Thursday, 30 June 2016

A Dominating Vessel

Look into the Stornoway Gazette for the background details of the Queen Elizabeth passing the Loch Seaforth off Stornoway.

Scottish Islands Explorer - worth comparing and contrasting
Digital Edition: another modern way of exploration

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Terns Take Turns

A pair of terns take exception to two visitors on the Isle of May. This photograph by Dr John Drummond appears in the latest gallery from the BBC Your Pictures of Scotland. They always draw a crowd.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some readers take turns
Digital Edition: always available, without having to share

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Making a Move

Although the queens in the Lewis chess set are looking either surprised (above) or bored (below) by the prospect, six of the famous pieces will be returning next month to Lewis, where they were discovered. Their presence will enhance the displays in the newly-installed museum in Lews Castle. See the moves involved in the Stornoway Gazette item.

Scottish Islands Explorer - brings concepts home with each issue
Digital Edition: the really fast moving innovation

Monday, 27 June 2016

Fancy a Free Dig?

Here's a rainbow above the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Museum in Kirkwall. The former has a rear garden, which has treasures below, discovered when used to test-pit an archaeological investigation exploring the 'hidden town'. Now five further gardens are wanted for similar in August. The holes will not be large, the soil will be replaced, but the excavations could yield much. Look for more in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - worth delving into
Digital Edition:  why not test-drive it?

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Self-mead Man!

The United Kingdom has had a bruising week and so where better to seek a place for quiet reflections than Scalloway. Here, a resident, Alistair Morgan, is planning to set up an operation to produce his brew, Viking Mead, on a commercial scale. This is a drink based upon fermented honey and each brew requires some 200 - 300 kilos of the sweet food made by bees foraging for nectar from flowers. It does sound soothing. Read about his plans in Shetland News, the source of the pun in today's blog title.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a brew with Viking and Gaelic strands
Digital Edition: can be fermented fast

Saturday, 25 June 2016

To Dig or Not to Dig?

There are parts of the Old Scatness archaeological site near Sumburgh Airport which needs further investigations. What is thought to be a Neolithic wall has been unearthed and surveys will be undertaken as to whether more digging should be undertaken. See the item in Shetland News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - requires a shallow dig into pockets
Digital Edition: unearth treasures instantly

Friday, 24 June 2016

They Left

There came moments during the early 1970s when the last residents of Scarp, North Harris, felt that they had to leave ... and they went, abandoning their houses, shop and telephone box. In an earlier era someone left their house (below) across the water in Glen Cravadale. However, with the passage of time, people return, not necessarily to settle permanently. Take a look at a part of the website of Marc Calhoun who visits these parts regularly and comes all the way from the Pacific North-West of the United States.

Scottish Islands Explorer - please keep returning
Digital Edition: via new, fast routes

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Remain or Leave?

While the residents of the UK are requested to take part in today's EU Referendum, the residents of Stroma, off Caithness, were never formally asked whether they wanted to remain or leave. They just took the latter course, although the process took over 60 years rather than one day.

In 1901 the population had peaked at 375. The 1961 Census indicated that numbers were down to 12 and in the December of the following year the last indigenous family left. Only the lighthouse keepers and their families were required to remain until 1997. The Church of Scotland had provided a place of worship, the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society had established a shop, the Caithness County Council continued running the school until the register contained the names of only two pupils in 1957 and the Post Office was in operation until the following year. The telephone box, now defunct, was apparently the six-millionth to be installed in Britain. When a new harbour was built, the leavers suddenly increased at the expense of the remainers.

Scottish Islands Explorer - remaining subscribers are much appreciated
Digital Edition: leavers of traditional print publications welcomed

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Present on Past Plates

Jack Lowe is on a mission - to photograph present-day lifeboats, their stations and crews with the methods of the past. His camera is 110 years old, from the Edwardian era; his developing techniques with photographic plates were devised in Victorian times.

He is a quarter of his way around the RNLI stations of the British Isles and is photographed above at the Kyle of Lochalsh, Skye. Jack is the grandson of Arthur Lowe, of Dad's Army fame; runs his own studio with the reassuring strapline - 'Craftsmanship in the Digital Age' - has his own website about the project; and is featured in a Shetland News item.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aspires to 'craftsmanship'
Digital Edition: certainly in that era

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Fund Raising

A sea-stack; an uninhabited islet; a distant island and some matching cloud formations make up this fascinating image of the St Kilda archipelago. The National Trust for Scotland is making an appeal for funds to care for the dual World Heritage Site and its outlined on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - more written about St Kilda than other islands
Digital Edition: discover more within seconds

Monday, 20 June 2016

Images of an Island

Barra draws people, including photographers. Some are attracted by the island's beaches with a certain Caribbean quality. Malena Persson comes from Sweden, has lived in Scotland since 2003 and continues to be attracted by Barra, although her attention is focused on the many different aspects of island life, including its livestock. These are featured on the BBC website and will be, next week, at The Old Truman Brewery in London.

Scottish Islands Explorer - wishes more would flock, follow and purchase
Digital Edition: for print and digital versions

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Image from an Island

Here's a photograph taken from the old pier at Eoligarry, Barra, towards Eriskay and South Uist by islander, Kealan Donnely. It appears in the popular gallery of recent images presented by the BBC.

Scottish Islands Explorer - frequently depicts one island from another
Digital Edition: download the latest issue before the weekend's over

Saturday, 18 June 2016

New Issue Out

It's publication day - 18 June - for the July / August 2016 issue of Scottish Islands Explorer. See what's inside by clicking on here and, if you fancy going a stage further, then find out about the reasonable subscription rates here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - for details of the magazine itself
Digital Edition: available here without having to wait any longer

Friday, 17 June 2016

From Harris in Style

Harris Tweed will feature in the Men's Moda Uomo to be held in Milan this weekend with exclusive bespoke archive designs. The Italian influence also appears in the image of the weaver and loom at Shawbost, Lewis, for it comes from the gallery of Mauro Guglielminiotti. Read about the high fashion display in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - fashions stories about highly-interesting places
Digital Edition: the most recent issue is due out today

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Buddo Back ... Again

The Neolithic figurine looking at you now may be 5000 years old, but it has had a number of distinct 'lives'. It was carved from whalebone and deposited in a dwelling at Skara Brae, Orkney. Then it came to light during excavations in the 1860s. 70 years later it was given to the Stromness Museum and subsequently 'lost' in the collections. Now it has been re-discovered, is back on show and named the 'Skara Brae Buddo'. Read all about Buddo's significance in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some back issues lurk in archives
Digital Edition: worth hunting for, with just a click

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Architectural Celebration

The Islands Book Trust will be promoting a talk with the Dualchas co-founder, Neil Stephen, on Architecture and Highland Culture. It will be at Lews Castle on Friday 1 July at 19.00. This  is to celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design 2016 and an example of such is below at Faire Chaolais in Morar, looking across the silver sands to the Isle of Rum and designed by Dualchas.

Scottish Islands Explorer - is excited by some island residences
Digital Edition: designed and available on islands worldwide

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Moonstruck Too

The views of St Kilda from all angles must have been glanced at by participants in the inaugural St Kilda Challenge. The winning yacht, Moonstruck Too, sailed the 100-mile-round trip in 23 hours and a full report is in Argyll News, where the headline has the inappropriate headline 'Moonstuck'. Far from it!

Scottish Islands Explorer - racing to get the next issue out
Digital Edition: always tries to be ahead of the print version

Monday, 13 June 2016

View Old & New

People have, since windows first appeared in houses, enjoyed the views. Take a look at two contrasting ones. Above is the Skye Window House, situated on the Sleat Peninsula in the south-east of the island, while below is a ruin on a beach of South Ronaldsay where a photographer's work has been short-listed for an appropriately-named competition, featured in The Orcadian.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a bi-monthly window on life, times and views
Digital Edition: available in a glimpse

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Father's Day Gift

In a week's time it will be Father's Day and if you are thinking of gifts - a subscription to Scottish Islands Explorer may be suitable. The various rates are to be found here. You can have a special message sent with the current edition (above) or with the new issue which appears later in the week. This is an opportunity to make a one-day present last into the future, for a year ... or longer!

Scottish Islands Explorer - gives pleasure, revives memories, prepares travels
Digital Edition: also suitable for present-giving and future-making

Saturday, 11 June 2016

They're Off!

Strictly speaking, that's - 'They Were Off!' - for yesterday, 30 yachts left Lochmaddy, North Uist, on the St Kilda Challenge. The ways to the archipelago (above) by the sort of means (below) are outlined in the Stornoway Gazette. The fastest craft will be back from the 100-mile round-trip later today.

Scottish Islands Explorer - savours the challenge of reaching many islands
Digital Edition: maintains fast speeds regardless of weather

Friday, 10 June 2016

Tracking Down

Whether your search for the right photograph is in a personal or professional capacity, there are times when tracking down an image requires assistance. Fotosearch has a stock of 33.3 million and this includes thousands from those most photogenetic locations - the Scottish islands. Click onto the name above or here. Browsing then took me to the scene - in Tulm Bay, the Trotternish Peninsula, Skye, where a track across a field leads to a close view of Tulm Island and a distant perspective of the Outer Hebrides. Go for it and similar ... time and again!

Scottish Islands Explorer - indeed, become an explorer and searcher yourself
Digital Edition: always open for browsing as well

Thursday, 9 June 2016


The hazards of being on board a trawler - in this case the Moray Adventurer - when close to the remotest of the UK's off-shore islands, North Rona, on Monday 16 October 1995. Fire breaks out,

it's aground some 44 miles off the Scottish Mainland and the vessel will remain, pounded relentlessly by seas until, eventually, it will disappear. The photograph below was taken in June 2005.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has been fortunate with steady development
Digital Edition: can be revived anywhere at any time

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The Boathouse on Ulva

In need of refreshment or of seeing a refreshing sight? Take a look at what's on offer at The Boathouse on Ulva. This facility in an engaging part of Mull has so much to offer.

Scottish Islands Explorer - understands the time for tea and treats
Digital Edition: also takes you to a world away

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Name Game

Lying quietly in Scapa Flow is a flat piece of old red sandstone with no soil, but somewhere which continues to be an appealing place for seals. It was called Carlin Skerry until an annual transaction led to a change of name. Residents of Orphir, to the north on Mainland Orkney, paid rent in the form of a barrel of butter in return for the rights to hunt seals there. The name of the islet lengthened to become just that, The Barrel of Butter. The lighthouse was built in 1853 and was once mistaken by the Royal Navy as something more sinister - the conning tower of an enemy submarine. It was shelled ... and survived.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the name of the title is unchanged
Digital Edition: trades under the same banner

Monday, 6 June 2016

Hamish Henderson

Go to the website of the West Highland Free Press to learn more about a film, 14 years in the making, on the life and times of Hamish Henderson (1919 - 2002).

Scottish Islands Explorer - also makes a contribution to cultural matters
Digital Edition: more like 14 seconds in which to get connected

Sunday, 5 June 2016

New Life for Old Church

Grimsay is the largest of the islands that act as stepping stones for the five-mile long North Ford Causeway linking North Uist and Benbecula. The Free Church building served members of its congregation until they moved to a converted-hotel in nearby Carinish.

Now the Grimsay Community Association is supervising the refurbishment and return of the building to use for meetings, events and socialising. An Open Day will be held from 11.00 - 16.00 on Saturday 25 June. See the Stornoway Gazette for more details.

Scottish Islands Explorer - looks forward to supporting the venture
Digital Edition: open all hours, literally

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Wrecks Recalled

Here is part of the remains of a German B-98 in the Bay of Lopness, Sanday. Go to The Orcadian for details of a talk about two wrecks on the island. You will have to be fast to hear the address live for it takes place today among the several events commemorating the Battle of Jutland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - islands are home to shipping wrecks
Digital Edition: it travels fast

Friday, 3 June 2016

A New Round on Jura

The Ardfin Estate on Jura is creating work and revenue. The creation of a golf course and the restoration of a large house require a strong labour force that needs supplies, accommodation and refreshment. See The Times article for insights into an investment.

Scottish Islands Explorer - investing in its future
Digital Edition: look around what's on offer

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Quintet of Beaches

Whichever way you look at St Ninian's Tombola, it will engage attention. The beach was one of five in Shetland to secure national recognition and the details are in Shetland News. The aerial photograph below was taken by the late Adrian Warren whose work -commemorated by Last Refuge Ltd - continues to inspire.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aspires to inspire
Digital Edition: links quickly, without sand