Monday, 31 October 2016

Moving to Muck

The Daily Telegraph covered the preparations of the Marriner family for their move from Andover to Muck where Laura will take up her appointment as the island's school-teacher. Many readers of this blog responded to my appeal to celebrate yesterday's 2000th daily item - for a record 921 visitors 'turned up' in 24 hours.

Scottish Islands Explorer - moves effortlessly between islands
Digital Edition: could readily accommodate 2000 more readers

Sunday, 30 October 2016

29 Years / 2000 Days

For those interested in island exploration, remote places, young adventurers and a fascinating glimpse of social history, go to the website of the Schools Hebridean Society which existed for 29 successive years from 1961 - 1990. Above is a photograph of its camp at Rhenigidale, North Harris, in 1974 and below of the same village two years later, still 13 years from having access to the rest of the island by road.

The three decades in which well over a hundred camps and expeditions were organised (on such islands as Harris, the Uists, Raasay, Jura, Rum, South Rona and Mingulay) gave many boys and girls the opportunity to experience something remarkable. This edition of the blog marks the 2000th consecutive day on which it has appeared. We hope that it, too, has created opportunities, revealed experiences and presented many remarkable events, people and places. All we ask is that you, please, pass it on by sending the link to someone you know who could be interested.

Scottish Islands Explorer - attempts similar stimulation
Digital Edition: it's available worldwide at under a tenner

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Pictish and Rare

Embedded for probably around 1300 years in a cliff in the East Mainland of Orkney was this decorated Pictish stone. Erosion revealed the stone with some exquisite markings which have been investigated at the University of Aberdeen. Several more images and full explanations are to be found on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - depiction has come a long way
Digital Edition: there to be found in a thrice

Friday, 28 October 2016

Launch and Talk

The Islands Book Trust is presenting two events - one in Lewis and one in North Uist - on 2 & 11 November. Find out more through their website and do make the dates if the locations are within reach.

Scottish Islands Explorer - replete with places and publications
Digital Edition: comprehend with acceleration

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Teacher Search Over

November will see a new teacher at the school on the Isle of Muck. It's been quite a search and one in which the residents engaged the help of social media. Find out more on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - should have carried an advert for the post
Digital Edition: news gets around quickly this way

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Going Over The Top?

The thatched roof of a blackhouse in Arnol, Isle of Lewis, needs replacing and here, on the BBC website, is how it's done.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has a cover to be replaced with each issue
Digital Edition: recovered in an electronic instant

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Albino or Golden

A rare variation of a fish was caught off Unst, Shetland, late last week. Few albino or 'golden' haddock have ever been landed in British waters. Read about the one that was - in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also searches for the rare
Digital Edition: will land internet catches immediately

Monday, 24 October 2016


The Ring of Brodgar must have created interest, inspired devotion and attracted reverence over the centuries. Such Orcadian structures, both man-made and natural, have a focus of attention for the artist, Julia Sorrell. An exhibition of her work, Wild and Ancient Orkney, will be held at the Stapleford Gallery in Cambridgeshire from Saturday / Sunday 5 / 6 November until the end of the month (full details on the links). Among the attractions will be a new concept, Reverence, a high (almost 7.5') hand-embroidered sculpture inspired by the local archaeology.

Please Note: there is a reference on Page 48 - Responses - of the January / February 2017 edition of Scottish Islands Explorer magazine to a YouTube Video being available. The link to this page is an error, but the video may be accessed here,

Scottish Islands Explorer - of islands depicted in many ways
Digital Edition: a modern ring to it

Sunday, 23 October 2016

When Iona Met Iona

There are some attractive island images in the most recent compilation of Your Pictures of Scotland on the BBC website. None more so than this one taken by Caroline Syme on the occasion of her daughter, Iona, visiting that island.

Scottish Islands Explorer - read by ... an explorer or two
Digital Edition: accessed even faster than the ferry to Iona

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Uist Connection

Here are details to dip into concerning a book published last month. It's by Libby Patterson, who lives in South Uist, and is the second book in a trilogy, with Hebridean Storm being the first. Read more about The Uist Connection.

Scottish Islands Explorer - admires but does not cover fiction
Digital Edition: plenty in store

Friday, 21 October 2016

Forty Years at Tingwall

Tingwall Airport, sometimes called Lerwick Airport, is situated near the village of Gott, some four miles north of Shetland's main town. It has been in use for 40 years and next Monday - 24 October - will be hosting an Open Door Celebration from 12.30 - 16.30. For most of its existence there have been scheduled, though limited, services to airports well beyond, but in recent years flights for the public are restricted to and from Foula, Papa Stour, Fair Isle and the Out Skerries. This is, of course, in addition to services involving ambulance, rescue, coastguard, lighthouse and oil installations. Shetland News has a full account of its history and operations.

Scottish Islands Explorer - not on sale at this airport
Digital Edition: quietly serves readers both near and far

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Heritage Angels

Between sea and sky, on Marwick Head, Orkney, stands the Kitchener Memorial. It has recently been restored, with additional commemorative features, and the organisers of the project have won a Scottish Heritage Angels Award. More information is in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - occasionally wins acclaim
Digital Edition: arrives like an internet angel

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Eighty Years On

It was 80 years ago - on 18 April 1936 - that Britain's first triangulation pillar or trig point was erected. This was at Cold Ashby, Northamptonshire. Eventually the country was covered - with 6,500 of them, including the one above on a distinctive Shetland position. They were essentially surveying stations, but have now been made virtually redundant, owing to aerial photography, digital mapping and the Global Positioning System. Enjoy a tour of some Scottish island trigs compiled by Marc Calhoun.

Scottish Islands Explorer - trigs often appear on its pages
Digital Edition: a part of the new techniques for data

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Sanday Sealcam

There's a lot to see on Sanday, Orkney, but no easier way to watch the lifestyles of seals than through the Sealcam operated by the Sanday Ranger. The end of October / November time-frame is when grey seals come ashore to give birth.

Scottish Islands Explorer - new issue born last week
Digital Edition: comparable technology that gives instant access

Monday, 17 October 2016

Start the Week in Style

Here is a splendid way to start the week - if you have ten minutes to spare. Go, in the company of Declan O'Byrne and crew, on a voyage around the Hebrides and feel elevated with some stunning aerial views. The Alice Rose is waiting to take you to sea. What's holding you back from clicking on here?

Scottish Islands Explorer - here, indeed, is exploration at its best
Digital Edition: always ready to be accessed, night and day

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Shaped by the Hebrides

A new book - Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey by Madeleine Bunting has recently been published by Granta and its themes received full treatment in The Guardian last weekend. Well worth clicking onto the article as well as seeing Barnhill, the house on Jura where George Orwell wrote 1984.

Scottish Islands Explorer - shaped by the Hebrides and others
Digital Edition: has a futuristic feel

Saturday, 15 October 2016

New Editions on Sale

The latest issue of Scottish Islands Explorer - November / December 2016 - should be in the shops, a shade ahead of schedule, this weekend. The digital edition ran a little late, but is available from this morning. Click on here or below.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ready to be purchased if on the shelves
Digital Edition: will be on your screen in seconds

Friday, 14 October 2016

Mod(ern) Tweed Design

There's a new range of Harris Tweed designs and accessories commissioned for the Royal National Mod being held in Stornoway. Read about the tweed-weave direct from the producer, Harris Tweed Hebrides of Shawbost.

Scottish Islands Explorer - new issue should be in shops this weekend
Digital Edition: latest version due out later this morning

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Siberian Accentor

Here's a bird that has attracted quite a following. It's a Siberian Accentor that has just been seen for the first time in Britain. The sighting occurred on Sunday afternoon at Mossy Hill, Scousburgh, Shetland, when the creature well off its usual flight-path - from Northern Siberia to South-East Asia - was spotted by Hugh Harrop and Judd Hunt  founder and team-member of Shetland Wildlife. Read on in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - few readers in Siberia
Digital Edition: capable of such flights in split-seconds

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Mod Comes

The Royal National Mod is coming to Stornoway and opening on Friday. Consider two events involving The Islands Book Trust and enjoy the image from Trevor Martin Photography taken at the Mod in Inverness two years ago.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the latest issue of the magazine will be there
Digital Edition: international and mod(ern)

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Independent on Foula

Foula has been in the newspapers - with there being one human being on the island for every 50 Shetland ponies plus having minimal transport links in Winter. Reports are carried in The Independent and in the Sunday Herald.

Scottish Islands Explorer - needs communication links itself
Digital Edition: provides brilliant ones in this format

Monday, 10 October 2016

Deserted Orkney

The chances are that your working week will begin in a highly-populated district. So for an opportunity to take in less crowded areas, go to a Flickr gallery entitled Orkney's Deserted Islands. The building above was once occupied on Swona.

Scottish Islands Explorer - does not confuse the popular with the populous
Digital Edition: reaches the deserted equally easily

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Ben View - Whew!

 Scottish Islands Explorer was travelling on business from Lewis to South Uist last month and became stranded, owing to fierce winds, at Leverburgh, South Harris. It's, indeed, an ill wind that blows nobody any good for a great accommodation discovery was made, Ben View [Phew! - relief; Whew! - impressive]

Here is a first-class, family-run bed-and-breakfast establishment providing a warm welcome and most comfortable facilities. The breakfasts are stunning and from October to March evening meals are provided if notice is given. Go straight to the food here. See what I mean?

Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to being stranded again!
Digital Edition: available through wifi at Ben View

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Evie - Name and Sites

Evie, Orkney, has a distinctive name and, now, two large building sites for detached properties. They have views across to Rousay, much going for them and a price of £35k. Take a weekend look at what's on offer here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - takes a view and an interest
Digital Edition: accelerated reading

Friday, 7 October 2016

Things To Make You Happy

... in the Outer Hebrides. Here is a blog that presents aspects of the islands in a compelling and positive light. Do take a look at what appeals to these travellers.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to capture the essence of places
Digital Edition: delivered instantly

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Knitting from the North

Here's a long shot - you are interested in knitting, live relatively close to Kirkwall and are free this evening? If these factors interlock and can be stitched - it's either purl or plain - and you should go to the signing of Hilary Grant's new book, Knitting from the North, at The Orcadian Bookshop this evening. The details of the publication are here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - linking islands through stitched covers
Digital Edition: patterns of print instantly conveyed

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Rosettes Retained

The Ullinish Country Lodge, in the north of Skye, has retained its three-rosette AA status through the skills of its head chef, Calum Montgomery, who is only 26 years-of-age. Read about him and his signature dishes in the West Highland Free Press.

Scottish Islands Explorer - willing to undertake gastrnomic researches
Digital Edition: provides a feast fast

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Two for One Offer

There are two houses - The Barn and Granary - that could readily be converted back to one, for sale at Longhope, Hoy, Orkney. Offers of over £245k are invited. The facilities and setting, at Snelsetter, certainly look attractive. Why not browse yourself on the website of D and H Law?

Scottish Islands Explorer - the seasonal sale is virtually two-for-one
Digital Edition: worldwide at £9.99

Monday, 3 October 2016

Go Geograph!

Yesterday saw me hooked on Geograph and registering my details; today sees me following Flickr again. My point of interest is North Rona - seen above on a cloudless day - and in particular the 20 images from the website that endeavours to focus on every square kilometre and the 16 from one called Hearts in the Highlands. You are probably off  to somewhere relatively crowded today, but could spend a few minutes 'on' Britain's most remote settlement ever to have attracted a permanent population.

Scottish Islands Explorer - another way of getting around
Digital Edition: more technology employed

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Locate and Enjoy

Julian Paren, an enthusiast and contributor to Geograph has been visiting Shetland during the past few days and has been exploring sections of the coastline. The images he acquired are here and are given their location at Skerry of Stools and Skerries of Easter Paill. Access and enjoy!

Scottish Islands Explorer - Geograph is a great way to explore
Digital Edition:  the digits of the grid squares are filling fast

Saturday, 1 October 2016

A Faroe Future?

Getting around the islands in the Shetland group could one day be similar to the methods deployed on Faroe. Take a look at what happens there and read what was recently said by the Scottish Transport Minister.

Scottish Islands Explorer - would make life easier
Digital Edition: technology integrated as well