Monday, 31 July 2017

Barley Day on Raasay

As July came to an end, R&B Distillers held an open Barley Day on the Isle of Raasay, where some of their whisky is to be produced. The various varieties of barley were growing, being inspected by those with professional as well as amateur interests, in readiness for the top three crops to be selected at the end of August for production purposes.

It looks as though the Bere, Kannas and Iskira varieties are doing particularly well. It is exciting that a Celtic well, with high mineral content, is on site and that there are plentiful supplies of peat in the north of the island. A really-local whisky could result. The photographs at a rather special open day were taken by Gregor McLellan.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always ready to sample
Digital Edition: always available

Sunday, 30 July 2017

High Jinx

This pod of killer whales off Woodwick was photographed in 2010 by Brydon Thomason and is presented by Shetland Nature. Last week there was much comparable activity in the area and Shetland News has a remarkable image of high jinx in the water captured by Jim Nicolson.

Scottish Islands Explorer - puts on a show on a bi-monthly schedule
Digital Edition: takes pods to iPads.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Decline and Mothball

Martin Parr's photograph of the teacher and pupils of North Ronaldsay Primary School was taken in 1998. Now, almost 20 years on, read about the future of the Orkney island school in The Times. Fair Isle, which was featured yesterday, is a few miles to the north. Both islands are hoping to increase their populations. A 'moth-balled' school ready-to-open for its next pupil(s) is surely an incentive for a new family to consider resettlement.

Scottish Islands Explorer - constantly re-opens every eight weeks
Digital Edition: always turned on and ready to be opened

Friday, 28 July 2017

Powering Up

The residents of, and visitors to, Fair Isle have relatively low expectations of their electricity supplies. That's about to change as new technologies are being introduced, meaning that being switched on means just that. See how The Times covers the event of powering up being a constant factor.

Scottish Islands Explorer - supplies are on a regular basis
Digital Edition: always switched on

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Hamlet Mountaineering

Imagine that here is one of your target climbs, Stac Lee, a 'Marilyn' in the St Kilda Group. Below it is seen at the end of the day's climbing, which is described and brilliantly-illustrated on the blog Hamlet Mountaineering for 18 October 2015. Be ready to be impressed.

Scottish Islands Explorer - focus on the high points in all ways
Digital Edition: climbing out of the chair eliminated

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Passages of Time

Yesterday was when a blog-reader discovered the entry for 31 December 2012 and commented on the location of the house at Mulhagery, in the Pairc, Lewis. There is no road access to this extensive tract of land. Consequently, when a Lockheed Hudson bomber crashed close by, at Fiar Chreag, in 1942, the wreckage was never recovered.  75 years have slipped by since the aircraft was flying; perhaps a 150 since life was flourishing in and immediately around the house?

Scottish Islands Explorer - reveals some historic aspects
Digital Edition: accesses satellite links

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

View Down from a Drone

Time to relax, even if on the edge of your computer seat, and take in the images from a drone cruising down the Hebrides from North Uist to Vatersay. Just go to YouTube.

Scottish Islands Explorer - enjoy taking in an issue or two
Digital Edition: all part of the same technology

Monday, 24 July 2017

Across Out Skerries

The MV Filla, on its regular service to the Out Skerries jetty on Bruray, will not pass Bound Skerry, the most easterly point of Britain, but it will afford a good view of Easter Skerries (below) and, perhaps, a glimpse of Mio Ness, the 'narrow headland' (bottom) at the south-west end of Housay as well as of Filla, after which the ship is named.

An interesting image and item about North Benelip is to be found on the blog of Andy Strangeway who, as ever, ventured beyond the usual parameters. The names of North and South Benelip sound more like London Underground stations than islets at the east end of the Out Skerries, Shetland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - promotes the remote
Digital Edition: part of the internet mainstream

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Ulva Buyout?

The island of Ulva is well within the boundaries of Mull, but public access is currently by the passenger ferry above. It is not a large craft for the 4,600 acres that have been owned by the Howard family for over a century. Their £4.25 million sale of the island, recently announced, has been halted now that a community buyout has been proposed. The number of permanent residents is not high and so it will be a test-case to see whether monies can be raised to fund the purchase. Read all about it in The Herald.

Scottish Islands Explorer - currently for sale ... at £3.95 per copy
Digital Edition: also available at £9.99 per year

Saturday, 22 July 2017

A Great Eastern Railway

Thanks to Andy Strangeway, advocate and adventurer, we have an image of Bound Skerry, the most easterly point of the British Isles. The lighthouse, built in 1857, in the Out Skerries group of Shetland also had its means of construction and of delivering supplies - a railway. Apparently it was bombed twice during the Second World War, mistaken for a munitions factory.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a publication named after one man?
Digital Edition: delivered along the fast tracks of the 21st Century

Friday, 21 July 2017

Remote Rocks Railway

When it comes to remote railways in Britain, the one on Sule Skerry, 40 miles west of Orkney, comes into the extreme category. It is on the South Landing and was used for conveying rocks during the 1892 - 94 construction of the 88ft lighthouse on the 35-acre islet that rises 45ft above sea level. The photograph, taken in 1967 by David Glass, is now 50 years old. Read a full account of a part of Sutherland  in this Photographers' Resource. The lighthouse is the most distant from any other settlement in the UK.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes to feature places that are remote
Digital Edition: overcomes distance effortlessly

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Take a Closer Look

Here is the lighthouse and dwelling on Little Ross, the island featured on the blog yesterday and still on the market today. The Caithness-based publisher, Whittles, is preparing for the October launch of its new book, Life and Death on Little Ross by David Collin. The author was there on the day of the murder of a lighthouse keeper and, 57 years later, gives a full account of the incident, the 117 years of devoted service by the Northern Lights Board staff as well as of the life and times of the island and its community.

Scottish Islands Explorer - will feature the book in the Nov / Dec issue
Digital Edition: acts quickly when requested

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Little Ross; Big News

Lighthouses have their secrets, but what happened on Little Ross, off the Dumfries & Galloway coast, in 1960 became a big news story. Now it is being revived with the prospective sale of the 29-acre island for an asking price of £325k. The details of the past are in the Daily Telegraph; the current features are presented by Galbraith of Castle Douglas.

Scottish Islands Explorer - few hidden secrets
Digital Edition: open to all at a moment's notice

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Currency Uncovered

The Knowe of Swandro archaeological site on Rousay, Orkney, continues to spring surprises. The latest is the discovery of a mid-4th Century Roman coin. The last to be found in a comparable position was in sand dunes on the Western Isles about ten years ago. Go to the BBC website for the full story.

Scottish Islands Explorer - deals in sterling
Digital Edition: at a reasonable price - £9.99 per year

Monday, 17 July 2017

Skye Lines

Both the design of the window and the view from this dwelling on Loch Duich are compelling. Take a look at more features of the house at Letterfearn and then learn about the Skye-based architectural company, Rural Design.

Scottish Islands Explorer - subject to design and scrutiny
Digital Edtion: delivers in a thrice

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Hoy Wire Act

Getting up the Old Man of Hoy has never been easy, but going there and back by tight-rope took Alexander Schulz, a German adventurer, into new dimensions - measuring 450ft above the sea and almost 200 yards for a one-way journey. The story from Orkney is covered by the BBC.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also needs planning
Digital Edition: it links invisibly

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Stroma Find for Band

To find the connection between Stroma, the deserted Caithness island, and Neon Waltz, the John O'Groats-based band, go to the BBC website. The clue is an abandoned musical instrument that can still be played.

Scottish Islands Explorer - brings the forgotten back to memories ...
Digital Edition: ... with speed

Friday, 14 July 2017

First Legal Distiller

Iain Robertson, photographed here by Scott Mooney, will be joining the team of R&B as its whisky distiller at the new Isle of Raasay Distillery. It's due to open in September and will be the first legal still on the island. He is a recent graduate of the Heriot Watt Brewing and Distilling School and has been a guide at the Edinburgh-situated The Scotch Whisky Experience. Look back on this blog to Bere Barley - for details of the venture.

Scottish Islands Explorer - distills stories and news items
Digital Edition: takes a fraction of the time to produce and deliver

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Bring on the Boats!

The official opening of the £16.5 million extension to Lerwick Harbour, Mair's Pier, has taken place. More cruise ships will be appearing on the horizon and their passengers thronging the town as well as visiting the island. Read about the new facilities on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - on sale in Lerwick
Digital Edition: advance copies available

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Secret and Stunning

When Daniel Start made a selection from his Hidden Beaches - Wild Things Publishing - for the The Telegraph, he chose three of his secret and stunning locations in Scotland. Two of these were on the islands - Fidden on Mull and Uig on Lewis. Take a quick look now, ready, perhaps, for a summer jaunt.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always ready to explore the shore
Digital Edition: provides access with acceleration

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Idyllic Small Island Estate

Here's an opportunity to acquire an idyllic small estate, on an island, within the Inner Hebrides with offers over £375k. Take a look at Arinthluic, Isle of Coll, through the Inverness office of Bell Ingram, but with a closing date of Friday 14 July.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a small media estate itself
Digital Edition: with a technological presence

Monday, 10 July 2017

Seek and Find

Seeking property in Shetland; find something on Fetlar? Look at the article in the Home section of the Sunday Times. It could act as a good guide.

Scottish Islands Explorer - at least settle down with a magazine
Digital Edition: go places in seconds

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Machines Ebb and Flow

Two items in the BBC coverage of the Northern Isles show how the design and construction of machines to harness energy from the waves and tides can come and go. Shetland has the innovative story; while Orkney is preserving a product for posterity.

Scottish Islands Explorer - back issues are preserved
Digital Edition: current magazines a part of innovative technology

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Price-cut to Callanish

Getting to the Callanish Stones, or the rest of the Isle of Lewis, via Stornoway Airport has never been difficult, but it can be expensive. However, an aircraft price-war is underway and one way flights from Glasgow can be secured for £50. Delving into the Loganair and Flybe websites is required, but first get the background to the battle for your custom from the BBC.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has not increased its price for five years
Digital Edition: a bargain at £1.99 for one issue; £9.99 for six

Friday, 7 July 2017

Pleasure Palace Preserved?

Rum has many natural attributes, but few islands in the world have anything resembling the innovative former home and pleasure palace of the Bullough family, Kinloch Castle. Its upkeep is horrifically high, but plans are in hand to keep it preserved for future generations to enjoy. Read The Times article published yesterday.

Scottish Islands Explorer - preserved in print
Digital Edition: constantly available online

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Freedom Conferred

Consider the life and times of Dr John Rae in Frontiers Magazine and then read on the BBC website about the Freedom of Orkney to be conferred on the Arctic Explorer.

Scottish Islands Explorer - celebrates both the living and the deceased
Digital Edition: resurrects past issues

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Music from the Old Man

The Old Man of Hoy, Orkney, looks a little precarious. However, David Greenald, from Chester, achieved an ambition by climbing to the top of the stack, taking out his accordion and playing tunes. His friends recorded the event which is available through The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - stresses the visual
Digital Edition: brings sounds and sights

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

A Day of Glory Given

Walking the Song by Hamish Brown (Sandstone Press) has recently been published. One chapter - A Day of Glory Given - is about a walk he took on a Christmas Day from the Gatliff Hostel at Rhenigidale, North Harris. Click onto the chapter title to access the full account of his experiences. For even more extensive days out, download the work of Neil Pinkett with his Walks From the Gatliff Hostel at Reinigeadal. Alternatively purchase the booklet for £3 from Northampton Square.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also a way of finding your feet in the hills
Digital Edition: try the magazine for £1.99 a copy; £9.99 for a year

Monday, 3 July 2017

Island Invitation

There are several ways of accessing the Holm of Grimbister, an island that's for sale in Orkney. One is to go there in person; another is to purchase the current edition of Scottish Islands Explorer or its digital edition at £1.99 for the single copy where it is featured on the inside back cover; another is to read about in The Times Bricks & Mortar supplement; alternatively go to the Savills website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - copies with you quickly
Digital Edition: an issue with you immediately

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Pull of Mull

Whether you have Calgary Bay around or Tobermory below, Mull has its pull. The blog Love Sco++ish Islands presents this view as well as some compelling images.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always takes in a variety of views
Digital Edition: ready to respond to your instructions

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Take in Arran

Yesterday's image was from the prow of a yacht; today's from a comparable position on a CalMac ferry. This is of the approach to Lochranza, Arran, and its a reminder that here is an island that offers much. Check out this website and look to Brodick Castle of the National Trust for Scotland. There's a reminder of its having the only island country park, which stretches from the seashore to the mountain top.

Scottish Islands Explorer - stretches even further horizontally
Digital Edition: good for a quick trip