creagorry, Benbecula) – running 4 miles from Creagorry to Petersport Colin Beaton (Claddach Carinish, North Uist) – rowing from Petersport to Uiskevagh Paul Mallon (Balivanich, Benbecula) – rowing from Petersport to Uiskevagh Robert Currie (Ardmore, South Uist) – cycling 10 miles from Uiskevagh to Grimsay

But a chance discovery in an old diary belonging to Norman highlighted that the pair had met 20 years previously, while they were both engaged in very different careers. In the late 1950s, both men were living in Edinburgh. Norman worked as a policeman with Lothian and Borders Police, and Jamie was a Lieutenant with the Black Watch, based at Redfern Barracks. Norman explains how he discovered the coincidence: “I was looking through some old diaries, and I happened to be looking at entries for January 1957. ‘There was a reference to visiting Redfern barracks to investigate the theft of a uniform from a Lieutenant James Campbell. “I knew that Jamie was based there at

Ironman Rob does it again A year after undertaking Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon (Ironman), Rob Quarm of North Uist has done it all over again.

Andrew Shaw (Ardivachair, South Uist) – running 10 miles from Grimsay to Locheport Lachie Maclellan (Carinish, North Uist) – cycling 10 miles from Locheport to Lochmaddy Colin Morrison (Loch Carnan, South Uist) – cycling 10 miles from Lochmaddy to Berneray

Lewis and Harris staff taking part are: Steven Morrison (Stornoway) – cycling from Geocrab to Plocrapol and Ballalan to Stornoway Paul Condy (Stornoway) – running from Stronoway to Breasclete David Heggie (Leurbost, Lewis) – cycling from Breasclete to Barvas Ivor McIvor (Stornoway) – cycling from Breasclete to Barvas Kenny Macaulay (Lochs, Isle of Lewis) – cycling from Breasclete to Barvas Kenny Macleod (Sandwick, Isle of Lewis) – cycling from Breasclete to Barvas George Morrison (Tolsta, Isle of Lewis) – cycling from Barvas to Stornoway Daniel Russell (Stornoway) – running from Barvas to Stornoway Daniel Graham (Sandwick, Isle of Lewis) – running from Barvas to Stornoway

that time, so I thought to myself ‘that must be the same person’.” Although Norman could not recall the details of his visit to the barracks, he thought he would check with Jamie. Jamie couldn’t remember either, but confirmed that he was the only Lieutenant James Campbell present in the barracks at the time, so it must have been him. His time at the barracks remains vivid in Jamie’s memory, but not for entirely good reasons, as he explained: “I remember it being very cold all the time. “Redfern barracks was designed for a hot climate such as India, it really wasn’t suited to the Edinburgh winter. “I remember part of the uniform was heavy wool trousers, they were essential for the Saturday morning CO’s parade. “I was stationed there for two years

Rob Quarm.

Rob undertook the gruelling challenge last year to help himself come to terms with the trauma of losing his father Bill to bowel cancer, and to raise funds for the MacMillan nurses who supported Bill and the family throughout.

He raised £6,500 from the challenge, something he says he found a great comfort.

This year has brought another blow the family, and prompted Rob to undertake the challenge all over again - Torridon to Achnasheen on July 6, consisting of a 3.8k swim, 202k bike ride and 42k run over two Munros. He said: “It seems that cancer wasn’t quite finished with us yet, and we recently heard that my sister-in-law Mandy had been diagnosed with cancer too. I took on Celtman again in solidarity and support and in memory of my dad too. “The weather was bad this year for the challenge and it was incredibly hard, but I made it.”

Rob thanked everyone for their donations. His JustGiving page is still open at

Norman Johnson and Jamie Campbell.

after returning from Berlin. “Afterwards, we were sent to Cyprus.” Norman also has connections with the Black Watch, having served two years national service as a piper with the regiment. Norman’s brother Donald was also in the Black Watch, and fought in the Korean War. Reflecting on the links between the families, Norman said: “Jamie and his brother were both officers in the Black Watch, and my brother Donald and I both served in the Black Watch, now we are all living in North Uist.”

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

Angus B MacNeil MP Constituency Office, 31 Bayhead Street, Stornoway Isle of Lewis, HS1 2DU

All enquiries welcome

Shop till you drop in Askernish

Seamus McKim (Point, Isle of Lewis) – running from Barvas to Stornoway

Uist Shopping Experience takes place at Askernish Machair on Saturday 24 August.

If you see them, give them a cheer! There is a fundraising page for donations:

The event will feature craft producers, artists, authors, potted plants, photography, home baking and local foods. Running from 10am to 3pm, the Uist Shopping Experience coincides with the Askernish Open Golf Weekend.

Tel 01851 702 272 E-Mail:



August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER

The sheep were a decent standard given the hardships of the winter, the late spring and difficult lambing.



Robert MacDonald

SOUTH UIST SHOW Plenty of sunshine makes up for lack of entries Sgoil Lionacleit pipe band played at the show.

Hayley MacLay of Lochmaddy with Torran of Muck.

Robert MacDonald judging the cattle.

Alasdair MacEachan with the champion blackface ram.

Vintage vehicles were as popular as ever.

The South Uist & Benbecula Agricultural Show (SUBAS) took place in Iochdar on one of the sunniest days of the year. The weather brought in a good gate, but livestock entries were low again this year, something which disappointed SUBAS chairman DR MacRitchie. He said: “We’ve spent £3,500 upgrading the facilities for with new standard cattle fencing. We’ve re-roofed the shed at a cost of £5,000, getting it finished just before the show. Any income we generate goes back into the show - getting power into the shed is our next goal. “We offer £4,000 in prize money, so it is really disappointing that there are not more livestock entries. I’m not sure what it is that is stopping people from showing their animals.” Hill farmer Robert MacDonald of Uiginish Farm, Dunvegan judged the cattle and sheep. He said: “The sheep were a decent standard given the hardships of the winter, the late spring and difficult lambing.

“Alasdair MacEachan’s champion ram was a two-shear blackface, well developed with character and good colour.” SUBAS deployed state of the art technology to make cattle movement reporting easy. Balivanich IT solutions company Voove used a satellite dish and aerials to create a wi-fi ‘cloud’ over the showground enabling cattle movement records to be emailed straight to the Scottish Government website. Voove boss Angus Doyle said: “There were a couple of hitches when the government website went down, and when the show generator went off. “We switched to solar power through our portable solar panels and solved the power problem. “When the government website came back, we were ready to send over the movements. “This was a trial run, and we’ve given it a few tweaks, but we can now take wi-fi anywhere for any event. We’ll be doing the same at the North Uist show.” Full results at

NORTH HARRIS SHOW Craft tent a huge hit North Harris Agricultural Association secretary Heather Macleod reports At our show on Wednesday July 3 the local craft tent, with more than 30 stall holders from all over the islands, was a huge hit.

Roni Macdonald working on his chainsaw sculpture.

The tent saw many stall holders with lovely Harris Tweed items, photography, hand made accessories, jewellery, and hand crafted wooden items as well as housing the

Leverburgh Lifeboat stall, candy floss and popcorn station, professional face painting stall, the Body Shop stall and Karina’s Cupcakes The craft tent proved a great success. which proved very popular. We also had Roni Macdonald from people to bring their animals along! We held our annual dance on the Friday Chainsaw Art carving a piece throughout the day which was then auctioned off to a evening with the Vatersay Boys this year lucky buyer. Beat the Goalie proved which was a huge success. popular not only with the young boys having a go but also full grown men who just couldn’t resist having a wee shot. The Harris Highland dancers put on a great display and Pursuit Hebrides Celebrate in Style with Delicious Cake entertained the kids with their sports activities and Mr Tiger who was happy Handcrafted celebration cakes and cupcakes to stop for pictures with them. delivered to your door We also had a large and smaller bouncy castle for both older children and Contact Rachel Innes on 01870 602245 toddlers. Balivanich, Benbecula Livestock was down on previous years but between all the movement forms needed these days and people having to take time off to transport animals to the show it was not a huge surprise. Hopefully next year we can coax more

island news & ADVERTISER - August 2013 Issue 17




Gaelic is culturally and linguistically rich in maritime-related traditions; An Currach agus Ìle goes some way to exploring this.


Anna NicGuaire

Islay’s maritime and Gaelic heritage celebrated in sea festival An exhibition featuring the building of a traditional currach boat is part of Islay’s Festival of the Sea in Port Ellen from August 2 to 4. Curated by Anna NicGuaire of cultural heritage project Gàidhlig Bheò, An Currach agus Ìle features a currach handbuilt in 2012. Anna said: “Islay’s maritime heritage is rich and the local Gaelic dialect and culture are strongly connected to Ireland.

Swim with Sharks around Coll Ever fancied getting up close and personal with a basking shark? You have the perfect opportunity during a festival of basking sharks, Coll of the Sharks, in Coll from Thursday August 22 – Monday August 26. The festival is organised by Basking Shark Scotland and includes boat trips around Coll looking for sharks and other marine life, and an opportunity to jump in with them for anyone who feels brave enough.

“The skills required to build such a vessel are age-old but no less important today than they were thousands of years ago when the first skin-covered boats were constructed. “The exhibition forms just a tiny part of this heritage, but places this boat, built locally with local materials, into a global context.

Greylag Goose.

“Gaelic is culturally and linguistically rich in maritime-related traditions; An Currach agus Ìle goes some way to exploring this.” Anna and local boatbuilder Jim MacFarlane will be talking about the currach and associated heritage in Columba

Hall on Thursday August 1. Anna said: “Jim was part of the team that built the currach last year. His knowledge of the sea and local history is extensive; he has been a major contributer to this exhibition.”

Locals continue to control geese populations on Orkney An SNH project allowing local people to manage greylag geese populations in Orkney is set to enter its second year. Shooting will take place under licence by experienced local guns in August and September before migratory birds from Iceland arrive in October. Geese taken as part of the pilot project will be recorded and population levels monitored in

summer. SNH says this will keep the population down to reduce impact on farming while preserving the species’ conservation interest. The growing population of resident greylag geese in Orkney has seen an estimated 10,000

birds in 2008 rise to 21,367 in August 2012 causing serious damage to arable and grass crops. SNH says its long-term goal is for a goose population which generates income for local people through sustainable management.

On Saturday 24, Coll’s An Cridhe community hall will host a talk by basking shark scientist Dr Mavius Gore of Marine Conservation International, and BBC underwater cameraman Doug Anderson. Coll development manager George McConnachie said: “Basking sharks are such a common sight around Coll throughout the summer so it’s fantastic to be hosting an event of this kind here. “The visitors to An Cridhe and Coll Bunkhouse take a huge interest in the wildlife around the island so we’re looking forward to learning more about the habits of these magnificent creatures.” More information at © Basking Shark Scotland

Beauty and the wee beastie A study in Canna has shown the importance of a humble fly in pollinating the island’s carpet of orchids. Graham Rotheray (National Museums of Scotland) and Niamh Britton (Peoples’ Trust for Endangered Species) visited Canna recently to investigate a mystery what insects pollinate the spectacular orchids on the island? This year, the Spotted Heath Orchid has been especially abundant, carpeting parts of both Canna and Sanday, (pictured).

By carefully observing orchids, the researchers discovered that it is not bees as might be commonly thought, but flies which are that the most important pollinators and the most significant of these is the common yellow dung fly, the wee orange ‘beastie’ often seen on cow pats. In the Spotted Heath Orchid the insect is lured into the flower by its colour and scent, but the insect does not receive the normal food reward of pollen or nectar. Instead, as the insect pushes its head into the flower, a pair of ‘pollinia’, a mass of pollen grains, become attached to

the face of the insect (pictured). The pollinia are stuck on by a special sticky pad and once this happens, the insect cannot remove them. When the insect visits another orchid flower, pollen from the swollen end of the pollinia is left in the flower and so it is pollinated. Mr Rotheray said: “The relationship between people, stock, dung flies and orchids may have started thousands of years ago when people first brought livestock to the island, but it is still on-going today.”

August 2013 Issue 17 - island news & ADVERTISER



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Dressmaking, Alterations Upholstery, Digital Embroidery The Sewing Studio Tel: 07767 838823

Prompt Reliable Service Sketch’s Taxis Tel: 01870 603427 Mob: 07909 637161

TV aerials & satellite Satellite broadband Call Steve: 07967 086145

Vegetables & Flowers Bunait Salad leaves & veg Fridays from 17.00 Sollas Co-op By arrangement in Knockintorran Tel: 07746 117762

Vegetables & Flowers Uist Veg Box vegetable sales Saturday 10 - 4 greenhouse behind Dark Isle Hotel Benbecula Tel: 07720 634343

Window cleaner Window cleaner/odd jobs Berneray,North Uist,Benbecula Call Colin 01876 540252

Have your business seen throughout the islands for as little as £66 PER YEAR. Flat rate £2 per line, minimum three lines, minimum eleven insertions. Call 01870 602151/ to book your space.



Criochan, Brevig, Skallary, Leanish, Earsary, Bolnabodach, Bruernish, Northbay, Ardveenish, Ardmhor, Airport, Eoligarry

Tuesday 13/27 August Residual Collection

Langass Lodge, Hougharry, Middlequarter, Lochmaddy Commercials, Clachan-na-luib, Carinish, Baleshare, Claddach Carinish, Grimsay, Island Flodda, Gramsdale, Griminish, Nonton, Aird, Muir of Aird.


Monday 5 August - Blue Bin 19 August - Paper/Card

Thursday 1/15/30 August Residual Collection

East Gerinish, Rhughasinish, Lochcarnan, Iochdar, Ardnamonie, Ardivacher, Ardmore, Creagorry, Liniclate & Liniclate School,Torlum, Hacklet, Uiskevagh, Petersport,West Camp, Balivanich, Locheport, Berneray, Clachan Sands,Vallique, Lochportain, Cheesebay, Lochmaddy, Minish, Blashaval, Uachdar, Dunganichy.

Shops, Hotels, Hospital, Castlebay School, Vatersay, Heather Hill,Tangasdale, Borve Craigston, Allasdale, Cuithir, Grean, Cleat, Northbay Inn

Monday 26 August - Paper/Card 12 August - Blue Bin

Tuesdays 13/27 August - Residual

Clachan, Claddach District, Bayhead, Knockintorran, Balemore, Kyles Paible, Paible, Balranald,Tigharry, Lochmaddy Commercials, Hougharry, Hosta, Sollas, Middlequarter, Grenitote, Langass Lodge, Clachan-na-luib, Carinish, Baleshare, Claddach Carinish, Grimsay, Island Flodda, Nunton, Aird, Muir of Aird, Gramsdale, Griminish

Tuesdays 6/20 August - Residual Stoneybridge,Locheynort,Daliburgh,Lochboisdale,Garryhellie,Askernish, Milton, Kildonan, Bornish, Howmore, Drimsdale, Stilligarry, Howbeg, Drimore, Gernish, Rangehead, East Gernish, Rhughasinish, Lochcarnan, Iochdar, Ardnamonie, Ardivacher, Ardmor, Creagorry, Liniclate, Liniclate School,Torlum.

Criochan, Brevig, Skallary, Leanish, Earsary, Bolnabodach, Bruernish, Northbay, Ardveenish, Ardmhor, Airport, Eoligarry, Northbay Inn, Grean, Cleat, Cuithir, Allasdale

Monday 19 August, Paper/card 5 August Blue Bin

Smerclate, Garrynamonie, South Lochboisdale, South Boisdale, North Boisdale, Daliburgh Commercials and Daliburgh West of, Kilphedar, Strome, Eriskay, Glendale, Kilbride, Rangehead, Hacklet Eastwards, Uiskevagh, Petersport,West Camp, Balivanich/Aird, Creagorry Commercials, Liniclate Commercials, Liniclate Muir, Uachdar, Dunganichy.

Glen, Garrygall, Ledaig, Castlebay Shops, Hotels, Hospital, Castlebay School, Horve, Kentangaval, Nask,Vatersay, Heatherhill,Tangasdale, Borve, Craigston

Tuesday 20 August Paper/card 6 August Blue Bin

Wednesday 14 August - Paper/Card 28 August - Blue Bin

Wednesdays 7 August - Blue Bin 21 August - Paper/Card

Stoneybridge, Locheynort, Dalibrugh, Lochboisdale, Garryhellie, Askernish, Milton, Kildonan, Bornish, Howmore, Howbeg, Drimsdale, Stilligarry, Drimore, Gernish, Rangehead, Liniclate Commercials, Balivanich Commercials.

Eriskay, Glendale, Kilbride, Smerclate, Garrynamonie, South Lochboisdale, Daliburgh Commercials, Daliburgh - West of Borrodale Hotel, South Boisdale, North Boisdale, Kilphedar, Strome, Rangehead, DI, IOBHH.

Glen, Garrygall, Ledaig, Castlebay Shops, Hotels, Hospital, Castlebay School, Horve, Kentangaval, Nask,

Thursday 8 August,22 August Residual Collection

Thursdays 1/15/29 August - Residual Clachan, Claddach District, Bayhead, Knockintorran, Balemore, Kyles Paible, Paible, Sollas, Hosta,Tigharry, Grenitote, Ahmore, Balranald,

Thursdays 8/22 August - Residual Locheport, Berneray, Clachan Sands,Vallique, Lochportain, Cheesebay, Blashaval, Minish, Lochmaddy Commercials, Bayhead, Paible, Claddach, Clachan, Carinish, Balivanich.

?[T]ch^URW^XRT Start your journey, whether for business or pleasure, at your local airport. Book through on one ticket to your ďŹ nal destination – wherever in the world that may be.



Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bergen (Summer only)

Barra, Stornoway, Glasgow




1PaaP Benbecula, Glasgow

Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sumburgh




Inverness, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Benbecula

Colonsay, Oban, Glasgow


Coll, Oban, Glasgow






WXP[R^dZ Downtown Dubai

Island News & 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

Full august low res set up layout 1