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

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Destination Dibidil

The MBA bothy at Dibidil, Isle of Rum, was the destination of a backpacker whose blog is particularly well-illustrated. It also features on the cover and in the contents of the new Scottish Islands Explorer magazine. Copies will be in the shops on Wednesday 18 April, but digital subscribers have already received theirs. Why not consider joining them? See below.

Scottish Islands Explorer - encourages all levels of accommodation
Digital Edition: ahead of the print format

Saturday, 14 April 2018

... and the Winner ...?

In a recent competition to identify the world's most iconic / scenic airport, Barra was a leading contender. In the poll it came ... second. The winner was Donegal, pictured both above and from above. The details are in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - where would it come among island publications?
Digital Edition: subscribers received their copies yesterday

Friday, 13 April 2018

From Concept to Comfort

First came the concept of a distillery on Raasay, then came the reality. Now there is a visitor centre, with tours available, a private members' club and ... luxury accommodation. The last feature is something of an ultimate and well worth seeing by simply clicking here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - makes island-going easy
Digital Edition: a simple way of accessing the print issues

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Rare Find on St Kilda

When a rare bird, a Hooded Merganser, finds one of the only two ponds on St Kilda, there's bound to be excitement. Go to Jill Pilkington's account in BirdGuides. You will not be disappointed.

Scottish Islands Explorer - this bird appears to be a seasoned explorer
Digital Edition: the new issue in this format will soon be out

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

MacAskill Goes Swiss

Watch Danny MacAskill, from Skye, performing his cycling stunts in Switzerland. It's here on YouTube.

Scottish Islands Explorer - occasionally goes abroad
Digital Edition: comes from on high

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

CalMac Retirement

CalMac's MV Eigg started service, albeit in different Scottish waters, when the last residents of Swona were living on their Orkney island. (See yesterday's blog). The ferry-ship, the oldest in the company's fleet, has served small island communities on the West-coast routes for some 45 years, mainly on the Lismore run, near Oban. It has been retired. The details are on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ferries usually do not explore
Digital Edition: ideal for distant, small communities which have broadband

Monday, 9 April 2018

The Haven, Swona

When Neil Oliver had an article published about Swona, one of the smallest Orkney islands, it was August 2016. He looked back to the last residents sailing out of The Haven (above) for a new life on South Ronaldsay in 1974. The house where he stayed for a night was last occupied in 1927. His account, in The Sunday Times, is well worth reading.

Scottish Islands Explorer - in its 19th year
Digital Edition: still available on Swona, with the right kit

Sunday, 8 April 2018


You are looking through the windows of an eco-property on a remote peninsula on the Isle of Skye. Explore a little further, here, and find out more about Fiscovaig and The Hen House, built for £123k with fuel outgoings of £40 per month.

Scottish Islands Explorer - one month's bill for almost two year's subscription
Digital Edition: alternatively four years of access to the magazine for under £40

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Aerial Activity

The Press and Journal has some outstanding film footage taken from a drone above the Highlands & Islands. Here's a way to spend a stimulating two minutes - with full screen access - this weekend. 

Scottish Islands Explorer - looks into islands and occasionally down on them
Digital Edition: accesses the magazine with similar pinpoint accuracy

Friday, 6 April 2018

Fire on Rum

Here is Rum on a calm day with the cloud formations giving the illusion of smoke. Go to the BBC website for dramatic pictures of the fire, which started on Wednesday, on 50 acres of the island's mountains.

Scottish Islands Explorer - surrounded by water, but not protected
Digital Edition: accustomed to spreading quickly

Thursday, 5 April 2018

What Goes Up ...

Rapier missiles are fired regularly from Europe's busiest rocket range, on North Uist. One of them, possibly from that source, has been propelled and then brought down to Earth. It has eventually been washed up on a beach close to the River Howmore in South Uist, not that far away. An account appears in The Press and Journal

Scottish Islands Explorer - fires off every other month
Digital Edition: the internet delivers it far and wide

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Best of Rural Life

This image of Rosebank, Birsay, Orkney, by Max Fletcher, may feature a derelict house, but communicates space, peacefulness, scenic-views and a distant community. These, and other attributes, are reasons why living on the northern archipelago has been named the best rural place to reside in Britain for the second consecutive year. The details of the Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey, promoted by the Halifax Building Society, appear in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a good addition to every island home
Digital Edition: become a subscriber within seconds

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Dinosaurs on Skye

A headland on Skye at Brothers' Point, on the Trotternish peninsula, has been a place for scientists to trek to assess the significance of the dinosaur tracks found there. Their findings are detailed on the BBC website and suggest that they are of global importance.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a print format, well beyond the dinosaur era
Digital Edition: the latest version, available globally

Monday, 2 April 2018

Neave or Coomb Island

It's time to take a trip, half a mile across the narrow channel of Caol Beag, from the settlement of Skerray, Sutherland, to Eilean Neave or its alternative name, Coomb Island. All is explained in a highly-informative account by Kris Erskine.

Scottish Islands Explorer - here's a publication ready for exploration
Digital Edition: here's access that's broad and encompassing

Sunday, 1 April 2018

April in Paris in Lerwick

Da Street in Lerwick will soon have a new shop on the block when C'est La Vie opens and brings a taste of French cuisine to the town. The details are in Shetland News and next week should see residents and visitors responding to the advice of 'allez vite'!

Scottish Islands Explorer - a French edition is a long way off
Digital Edition: available internationally at a uniform price