Saturday, 30 April 2016

Miss-Ship, Ahoy!

The Orcadian reports on the arrival of a 'missionary ship' in Stromness. It's the Juvel II from the Faroe Islands and the former patrol vessel will be visiting Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. A group of Christians starting their proselytising work from the ship in 1977 and have usually visited the waters of Greenland and Faroe. Now they are extending their reach.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some deliveries are by boat
Digital Edition: available immediately in Greenland, for instance

Friday, 29 April 2016

Mobile in the Hostile

There is a joint project progressing between EE and the University of the Highlands and Islands to improve the mobile phone coverage in remote areas, which can become hostile when connections either fail or are non-existent. See the BBC website for details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - reveals the isolated
Digital Edition: overcomes the remote

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Lifeboat Back to Life

Shetland News has a fine restoration story about a lifeboat from the Oceanic, the White Star fleet liner that was once the largest ship in the world. The wooden boat was salvaged after being grounded east of Foula in 1914; put into service on the Bressay - Lerwick ferry in the '20s and '30s; used from transporting sheep in Yell Sound during the '60s and '70s before being finally abandoned at Ulsta.

Scottish Islands Explorer - restoration takes place on an eight-week cycle
Digital Edition: can be brought to life almost instantly

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Old in New

If you can get there - Lews Castle, Stornoway - next Saturday - 30 April at 19.30, then do. Bella Bathurst will be talking about her work on The Lighthouse Stevensons and the Hebrides for The Islands Book Trust. The family's history is embedded with creative and enduring building projects. The venue may well be comparable - for it's the new museum facilities at a castle that is undergoing significant changes.

Scottish Islands Explorer - casts light on the Hebrides in most editions
Digital Edition: now part of cutting-edge technology

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Time to Go Crazy?

The London Evening Standard featured the design of a proposed crazy-golf course in Trafalgar Square in yesterday's edition. On Saturday last, a 12-hole comparable course was officially opened on Burray, Orkney, and a report appears in The Orcadian. Londoners are being asked to raise £120k for the former while the latter is part of a £74k community park development for free use by the public. It is unlikely that the proposed capital attraction will be free!

Scottish Islands Explorer - enjoys occasional crazy notions
Digital Edition - not free, but so inexpensive

Monday, 25 April 2016

Boom, Boom, Boom

The three most northerly isles in the UK - Yell, Fetlar and Unst - have been enjoying something of a tourist boom with the screening of the BBC programme - An Island Parish. The trend is analysed by Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - should there be a programme on this publication?
Digital Edition: available for longer than iPlayer

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Skye? Heavens Above!

This Parish Church - at Bracadale, Skye - will soon be very different. It will have the first female minister to be appointed in the Hebrides by the Church of Scotland. The responsibilities of the Revd Janet Easton-Berry (see the BBC website item) will also include the congregation at Duirinish. However, it is highly unlikely that she will be welcomed to take part in services at the Duirinish Free Church - pictured below - or its Free Church (Continuing) which meets in the nearby building of the Free Presbyterian Church, as female ministers are not part of their theological concepts. If you are puzzled, it is understandable.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has no competition
Digital Edition: essentially straightforward to acquire

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Jutland Commemorated

Thousands of the ceramic poppies that were part of the Tower of London display are now incorporated into St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall. They are part of the anniversary commemoration for the dead of the Battle of Jutland, one hundred years ago. See the BBC website item.

Scottish Islands Explorer - commemorates many events
Digital Edition: always on display

Friday, 22 April 2016

Not So Welcome

The Uists are straight-forward islands for roads. The North has a fairly direct run from Berneray to Lochmaddy and on to the Causeway for Benbecula, with a loop in the north taking in Solas; the South has a linear road with a fork at the foot, with one prong going to Lochboisdale and the other to the Eriskay Causeway. However, some residents are concerned that the bus routes and times are not helpful. The Stornoway Gazette has the details. The now permanently-provided CalMac service from Mallaig to Lochboisdale does not appear to be met on any of its 14 weekly sailings by public transport. It is not a welcome indicator for visitors.

Scottish Islands Explorer - enthuses about integrated ships and buses
Digital Edition: cover all contingencies for accessing the magazine

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Tep Wireless

It's a small device that covers large distances. When creating your own wireless hotspot, which can be accessed by five devices for 15 metres around in remote locations, you are being truly independent. Scottish islands could be useful places to try Tep Wireless, but then it can be used in most destinations ... globally. Click on and find out about the company's rental arrangements that are ideal for holidaying.

Scottish Islands Explorer - here's another way of making exploration possible
Digital Edition: also in the forefront of technology

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Da Voar Redd Up

The Norse word for 'Spring' is 'Voar' and the Shetland term 'Da Voar Redd Up' means 'The Spring Clean Up'. See Shetland News for the details of next weekend's environmental event, now organised for mass participation, that is taking place for the 28th time. It must be the the most popular tidy-up of its type in Britain with almost a fifth of the local community taking part. The photograph below is of personnel from RAF Saxa Vord taking part in either 1995 or '96. This was a radar station where early operations started in 1945, a permanent base established in 1957 and closure some 20 years later. It was 'tidied up' and is now the interesting and inviting Saxa Vord Resort..

Scottish Islands Explorer - will participate in its own way
Digital Edition: consider if tidying up your in-flow of printed publications

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Whalebone Entry Arch

The Barvas Estate in the north of Lewis has now been purchased by the community. The 45,000 acres has been in the Duckworth family for the past 85 years and so this whalebone arch acts symbolically as an entry portal to its new owners. More is in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - most subscribers have now received the new issue
Digital Edition: an easily-accessible entry portal for new readers

Monday, 18 April 2016

May / June Issue Out

The new edition of Scottish Islands Explorer is in the shops today and copies will soon be through all subscribers' letter-boxes. Why not take a look at the opening pages, including contents, for free in the Digital Edition (see below) that was launched last Saturday? You may even be tempted to part with £1.99 for the single issue or £9.99 for it and the next five.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  ready for you
Digital Edition: delivered instantly to computer, netbook, tablet and smartphone

Sunday, 17 April 2016

An Ultimate Residence

Can you resist looking? It's Rudh-a-Chruidh, an easily accessible tidal island with an ultimate residence for sale overlooking Oban Bay. Either go there via the estate agents - Savills - or in the company of the Daily Mail Online. Either way you are in for a treat.

Scottish Islands Explorer - keen on that style of settlement
Digital Edition: the new issue for May / June 2016 is available

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Another Stone Haven

The oldest fort in Scotland is to be found on Dunnicaer, a sea stack to the south of Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. A second archaeological site has now been opened and some of its contents are revealed on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - contents sometimes contain findings
Digital Edition: will it ever be opened up by archaeologists?

Friday, 15 April 2016

Flowing from the Field

Premier Oil is pleased to announce the first flow of oil from the Solan Field, situated to the west of Shetland. It is a fixed platform in 413' of water and operates, not with a pipeline, but a shuttle-tanker service. The benign look of the photograph above contrasts with the malevolent feel of the one below. The BBC website has the fuller story.

Scottish Islands Explorer - there must be a few readers on the platforms
Digital Edition: immediately available both on- and off-shore

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Poppies Conveyed

The display of poppies at the Tower of London was held in 2014. Earlier this week a delivery of them was made to Orkney in preparation for the installation to be made at St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall. The Orcadian has the details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the delivery process for the next edition has started
Digital Edition: increasingly read

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Taking Off

Fiona McGowan took this photograph soon after her flight departed from Barra to Glasgow. A range of images - several of the islands - feature in the latest series of the BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - many images from contributors
Digital Edition: it, too, is taking off

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Power Up

Power has had to come in different ways to the northern isles of Orkney. A fault on the undersea cable has now been rectified and the need for generators to be shipped into Shapinsay, Eday, Stronsay, Sanday and North Ronaldsay is no longer required. The schools there will re-open this morning and normal life will be resumed. The BBC website item supplies the powerful details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - not affected on this occasion ...
Digital Edition: ... apart from this version

Monday, 11 April 2016

A Cool Place

There's a nice juxtaposition in the 9 April 2016 edition of The Independent. It features Skara Brae which was inhabited in around 3000BC and was the somewhat exposed Orcadian home of people for some 600 years. The newspaper had a print-life of only 30 years before becoming digital only. The article is partly about a new website, Cool Places, suggesting good British places at which to eat, drink, stay and shop.

Scottish Islands Explorer - suggests stopping and shopping
Digital Edition: the format for the future, perhaps?

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Here's to Kirkjuvagr

If you have been looking for a different variety of gin and tonic this weekend, then you may have to wait until the autumn and the arrival of a new brand of gin, Kirkjuvagr. Its name comes from the Old Norse meaning 'church inlet' and referring to the then small settlement of Kirkwall. Its inspiration is from a couple of prospective Orkney distillers featured on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - with entrepreneurs in spirit
Digital Edition: no need to wait more than seconds for connection

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Take a Dip?

It was on the 11 May 2011 that this daily blog was launched - with an item on the Barra beach which serves as a runway for the Airport. Yesterday saw the total number of visits exceed a quarter-of-a-million over almost five years. Here's chance to visit the same shores with the pier of the Isle of Barra Hotel and a cottage in a fine sea-side position. Please take a dip into any of the 1,796 past items - featured on the right in the Blog Archive - to discover more, revive memories and to increase the tally.

Scottish Islands Explorer - oh! for 1796 new readers
Digital Edition: waiting in the wings of broadband

Friday, 8 April 2016

Death of Last St Kildan

Rachel Johnson, born 1922 on St Kilda, has died and is the last of that group of residents who were evacuated in 1930. Details of her life and times are to be found on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - is a keen St Kilda watcher
Digital Edition: available as and where

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Kidnapped Locations

Turn left, away from Iona when in Fionnphort and you will approach Erraid, an interesting tidal island with connections to R L Stevenson's novel, Kidnapped. Go a little further on this page to read about an Adventure involving more than this off-shore part of Mull.

Scottish Islands Explorer - low on fiction; high on fact
Digital Edition: always on hand

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Snapping Shark Spotted

There is a wide expanse of water around Tiumpan Head, Lewis, where watchers have seen a large shark in action, probably taking a seabird from the surface. The details are on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes to spot lively articles
Digital Edition: can be picked off the internet

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

New Camasunary Now

The Mountain Bothies Association has been assisted by Alan Johnston, the owner of land on Skye and the 59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers in the opening of a replacement bothy at Camasunary. It is about a kilometer from the older building, but the delights of the Bay are unchanged, as the photograph by AlexHyde Photography illustrates.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has replacements every other month ...
Digital Edition:  ... are available at speed

Monday, 4 April 2016

Forty Years On

Go to the Daily Telegraph for the story of 'Dopey Dick', an orca thought to be around 58 years of age, which swam into Londonderry and disappeared almost 40 years ago.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a fraction of these times
Digital Edition: looking forward to having the limelight

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Skye Speculating

A distinctive sky pattern and a modern elevated house on Skye can set those property pipe-dreams alight. Take a look at Rural Design Architects based in Portree, Skye, and see how they are changing the look of houses in the Highlands and Islands.

Scottish Islands Explorer - yearns for the modern look ...
Digital Edition: ... and the ways to achieve it

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Linga Longer

The island of Linga, on the west side of Shetland, has, perhaps, a new lease of life. It was last inhabited in 1934 and, despite recent planning permission, the two crofthouses have not been renovated.

Its 64 acres is being viewed tentatively by a Norwegian co-operative of naturists who see it as a potential, private, idyllic base for their pastimes. The full story of the notions of Nordic nudists is to be found in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - can suggest warmer venues
Digital Edition: comes fully-wrapped instantly

Friday, 1 April 2016

Go Wild on Mull

Many people are keen on wild camping; while others are happy to enjoy the wilderness in comfort. There

will be a good attendance at the Wild Mull Celebration on Sunday 24 April 2016 to be held at the

Craignure Village Hall. Do book by 21 April to ensure a place at the event.

Scottish Islands Explorer - wild about Mull
Digital Edition: no need to book the edition, for it will just come on time