Wednesday, 28 February 2018


There are now multiple ways of reading and skimming newsprint and magazines without having to enter a shop or purchase the product. Take the Islander - taking you out and about Orkney. It's just a click away, without a coin required.

Scottish Islands Explorer - needs your subscriptions to survive
Digital Edition: one of the multiple ways of accessing 

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Still Selling

Number Three Kingsburgh, Skye, has been on the market for some time. Its asking price of £535k seems reasonable and the images are certainly attractive. Worth looking at or looking into?

Scottish Islands Explorer - also worth considering
Digital Edition: is Kingsburgh wifi friendly?

Monday, 26 February 2018

From Space to Space?

The BBC website carries news of a possible development on a spacious area of crofting land at Melness on the north coast of Sutherland. It involves the commercial operation of launching satellites into space - from the top of the British mainland to circuiting of the globe. Here's a rival to the launch pad proposed on Unst, Shetland, and featured on the blog here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - delivered by air-mail to overseas readers
Digital Edition: accessed via satellites by many subscribers

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Caution - Land on Sand

This blog started almost seven years ago with an image of an aircraft on the beach at Barra. The image here comes from Rae Phillips and appears in the BBC's current Your Pictures of Scotland. It and others in the gallery both stimulate and remind.

Scottish Islands Explorer - its gallery of photos are often acclaimed
Digital Edition: accustomed to landing with a welcome, not a caution

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Jura Drawn

Barnhill, Jura, is the subject of  an article in the current issue of The Oldie. It refers, among other topics, to the 70th anniversary of George Orwell renting the house, writing 1984 and having various escapades in an isolated enclave in the north of the island.

Scottish Islands Explorer - sometimes has articles on authors
Digital Edition: uses technology that Orwell failed to forecast

Friday, 23 February 2018

Scotland's Small Towns

Lists are always being compiled. Go to Ten of the Best Small Towns in Scotland and discover that four of them are on islands.

Scottish Islands Explorer - attractions are everywhere
Digital Edition: enables discovery to be almost instantaneous

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Orkney Hydrogen

The Financial Times requested its readers to submit ideas about transforming the world. One of the 50 selected involved the Orkney Hydrogen Project. It's worth taking a look, for it focuses on our future.

Scottish Islands Explorer - its future is paramount
Digital Edition: here's future technology in practice

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Rabbits, Not Strangers

Same islands, different light. These are the Rabbit Islands, in Tongue Bay, Sutherland. The three were originally named Eilean nan Gall after the strangers who landed there. These were the Danes, back in the first millennium. They did not stay and a population has never been evident, apart from the prolific numbers of rabbits. However, the summer sees marine sports enthusiasts in action.

Scottish Islands Explorer - endeavours to see islands in different lights
Digital Edition: arrives as fast as light

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Harbour to Hub

There was a time when capital investment flowed into the installations at Stornoway Harbour. Now much money is directed 'into the clouds' and specialist, communication facilities are receiving the funds. Some 25 years ago the first of a cluster of buildings on the Seaforth Road became the start what is now termed a 'media village'. A former Harris Tweed mill was converted and the hub grew. A further £500k has been granted, with the story given in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a small part of the communications revolution ...
Digital Edition: ... using vital technologies

Monday, 19 February 2018

Kylerhea Narrows

When the rudder broke on the 1200 tonne MV CEG Universe, a cargo ship carrying road salt, found itself in the Kylerhea Narrows between Skye and Glenelg. Rescue was needed. Read about it on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - individual copies sometimes require saving
Digital Edition: safety in the clouds

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Decca on the Market

The Decca was originally built as a navigational signalling station at the top end of the Isle of Lewis.It served its purpose and has been converted, over the years, into a 12-bedroomed accommodation complex with restaurant facilities. It's for sale and offers a unique business and lifestyle opportunity with a distinctive name plus a memorable address - 'Lionel, Ness, Lewis'. Full details are with the appropriately-named PrimeLocation.

Scottish Islands Explorer - loves prime locations on islands
Digital Edition: navigation for a publication

Saturday, 17 February 2018

At the End of a Journey

Imagine you have been tramping through the many trackless sections of the east coast of South Uist and have passed the lighthouse at Ushinish (below). The only place to stay is the MBA's bothy (above) and what a welcome sight it would be. It's mentioned in an item in the website of the Gatliff Hostels through which there is access to an article in the Country Diary series of The Guardian. Take the screen trail.

Scottish Islands Explorer - encourages exploration
Digital Edition: load the pages before departing to these areas

Friday, 16 February 2018

New Connections

There's an innovative venture being set up to bring together details of the maritime knowledge that is scattered throughout the Northern Isles. Remember that it's difficult on Shetland to be more than three miles from the sea. Look at the 'New Connections' item about the move to create awareness of the wealth of historical interest, some of which is in danger of being lost. Take, for instance, Baltasound Pier once the terminal of the 2'6" gauge Hagstone Chromate Railway. It was a shortlived feature on Unst with an existence from 1907 until 1937.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes to resurrect past matters
Digital Edition: operates with futuristic technologies

Thursday, 15 February 2018

More Atlantic Links

Yesterday's blog highlighted links between distant Atlantic communities. Seumas Morrison, who owns SeaHarris, commented on the item and related how his first vessel, Enchanted Isle, which served St Kilda for day-visits, was sold to a company in Jamestown, St Helena. For details of the similarly-named craft now operating out of Tarbert, Harris, click here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has visited SK, TDC and SH
Digital Edition: available throughout St Helena, the size of the Isle of Wight

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

A World Away ... Yet

Tristan da Cunha, (above), in the South Atlantic almost mid-way between South Africa and South America, is a world away from St Kilda (below), in the North Atlantic some 41 miles off the Isle of Lewis, and yet they have a number of things in common. One of them was discovered by someone who knows both remote islands, Alasdair MacEachen, the Chairman of The Islands Book Trust. Here is his account of an unexpected encounter.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always seeking connections
Digital Edition: available in Edinburgh of the Seven Seas & Village Bay

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Digital Delivered

The March / April 2018 edition of Scottish Islands Explorer has been printed and the mailing process started. However, the Digital Edition has been delivered to subscribers who prefer to pay £9.99 for a year's supply online. Why not consider joining them?

Scottish Islands Explorer - will be in the shops by the weekend
Digital Edition: just a click or two away from you

Monday, 12 February 2018

Jura ... on Mars

Here's a creature which knows the landscape that many will immediately identify as Jura. However, most people would not be aware that some of the geological formations on Mars are named after this island as well as Rona, Scalpay and other Scottish places. By chance, photographs taken by NASA's Rover, Curiosity, have yielded some interesting connections with crystal formations found on Jura, Earth. Read about it on the BBC website and look at panoramic views of the landscape of the Red Planet through the Mail Online.

Scottish Islands Explorer - content to cover the Earth
Digital Edition: brings distant points closer and crystal-clear

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Hall of Gorn, Holm

If you are looking for an old farmhouse and outbuildings, with 57 acres in a prime rural location, plus views over Scapa Flow, then consider offering over £250k. For this you would acquire a property with a distinctive name, the Hall of Gorn, Holm. The last occupants left in the 1980s and although the walls are sound, the buildings are uninhabitable. The details are here and action through the Orkney Auction Mart is required by the end of the upcoming working-week. The Orcadian carries the necessary timings.

Scottish Islands Explorer - offers viewing pleasure, not intensive work
Digital Edition: the latest issue will be beamed to subscribers shortly

Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Million Mark

We need to go back to 11 May 2011 when I started this daily blog. I indicated then that I had been visiting the Scottish islands for some 25 years and writing for Scottish Islands Explorer for eight. Now I have owned and edited the magazine for eight years and produced, so far, 2468 items on consecutive days. Yesterday marked one million visits to the blog since that day in '11. Onwards and upwards ... like the aircraft using Barra Airport.

Scottish Islands Explorer - now in its 19th year
Digital Edition: had to wait for more advanced technologies

Friday, 9 February 2018

Much for Bucks on Yell

Here's a substantial property looking for offers of over £169k. It's on Yell, Shetland, and commands both facilities and views. Take a closer look at Brough House. It could revolutionise your lifestyle.

Scottish Islands Explorer - usually likes what it sees
Digital Edition: easy access should be a condition of purchase

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Irresistible Funding

The logo may be for certain food-products from The Co-operative, but its sentiments certainly apply to the funding that the organisation is providing for a range of island-based charities. See who will be benefiting by accessing the article in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - supported by readers and advertisers
Digital Edition: some of whom find this product irresistible

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Early Warning

British defences included an early-warning system on Unst, Shetland, from the days of the Cold War, 60 years ago, but innovative technologies have been incorporated at the new remote radar system at Saxa Vord which will shortly become operational. Shetland News carries the story; Cable Magazine gives the background details. At the peak of the Soviet threat, 300 men were stationed, with their families, on Unst while now the system will be operated by RAF personnel many miles away.

Scottish Islands Explorer - here's an early indicator for the next edition
Digital Edition: will be with you sooner rather than later

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Ten Island Destinations

Country Living has an article - Ten of the Best Island Breaks in the UK - and Scottish destinations feature in three of them. There's no need to go abroad, get aboard!

Scottish Islands Explorer - could nominate all ten
Digital Edition: makes light of journeying

Monday, 5 February 2018

Mission Converted

On the south-east side of Lewis is Cromore and here is a former mission-hall that has been converted into self-catering accommodation. Enjoy the 22 slides in the presentation, but ignore the address with the misleading reference - 'Fort William'. It's in a special setting on the Outer Hebrides.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  plenty to explore here
Digital Edition: ready to convert a paper product into screen-shots

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Mission Completed?

Here is the former mission-hall of the Church of Scotland at Lochcroistean, on the road between Bernera and Uig in the Isle of Lewis. It looks remarkably like one of the tin tabernacles ('tin tabs') seen occasionally in England and Wales. It was up-for-sale for £5k, but the closing date was 15 January. Was there interest? Did it sell? Here are the details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - speculates about property
Digital Edition: always ready for sales

Saturday, 3 February 2018

A Launch in Oban

If you can get to the book launch - Saturday 10 February 14.00 at Waterstones in Oban - of Helen Witcher's new book Madame Scotia, Madam Scrap, then you are in for a treat. If that is not possible, go straight to The Islands Book Trust website and acquire a copy that will introduce you to the fascinating life and times of Heloise Russell-Fergusson.

Scottish Islands Explorer - features the book in the next issue
Digital Edition: acquire your copies ahead of the print editions

Friday, 2 February 2018

A Camping Compendium

Here's The Ultimate Camping Guide to assist in making what could be arduous and technical matters into easy and straightforward procedures. 

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to make islands accessible
Digital Edition: brings a full magazine straight to your screen

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Drawing Attention

There is plenty to draw attention to in the Outer Hebrides and a National Lottery Award will enable more people to learn about aspects of its islands. The Stornoway Gazette has the details of a Great Place.

Scottish Islands Explorer - in its turn draws attention ...
Digital Edition: ... with technological accuracy