MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Skye remains closed to new admissions following a flu outbreak, NHS Highland stated today (Tuesday 16 January.)

Four patients have now tested positive for flu and there are a number of patients experiencing respiratory symptoms.

Yet while the Broadford hospital is also closed to visitors, the A&E and out-patients departments remain open.

Dr Willem Nel, NHS Highland’s Rural Practitioner and clinical lead for Skye, Lochalsh & Wester Ross, said: “The Memorial Hospital is closed to new admissions and for visitors, but A&E and the out-patients departments are operating as normal.

“Healthy young patients presenting themselves at MMH with flu symptoms and not deemed at risk, will be sent home with flu advice. Ideally, do not attend the hospital if you are suffering mild flu-like symptoms but rather take advice from your GP and pharmacist where possible.

Payment surcharges on credit and debit cards have been banned from Saturday 13 January, say Highland Council.

A payment surcharge is when traders impose a charge on customers for making a payment.

An amendment was made to the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012, meaning that businesses cannot impose any surcharge for using consumer credit, debit or charge cards; similar payment methods that are not card-based (such as mobile phone based payment methods) and electronic payment services (such as Paypal.)

The ban on surcharges applies to all payments made by the methods of payments listed above, whether or not they are in relation to a contract.  It covers not only payments for goods and services, but also taxes, charitable donations and other types of payment.

The A87 road between Sconser and Broadford was blocked today (Tuesday 16 January.)

A Howdens lorry was stuck, blocking the road on both sides.  

The bus returning pupils from Portree to Broadford was delayed and ultimately returned back to Portree, with pupils still aboard.  

The road is now open.

A Recruitment fayre highlighting NHS Highland jobs on Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh will be held on Wednesday 24 January. 

The health board has teamed up with Jobcentre Plus staff to hold a ‘Jobs Fayre’ at the Portree Job Centre from 10am to 4pm.

With over ten local jobs or career opportunities currently on offer, jobseekers will have face-to-face access to NHS Highland staff from a variety of professional backgrounds about full and part time opportunities within the local health and social care sector.

Jobcentre Plus staff will also be on hand at the Portree Jobcentre at 24 Bayfield Road to provide support about how to tackle any barriers to employment, as well as expert advice and guidance on how obtain part-time employment within the new universal credit benefits system.

Rena Macleod, NHS Highland’s area manager for West Highland Operation Unit’s Care at Home Service (Skye, Lochalsh, West Ross & Lochaber), said: “There are a wide variety of jobs available across our health and social care sector for local residents in Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh. At the ‘Jobs Fayre’ on Wednesday 24th January we want to show local jobseekers that there are considerable opportunities for them to work in their own communities in a flexible way.

“The opportunities to be highlighted on the day include caring and drivers jobs in our care@home service, community support work, catering and domestic jobs in our hospital’s hotel services, and two health and social support worker posts for our rural support team on Raasay. As one of the largest employers across Highland, there are many more job opportunities available.

A village on Skye could be named Village of the Year in a nationally televised competition.

Tarskavaig, along with two other Highland villages, is in the running to claim the title.  

The show will be hosted by Penelope Keith, who will judge entrants along with Alex Langlands, Juliet Sargeant and Patrick Grant.  

From stunning coastal fishing villages to hillside farming communities and from outlandish artist colonies to the most traditional chocolate box villages, Village of the Year 2017 with Penelope Keith will celebrate all that is great about our rural communities.

The 24 x 60 series, produced by Reef Television will air across both daytime and peak.

Penelope will preside over heats, semi-finals and final, with a panel of expert judges deciding which villages will progress through the rounds before revealing their winner, based on the following criteria: Appearance; History & Heritage; Village Events; Activities; and Visitor Experience.

They will award their chosen village with the accolade of Village of the Year and £10,000 to be used for a worthwhile community project.




Broadford and Strath Community Company have been awarded funds from the National Lottery's good cause cash.

The announcement came today (Tuesday 16 January) and will mean the Skye company receives £142,060.  The money will allow them to teach people how to grow their own food and will introduce a shed for people to learn and share practical skills.

The cash from the Big Lottery Fund goes to 24 community groups in many parts of the country to deliver a range of stimulating activities that will boost peoples' creativity, confidence and self-esteem.  

Maureen McGinn, Chair, Big Lottery Fund Scotland, said: "Because people play the National Lottery, then great things can happen in their communities.

"Today's £6 million injection of funding is a perfect illustration, as it will create many new opportunities for people across Scotland to come together, learn and share skills.

"Thanks to this funding, thousands of Scots will have a stimulating New Year by being able to pursue a creative activity, acquire new skills such as growing and cooking or be able to take up volunteering opportunities."




Brexit, broadband, City-Region Deal and housing debt will be among some of the matters discussed by Highland Council’s Leader Cllr Margaret Davidson and Budget Leader Cllr Alister Mackinnon on a visit to the UK Government in London today (Tuesday 16 January 2018).

At a meeting with Lord Duncan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland they will be updating him on progress being made on the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal.

They also intend raising the matter of Brexit and the implications that this will have on Highland. Cllrs Davidson and Mackinnon will be seeking further information on the UK Government’s potential support for tourism.

In addition, the digital connectivity of the Highlands will be raised with Lord Duncan as Cllrs Davidson and Mackinnon hope to find out how the UK Government can contribute to accelerating the roll out of broadband across the region.

Cllr Davidson will also be meeting the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP along with Ian Blackford MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber.

MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Skye has closed to new admissions following patients being diagnosed with flu.

Two patients have tested positive for flu and there are a further seven patients experiencing respiratory symptoms.

Visitors are being asked not to come to the hospital but staff will be happy to talk to them over the phone in order to provide them with updates on their loved ones.  These measures are likely to be in place for the next five days.  

Chrisann O'Halloran, senior charge nurse, said: “Flu is circulating in the community and has now impacted on the hospital here in Broadford. By restricting visiting to the affected areas it helps hospital staff protect the health, privacy and dignity of our patients.

“We fully appreciate there will be circumstances when visiting is of benefit to both patients and their families which we will look at on an individual basis and these can be discussed with myself as senior charge nurse.”

Kate Forbes MSP has written to Scotland's major public bodies and companies delivering public contracts asking them to take the lead in cracking down on plastic straws and other single-use plastics to save the environment.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch recently launched her 'Final Straw' campaign, calling on businesses and consumers to commit to stop using disposable plastic straws and for governments to ban their use.

It is estimated that around 3 billion plastic straws are thrown away each year in Scotland – proving a significant pollutant in the seas around Scotland and risk to wildlife.

Kate Forbes MSP has now sought commitments from rail operator ScotRail and west coast ferry operator CalMac, asking them to go 'straw free' by not automatically providing plastic straws with drinks, and only providing paper or biodegradable straws when requested.

She has also written to Scotland's National Galleries and National Museums for similar action in their public cafes, and to Highland Council for action in catering and canteen facilities.

The Scottish Government has taken the lead in seeking to tackle the scourge of plastics as a major source of pollution across the world, and this week announced its intention to ban the sale and manufacture of plastic-stemmed cotton buds.

Kate Forbes MSP said: "Most of us don't need plastic straws in our drinks and yet in Scotland we throw away a staggering 3 billion each year. They're choking our seas and damaging our environment.

An application to the Climate Challenge Fund could develop Raasay Walled Garden even further, if the grant is awarded.

Raasay Roots Shoots & Fruits project began in April 2017, after a grant was given from the CCF.  The grant will end in March 2018.  Since the project began, over 200kg of produce has been supplied to the local shop and businesses on the islands.  

Raasay Walled Garden Facebook page stated: "As you'll have seen if you've been able to attend our community events & consultations in 2017, we’ve got great plans for the garden in 2018 and the years ahead, but we do need to secure further funding to be able to develop and improve on what we have already achieved.

"We will hear whether our application to the CCF for a further two years funding has been successful by March but in the meantime we are continuing to explore other opportunities as well as getting on with the day to day work!"