Thursday, 31 March 2016

A Blank Canvas

This edge of the St Kilda archipelago is something of a blank canvas, for settlement here was sparse. The same applies to the prospective site of the St Kilda Centre near Uig, Lewis, but Skye-based architects, Dualchas, and their Norwegian partners have been selected to produce the design master plan. Further details appear in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has a master plan for the years ahead
Digital Edition: has a plan for you to subscribe instantly

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Normal Service

We are not extinct, but waiting for normal service to resume as soon as possible. This old bird was not around long enough to know about connectivity problems.

Scottish Islands Explorer - not affected by issues of transmission

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Tagging Along

These seals, pictured on North Ronaldsay, could soon be smartphone linked. Well ... it's the same technology by way of marine tagging. A BBC item covers the topic.

Scottish Islands Explorer - well aware of seals
Digital Edition: uses the technologies to download the magazine

Monday, 28 March 2016

Raised Spirits

This piece of kit is a core component for making Shetland Reel whisky at the Unst Distillery. It looks simple, but the company is delighted that the product, together with its Ocean Sent gin, have won awards in San Francisco. Go to Shetland News for the fuller picture.

Scottish Islands Explorer - raises spirits on occasions
Digital Edition: can be downloaded to California in seconds

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Edwin Muir

The Orkney island of Wyre was the childhood home of Edwin Muir (1887 - 1959) whose work as a poet will be the subject of a Radio 4 programme, The Horses -  to be broadcast at 16.30 today. Details are in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has featured Wyre
Digital Edition: waiting to be transmitted to you

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Name the Vessel

Dr John Rae, the Orkney-born polar venturer, has had little recognition until recently. Here's an opportunity to commemorate his name with a new research vessel.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the name has been established
Digital Edition: waiting and ready for global recognition

Friday, 25 March 2016

Good Friday

It may look benign, but this is part of an endurance test that's called The Heb - where running, cycling or kayaking count. It's Good Friday today and a good day for noting this event to be on Saturday & Sunday 3 / 4 September 2016. Consider putting your name down for the challenge where suffering will bring its rewards.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also thinks ahead to plan for important matters
Digital Edition: no planning needed, just a decision with immediate results

Thursday, 24 March 2016

143 Years On

It was 143 years ago, in 1873, that a pair of sea eagles raised offspring in Orkney. Now The Orcadian reports on a a significant event relatively close to one of mankind's early dwellings, the Dwarfie Stane, Hoy.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes to be aware of events
Digital Edition: your copy conceived in a moment

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Catch-up on Unst

The catch-up service of BBC iPlayer will be needed for the new series of Island Parish which started on BBC2 last Monday. St John's Church, Baltasound, Unst will be central to the programme and details are to be found in the Radio Times.

Scottish Islands Explorer - needs a series itself
Digital Edition: available at a moment's notice

Tuesday, 22 March 2016


These people could be looking over the sea to a Scottish island. In fact they are standing on Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh. The view below is on the Skye Trail. Throughout the country, Scotways - Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society - has been marking the way. Its presence on the islands is to be found in Skye, Mull and Arran. Following this organisation will bring rewards as well as destinations.

Scottish Islands Explorer - acts as a marker for enthusiasts
Digital Edition: takes you there direct

Monday, 21 March 2016

Rescue Party

There is something dramatic about the Old Man of Storr, Skye, and a photographer found this so last week. Read the account of his misfortune and embarrassment in the West Highland Free Press. The dramatic photograph displayed above was taken by Stephen Emerson, who was not in trouble on the mountain.

Scottish Islands Explorer - seldom stranded after 16 years
Digital Edition: always on hand

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Some Coastal Site

Yesterday's blog featured a large country house on Skye. It was priced competitively at £725k, but this would stretch the resources of many. A coastal site at The Willows, Hoy, Orkney has extensive views and planning permission for a 1.5 storey dwelling. Offers of over £22k are invited.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of varying property values
Digital Edition: available at a standard £9.99

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Some Country House

Knight Frank is offering Greshornish House, Skye, for sale - with its 6,555 square feet at £725,000. It's an attractive price for a ten-bedroom house with ten bathrooms and five reception rooms. Fancy a Saturday dream of having a country house with a coastal setting?

Scottish Islands Explorer - would like to occupy its position
Digital Edition: a fraction of the price

Friday, 18 March 2016

Past Storms

Now that we are in the second half of March, the storms of winter are behind us. The Shetland Times photograph of Storm Gertrude is a reminder of its savagery, although apparently it drew intrepid storm-watchers to the Northern Islands. The use of female names to identify these weather conditions is part of a long tradition, but surely only one is really applicable? That's Storm Gayle.

Scottish Islands Explorer - only occasionally delayed by inclement conditions
Digital Edition: weather-proof

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Go Berserker

Many supermarkets will be displaying brands of Irish beer today, but if you are able to reach an Aldi do reach out for a bottle of Berserker Export Pale Ale from the Hebridean Brewing Company. Stocks could be in short supply for only a limited number will be sold. Read about the brewing success in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has St Patrick's Day links
Digital Edition: refreshes without fuss

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Way and Trail

It was time to open and launch two destination routes in the Outer Hebrides. One is the cycling section of the Hebridean Way and the other is the Eat, Drink Hebridean Trail. They are featured in a Stornoway Gazette item and detailed in MacsBike as well as on the VisitHebrides website. The photographs are from Captain Oates on Flickr Creative Commons.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ways and means of exploring
Digital Edition: the fastest route to idyllic destinations

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Return to Shetland

Pictured in Lerwick in the 1950s is this Bedford OB coach. Look away now, but it is returning to its old land of service. The details are on the BBC website and the coach's journey will be all the way from Suffolk.

Scottish Islands Explorer - gets around, too
Digital Edition: will cover comparable journeys in a split-second

Monday, 14 March 2016

Island Scenes

Ruth Johnson, from Perth, took this summery shot of Goat Fell, Arran. It was selected by the BBC to be displayed in the Scotland Outdoors section. The latest BBC Gallery of images from viewers features a number of island scenes, including a particularly sharp one of that summit in winter.

Scottish Islands Explorer - naturally has these in focus
Digital Edition: comes alive in seconds

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Over the Sky to ... Skye

St Maelrubha's Well, close to the Ashaig Airstrip, Skye, could soon be observed by passengers on scheduled services to and from Glasgow Airport. A survey has indicated a positive response for the possible revival of regular flights using the 'strip, built in the 1970s, until ceasing in 1988. The BBC website carries the story.

Scottish Islands Explorer - opening up new routes
Digital Edition: always delivered through airwaves

Saturday, 12 March 2016

First of 113

Here's the cruise ship Megellan that has been the first of the 113 ships booked into Orkney for the new season. The Orcadian reports on the numbers, the passengers and the prospects awaiting both residents and visitors.

Scottish Islands Explorer - will sell out in Kirkwall
Digital Edition: sufficient copies for all passengers at the press of a button

Friday, 11 March 2016

Territory Extended

Are you looking at me? This seems to be on the mind of a Scottish Wildcat photographed by Adrian Bennett. The BBC website item indicates how the haven of the animal has been extended in the West Highlands, including the island of Carna (below).

Scottish Islands Explorer - its territory is world-wide
Digital Edition: accessed globally

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Opportunities Opening

Things are happening in Stornoway. The development of the Victorian Lews Castle is in the hands of the construction company, Graham; the servicing of its accommodation, catering, retailing and events will be undertaken by Natural Retreats, now recruiting; the College, based in the building, is driving the move for the main settlement on Lewis to become a 'university town'. See the Stornoway Gazette item.

Scottish Islands Explorer - focuses on opportunities taken
Digital Edition: evidence of the magazine's move into the 21st Century

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Part of Power Hub?

Yesterday's blog focused on the powerful Northern Lights; today's is on the prospects of a powerful super-grid hub centred on Shetland through the North Atlantic Energy Network. The details are in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - would like to be a powerful hub
Digital Edition: has already achieved that status

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Green 'Un & Pink 'Un

Late Saturday afternoon sports editions of the evening papers in major British cities were either called the Green 'Un or the Pink 'Un. This photograph of the Northern Lights, taken at Uig, Skye, appears in a BBC Gallery of Aurora Borealis images and the hues of green outnumber those of pink.

Scottish Islands Explorer - represents a full range of island colours
Digital Edition: comes quick as a flash

Monday, 7 March 2016

Sunday, 6 March 2016

In Days to Come

In days to come the Shetland Crofthouse Museum may be displaying material about the 2016 innovation of EE providing 4G networks for much of the archipelago. Read about the soon-to-be-available service on Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - all copies available at the British Library
Digital Edition: Shetlanders will be able to access copies at speed

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Registration Time

Whether the bowler-hatted teacher at the school on St Kilda had to call the register or whether it was immediately obvious as to which pupils were missing is unknown. However, this week the names of the final 16 householders on the island, evacuated in 1930, were released with the update of the Valuation Rolls. Discover more on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - released every other month
Digital Edition: available for immediate release

Friday, 4 March 2016

A Fossil Find

Here's a high point - at the 620' marker on Kerrera - where scientists have recently found a fossilised fungus that is probably the oldest land-dwelling species ever recorded. At 440 million years of age it could have heralded the beginning of life that led to human existence. Go to the Daily Telegraph for a full account or go to the island and stay, after Easter, at the Kerrera Tea Garden and Bunkhouse.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to avoid becoming fossilised
Digital Edition: leads the way into a new era

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Below the Surface

Scapa Flow looks relatively benign in this photograph. However, beneath the surface things lurk. A German torpedo has just been detected about 100' below the surface. See the video on the website of The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - benign beneath its surface
Digital Edition: lies ready to be brought to attention immediately

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Fair and Fast

Here's a narrow way to the North Lighthouse, Fair Isle, that, in a sense, heralds the rolling out of a 'superfast' connection to broadband. The 33 properties on the island will soon be linked by Community Broadband Scotland following £250,000 funding. This could help to stop the population decline by attracting people who thrive on the new technologies. The details are in Shetland News. Fair Isle is one of the two remotest, permanently-settled islands in Britain and was, incidentally, where Scottish Islands Explorer magazine began life on Sunday 2 January 2000.

Scottish Islands Explorer - take a look at our on-line edition below
Digital Edition: it's superfast, too

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

In and Beyond

You are invited to take a YouTube trip with Declan O'Byrne. It will take you on a fine voyage of discovery through Scottish islands, including a stunning visit into Fingal's Cave. Give yourself a 'Tuesday Treat'.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ready to journey
Digital Edition: great Staffa images in the free edition