Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Scottish Landscapes

It's time to engage with your computer screen and dwell on the images of the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards. The winner, Nick Hanson, now lives on Skye and the runner-up, Christopher Swan, has some fine shots of Harris (above) and of Orkney.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also has much imagery to absorb
Digital Edition: is sending out photographic stimulation world-wide

Monday, 27 February 2017

Ultimate on Unst

Saturday's shelter piece has meant an understandable nudging in the direction of the facility towards the north of Unst, which is the most northerly of the islands of Britain. Take a trip to its website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a weatherproof binder of back issues needed
Digital Edition: if the shelter has a signal, it's good for magazine supplies

Sunday, 26 February 2017

A Sunday Story

The Crask Inn, Sutherland, is not an island, but its remoteness gives it something of the feeling of being cut off. The image below is of Vagastie Bridge, a mile-and-a-half to the north. Here is an interesting Sunday item for the hotel has recently been donated to the Scottish Episcopal Church, but will continue to provide comfort and accommodation for travellers. Discover more through the pages of the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - remoteness is one of its topics
Digital Edition: accessible from these places

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Take (Bus) Shelter

Waiting patiently, at least with clear skies above, is a would-be passenger by the bus shelter at King's Cross, Arran. Her feelings are unknown while those of Laurence Dodds (below) are clearly presented in his Daily Telegraph piece - In Praise of Rural Bus Shelters. He considers many aspects of these often forgotten constructions - having frequently used this one between Lamlash and Whiting Bay. In order to experience something of it yourself, especially after reading his article, go on to Google Street View. A moribund-looking feature comes alive.

Scottish Islands Explorer - suitable as shelter reading-material
Digital Edition: even better when on a waterproof device

Friday, 24 February 2017

Quid Pro Tweed

It looks a little subdued on the screen, it is genuine and if it were made in the Carloway Mill, Lewis, it could have been yours for a quid. Sounds like Poundland? Read about the sale of a mill, albeit in administration, for £1 on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a pound buys 13 pages of the magazine ...
Digital Edition: ... and over 31 pages of the electronic version

Thursday, 23 February 2017

How Many Islands?

Roger Cox is the Outdoors Columnist of The Scotsman (sounds like a wonderful journalistic position) and has both surfed off and written about the number of islands that make up the British Isles. The Ordnance Survey tracks such matters, indicating that there are 803 large enough to appear with a coastline at the 1:625,000 scale and a further 5,486 recorded as 'point features' or mere specks on the map. The number of inhabited islands is around 2.2% of the 6,289 total - just 137 of them.

Scottish Islands Explorer - covers every one in Scotland
Digital Edition: accessible everywhere

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Islands and Shorelines

Six out of the 17 images in the latest BBC Your Pictures of Scotland gallery feature either islands or shorelines. Above is Douglas Cochrane's photograph of Skye's Fairy Pools.

Scottish Islands Explorer - often focuses on the shorelines
Digital Edition: comes in faster than a racing tide

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Eighty Years On

Sumburgh Airport, at the south end of the Shetland archipelago,was opened in June 1936 by the pioneer of aviation in the Highlands & Islands, Captain E E Fresson. Its use was boosted by the RAF in the Second World War and again by the development of the local oil industry from the 1970s. Increases in recent passenger numbers have led to investment in a refurbished terminal that has just been formally opened. Shetland News gives the details of these improvements, over 80 years after the airport's first passengers were carried.

Scottish Islands Explorer - is often on sale in the gateways to islands
Digital Edition: expansion noted in this area

Monday, 20 February 2017

Foula from The Atlantic

Foula has its high point, The Noup, and The Atlantic is a magazine with a world edition. Put the two together and there is a fine gallery of 25 photographs of the remote island. Take a look by clicking on the publication.

Scottish Islands Explorer - recommends a visit by just clicking
Digital Edition: deserves to be considered

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Musical (Broad)band

Olwen Macleod, from Lochmaddy, North Uist, has devised ways of making her music pupils, throughout the world, learn a range of instruments assisted by high-speed broadband. Read the fascinating story in the West Highland Free Press.

Scottish Islands Explorer - music to its ears
Digital Edition: on the same wavelength

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Beginning with Old Word

The production of gin has become prolific in numerous small distilleries throughout Britain. One of them, the Orkney Gin Company, is hoping that its product, Johnsmas Gin, will win a high award in a global competition. The word 'Johnsmas' refers to a once celebrated occasion in Orkney and Shetland on Midsummer's Day. The company is based at Burray, Orkney, and so if you should miss the bus (below) then there is somewhere significant to visit. If not, then just enjoy the piece in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - distilled every eight weeks
Digital Edition: has a global presence

Friday, 17 February 2017


The burning of heather and vegetation, Muirburn, on Scottish hills is permitted from October until April. See how actions above can lead to nocturnal illumination on the Isle of Skye as shown on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - unsold retail copies are either burnt or pulped
Digital Edition: burns brightly during day and night

Thursday, 16 February 2017

A 26% Rise

Earlier this week it was announced that inflation has risen to 1.8% and then came another figure from the Office for National Statistics that during the course of the past year properties on Shetland had gone up by ... 26%. See more on the BBC website. The tranquil image above reveals accruing assets on the shores of Mainland Shetland and the island of Bressay.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of inflationary factors
Digital Edition: still available at under a tenner a year

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Self-Employment Capital

The average rate of self-employment in Scottish towns is 6.4%. Portree, Skye, more than doubles that figure with 13.1% while the undisputed 'capital' of this style of working is a major gateway to the Western Isles, Ullapool. Here 17.9% of the working population is classified as self-employed. The West Highland Free Press has the details. The image above is from Will Copestake Media and it's likely that the adventurer, guide and photographer, below, comes into this employment category.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the Editor of SIE is also SE
Digital Edition: appeals to people who lack time or inclination to shop

Tuesday, 14 February 2017


Orkney has been highly-rated recently as a place in which to reside. The Guardian looks at the pros and cons involved in a decision to move there. The sheep look settled. What will be your response?

Scottish Islands Explorer - encourages speculation as well as sightseeing
Digital Edition: available throughout the island group ... and globe

Monday, 13 February 2017


The range of images in the latest BBC gallery of Your Pictures of Scotland has only one island-based photograph - taken by Iain Murray at Eshaness, Shetland. However, it's irresistible - unlike an actual request for a lift from a hitchhiker of this dimension.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ready to take on subscribers ...
Digital Edition: ... at any time through this format

Sunday, 12 February 2017

It's Out ... to be Enjoyed

Another two months have slipped away and so here is the next digital edition of Scottish Islands Explorer ready to be examined and experienced. Do take a look inside, without obligation, or just enjoy the front cover image of the Black Isle - by Karen Thorburn Photography - or even purchase at £9.99 for the year ahead. The print edition will be on doormats and retail shelves next week.

Scottish Islands Explorer - for actual as well as armchair explorers
Digital Edition: join the thousand others who receive these copies

Saturday, 11 February 2017

An Eroding Sandscape

During the later years of the British Iron Age, at least 1600 years ago, a young woman was buried at Barvas, on the west side of the Isle of Lewis. Her body was discovered by the archaeologist, Dr Mary Macleod Rivett, in 2001. Research based on this significant find and on many aspects of the machair - the sandy soil that is constantly eroding and evolving - will be the subject of a book - Barabhas Machair: Surveys of an Eroding Sandscape - to be published later in the year.

Scottish Islands Explorer - evolving in terms of design and focus
Digital Edition: delivered by a designed and developed process

Friday, 10 February 2017

Something To Sing About

This St Kilda Wren has something to sing about as has Jenny Sturgeon whose songs and tunes - The Wren And The Salt Air - are ready to be released and pre-ordered. The CD - to be issued on 17 February - has two tracks that may be downloaded immediately. It is a compilation which celebrates the National Trust for Scotland managing St Kilda for 60 years and the archipelago being awarded World Heritage Site status 30 years ago.

Scottish Islands Explorer - continually celebrating the country's islands
Digital Edition: ready to be downloaded immediately

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Inter-island Lagoon

The Sound of Gighay is fully tidal, but its reaches of shallow water give the impression of a lagoon. It is situated between Gighay and Hellisay - islands that look locked together, to the north-east of Barra. The former was inhabited until the late 18th Century, before modern records were kept; the latter had over 100 residents, noted in the 1841 Census, but became uninhabited by 1890. People lived mainly at Bualavore (below), to the north of the island.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a multitude of islands with the passing of populations
Digital Edition: links rather than separates

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Bronzed or Bronze Age?

Hew Morrison is a forensic artist. Here is his reconstruction of the face of a Bronze Age woman buried in the Highlands. Now he has produced what he considers to be the facial features of St Magnus, who was put to death on Orkney 900 years ago. See more and learn about the art and science of this skill through the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - comes to life again every eight weeks
Digital Edition: re-creates the magazine ready for dispatch worldwide

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Soon Ready on Sleat

Not so long ago the Community Hub, Sleat, Skye, was an artist's impression. Now it's a reality, recruiting staff and will soon be ready to open. Read more in the West Highland Free Press.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the March / April 2017 edition is with its printer
Digital Edition: due to be ready at the weekend

Monday, 6 February 2017

Getting Around

Here is a remote, abandoned settlement in The Pairc, Isle of Lewis. It's the Gamekeeper's Cottage at Mulhaggery on the coast overlooking the Minch. Some 18 photographs of a camping trip in January 2014 from a flickr selection by Murdo Campbell are well worth seeing. So is the reference to a former resident, Murdo Morrison (1872 - 1959) whose journeyings took him as far as Punto Arenas in southern Chile. Some people get around.

Scottish Islands Explorer - enjoys connections, such as the Pairc and Chile
Digital Edition: additional equipment required to receive it in Mulhaggery

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Affinity & Kindred

The late Richard Denyer was an acclaimed photographer whose interests were focused on the images of Norfolk and the Outer Hebrides. He died on 14 December 2015, soon after his exhibition, Affinity & Kindred, opened in Norwich Cathedral. It has now reopened, at the An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway. Full details are to be found in the Stornoway Gazette with tributes to him from the Eastern Daily Press.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always capturing imagery ...
Digital Edition: ... and protecting it instantly

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Ever Ready

Most of us are able to take the constant, ever ready supply of electricity for granted. For the residents of Fair Isle that concept is still in the pipeline ... or whatever. However, the prospects are brighter owing to the availability of funding from a variety of sources. Shetland News informs.

Scottish Islands Explorer - was originally powered up on Fair Isle
Digital Edition: effective, brilliant and fast, but power-dependent

Friday, 3 February 2017

Forty / Da Fhichead Years

The Stornoway-based publisher, Acair, has entered its 40th Year and presents a wide range of publications in Scots Gaelic, English and bi-lingual editions. Take a look at what's on offer and, perhaps, consider as a start the photographic journey Wild Lewis by Frank Stark.

Scottish Islands Explorer - looking towards its 20th anniversary
Digital Edition: how will it project in 40 years time?

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Longships on the Sand

Now here is a study, Longships on the Sand, that casts light on a subject - the Norse place-names and their significance to the Isle of Tiree - and which comes in a weighty tome. The price is £35, but you can feel the depth of research. Go to the Life on Tiree website for details of how to order direct from the author, Dr John Holliday.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always looking for worthwhile causes and insights
Digital Edition: light and speedy in its approach to customers

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Fairview - Fair Price?

There was an auction yesterday and this house on Benbecula failed to sell. The final £65k bid did not match the reserve. Take a look at the Harman Healy site and, perhaps, make an enquiry or two about Fairview? It looks quite an impressive property.

Scottish Islands Explorer - may soon have a property section
Digital Edition: this item of news will be around the world in a nano-second