Monday, 16 July 2018

Loch in Twatt Warning

Loch of Collaster in Twatt, Shetland, has a warning posted about blue-green algae lurking in its waters. The Shetland Times carries the news of potential problems for humans.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of harmful elements in local waters
Digital Edition: good and bad news travels fast

Sunday, 15 July 2018

One Show in Two Places

This week will see The One Show appearing from the West Harris Trust's Talla na Mara (above) on Thursday and Stornoway's HebCelt Festival on Friday. The Press and Journal has the story.

Scottish Islands Explorer - one day the show will come its way
Digital Edition: the technology is in place for all sorts of shows

Saturday, 14 July 2018

2000-Year-Old Bowl

A wooden bowl, estimated to be 2000 years-old, has been excavated at Cairns Broch, South Ronaldsay, Orkney. For full information and an image, go to The Press and Journal

Scottish Islands Explorer - not yet 20 years-of-age
Digital Edition: will it still be around in two millennia?

Friday, 13 July 2018

Into Space from Scolpaig?

Scolpaig looks as though it is a crannog. The technology to build defensive islands in lochs must have been, at one time, state-of-the-art. The area of North-west Uist  has been chosen as a possible site for Britain's first spacesport. See Hebrides News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ready to take copies to faraway places?
Digital Edition: cutting technologies of the early 21st Century

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Georges Dif Exhibition

The work of French photographer, author and ornithologist, Georges Dif (1946 - 2015) is commemorated in an exhibition at the Isleburgh Community Centre, Lerwick. It closes on Saturday - 14 July - but has brought pleasure to many who recall his passion for Shetland during 30 years of returning each spring and autumn. He was well known for his early starts to acquire the images he wanted - and in that latitude - 'early' can be exceptionally so. His magnificent Shetland - terre de vent has been produced in an English edition.

Scottish Islands Explorer - worth getting up early to discover
Digital Edition: always there on time … when wanted

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Buildings in Style

Some people have the knack and resources that lead to large constructions. Walter Douglas Campbell, great-grandfather of the Duke of Argyll, built this house on his island, Innis Chonain, situated in Loch Awe. Nearby he created St Conan's Kirk - in an eclectic mix of church-styles - which is memorably described and illustrated in a blog called Big Daddy Dave.

Scottish Islands Explorer - island-owners usually establish residences
Digital Edition: look around it and see what's on offer

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Back Come the Birds

The American Mink was introduced to Scotland as part of fur farming enterprises in the 1950s. Some of them escaped and have become feral. However, a Scottish Natural Heritage eradication programme has been successful, leading to birds returning to their breeding grounds, particularly in the Outer Hebrides, now safe of a relentless predator. See the MailOnline.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has been evident in Scotland for a far shorter time
Digital Edition: now has quite a presence in America

Monday, 9 July 2018

Ten Feet in the Air

Members of the Davidson Family were captured, ten feet in the air, by Craig Davidson with his camera on an Isle of Gigha beach. They are one of the many subjects in the current BBC - Your Pictures of Scotland series.

Scottish Islands Explorer - causes some jumping for joy
Digital Edition: images and items that stream around the world instantly

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Beware the Idyllic

Uyea is a deserted and appealing island off the coast of the northern parts of Shetland Mainland. One family visited it earlier this week and had to be rescued. Read the account in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - safer, on occasions, to read rather than to explore
Digital Edition: check matters first ... ahead of the print issue

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Dream, Then Roam

Do you dream about running a company in an idyllic location? There can be nowhere in Britain as attractive as Seilebost, South Harris - it's almost too stunning for work! However, that's where Andrew Reeve has recently set up Roam Outer Hebrides to encourage both young and older people to enjoy Sea Kayaking. Go straight to his website and linger over what's on offer around the shores of Harris. His venture could well be your first step to a new adventure.

Scottish Islands Explorer - many an exploration by kayak
Digital Edition: will get there first!

Friday, 6 July 2018

Numbers that Numb

Here is Baile na Cille Glebe, a stretch of land near the idyllic Uig Sands. In the 1820s - that's almost 200 years ago - there was a religious revival on the Isle of Lewis and some 9,000 people would gather to take communion here. A commenorative ecumenical service is planned for the evening of Friday 27 July and all are invited to attend. The last time this occurred was in 2010 when 250 worshippers from across Lewis were attracted. There are currently around 18,500 residents and so, if one in two went, it would replicate the 19th Century figures. Details of the background to this item are in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - if all enthusiasts subscribed … if only!
Digital Edition: well, at least people can be informed (or subscribe) quickly

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Marine Litter Louts

Shetland News reports on the comments of Sean Whyte, a campaigner against marine litter, who has labelled the islands 'the worst in the world'. His interests also include the protection of orangutans, obviously in a far different environment. Take a look at Shetland Storm Force Photography and the work of Robbie Ashbee to see the extent of the pollution problem.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to avoid its copies being dropped
Digital Edition: worldwide, but no threat

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Re-live the Ride

Arran has a distinctive shape. David Gartside and his grandson, Josh, have experienced cycling around it and have compiled another illustrative presentation of one of their routes - via 'The String'. Here's an opportunity to Re-live the Ride by clicking here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - enjoys visiting from all angles
Digital Edition: gets around the world in a flash

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Clyde Waves

Jet-skiing on the Clyde could be a hazard to shipping - with the CalMac crossings. This image by Bill McCrorie was taken near Largs close to the ferry route to Cumbrae. Watch out for a video clip from near Ardrossan.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  skiing not the recommended way of access
Digital Edition: gets there faster

Monday, 2 July 2018

Arran Re-run

David Gartside has recently completed a re-run of a cycle-ride around Arran, first made with his grandson  20 years ago. Share the stimulating journey with them with images presented on the innovative presentation through Relive. It will start the week well.

Scottish Islands Explorer - gets around islands at speed
Digital Edition: another of the technological changes of the past 20 years

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Tallest Land-based

The North Ronaldsay Lighthouse is the tallest of Britain's land-based lighthouses. Take a closer look with the websites for its Visitors' Centre and of the Northern Lighthouse Board.

Scottish Islands Explorer - lights up on an eight-week cycle
Digital Edition: always casting around for custom

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Featuring Bernera

The Standing Stones mark the approach to Great Bernera, Isle of Lewis. It's a great place to visit for the weekend, if only through the hi-definition YouTube film that gives incredible insights into an ancient island with modern twists in its development.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  a magazine to explore
Digital Edition: available throughout the island and ... the world

Friday, 29 June 2018

Scarba - Safe & Sound

Scarba, to the north of Jura, is almost 3650 acres in size. It has a hunting lodge in the north-east and a simple bothy (above) to the south-east, overlooking the Gulf of Corryvreckan (below). Marc Calhoun has written about the island and Martin Martin visited it in the 17th Century, reporting that one resident, allegedly 140 years of age, was of a sound mind.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has only just reached its majority
Digital Edition: always makes access simple

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Long Deserted

To the north of Barra - en route to Eriskay - there are islands in the sound that had populations which have long gone. Hellisay, above, last had permanent residents in 1890 and nearby Fuday in 1901. The latter has the distinction of being the last outpost of the Norsemen to remain in the Hebrides in the second half of the 13th Century. It had been a favoured burial ground for that people.

Scottish Islands Explorer - interested in final phases of population
Digital Edition: ideal for lingering

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Sir Basil Neven-Spence

Uyea is 507 acres in extent, close to the east side of Unst and was recorded as having 12 inhabitants in the 1931 Census. It was owned by the Neven-Spence family who occupied The Hall. The Liberal Party dominated local elections lections during modern times until, in 1935,the Unionist candidate,  

Basil Neven-Spence (1888-1974), comfortably won the Orkney and Shetland seat with a 15% majority. He scraped home by 329 votes in 1945, but lost, in 1950, to Jo Grimond, who subsequently became the Liberal Party's leader and had initially gained the seat also with a 15% majority. Sir Basil (pictured below in 1969) was knighted in 1945 and served as Lord Lieutenant from 1952 - 63. He had lived on Uyea.

Scottish Islands Explorer - often minimal opposition on small islands
Digital Edition: a technology from a later era

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Raasay Bothy

Things happen towards the south of Raasay where the ferry from Skye docks. However, Calum's Road takes you north to a quiet peninsula. There is simple accommodation, but with a sporadic water-supply and limited fuel resources. It's the MBA bothy with views across to South Rona. Take a look here, but be prepared for deprivations.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes readers to be prepared
Digital Edition: download it before you leave for these parts

Monday, 25 June 2018

Granary to Grazing

Pabbay, the priest or hermit island, was once the home to 338 people in 1841. Known as the 'Granary of Harris' it was lush, productive and famed for its illicit spirits distilled in remote lochans to the west of the 2026 acre island.

In 1846 it was 'cleared' for sheep grazing and the population numbers fell to 21. Charter trips are run there from Tarbert by Sea Harris and insights are provided on the web by Marc Calhoun with his account and photographs (featured here) of Baile Linga, the settlement that is still has its ruins visible. It was last inhabited some 40 years ago.

Scottish Islands Explorer - makes good reading and photograph viewing
Digital Edition: can be on your screens within a minute

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Further With Obscura

You may have ventured yesterday to North Rona in the company of Atlas Obscura. Today there's a chance to go a little further, with the same source, while remaining in the United Kingdom. Take a look at Rockall.

Scottish Islands Explorer - an ultimate location in our catchment area
Digital Edition: a satellite contact will be needed

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Atlas Obscura

Enjoy looking at remote places? The consider the website Atlas Obscura for some insights about North Rona. Look at the top picture and you see the peninsula where Frank Fraser Darling created a campsite where he lived with his family when studying seals in the late 1930s. The boat in the bay belongs to the Northern Light Cruising Company which could take you there. The image below is from the lavishly-illustrated blog of Marc Calhoun and reminds us of the frail hold on life experienced by permanent residents of the distant past.

Scottish Islands Explorer - loves the obscure in its catchment area
Digital Edition: takes you to the remote at quite a rate

Friday, 22 June 2018

Papa Propelled

This replica of an early Irish currach indicates the fragility of the voyages of those monks who sailed away from Ireland into the unknown. One arrived at what became Papa (the priest's island), in the south-west of the Shetland archipelago. It had pools of fresh water, enough land for cultivation and was quite close to the Mainland (of Shetland). The 146 acre island was occupied until the 1920s when its few crofts were vacated. Life must have also been fragile, but a haven and heaven compared with the Atlantic crossing.

Scottish Islands Explorer - from a completely different world
Digital Edition: powered invisibly

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Ambitious Project

The Lealt Falls and Gorge, Skye, attract many visitors. An ambitious piece of civil engineering has started to provide a viewing platform and additional car-parking. See The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - new views with very issue
Digital Edition: an ambitious way in which to secure copies

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Gateways to the Isles

The Bay at Oban (photo from VisitScotland) is a marine gateway to Mull, the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Now Crianlarich, the rail junction for Oban, is a train gateway for CalMac services. A dedicated section on the Caledonian Sleeper to and from London Euston will link with the coaches of West Coast Services to the port. Find out more here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - cannot be taken in while asleep
Digital Edition: on call at all hours

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Before and After

Sanday, in the Small Isles, has a low population, a few houses, a school, a restored church and a bridge to Canna. The infrastructure is minimal. However, its main track and has now become its first and only road. Survey through the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - distribution depends on a vast infrastructure
Digital Edition: appears to arrive unaided, but has technology's assistance

Monday, 18 June 2018

Microsoft off Orkney

It's a misty Orkney day and a gantry barge is lowering what appears to be a capsule into the water. Go to the BBC and see what's on its way down and then take in more details directly from Microsoft. Keeping the kit cool is no problem; avoiding damp in the datacentre is another thing.

Scottish Islands Explorer - copies are preserved in archives
Digital Edition: an ideal place for material in this format

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Pipe Dreams

Of all the areas of the UK, the one with the highest incidence of surface water is North Uist. Yet there are three villages - Lochportain, Cheesebay and Hobeg - on a peninsula to the north-east of the island, looking forward to receiving their water-supply from a public mains operated by Scottish Water. At present the 30 properties there are connected by a private pipe to a nearby loch. Read about the proposed four-mile link in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - supplies of the print format by post
Digital Edition: comes by internet connections

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Sky to Skye Again

Plans to re-open scheduled services to and from Ashaig Airfield, Broadford, Skye, are being considered. The popularity of the island has increased as a destination for travellers in recent years. The details are in The Press and Journal. So here's an airfield that could be upgraded to an airport.

Scottish Islands Explorer - anticipates airlifting supplies of the magazine
Digital Edition: flies without facilities

Friday, 15 June 2018


These approaches to South Uist give the impression of calmness. There is a timely warning, however, to those who perceive community ownership as being 'picture perfect' and 'plain sailing'. Storas Uibhist, which manages 93,000 acres on the island, has become embroiled in another row, which features on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - family-owned
Digital Edition: available to all at a low price

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Nice Work, If ...

There's work, jobs, careers, vocations and ... a calling. Maybe you feel instructed to find out more about the recruitment for a remarkable appointment? If so, click here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - no career openings at present
Digital Edition: always open for viewings

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

May Mating

John Kerr captured two guillemots at the beginning of the mating season on the Isle of May. Other island images feature in the current BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - soon be time for a new issue to appear
Digital Edition: always there to be engaged

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Digital on Demand

Here's the cover-photograph of the July / August 2018 edition of Scottish Islands Explorer. An easy and free way to see what's on the cover and in the contents is by clicking here. If you then want to go a stage further and subscribe, it's inexpensive at under £2 for the copy or under £10 for the year. 

Scottish Islands Explorer - worth taking a look
Digital Edition: it's yours in under a minute

Monday, 11 June 2018

Young Man of Hoy

Edward Mills has become something of a Hoy Boy in climbing the Old Man of Hoy at eight-years of age. He completed the achievement last Friday in order to raise funds for the charity Climbers Against Cancer.  The event is featured on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - how old is our youngest reader?
Digital Edition: climbers can access it on their devices

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Passport to ... Pabbay?

The image is from the beach of Vatersay at the lower end of the Western Isles and it has lasting appeal. A marketing idea that could catch on concerns an 'Island-bagging Passport' to encourage visitors to the 93 inhabited islands of Scotland. Read about it on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - something of a passport in itself
Digital Edition: certainly gives immediate access

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Shetland Shores Score

Keep Scotland Beautiful has announced its awards for Scottish beaches. None was listed for all the West Coast islands nor for Orkney, but Shetland had five in the frame. Tresta, Fetlar, is pictured; Yell has two - Sands of Breckon and West Sandwick; South-west Mainland has two with St Ninian's Isle and West Voe. The full list is here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - beaches of course feature on islands
Digital Edition: goes wherever regardless