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

Friday, 8 June 2018

Prints Promote

The footprint of a dinosaur on Skye has lasted since the Middle Jurassic Period and now comes to economic life - attracting worldwide attention and visitors. Learn more of this elevation on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - how long will its print last?
Digital Edition: leaves no mark, just an impression 

Thursday, 7 June 2018

World Craft City

The Western Isles sound somewhat metropolitan to be awarded 'World Craft City' status for its best-known product. It's the first in Britain and only the second in Europe to receive the citation. Read more on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - waiting to receive its award, your subscription!
Digital Edition: always ready to be received

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Mysterious Creature

Visitors to Marwick Bay, Orkney, were surprised to start the month of June with something different on the beach - a 14ft long fur-covered creature. The Press and Journal has the story involving the identity of the species.

Scottish Islands Explorer - clearly packaged when it arrives
Digital Edition: mysterious how it gets around so quickly

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Round Trip

First Wally the Walrus appeared in Orkney, then on the north coast of Sutherland. Now he has reached the Out Skerries of Shetland and is attracting sightseers. The BBC website has more details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - circulates in these parts
Digital Edition: attracts those who like to be informed early

Monday, 4 June 2018

Chasing the Light

The vistas of Sanday, Orkney, compel a photographer to travel there and then to display her work in a distant venue. If you can get to The Space, 6 West Street, Old Market, Bristol, for a free exhibition - between 5 - 10 June - you will not be disappointed. Start Chasing the Light with a click.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has an affinity for Sanday
Digital Edition: distances are not a barrier

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Windhouse Again

Last week saw The Windhouse, Yell, back in the news - with another mystery - a fire. It happened on Shetland's hottest day of the year so far. See The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - mists and mysteries appeal
Digital Edition: comes out immediately when called 

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Fly / Drive

Here's an aerial photo of the Scalpay Bridge to act as an introduction to a fly / drive inspirational journey promoted by McKinlay Kidd to that island, together with Harris, Skye, Benbecula, North Uist and Lewis. Take a Saturday look at a feature for the Summer.

Scottish Islands Explorer - let the magazine travel vicariously for you
Digital Edition: flies in from all angles

Friday, 1 June 2018

Colonsay Gin

Of the 93 inhabited islands of Scotland, Colonsay, in the Inner Hebrides has, apparently, the highest number of return visitors per head of population. However, its latest product, gin, will mainly be travelling one-way - to hotels and homes, bars and trolleys throughout the world. The co-founders of Wild Thyme Spirits, Fin and Eileen Geekie, moved from Oxfordshire to their self-build home on Colonsay in 2016. This is now the location for production and full details are to be found by clicking here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - enjoys promoting innovative products
Digital Edition: takes ideas worldwide instantly