Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Forty Years On

An exhibition of photographs depicting everyday life of the late 1970s / early 1980s in Caithness, Orkney and Shetland will continue at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow until 27 August. Here Tom Kidd captured a Sunday scene on Fair Isle. Take a look at the selection of images on the BBC website and just ponder how things have changed.

Scottish Islands Explorer - goes out, about and back in time
Digital Edition: then just a dream in the mind of an innovator

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

On Track and Remote

As the Thurso and Wick-bound train approaches Altnabreac, the most remote station in Britain, you could well imagine that it has crossed an expanse of water to reach an island. It has, in fact, traversed a section of the Flow Country, where roads have never been constructed. Last Saturday this stretch of track featured in the lives of Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pope, who arrived in Wick at the end of a project to visit all 2563 railway stations in England, Wales and Scotland. Follow them on All the Stations.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has its island-baggers too
Digital Edition: ready for all travellers to download

Monday, 21 August 2017

Photographic Treks

Here is an introduction to John McKenna Photography. He is an analytical chemist by profession and has something of the alchemist in his photography - by turning base subjects into compelling images. A photo-journalistic style was evident in his project, The Road to the Isles, in ongoing work involving treks around Japan and, within our shared location, when visiting the 51 permanently-inhabited Hebridean islands. Accompany him through his blog.

Scottish Islands Explorer - loves encountering fellow-enthusiasts
Digital Edition: an internet facility that is fast

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Beach Clean Stations

Sorcha Cantwell has a mission - to encourage the clearing of Scottish coastal beaches. She has recently been at work in the North-West, but her project is to set up Beach Clean Stations throughout Scotland.

Please read the full details of this remarkable Project and do take time to look at her Facebook entry as well as her Appeal.

The image above is of that iconic beach at Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris. It does not, at present, need cleaning, but could serve as a template for coastlines throughout the nation.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also driven by passion and mission
Digital Edition: pollution-free

Saturday, 19 August 2017

A Whisky Galore Bottle

Take a look at the bay on the Isle of Eriskay where the SS Politician came to grief and where a legend began. It continues today with the Stornoway Gazette covering the story of an original bottle coming up for sale in ... Cheshire. Some bottles do get around.

Scottish Islands Explorer - archive copies sometimes appear
Digital Edition: its range of availability is long; life tends to be short

Friday, 18 August 2017

Regeneration of Ruins

The perspective of looking down on North Ronaldsay is attractive; the prospect of renovating this ruined mill-house on the island is not so appealing. Look at the slideshow of images on Zoopla. Shelter Scotland has identified a significant number of such buildings on Orkney and the North Ronaldsay Trust has named 30 houses in need of complete rebuilding. Plans have been put forward and are detailed on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - uses the modern facilities of Buxton Press
Digital Edition: state-of-the-art transmission

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Speed of Stitch

The World's fastest knitter will be appearing at the International Festival in Inverness in mid-October. Between 2004 and 2008 Helen Tindall, who was born in Shetland and specialises in Fair Isle knitwear, increased her competitive speed from 255 stitches in three minutes to 262. Read more at the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - comes together quickly
Digital Edition: comes close to the equivalent of this woollen speed!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

New Edition in the Offing

Here's the photograph - of Mid Thundergay Old Cottage and Kilbrannan Sound, Arran - that is featured on the front cover of the new issue of Scottish Islands Explorer. The digital edition is ready to be downloaded; subscribers' copies should be delivered today; retail outlets should have them on the shelves by Friday. Do remember that the word 'offing' refers to the stretch of water between the land and the horizon. Enjoy the view!

Scottish Islands Explorer - the next issue will mark 15 years in full colour
Digital Edition: accept this invitation to look 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Three of a (Not So) Kind

You are looking into the depths in the Western Isles where Derek Mackenzie, Solicitor and Estate Agent has a wide range of properties for sale. Three of them are certainly different. There is a place to work - Harris Outdoor Adventure, at Leverburgh; a place that needs work - the five-bedroom Former Doctors' House at Gravir, Lewis; and a place that has worked - the Former Pumping Station overlooking Loch Gil Speireig Mhor (pictured above) at Achmore, Lewis. The asking prices spiral down from £139K, to £95k and on to £5k.

Scottish Islands Explorer - available at under £4
Digital Edition: yours for under a tenner a year

Monday, 14 August 2017


For an empty stretch of island coastline, consider the middle, eastern section of South Uist. The commanding point is the lighthouse

once serviced from the storehouse in the bay, photographed here by Marc Calhoun, who went on to make an intended brief visit to the Mountain Bothies Association outpost nearby outpost below,

but where he encountered a most unusual person, an unsociable and uncommunicative resident visitor. Marc made his excuses and left!

Scottish Islands Explorer - you need to have the explorer gene to visit Uisinish
Digital Edition: likely to be uncommunicative here as well