Monday, 31 August 2015

Conversion Potential

Meal Church in Hamnavoe, Burra Isle, Shetland, is for sale with offers of over £45,000 considered. Planning permission for residential purposes would be required; though not for commercial activities of certain types. See the Church of Scotland Law Department for details as well as for the interior colours of the property.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also a good buy

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Both Bothies

For details of a journey - ideal to read on an August Bank Holiday Weekend - consider Peter Edwards' Writes of Way and how he went from the bothy at Cruib Lodge, Jura, to An Cladach, Islay. His account and the reward of relaxation for the couple below should, at least, encourage us all to get out of the house!

Scottish Islands Explorer - for occasional bothy items

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Light and Time Lapse

Turn to the Stornoway Gazette and open up a timelapse video of the Aurora Borealis taken by Karen Munro from a vantage point in Lossiemouth.

Scottish Islands Explorer - needs to explore more of the skies

Friday, 28 August 2015

Bee-eaters that Bewitch

This group of seven Little Bee-eaters were photographed in The Gambia. However, last Wednesday a flock of seven adult Bee-eaters turned up in Tingwall, Shetland, and perched on a power cable. Within minutes birdwatchers, in general, and 'twitchers', in particular, were flocking to see them. There is a full account and images in Shetland News of the 24-hour landing by avian and enthusiastic visitors.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the magazine is occasionally spotted in The Gambia

Thursday, 27 August 2015

From Italy to Skye

This image of the Fairy Pools, Skye, was taken by Sergio del Rosso, a 32-year-old Italian photographer with only four years of experience. His work appears on the National Geographic website. For more shots of Scottish scenes by a range of photographers, survey the BBC website item.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always a wide range of island images

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

In the Running

The Sanday Archaeological Group has been short-listed for its work on preserving a number of coastal features and is in the running for the Heritage Angel Award. Dig into The Orcadian item for more details, including information about the Meur Bronze Age burn mound and well.

Scottish Islands Explorer - plays its part in preservation

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Oyster Catch On

The stock market may have lost billions owing to concerns about China, but the investment in oyster production with Traigh Mhor on Barra is up. Read about in on the herladscotland website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the new issue is selling well

Monday, 24 August 2015

Scarp in September?

Visiting Scarp, North Harris, is always special ... and this make Saturday 12 September a day to note. The Islands Book Trust is organising a visit to the island as part of the Harris Mountain Festival. Take advantage by signing up and going out.

Scottish Islands Explorer - Scarp is a favourite of many explorers

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Torrential on Trotternish

There's a dark side to every mountain, especially where weather is concerned. A group of Scouts from Germany were rescued and accommodated by voluntary service organisations on the Trotternish Ridge, Skye, following torrential rain. The full story is on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - appreciates the volunteers

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Bus Roots

This Bedford bus was purchased in 1958 by John Mitchell of Stornoway and is in service here on the Stornoway Circular route.

An earlier model, new in 1948, was acquired by the same company and is pictured in Stornoway ready to go to Rodel, Harris.  Going back in time to 1921 / 22 is a Model T Ford bought by Donald and Neil Ferguson of Ness and operated for 28 years on the route from the most northerly settlement on the Isle of Lewis into Stornoway.

Far more details are available about the early days of bus travel in a book - A Fleet History of Pre-War Independent Operators in the Scottish Islands - featured in the Stornoway Gazette. There were a remarkable 114 licensed operators running services into the main town of Lewis in 1932, although this had fallen to 63 by 1939.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ready to revive the roots of routes

Friday, 21 August 2015

Grunay For Sale

The Skerries Development Group, Shetland, is hoping that its local economy will be boosted by the sale of Grunay and investment for the improvement of the former lighthouse-keepers' accommodation. See what's on offer through Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - for the committed as well

Thursday, 20 August 2015

A Remarkable Life

Callum Black took this Geograph Project photograph of the large house at Gallanach on the west side of Coll. It was one of the homes of a remarkable man, J Kerr Elliot, who died last year. His obituary in The Scotsman includes references to his management of the 4000 acre estate on the island and one of its successes, producing daffodil bulbs for export.

Scottish Islands Explorer - accustomed to exporting copies worldwide

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Completed Crossing

The relay team of swimmers has completed the 55-mile stretch that they selected from St Kilda to Huishinish, North Harris, at their third attempt. Previous efforts this year have been thwarted owing to weather conditions. The BBC website carries a piece on the crossing which was completed seven hours ahead of schedule.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the latest edition appeared yesterday, on time

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Norse Comb

The Vikings traditionally had plenty of hair and here is a comb that they would have used. It will be catalogued effectively in the near future thanks to funding from Museums Gallery Scotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - requires cutting every eight weeks

Monday, 17 August 2015

A Place To Be

For that Monday feeling of wanting to be somewhere very different, then consider the properties for holiday lets on Scalpay, off Skye. Click onto Skye Self Catering Holidays and you're there ... in spirit.

Scottish Islands Explorer - plenty to write home about

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Change of Use

The church on Nave Island, to the north of Islay, dates back to the 13th Century. However, the fragment of an arm of a cross could well have come from the 5th Century for this was probably an island with a long monastic tradition. By 1785 the building was in a ruined state and became converted to industrial use by a group of kelp-burners who constructed a furnace and chimney within its north-east corner.

Scottish Islands Explorer - occasionally used for fire-lighting

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Everest to Gometra

Gometra is joined to Ulva by the bridge pictured below. This off-shore Mull island of almost 6000 acres appealed to the leader of the 1933 and 1936 Expeditions to Mount Everest, Hugh Ruttledge (1884 - 1961). He secured ownership soon after returning home for the second time, preferring life at sea level to high altitudes. In 1950 his wish for a different location led him to buy a property on the edge of Dartmoor.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tends to cover sea level destinations

Friday, 14 August 2015

High on Shetland

It's high up in the British latitudes and is the tallest turbine in Shetland ... so far. Take a look at the location of the device at Luggie's Knowe, north of Lerwick, and featured in the Shetland Times.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also has a commanding position in the market

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Foula of the '50s

This view of the old post office on Foula may not be particularly modern, but it looks positively contemporary compared with series of photographs taken on the island in the 1950s. Do study them, from the Francis Firth website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - combines the ancient and modern

Wednesday, 12 August 2015


Gairsay, to the south of Wyre in the Orkney group, is 593 acres in extent and rises to 335'. Its highest recorded population was 71 in 1841, falling to 33 towards the end of the 19th Century. It is now three, but is worked as an island farm centred upon Langskaill - photographed here by W L Tarbert. Images of the former mansion are to be found on ScotlandsPlaces - from times when it had a walkway along a parapet and a bowling green between the house and its stone pier.

Scottish Islands Explorer - product of a working publishing-house

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Vacation Vocation

Our Lady of the Waves and St John, Vatersay, was built in 1913. During its 102-year history it has been served for over 40 years, during his holidays from St Aloysius College, Glasgow, by Father Peter Banyard SJ. That's some vacation vocation.

Scottish Islands Explorer - inspires vacations, if nothing else

Monday, 10 August 2015

Writes of Way

One man and his dog on an island, with another in the distance, spells satisfaction for many. However, the man is Peter Edwards and his blog, Writes of Way, gives pleasure to many more. Follow in his steps.

Scottish Islands Explorer - records at least two explorers here

Sunday, 9 August 2015

New Boat off the Blocks

A Yell fishing partnership has purchased a new, replacement whitefish trawler, the Guardian Angell, from a Whitby boat-builder. It has completed trials, sailed to Lerwick and arrived in Cullivoe, Yell, last Thursday. In the fishroom some 750 LHD are stored, ready to be filled from the recently stock-replenished waters around Shetland. Read more in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - no catch with this publication

Saturday, 8 August 2015

A Glorious Gallery

Here is the first image - of the Isle of May - in the BBC's 'Your Pictures of Scotland' series. Do take them in for there's much to see.

Scottish Islands Explorer - where readers often know the locations

Friday, 7 August 2015

The BFG Locations

The topography of The Shiants can look daunting and the islands' only house welcoming and friendly. Apparently the crew for the new Steven Spielberg film, The BFG, have been on location discreetly on and / or above Skye, Orkney and The Shiants. Read about it in The Scotsman.

Scottish Islands Explorer - The SIE covered these areas before The BFG

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Safe and Sound

The crew of ten rowing to Faroe in the Avalon had a difficult start in their journey from Scrabster, Caithness, with an enforced stop at Stromness, Orkney. They reached home earlier this week and a report has appeared in The Orcadian. Absorb what happened.

Scottish Islands Explorer - energy is expended on the publication, but not in proportion

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A Stunning Newsletter

Take delivery of a stunning Summer Newsletter by clicking on and enjoying the work of Ruth Fairbrother and Peter Leeming. You will be transported to the Outer Hebrides and beyond.

 Scottish Islands Explorer - combines reality with the abstract

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Summit Ambitions for Many

Conditions are seldom perfect to land on Soay (above) in the St Kilda Group, but here's a chance to see whether it's possible. A planned three-day trip and two-night camping trip will involve attempts to climb to the summits of Hirta, Dun, Boreray and Soay (with close-up trips to Stac Lee and Stac an Armin) - at a suitable time between Sunday 13 and Saturday 19 September. There are still places available on the Seatrek boat going out of Uig, Lewis, and the cost is a very reasonable £290 plus £10 per night camping (with own supplies of food having to be carried). A £50 deposit secures a place and the £240 is payable to the skipper on return to port. So secure now or learn more by contacting Alan Holmes asap.

Scottish Islands Explorer - plenty of opportunities, virtual and real

Monday, 3 August 2015

Fly High

Benbecula has much to offer. At ground level, residents are concerned about maintaining the beauty of the island - read the Stornoway Gazette report. For those wanting to get on there's the Benbecula Campus and for anyone wanting to fly high above it - at least in simulation - there's the FSX Benbecula Airport Scenery.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of opportunities to see and learn

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Pink in Demand

The last week of July saw at least two more takeovers of British companies. Nikkei, the Japanese media giant, bought the Financial Times and Cooke Aquaculture, the Canadian salmon farm operators, purchased Thompson Bros Salmon Ltd based in Yell. The Shetland company will now be part of a group with operations on Unst and the Mainland as well as places with Scottish connections - Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Maine. Pink products certainly have continuing appeal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - waiting for an overseas offer

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Tour of Jura

The west coast of Jura covers a remote, virtually uninhabited area that is pictured here, but the eastern side has the island road and this has been given the google-treatment. Take the tour and see as well as steer for yourself.

Scottish Islands Explorer - encourages getting around