Thursday, 30 November 2017

Orcas in Lerwick Harbour

Here's the Shetland News account of killer whales in Lerwick Harbour last Tuesday and a YouTube clip of a pod in the same vicinity last April.

Scottish Islands Explorer - surfaces every two months, with a splash
Digital Edition: appears whenever required

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Splang to Life

It's time to bring a little splang or sparkle to your Gaelic and the pronunciations associated with it. The Skye Times has details of the development of a new app, using speech recognition, that will assist in learning the language. Braw Media, the developers, asked for markers to indicate where in the world there was interest and 770 responses came from 54 countries.

Scottish Islands Explorer - paper and digital versions only ... so far
Digital Edition: address pocketmags and download

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Shore Settlers

There are beaches on the same latitude as south Norway where people find pleasures, but not all the year round. For these sheep on North Ronaldsay, it's their home. The attractions of the island are well displayed on the VisitOrkney website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - finds its way to most of the islands
Digital Edition: available on all inhabited islands

Monday, 27 November 2017

Channel Traversing

For an account of the exciting journey through the narrow passage between the St Kilda islands of Hirta and Soay, go straight to Marc Calhoun and the section of his Exploring the Isles of the West. His details and images are compelling. He traversed the channel with Northern Light Cruising.

Scottish Islands Explorer - enjoys going to ultimate points
Digital Edition: takes you far from a device at hand

Sunday, 26 November 2017

An 'On-Shore Island'

When settlers came from the Northern Isles, they understandably named a vast stretch of the Mainland, 'Sutherland'. A division occurred when a Pictish tribe - the Cat or Catt People - dominated a large area of land with its headland close to John O'Groats. The land boundary followed natural watersheds and the sea encompassed the rest. Caithness was officially recognised in local administration in the late 19th Century. There is certainly something of an 'on-shore island' about the county and recently there has been a campaign to award 'island status' for at least its health service provision. Read about this on the BBC website and take a wider view of the local features in the website where Old Keiss Castle (above) appears - Loch Watten House.

Scottish Islands Explorer - mainly about off-shore islands
Digital Edition: crosses both boundaries and borders

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Wildlife on CalMac

There is always something grand about viewing CalMac ferries going about their business. Passengers and crew often have the opportunity of seeing wildlife in marine and shoreline locations. Consequently, the company has appointed a Wildlife Officer to encourage knowledge and the pleasures of sightings. Read about this interesting appointment on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - maritime and marine connections made
Digital Edition: constantly broadcasting

Friday, 24 November 2017

Kirkwall - New Insights

Here is Kirkwall from on high and with reflections in its basin. More insights are available in a new book which is featured in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - often calls at the main Orkney settlement
Digital Edition: why not treat yourself on Black Friday?

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Head for the Cloud

A winter-storm on a Shetland shore is a reminder of the need for shelter, especially when waves and clouds combine. Businesses too need shelter from the vicissitudes of commerce. One method is to use the benefits of the 'Cloud' through the internet and Shetland business-owners are being invited to a workshop on this topic next week. The details are in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - managed through the Cloud
Digital Edition: operates globally from on high

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

House, Gallery & Studio

Yesterday's blog featured a property that could have served a writer. Today's consists of a three-in-one deal in which a house, gallery and studio are offered for £350k at Garyvard (the poet's garden) in the South Lochs area of the Isle of Lewis. Artists have been accommodated here for several years and the estate agent, Ken MacDonald, is right to stress the unique aspect of these purpose-built facilities.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always on the lookout for the unique
Digital Edition: will deliver on time

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Panoramic View

Here's what could be a writer's dream - a one-bedroom cottage ... on an island ... commanding a 180 degree view to the west ... with sunsets as the bonus to a fulfilling day's work. It's on West Yell, Shetland, is new to the market with offers over £75k. See what this property at Everhoull has to offer.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always looking out for stimulating locations
Digital Edition: wifi takes you far

Monday, 20 November 2017

Studio Specials

Here is the Mission House Studio, Finsbay, Isle of Harris, the workshop of Beka Globe Photography. Do take a look at her work and consider the 30% discount, plus special draw, on books and prints available until Monday 4 December.  Ask for details and mention this blog.

Scottish Islands Explorer - will take you far
Digital Edition: available from farthest points

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Severe, but Spectacular

There are many sides to Foula - from the facilities of the harbour at Ham to the outline of Gaada's Stack. The life and times of the settlement are captured in this BBC Travel item which leads with the words - 'Severe, but Spectacular' - and contains memorable imagery.

Scottish Islands Explorer - to the ends of the British Isles
Digital Edition: broadband eliminates distance

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Resourceful on Rockall

There are ultimate destinations and sources of in-depth information. This group from the Scorpion Expedition on Hall's Ledge, Rockall, have achieved an ambition, shared by many, of sitting on perhaps the most inaccessible spot in the British Isles. Their adventure can be watched in a brilliant YouTube clip. For a full analysis of Rockall, and its adjacent Hasselwood Rock and Helen's Reef, go straight to the dissertation by Ondrej Danek. These outposts are well covered by the author.

Scottish Islands Explorer - getting well away
Digital Edition: goes to the ends of the Earth

Friday, 17 November 2017

Best in 17 Years

Mingulay was abandoned by its human residents in 1912 and its bird numbers have fluctuated ever since. However, the National Trust for Scotland, which manages the island almost at the end of the Outer Hebridean chain, reports the best season in 17 years for guillemots and razorbills. The BBC website carries a report 

Scottish Islands Explorer - enjoys rises in numbers
Digital Edition: is experiencing them

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Village for Sale

There's a 'holiday village' in Elgol, Skye, on sale through Strutt & Parker. Take a look at what Mary's Cottages have to offer as an investment for letting as well as living.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some investment potential
Digital Edition: low price entry level

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Space for Ship

There has long been a replica Viking ship looking down towards the whole nation from the top end of Unst, Shetland. Now there is a move to bring the launching of space-crafts, maybe space-ships, to the island. Consider what's proposed from the BBC website. Soon Unst visitors may have a complete view of the whole country?

Scottish Islands Explorer - fills its spaces with island material
Digital Edition: has a permanent presence in space

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Sanday School

The two figures on the school sign represent half the number of pupils who, in the last school-year, attended the primary school on Sanday, serving Canna on the Small Isles. Now all four children from one family have gone and the school has been 'mothballed'. There are just 17 people residing on Canna and Sanday. Quite an opportunity for schooling with a difference. Read about it on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - numbers holding up
Digital Edition: subscribers racing ahead

Monday, 13 November 2017

New Era for Tanera

A chance encounter yesterday at a cafe on the shores of the Mediterranean led to meeting a relative of a former owner of Tanera Beag, one of the Summer Isles. Research followed and the discovery, missed in the Summer, that Tanera Mhor, the largest of the island group, had been sold after being on the market for exactly four years. The details are here and the new owner is Ian Wace, co-founder of Marshall Wace Asset Management, a London-based hedge fund. There's a new era ahead for this holiday haven in 2018.

Scottish Islands Explorer - last sold almost eight years ago
Digital Edition: currently trading in the ether of the internet

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Knitwear Resurgence

Yesterday's item drew attention to the resilience of trade in candles. Today's focuses on the resurgence of knitting as a creative activity as shown at a weekend event in Lerwick. Go to Shetland News for details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - printed publications maintain appeal over the years
Digital Edition: comparatively recent, but with growing appeal

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Essence of Harris

There's a family-run, candle-making company on the Isles of Harris that is going places internationally. See what Essence of Harris offers and read the report on their progress in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - illuminates island interests
Digital Edition: powered by the internet

Friday, 10 November 2017

Virtual Visitors Arriving

The St Kilda archipelago is marked here. In the background are Hirta, where people lived permanently until 1930; Soay where landing is extremely difficult and the sheep are feral. Closer to the plane from which this photograph was taken are Stac an Armin and Stac Lee, occasionally climbed by intrepid 'Marilyn-baggers'; Boreray, thought to have been permanently uninhabited until recent discoveries. The last is the smallest Scottish island with a summit of over 1000ft. It is also the focal point of a video game which is detailed on the BBC website. So virtual visitors are assured.

Scottish Islands Explorer - print and electronic; not video
Digital Edition: the modern way to absorb such places at St Kilda

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Box of Books Discovered

A member of The Islands Book Trust staff was clearing a space when a hidden box of books was discovered and some previously out-of-stock publications were back in print. They were advertised and some shrewd buyers purchased at original prices. See what's still available here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some back numbers remain available
Digital Edition: once converted to this version, always on offer

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Cover Photo

This image by Shetland-based photographer, John Moncrieff, was selected as the cover for the British Wildlife Photography Awards' book. Read about and see more of his highly-commended work in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - encourages a bi-monthly head-to-head
Digital Edition: makes contact as quickly as these puffins

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Mustheb Story

Read the story of Heike Winter in the Stornoway Gazette and you will learn of a notion that evolved into a business plan and then into production as well as marketing. All being well, Mustheb will reach your table before transfer to plate and palate.

Scottish Islands Explorer - keen to be involved with enterprises
Digital Edition: takes business ideas to international markets

Monday, 6 November 2017

Stroma Surveyed

The lighthouse on Stroma, in the Pentland Firth, continues to function, but the island failed to flourish after its peak in 1901. However, permanent residents continued for over 60 years until it became depopulated. The Scotsman carried a memorable article on the eerie settlement earlier this year with its history and buildings surveyed.

Scottish Islands Explorer - considers the flourishing and floundering
Digital Edition: goes from strength to strength

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Click for Cash

The Islands Book Trust has a purpose - to discover and share the history of Scotland's island communities. It arranges meetings and lectures, publishes books and papers, organises events and trips - including ones to the Shiant Islands, pictured above. The Trust is keen to benefit from the generous scheme of the Aviva Community Fund hoping to raise £1000 for its 2018 Programme. One thousand votes are needed and, so far, 252 have been given. Please use your ten votes to help reach that total. Some 2000 blog-watchers will access this page; some 200 will scrutinise it; perhaps some 20 will go a little further and cast votes to almost double the total secured so far? Click here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - discovers and shares
Digital Edition: raises revenue electronically

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Point Piper Property

Close to the Coral beaches, at Claigan, near Dunvegan, on the Isle of Skye - Point Piper, a detached bungalow built five years ago, is now on sale for offers in excess of £350k. Worth looking into as well as out from.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes property in prime exploratory areas
Digital Edition: having fast internet is always a key condition

Friday, 3 November 2017

From Public to Private

Yesterday's item looked at changes in public transport next year; today's is about the recent opening of new facilities for those with private vessels. They are marina hubs at East Loch Tarbert and Scalpay on the Isle of Harris. The report in the Stornoway Gazette indicates how they will enable sailors to link with comparable facilities in Stornoway, Lochmaddy, Lochboisdale and Castlebay.

Scottish Islands Explorer - new ways for marine explorers
Digital Edition: also about links on a global scale

Thursday, 2 November 2017

More Connections for 2018

Changes to timetables for 2018 are featured in the Stornoway Gazette. Among them is the new 06.20 weekend service from Lochboisdale (photographed by Allan Macdonald) to Mallaig that will connect with the Fort William train, enabling passengers to continue, if they wish, to Corrour with its Station House, billed as one of the country's remotest restaurants.

It certainly is far above sea level, for at 1339 ft is the highest railway station in the UK, and provides the only access to vast areas of land and loch. So the islands and wilderness will be a little closer.

Scottish Islands Explorer - pleased to learn of easier access
Digital Edition: always accessible

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Fruits de Mer

Around ten days ago, in heavy Atlantic seas, the Lombok Strait, lost two containers overboard. If they have opened, then large quantities of bananas and pineapples are heading in a westerly direction. Beachcombers have been alerted by Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - here's another reason for exploring coasts
Digital Edition: picked up through internet not fishing-net