Saturday, 26 May 2018

Marmora's Warbler

Here is an image of Marmora's Warbler from BirdGuides. From the same source comes an enthusiastic account from earlier this week of a rare find - one of them on Unst, Shetland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - Unst attracts many human visitors
Digital Edition: can be as rare or as commonplace as required

Friday, 25 May 2018

Casks Ahoy!

Here's CalMac's Lord of the Isles docked at Lochboisdale, South Uist, and photographed by Allan Macdonald. The port could be handling, if plans works out, 300,000 litres of whisky a year. See the story on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - will cover and celebrate this initiative
Digital Edition: ready to promote the liquor globally

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Views and Value

Whalsay, Shetland, is a prosperous island, and this house at Isbister represents rather good value with space - four bedrooms - and views for £80k. See more at Harper Macleod.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always looking at residences
Digital Edition: always ready to travel to extremes

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

How Good is Your Gaelic?

Test your knowledge of Scottish Gaelic with this quiz from the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - keen to promote this language of the North-west
Digital Edition: conveys meanings instantly

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Four G for Fair Isle?

 Round-the-clock electricity will soon be available for the 55 residents of Fair Isle and, perhaps, soon after that 4G may be rolled out by EE. So then there's nothing to stop the island becoming an enterprising commercial hub. That's quite a transformation. Look into it at Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - born on Fair Isle
Digital Edition: conceived later

Monday, 21 May 2018

Where There's a Wiay

Wiay, off Benbecula is still listed as being for sale. It was on the market for £500k some five years ago. It has 970 acres and is half-a-mile off Peter's Port. For more details go to Vladi Private Islands and to Visit Outer Hebrides. It harboured Bonnie Prince Charlie and could, perhaps, house you?

Scottish Islands Explorer - there's a market for both publication and islands
Digital Edition: goes around the world as well as Wiay

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Robson on Rona

The Islands Book Trust is presenting a one-day event at Ness, the Isle of Lewis, on the work of the author, social historian and authority on North Rona, the late Michael Robson. It's to be on Friday 15 June and gives many the opportunity to learn more of his interests.

Scottish Islands Explorer - will be at the event
Digital Edition: able to return to Rona as required

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Loch Druidibeg

There are plans approved for a new community-run nature reserve and visitors' centre at Loch Druidibeg in South Uist. See more at the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - is, in its way, a visitors' centre
Digital Edition: enables news and views to travel fast 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Peak Performances

The Scottish Islands Peaks Race begins in Oban at noon today and 34 teams will be heading for mountain tops as well as navigating 160 nautical miles. Mull and Ben More will be followed by Jura and the Paps, Arran and Goat Fell culminating in a journey to Troon for the completion of the course.

Among the competitors will be Bill Dobbie, co-founder of the Isle of Raasay Distillery, who with four team-mates will be competing under the title of Raasay While You Wait, one of their distinctive single malts. Undoubtedly supplies will be on board in case of victory or disappointment, success or set-back.

Scottish Islands Explorer - prefers more leisurely routes
Digital Edition: would get around in a split-second

Thursday, 17 May 2018


The coastline of Vacsay, in West Loch Roag, Lewis, is certainly irregular with daily access to nearby drying islands. It had a population of nine in 1861, but since that era has been uninhabited. It is formed of Lewisian gneiss with peaty soil which is where its name is derived - from the Old Norse for 'peat bank island'.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of the many to discover
Digital Edition: regular in its downloading 

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ulva Deal Agreed

A deal,  between the Howard Family and the North West Mull Community Woodland Company, has been concluded relating to Ulva, off Mull. Transfer will take place on Thursday 21 June. The National Trust of Australia looks forward to promoting tourism on the island which was the birthplace of Lachlan Maquarie (1762 - 1824) , former Governor of New South Wales, who is often referred to as the 'Father of Australia'. Details are in The Press and Journal item.

Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to revisiting the island
Digital Edition: available in Australia as readily as off Mull

Leper Colonies

The isolated figure on Papa Stour and the small isles of Brei Holm and Maiden Stack (Mark Stockdale - Geograph) on the ferry route into this Shetland island are reminders of isolation. Into the 18th Century these outposts were used as colonies for lepers. In all probability the condition suffered by those banished was a vitamin deficiency rather than the disfiguring long-term affliction of leprosy.

Scottish Islands Explorer - goes to ultimate parts
Digital Edition: delivered 'infectiously' and then used 'contagiously'

Monday, 14 May 2018

Start the Week on Bass

Start the week with a photograph of Bass Rock taken by Craig Newton. Then click onto the current gallery of the BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - well represented in the selection
Digital Edition: a reminder of how fast new technologies can be

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Sky Rescue

When a cliff climber was rescued at Fethaland, Shetland, he appreciated how assistance came from land, sea and air. The story is in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - covers from all angles
Digital Edition: constantly alert for appeals from prospective readers

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Ready for Ramadan

Yesterday saw the opening of a mosque in Stornoway - in time for Ramadan which begins on Tuesday next. A report is in The Times. The Outer Hebrides is probably now the only place in Britain where attendance at places of worship could be described as 'popular'. So now there is a Friday alternative to Sunday activities. Maybe it's time for the Seventh Day Adventists to consider constructing a church in the vicinity to provide a Saturday option?

Scottish Islands Explorer - a bi-monthly experience
Digital Edition: available throughout the week's seven days

Friday, 11 May 2018

New Campsite on Skye

Elgol and The Cuillin, attract many people to Skye. Last year it was reported that accommodation was scarce throughout the island. A new campsite opening at Broadford next month - with spaces for 26 vehicles and 49 tents - will help ease things a little. See the item in the West Highland Free Press. More campsites are featured on the WalkHighlands website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - good intentions, not good in tent!
Digital Edition: can be connected under canvas

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Orca in Orkney

Here's an orca spotted off Eynhallow, Orkney, and featured on the website of which has also been the source of the sighting of an active pod of orcas in Scapa Flow. The latter was captured by a drone and the footage is on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the whale is also an explorer
Digital Edition: not yet delivered by drone

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

The Cod Hunters

This painting of a 19th Century fishing boat by the artist B Bauckham (1800 - 1900) shows an activity on a calm day. John Goodlad's new book, The Cod Hunters, describes the turbulent and lucrative operations of Shetland fishermen in that era. It is featured in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - more calm than turbulent
Digital Edition: a 21st Century innovation

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Wrecked and Washed Up

An accident involving a crab-fishing catamaran off the West Coast of Ireland on 10 April has led to wreckage being washed up at Drimsdale, South Uist, some 230 miles away. The story is in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of extensive currents
Digital Edition: covers distances in a thrice

Monday, 7 May 2018

Liquid Assets

Most people are attracted by an unusual prospective residence; some are drawn by assets in liquid form. Here, with Chiltern Hills Estate Agents, is a 40-acre section of loch and land for sale, close to Voe in Shetland. Its asking price is difficult to judge.

Scottish Islands Explorer - attracted by land and water
Digital Edition: utilises air-waves

Sunday, 6 May 2018

An Insular Perspective

Although the Knoydart, on the right, is not an island, this remarkable panoramic view by Bill Cameron of Loch Hourn from Glenelg certainly gives it an insular perspective. The image is in the current BBC Your Pictures of Scotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - finds parts of the Mainland irrestible
Digital Edition: accessed from lonely places

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Sound Lodge Sounds Good

Sound Lodge on Weisdale Voe, Shetland, is a new-to-the-market property. It has taken six years to create and offers a great deal for venue, views and ventures. Take a look - with 61 images to enjoy - through a leading local estate agent, Harper Macleod.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes property potential
Digital Edition: always ready-to-view

Friday, 4 May 2018

Getting Around

The Arctic walrus seen off the Orkney islands of North Ronaldsay and Sanday in March, followed by shoreline sightings off Caithness and Sutherland, has been photographed, by Neil Morrison, on Harris. He has lost weight, but has travelled successfully from the Northern to the Western Isles. 'Wally' and his kind are rare visitors - for the last was spotted in 1954. Read the full account on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - sighted regularly in cover the West and North
Digital Edition: travels globally

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Amnesty on Arran

These canisters can help save lives, but with time become dangerous and illegal. The Arran Coastguards called an amnesty to collect unused and out-of-date marine pyrotechnics. They arrived in significant numbers and were disposed of last weekend. Here's what happened as depicted quite dramatically by The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - unsold copies are pulped
Digital Edition: a non-material, non-inflammatory approach  

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Eagles Ahoy!

Three White-tailed Eagles have appeared on Hoy this year. The breed had been absent throughout 2017. A breeding-pair is there and were they to produce off-spring, this would be the first time on Orkney since 1873. The story is in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - produces six times a year
Digital Edition: will populate screens without hesitation or deviation 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

New Leverburgh Lifeboat

The waters around Leverburgh - from the Sound of Harris to The Minch and out to the Atlantic Ocean beyond Harris and the Uists - need a craft with resilience and speed. Read in the Stornoway Gazette about the the Shannon Class 13-25 (13 metres and the 25th in the series for the RNLI) which reached Leverburgh at 13.25 last Saturday.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of the number of lifebooats in its 'parish'
Digital Edition: also resilient and fast

Monday, 30 April 2018

Otter Bank

The service around the islands of Orkney finished almost half-a-century ago, but is still recalled and aspects preserved. The Otter Bank, out of Kirkwall, was established in 1962 by the then National Commercial Bank of Scotland. The details are from a February 2014 edition of The Scotsman.

Scottish Islands Explorer - captures phases in island life
Digital Edition: has replaced some older delivery methods

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Ten Years - No Small Thing

Life on a Small Island, a blog (featured here yesterday) by Sian Thomas from the Orkney island of Graemsay, has been going for ten years. A recent item looks at the ways in which springtime has made its April appearance. See the signs by clicking on here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - springs into life on an eight-week cycle
Digital Edition: will spring up at a moment's notice, given the chance

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Take Up The Tuskar

'Tuskar' is a word used in Orkney and Shetland for a peat-cutting spade. Go to The Press and Journal for a video of 71-year-old Bruce Wilcock using his skills in Shetland and then for you to move south

to Orkney for Sian Thomas featuring the topic in her Life on a Small Island from which the image above is taken.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always digging for details
Digital Edition: comes from above not below

Friday, 27 April 2018

Learn and Earn

The relatively-new e-Sgoil system is opening new possibilities in the Western Isles. An opportunity to take Mandarin lessons in school could lead from learning to earning - for products of the islands plus sensational scenery already have appeal in China. See the item in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some way short of having a Mandarin edition
Digital Edition: available now throughout the Far East ... and beyond

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Space Shot

Here's a photo taken in late February of the Scottish Highlands, with the east end of Skye just featuring. It was captured by the International Space Station, released by NASA, with more details and greater clarity on the BBC Website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to Northern & Western Isles' shots
Digital Edition: this is its territory for transmission

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Full Power Ahead

Fair Isle, between Orkney and Shetland, has electric power, but supplies can be intermittent. It's due to have full supplies by September and Shetland News has the story.

Scottish Islands Explorer - is boosted every two months
Digital Edition: available around-the-clock

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Work on Words Ahead

The Gaelic language has its 'heartlands' in the north-west of Scotland. It has received a boost from new funding of £2.5 million for the next phase of a full Gaelic dictionary that will take up to 30 years to compile and feature some 100,000 words. Read (in English) about it on the BBC Website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to covering its completion by 2048
Digital Edition: undoubtedly new technologies will be used in compilation

Monday, 23 April 2018

Milk from Lewis, Again

Although milk production ceased in Stornoway in 2012 and ended a long Western Isles tradition, it was only a temporary break. A 60-head herd of Guernsey and Ayrshire cattle is now producing at Moorpark Dairy in South Braggar, Isle of Lewis. Details are in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - in production since 2000
Digital Edition: now supplying demand continuously

Sunday, 22 April 2018

The Modern House

Yesterday was viewing day for The Shed, at Tokavaig, Isle of Skye, a property designed for her own use by the architect,  Mary Arnold-Foster. It is featured here by The Modern House.

Take a look at her work and locations of properties by accessing her website here. What a stimulating way to spend part of a Sunday morning ... or any day for that matter. 

Scottish Islands Explorer - loves exploring properties
Digital Edition: a full-read, through the latest technologies

Saturday, 21 April 2018

A Photo to Frighten

Two of our most regular readers, David and Margaret Gartside, researched the internet following yesterday's blog. They discovered this Google image of The Windhouse. It, let alone the house, is haunting.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has a low fear-factor
Digital Edition: impresses with its speed of impact

Friday, 20 April 2018

A Haunting Image

One of our readers, Mark Stockdale, has sent in this 'atmospheric' image of The Windhouse, on Yell, Shetland. It is apparently among the most haunted houses in Britain. It was originally built as a laird's house and is still featured as being 'on the market' with Harper Macleod, a local estate agent.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has readers on Yell
Digital Edition: connects to houses by internet

Thursday, 19 April 2018

New Edition Out

Digital subscribers received their copies last weekend; print-versions to subscribers started arriving from Monday; all retail outlets had been stocked by yesterday. So the May / June 2018 edition of Scottish Islands Explorer is out and there to be enjoyed. Do join in.

Scottish Islands Explorer - from £24.97 a year
Digital Edition: just £9.99 for the six issues each year 

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

An Atmospheric Scene

The atmospheric conditions at Uig Beach, Isle of Lewis, are captured here by Diane Scott and published in the BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland series. There is, as ever, an interesting range of photographs in the gallery.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the BBC series always incorporates island images
Digital Edition: would come through despite the cloud build-up

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Daily Paper Delivery

Yesterday saw the re-introduction of a service, last seen in 2013, for the residents of Benbecula and the Uists - daily newspapers on sale in the morning. Loganair's 07.15 flight from Glasgow to Benbecula brought newspaper supplies ahead of the times linked to ferry services. See the Stornoway Gazette for details, but wonder whether in the past five years digital deliveries direct to devices must have been taken up from 04.00 daily.

Scottish Islands Explorer - not tied to such tight schedules
Digital Edition: usually days ahead of the print edition

Monday, 16 April 2018

Shetland Bus - 75 Years On

The Norwegian wartime vessel, the recently-restored Hitra arrived at Scalloway on Friday morning as part of the anniversary of going into service, 75 years ago, with the Shetland Bus operations. Full details are in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - in service for a quarter of that time
Digital Edition: conveys information at the speed of light