Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Norwegian Jade

A ship with a capacity of 2400 passengers made its maiden voyage to Kirkwall yesterday. So the Norwegian Cruise Ship Lines Norwegian Jade arrived - the first of five visits this season, conveying mainly North American passengers. The Orcadian covered the event.

Scottish Islands Explorer - appears six times a year in Kirkwall
Digital Edition: always ready to come to yours in an instant

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Store Restoration

The village of Hillswick, Northmavine, Shetland has a new addition for its storehas been converted to an art gallery. Renovation has been by Geoff Jukes, who works in the international music business. The full details are in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - resurrected every other month
Digital Edition: converts printed pages into screen images

Monday, 29 May 2017

105 and Counting

You can see why the Silver Sands of the Isle of Eigg appeals to visitors. However, permanent residents have been coming to settle in homes on the island and are eagerly being counted. Read The Guardian article from last month.

Scottish Islands Explorer - many readers settle as subscribers
Digital Edition: more than a hundred could download simultaneously

Sunday, 28 May 2017


Tidal causeways are invariably exciting and the prospect of renting one of the four properties on Davaar certainly appeals.  Take a look at what Kintyre Cottages have on offer.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has covered Davaar
Digital Edition: to mull over in Kintyre

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Roundabout Nesting

Roundabouts have a knack of attracting traffic, but not birds, especially when it comes to nesting. However, consider what are the advantages to an oystercatcher of starting a family on the busiest gyratory in Orkney. The answer could be in The Orcadian ... or not.

Scottish Islands Explorer - not known as a nesting-site
Digital Edition: more aviation than avian

Friday, 26 May 2017

Wild Swimming

The temperatures have been steadily rising this week. Soon you may want to follow in the strokes of a wild swimmer in Loch Coruisk, Skye. Read on at the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - print has to cool, but not this low
Digital Edition: take it hot off the press

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Chance to Paddle?

Next week presents opportunities to travel on the Paddle Steamer Waverley and take in Skye, Raasay and that remote corner of the mainland, the Knoydart. Read about the route and background of the vessel in the West Highland Free Press.

Scottish Islands Explorer - paddles its way through island coverage
Digital Edition: faster than jet-propelled

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Shetland Sunday

Last Sunday was, indeed, a 'sun day', particularly in Shetland. The weather was glorious. It ended in splendour with the sunset off St Ninian's Head captured by the camera of Gordon Siegel and published in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - accustomed to evening lights
Digital Edition: always ready to cast light

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

St Kilda Challenge 2018

There's plenty to think about St Kilda - and this year's Challenge for yachts is one of the topics. Consider its background in the item that appears in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - keeps returning to the archipelago
Digital Edition: accessible from Hirta in the group

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Admiral's House

Read in the West Highland Free Press about the legacy of studios for artists from the estate of Vice Admiral Sir Roddy Macdonald. It's an example of one generation's interests being passed to the next and, in this case, it has happened at Brae, on Skye.

Scottish Islands Explorer - to be passed on one day
Digital Edition: very much a product of the current generation

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Arctic Terns on May

The title of today's blog sounds rather political, but it introduces birds' rituals captured by photographer, Eric Niven, on the Isle of May. It appears with a number of stunning images from the most recent BBC - Your Pictures of Scotland. Click on to be transported. Incidentally, there are 26 places named 'May' in the world, with only one 'Corbyn' and that's in Texas.

Scottish Islands Explorer - few political views, many island scenes
Digital Edition: available in all Mays and the one Corbyn

Saturday, 20 May 2017


A Saab 340 freighter aircraft had been delivered to Loganair and will be involved in the delivery of mail to and from the Northern Isles. The RMA Shetland Flyer will be reviving the 1930s tradition of using the 'RMA' title - 'Royal Mail Aeroplane'. Read on at Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - will be conveyed by this plane
Digital Edition: has helped quicken deliveries

Friday, 19 May 2017

More on a Great Mystery

Read about the production of a film based on the mystery of the lighthouse-keepers on Flannan Isle. It's documented in the Stornoway Gazette, the local paper for the island, where the original event occurred almost 110 year ago.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the magazine is no mystery, it appears!
Digital Edition: more new technologies are applied to it

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Anticipating Aurora

Lancaster University's AuroraWatch UK team is planning to construct devices in Shetland to alert people to the appearance of the Northern Lights. Read the item on the BBC website and enjoy the image above of a building controlled by the Northern Lighthouse Board. It is to the south of many in Scotland - at Barns Ness, Dunbar.

Scottish Islands Explorer - sheds light on insular features
Digital  Edition: operates through the skies

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Fixed Link to Whalsay?

Trade flourished in and around the Whalsay  booth of the Hanseatic League. Fishing has long been a mainstay of the local economy. Now the Shetland Islands Council is being asked to re-consider the proposal of a fixed link to the island. Read on at Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - copies could reach there quicker
Digital Edition: although not at the speed of this method

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Spy Fears ... on Rockall?

Classified papers have been released to show that Rockall was regarded as a potential spy base for securing information about a range of features - shipping, aviation, rocketry, geological - well to the west of the Hebrides. Here is the Irish Navy's vessel , the Roisin, undertaking a routine maritime patrol in the area. See the suggestions about the wider interests of more distant nations on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - spies on the insular
Digital Edition: employs even newer technology

Monday, 15 May 2017

Choice of Six

Voters in the parliamentary constituency of Orkney and Shetland will have a choice of six candidates in next month's General Election. Five are from the mainstream parties and one is running as an Independent. The details are in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - more items are available here
Digital Edition: will  take your vote right now

Sunday, 14 May 2017

En Route to Lismore

A post box set in a wall at Port Appin was photographed by Alison Lewis when she was making her way to the Lismore ferry and appears in the latest gallery of the BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland. They provide a stimulating selection for Sunday viewing.

Scottish Islands Explorer - known for its items and images ...
Digital Edition: ... which can be with you in seconds

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Go Forth to the Firth?

There is a group of enthusiasts who pursue the SIBLETS - Small Islands of Britain with Low Elevations of interest to Tourists. There are 286 of these islets around our shores. Plans are being made for prospective trips to the Bass Rock (above) to Fidra (immediately below) as well as to Craigleith - all to be found in the Firth of Forth.

The outings at £30 for Craigleith and Fidra and a further £30 for the Bass are planned for late September or October. Details of the itinerary, with departures from North Berwick, will not be available until August, but if you would like to indicate your interest, without obligation, do send me your name and contact details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - represents many of these small islands
Digital Edition: for accessing information about some remote places

Friday, 12 May 2017

Into the Seventh

It's into the seventh year for this blog which started with a Barra Airport item on 11 May 2011, six years ago yesterday. Today's is a return to the topic with an account from the Stornoway Gazette of Loganair attracting more passengers, in a sort of seventh heaven, to its most unusual terminal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - now well into its 18th year
Digital Edition: always ready to take off to your destination

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Turn Left and Left Again

When you come off the Mull ferry at Craignure, turn left and follow the main road until you reach the junction for Lochbuie. Then turn left again. You are then in a world apart. Take a taste through a website for the area.

Scottish Islands Explorer - takes turnings off
Digital Edition: delivers regardless of time and turnings

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

No Greens

There is an irony in that the Scottish Green Party has decided not to field candidates in the six Highlands & Islands constituencies for the 2017 General Election. Here are vast tracts of land that need special protection from developers and exploiters. The Party also won seats for the first time on the Highland and Orkney Councils in the recent local elections. The details are on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - devotees evident, but no votes
Digital Edition: ready for crosses on its electronic version

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

You Can't Take A Baby

'Caution' is the word - not only here on Barra, but for a website that really engages. It's called You Can't Take A Baby and has the sub-title A Mum and Two Kids Take on the World. So drop what you are doing and go places now in the company of Neve and her family.

Scottish Islands Explorer - for adults with enthusiasms
Digital Edition: goes worldwide too

Monday, 8 May 2017

Clarity of Vision

There are occasions when misty Hebridean land- and seascapes are magnificent, but often our glasses just need a good clean. The other day I came across a fine German product for lens cleaning, Okulan, and purchased it. I am intrigued by the Idea Street concept of its marketeer in the UK, Jed Marson . Do see what he is offering.

Scottish Islands Explorer - strives for clarity of style
Digital Edition: downloaded before you can clean your specs

Sunday, 7 May 2017

No Female Representation

Here is Luskentyre Beach, Harris, pictured in May. It could contain a group photo of women councillors on Western Isles Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. For that is now a male-only enclave as indicated on the BBC website. It is remarkable considering that the national contest involved Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister and the Leader of the Scottish National Party, Ruth Davidson, Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, and Kirza Dugdale, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party. There were no successful women candidates in the Outer Hebrides, but some voters showed pioneering ways by electing the islands' first Conservative councillor, Ranald Fraser. The three Labour councillors from 2012 were not replaced - for no candidates even stood to succeed them.

Scottish Islands Explorer - readers from both genders
Digital Edition: many devoted subscribers

Saturday, 6 May 2017

No Retail on Mid Yell

Retail outlets come and go with changes of lifestyle, but on island communities their disappearance can have life-changing effects. Last Monday, Linkshouse Stores Ltd, Mid Yell, Shetland failed to open after the weekend. Another commercial venture may be set up elsewhere in the settlement, but a sudden closure serves as a reminder of vulnerability. Read the report in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - opens repeatedly on a bi-monthly basis
Digital Edition: never closes

Friday, 5 May 2017

Rum from Eigg

A photograph of Rum from Eigg by Lynn Kidd is featured in the current gallery of the BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland. Take a tour of the nation for some interesting perspectives.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always has views of an insular nature
Digital Edition: a fast way of looking around

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Sufficient Sleepers?

Here is a stretch of the Far North Line looking towards Georgemas Junction and Thurso. Sleepers are certainly evident on the permanent way, but would there be sufficient customers for Sleeper Trains conveying passengers to and from the Pentland Firth for Orkney shipping services? A proposal is featured in The Press and Journal. My problem would be a great desire to look out of the window on the Inverness run - for the scenery is, from my viewpoint, compelling.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a regular passenger on the line
Digital Edition: able to by-pass such routes

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Secret Places

Go to the BBC website for an introduction to Wild Guide - Scotland. Here are Hidden Places, Great Adventures and the Good Life. It's a new book from Wild Things Publishing Ltd and, understandably, the Scottish islands are well represented in this compendium of secret places.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tames, or at least presents, the wild
Digital Edition: seamless delivery

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Origin of a Book

How Charles Darwin would have enjoyed the account in the West Highland Free Press of how a rare edition of his On The Origin of Species found its way to Skye and then back to Canterbury, New Zealand. It's a tale concerning market values, human honesty and the migration of books.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some editions a tad more valuable than others
Digital Edition: it conveys publications of all sorts

Monday, 1 May 2017

Blackbird, Hello

Where better could the red-winged blackbird have chosen to enter Europe for its first sighting than North Ronaldsay, Orkney? The island has a long-established bird observatory, an airstrip and chartered aircraft available for both bird-watchers and 'twitchers' ready to see this North American resident that crossed the Atlantic. Follow the event on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - each issue appears in North America
Digital Edition: crosses oceans for requested sightings