Sunday, 31 March 2019

The Vanishing

Have a double-take on the Flannan Isles Lighthouse and then, going back some 110 years, take in the BBC Website item on the newly-released film, The Vanishing.

Scottish Islands Explorer - cannot be relied upon to solve this mystery
Digital Edition: developed too late to help

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Lego CalMac is a Must

There has been quite a demand in the market-place for a recent Lego model - the 14.5" long, 310 piece version of CalMac's MV Loch Seaforth. 400 have been sold since the launch of the replica ten days ago. Wanting to join the surge? It's yours for £29.99, including postage, from the new CalMac Online Store. Alternatively, read about it through The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - an alternative to travelling in person
Digital Edition: promotes purchasing

Friday, 29 March 2019

Best New Buildings of 2019

Of the 19 buildings shortlisted by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, and featured on the BBC Website, one is on the islands. It's The Black House, Isle of Skye, designed by Dualchas Architects. Take a look inside.

If you were among the early viewers of yesterday's blog, take another look and see the corrected date for the event, Ten Wee Drams.

Scottish Islands Explorer - enjoys houses and events that attract attention
Digital Edition: information and misinformation can be conveyed in seconds

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Ten Wee Drams

For the past ten years, Sarah Watts has been hosting courses for clarinet and bass clarinet on Raasay. Now the Raasay Distillery has asked her to perform a new piece of music - Ten Wee Drams - that she has commissioned. This will take place at 14.30 on Thursday 11 April in The Gathering Room at the Distillery. The concert is free and will last for approximately 45 minutes. The details are here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a year's subscription at the cost of a bottle of malt
Digital Edition: a year's supply for less that a bottle of blended whisky

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Celebrations on Canna

The Isle of Canna Community Development Trust has announced the formal launch of its new, environmentally-friendly energy generation system, following a bedding-in period that saw it meet 98% of residents’ energy needs. On Saturday, 6 April the Trust will stage a special event on Canna to mark the occasion, to be followed by a celebratory ceilidh.  
For almost 20 years, the 18 residents of Canna and Sanday have had to rely on three diesel generators for power, as the islands are not connected to the National Grid.   As a result of a community venture, Canna Renewable Energy and Electrification Ltd (CREEL), power is now generated through wind and solar and linked to a battery storage system, which relegates the old generators to occasional back-up use.

Scottish Islands Explorer - powered by traditional methods
Digital Edition: needs little energy to go far

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

The Naming of Babies

The popularity of names for babies shows a variety of trends. Look at the 2018 figures for the Highlands, Orkney & Shetland and the Western Isles. Jessie and Ella are up there with Jack, Archie and Harry. The Press and Journal has the full listings.

Scottish Islands Explorer - its names speak for themselves
Digital Edition: speedily sends out details to all parts

Monday, 25 March 2019

Arran for a Run

Plan ahead for a run on Arran on 13 / 14 April and an earlier entry date for an Ultra Tour on the island that is credited as being 'Scotland in miniature'. It's easy to start - just click on here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - reading about Arran is essentially a passive activity
Digital Edition: will travel faster than any competitor

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Attractions of Aviation

Barra Airport has been voted the second most scenic airport in the world, according to a survey by PrivateFly, a private jet company. Full details of its appeal, and that of rival destinations, are featured in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - attracts aviators
Digital Edition: accustomed to global flight

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Westray Extremes

Westray presents a contrast - from an expansive Orcadian beach to a self-appointed monk, of the Black Hermits, convicted of an intensive campaign involving hate mail. The Press and Journal carries the report.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of insularities
Digital Edition: carries all manner of mail

Friday, 22 March 2019

New Lease of Life Needed

A new lease of life is needed for Sandwick School, between Sumburgh Airport and Lerwick, Shetland. The building dates from 1880 and its facilities are extensive. Offers of over £68k are being sought and the details of the property are here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has taken 20 years to build the brand
Digital Edition: was not around then

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Orkney Opens

At this time of year, the blog appears at around 07.00 and that's the time today when Orkney will be welcoming the first cruise ship of the season, the MV Astoria. It was meant to be yesterday, but a change in the ship's itinerary unexpectedly occurred. The harbour installation will have a space and the Kirkwall streets will be ready for throngs of visitors. It will all be over by 13.00 when the ship departs. The Orcadian has a report.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some sales will take place before sailing
Digital Edition: interesting as to whether internet is available on board

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Fixed Link or Ferry?

Whalsay is a prosperous and well-populated Shetland isle of 7.6 square miles. It is dependent on a ferry service, but there is talk of a fixed link in the form of a tunnel. See The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of 'two-ferry destinations'
Digital Edition: fixed links are minimal

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Appeal to Youth

Gigha has attracted people over the years. However, the population declined from 700 in the 18th Century to 100 at the end of the last. Following the community buyout in 2002, there was a 50% increase. Now the trustees are looking for younger people to settle and have appointed a 19-year-old to their board. The Press and Journal has the details as well as the background.

Scottish Islands Explorer - Gigha is a fine place to start exploring
Digital Edition: a pre-requisite for most would-be settlers

Monday, 18 March 2019

Time to Look

Two photographers, Gordon Macrae and Aaron Simpson, have their work featured in the current BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland. One sheep on Lewis showed an interest; the other, on Skye, continued to graze.

Scottish Islands Explorer - worth looking at the photos in the current issue
Digital Edition: fast shutter actions and then worldwide exposure

Sunday, 17 March 2019

More at Lismore

Lismore has attracted people over the centuries, but archaeologists have recently found proof, backed by radiocarbon dating, of burials back in the 7th and 10th Centuries. A tradition maintains that St Moulag founded a monastery there in 562, a year ahead of St Columba doing similar on Iona. A report in The Press and Journal gives full details of the finds.

Scottish Islands Explorer - copies are dated
Digital Edition: does not require radiocarbon

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Unst and Low

You can get a little further north than Baltasound in Unst, but not that far. It's not easy to find a six-bedroom property in Britain with a guide price lower than £78k. Go to Zoopla for details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - remains reasonably-priced at £4.95 a copy
Digital Edition: even lower at £9.99 for the year

Friday, 15 March 2019

Gaelic Concerns

The West Highland Free Press has drawn attention to a decline in the numbers of secondary pupils seeking qualifications in Gaelic and of those wanting to apply for places at Sabhal Mor Ostaig (above) on Skye.

Scottish Islands Explorer - at least uses the services of a Gaelic Consultant
Digital Edition: takes any language anywhere in the world

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Schools Hebridean Society

The Schools Hebridean Society was established in 1962 and above are members of the expedition to Mingulay in 1980; below is the camp at Rhenigidale in 1974. It's now history and yet over 3000 places were filled by young people and leaders during the organisation's 27-years of existence. The founder, John Abbott, was a man of inspiration in many fields of education. Now, alas, his memories are curtailed by Alzheimer's disease. His son, Tom, is undertaking Expedition 365 Hebrides to raise funds for and awareness of Alzheimer's Research UK. More details are at Just Giving. If you are near Waterstones in Bristol on Saturday 23 March, go to hear him give a presentation of his proposed ventures - at 19.00. There will be more to report before Tom begins his year-long crusade at the end of March.

Scottish Islands Explorer - pleased to follow a worthy cause
Digital Edition: raises awareness everywhere

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Name Revealed

Here is a typical view of bracken on the Isle of Skye. It provides a clue given to the name chosen by competition for the new accommodation and leisure resort to be built at Portree. See the West Highland Free Press for the winning entry.

Scottish Islands Explorer - items revealed in each issue
Digital Edition: island-hopping on a global scale

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

For Self or Catering?

Here is a two-bedroomed country house on the Isle of Scalpay, Harris, that appears to have ideal attributes for creative people or to be to continued in its current use as

a self-catering property. Full details with a fine gallery of images can be clicked onto here. The asking price is for offers over £170k.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes discovering distinctive places
Digital Edition: always to be checked when looking for residential opportunities

Monday, 11 March 2019

Flames from Fair Isle

The Fair Isle Bird Observatory has been 'lost to fire' when it was engulfed in flames yesterday morning.. No one was injured, but the smoke was visible from Sumburgh, Shetland, 30 miles away and from where extra firefighters were flown. The details are on the BBC Website and the photograph of the Observatory, opened in 1948 and rebuilt in 2010, is by Julian Paren.

Scottish Islands Explorer - started on Fair Isle in 2000
Digital Edition: spreads news at speed

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Sunset and Fire

The photograph of a Rum sunset - from Karen Thorburn Photography - is reassuring of the natural order of things; The Press and Journal image and account of the fire on Rum some four days ago is a reminder of the fragility of habitat when a cigarette is discarded.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aims to promote and preserve
Digital Edition: is able to present and penetrate

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Painting the Light

Panter & Hall, Pall Mall, London, will have a new exhibition opening next week - Painting the Light - featuring the work of Charles Simpson. Click here to view and to see how he has captured many island scenes, including Iona Light (above) and Distant Ferry (below).

Scottish Islands Explorer - also has so much to take in
Digital Edition: taking the inspirations of an artist around the world

Friday, 8 March 2019

Camping (Web)site

Although it's only March, perhaps the time of the year has come to consider camping in the spring, summer and autumn months? Campsites in Scotland gives insights and ideas. Eviedale in Orkney is above and Skye Camping below.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes tents, pods and caravans for authentic stays
Digital Edition: maybe a way of escaping it?

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Water Technologies

As 2019 has progressed, residents of North Hoy and Graemsay, Orkney, have been enjoying the benefits of the treatment, enhanced by new technologies, of their water supplies. Read about this vital issue in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - its supplies come from various sources
Digital Edition: new methods of delivery

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Skye to London?

Take away the cones and, perhaps, flights may be off from Ashaig Airstrip on Skye to London? Read the item in The Press and Journal and try to calculate when an airstrip becomes an aerodrome and then emerges as an airport.

Scottish Islands Explorer - copies to be flown in to keen readers
Digital Edition: ready to by-pass human methods