Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Human Span

 The Uig Historical Society has some fine images of the 208-acre Vuia Mor situated in Loch Roag on the west side of Lewis. There were four families recorded on the island in 1807 and by the time of the Census of

1841 there were 46 inhabitants living in seven houses, in the settlement at Knock Dibick. Then the island was cleared and no one has lived there since. A thriving community with extensive lazybeds (below) was

terminated. However, within living memory an elderly resident of Valtos, Lewis, could recall a neighbour, Mrs Kate Morrison, who died in his village aged 100. She was born on Vuia Mor in 1808. The span of human longevity is remarkable.

Scottish Islands Explorer - here's hoping that it will be recalled in 200 years
Digital Edition: here is one significant change in format and delivery

Monday, 30 January 2017

So Near; So Far

Yearning for an island property, within reach by distance and price? Think in terms of £300k and go to Lows website to consider an Orkney residence with a difference. There has been a recent upsurge in interest about and the value of properties and plots in this part of the Northern Isles.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always speculating about where to thrive
Digital Edition: nowhere is as approachable as on-line publications

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Wild Land Discoveries

One thing leads to another. The 42 Sites of Wild Land in Scotland have recently been listed by Scottish Natural Heritage and this led to looking at the rare trails on the vast and featured Eishken Estate, Isle of Lewis, and its spectacular Lodge. Then suddenly, Chris Townsend Outdoors, appeared. So a stimulating hour or so could be taken up this Sunday with wandering the wild via websites.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tens of thousands of acres open up
Digital Edition: created on your screen in a few deft moves

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Uist Wool

From the North Ronaldsay breed yesterday to the Cheviots today. These sheep at Grimsay, in the Western Isles, supplied Uist Wool with their basic commodity. Read, on the BBC website, how the organisation is to trade as a social enterprise and on their own website of a yarn that tells their story.

Scottish Islands Explorer - weaves issues around island topics
Digital Edition: knits links fast to kit the world with information

Friday, 27 January 2017

Accommodation, subsidised

North Ronaldsay is different. It is the furthest north-east of the islands in the Orkney group and its sheep thrive on a diet of seaweed. The North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival is worth considering and a new venture, subsidised weekday accommodation at the Bird Observatory for up to ten week-day nights, needs applications by 20 March 2017. Don't miss out.

Scottish Islands Explorer - not subsidised, but relatively-low in price
Digital Edition: a bargain at under ten pounds for a year's supply

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Won by a Short Flight

Loganair is pleased to have won 'The world's-shortest-flight-contract' for another four years. This will take them into the 50th year of their operations. See the BBC website for details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has landed on Papa Westray from North Ronaldsay
Digital Edition: even shorter download-time

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

High End

Read about the latest findings concerning the burial of an elevated Viking warrior on the Ardnamurchan. Yesterday the Isle of Eigg may have been the butt of a joke. Today there are more Norse discoveries, revealed on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to unearth matters of interest
Digital Edition: just get on board to discover more

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Norse or Nonsense?

The Vikings were on Eigg some 1300 years ago. This could be a rune marked on a stone they left behind or a rude word on a rock that has been carved subsequently. The experts are, as ever, divided. Read all about it in the Daily Telegraph.

Scottish Islands Explorer - usually free of expletives
Digital Edition: some words get around fast

Monday, 23 January 2017

Newmarket for ... ?

'Racehorses' are usually associated with 'Newmarket', but Morris MacLeod was at the Newmarket near Stornoway when he saw and captured the image of this stag. His photograph is in the latest Your Pictures of Scotland on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  tries to have a penetrative way of looking
Digital Edition: photographs viewed instantly throughout the world

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Meek and Wild

The Meek family has long been associated with Tiree and one of its members, Rhoda, was the first to encounter a 'visitor' from distant shores. A message-in-a-bottle-style-container arrived from Iceland after what must have been a wild journey across the ocean. Read about aspects of the scientific experiment on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also gets around the shores, somewhat sedately
Digital Edition: knows how to track across large tracts of the Earth and its seas

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Be Good Too

The words Be Good Too are to found, appropriately upside-down, on the hull of the barnacle-encrusted wreck of the catamaran found on a South Uist beach last Monday. It had been abandoned off the Virginia coast of the USA on 14 January 2014. So there's a three-year crossing of the Atlantic, almost to the day.
The details and a video-clip are to found in Yachting & Boating World.

Scottish Islands Explorer - crosses the Atlantic by air in a little over three hours
Digital Edition: makes it in about a third of a second

Friday, 20 January 2017

Blackhouse to White House

Mary Anne MacLeod (1912 - 2000) from the village of Tong, Isle of Lewis, would be astonished if she knew her son was to be inaugurated later today as the 45th President of the United States of America. Consider the Scottish roots of Donald Trump.

Scottish Islands Explorer - remarkable people often originate from islands
Digital Edition: helps news travel fast

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Beeline for Bicycles

Yesterday saw the launch of Beeline - a simple navigation device dependent on a smartphone and GPS tracking. It tries not to over-complicate a journey, leaving the cyclist to explore and be in charge. Click on here to discover more and revolutionise the ways you take in, say, the enticing routes through Scottish islands as well along city roads.

Scottish Islands Explorer - assists in the business of getting around
Digital Edition: enables you to track the magazine from anywhere

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Stamp On It

There's been enough excavating at Skara Brae to justify having a stamp devoted to it - as part of the new collection from the Royal Mail. See more in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - Another way of communicating
Digital Edition: a less expensive way of receiving material

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Forgotten Fuiay

Fuiay is close to the north shore of Barra and is 208 acres in extent, rising to 351' Its feral sheep have persisted, but human inhabitants just missed being counted. It had a neat village 'street' consisting of six dwellings that were occupied until probably 1850. So residents were not included in the 1851 Census and were inadvertently missed in the first counts of 1831 and '41.

Scottish Islands Explorer - maintains circulation figures
Digital Edition: tallied on a daily basis

Monday, 16 January 2017

Sanday Schools

There is an interesting property choice on Sanday, in the Orkney group. Ready for renovation is the former South School and House (above) with views over Eday and available with an offer of over £130k. Ready to move into is the renovated School and House at Newquoy (below) to the north of the island. Here the sellers are looking for offers of over £195k. So go for details to D and H Law for the former and Lows for the latter.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes looking at property
Digital Edition: travels between houses in a split second

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Washed Up

It's not everyday - and certainly not today - that such unusual objects are washed up on Hebridean beaches. However, the BBC Website has selected a medley of items.

Scottish Islands Explorer - seldom castaway
Digital Edition: goes wherever required

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Firing Up

The fire festivities of 2017 on Shetland are underway in Scalloway despite the cold weather. Join them now via Shetland News.
Scottish Islands Explorer - also firing up for the next edition, next month
Digital Edition: always on alert

Friday, 13 January 2017

The Lewis Connection

This is not a political endorsement, more of a riddle. How has the President-Elect become involved with the long-established BBC programme? The answer is on the Isle of Lewis, of which his mother was a native and from which the BBC Songs of Praise will be broadcast on Sunday on BBC One at 16.30. It is part of a series featuring some of the background aspects of Donald Trump.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has a significant American circulation
Digital Edition: also makes an impact

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Withstanding Storms

Lighthouses are accustomed to withstanding the fiercest of elements. When this week's high winds were gusting off the eastern coasts of Scotland, the Bell Rock Lighthouse remained its impressive self - now almost 206 years old. Consider its construction and operation on a short YouTube presentation.

Scottish Islands Explorer - it lights up some lives once every eight weeks
Digital Edition: depends on wifi not light

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Island Views

The route designated the North Coast 500 starts and finishes in Inverness and, technically, takes in only one island, the Black Isle, on its way around Wester Ross, Caithness and Sutherland. However, this High Road affords views of a significant number of places in the Highlands & Islands covered by Scottish Islands Explorer. Read about the appeal of the way around the shores of the north and over the Kylesku Bridge (above) on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes to look over, not be overlooked
Digital Edition: can circuit the 500 in a split second

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Second Time Around?

This building may not look inspiring - the former primary school in Stromness, Orkney - but it is planned (and reported in The Orcadian) to make it the hub of a research campus. It is encouraging to think of the development of methods, products and inventive thinking here. Recent archaeological research suggests that in the Neolithic Era and later, Orcadians had cultures that were innovative.

Scottish Islands Explorer - first time around
Digital Edition: assisted by this rather special method

Monday, 9 January 2017

Cumbrae is Compact

There is something expansive about the approach to Millport, the main settlement on Cumbrae in the lower Firth of Clyde (originally located by me in the Forth!). Some 1400 residents live on the island that measures 2.5 x 1.2 miles. There is obviously room for them as well as for visitors. The house with the narrowest frontage in the world, The Wedge, provides an intensive entrance and a compact interior. Activities and accommodation details are to be found on the Cumbrae section of VisitScotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - extensive coverage given
Digital Edition: comes in compacted form through broadband

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Bute Appeal

As the crow flies, Bute is only 33 miles from Glasgow. In reality, it's a little further, but looking at the Visit Bute website, in general, and the gallery of images at the top of its home-page, in particular, there is much to attract visitors. If you are considering a long stay, like a career-move, then go to the website of Bruce & Co, business sales specialists.

Scottish Islands Explorer - sells well in Rothesay
Digital Edition: 33 or 3333 miles are all the same

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Arran Activities

Years ago the post, at this time of year, would contain many requested travel brochures. Such items have now migrated to the internet. So, if you are thinking of what activities take place on the Isle of Arran, they are available at the click of a button. Two are here: Scotcampus and Trip Advisor. Delve into what's on offer from such places as Glen Rosa (above) to Holy Isle (below).

Scottish Islands Explorer - covers what has gone on ...
Digital Edition: ... and is  available right now

Friday, 6 January 2017

Seasonal Stocking

Here's an image that resembles the top of a woollen Christmas stocking and it's rather appropriate. It features Foula Wool and today that island traditionally celebrates the festive day which the rest of the UK commemorates on 25 December. So it's a good opportunity to take a look at the place in pictures as presented in a recent edition of The Guardian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - chooses to celebrate island communities
Digital Edition: always ready to present itself in the twinkling of an eye

Thursday, 5 January 2017

The Barra Flag

The word 'vexillogy' has not appeared on this blog previously. It is a combination of the Latin word - vexillium - meaning flag and the Greek suffix - logia - for study. The design here is of a flag for the island of Barrra. The interest it has raised in vexillogy and its application to local matters is outlined on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - content to be considered unflagging in its efforts
Digital Edition: certainly commands the airwaves

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Story of Island Roan

Eilean nan Ron is not far from the northern shores of the Scottish mainland, but is a world away. However, a community website that brings it closer is that of Skerry and within its pages is a complete book, The Story of Island Roan. Take a dip into, enjoy the photographs and, perhaps, request that it be published in print form. There is a market for publications about places that have, within living memory, disappeared. The last residents prepared to leave in the late 1930s and the 2008 Northern Times photograph shows Kitty Ann MacQueen, then 89-years-of-age, returning to the house she had lived in some 70 years previously.

Scottish Islands Explorer - covers evacuations; welcomes new readers
Digital Edition: opens up a new world on the internet

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


To mark the 200th anniversary of the Lagavulin Distillery on Islay, the owner, Diageo, is launching a single cask edition of its 1991 single malt with 522 bottles selling at £1494 each. This will help raise funds for community and trust projects on the island. If you have 'a grand-and-a-half' to spare, like both a vintage dram and good causes, go straight to the BBC website for details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some editions are becoming vintage stock
Digital Edition: its pages are produced in unlimited quantities

Monday, 2 January 2017

Ancient Britain Tonight

Tonight at 21.00 on BBC Two, Neil Oliver will be presenting A History of Ancient Britain with the focus on Orkney's Stone Age Temple. Take a look at a preview that lasts for 66 seconds. There's nothing quite like celebrating the past - and 17 years ago today saw the launch of Scottish Islands Explorer on Fair Isle, just a few sea-miles north of Orkney.

Scottish Islands Explorer - Why not take out a 'birthday' subscription?
Digital Edition: Or for under ten pounds per year a New Age version?

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Greetings from Islay

The image of ten sheep at Machir Bay, Islay, greets you on this New Year's Day. They surprised Neil MacNeill, who then captured them on camera and presented his work to the BBC website. His was the only photograph in the Your Pictures 23 - 30 December series that came from an island location. Best wishes to all our readers for a fulfilling 2017.

Scottish Islands Explorer - created on 2 January 2000
Digital Edition: came alive later