Friday, 31 August 2018

Yell to Get-away-from-it-all

Here's a new-to-the-market property in the north-east of Yell, Shetland, with a half-acre of land, views towards Fetlar and that get-away-from-it-all feel. The renovated former croft-house has a somewhat misleading urban-sounding name, Townmills, and is situated in North Sandwick. Harper Macleod has the details and pitched the property at a price of £55k.

Scottish Islands Explorer - finding the interesting and sometimes remote
Digital Edition: needs to be checked for availability at Townmills

Thursday, 30 August 2018

200 Miles off St Kilda

The Press and Journal carries the story of a replica St Kilda mailboat being launched on Hirta, the main island in the remote group, by Alasdair MacEachen on Friday 10 August. Ten days later it was recovered from a beach at Birsay, Orkney, some 200 miles away, by Martin Gray. The connections are worth discovering.

Scottish Islands Explorer - spreads inter-island items
Digital Edition: ten, hundred, thousand miles in a second

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Glenelg - First & Last

The MV Glenachulish is the last-operated turntable ferry of its sort in the world. Now it has its first female skipper, Ms Isabelle Law. Read more on the BBC website about the Glenelg - Kylerhea service that plies to and from Skye.

Scottish Islands Explorer - the only magazine of this title
Digital Edition: plies to all global destinations

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Tropical on Sheland

This photograph by Zoe Henry shows an interesting aspect of the appropriately-named Meal Sand Beach, Burra. Here, and at Watsness, Walls, were places for tropical fruit, washed across part of the Atlantic when a ship, sailing from the Panama Canal to Dover, lost two 40' containers in a storm. Some contents, from the Del Monte consignment of pineapples and bananas, reached Shetland destinations. The Press and Journal has the story.

Scottish Islands Explorer - delights in the unexpected
Digital Edition: delivers to remote destinations

Monday, 27 August 2018


Some say 'tidal island' and others 'tip of a peninsula' - when referring to Danna, separating Loch Sween from the Sound of Jura in Argyll & Bute. It's a one-and-a-quarter square-mile islet, rising to 141', which has seen a plunging population of five in 2001 to one in 2011. The causeway is above; an unoccupied house below.

Scottish Islands Explorer - does the one person explore?
Digital Edition: join the company of electronic subscribers

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Oldany Island

Maurice O'Connell was kayaking in the Assynt area of Sutherland and his visit to the tidal island of Oldany led to the photograph above appearing in the current BBC Your Pictures of Scotland. The blogger of one strand in Mountain and Sea Scotland took some fine photographs, but was unable to land on the 500 acre and 341' high uninhabited islet. The image below is from someone able to land, camp and explore there.

Scottish Islands Explorer - some make it by kayak
Digital Edition: some acquire it with a click

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Eigg - Welcome Research

There have been times when 'welcome' was not a word associated with visitors to Eigg. The 16th Century Massacre on the island is described on the BBC website as is a sequel to it - the acquiring by Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) of a skull that he took from the scene of the event to his home in Abbotsford, Melrose. Research on the bones could lead to some relevant information about the atrocity of some 600 years ago.

Scottish Islands Explorer -  aware of past violence in scenic locations
Digital Edition: delays that took centuries now shortened to seconds

Friday, 24 August 2018

A Faray Retreat?

Retreat to the blog item of one week ago and see what's on offer by way of island purchasing. Now consider the suggestion of Lows - Orkney's one stop property shop - for the three islands in the Faray group to be purchased for purposes of a retreat. It's featured on the BBC website. There are, indeed, people around who do not retreat from a challenge.

Scottish Islands Explorer - indulges in just looking
Digital Edition: a mast may be needed on Faray

Thursday, 23 August 2018

High on Foula

Foula is surrounded by sea and dominated by summits. Take a look at the hilltops of the Shetland isle - not always easy to approach because of the territorial instincts of the Arctic skuas. High on Foula is a YouTube presentation lasting under three minutes.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to get on top of assignments
Digital Edition: takes seas and summits in its delivery process

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

The Scaliscro Estate

The Scaliscro Estate - with three miles of coast and 10,000 acres - is in the Uig area of the Isle of Lewis. It has a new owner who will, undoubtedly, be enjoying these vistas and facilities.

Hebrides News has some details of the sale, but Galbraith, the property consultant, has a fine presentation of the estate. If you have three minutes to spare, take the video overview and make it full screen.

Scottish Islands Explorer - covers many more miles and acres
Digital Edition: takes you there in a flash

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Fall or Full?

From the Fall of Warness, west of Eday, Orkney, and the nose of the SR2000 device of Scotrenewables installed there in 2017, comes interesting news in that a massive amount of electricity has been generated. How long before the full forecast of 20% of Britain's needs will be produced off-shore? Read more on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - generates interest from the on-shore of islands
Digital Edition: needs minimum power for maximin effect

Monday, 20 August 2018

Barra in a Bottle

The makers of a new spirit - the Isle of Barra Distillery run by Michael & Katie Morrison - have had a busy year. Sales of their Barra Atlantic Gin have increased and it's available in over 200 hotels, restaurants and bars - with the popularity of the product, in general, and the capturing of an essence of the island, in particular. Just go to their website to see what's on offer.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to instil interest in the islands
Digital Edition: the distillation and delivery of a publication is here 

Sunday, 19 August 2018

By Night Train to Scotland

Of the several ways to reach the Scottish islands, the train connections to Oban, Mallaig, Kyle of Lochalsh, Aberdeen and Thurso offer a certain excitement, especially when coupled with a connecting overnight rail journey from the South. The efficiency, dynamic and adventure of this specialised variety of transport are captured in the famous 1932 travel poster By Night Train to Scotland. It was designed by the acclaimed political cartoonist, Philip Zec (1909 - 1983) and is to be sold by the New York City firm of Swann Auction Galleries on 14 October. Estimates are between $8000 - $12000. This certainly illustrates both the appeal of the poster and the force of inflation during the past 86 years. For further details of the artist and his work, click onto the auction house's catalogue entry.

Scottish Islands Explorer - comparable values may be reached ... in time
Digital Edition: beats even flying for speed

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Help for Heat Needed

Fair Isle is a place of exposure with, for example, the Chapel standing alone against the elements. The Community Hall was built some 38 years ago and the heating system is in need of attention. Some funding has been secured since a launch last year, but with the autumn and winter approaching more is needed. Look at the report in The Press and Journal and the Fair Isle Community Hall Facebook Page.

Scottish Islands Explorer - has an affinity with Fair Isle
Digital Edition: available where there's internet

Friday, 17 August 2018

Faray for £200k Plus?

Faray, is an island of 445 acres in the Orkney group. It rises to 110ft, extends over 445 acres and is situated between Eday and Westray. It, and two adjacent islets, are now up for sale.

Here are some secluded bays, a number of derelict buildings, a school-house that has become a bothy, a jetty and store close to it and a linking road. The last permanent inhabitants survived the savage winter of 1947 and then quit.

So it is possible to visit to view (at £100 for the round trip), there's somewhere to picnic, ponder and to speculate on whether an offer of over £200k will secure not only the island, but the Holm of Faray and Red Holm. Take a look at the property details and a gallery of 23 images through Lows.

Scottish Islands Explorer - mention the magazine when you contact Lows
Digital Edition: discover whether it can be accessed from Faray away

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Take a Look

There's a new issue of Scottish Islands Explorer that's been available from the beginning of this week in digital format; has been delivered in print form to most subscribers' homes; will be on retailers' shelves from Saturday (18 August) at the latest. To find out what's in it, go to pocketmags and see the synopsis as well as the Contents Page. Looking at these sections incurs no cost.

Scottish Islands Explorer - another eight weeks of exploring
Digital Edition: has a preview element as well as a fast download

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Eight for Nine

The search for a new teacher on the Isle of Muck is over. There were eight applicants for what appears to be an idyllic island post. There are nine pupils in the primary school and a thriving community of around 30 - who get by without a church, shop or post office. So it's an appointment that would appeal to only a limited number of teachers. Read about it in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - it's a matter of self-employment here
Digital Edition: the new posting is on-screen with one click

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Skye Rainbow Show

Here is one of the images captured by Tomasz Szatewicz of a rare rainbow show on Skye. He is a landscape photographer and his early morning assignment on the island appears in the Daily Record.

Scottish Islands Explorer - new issue soon dawning on doormats and shelves
Digital Edition: see what's on offer with an early preview

Monday, 13 August 2018

Commitment and Capital

If you have sufficient capital and commitment for a project, here's an opportunity to purchase three-and-a-half acres, a fine view from Vinbreck, Sandwick, Orkney, a farmhouse and extensive out-buildings albeit in a derelict state -  with offers of over £160k invited. The courageous could start with a click here.

Scottish Islands Explorer - an easier project to manage at £3.95
Digital Edition: with a new issue due to be out today

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Keeping An Eye Out

Alistair McIntosh, from Sydney, was heading for Staffa when his camera lens caught the eye of a dolphin. The image now features among the gallery of entries in the BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland from 3 - 10 August.

Scottish Islands Explorer - vigilant and watchful about island occurrences
Digital Edition: one look can be around the world in a flash

Saturday, 11 August 2018

A Question of Balance

First comes the long-established human-activity of stone-balancing on a beach. Then comes a craze for the interest as at Skaill Beach, near Skara Brae, Orkney, where the micro-landscape is altered.

Finally an expert appears - claiming, understandably, that the pastime leads to meditation. Read about the balance between the occasional and an excessive trend - on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - building on circulation trends
Digital Edition: somehow balanced and boosted on the internet

Friday, 10 August 2018

Victorian Villa with Views

There is something particularly appealing about this Victorian villa with views over a harbour, holms and beyond. It's in an elevated position in Stromness, a significant access port for Orkney, where people rate the quality of life rather highly. Offers are invited over £310k. For images plus information go to Zoopla.

Scottish Islands Explorer - founded a 100 years after Victoria's reign
Digital Edition: properties need checking for internet access

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Getting Away

Here is a house where 'getting-away-from-it-all' applies. It's the former Head Gamekeeper's House at Valamus at the southern, seashore end of the Pairc which is in the south-east corner of the Isle of Lewis. The aerial shot from Scotlands Places shows its proximity to its only access route, the sea.

James Laidlaw lived here during the 1880s, having moved from the relatively urban Lews Castle Home Shootings and the remarkably remote Hamnavay in Uig, Lewis. He then moved on to be an under-stalker in the Reay Forest, Sutherland, before becoming Head Keeper and Factor to its owner, the Duke of Westminster.

Valamus and nearby Mulhagery can be visited via YouTube on a journey with Hebridean Fish 'N' Trips.

Scottish Islands Explorer - there is much to see and visit
Digital Edition: made easy with this access route

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

New Crops; Old Words

The Inner Hebridean island of Raasay is branching out with trials of different varieties of barley. The names of three of the four have a Nordic ring to them. There's the Icelandic Iskria; the Swedish Anneli; the Norwegian Brage; together with the British Golden Promise. Discover more through the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - features Viking traditions
Digital Edition: delivers the magazine anywhere

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Shore Station Plans

There is quite a contrast between the high point on the Flannan Isles, where the lighthouse keepers worked, and the almost suburban look to their former shore station, where they rested and families lived, at Breasclete, Lewis.There are plans for a prospective community bid to acquire the latter to become a memorial for those who disappeared mysteriously in December 1900. Hebrides News has the story.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a memorial to many
Digital Edition: available with relatively small bids

Monday, 6 August 2018

The Storegga Slides

When three of the so-called Storegga Landslides occurred along 180 miles of the Norwegian continental shelf in approximately 6225 - 6170 BCE, some 8000 years ago, tsunami resulted. Research into these happenings is being currently undertaken in Orkney and features on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of monumental events off-shore
Digital Edition: unaffected by 'quakes and 'slides

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Live Problem with Plastic

Plastic is currently receiving a bad press. Here is a stag threatened by entanglement in South Uist. Read the story in Hebrides News.

Scottish Islands Explorer - bundled in cardboard; dispatched in plastic
Digital Edition: free of it

Saturday, 4 August 2018

The Spirit of the Isles

On Tuesday 15 August there will be a new, official route on the marketing map - The Hebridean Whisky Trail - taking you through Skye to Harris. Click here to see what's on offer.

Scottish Islands Explorer - carry a copy on the journey
Digital Edition: click to discover the essence of an edition

Friday, 3 August 2018

Giant Slayers Sought

This example of Giant Rhubarb was photographed at Brodick, Arran. Its variety originated in South America and has been grown successfully in mild, moist climates as an ornamental plant. However, it has become a nuisance in parts of the Western Isles, particularly on grazing lands. Plans to eradicate it are outlined on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - how pleasing if it spread far and wide
Digital Edition: available in all areas that support human life

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Home on Hoy

Here's a home for humans in Rackwick Bay, Hoy. The nearby sea cliffs have become home for fledgling sea eagles, the first to be born on Orkney for 145 years. Go to the BBC website for an account and images.

Scottish Islands Explorer - new issues appear six times a year
Digital Edition: appear effortlessly when requested

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Marine Surveys

Here is part of the Rosemary Bank Seamount, an extinct, now underwater, volcano 3281ft high, found off the Western Isles to the north-east of the Rockall Trough. Scientists are preparing to survey this and other sites in the vicinity and what they look forward to discovering is revealed on the BBC website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - neither extinct nor underwater
Digital Edition: vibrant and focused