Monday, 30 November 2015

A Grand Tour

Tomorrow sees the start of a grand lecture tour of Orkney by Professor Donna Heddle, Director of the Centre of Nordic Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands. She will be presenting her From the Fury of the Northmen, Good Lord Deliver Us? at five centres on Mainland Orkney and six islands. Discover the details in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - an alternative name for a Viking?

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Mission for a Sunday

The Out Skerries are approached by air and sea. Here, on a Sunday, is an opportunity of having a mission to visit. The Church of Scotland has put its Skerries Mission House on the market and the asking price is ... £15k. That is, for quite a number of people, a credit card payment. The closing date is Friday 4 December 2015 and so delve deeper to discover more about what could be your 'ultimate bolt hole' in Shetland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - accepts debit and credit cards

Saturday, 28 November 2015

A Skye Boat ... Song

This week's property features have been popular - certainly with our readers, possibly with buyers. We move south, to Skye, and a residence currently operating as a country house hotel, but suitable as a ten-bedroomed family home.

Greshornish House is secluded in being down a long lane, substantial in its construction, situated in order to enjoy extensive views. The boathouse looks appealing in itself. The slideshow on rightmove is impressive. The asking price of £780k is, if you were looking for a one-bedroom central London flat, a song!

Scottish Islands Explorer - also goes for a song, at £3.95

Friday, 27 November 2015

Plenty of Property

Go north for value for money where property is concerned. In between the prices of the apartment in the Muckle Flugga Shore Station and the Trumland Estate comes 10 Callicvol at Port of Ness, Isle of Lewis with offers over £265k. The building above is the Studio - with its spacious adjacent family house and five acres of land.

The beaches in the vicinity are attractive and the track below stretches along to the north-east and open country from Callicvol. On a clear day the mountains of the mainland are visible. Go on, take a look, at the house, studio, land and views - again through rightmove.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to give value for money at £3.95

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Times Ten

Yesterday's featured property, an apartment on Unst, Shetland, was pitched at £90k; today's, on Rousay, Orkney, is just over ten times that. However, it is Trumland, an historic residential and sporting estate with a large house (albeit undergoing necessary renovations), three cottages, a coach house, boathouse and 44 acres. Can you resist taking a rightmove look?

Scottish Islands Explorer - Trumland's fit for a publishing magnate

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Some Flat

Here's a property that's not often on the market - Flat 4, Muckle Flugga Shore Station - Unst. Take a look at it, the views and the details of this extreme Shetland apartment.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always takes a view

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Portree Hotel

There's a new-looking building on the block at Somerled Square, where the Portree Hotel has undergone renovations. See what's happened to this feature of the town centre, opened in 1875, and serving both residents and visitors to the main settlement on Skye.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a new-look to the cover every other month

Monday, 23 November 2015

Time to View

At the beginning of the working week it's, perhaps, time to look around Scotland again, with the gallery of images presented by the BBC from the second week of this month. The photograph of a dog and boy comes from an island blog, now some eight years old, called Squidgy the Otter and archived by the BBC.

Scottish Islands Explorer - for both viewing and reading

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Saints and Sinners

The photographer, Cody Duncan, took a look at the interior of St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, and the result of his work is on display here. The Orkney-based author, Spencer Rosie, was inspired when looking around the walls and floors of the building and the result is a book that was launched at the weekend - Saints and Sinners: Memorial of St Magnus Cathedral. The details are in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - finds themes on various surfaces

Saturday, 21 November 2015

'Egypt in Far North'

In his The Province of the Cat, George Gunn refers to Caithness as being a part of the country about which many people are unaware. Yet it is rich in evidence of prehistoric settlements which were a driving force in our cultural history as indicated on the BBC website. The county's off-shore island of Stroma was thriving until well into the second half of the 20th Century. However, change came suddenly and its relics of the past were clearly described and pictured in the book, Stroma. of which George Gunn was a co-author, also published by The Islands Book Trust.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  aware of fast-changing social patterns

Friday, 20 November 2015

Hushinish 'Airstrip'

Every beach has its moment and many pilots have their escapes. Hushinish, North Harris, came into its own back in July and the investigation has just been published. See more on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - lands regularly on shelves every two months

Thursday, 19 November 2015

First St Kilda Sail

This image from Eda Frandsen Sailing captures the focus of an event to be held next year. It's the first St Kilda Yacht Race which will be organised by the Lochmaddy-based The Society of the Sea - Comann na Mara. It is featured on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to covering the event

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Plenty of Rooms

It may not look like the Ritz, but the Regalia does have 280 single rooms providing accommodation for the oil industry. It's on its way to Scapa Flow and the local supply chain will be there to provide services. Benefits all round, although not the most decorous of mobile hotels / vessels. Read more in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - should be available on board

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Unst Water

The newly-produced Shetland Reel Whisky was recently launched in Unst, as featured in Shetland News. It has to be diluted from cask-strength malts and local water is used. The image below - 'Water Cross, Unst' - was taken by Eveardt and a gallery of his photographs of the island can be viewed on this slideshow.

Scottish Islands Explorer - seldom diluted

Monday, 16 November 2015

Graemsay Launch

The Orkney island of Graemsay has two lighthouses, Hoy High (below) and Hoy Low (above), both built in 1851 by Alan Stevenson. Strong tidal races, known locally as roosts, make access difficult, although after the school closed in 1996, the children have to go daily to Stromness. Last Saturday, in the town's Pier Arts Centre, a new book was launched. It's Graemsay: A History by Bryce Wilson and is featured in The Orcadian. Among the island's 28 residents is Sian Thomas who is the compiler of the blog Life on a Small Island.

Scottish Islands Explorer - enjoys promoting blogs

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Easdale Calling

Easdale was once the centre of the British slate industry with a community of 500 and seven quarries. As production declined, so did the number of permanent residents. By the early 1960s there were just four people living on the 62-acre island.

However, there has been a regeneration of interest in living on Easdale and newcomers have brought both fledgling and established businesses as well as families with them. The population has increased by over ten-fold in the past 50 years.

The Community Hall (above) is a focal point and an eight-minute YouTube video - Easdale: A Wild Community produced by Patrick Rowan - promotes the island as a place to visit and to view as a permanent base. Do click and consider the call of your prospective new neighbourhood.

Scottish Islands Explorer - focuses on communities

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Impact of Abigail

Aspects of Storm Abigail made different impressions. The wildlife photographer, Hugh Harrop, captured the quiet fury in the waves off Shetland's South Mainland in the early hours of yesterday morning. The eve of Friday 13 November saw a phenomenon on the west coast of Wales where there is an explanation for 'the green entity' over Aberystwyth. It appears in the Express website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - safely stacked on shelves

Friday, 13 November 2015

A Royal Pharolophile

Bell Rock Lighthouse stands out clearly against an illuminated sky and the BBC relates how the Princess Royal, a pharolophile or lighthouse enthusiast, has written about her passion for the subject. Her foreword appears in Ian Cowe's newly published, Scottish and Manx Lighthouses. Ian works in the Estates Department of the University of Aberdeen and an account of his enthusiasm appears in their News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - encourages islomania, within reason

Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Trinity at Tingwall

Three kirks in the Tingwall Parish of the Church of Scotland have future uncertainties owing to hefty prospective maintenance bills. Shetland News provides background information while here in the foreground are Weisdale (above)

and Tingwall with its adjacent burial chamber (above) and Scalloway (below) in the former capital of Shetland. This church has one of the four surviving pipe organs in Shetland, installed in 1903.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of preserving and maintaining

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Business and Pleasure

This view from Harris towards Taransay is from the Gallery of Sue Bishop Photography. If you were to fancy commercial activity in this area there's an unusual twelve-bedroom / five cottages self-catering establishment for sale through Rightmove for £650.000 (at £54k per room). An aspect of doing business here is that within six months Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband will have these parts covered.

Scottish Islands Explorer - digital brings delight to some

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A Ribbon of Wilderness

Ian Finch is a former Royal Marine, an adventurer and an explorer, particularly of cultures in remote environments. Take five minutes of your time to accompany him - in high definition - with glimpses of his 180-mile walk through the Outer Hebrides in the video presentation, Upon a Ribbon of Wilderness. You will be stimulated by the scenery, techniques of filming and the achievements of a man who walks alone.

Scottish Islands Explorer - rejoices in explorations of this nature

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Purple Dancers

It's time for the Purple Dancers - aka as the Northern Lights - photographed from Rousay, Orkney, by John Vetterlein. Follow his image with an item from the Northern Skies.

Scottish Islands Explorer - looking up

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Remembering ... St Kilda

This is Remembrance Sunday - for those who have lost their lives, comrades, family and friends. It's also a reminder of how fragile memories can be. Today's image of the famous archipelago at the western extremes of the Outer Hebrides has a caption to trigger recall. A new arts project about memory loss focuses on the island group evacuated some 85 years ago. The BBC website prompts and the photograph is from the Clydebank Sub Aqua Club.

Scottish Islands Explorer - it's a bi-monthly, full-colour publication

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Stoor in Stromness

Orcadian (like Shetlandic) is a dialect of Insular Scots. It derives from a mixture of Lowland Scots and Norn, an extinct Germanic language. Last night, in Stromness, it had an airing with the launch of Orkney Stoor, a booklet from Abersee Press. The details are to be found, understandably, in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - remains exclusively in English

Friday, 6 November 2015

Praying or Laying?

It's only three years since this pilgrims' 'cursing stone' was found on Canna. They were originally turned by their users when either praying for something or laying a curse on someone. Now the authorities are having to decide which way they should turn in relation to a planning application for six wind turbines on the island.

Objections have been raised by Iain Thornber writing in the Oban Times and in his objections made directly to the Planning Department. Do read what he says and wait for responses from the National Trust for Scotland, the island's owners, which will be given comparable space when they are made.

Scottish Islands Explorer - turning to or from turbines?

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Hebridean Beach House

It's been described as 'a Scottish version of an Australian beach house' and is there on the Isle of Harris, looking over to Taransay. The details are to be found in a feature in Homebuilding and Renovating. The architect was ready for sun, but prepared for rain. Living accommodation is on the upper floor and the bedrooms are well-protected below.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a relatively new-build itself

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Ultimate Challenges

Yesterday 's blog looked at the life and death issues on St Kilda, in general, and Hirta, in particular. Today the focus is on leisure activities on Stac Lee and Stac an Armin in the same archipelago. They represent an ultimate challenge to 'Marilyn Baggers' for they are over 500' high, but have difficult access and climbing. Here is an image seldom seen, the bothy on Stac an Armin. Much more is on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - goes to lengths to reveal insights

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Taking a Different View

There's yet another new book published about St Kilda and it takes the line, particularly from archaeological studies, that its lifestyles were not so much those of a 'lost world' but more an integral part of the culture of the rest of the Western Isles. Take a look through the BBC website at its preview of St Kilda: The Last and Outmost Isle. Its authors are George Geddes and Angela Gannon.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also reflects different views

Monday, 2 November 2015

Outer Hebridean Mural

Here are two autumnal shots, among many that illustrate a fine blog, The Outer Hebrides - The Mural of Our Hebridean Road Trip by Mark. It takes you along minor roads, such as the one that passes Ravenspoint (below) and off-road such as Glen Ulladail (above). Begin your week by following this eventful journey packed full of items and images.

Scottish Islands Explorer - here's a real exploration

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Noup in Loop

Noup Head, Westray, Orkney finds itself in a financial 'loop' of £7.5 million with two other Scottish landscapes. The Heritage Lottery Fund is providing money to protect and promote these places. Callandar's Pass and Galloway Glens will also benefit. Details are provided on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - provides much for £3.95