Sunday, 30 April 2017

Scuttled 98 Years Ago

This photograph by Angus Watson shows how Hoy is high and suggests the comparable depths of Scapa Flow. The waters have recently yielded the first sonar sighting of a vessel believed to have been scuttled there in 1919. See the image and read the account on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - goes to lengths and depths for ideas and images
Digital Edition: another technological aid to discovery

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Hebridean Way

The Hebridean Way has been launched - with the long distance footpath now open alongside the cycle-way. Read about the opportunities offered, in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - variations on explorations
Digital Edition: available en route

Friday, 28 April 2017

From Litter- to Bomb-Squad

The Da Voar Redd Up is an annual event when as many as one in five Shetland residents offer to join litter squads clearing local beaches of debris. Read the BBC website account of how one group discovered, and then left well alone, a washed-up, rusty grenade which had to be dealt with by the Bomb Squad.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to ignite interest
Digital Edition: goes off worldwide instantly

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Beauty on a Budget

Here is a view of the Sound of Harris from outside the Gatliff Hostel on Berneray. It's a matter of a compelling scene at a competitive price. Lee Allen has produced a fine guide - Scottish Islands on a Budget - and you can just click to download, thanks to Love Scottish Islands

Scottish Islands Explorer - scenic splendours on a shoestring
Digital Edition: in this format, to you, £9.99 per year

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Dangers of Impersonation

The high-level cycling-stunts of Danny MacAskill should not be attempted by individuals wishing to emulate his breath-taking achievements. An item in the West Highland Free Press indicates the dangers.

Scottish Islands Explorer - prefers to be static in style
Digital Edition: is dynamic in the electronic sense

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Normal Service Soon

I have found myself in a remote part of Scotland that's temporarily been without internet connection. So to put an entry up today, I may as well feature, say, Heard Island (above) - about 2500 miles to the the south-west of Western Australia. It, too, has limited internet, but it does have a country code / top-level domain of '.hm'' - 'Heard / McDonald Islands' - two relatively close places with no people there.  We will be back sooner rather than later.

Scottish Islands Explorer - interested in islands with Scottish connections
Digital Edition: fast to find

Monday, 24 April 2017

Shape of Some Surf

It all looks so easy, especially the eating! Sanitised surfing is available in some leisure complexes and a Shetland company is trialling a machine to recreate the experience. Take a look - and a video trip - through Shetland Times.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some would say the print issue is the real thing
Digital Edition: others would disagree and recommend the ether issue

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Hebridean Happiness

This couple photographed on their wedding day on Bernera, Isle of Lewis, do have a reasonable chance of living happily-ever-after. The Office for National Statistics surveyed all parts of the UK and the highest number of people declaring themselves to be happy was in the Outer Hebrides. Read more in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - our circulation figures suggest contentment
Digital Edition: available at a pleasing speed

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Skye High

The Scottish Colourist with an international artistic reputation, Cara McKinnon Crawford, has many links with Scottish islands and now with Scottish Islands Explorer. Take a look at her, above, and then at her work through a page of the magazine's website. Peruse the paintings and, perhaps, purchase them, the Fine Art Cards or the remarkable 17-minute DVD of some of the locations that have inspired her. It's appropriately-called Skye High.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  low on the Highlands; high on the Islands
Digital Edition: comes from high 'in the clouds'

Friday, 21 April 2017

Hebridean Blackhouses

These blackhouses certainly look that against the fields at Arnol on the Isle of Lewis. To have insights into the topic, go to the Hebridean Blackhouses item on the Hidden Europe blog. They are put into context.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the way they lived recorded every other month
Digital Edition: very much the way we live now

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Property Powers Up

Here are two items on a vibrant part of the UK's property market. The house above, on Burra, Shetland, is featured in the Daily Express, while the Financial Times analyses why this locality has been so powerful in raising prices in the last year - up 26%.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes people looking up things
Digital Edition: powers remarkably fast access

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Ready for You

Over the Easter Weekend the latest edition of Scottish Islands Explorer - May / June 2017 - was delivered to subscribers and appeared on retailers' shelves throughout the country. Why not take a look - via the digital edition - or take out a subscription - through the secure payment facility on the website?

Scottish Islands Explorer - available here in the print format
Digital Edition: downloaded and available here much more quickly

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Island Spirit

Here is a recently-published book, The Island Spirit, with the sub-title, Living with the Tides on the Western Isles, proudly presented by the photographer and author, Jorg Waste. Dipping into it will be time well-spent. Access as well as the opportunity to purchase are here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has featured Jorg's work
Digital Edition: access and opportunity as well

Monday, 17 April 2017

Working Waves

It's good to learn, on a Bank Holiday, of the achievement of a turbine successfully working for our benefit. Read in The Orcadian about the new attainments of a large device of Scotrenewables Tidal Power Ltd. Gradually SWET - solar, wind, earth and tidal-  sources are replacing fossil fuels as driving forces in British energy supplies.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a primary source of local information
Digital Edition: powers the provision of publictions

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Go on West, to Vatersay

The image resembles rail tracks, but they are on Vatersay, below Barra on the Hebridean chain, and the photograph is actually of a beach decking-path. Yesterday's item was from Hidden Europe and that's today's link as well. It points to several aspects of the island and to the most westernmost occupied house in Scotland (below).

Scottish Islands Explorer - covers all points and many properties
Digital Edition: reaches Hidden Europe quickly

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Gateways to Barra

Hidden Europe is a magazine that is well worth considering as a source of interesting information. Take a dip into its blog, Letter from Europe, for a taste of its style. Go direct to a recent feature, Notes from a Hebridean Island, for insights into Barra, the island in the south of the Western Isles. So there are actually four gateways above - for a destination, for multiple observations, for considering a continent and ... for the beach.

Scottish Islands Explorer - new issue out on 18 April
Digital Edition: the gateway for early access

Friday, 14 April 2017

Good News on Friday

You can almost sense being 'in the clouds' on West Harris with the above image. An upgrade of internet connections will mean that superfast broadband will be available soon at six different exchanges and this will be some place in which to work as well as to play. Come here to read more about the prospects.

Scottish Islands Explorer - could even have its headquarters on these shores
Digital Edition: ready for split-second reception

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Long Lingering Look

Take a long lingering look at a gallery of interesting images on the BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland. At last - will come Graeme Brown's photograph of Seilebost Beach, Harris. It's the only 'island' entry in this week's compilation and worth waiting for.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always contains a gallery to admire
Digital Edition: and so easy to see in the latest edition

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Take a Digital Delivery

Here is part of a ruined village - Riasg Buidhe - on Colonsay and the photograph, by Roger Butler, forms the cover of the forthcoming edition - May / June 2017 - of Scottish Islands Explorer magazine. The print version will be on sale in shops and delivered to subscribers by 18 April, but those wanting to find out more, now, can access the digital version here. The cost is just £1.99 for the one and only £9.99 for six editions, taking you up until March / April 2018. Can you resist in taking, without obligation, a look at the cover and first few pages?

Scottish Islands Explorer - always taking you places of interest
Digital Edition: it will be with you with very few clicks

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Fair Isle Calling

The views are stunning; the conditions can be disconcerting; the prospects (for the right person) stimulating. Consider, if you are qualified, what Fair Isle, an island without a doctor, has to offer for the resident nurse. The BBC website looks at the post, with applications required by 24 April, in detail.

Scottish Islands Explorer - founded on Fair Isle in January 2000
Digital Edition: provides 24-hour cover

Monday, 10 April 2017

The Last of Its Kind

The winter months saw a re-fit of the MV Glenachulish that plies, from April - October, the short Glenelg - Skye crossing. Read on the BBC website how it has undergone changes and how it remains the world's last vehicular ferry of its kind.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also the first and last of its kind
Digital Edition: employing the latest technology

Sunday, 9 April 2017

High Over Head

Gallan Head is beyond Uig, on the Isle of Lewis, and could well become a focal point for visitors. Plans have been laid for the construction here of the Cetus Observatory that will bring the constellations, stars, planets ... and St Kilda closer. The details appear in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - usually focuses on terra firma
Digital Edition: accustomed to using the skies

Saturday, 8 April 2017

The North Uist Five

The image comes from the South Uist-based newspaper, Am Paipear; the item from the BBC website; the quintuplet lambs from a North Uist ewe.

Scottish Islands Explorer - would apprecite five more subscribers today
Digital Edition: about to produce the May / June edition

Friday, 7 April 2017


There is a considerable difference between the over half-a-million page-views - (503,036) - that this blog has accumulated over almost six years and the view witnessed by two intrepid climbers on Skye. Calculations of the former involve a daily average of 233, although the numbers have risen steeply in recent times. The past month's average has been 1,994 page-views per day. Keep coming and continue visiting the Scottish islands. The image below comes from an informative web-site called Hand Luggage Only that features Ten Secret Scottish Islands. They may not be that 'secret' but are certainly well-worth seeing.

Scottish Islands Explorer - keep calm and keep on subscribing
Digital Edition: discover more about a real bargain

Thursday, 6 April 2017

For 'Sanda' Read 'Santa'?

Here's a BBC item about investment and potential productivity in the oil-field, Sanda, to the west of Shetland. With the prospect of 280 million barrels of oil ready to be extracted and presented to the British economy, the word 'Santa' could well be employed.

Scottish Islands Explorer - plenty of (reading) material in prospect
Digital Edition: ready to be extracted and exported around the world

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Dualchas Over 21 Years

The blend of ancient landscapes and modern residential-designs appeals to me and, of course, to clients. The West Highland Free Press covered the 21st anniversary celebrations of Dualchas Architects. Take in what they offer.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always ready for new designs
Digital Edition: likes a similar cutting-edge

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Top Spot

If you are looking for a residence that incorporates a high standard of rural living, then look above to St Ola, Orkney, and a ten-bedroomed house for under £1 million. Perhaps have, in the garden, a replica of the houseboat from Stronsay, also in the Orkney group? A persuasive factor could be the annual survey of rural areas for standards of living by the Halifax Building Society which placed Orkney top. There was an irony about it in that this year's criteria included the provision of health clubs and leisure centres. Many consider that these are naturally built-into the Orcadian environment.

Scottish Islands Explorer - plenty to attract as well
Digital Edition: fast broadband is a factor in residential appeal

Monday, 3 April 2017

The Aye Life

The How to Spend It supplement with the Weekend FT certainly knows how to fire fantasies. Its recent feature, The Aye Life, considers upmarket properties and places to stay in the Highlands,

such as Corrour Lodge, of a modern design in granite by its lake with a dining room that is, to say the least, sumptuous. If your wallet or inclinations do not extend to this type of Palace of Isolation, then consider what is offered by the ...

... Loch Ossian Youth Hostel. It is run by the SYHA and shares the same remote railway station as the Lodge. However, its dining room facility would seem to encourage greater sociability.

Scottish Islands Explorer - consider the islands' hideaways and hostels
Digital Edition: goes anywhere

Sunday, 2 April 2017

The Call of the Isles

If you belong to a generation that recalls the BBC's Tonight Programme, which ran from 1957 until 1965, and television personalities such as Cliff Michelmore (1919 - 2016), Alan Wicker (1921 - 2013)  and Fyfe Robertson (1902 - 87), a recent showing on BBC Alba, available on BBC iPlayer, may be of interest. It's The Call of the Isles presented by Fyfe Robertson (above) and made in 1963. The voice will resonate; the images impress and the now archaic technologies intrigue.

Scottish Islands Explorer - in time, it too will look out-of-date
Digital Edition: the fastest of current speeds will eventually seem slow

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Grand, Indeed

Paul Murton has every reason to look pleased. The programme he presents - Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands - reaches its finale tonight at 20.00 on BBC Two with his visits to the Monachs, Sula Sgeir and then to North Rona, which is the most isolated of our islands ever to have been inhabited. The walls, of the third oldest surviving place of Christian worship in Britain, are remarkable for they date from the 8th Century and its resident, St Ronan. What a climax to a grand tour of Scottish locations.

Scottish Islands Explorer - observes islands 13 centuries on from St Ronan
Digital Edition: isolation is no barrier to access