Page 1

Eriskay Shop defies recession Page 3

Rescuing Bear from streets of Corfu Page 10


Christmas ❄

Markets ❄ and Fairs ❄ Page 17

island news Edition 09

November 2012



ISLES TO BENEFIT FROM OBAN AIR ROUTES INITIATIVE The Southern Isles stand to benefit from a new marketing drive by Oban Airport to seek additional routes to the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

Oban Airport is run by Argyll & Bute Council, and currently provides the Public Service Obligation (PSO) scheduled services to Coll, Colonsay and Tiree, along with commercial flights to Islay and Mull. The airport’s new marketing strategy seeks to bring together all the bodies operating PSOs on the west coast of Scotland, including Western Isles Council, to enhance those services; and also to develop additional commercial routes which could include Benbecula-Oban. Passenger numbers at Oban Airport grew by more than 30% in the past year. An Argyll & Bute council spokeswoman said: “We are keen to explore any mutual benefits that could be achieved from a more collaborative approach between Western Isles Council, Hitrans and Transport Scotland including aligning timetables so that PSO air services are viewed as a network rather than individual pockets of services.”

The spokeswoman said new routes like Benbecula-Oban and Oban – Glasgow would be considered if they were commercially viable without subsidy. She said: “The council would welcome discussions with any operator that wished to investigate new commercially viable air service routes. It is one of the key priorities of the marketing strategy.” Southern Isles businesses said a BenbeculaOban route had the potential to develop tourism and expand business links with Oban. Huw Francis, chief executive of Stòras Uibhist said: “Any additional links to the islands would be welcomed. For businesses with accountants and solicitors in Oban for example a quick hop over by plane would be preferable to seven and a half hours on the ferry, and it could work for Oban businesses too, enabling them to open offices in the Southern Isles. It would all depend on price and ticket flexibility. An onward flight to Edinburgh from Oban could be more useful than one to Glasgow as it would cut out an extra couple of hours travelling time.” Hotelier Allan Graham of Orasay Inn, South Uist said the idea of Oban as a hub to the Inner Hebrides suited him personally as he has family in Islay. He said: “It could benefit inter-island tourism, it would be worth a trial.” North Uist estate factor George MacDonald said: “Flights to and from Oban if quick and cheap enough could attract people in the Uists who would otherwise go to Stornoway.”


island news & ADVERTISER - November 2012 Issue 9



Community Broadband Scotland goes live in January

Communities looking at developing their own broadband projects should get ready to hit the phones and internet in January, when Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) starts live advice.


WAYS OF SEEING Saturday November 3 to Saturday December 29 Taigh Chearsabhagh, Lochmaddy

CBS is a Scottish Government initiative to support community-led projects to deliver Next Generation Broadband through the use of innovative technologies and business models. It will benefit rural communities that will not be reached by the Step Change 2015 programme for the rest of Scotland.

CBS website and telephone helpline advisers will be available from January 2013. HIE is leading the delivery of Community Broadband Scotland, a partnership between Scottish Government, HIE, Scottish Enterprise, COSLA and local authorities.

THE MONSTER IN THE HALL Thursday November 15, Leverburgh Village Hall,7.30pm A Citizens’Theatre production from the National Theatre of Scotland “The Monster in the Hall” is a low budget, indie comedy musical about a young girl struggling to care for her biker dad who has MS.

Comann na Mara ANNUAL LECTURE Friday November 2 Lochmaddy Hall, 7.30pm. ‘Stories from the bottom of the Ocean’ by Dr Anushka Miller of Scottish Association for Marine Science. Musical entertainment by CNM Gaelic Choir and Clann na Fèise.

Described by the Independent as “an imaginative synthesis of Beauty and the Beast, pop songs, heavy metal and rapidfire acting”. The production goes on to Ionad Na Seann Sgoil, Shawbost, Lewis. Sat November 17 at 7.30pm Tickets £10, £8(conc) £6 (children).

Dear Editor The recent edition of Island News incorrectly credited me as one of the translators of Emma Thomson’s new book, Sgeulachd Eile Mu Pheadar Rabaid. Much as I might aspire to such skill in translation, the credit must go to Catriona Murray whose work it is. As I greatly appreciate her translation of this and other books I would not in any way wish to distract from the recognition she so rightly deserves. Yours sincerely,

Open invitation to all. Free entry.

Margaret Bennett Ochtertyre, Perthshire

Fleece grading workshop for Crofters

Lochboisdale Christmas Markets



Coffee Shop & Post Office


has © Markhall70 -

fleece-grading Crofters are invited to a Ballinger of the workshop with Stephen Board in the New British Wool Marketing , North Uist on say Shed at Kenary, Grim . 24 Saturday November a 10 week CALANAS The workshop is part of programme which Intermediate Wool-work Turn to page 16. begins on November 8.

Computer/Wifi Access

Espresso Coffee, Home Baking

Variety of Paninis & Bagels

Cheeseburger and Chips, Grill Menu

Homemade Salar Salmon pate

March 2012



Harris Tweed Gifts

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

Christmas Gifts and Decorations, Toys, Perfumes/Aftershave

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

Readership 30,000 and growing

Post Office, Kenneth Drive, Lochboisdale, South Uist HS8 5TH

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

November 2012 Issue 9 - island news & ADVERTISER

OFT calls for more insight from Southern Isles into unfair fuel prices

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has called for more evidence from the Southern Isles as it continued its probe into fuel prices in Scottish islands with a visit to Stornoway last month. OFT’s representative in Scotland, Kyla Brand said her team is still accumulating evidence, and is open to insights from the Uists and Barra into claims of unfair practices. She said: “We had a series of meetings in Stornoway with the council fuel group, Fair Fuel Solutions [the campaigning group], retailers and those with business interests. “There were voices speaking on behalf of Uist, but there is always the opportunity to learn more from those who have experienced circumstances that are unique to Uist.” Ms Brand added: “The whole picture is coloured by suspicion at every turn, but if those who have insight care to speak to us, we manage the information in confidence.”

OFT is preparing a report on road fuel across the UK for January 2013. Ms Brand said in this report the OFT would seek to explain how the supply chain works. She said: “In that broader context we will be reporting on where we are in relation to supply to remote communities, in particular the Scottish Highlands.” OFT launched a report in May which concluded there was insufficient evidence at that time to trigger their formal powers for a Competition Act inquiry. Ms Brand said: “We made it clear that we were open to further information. We are now in the phase of assessing what data we have and what it tells us about the kind of practices that are possibly being undertaken.”

SEVERE COUNCIL CUTS LIE AHEAD Defend the services which are important to you ●

Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar says it must find savings of £6.1m over the next two years

Your community will be affected

Make your views known to protect the services you value

Consultations take place this month





Monday 12 Sir E Scott School,Tarbert


Tuesday 13 Clan Macquarrie Centre, Borve 7.30pm Monday 19 Castlebay School


Tuesday 20 Daliburgh School


Tuesday 20 Carinish Hall


Thursday 22 Council Chamber, Stornoway 6.30pm

Christmas Lochboisdale at

ERISKAY SHOP DEFIES RECESSION Cho-Chomunn Eirisgeidh (Eriskay Community Co-operative) has defied the recession and lower visitor numbers with a record-breaking jump in income over the summer months. The shop broke the £100,000 barrier in takings between the beginning of July and end of August this year, a leap of £12,500 from the same period in 2011, and £10,000 in 2010. Manager Catriona Walker put the boost down to a combination of factors. She said: “Despite the Eriskay to Barra ferry seeming not to be as busy this year, we felt there were a lot of visitors around. We had new signs put up, maybe that helped. One of the biggest differences was the amount of local goods we had on sale.” The shop features Harris Tweed handbags, and T shirts, soaps, cards, music, books, crafts and art, all with a local twist. Ms Walker said: “That’s what visitors are looking for, the more local goods the better. We’re happy to provide that service, and to support local crafters and artists, anything to serve our communities.” Eriskay shop emerged as a community concern in 1980, after the owner of the old shop retired.

The shop has thrived, despite dire predictions that shoppers would head for Daliburgh and further afield when the Eriskay causeway was built 10 years ago. Ms Walker said: “On the contrary, people in South Uist come to us. As a community shop, we are something of a social hub, with people coming in and chatting in Gaelic with our staff. For some people, the shop is as far as they go each week.” The shop employs two full-time staff and two part-time, along with Saturday jobs for local youngsters. Eriskay shop is part of the Community Retailing Network (CRN) alongside 25 other shops in Scotland. CRN co-ordinator Kirsty McColl said: “Eriskay is one of the oldest community shops and has managed to survive and thrive over the years, thanks to its really good local support. “It’s fitting in this UN Year of Cooperatives that Eriskay is doing so well, proving it’s a model that works. “They’ve put a lot of effort in in the last year to improve the shop and it’s paid off.” She added: “Leverburgh shop in Harris is also a fantastic model of a community co-operative.”

H OT E L £18.50 per person with a FREE bottle of wine between 6 people in one booking.

Fancy staying over? Special price of £25 per person for bed & breakfast during December and January




Sweet Potato and Parsnip Soup with Homemade Scone

Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing and all the trimmings

Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce

Smoked Salmon Terrine with Salad garnish and Oatcakes Scallops wrapped in Smokey Bacon with Seafood Sauce

Seared Duck Breast smothered in Red Cherry Sauce on a bed of Creamy Mash with Roast Vegetables Beef Bordelaise (Thick sliced Roast Scottish Beef in a Tomato, Onion and Red Wine Sauce) Vegetable Terrine served with dressed salad or Vegetables

Scotch Trifle Homemade Profiteroles with Chantilly

TEL: SOUTH UIST 01878 700332 On behalf of all the staff at Lochboisdale Hotel, Calum and Karen would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year



island news & ADVERTISER - November 2012 Issue 9

Land court finds in favour of South Uist crofter The Scottish Land Court has found in favour of a South Uist crofter over the status of part of his apportioned land. South Uist Estates Ltd waged a lengthy legal battle against Murdo Mackenzie of Snishival over the ground around Snishival Mill. The mill stands on his land, but does not belong to him. Stòras Uibhist deems the mill to be an asset which they own on behalf of the community. South Uist Estates argued in court that an area previously apportioned to Mr Mackenzie by the Crofters Commission was in fact “in hand” to the estate, and did not form part of Snishival and Howbeg Common Grazings. Their argument was that the area was not common grazings and should not have been apportioned to the crofter. Mr Mackenzie said his position throughout had been that the Estate had not brought forward any evidence to show the area was not part of common grazings. The five year battle took many bitter turns, and at one point local residents petitioned Stòras Uibhist to drop their legal action against Mr Mackenzie, a

retired teacher suffering from serious health problems. The action culminated in the Land Court determining that Mr Mackenzie is legally entitled to the land. The issue of who pays the legal expenses has yet to be settled. Mr Mackenzie said: “My health has suffered seriously as a result. I am eternally grateful for the literally hundreds of messages of goodwill I have received, and for all those who held me in their prayers.” Huw Francis, chief executive of Stòras Uibhist said: “The Court Order states that ‘If there is no land adjacent to the building which can be used as a garden or other amenity ground, the value of the building as an asset is completely sterilised.’ “South Uist Estate will now have to consider what to do with a derelict building where there is no potential to restore, or develop it. “The Court further commented that ‘...we can understand why the applicants (Stòras Uibhist), owing as they do a

Snishival Mill.

fiduciary duty to the whole community of South Uist, felt obliged to try to secure it (Snishival Mill) as a future asset for the community and, with that in view, required to have the status of the land determined by this Court’.” A long time friend of Mr Mackenzie, Tony Quirke of Cornwall said: “Having shared with him the nightmare forced on

him by Stòras Uibhist I am at a loss to understand why Murdo faced a serious land ownership charge for allegedly claiming the derelect mill as his property when he made no such claim. He now may face massive legal charges unless he is awarded costs yet Stòras Uibhist will simply recover their huge costs from the public - is this justice?”

Advertisement Feature


Left to right: Gail Jamieson, David Findlay and Ruth McLaughlan of Macleod and MacCallum’s Rural Land Department.

Inverness legal firm Macleod & MacCallum is launching a new MOBILE OFFICE to serve North Uist, South Uist and Benbecula. Macleod & MacCallum have been looking after clients in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland for over 50 years now and during this time have developed a full range of legal, estate agency and financial services, enabling them to respond quickly and efficiently to clients’ needs. The firm already offers these services not only from their Inverness base at 28 Queensgate in the heart of the Highland Capital, but also from Mobile Office locations in Portree, Ullapool and Aviemore. This November sees the launch of a new MOBILE OFFICE service for North Uist, South Uist and Benbecula. Senior Partner Graham Watson explains: “As the largest Highland based firm of solicitors in Inverness, we pride ourselves on the expertise we have built up over the years in property sale and purchase, crofting law, wills, court matters, family

law and renewable energy projects. We are pleased to be able to make it easier for clients to access theses services via our Mobile Office Service”. Solicitor David Findlay adds:“I will be travelling to North Uist on the evening of Wednesday 7 November and will be available to meet with you at any point on Thursday 8 November at a location of your choice. I will be happy to discuss your requirements in advance of my visit on 8 November, if required”. Macleod & MacCallum’s strength lies in the fact that many of their partners and solicitors are experts in their field. Each of the firm’s 10 partners specialises in a specific area of the law with three of them being accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as Specialists (Fiona Campbell – Family Law, Graham Laughton – Personal Injury Law and Gail Jamieson – Crofting Law). This allows Macleod & MacCallum to offer a high quality legal service tailored to your specific requirements. Therefore whether you are considering selling, are interested in buying, have never quite managed to get round to putting a Will in place, or are just in need of expert advice, an appointment at Macleod & MacCallum’s Mobile Office is the easy and convenient way to get your legal business done. For further information about the full range of services the firm is able to offer, visit www., or for further details relating to the Mobile Office service email

November 2012 Issue 9 - island news & ADVERTISER

Loch Duart Uist jobs secure

Castlebay, Barra.

After fish disease issues and personnel changes in Loch Duart’s Uist operation, the salmon production company says its jobs in Uist are secure, and it is continuing its strategy in the Uists. Managing director Nick Joy admitted the company had had ‘some issues’ this year but ‘is working its way through them.’ He said: “Clearly some people will choose to leave the company, and there will be changes and restructuring just as is normal in business. “Whilst we have had some issues in Uist, the grower fish are in good condition now and will continue to be harvested out of Lochmaddy.”

Mr Joy said the fish in the Sound of Harris were in good condition and the largest in that year-class within the company. He said: “We are very much continuing our strategy in the Uists. We want to be a vibrant part of the community and intend to keep working to maintain this position.” Mr Joy said that over the past month Loch Duart had brought nine customers, from London, Denmark,

Switzerland and Germany to the Uists to see the fish and smokehouse. He said: “They enjoyed seeing the fish and meeting the staff looking after them, and left spellbound by the beauty of the isles.” He added: “Every company has bumps in the roads and we have just been through one. Personnel do leave and things change. Our commitment to the communities we are lucky enough to work with, does not.”

Feasibility funding for Barra produce shop The possibility of a local produce shop and bakery in Castlebay, Barra has taken one step closer with the award of £10,000 by the Big Lottery for a feasibility study. Barra and Vatersay Agricultural and Horticultural Association (BVAHA) has already done some preparatory work with surveys in the Guth newspaper, and a shop and café run in Northbay Hall during the summer.

Loch Duart’s fish cages in Loch Maddy bay.

Uist archaeologist to develop virtual field trips

Dr Becky Rennell at Dun Vulan with members of Access Archaeology.

because it gave me insight into what people expect out of field trips and how we might be able to replicate this in a virtual learning environment.” She added: “With the internationally significant archaeology we have in Uist it is vital to include a trip from these islands.” Ms Rennell will be developing two further field trips in the coming months in locations including the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site. She will draw on the services of the Education Development Unit’s computer programmers and designers for the creation of her virtual trips, which will include a range of interactive tools, photographs, videos and audio clips. The Education Development Unit is a European Social Fund project.

Uist archaeologist Dr Becky Rennell has been appointed by the Education Development Unit of the University of the Highland and Islands (UHI) to develop virtual field trips for UHI’s networked archaeology courses. The pioneering idea is to give students studying remotely throughout the UHI campus the experience of visiting archaeological sites as if accompanied by a tutor and other experts. Ms Rennell drew on members of Uist’s Access Archaeology group, young and old, to Complementary therapies act as guinea pigs on a field trip to Bornish, for health, healing and relaxation South Uist as part of her project research. The group visited the Iron Age and Norse Aromatherapy Indian HeadMassage sites previously excavated by Niall Sharples of Massage Reiki Hopi Ear Candles Cardiff University, and went on to look at Dun Vulan, excavated by Mike Parker Pearson of Sheffield University. Contact: Sheila - 07919 184627 Ms Rennell said: “It was useful experience Gift Vouchers available

Sarah Maclean of BVAHA said:“We hope a local produce shop will provide extra income streams for local people, make local produce more accessible to both residents and visitors, help make the island more sustainable and engage many people in growing and creating items for the shop, and volunteering. We hope to run a more permanent shop over the summer months that will have a wider range of local produce including vegetables.” She appealed for growers and anyone interested in the project to get in touch with her on 01871 810634. Meanwhile a steering group has been formed, tasked with running a Christmas shop in Castlebay, opposite the Co-op from November 12 to 16 and from December 10 to 14.



island news & ADVERTISER - November 2012 Issue 9

Lochboisdale post office is in the pink Lochboisdale Post Office in South Uist now has a bright pink roof and is emblazoned with a gigantic cupcake. A MESSAGE FROM MARINE HARVEST SCOTLAND

The flamboyant new image is the icing on the cake of a bold diversification strategy carried out by post mistress Anne MacLellan (pictured above) over the past year. Lochboisdale PO was one of only a handful in the country to be awarded the Scottish Government’s Post Office Diversification Fund’s highest grant. The Kenneth Street building, which had many incarnations before becoming the post office more than 30 years ago, was in a poor state of repair. Mrs MacLellan put the £25,000 grant towards making the building so highly insulated that it needs very little heating. She got in wi-fi, computers, state of the art coffee and ice cream machines, a panini toaster and an odourless fryer, creating an internet café and social hub much needed in the south of the island. The rest of the space is dedicated to local crafts from paintings and cards to soap and Harris tweed; fun gifts, books, jewellery, confectionery, stationery, and even designer perfumes. The transformation has found favour with locals and visitors alike. Mrs MacLellan said: “We opened last summer, and we’ve been really busy. “The post office side has been much busier as there are so many other reasons to visit. It’s great for mums and kids to pop in. We do a free service of weighing goods for people who want to sell them on Ebay which keeps us busy too. “We were voted Best Coffee Place in Uist in an internet poll, and people love our homebaking. We bake it on the premises and are really inventive with it.” Mrs MacLellan attributes much of the successful new image to her young assistant, local girl Laura Collis, 23 (pictured below). She said: “I’m so lucky with Laura, she is full of good ideas and a great asset, as are the other local girls we employed throughout the summer.”

She added: “I’m thankful to the local community for all their support, and I’m grateful to my aunt, Jessie Steele the former postmistress for selling me the building, helping me to follow my dream. We’re proud to be offering a service that the south end badly needed.”

November 2012 Issue 9 - island news & ADVERTISER

VOOVE PASSION, COMMITMENT AND EXPERTISE AT VOOVE’S NEW SHOP Advertisement Feature The opening of their new shop in Balivanich heralds an exciting phase in the growth of Voove, local IT solutions company. The Voove shop at 44 Winfield Way is already a welcoming hub for youngsters to try out the the latest Angus Doyle, founder of gadgets, and more senior folk Voove. to have their brow soothed and their IT problems solved before they know it. Entrepreneur Angus Doyle is Voove’s managing director. The son of Mary Campbell, one of Benbecula’s famous triplets, he grew up in Glasgow but spent many summer and winter holidays in Uist, leaving him with a passion for these islands. His aptitude for all things geeky took him to Bristol where he worked in IT for companies like GDS, Clerical Medical, BT and Horstmann Controls for 12 years. With shrewd insight into today’s internet-hungry world, Angus also grew a business trading in domain names and honed his skills in global technology solutions. Four years ago Angus and his fiancée Izabela decided Uist was the place to settle, be closer to family and start one of their own. The family now consists of two year old Dominik, another little one on the way-and of course, Voove, the other baby. Angus says it’s not like going to work every day. It’s like going to geek heaven and having fun while helping people.

The shop opens at 10 am, and although due to shut at 5pm, he’s inevitably there after hours for people coming out of work. After tea, he’s often to be found in the workshops upstairs, repairing computers for customers. He’s not alone though. His accomplice in geek heaven is long-time buddy Mark Macaulay, also from Benbecula. Mark was forced to leave the island two years ago in search of an IT career but Voove’s arrival enabled him to come home. Angus said: “Mark and I always said we wanted to do something like this. When that time came, I gave Mark a call and he immediately relocated his family back to Benbecula to be part of Voove.” Angus sees Voove’s work as a lifeline service for the islands. Voove has contracts to support IT for the local post offices, Co-op, Health Board, Storas Uibhist and smaller businesses. He is proud that Voove is truly local. He said: “It’s good for local businesses to have someone on the islands able to offer IT support. We’re friendly, we’re welcoming, and we offer lots of free advice.” Another growing Voove specialism is the company’s work supporting renewable companies with their allimportant techonology. Angus travels across the islands and onto the Angus and Mark in the Voove shop. mainland to install

communications systems for green energy projects. Voove has already had 25 applications from local people, including many youngsters, wanting to work for the company. In time, Angus wants to create a resource for people to The Voove shop stocks get into IT work and accessories and hardware. learn more about it. And another of his guiding philosophies is his desire to give back to the community in any way possible. He said: “We are responding to the needs of our customers in the kind of things we stock in the shop, and we just love talking tec with them. We try and price-match the mainland because let’s face it, we’re ripped off enough already.” Hugely popular is Voove’s Facebook site, not least because of its generous monthly prizes. Angus said: “We have a competition every month. All you have to do is ‘like’our page, and you’ll be entered in the draw. In November, the prize is a Special Edition Xbox with Kinect, two games and three months Xbox live.You need to enter by November 5.” Another exciting prize is on offer for December, so get on down to virtual Voove, and like their Facebook page. And discover the passion and commitment at the Voove shop in Winfield Way-they’re as real as it gets.



island news & ADVERTISER - November 2012 Issue 9

Crofting Crofting Commission appoints assessor panel Assessors appointed for Harris,North Uist,Benbecula,South Uist ,Coll and Tiree Harris (East of Tarbet including Scalpay)




‘Harbour Lights’

10B Kyles

Harris (Lickisto to Rodel) Harris (Tarbert to Stockinish, Borrisdale to Northton and Scarista to Luskentyre)

Mr Mr

Norman Angus J

MacKay MacVicar

Roadside Cottage 4 Borve


Harris (South of Tarbert to Breakavaig)


Harris (North of Tarbert) North Uist: South of Clachan North Uist: Berneray to Clachan West

Mr Mr Mr

Murdo John Donald

MacKay MacLean MacLean

5 Luskentyre Aignish 24 Balemore

15 Knockline Bayhead


Isle of Harris North Uist North Uist

North Uist: Berneray to Clachan East





15 Knockline


North Uist





31 Aird


South Uist: Townships North of Drimsdale




1 Kilaulay

South Uist: Townships from Askernish to North Lochboisdale


South Uist: Townships of Howmore to Kildonan


Lawrence C


88 Bualadubh


South Uist: Townships South Kilphedar and the island of Eriskay


Tiree (East) and Coll Tiree (North and South and West Reef)

Mr Mr

Alastair Neil

MacInnes Munn

Ruaig 3 Balemeanach

Isle of Tiree Middleton


Isle of Harris Isle of Harris Isle of Harris

South Uist South Uist

South Uist

Argyll Isle of Tiree


A new panel of 90 Crofting Commission assessors starts work this month. Around 100 parishes are represented in the new panel, including traditional crofting townships, areas with new crofts and new areas designated under the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act, such as Arran and Moray. Assessors are the local link between the Commission and crofting communities. Their role is to hold meetings with crofters and grazings committees, to assist the Commission with queries on cases in their area, to implement current initiatives and disseminate relevant information locally. Crofting Commission convener Susan Walker said the new panel “provides us with the foundations of a strong and enthusiastic network within crofting communities which we will strive to make full use of.” There are still areas where more assessors are needed, particularly in South Uist. Interested parties should telephone Jane Thomas on 01463 663479 or email

High goose numbers as crop protection scheme ends A recent count shows greylag goose numbers on the Uists and Barra to have been around 9,500 last summer, according to count organisers Machair Life +. This includes around 800 shot since August under Machair Life’s Crop Protection Scheme. This year’s scheme has come to an end with the corn

gathered in. A spokeswoman from Machair Life said the scheme had ‘protected almost all the islands’ corn crop with satisfactory accounts of seed crop being harvested despite greylag geese being extremely persistent and higher in numbers than ever before.’ She said scarers and co-ordinator Rory MacGillivray had often worked beyond their paid duties to protect the crops. Additional help had come from local primary children who made all this year’s scarecrows. She requested any crofters with scaring kit supplied by Machair Life to bring it in for safe storage over the

winter and re-use next year. She said: “Scaring kit unfortunately cannot be handed out in the same quantities next season due to budget restrictions.” The Machair Life scheme will remain in place until autumn 2013, but its future looks uncertain from 2014. The spokeswoman said: “The current scheme has proved extremely valuable in terms of protecting crofters’ crops and it is a real concern that funding may not be available in the future. If you agree you should contact your MSP.”

Oxfam funds for tree planting in South Uist Lochboisdale Amenity Trust has been awarded funding by Oxfam Unwrapped for the purchase of trees to plant in South Uist. This is a continuation of the successful project where 20,000 trees were distributed to local residents and organizations for planting last March. In this phase of the work, up to 80,000 trees will be available for distribution. With this number of trees available the aim is to plant areas on crofts and common grazings to provide shelter. The sites for planting should have some natural protection from excessive wind blow. The sites should also be fenced.

Crofters interested in taking advantage of this offer of trees should plan to have their potential planting sites fenced by March 2013. Advice on suitable sites and obtaining grants for fencing can be obtained from the trust. Shelter belt planting is eligible for grant assistance. The trees which have been selected for this planting will be a mix of native species and nonnative conifers which will provide much needed shelter. They will be available in March – April 2013. For more information contact Lochboisdale Amenity Trust at or phone 01878700275.


Place a pillow under your right shoulder and put your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, repeat the checking procedure described in Option 1, making sure you cover the entire breast area. Repeat the procedure for the other breast.

Be Breast Aware – lumps aren’t the only sign of breast cancer ‘Lumps aren’t the only sign of breast cancer’ forms part of the national breast cancer awareness campaign, which focuses on how to spot any early signs of cancer. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is vital to detecting cancer early and ultimately saving lives. In fact, you’re five times more likely to survive breast cancer if it’s diagnosed and treated at the earliest stage. NHS Western Isles Macmillan breast and lymphoedema nurse Hazel Hebditch said: “Women need to be breast aware, which means knowing what their breasts look and feel like normally, so that they are aware of any changes and can get them checked out by their doctor. Lumps are of course vital to look out for but there are other important signs too, such as changes to size, shape, texture and discharge as well.”

How do I check my breasts? There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts. It’s important to know how your breasts normally look and feel. That way, you can spot any changes quickly and report them to your GP. Don’t check your breasts every day, but you should check your breasts approximately once a month.

nipple discharge

bleeding from your nipple

a moist, red area on your nipple that doesn’t heal easily

breasts becoming red or sore

any change in nipple position, such as your nipple being pulled in/turned in or pointing differently

a rash on or around your nipple

LOOK In Front of a Mirror Visually inspect both of your breasts with your arms at your sides, and then with your hands on your hips. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Every woman’s breasts are different. Many women have one breast bigger than the other. Get used to how your breasts FEEL at different times of the month and how they LOOK so that you know what’s normal for you. This can change during your menstrual cycle. For example, some women have tender and lumpy breasts around the time of their period.

FEEL OPTION 1 - In the Shower or Bath Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast, in a circular pattern moving from the centre to the outside, checking the entire breast (including the nipple) and armpit area. Make sure you check underneath your breasts, in your bra-line area, in the dip of your collarbone and your upper chest. Gently push into the tissue, covering all areas in a circular pattern. Check both breasts, feeling for any changes such as a lump, thickening, or hardened knot. If you notice any changes you must get them checked.

Breast changes can happen for many reasons, and most of them aren’t serious. Many women have breast lumps, and 9 out of 10 are not cancerous.

Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match — few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on any one side.

What do I look out for? A lump could be an early sign of breast cancer, but there are also other signs to look out for, including: ●

a change in the size, outline or shape of your breast, especially when you move your arm or lift your breast

a change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling

any discomfort or pain in one breast, particularly if it’s a new pain and doesn’t go away

a new lump, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that is different from the same area on the other side

FEEL OPTION 2 - Lying Down When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall.

What if I notice a change in my breast?

However, if you find changes in your breasts that aren’t normal for you, it’s best to see your GP as soon as possible. We know that some people feel uncomfortable about seeing their doctor for this kind of thing, but your doctor is there to help you. You can take a friend with you if you like. Remember: the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. For further information, visit and click on the ‘Cancer – Don’t Get Scared, Get Checked’ icon. Alternatively, contact NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88. For more information on how to check your breasts, contact your local GP Practice Nurse or Mary Macleod from the Lewis and Harris Breast Cancer Support Group on 01851 700345 or


island news & ADVERTISER - November 2012 Issue 9

Neighbours Calm conditions and hat tricks in this year’s Tiree Wave Classic Calm conditions gave this year’s Tiree Wave Classic competitors and organisers an unexpected headache. Wave conditions were not big or long enough to run Pro elimination heats during the six days of the competition. However, Balephuil beach served up some impressive waves and hosted a Pro’s Expression competition. The pros battled it out in two twenty minute semi-finals, with a four man showpiece making up the final. Reigning champion Ben Proffitt beat Phil Horrocks into second place, followed by Cornwall’s Andy King and Sam Neal in fourth position.

It was an unprecedented three Tiree Wave Classic wins in a row for Proffitt. He said: “They were long heats and tricky conditions, but even though they were tricky, they were really good conditions.” The amateur contest was won by Cornish sailor Ian Ross, with the ladies event also going to Cornwall, with Debbie Kennedy triumphing – also for the third straight time. Keeping up the hat-trick theme, Troon’s

Davey Edmiston won the Masters title for the third time, and Tris Levie from Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae won the youth category. Event organiser Jim Brooks-Dowsett said: “We’ve had a fantastic week. “We’ve had some very unexpected weather, plenty of sunshine and uncharacteristically warm for this time of year.

“We’ve travelled around the island, and used three of the beaches, which has been lovely. “While we were waiting for conditions at times, it’s still been great – these guys really know how to make the most of whatever conditions came up and we saw some great performances,” he added.

Bear’s guardian Angell A suffering street-dog from a Greek island has a new home near Oban, thanks to two warm-hearted Scottish women.

Happy together. Bear has found a new lease of life with Julie.

Mary Brown of Taynuilt and her friend Hebridean Air Service pilot Julie Angell have given Bear a new lease of life since his days of lying starving,sick and despondent in the alleyways of Corfu. The story began when Mary first spotted Bear as she strolled around Corfu while on holiday. She wrote in her journal: “One of my forays brought me out onto a busy road and to my horror, lying in the middle of it was a dog. I watched, quite sure that one of the cars would not see it and would run it over, but the drivers seemed to notice it at the last minute and swerve round it. After a while the dog got up, I thought with difficulty and wandered off and I didn’t see it anymore. I noticed it later that evening, this time lying in a shop doorway, trying to avoid the crowds on the pavement and to get some shelter for the night. I noticed it was biting at its coat, shaking its head, and rubbing its eye continuously with its paw. It was a big dog with a black and brown coat, a long nose and very, very sad eyes. The word Bear came into my mind. I felt distressed seeing a dog obviously alone and I asked a shopkeeper if he knew anything about it. He told me the dog had lived on the streets all its life and belonged to no-one, one of several strays in the town.” Mary found a local charity named The Ark, set up to help unwanted animals in Corfu. With the help of the

charity, she was able to bring Bear to the UK, which is where Julie stepped in. Julie said: “Everyone told Mary she was mad bringing home a rescue dog. She showed me a picture of Bear and I told her I could see in his face he was a nice dog.

Bear at the time of his rescue by the Corfu Animal Welfare Centre.

“That’s how he ended up home with me.” Bear is now a bounding, happy and loyal companion to Julie, who lives on the shores of Loch Etive. She said: “He goes with me everywhere he can, he waits for me in the office. He’s scared of flying although I have taken him to Colonsay once. He is very intelligent, and very gentle, and he’s learning not to overreact to other dogs.

Bear accompanies Julie to work and waits for her at Oban airport.

“We think he is about five, and will have had to fight for his existence every day on the streets.” She added: “It was so moving seeing him with our two pet lambs this spring. “He watched me bottle-feed them, and seemed to understand what I was doing. “As they grew up he raced round the garden with them, but also looked after them and guarded them.” Bear has had to learn to live firmly under the paw of Julie’s cat Wilbur, a stray kitten she adopted in the United States, and Mossie, her other stray cat. Julie said: “He’s a bit nervous of Wilbur who hisses at him. But he has gone from strength to strength since we got him in January learning how to be real dog and enjoying his new life.” Julie added: “ The charity which helped rescue Bear can be found at It would be good if people could make a donation or even consider adopting an animal. “Times are bleak in the Greek economy and no doubt even tougher for the animals.”

November 2012 Issue 9 - island news & ADVERTISER



Canna residents defend beleaguered NTS manager string of previous residents who had all left over the past two years blaming NTS and accusing Mr Connor of bullying and harassment. NTS has always maintained there is no evidence of bullying and harassment. Mr Connor told Island News & Advertiser that both he and NTS plan to take the newspaper to the Press Complaints Commission for its handling of the story. He said: “The reporters only took one side of the story. They didn’t speak to the rest of the residents.

“What didn’t come out was the fact the Mr Uney was on a year’s contract, with a six month probation period. He was hired to work on the Canna House gardens, and knew there were performance and time-keeping issues. At five months in he left, having lined up another job in Shetland.” Shortly after the Uneys left, another couple Amanda and Aart Lastdrager who run the Gille Bridghe restaurant announced their intention to leave.

Three islanders spoke exclusively to Island News & Advertiser to express their dismay at Mr Connor’s treatment. Murdo Jack, who with his partner Geraldine MacKinnon runs the Canna farm said: “The trouble started among three families long before Stewart arrived. Stewart came head on into that. “I have always found Stewart to be a perfect gentleman and I would challenge anyone to say different. He has done wonders on this island. “NTS has never asked for our views, and we want Stewart and his partner Julie to stay and carry on their good work.” Geraldine MacKinnon said: “I have never seen any evidence or been on the receiving end of bullying by Stewart. On the contrary he has done so many good things here and has put in a lot of

work and effort which has been unappreciated.” She added: “We wish the exresidents would move on with their lives and allow Canna to do the same.” Winnie MacKinnon, who runs the Post Office, looks after the holiday accommodation and is the NTS ranger said: “Stewart has been treated appallingly. He has done so much here with the library and archive at Canna House and getting it open to the public and sorting out the website. “We have had a Fèis now for two years, and it wouldn’t have happened without Stewart. Stewart went to Uist and forged important connections there through Ceòlas. His partner Julie is the driving

Stewart is a deep thinker. He will not say anything unless he has thought it through. I suppose some could interpret that as surliness.

If you look at the past history of the people who came here, you can see they are nomads, always moving on. We welcomed them here and gave them everything we could, but they still wanted more. But on an island in a small community you have to give back, you have to treat people as you would yourself.


Stewart Connor’s management style was blamed by Graham and Olivia Uney for their abrupt departure to Shetland last month. Using Mrs Uney’s contacts in the press, they blasted his management style and accused him of bullying. One national newspaper sent two undercover reporters to the island for three days before publishing a lengthy piece harpooning Mr Connor, who was at that point on holiday in Uist. The newspaper article quoted a

‘‘ ‘‘


Canna residents have spoken in defence of their local National Trust for Scotland (NTS) property manager after he was attacked in the press by a couple who recently left the island.

Winnie MacKinnon, Canna resident.

force behind the community shop which opened this year. They’ve got so many skills we don’t have and they share them freely. “I think Stewart has only had three weekends off in two years. He just gets on and does everything. For years and years my mother had a leaking drain, Stewart had fixed it within a week of his arrival. If my Landrover breaks down, he’s first on the scene. He has a building background, and when some roughcasting needed to be done and the people hired to do it couldn’t cope with the awful weather, Stewart just got on and did it. Nothing is a problem to him, if he sees something needing done he goes and does it. That’s the way it has to be on an island.”


island news & ADVERTISER - November 2012 Issue 9

People From Illeray to Holyrood A Baptist minister with roots in Baleshare, North Uist gave the Scottish Parliament’s weekly Time for Reflection address on Tuesday September 18. Rev Gus Macaulay’s forbears come from Illeray, Baleshare, where his greatgrandfather was the blacksmith. His grandfather, Angus John, was a policeman in Glasgow and treasurer of the North Uist and Berneray Association. His father, also known as Gus, currently lives in Cnoc An Torrain, North Uist. Mr Macaulay has been the minister at Knightswood Baptist Church, Glasgow for the past seven years. He lives in Jordanhill with his wife Karen and

children Rebecca, Angus and Calum. He was invited by his local MSP, Bill Kidd to give the four minute address to Parliament on the recommendation of a member of his congregation. In his address, Mr Macaulay posed the question: “Is there any hope today?” He said: “When I speak to the people in Knightswood, I hear that same question being asked again and again – the woman who lives alone in the nearby high flats, the asylum seeker family trying to make a

Rev Gus Macaulay with MSP Bill Kidd outside the Scottish Parliament.

new start in our community, the young family doing their best to make ends meet – ‘Is there any hope?’ “ He went on to tell the MSPs: “I believe there is, and you have the privilege of being part of that answer. You have the privilege of making decisions that bless people, that give them opportunities, that give people something worth striving for that gives them hope.” Mr Macaulay told IN&A: “It was a great privilege to be asked to give the

address and well worth reflecting on what you would say if you had just four minutes to speak to the Scottish Parliament.” One interesting pause for thought for Mr Macaulay was spotting a fellow alumni from Glasgow University across the chamber. Nicola Sturgeon was a law student in the same class as him. Mr Macaulay’s address can be seen at KHfU9M&feature=share

UIST MÒD DRAMA SUCCESS Sgioba Dràma Uibhist took two prizes at this year’s Mòd. The group won Best Acted Play for ‘Ceannuidhe na Cloiche’ written by company member Angus MacPhail. They also won Best Producer, an award shared between Nanac Skivington and Morag Ferguson. The play tells the story of a group of Scottish Nationalists who have settled in the Monach Isles. They have made an agreement with nationalists on the mainland who removed the Stone of Destiny from Westminster that the best hiding place for the Stone will be on the island. The government are suspicious that the real Stone was not the one left at Arbroath Abbey and have sent representatives to the islands to trace the real Stone. The actors were Roddy Shaw, Eoghan MacDonald, Morag MacDonald, Angus MacPhail, Uisdean Robertson, Roddy MacDonald, Rona Skivington, Sarah MacEachen and Margaret MacLean. The company is organising a performance in Uist this month, and may also take it to Barra. Meanwhile Sgioba Dràma Uibhist member Eoghan MacDonald

(pictured left) also triumphed in singing at the Mòd. He took top prize in tradition singing, 16-18

years with ‘Gur muladach tha mi’, winning the Neil MacLaine Cameron Memorial Trophy.

November 2012 Issue 9 - island news & ADVERTISER


People HMI Report, N orth Uist, Heisker Public School, Inverne ss S e s s io n 1 9 35-36 “The roll of this small scho

Angus ‘Moy’Macdonald with his children Evelyn,Hamish,Euan and Iona with the school records in Lionacleit library.

Angus revisits his schooldays in Heisgeir The school record of January 15, 1931 states: ‘One little boy Angus Macdonald has been admitted and his name put on the register.’ A simple statement, but this was no ordinary school, and no ordinary boy. The entry is in the school record of Heisgeir school, Monach Islands off North Uist, and the little boy in question is Angus ‘Moy’ Macdonald, now 85 and the last surviving person to have been born there. Mr Macdonald remembered his time as a

child on Heisgeir during a visit to Sgoil Lionacleit library with four of his children, Evelyn, Iona, Hamish and Euan. They pored over school records and cleaning registers dating back to the 1800s held in the library. Mr Macdonald said: “Although I was officially registered at school that day, I had been attending since I was about three

ol is now redu marked intellig ced to five. All ence under ex the pupils show amination. Th pleasantly clea ed ey speak, read r voice and are and recite in a much interest well in their ar ed in their wo ithmetical test rk. They also d s. Composition is conducted w id very is also quite m ith care and ap er itorious. The sc plication, and hool the room is bri reading is fluen ght and clean. t and intelligen Gaelic t.”

years old. I think I was sent there with the teacher if my mother needed to get away to do things.” The school had a roll of 13 in Angus’s early years, but by 1942 when his family left the Monach islands it had fallen to three. Mr Macdonald recalls his school years as happy and untroubled, with freedom to roam and play, and older brothers and sisters to look after the little ones. He said: “You had to behave. You were scared not of what the teacher would do to you but what your parents would do if they found out. You respected your elders.” Scarlet fever haunted the islands in the 1930s, imported when someone came home

on leave from Glasgow. Angus recalled that his younger brother Donald Alick took it and was not expected to survive. Some of the children’s school duties would not pass muster in our times. He along with other siblings in turn, was expected to keep his teacher (“a Miss Macdonald, very old, from Lochmaddy”) company at night. This even included sleeping alongside the nervous old lady. It was the task of the pupils to keep the school clean and a register was kept of their efforts. Much sweeping, dusting and scrubbing with Izal is recorded during Angus’s time. The school records, above, also show that Angus and his companions were model pupils.

KIRSTY TAKES HISTORY TO THE MÒD North Uist’s Kirsty MacDonald was in Dunoon for Mòd week ,manning the Historic Scotland stand. Kirsty MacDonald with visitors to the Historic Scotland stand at the Mòd.

Ms MacDonald has been employed by Historic Scotland for the past year as their Gaelic Language and Policy officer, helping the organisation put together its five year Gaelic Language Plan. Official approval of the plan by Bòrd Na Gàidhlig was announced during Mòd week, and the Historic

Scotland stand became the centre of attention. Ms MacDonald said: “It’s been fantastic to see the enthusiasm. The printed educational resources that we brought along went down really well with teachers and parents.” She will now begin work on implementation of the plan, which includes establishing dual-language

interpretation displays in some of Historic Scotland’s most iconic sites, including Iona. She said: ‘The Gaelic displays will be aimed at school children and families and will be in good but easily accessible Gaelic. Part of my job will be to work on standardising the appropriate terminology for history into Gaelic.”


November 2012 Issue 9 - island news & ADVERTISER



Close finish for young sailors Report by Toby Marshall of CnES Sailing Eight under-sixteens from the across the Western Isles gathered at the Uist Boat Club in Lochmaddy, North Uist on Saturday October 6 to contest the Western Isles Sailing development group’s inaugural season-closing Junior Championships.

With six Topper dinghies and eight eager sailors, the group was split into two fleets of older and younger sailors, with the top three from each fleet going forward to contest the trophy on Sunday after three fun races on Saturday. Saturday’s races saw Uist sailors Magnus

Annual Daliburgh Jog Report by Daliburgh Jog Scotland leaders

Left to right, Oliver Foote, Alasdair MacDonald, Graeme Black.

The annual Daliburgh Jog Scotland 10k took place on Saturday September 22. For a nice change we had perfect weather conditions for the route which takes you from Daliburgh through Askernish village, along

Front row left to right; Brendon May, Charlie Leveson-Gower, Calum Fraser, Calum Ferguson, Hamish Rodger, Fiona MacSween & Magnus Fraser. Back row:Toby Marshall, Peter Keiller.

Fraser, Brendon May, Calum Ferguson, Charlie Levenson-Gower, Calum Fraser and Hamish Rodger all qualifying to contest the trophy the following day. This left Lewis’s Fiona Macsween to win the silver fleet by default as her opponent, Nicky Spears, was unable to return on Sunday. Sunday racing was exciting and unpredictable in windier conditions, and ended with a nail-biting final finish between Magnus Fraser and Hamish Rodger. Hamish pipped Magnus at the post, putting himself and Magnus equal on points. The winner could only be determined by

Askernish machair and back round to Daliburgh for a well earned cup of tea and goodies! Congratulations to Alasdair MacDonald from North Uist who was first with a time of 39.35 and to first female Shona Morrison from Benbecula with a time of 44.10. Second overall was Oliver Foote 40.49 and third Graeme Black 42.15. There were 30 runners with people travelling from as far as Barra and Berneray!

counting back the number of firsts, seconds and thirds they had scored, resulting in Hamish taking home the Junior Championship trophy. Peter Keiller, chairman of both the Uist Boat Club and the Western Isles Sailing development group said: “I’d like to congratulate Hamish on a deserved win, considering such a tight finish, and his determination to fight on until he’d crossed the finish. I’m not sure I’d have picked myself to come through and win the final race, especially at his age. I suspect he’s a young man with a bright sailing future ahead of him.”

Well done to all the runners and especially to our Daliburgh Jog Scotland members. Many thanks to all those who volunteered their time in so many different ways, without their support the day would not have been such a success. Daliburgh Jog Scotland has been running for 8 years now, the group meets at Gleus House every Wednesday evening at 6.30pm. New members are always welcome.

Gàidhlig/Gaelic Gaidhlig/Gaelic Dealbh Chluich Ùr Maggie Smith Tha eachdraidh an t-obair a bha aig clann nighean a’ sgadan, anns an dealbh cluich A Souvenir of Great Yarmouth. Chleachd an sgrìobhadair Eric I. Dòmhnallach à Uig, na seanchasan a bha aig boireannaich à Leòdhas a chaidh chun an iasgaich anns na 1920/30an. Tha am buidheann saor thoileach Cabraich a’ toirt an dealbh cluich gu buidhnean anns na h-eileanan air a’ mhìos seo. Air an t-shàmhradh chaidh an dealbh cluich fhaicinn aig Fèisean na Mara am bailtean an iasgaich,

A New Play Maggie Smith A Souvenir of Great Yarmouth is based on the lives of the island women who followed the shoals around the east coast of Scotland as herring gutters. The Uig writer, Eric J. MacDonald used factual information recorded

leithid Yarmouth agus Loch an Inbhir. Chur Buidheann Eachdraidh Steòrnabhaigh oidhche air dòigh ann an Talla Bhaile Steòrnabhaigh, far an robh an dealbh cluich A Souvenir of Great Yarmouth agus deilbh bho àm an t-iasgaich rim fhaicinn. Thuirt neach labhairt “Bha sinn toilichte taic a thoirt ga Cabraich airson an dealbh cluich seo a thoirt a Yarmouth, or bha ceangalaichean làidir eadar an dà bhaile aig àm an iasgaich. ’S iomadh boireannach às an eilean a bha ag obair mu chosta taobh an ear Herring girls working outside na duthaich, agus a Stornoway Town Hall. Courtesy of ràinig Yarmouth aig Stornoway Historical Society.

from Lewis women employed in the industry in the 1920/30s. Cabraich, a volunteer arts group, are planning visits to several groups and communities in the islands later this year, having taken the story of the island women to the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival and the Assynt Festival over the summer. Stornoway Historical Society recently hosted A Souvenir of Great Yarmouth and displayed herring industry memorabilia from their archives. A committee member said

“We were delighted to support Cabraich to take this play to Yarmouth, to renew the fishing links between the two towns. The island women often ended the season at Yarmouth at this time of the year. The Stornoway Herring curer Duncan MacIver had a yard in Yarmouth, which is now preserved as part of the Time and Tide Museum. Stornoway Historical Society endeavour to preserve the history of the town and its people. We are pleased to see our heritage presented in the play A Souvenir of Great Yarmouth”.

deireadh na sèasan mun dearbh àm seo dhan a’ bhiadhna. Tha am buidheann Eachdraidh a glèidheadh eachdraidh a’ bhaile agus na daoine a bha fuireach ann, tha e taitneach a bhith ga fhaicinn ann an dealbh cluich”







island news & ADVERTISER - November 2012 Issue 9

Wildlife More protection for North Harris mussels The freshwater pearl mussels of North Harris are to be protected as part of a £3.4m nationwide scheme to save the endangered species. Two rivers in North Harris support pearl mussel populations. Scientists say there is evidence of successful breeding in both rivers, making them of international significance, and some of the best remaining populations in the Outer Hebrides. The protection project includes work to try and increase these populations. In 2009, a single illegal pearl fishing incident killed 50% of the pearl mussels in North Harris, and this year saw further criminal incidents recorded in Harris.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is working with government, conservation organisations, environment agencies and fishery trusts over the next four years to protect Scottish stocks, which face extinction in many rivers. Dr Iain Sime of SNH said: “The resident pearl mussel populations in Harris were severely damaged by pearl fishing in recent years. It is estimated that the population in one river now numbers less than 50 animals, demonstrating the threat on-going criminality poses to this

vulnerable and remote site. The project will implement a local ‘riverwatch’ scheme and raise awareness more generally within the local community.” Pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) live for more than 100 years. The very youngest mussels cannot survive without living harmlessly on fish gills. The protection scheme will take action on North Harris to help the young mussels find and establish themselves on fish hosts, helping recovery of the populations.

South Uist couple monitor sparrow survival A South Uist couple are the first in Scotland to undertake a colour-ring scheme to monitor the survival rate of adult house sparrows. Ian Thompson and Yvonne Benting have been trapping and ringing the house sparrows around their home in Askernish for the past two years as part of the British Trust for Ornithology scheme known as Retrap of Adults for Survival (RAS). Some RAS schemes for sparrows are running in E n g l a n d,

but the Thompson-Benting project is thought to be the only one in Scotland. House sparrows are on the RSPB red list of endangered birds. The RAS scheme sets out to monitor their survival rate for at a minimum of five years, to better understand their behaviour and decline. The birds are monitored through the breeding season, April – August. Mr Thompson said: “Depending on the weather, we use mist nets or ground traps to catch the birds, then we colour-ring them. “Sparrows tend to be sedentary once they have dispersed from the nest and chosen a place to settle, only a few stay in the original site. “There are about 30 breeding pairs in Askernish. This year we recorded an increase

of three in the area. “This year the number of juveniles caught and colour-ringed increased from 80 to 183. It was an exceptional breeding season, with many pairs having two broods. They had nearly all dispersed by September. “We found that three of last year’s juveniles have dispersed as far away as Glendale and Carnan, and one adult has made its way to Bayhead in North Uist, some 45km away. “We are collating all the information and will send it to BTO who will use it to work out the survival rates of adults and it will also help to increase our understanding of juvenile dispersal and in their first year.” Mr Thompson said IN&A readers should be on the look out for sparrows in their

gardens, and if they see one with a colour-ring they should let him know where and when they saw it. He said: “If you can read the ring you’ll see it has one of the letters A,B,C,F,G followed by a number between 00 and 99. I’ll even turn up and have a look myself, if invited.” Sightings can be sent to Ian and Yvonne by email to or they can be contacted on 01878 700849.

WOOL WORK TRAINING STARTS IN GRIMSAY A 10 week training course in small scale wool work production begins this month in North Uist. The course offers a mixture of practical work, theory & discussion sessions, visits to crofts plus a field trip to Lewis & Harris to see behind the scenes of a working spinning mill and meet weavers and organisations involved in the current revival of Harris Tweed. Those taking part in the part-time training course, based at Kallin Canteen on Grimsay, will receive a basic grounding in aspects of wool processing.

There are still one or two places available on the course. Contact Dana MacPhee 07798 561 022 or The course includes the following sessions: ●

8-9 November

- Pre Mill: wool on the croft

16-17 November

- Wool Textile Traditions; Contemporary Fashions & Furnishings

23-24 November

- Wool Grading (Including open workshop for crofters), practical session

30 November-1Dec - Natural Dyeing of Wool, practical session

7-8 December

- The Mill Production Process; Eco-Design

13-15 December

- Site visit to Mill & Weavers, Lewis & Harris

11-12 January

- Yarn Design & Blending Fibres, practical session

18-19 January

- The Market Place – social trading & community enterprise

25-26 January

- Weaving, practical session

February 2013

- Uist Wool Mill - Meet the Machinery, practical session

Tutors include Sheila Roderick (Scalpay Linen) ● Louise Butler (Exfactor) ● Sam Goates (weareonecreative) ● Eva Lambert (Shilasdair Yarns) ● Ste phen Ballinger (British Wool Marke ting Board) plus others from The Soil Association,the Harris Twe ed industry,Knockando Woollen Mill,local crofters and craftspeop le. ●

November 2012 Issue 9 - island news & ADVERTISER




November 3

TABLETOP SALE 11am – 2pm BALIVANICH HALL Raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support Contact Norma (after 6) 01870 603485 or Catherine 01870 603224


MARKET 11 am - 1pm LOCHMADDY HALL Contact Effie Ann MacPherson 01876 500257



December 1

CRAFT AND CHARITY FAIR 11am – 4pm LEVERBURGH VILLAGE HALL Contact Mairead MacDonald 01859 520267


CRAFT FAIR 11 am – 3pm IOCHDAR HALL Contact Norma (after 6) 01870 603485






For Stornoway fairs, go to for details.


MARKET 11am – 2pm (doors open 10.30am) BERNERAY HALL Book a table: £5 Contact Chrissie MacAskill 01876 540230

Stornoway Farmers Market, every Saturday at The Hub, Perceval Square.

Sustainable Uist Uibhist Sheasmhach

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING The Annual General Meeting of Sustainable Uist will take place on Wednesday 14th Novemberat Sgoil Lionacleit at 7pm. All welcome.


© Vectoriart -

TAKES OVER NUNTON STEADINGS Uist Radio Ltd is to take over Nunton Steadings as its base. The complex had been offered by the Nunton Steadings Trust to community groups. Uist Radio was chosen from a field of two after representation by local development officer Neil Campbell. Mr Campbell said:“After the Trust’s careful consideration and referring to the public consultation which took place last year,we were deemed the most suitable as it was our intention to maintain the buildings for the use of all members of the community,young and old as well as

visitors to these Islands. The Trust were particularly interested in the involvement of local school pupils and college students who would be able to gain experience and confidence in performing for radio on the premises. Another important deciding factor was that we would create a social space where people could meet,eat, drink,chat and listen to what was being broadcast. There was also emphasis on allowing parts of the building to be leased to other groups who would benefit from the location.”

HOWMORE CHURCH AUCTION Howmore Church, South Uist held a farmer’s market auction on Sunday October 7, writes Xavier Bird. The congregation brought in as many home-made or homegrown food items as they wished and these were then sold in the auction. The profits went to Christian Aid. A huge variety of items were sold from crates of seafood to carrots. The auction

turned out to be a rather nifty way of saving time as people could do their shopping in church. This ensured that the market was a success with £400 made (an improvement on last year). However, despite the lengthy discussions on the best way to cook the live offerings, the only thing we can say for the lobsters is that they were killed humanely.



island news & ADVERTISER - November 2012 Issue 9

Paw Prints

Welcome to Paw Prints, where your animals get their chance to shine.

Coco Bailey Connie, a great bird watcher. She lives with Brian and Anne Rabbitts in Carinish, North Uist.

Sociable Cara is waiting for her best friend Joe coming to take her for a walk. She lives in Eochar with Christine an d Lachie Macinnes.

ley loves Coco loves chasing butterflies, and Bai each sing cha curtain-climbing, but best of all is . other and sumo-wrestling with Trinity Johnson in Grenitote, live They North Uist.

A Taste of Scottish Goodness The ‘Original’ Complete Dog Food – Since 1958. Keep your pet in tip top condition ●

Suitable for all ages, size and breed

Completely Natural

Appetising Ingredients


Wee Westie Nuala loves a great vantage point. She lives with Florence Pearson in Locheport, North Uist.

the ball! She lives with Wispa loves her foot Ahmore, North Uist. ri, MacDonalds at Maa

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

Grab yours when you show this page at


Tel: 01870 610205 Fax: 01870 610216

ACROSS: 6) Off, 8) Subsidiary, 9) Try, 11) Blister, 13) Bread, 14) Feint, 15) Back-pedalling, 16) Minor, 18) Oscar, 19) Giraffe, 20) Any, 23) Referendum, 24) Ply.


DOWN: 1) Ask, 2) Ebb, 3) Wield, 4) Airs and graces, 5) Grief, 7) Far and near, 10) Irrational, 11) Backlog, 12) Realise, 17) River, 18) Often, 21) Odd, 22) Amp.

Wilson’s Dog Food stockist,

November 2012 Issue 9 - island news & ADVERTISER



23) Chance for people to vote for what the government wants (10)

CLUES ACROSS 6) Really not on and a bit moody to-boot (3)

24) Work steadily at a trade and wield an appropriate tool (3)

8) Controlled by another, company-wise (10) 9) By making an effort make severe demands upon a test (3)

CLUES DOWN 1) Make a request if you need to (3)

11) Pack for pre-packed tools and other little things (7)

2) Movement out to sea as a life will drift away (3)

13) Money for a staple diet (5) 14) Made by a boxer confuses the opposition (5)

18) Big prize for a Hollywood performer (5) 19) Creature with horns grazes tops of the trees (7) 20) Implies a lack of important as to choice (3)

11) Accumulation (7)

2) Recede (3)

12) Comprehend (7) 17) Watercourse (5) 18) Habitually (5)

22) Briefly expressed unit of current (3)

7) Everywhere (3, 3, 4)

5) Sorrow (5)

21) Peculiar (3) 22) Short sound enhancer (3)

Solutions on page 18

8) Auxiliary (10) 9) Endeavour (3) 11) Skin eruption (7) 13) Loaf (5) 14) Pretence (5) 15) About-turning (4-9) 16) Junior (5) 18) Statuette (5)

11) Work or duties collected and long overdue (7)

19) Tall animal (7)

12) Convert to actuality, cash or profit (7)

23) Special vote (10)

20) Whichever (3)

24) Practise (3)

Roof Cleaning & Coating

island news Edition 01

Improve the kerb appeal of your home


No more moss growth on your roof means reduced gutter maintenance.

1) Enquire (3)

4) Affected manners (4, 3, 6)

6) Rotten (3)

Roofs Cleaned, Repaired & Sealed

10) Unreasonable (10)

3) Brandish (5)

4) Stuck-up way of going about (4, 3, 6)

10) Being based on no rational assessment or reason (10)


21) Strangely left over when the rest have gone (3)


7) Home and away the other way round, expressed another way (3, 3, 4)

16) Least important or the younger of two (5)

18) Talk of ten changes that happen frequently (5)

3) Hold and use (5)

5) Misery with an added good, an expression of great surprise (5)

15) Bad cycling shows changes of mind (4-9)

17) Strong, wide flow of water to the sea (5)

Extend your roofs life span 15 year water protection guarantee

March 2012


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