Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Hearach

Here's the Harris Distillery in its latter stages of construction. Now it's complete, whisky production is underway and The Hereach, its first brand, will be ready in four years time. Gin production takes around four days and so the liquor with a seaweed additive will be marketed much sooner. Hold up your glasses to the BBC website for more information.

Scottish Islands Explorer - four years means 24 issues

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Sun and Ice

The Summer managed to give the Western and Northern Isles something of a miss this year. However, something has been happening in the North, with an Aberdeenshire company producing something of a paradox. Mac Mackie of, guess, Mackie's Ice Cream, is pictured leaning against one of the 7000 solar panels that his company deploys in the the creation of power to make four million litres of ice cream. An account of this phenomenon appears in The Press and Journal.

Sottish Islands Explorer - powered by ideas and images

Monday, 28 September 2015

Calendar Countdown

There's a working week to go, to look out your photographs of Islay and to present them to Ileach, the independent newspaper for Islay and Jura. The closing date for images to be considered for its 2016 Calendar is Friday 2 October. The cat is featured in promotional material for the Islay Hotel at Port Ellen and the picture from the Caol Ila whisky distillery, overlooking the Sound of Islay and being overlooked by Jura, led an article in the New York Times.

Scottish Islands Explorer - appreciates whiskers; likes whisky

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Thoughts for a Sunday

Earlier this month something happened that shook the world of newspapers, albeit in the north-west of Scotland. The West Highland Free Press sacked two of its leading columnists, Donald Macleod, and Brian Wilson (pictured above), who was also the paper's founding editor. With that Maggie Cunningham, another regular columnist, withdrew from contributing to the paper. Read (all) about it in The Guardian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - cruises on steadily

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Milky Way As Solid Band

When promoting the advantages of using the disused MoD station at Gallan Head, Lewis, as an multi-purpose observatory - to see the stars at night and the marine life of Loch Roag by day - the advocates of the scheme refer to the Milky Way. It is described as 'almost a solid band across the sky'. Read about the local scheme in the Stornoway Gazette and the far from local dimensions in Up the Milky Way.

Scottish Islands Explorer - takes a wider view, occasionally

Friday, 25 September 2015

New 'Ritual' Building

The Links of Noltland at Westray, Orkney, is the site of another new discovery - a Bronze Age 'ritual building' - now within some six yards of the sea. Take a look at what's been excavated, in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - its bi-monthly ritual continues

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Beauty in a Bottle

Colonsay Brewery was established in 2007. Its island is considered to be the smallest in the world with a successfully-operating, commercial brewery. One of the company's advertising lines is 'Beauty in a Bottle' and more can be discovered through its website - featuring three beers, IPA, 80/- and Pig's Paradise.

Scottish Islands Explorer - exports information from the islands

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Caught Up and ... Out

The Ness of Melby at Sandness, Shetland, has a coastal path with stile, signage and views to the Holm of Melby. At the weekend this idyllic-looking stretch of water was the scene of a dramatic rescue of a grey seal  caught up in a creel line. It is described and captured on video through Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - releases items and images regularly

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Herring Girls

There's an interesting talk taking place tonight at An Lanntair in Stornoway on Herring Girls - the migrant workers in the fish industry. The details come from the Islands Book Trust.

Scottish Islands Explorer - covers the island coastlines

Monday, 21 September 2015

Fly to Skye?

Ashaig Airstrip at Broadford, Skye, was opened in 1972 and used by Loganair for flights to and from Glasgow until 1988 when regular scheduled services ceased. It has been used for other attractions since - including the 2007 Isle of Skye Music Festival - pictured from above. The West Highland Free Press reports that a fresh study is looking at its potential while a YouTube clip takes you on a trip from sky to touchdown.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has also been in service for 16 years

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Kitchener Refurbishment

Here is the Kitchener Memorial at Marwick Head, Birsay, Orkney and here, in The Orcadian, is an item, with images, on the restoration work that it is receiving.

Scottish Islands Explorer - restored and remembered every other month

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Ten Men from Ness

Ten men from the Ness district in the north of Lewis return from their recent trip to Sula Sgeir to hunt guga, gannet chicks, regarded as a delicacy for many generations. Read about their venture in the Stornoway Gazette and watch a video of their adventure released by the Royal Forth Yacht Club.

Scottish Islands Explorer - yet to sample this fare from the far north

Friday, 18 September 2015

Take a Long Look

The auction of three works by the Orkney artist, Stanley Cursiter, took place at Bonhams in Edinburgh and the details of the sale are reported in The Orcadian. The picture above - Boats in the Street - was not on offer, but starts a comprehensive slide-show of his output on a BBC website. Take a long look and enjoy a number of views of that long street that is the main thoroughfare of his beloved Stromness.

Scottish Islands Explorer - accustomed to taking the long view

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Song of the Sea

Five-star accommodation on the Isle of Harris at Oran na Mara (translated as The Song of the Sea) does look outstanding for location as well as facilities. Worth clicking on.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the beginning and end of exploring

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Auction Today

Stanley Cursiter (1887 - 1976) was born in Kirkwall, but came to live in, and love, Stromness. His reputation as an influential artist will be tested at Bonham's in Edinburgh today when a recently discovered painting is auctioned. Further details are featured in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - perhaps some issues will become collectors' pieces

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Award Winners

The Overall Winner of the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2015 is Barrie Williams for his On the Edge - Northern Gannets over Noss, Shetland. Click above to see the full range of images.

Scottish Islands Explorer - image-packed, item-filled

Monday, 14 September 2015

First Phase

Around 600 people were present at an event last Saturday to mark the completion of the first phase of the Lochboisdale Scheme to regenerate the area. Read about it on the Storas Uibhist website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - accommodating boats that explore

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Just Add Names

Readers of the Stornoway Gazette are asked to identify many of those photographed below in the late 1960s. The only lady in the group is Mrs Elizabeth Perrins, who died in 2010, having been the owner of the Garynahine Estate and a county councillor. She is standing next to her husband, Captain Neil Perrins, who was the major shareholder in Lea & Perrins, the Worcester-based sauce company with headquarters that appear above.

Scottish Islands Explorer - adds something additional

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Orkney Aviation

Looking down on Westray and Papa Westray may be a stimulus for many passengers flying over Orkney, but the prospect of the Orkney Aviation Festival appeals to sightseers and enthusiasts alike.

Scottish Islands Explorer - often takes aerial views

Friday, 11 September 2015

Shetland's Birds

There have been over 450 birds observed on Shetland since records began. Now there are 180 regular visits by different species. Click on Discover Shetland's Birds for details of a new book in which they are featured.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a magazine that counts

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Land Registry

St Kilda, which now houses personnel of the defence and security firm QinetiQ, was once home to a community until the evacuation of its people in 1930. The archipelago is now to join the Land Registry which will ensure certain guarantees about its future and preserve elements of its past. The Stornoway Gazette carries an item on the story and Northern Light Charters provides the image of the village street situated overlooking the bay on the island of Hirta.

Scottish Islands Explorer - in the 'literary land registry', the British Library

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Lost Road to the Isles

The waters of Loch Glascarnoch near Garve - on the Inverness to Ullapool road - have receded and reveal the structures of the 1950s when the loch's extension took place to supply the power station at Mossford. A BBC item gives further details and illustrations.

Scottish Islands Explorer - levels of interest rise and fall

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Sealing It

Yesterday's blog was about an in-depth look at Gometra. Today's item is to look at something with surface appeal - the Carriage or 'Cinderella' stamps issued to mark a degree of independence enjoyed by the island and introduced on 1 April 2015. Don't be fooled - for they are recognised by postal authorities off the island. For details go to Post Office.

Scottish Islands Explorer - carried by the Royal Mail

Monday, 7 September 2015

Gometra in Depth

Here's a view from a deep cutting into the southern coast of Gometra and here's a website with an in-depth approach to the island beyond Ulva. Both island and site are well worth a visit.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to reveal more than one dimension

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Chapel Charge

Following a break-in and theft from one of Orkney's major tourist attractions, the Italian Chapel, an admission charge will be made from next year to provide maintenance and security.

Scottish Islands Explorer - is stolen, occasionally

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Linguistic Power

Consider how recent research into the benefits of bilingualism was outlined in a University of the Highlands and Islands lecture at Sahhal Mor Ostaig, Skye. It's to be found in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - new editions needed in Gaelic and Norse?

Friday, 4 September 2015

Compare Paren

Dr Julian Paren, from the Black Isle, photographed four adults and a dog at the Ord Hill viewpoint overlooking Inverness. He observed four adults and two dogs on Rosemarkie Beach and comments on them in relation to the image included in the recent BBC Gallery of Your Pictures.

Scottish Islands Explorer - always on the look-out

Thursday, 3 September 2015

From Houses to Homes

The Bank of Scotland has issued a report based upon a survey assessing children's quality of life in Scotland. Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles took the first three places. Read more on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - raise the quality of life by taking out a subscription

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Variation on a Theme

The last two blogs have featured ecclesiastical properties. For the third time of asking - as they say in the calling of wedding banns - is there any  interest in Ryburn Cottage, Stronsay? It has been reduced to a lower fixed price of £85,000 and enjoys views across to Papa Stronsay with its monastery.

Scottish Islands Explorer - at least a room with a view here

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

... and Another?

The sale particulars of Meal Church, Burra, were featured yesterday when information from a reliable source indicated that a valuer had visited Papa Stour Church. So another similar sale could be on the cards in Shetland. Watch the ecclesiastical space.

Scottish Islands Explorer - appreciates new life for old buildings