Tuesday, 30 April 2019

A Breed Apart

Swona, in the Orkney group, is situated in the treacherous waters of the Pentland Firth. It was occupied from around 500 BC until 1974 when its last residents left, leaving behind their cattle which have become feral. View this breed apart through YouTube images.

Scottish Islands Explorer - focuses on island residents of all types
Digital Edition: carries material everywhere

Monday, 29 April 2019

A Trip Around North Rona

Getting to North Rona is not easy - for it's 44 miles out through open seas. However, Seatrek takes visitors from the Isle of Lewis and enables 'visits' with a useful video introduction. One of the most informed authorities is Marc Calhoun who has a fascinating and finely-illustrated account of the island, the most remote in Britain ever to have been inhabited. He spent two consecutive days there, an achievement in itself, in the Summer of 2011.

Scottish Islands Explorer - enables visits to be made with ease
Digital Edition: assists all the way

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Three Chimneys Retreat

The Three Chimneys Restaurant - with accommodation - on Skye has been awarded many accolades during the past 34 years. Now Eddie & Shirley Spear have recently sold their establishment. However, their 'retreat' from five-star hospitality will mean that the 'treat' of going there will continue to be offered, by the new owner, Gordon Campbell Gray. Read more on the BBC Website

Scottish Islands Explorer - not currently for sale
Digital Edition: not around 34 years ago

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Lifelines by Lifeboats

The Oban and then the Mallaig lifeboats were called out to take paramedics to two cases involving medical distress. One was on Lismore and the other on Eigg (above). A report appears in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of how vulnerable people can be
Digital Edition: can arrive fast, but with limited medical help

Friday, 26 April 2019


Solas is the Gaelic word for light and has been appropriately used as the title of a new film about the photographer, Margaret Fay Shaw, who died aged 101 in 2004. She worked with her husband, the folklorist John Lorne Campbell, particularly on the island of Canna, which was their home. The BBC Website carries the details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - hopes to last for comparable years
Digital Edition: helps to preserve and promote

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Testing the Stones

Climate change tests will be taking place on Orkney to find out whether World Heritage Sites are at risk. Let's hope the sheep may continue to safely graze. Read more through the BBC Website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - fairly resistant to climate
Digital Edition: travels through many climate zones

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Normal Service Will Be ...

... Resumed as soon as possible. This must happen on Barra as well as with computer connections that are being experienced.

Scottish Islands Explorer - on sale throughout the UK

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Harris Tweed Ride

The grounds of Lews Castle, Stornoway saw some of the action in the fourth annual Harris Tweed Bike Ride. 45 riders in the local fabric, worn in Victorian styles, took part. Across The Minch, in Wester Ross, the temperatures hit a record 74 degrees, so it was as well to be on the cooler Isle of Lewis. The Press and Journal has details of the costumed event.

Scottish Islands Explorer - customised for islands
Digital Edition: not back in time, fast forward

Monday, 22 April 2019

Go Gometra Off Grid

Taking the track above could see you led to the settlement on Gometra, although to become a permanent resident, you would have to be one of those people who likes to complement a remote vicinity with an off-grid lifestyle. Take a look here at what's on offer there.

Scottish Islands Explorer - enjoys the comforts of full connections
Digital Edition: has difficulty in finding the seriously off-grid

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Sule Stack

Here's the MV Jean Elaine at one of Britain's most remote islets, Sule Stack. Read here about her trip as well as the disaster that occurred there some 51 years ago.

Scottish Islands Explorer - takes in the remote
Digital Edition: takes information the distance

Saturday, 20 April 2019

'Bore Tunnels'

The Times has an item about a proposal that the Scottish islands follow the recent engineering works in the Faroe Islands of linking islands to the mainland by tunnel.

Scottish Islands Explorer - ways of improving accessibility
Digital Edition: getting around without impediments

Friday, 19 April 2019


There is something typically Hebridean about these images of Mealista, the deserted township on the extreme south-west coast of Lewis. They, together with an interesting account, appear on the fascinating website Uncover Travel. Take the journey with a finger movement and the click of a key.

Scottish Islands Explorer - much to uncover on these islands
Digital Edition: it's ready to be with you in record time

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Sea and Shore

The current Your Pictures of Scotland from the BBC has something of a 'sea and shore' theme running through it. Above is an image of the ferry approaching Iona, provided by Fiona Mackinnon. Below is a photograph by Ross Mason of one of the well-established residents of Sumburgh Head, Shetland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - pleased to provide visual stimulus as well
Digital Edition: takes ideas and images places

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

'A Place Like No Other'

The island of Arran has been referred to as 'a place like no other'. This observation is featured on the home-page of a new website launched by the local weekly newspaper, The Arran Banner, to promote island living. Click here to be transported to it.

Scottish Islands Explorer - does similar promotion work
Digital Edition: endeavours to get the message out and about

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Fair Isle Aftermath

The Notre Dame Disaster has been a further reminder to us of how quickly cherished places can be lost. The Fair Isle Bird Observatory was an iconic, much-loved facility that was completely destroyed by fire earlier this year. How has the small community coped? Shetland News takes an in-depth look.

Scottish Islands Explorer - well aware of destructive forces
Digital Edition: broadcast through broadband beyond

Monday, 15 April 2019

Otters Away

The Press and Journal covers the release of two otters which are able to start new lives on the shores of Skye.

Scottish Islands Explorer - regularly released into the world of publications
Digital Edition: able to traverse the world immediately on being dispatched

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Ball? Fine. Foot? Care!

Playing football on Eriskay brings its challenges and rewards. Take an in-depth look at an elevated ground through the BBC Website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - needs paper not a pitch
Digital Edition: dispenses with paper

Saturday, 13 April 2019

New Digital Issue

The next print edition of Scottish Islands Explorer will appear in retail outlets on 18 April and subscribers should receive their copies during the early part of next week. However, for the full, electronic, digital version just click here, take a look at the first few pages and secure at £1.99 for the one copy or £9.99 for it and a year ahead.

Scottish Islands Explorer - wants to have you onboard ...
Digital Edition: ... as does the electronic version

Friday, 12 April 2019

Mindful / Mindless

The construction of the Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, during the Neolithic Era of some 5000 years ago was an act of mindful application for reasons which are not quite clear. The recent act of graffiti there is an example of a modern mindless attitude. The BBC website carries the story. Recent excavations by archaeologists, applying mind to matter, in Broad Street, Kirkwall, have revealed a previously unknown 14th Century castle That story is featured in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of forces of construction and destruction
Digital Edition: an example of the former that can have negative effects

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Wildfires in Western Isles

Recent dry weather and the incendiary nature of gorse in the Western Isles have led to wildfires disrupting everyday life - with power failures. Firefighters have been in action on Barra, Harris, Lewis and Great Bernera. See The Press and Journal for details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - awareness of dangers from sea, sky and land
Digital Edition: brought down by power failures

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Retail Renovation

Brough Stores, in Yell, Shetland, closed over 20 years ago, but plans have been submitted to renovate the building for domestic occupation and for a small convenience retail outlet. Supplies will have to be ferried across to the village of Burravoe with its pier (below). Shetland News has the account of the proposed changes.

Scottish Islands Explorer - hope that 'convenience' involves stocking it
Digital Edition: new technologies do not completely satisfy demands

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Shieling Project

Crofting in the Scottish Highlands & Islands has a mystery about it as well as an appeal. There are, of course, problems - as highlighted on the BBC website - and people keen to solve them - as shown in The Shieling Project.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes looking into ways of life
Digital Edition: how many crofts are off-grid as well as remote?

Monday, 8 April 2019

Filling Up on Skye

One of the 'Routes to the Isles' involves taking the Skye Bridge and crossing the island to the ferry terminal at Uig. Filling up with food and petrol is a long-standing tradition that has been hampered by the temporary closure of the full fuel services at the Broadford Co-op. Now, after a £3.5 million refurbishment programme, the pumps and store are completely ready for custom. At Portree (below) is the larger Co-operative supermarket. The Press and Journal assesses the significance of the Broadford re-opening.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  all explorations need logistics
Digital Edition: a part of the .modernisation' of communications

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The Black Isle On-screen

There's a new Vimeo production available that features the many attractions of the Black Isle. Take a Sunday treat and have a highly-visual look around. Just click here and you're off ... a short distance north of Inverness and a world away.

Scottish Islands Explorer - there are few to explore on the east coast
Digital Edition: reaches islands of the east and west with comparable speed

Saturday, 6 April 2019


The two sides of the Sandray shore, in the Bay of Vatersay, off Barra, are illustrated here. The skipper of a fishing vessel had to be rescued by lifeboat when his boat was grounded in the vicinity. The Press and Journal has the story.


Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of the benign and malign sides of a shore
Digital Edition: also alert and ready to travel

Friday, 5 April 2019

How Many Distilleries?

Wherever you look on Islay there seems to be a sign to a distillery. However, yesterday on Facebook I suggested that there were 'more than a dozen distilleries' and was taken to task by a watcher. I had based my assumption on a conversation the day before. When I checked earlier today on the Islay web-page, I discovered the number to be somewhat lower. Apologies for exciting prospective visitors.

Scottish Islands Explorer - Endeavours to get things right
Digital Edition: can promote misinformation at considerable speeds

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Farm for Holidays

Coull Farm, Isle of Islay, has both a fine location and good accommodation. It is a working establishment, has sea views, is close to Machir Bay, enjoys nearby facilities and at least a dozen distilleries from which to select holiday treats. Click onto its website here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - promotes ways of getting away
Digital Edition: brings pleasures within easy reach

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Buying Hotels and History?

Lerwick has a long history of offering accommodation to travellers. It's the administrative centre of Shetland and the entry-point to its islands for many visitors. The two most established hotels are the Queens, dating to the end of the 17th Century, and the Grand, which opened in the 1860s. Now they are both for sale. The asking price for the Grand is £450k and the Queens is available for offers of over £500k. So a million pounds will give full hotelier status. For further details go to Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - for readers rather than residents
Digital Edition: reaches each establishment simultaneously

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Remote Recording

How different are human needs in various eras. The Standing Stones on Great Bernera satisfied a desire to make lasting visual impacts; the Black Bay Recording Studio on the same Outer Hebridean island allows musicians to present and preserve sounds. Read about the achievements and aspirations of the latter in The Press and Journal report. One building project was designed with the alignment of stars in mind; the other is trying to attract the music world's superstars.

Scottish Islands Explorer - presents and preserves images and items
Digital Edition: takes ideas the distance

Monday, 1 April 2019

St Kilda Images

Illumination came late to St Kilda and the old series of photographs found on YouTube reinforces this impression. It's remarkable to think that the images, from the 1880s, were of British people, living in territorial waters, being depicted close to the 20th Century. Many thanks to two of our most loyal blog-watchers for enabling us to start the week somewhat in the past.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always fascinated by St Kilda and its people
Digital Edition: technologies have certainly developed