Thursday, 28 February 2019

Stornoway to Southend

Stornoway Airport is becoming increasingly connected with a new service to Southend - some 53 minutes by train from London. Flights are scheduled for six days a week, take just under three hours with an onboard wait of 30 minutes at Glasgow Airport, and fares are from £82.99 one-way. The full story is in the Stornoway Gazette.

Scottish Islands Explorer - take your copy with you
Digital Edition: takes less time, of course

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Last of the Monachs

Angus Macdonald (91), probably the last person to be born on the Monach Islands, in the Atlantic beyond North Uist, has died. Aspects of his life-story are featured in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - aware of these remarkable places and people
Digital Edition: brings news at speed

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Submerged, Small & Deadly

To the right of the Rockall photograph, actually 220 yards to the north, is Hasselwood Rock, usually only visible as breaking waves. It is 3 feet above low water and 15 yards in diameter. Most passengers died when the brigantine, Helen, heading for Quebec, struck the rock in 1824. Some 80 years later, in June 1904, the Danish SS Norge, bound for New York, took just 12 minutes to sink there, with over 635 people drowned and 160 immediate survirors, some of whom later died from the effects of exposure.

Scottish Islands Explorer - a safe, sound and stimulating publication
Digital Edition: part of the new, vital technologies

Monday, 25 February 2019

Skye Window House

Where better to build The Skye Window House than on the Sleat Peninsula, taking in scenes of sea and Mainland mountains? Click here for details of luxury self catering.

Scottish Islands Explorer - also good for views
Digital Edition: the Window House has wifi

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Light and Heavy

The lighthouse at Port Ellen gives a sense of perspective to the heavy crossing to Islay for the CalMac ferry. It's captured here by Lynne McCulloch in the current BBC's Your Pictures of Scotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - copies are on sale on that ferry service
Digital Edition: glides to homes above the waves and wind 

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Skerryvore - Down & Out

These images of Skerryvore Lighthouse, taken by Ian Cowe, are central to the item, presented by James Petre, in the current edition of Scottish Islands Explorer featured on yesterday's blog. The functional helipad replaced the rusting jetty, in the same way as automation took over from the 'keepers.

Scottish Islands Explorer - sometimes looks down from heights; always out
Digital Edition: an automatic delivery services

Friday, 22 February 2019

March / April 2019 Edition

The new edition is now out - in shops and through subscribers' letter-boxes in the UK - and anticipates the coming of Spring. The cover depicts the Skerryvore Lighthouse and the photographs which complement the text are equally stunning. They would look good anywhere in the world, including New Zealand, which features in the customary Islands Beyond series, focusing on Scottish connections. 

The first main article is on Eigg which looks at an island that rises from its shoreline to the dominating Sgurr. Another article did not have to take its author so far as it considers some of the fortified settlements in Loch Lomond. Lismore has its place in the Contents and the topic emphasises just have some people make wrong assumptions about such places. 

The new Bradt Guide to the Orkney group is due for publication soon and its author takes another look at the various places that stimulated him while researching the book. This archipelago, together with that of Shetland, is the subject of an article on the pioneering flying services to what was once considered to be ‘most remote’. The same could be applied to Papa Westray, another topic in this issue.

Two past tragedies - the Iolaire and the Longhope Lifeboat disasters are covered while other topics provide reassurance - such as the way in which a blog is turning into a book; how some birds have the knack of just hanging on the breeze; how a lighthouse supply-vessel has been transformed into a luxury hotel; plus the sight of the sky over Skye having certain special qualities.

Scottish Islands Explorer - it's all here ...
Digital Edition: … and available at a bargain price

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Following Dr Rae

The Orcadian has an account of an expedition setting off next month to trace the steps and voyages of the Arctic explorer, Dr John Rae. The 400-mile journey by four men will begin in Repulse Bay (below) and focus on Canada's Rae Strait.

Scottish Islands Explorer - does have Canadian sales
Digital Edition: covers much of the vast area of that country

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

107 Years On

Take stock of time and spellings. 107 years ago, on Unst, a Tengmalm's owl was spotted. The specie re-appeared recently, but now at Tumblin, Bixter, on Shetland Mainland. The story is carried in the Shetland Times. Wanting to visit the area? Quean's self-catering (below) could have been useful, but accommodation is not currently available.

Scottish Islands Explorer - appears regularly with the new issue out soon
Digital Edition:  what will it be like in over a century?

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tot Up on Rum

The Community Hall and Post Office on the Isle of Rum could become attractive facilities for newcomers who are being sought to boost the population. It currently totals 22 and more are needed to make that important difference, particularly in keeping the school open. News of the appeal is in The Press and Journal. The bothy at Guiridil (below) at an extreme part of the island, no longer has permanent residents, but is one of two places of local accommodation maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association.

Scottish Islands Explorer - new readers appear daily
Digital Edition: print copies, if not the digital issues, are there

Monday, 18 February 2019

German High Fleet, Low

The Imperial German High Fleet in Scapa Flow has been fully scrutinised in a recent project. The details are supplied by The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - worth submerging yourself in it
Digital Edition: the waves above are on the internet

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Some March

If you have that get-away-from-it-all-feeling plus the capacity to-do-it-up and around £150k for the purchase price, you could consider The March

to be found on the edge of Vidlin, Shetland. If so, take a look at what's on offer by clicking on Harper Macleod. The aerial view and the Google tracking are indicators of remoteness.

Scottish Islands Explorer - can go to extremes
Digital Edition: perhaps it goes this far?

Saturday, 16 February 2019

St Kilda Insights

The Press and Journal directs readers towards some interesting insights about St Kilda - pictured here from a glass plate negative of the 19th Century.

Scottish Islands Explorer - often features the archipelago
Digital Edition: reaches most parts in split-seconds

Friday, 15 February 2019

Wins for Orkney Gins

There has been a proliferation of gin-making in Britain since changes to the taxation laws were introduced. So Orkney Gin, from Burray, has done well against the competition to come first in a national award with its Johnsmas brand and second with its Rhubarb Old Tom. The Orcadian has the details. The images show the product in different local lights.

Scottish Islands Explorer - only national magazine devoted to Scottish islands
Digital Edition: taken globally by new technologies

Thursday, 14 February 2019

New Designs in the North

When attention is drawn to an item on Highlanders - architects re-defining Scotland's northern reaches - it's easy to move on to the property designed by Dualchas Architects at Tigh Port na Long, Skye. Living in a minimalist home and looking onto an elemental scene have, for some, an enormous appeal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - tries to give an uncluttered view
Digital Edition: a stunning as well as simple service

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

A Way of Life ... Past

Stroma, the Caithness (mainland in the distance) island that is very much part of the Orkney group, saw a decline from 375 residents in 1901 to none in 1997. Some 20 years later, The Scotsman ran an article by Alison Campsie on the former Pentland Firth settlement accompanied by 'eerie' photographs.  

Scottish Islands Explorer - covers thriving and abandoned places
Digital Edition: Stroma could just have had internet access

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Canon Angus MacQueen

Canon Angus MacQueen (1923 - 2019), who died last Saturday, was ordained in 1951 and served parishes on the West Coast and Western Isles, including his final ministry at St Barr's Church, in the north of Barra. A tribute to this legendary figure appears in The Press and Journal.

Scottish Islands Explorer - its current span is from 2000 - 2019
Digital Edition: was available in over 50% of homes from 2001

Monday, 11 February 2019

Contrasting Images

Two island photographs in the BBC Your Pictures of Scotland - taken between 1 - 8 February - provide something of a remarkable contrast. Above is a view between Tiree and Coll; below is North Tolsta in Lewis. Take a further look.

Scottish Islands Explorer - provides many different views
Digital Edition: moves through space regardless

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Back in Business

The West Highland Free Press covers the story of a planning application that has been reversed, giving the go-ahead to restore Pier House, Broadford, Skye, as an hotel. It is pictured below in 1900, the tallest of the buildings and called Campbell's Temperance Hotel, from the 'new' pier. This was constructed with narrow gauge railway tracks to take marble from the quarry at Kilchrist. Further insights are available from Am Baile - Highland History and Culture. The 'Skye Circuit' route operated by CalMac ended in 1964.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes to see new life breathed into the old
Digital Edition: very much a new concept

Saturday, 9 February 2019

A School to View

To end this week's look at properties for sale on the Scottish islands, comes the former Scalpay School, Harris. It comprises four separate buildings and is offered at a price over £90k. Here's a challenge to convert with ingenuity, innovation and industry. Ken MacDonald, of Stornoway, invites you to see what is available.

Scottish Islands Explorer - understands how things are created
Digital Edition: internet should be accessed

Friday, 8 February 2019

Not Quite So Distant

There was a considerable response to Wednesday's blog featuring a relatively new five-bedroom house for £150k on Shetland's Out Skerries. A comparable figure is asked for an older property - with five acres, an extensive workshop and  various outbuildings - on the Orkney island of Sanday.  If you take a look, there are 42 photographs to present a full viewing. Picture yourself as 'King of Your Castle Hill'?

Scottish Islands Explorer - property appeals as well as places and people
Digital Edition: now a factor in all house-purchasing

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Funds for Seaweed

The Hebridean Seaweed Company in Stornoway has been awarded £659k by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to further its work in harvesting knotted wrack. Background and prospects are outlined in The Press and Journal. You will be surprised where the all-year-around production eventually reaches.

Scottish Islands Explorer - it, too, is exported around the world
Digital Edition: keeps and delivers above sea level

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Attracted by the Distant?

If you are attracted by off-shore islands that are distant and distinctive, then consider the Out Skerries, to the north-east of the Shetland group. Here is the opportunity to purchase a five-bedroomed property, built in 2014, with offers of over £150k considered. Take a look around and inside.

Scottish Islands Explorer - takes you far away
Digital Edition: capable of getting you there fast

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Diatomite in Depth

About two weeks ago this blog featured an industrial railway on Skye, built for the transport of Diatomite. The Stornoway Gazette now carries an in-depth article about the product and its process. So do look into the substance - called in Gaelic 'Caile' and translated as 'chalk'. The image above is of Loch Cuither, in Lealt; the other source was an appropriately named mine, at Digg, in Staffin.

Scottish Islands Explorer - worth looking into for substance
Digital Edition: ready to be transported anywhere in the world

Monday, 4 February 2019

A Name Game

An interesting new, eco-friendly resort has been proposed for Portree, Skye, and the prospective developer, Charles Garton Jones, needs help … with the selection of a name for it. Take a look at the West Highland Free Press for details of the scheme and the £250 cash prize.

Scottish Islands Explorer - chooses items and images with care
Digital Edition: hi-tech links likely

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Moon and More Over Skye

Roger Gentle took this photograph of the Moon with Venus and Jupiter appearing over Skye. It is the only island representative in the gallery of fine winter images in the current BBC Your Pictures of Scotland.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes looking over Skye
Digital Edition: takes the aerial path to all destinations

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Up (and Over) Helly Aa

Features of the Up Helly Aa festivals can be seen from a long way off. That's part of their purpose.
However, two men, perhaps wanting to see more of the Lerwick event, face possible charges in connection with using drones in the vicinity. There are basic details in The Press and Journal, with the report enlivened by video footage of the fiery occasion.

Scottish Islands Explorer - likes a higher perspective
Digital Edition: flies features to far-flung places

Friday, 1 February 2019

Drone, Digital and 3D

Canna and Sanday may be among the Small Isles, but are extensive enough when it comes to mapping. A team from Glasgow-based, GeoGeo, spent five days on the islands last year and successfully took 4000 photographs

using a drone to complete a survey that has led to the production of a detailed 3D map - the first of its type in the world involving islands. Its focus is on the archaeological aspects of the area. The details of this undertaking are on the BBC Website.

Scottish Islands Explorer - produced ready for 3D use
Digital Edition: reaches its destinations without drone-assistance