Monday, 30 September 2013

Imposing ... As Required

If you want to be an Arctic explorer, you have to look the part ... and Dr John Rae certainly did. The unveiling of a statue commemorating the 200th year of his birth was covered by The Orcadian and imposing it certainly looks. Be impressed.

Scottish Islands Explorer - not quite so intrepid

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Island Opportunities

Next year's Independence Referendum is raising issues about the opportunities for island communities. Kenny MacAskill MSP, the Justice Secretary in the Scottish Government, will be airing some of them at Gravir, in the South Lochs of the Isle of Lewis, on Friday 25 October when he gives the annual Angus MacLeod Memorial Lecture. Do book the date for next month.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has presented island opportunities for almost 14 years

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Flip for a Trip

Do take a look at a recent issue of Scottish Islands Explorer magazine by the Flipbook approach. This enables a fast read with magnification where necessary. Yesterday's item considered an innovative approach by a British newspaper; today's is about a new device based on an old concept.

Scottish Islands Explorer - remember that the apps are waiting for you to access

Friday, 27 September 2013

Ships through Chips

All the ports of the UK, including those of the Scottish islands, have, at some time featured in Lloyd's List, the oldest business paper in the world. It has been published every working day since 1734, but from 20 December next will become solely a digital, online production. News of the movements of ships will be carried by electronic chips and not on paper. Is this the future of many publications?

Scottish Islands Explorer - tablet apps through Apple, Google and Kindle

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Hidden & Hailed

They came, they saw, they conquered the peak and have something to celebrate. This image is used by a new company which will go places, as well as take people there ... to the Hidden Hebrides. Guided walking tours of the Western Isles are their speciality - and the 2014 programme will satisfy needs as well as stimulate interests. The image below encapsulates a Hebridean beach - with its memorable skies, colours, landscapes, sea-shores, a house possibly offering accommodation and walks definitely providing enjoyment.

   Scottish Islands Explorer - an insiders' magazine for those going out

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Wider View

Take time to take in the wider aspects of the Isle of Jura with the panoramic images that are to be found on an informative website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has time to stand and stare

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Mystery to Reality?

The label poses something of a mystery, but the ex-RAF accommodation at Saxa Vord, Unst, could become a real production unit if plans are given the go-ahead. The details about the proposed Shetland Whisky Distillery will, perhaps, stimulate interest.

Scottish Islands Explorer - noses out a future prospect

Monday, 23 September 2013

Destined for Distillery

Here is the raw product for the above as featured in this Stornoway Gazette item. It takes old machinery to make an archaic product.

Scottish Islands Explorer - another increasingly matured production

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Plenty To Go Around

There's plenty of rock to go around - for curling stones and much more - on Ailsa Craig. Enjoy the images and items in the Photo Gallery which is exclusively about this remarkable islet.

Scottish Islands Explorer - started on stone; printed on paper; waiting on web

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Seabird Explorer

This unusually-shaped vessel, Seabird Explorer, called into Stornoway and alerted the Stornoway Gazette to present an item of interest.

Scottish Islands Explorer - keen to know more about Seabird Exploration

Friday, 20 September 2013

Scorpion on Loose

Yesterday it was a matter of two whales stranded on St Kilda; today a pet scorpion is on the loose in Victoria Street, Kirkwall. Follow the trail of this creature through The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - interested in the movements of creatures

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Rare Visitors Stranded

It's worthwhile, but seldom straightforward to reach St Kilda. That goes for humans. For whales, particularly the Sowerby's beaked variety, it's really rare to be stranded there. The Stornoway Gazette item gives you the news of an event which brings the island group into the headlines.

Scottish Islands Explorer - Sowerby's beaked whale not covered before

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Log Seal Blog

It's only last year that the last of the North Rona Seal blogs finished and so do revive them to consider the work of the St Andrew's University team.

Scottish Islands Explorer - well aware of the seals on this remote outpost

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Moveable Chairs

Three Orkney Chairs will be appearing in London at a prestigious design exhibition. Take a look at what will be happening through The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ideal for reading the magazine in comfort

Monday, 16 September 2013

One Over The Eight

There are plans afoot to create a new distillery - the ninth, I believe - on Islay. Go this Gartbreck Distillery lead and see for yourself.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ready to sample

Sunday, 15 September 2013

For A Sunday Walk

If you happen to be near Ness, at the top end of Lewis and fancy a walk this Sunday, then, perhaps, a visit to relatively near Filiscletir Chapel will stimulate you. However, you will have to conduct your own service there.

Could any one tell me when services ceased here at this remarkably remote place of worship built by John Nicolson in the early part of the 20th Century?

A good guide for the walk is to be found at walkhighlands, a website that takes you places, some of which are well off-the-beaten track and involve, as here, some high walks.

Scottish Islands Explorer - stimulated by the the out-of-way

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Off and On

The lighthouse at Shillay on the Monachs or Heisker Islands has seen changes since it was built by David and Thomas Stevenson in 1864. It shone continuously until 1942 before being de-commissioned. Then after the Braer oil tanker disaster off Shetland in 1993, a new smaller light was built and opened here four years later. It had a range of ten miles. In 2008 the old light was re-commissioned with a new optic and now shines to warn the heavier sea traffic that uses the routes to the west of the Outer Hebrides.

Scottish Islands Explorer - commissioned in the year 2000

Friday, 13 September 2013

Two Ways of Looking

The Storm Pods on Islay have been re-visited by the compiler of a local blog and he has reported favourably. So see what's in store for you. Then look at the wider scene on the island through a video made by a visitor from The Netherlands during a ten-day stay.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also has plenty to offer

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Repelled Advances

This has been a busy year for a variety of historical sites in Orkney. The full details are in this report from The Orcadian, but nowhere saw a greater increase in numbers than the Hackness Martello Tower and Battery. They were built between 1813 - 1815 to provide defences against French and American privateers. Now British possessions are annexed from overseas through the Stock Markets!

Scottish Islands Explorer - sets its sights on circulation

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Waxwing Award

A Fair Isle film-maker has won a prize at this year's British Wildlife Photography Awards. The topic concerns an influx of waxwings and features her son, Henry, then 11 years-of-age. For details of the people and the production go to the Shetland Times story.

Scottish Islands Explorer - Fair Isle has had its fledglings, like this magazine.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Top Celebrations

Heights, depths, vistas and time for reflection feature in the 2013 Isle of Harris Mountain Festival which starts at the weekend. There is always much to enjoy when coming to Harris, but the Festival gives that extra dimension of people celebrating together the activities which give them pleasure.

Scottish Islands Explorer - over the hills, not that far away

Monday, 9 September 2013

Shieling Gives Shelter

If you had to spend the night on terrain similar to Cuiashader (above) in the far north-east of Lewis, then the type of shieling (below) on nearby Ness Moor would provide some shelter. The old church pew is there in a position for which it was not originally constructed - relaxing in the sun. Robin Wilson took the panoramic view and John MacLean the close-up.

Scottish Islands Explorer - good to read about the outdoors, outside

Sunday, 8 September 2013

A Walk Over Water

These scenes are of Sollas, North Uist, which comprises a small settlement, pasture, beaches and a well-stocked Co-operative store. The walk to the nearby tidal island of Vallay is attractive so long as the timetables are consulted with care before venturing over the water. Details of a stimulating tour on foot, with a sandy base, is to be found on the walkhighlands website.

As a result of the Clearances, a Hebridean community gave the name of Sollas to its new township on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Then for some reason it was changed to Woodbine, a name associated more with honeysuckle and creeper as well as a popular English brand of cigarettes produced for a hundred years from 1888.

Scottish Islands Explorer - sells in Sollas, not on Vallay

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Election, Selection

There was no official voting in the old St Kilda Parliament - just talking and tacit agreements. Just what the all-male participants would have made of the BBC, television programmes, associated magazines and viewers being asked to take part in the selection of places for priorities and prizes? Now that St Kilda has been short-listed for the BBC Countryfile's Favourite Nature Reserve Award, you can become involved - whether you have been there or not, watched the programme or read the publication or not, whether male or female.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  open to all, as well

Friday, 6 September 2013

Secrets ... Now Open

 This evening sees the official launch of Elizabeth Gifford's debut novel, Secrets of the Sea House. The event will be held in the City of London, far from the settings of the book either physically or metaphorically. These images of Northton, Toe Head and Horgabost on the Isle of Harris are supplied by Liz Scenes and reveal some of the book's locations.

It is featured on the Insights One page of the current issue of Scottish Islands Explorer and is on sale through booksellers as well as on Amazon. Take this opportunity of reading about how the renovations of a house brings to the surface mysteries of life, local cultural strands in the Highlands & Islands and the strengths as well as flaws of people from different generations.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of the book's depth and width of appeal

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Leaving Home

If you have any reservations about the state of your interior decoration, consider looking at the website of Leaving Home. It trails a photographic exhibition of the work of John Maher and Ian Paterson to be held at An Lanntair in Stornoway from 9 November. The photographs capture the essence of dereliction - where past domestic comforts are in limbo as they approach future industrial decay. The word 'industry' comes from the Latin 'industria' meaning 'diligence', but here the emphasis is certainly on the element of 'dust' - from an Old English word of Germanic origin referring to 'chaff'.

Scottish Islands Explorer - diligently produced, but prepared for a dusty end

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Herding Whales

A pod of some 30 pilot whales off Firths Voe, Mossbank, Shetland came close to mass stranding on Monday morning. Something, perhaps, had gone wrong with the navigational features of the mis-named, leading pilot whale. Several things happened: the authorities were alerted, BP sent two boats to herd them out to sea, Ivan Hawick was there to photograph them, Shetland News came to gather the whole story. Read all about it!

Scottish Islands Explorer - navigational equipment intact, at present

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Come On In!

It seems to have taken quite some time to overcome the glitches that featured in the early editions of the free issue of Scottish Islands Explorer to appear in digital format. The gremlins have gone and so here is a copy to enjoy on your smartphone, tablet or computing device - whether its Android or Apple. Just click on to the link and be directed to the apps that are waiting to apply the content for you to see.

Scottish Islands Explorer - entering a new world

Monday, 2 September 2013

Forty Miles Saved

There's yet another facility, soon to be available, at what is the back office of Scottish Islands Explorer. This is the first above ground fuel tank for community service in Scotland, making petrol and diesel available, day and night, for customers of the Ravenspoint Centre at Kershader in the South Lochs of Lewis. The Stornoway Gazette has the story and details of the installation at what is now a real centre - with its shop, cafe, hostel, display area and archives. The 24-hour operation of the pumps will mean that local residents will be saved the current 40-mile round-trip to re-fuel.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to provide fuel for though

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Orcadian Pursuits

Contrasts in Orkney are marked, especially this weekend. The Lammas Fair was held in Kirkwall yesterday and featured horses and riders, stalls and bands, events and happenings. Lammas is one of the Scottish Quarter Days and appears in the calendar on 28 August. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of celebrating the 'loaf' or 'bread mass' as a harvest thanksgiving at the beginning of August. Motor bikes and riders appeared, some miles away, in Motocross weekend events at Heddle Hill, Finstown, and the beach circuit at the Bru in Burray.

Scottish Islands Explorer - plenty to offer for riders and readers