Cancer screening may have saved Portree woman Jo-Anne Ford's life not just once but twice and now she's leading the fight to persuade others to take part.

For Jo-Anne is spearheading a new campaign by NHS Highlands to persuade other women to participate in the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme.

According to the 46 years old regular participation in screening may have prevented her developing cervical cancer twice, and potentially saved her life.

And now under the banner of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week she hopes to help raise awareness of the programme, which invites all women aged from 25 to 64 to regularly attend cervical screening.

A 10 mph convoy system will begin operating on one section of the A9 for two weeks from next Monday (February 6)

Improvements are to be made to a section of the A9 between Pitlochry and Bruar which will see a section of the carriageway strengthened and reconstructed.

The essential works involve reconstructing a short 20m section of the carriageway to the south of Bruar, which will remove a small dip in the road and smooth out the road surface.

Work on the 20m section of the A9 south of Bruar will begin on Monday 6 February and is expected to take up to two weeks to complete. The works shall be carried out between 7am and 7pm each day.

The Skye "crew" at the awards

 

Skye's sailors are on the crest of a wave after taking Scotland's top sailing award.

Against the odds the Portree based group were officially named RYA Scotland Club of the Year 2016 during a ceremony staged at the Glasgow Science Centre .

The boating community from around the country gathered as RYA Scotland recognised the achievements and outstanding commitment of Scotland’s volunteers, coaches, instructors, officials, clubs and performance sailors.

The theme throughout the evening returned to the boating ‘family’ as the support network that enables the vast range of activity represented across the ten award categories.

Skye Sailing Club was awarded the RYA Scotland Club of the Year award for their recent investments in the club and commitment to the local island community within the past year.

Mobile phone network EE have submitted a planning application to erect a 20m high mast, ancillary equipment cabinets & fenced compound on land at Glen Varragil
 
The exact location is given as 3180 metres NE Of Ben Edra, Crossal, Drynoch, Carbost, ,

Other applications to go before Highland Council include:

Four candidates have put forward their names forward for the West Highland area in the forthcoming Crofting Commission elections.

The area takes in Sutherland, Wester Ross, Skye & Lochalsh and ballot papers will be issued by post to all eligible electors and must be returned in the pre-paid envelope provided by 4.00 p.m. on Thursday 16th March 2017.

Lochcarron Community Development Company has recently received a £8,500 Awards for All grant.

The money will be used to  make improvements to a community woodland site managed by the group.
Awards For All Scotland gives groups a chance to apply for a grant of between £500 and £10,000 for projects that aim to help improve local communities and the lives of people most in need. They will fund a range of projects which involve bringing local people together, helping people learn, improving local spaces and getting people more active.
http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/scotland.htm

Glenbrittle Forest


Saturday (February 4) will see the latest in Skye and Lochalsh Running Club's Winter Series.

The Glenbrittle 10 mile trail run, the longest and possibly the toughest of all the events, will come under starter's orders at noon.

Held around the forest tracks of Glenbrittle and Eynort registration is from 11.30am at the Fairy Pools car park. Cost £5 (SLRC £1). All welcome (over-16s only).


Folk from Skye again feature in BBC Alba programmes next week.

De a-nis? on Tuesday 7 February, 6.30 – 7.00pm, features Lochaber Gaelic Primary School race against the clock in the schools' hopper challenge, Puingean nam Boingean and there's also a chance to meet Ross from Skye - you'll have to watch the programme to find out which Ross - who introduces us to his favourite hobbies in An Rud as Fheàrr Leam.

Then Dealbhan Fraoich/Heather's Portraits on Thursday 9 February, 8.30 – 9.00pm sees Heather Dewar drawing a charcoal portrait of the island's Fiona Cruickshank.

 

Uninsured drivers are to be targeted next week by Police Scotland, in partnership with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), in a week of action starting on Monday (January 30) and running through to Sunday (February 5).

Police Scotland has advised all drivers to ensure they are covered by valid insurance, prior to the campaign starting on Monday.

Road Policing Officers, who will be supported by their divisional colleagues, will use the latest intelligence to focus on known uninsured drivers and hotspots, with drivers found to be breaking the law facing points, fines and having their vehicle seized and potentially crushed. 

Chief Superintendent Andy Edmonston, Head of Road Policing for Police Scotland, said: “This campaign will be delivered through a combination of mobile and static road checks, involving all Road Policing officers across Scotland with support from divisional colleagues across the entire country. 

Bikers on Skye will soon not have to go the extra mile - in fact many miles - to get their machines MOT'd.

In the recent past motorcyclists have had to travel all the way to Lochcarron to get the essential test done or head even further to Inverness.

 

Co-op is recalling its Southern Fried Chicken Wrap  (Chicken & Bacon Caesar Wrap) because it contains milk and shellfish which are not correctly declared on the labels. This means the product is a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to these foods.

For full information follow the SkyeTimes link

A brand new festival is arriving in the Isle of Skye this summer.

The Spirit of Skye brings together Scotland’s finest whisky, gin, beer, music and food, the organisers say.

Isle of Skye Distillers, Crossbill Gin, Isle of Skye Brewery, Talisker, Diageo, R&B Distillers, Strathearn Distillery and Harris Gin are among the well-known names set to take part in the 2017 Festival which is taking place at Aros in Portree.

Four men from the Harbro Country Store in Portree have volunteered for a charity leg wax.  

Set to take place on April 5 2017, the leg wax will raise money for various charities, including CLAN Cancer Support, JDRF Scotland, British Heart Foundation and Kidney Kids Scotland, as well as Alzheimer Scotland and Cancer Research UK.  

Kate Forbes MSP

Controversial plans over creating clusters of primary schools overseen by just one head have been discussed by Highland Council.

While five clusters, including one at Plockton were approved, others involving amongst them Mallaig and the Small Isles, were deferred.

Skye MSP Kate Forbes is one of those calling for more consultation over the whole plan which has been put forward, according to Education chief , Jim Stephen, not necessarily to save money, but about enhancing pupils' education.

Macleods Maidens

 

Skye's Cuillin Hills and Durinish have been named among 42 Wild Land Areas of Scotland published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The areas have been identified as having "high wildness" and include islands, mountain ranges, moorlands and blanket bogs, said the agency.

Among the sites are parts of Jura and also Hoy in Orkney, Breadalbane-Schiehallion in Perth and Kinross and Lochnagar as well as the Skye areas

 


Staffin Community Trust have confirmed they will  soon be advertising to recruit a new member of staf to manage its ambitious Skye Ecomuseum II project.

The full-time post is a new job, which will be funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) until September 2019 and will be in addition to the local development officer’s role currently carried out by Hugh Ross.

SCT is hoping to advertise the job within the coming weeks, once it gets the official project permission to start from HLF. The successful candidate will manage the project, with particular emphasis on the activity programme.

Scotland's leading creative industries conference and showcase is looking for the next generation of filmmakers, writers and musicians to showcase their work in front of industry insiders in Inverness this coming June.

 The submission window to showcase at this year's XpoNorth runs until Saturday 1st April and delegate registration, which is free, is now open and organisers are inviting anyone with an interest in pursuing a career in the creative industries to sign up.

 Highlands and Islands-based creative industries network, XpoNorth, is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Highland Council is inviting parents to enrol their child for nursery and primary 1 for the 2017/18 school year and now they can do it online.

If your child will be five years of age on or before 28 February 2018, they are eligible to enrol for Primary 1.

Children born between 1 March 2013 and 28 February 2015 are entitled to a funded Early Learning and Childcare place.

Enrolment week for primary 1 is from Monday 30 January to Friday 3 February 2017, and for nurseries from Monday 13 February to Friday 17 February.

Police would like to make public aware of a report of lost medication in the Kyle of Lochalsh area.

The medication, which is believed to have been lost on Tuesday (January 24) could be harmful to children if consumed. Any person finding medication should hand it in to the nearest Pharmacy or Kyle Police Station.

Pictured left to right are: Lloyd Gudgeon, Jill Westgarth, Katherine Gillies, Anne Gillies, Rhoda Grant, John W Gillies and Tekela Koek.

 

Highlands and Island's MSP Rhoda Grant is the latest politican to give her backing to Raasay's fight for improved out of hours medical cover.

After travelling over to the island she said: "I am supporting the Raasay community in its campaign to have a professional nursing presence 24/7 after visiting the island this week to talk to Raasay Community Council and Raasay Development Trust, and being persuaded by residents’ arguments.

"I feel that if the island is to develop economically and socially, the presence of a nurse, in the evenings and at weekends, would provide reassurance and security both for residents and visitors, especially in the absence of an easily accessible GP.

"Ideally any nurse serving Raasay should be able to deal with children under 16, a service which current NHS Highland protocol says cannot be provided.

"What struck me was the genuine concerns of the community and the undisputable fact that they are in a very vulnerable situation, separated from health services by a stretch of water and a ferry service which doesn’t run over night and has a limited service on Sundays.

Two new distilleries opening and now a festival dedicated to Whisky. Skye and Raasay look set to be THE places to be this year if you enjoy a dram.

Plans are already being put in place for this summer's Spirit of Skye event which is to be staged at Portree's Aros Centre.

There will be a chance to meet, greet and learn from the whisky masters, sample the best drams, beers and gins from our renowned region. Relax and enjoy live music and entertainment with an exciting mix of tastings, food pairing classes and mixology demonstrations.

At the same time visitors can watch one of Scotland’s finest chefs in a cookery demonstration using the freshest local produce and finest quality spirits.

The late Sir Iain Noble


An organisation established by Skye's Sir Iain Noble may be no more but its work to help young Gaels will go on.

It was back in 1987 that Sir Iain brought together figures from the business world with the aim of helping young people in their chosen careers.

However, after nearly three decades of such work officials behind the original Club Gnìomhachas nan Gàidheal decided in 2015 that the best way of continuing the work of the club was to transfer the remaining funds to another Gaelic organisation.

One of the many homes created by A. Fraser Builders

Builder Iain Fraser's support for others over the years has brought official recognition.

For the Lochalsh based tradesman has found himself singled out by the Isle of Skye Rotary Club for his outstanding contribution to the local community.

During a special ceremony staged at Sleat's Duisdale Hotel, last night (January 24) Iain, who runs Inverinate based A Fraser Builders stepped forward to receive a special presentation of the Maurice Nicol Award to mark his achievement.


Forest Commission Scotland have submitted a planning application to ugrade existing parking and create new parking facilities and upgraded footpaths on land north of, Carpenter's House, in Kylerhea.

Other applications put to Highland Council are as follows:

Wheels have been set in motion for Skye to establish its own Community Cycle Club.

Cycling UK worked with 81 community groups across Scotland during September and October last year to deliver the Big Bike Revival, a 6 week intervention aimed at encouraging people to cycle for everyday journeys.

Their intervention seen over 500 events and activities take place during these months. They would like to support more community organisations engage in cycling activity by developing Community Cycle Clubs. Some more information on Community Cycle Clubs and how to become one is detailed below.

Ross with his debut novel

 

When Scottish writer Ross Sayers wanted a stunning setting for his debut novel then where else would he have chosen...but Skye.

And now, from the end of the month islanders can pick up a copy and possibly even read about themselves!

His novel, "Mary’s the Name", tells the story of eight-year-old Mary who lives with her granpa in Stirling - Ross' home town -  but they have to leave home suddenly and flee to the Isle of Skye after being caught up in a robbery at the bookies

His research for the novel included a trip to Portree. “It was important to me to give a real sense of Portree in the book,’ Ross told us. ‘And there’s no substitute for actually visiting the place you’re writing about.”

 

The original proposed site

Staffin is pressing ahead with its aim to build the first new affordable homes for the locality in nearly two decades.

Despite apparent opposition from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) the Staffin Community Trust (SCT) have confirmed that architects have now been appointed to design the six new houses and a business unit proposed for Stenscholl Common Grazings, close to the school and main road.

Back in December the Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund and the Scottish Land Fund both approved grants for the scheme.

 That funding has allowed the Trust to appoint Skye architectural firm, Rural Design, to design the development. There will be close consultation with the Stenscholl township’s croft tenants, local residents, the Kilmuir Estate and the wider community.

Road improvement plans on two sections of the A87 are set to begin early in February.

The £300,000 resurfacing will impact on motorist using the major route between Strollamus and Dunan on Skye and also at the village of Inverinate. The work will see both sections of the route resurfaced to address any cracks, potholes or other defects along this section to create a smoother and safer journey for motorists.

The programme of work is scheduled as follows:

The Old Man

Staffin Community Trust have set the end of January as their deadline to submit ambitious improvement plans for The Storr.

The Trust have made clear the need to bring changes to the popular visitor attraction following growing concerns about issues ranging from road safety to lack of toilet facilities.

In their Winter newsletter they say: “An options appraisal into the site by an experienced consultant team, including an architect, identified a preferred option and is nearing completion.

“This would see the Staffin Community Trust (SCT) purchase part of the Highland Council-owned site and develop a new car park, toilets and small shelter with space for interpretation promoting Staffin and its businesses.

Police say that after a fly tipping incident in Kyle a man has been charged.

Described as a "local man" he will now be reported to the Procurator Fiscal with a view to prosecution. In the meantime if members of the public spot any further similar incidents they are urged to call 101 and police have pledged to taken action.

Fairy pools. One of the spots struggling to cope with demand

 

Skye MSP Kate Forbes says she had a "productive" meeting with one of the Scottish Government's senior figures to discuss rising tourist numbers on the island and growing pressure on its infrastructure.

The local politican met with Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, to look at ways forward as parts of Skye struggle to cope with the increasing demands placed on it. 

She said: "It was particularly useful looking at what is working well in other places – such as the Business Improvement District focused on tourism in Loch Lomond or the co-operative in Argyll and Bute. I have also invited the Cabinet Secretary to visit the Isle of Skye.

"With these growing numbers in mind, we need to look well ahead and I would like to see businesses, communities and public bodies develop a Skye Tourist Development Plan which could strategically plan for the next few years.

Ensemble leader, Rick Taylor, is tuning up to play on Skye - and you can join him.

Bookings are now being taken for the Rick Taylor Ensemble Week from April 17th - 21st when there's a chance to spend 5 days making music with "one of the worlds greatest ensemble leaders".

Two spirits of a different came together for a special evening in Sleat.

As part of the build up to the opening of Skye's newest whisky producer, the Torabhaig Distillery, owners Mossburn Distillers staged an evening reception at the Talla Mòr, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig which was hosted by Visit Sleat.

And as an added touch of the exotic they invited along representatives from the Akashi Sake Brewery Company located in the city of Hyogo on Japan's southern island of Honshu, with who they have a joint venture.

In fact the distillers are set to become the first Scottish company to produce Japanese whisky in Japan. To mark the occasion two executives of the Sake company were in Sleat to introduce the community to their national drink as well as some stunning Japanese whisky.

Police in Portree are seeking help to track down those responsible for damage to a home in Urquhart Place. The incident, on Wednesday evening (January 18) involved a window being broken. Anyone who can help should call 101.

 

Skye figures in several of the programmes due to be screened by BBC Alba over the coming weeks.

In De a-nis? Tuesday 31 January, from 6.30 – 7.00pm Megan and her friend Sara introduce us to the fiddle, their favourite musical instrument, you can find out how Kilmuir Primary School in Skye fare in this week's hopper challenge, Puingean nam Boingean, and Tia from Lewis tells us about her favourite pastimes.


If he's still around here's one Santa who could spring a nasty surprise.

Chocolate company Thorntons is recalling all batches of its Hollow Milk Chocolate Jolly Santa because they may contain a piece of plastic.

Police in the Highlands have thanked members of the public for their vigilance and assistance in providing information on incidents of hare coursing in the north.

Hare coursing is the illegal pursuit of hares by dogs resulting in a barbaric, terrifying death for the animal.

PC Dan Sutherland, Divisional Wildlife Crime Officer, explains: “We’ve issued a number of appeals recently relating to crime in the rural environment and following contact from members of the public, Police in Inverness have reported three individuals to the Procurator Fiscal for hare coursing in the Ardersier area.

Experiences gained on Skye have been helping to form a national picture of how communities in Scotland help themselves and each other.

A new study has found that Scotland’s disconnected communities could be costing the local economy £731 million every year. This constitutes a portion of the £32 billion that makes up the total UK-wide cost.

The research, commissioned by Eden Project initiative The Big Lunch and funded by the Big Lottery, reveals the annual cost to Scotland’s public services of social isolation and disconnected communities, including:

Emily Watts, Country Manager Scotland for Eden Project Communities said: “This piece of research only deepens our commitment to encourage communities to connect with one another and take whatever action they feel will best benefit their area. We know that people who live in a place have a unique knowledge about what will work. We hear stories every year about how people feel better and more resilient after taking part in things like our mass participation event ‘The Big Lunch’ or by simply doing things where they live that benefit the community.”

The Big Lunch is one of Eden’s most significant and best known initiatives, made possible by the Big Lottery Fund. The idea is for as many people as possible across the UK to have lunch with their neighbours annually on a Sunday in June, in a simple act of community, friendship and fun. 

In Portree Lesley Hellon who runs the Youth Drop in was instrumental in pulling together a Big Lunch event which, unsurprisingly, was hit by the weather.

 

Margaret Davidson

Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has welcomed the outcome of the vote in the Scottish Parliament on the motion to reverse the decision to scrap the Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Cllr Davidson said: “This vote sends a strong message to the Scottish Government about their incessant centralising agenda and we would now urge Ministers to reconsider their entire approach. Centralisation completely contradicts the move towards localism and communities being involved in decision making and having services which reflect their local needs and geography.”

Cllr Davidson joined with the Leaders of all the local authorities in the Highlands and Islands, in writing to Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown, in December, in a call to protect local decision making for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). This was in addition to the motion agreed by Highland Council in December, and numerous correspondence and meetings with Keith Brown MSP and Fergus Ewing MSP.

 

From 1 April 2017 the Scottish Government is changing the basis on which properties are assessed for Council Tax and this will increase the charge for Council Tax properties that are banded E to H.

The Highland Council say they have no discretion in this matter and must apply these increases to the Council Tax charges although households living in properties in Bands A-D are not affected by these increases.

Further information on the Council Tax increases by the Scottish Government (external link) can be found on their website: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Government/local-government/17999/counciltax (external link)

This change will mean that residents of Band E properties would pay at least £2.05 more per week and £10.06 for Band H properties.

If you would like to check what band your property falls under you can check on the Assessor’s web site: https://www.saa.gov.uk/

Calum's creation

 

Local artist Calum Gillies has come up with a whole new look for Raasay.

For he has taken the island....and sent it vertical!

On social media he said: "I finally drew a picture of my wee island that I'm happy with! It's stuffed full of references and my favourite spots, and it, of course, features a Kelpie."

SEALL's AGM gathering

SEALL' s annual 'Fèis an Eilein~Skye Festival' will run in 2017 from 4th July to 25th August.

Traditional music, theatre, jazz, opera, comedy, multi-instrument orchestras, piping, puppetry and circus will make up just some of the entertainment planned.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig student Hannah McKirdy is up for Best Performance


Skye - and its young film makers - figure predominently in this year's short list for FilmG, the national Gaelic short film competition.

The island's Christina MacDonald, Kerr Gibb from Portree,  Iain Wilson from Staffin  and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig TV Course students’ parody, Cheating Our Language have all made it into the final few. 

This year’s FilmG attracted more entries than ever before with many clever, fun and quirky interpretations of the theme ‘Strì’ (Endeavour/Conflict).

Skye Shinty's Ally MacLeod impressed judges with his comedy performance

The FilmG jury panels comprised of industry professionals including producers, directors and scriptwriters from all over Scotland, as well as top sports commentators given the inclusion of the new Sports Commentary Category this year. 

One of this year’s panelists is BeesNees Media Director, Duncan MacDonald who said: “It is great to see so many filmmakers of all ages engage in this competition. This year we have seen a wide range of films and individual takes on the topic and those making the shortlist had a clear narrative and viewpoint. It's not always about technical brilliance - heart and soul come through strongly in the best work.”

Highland and Islands Police are working in partnership with local authority Trading Standards across the division, advising residents to remain vigilant to door step criminals.

Bad weather can often bring with it damage to property, resulting in an increase in bogus callers in local communities. Criminals will use the weather as an opportunity to attempt to con you.

Reputable businesses will never cold call you looking for work and you should always seek more than one quote for any work you are planning.

Police Scotland will remain vigilant and numerous Doorstep Crime campaigns/initiatives have and will be carried out along with Trading Standards and other partner agencies. As proved in the past, anyone caught carrying out this despicable type of crime WILL be dealt with robustly.

By following the steps detailed below, you will reduce the chances of falling victim to doorstep crime. Stay vigilant for elderly relatives, neighbours and friends – especially if they live alone.

The Crofting Commission has welcomed the announcement from the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP, of the appointment of Malcolm Mathieson as a Commissioner of the Crofting Commission from 1 January 2017 and the reappointment of David Campbell as a Commissioner of the Crofting Commission from 1 April 2017.

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) is appealing to crofters, especially women and young crofters, to stand as candidates for the Crofting Commissioner elections.

“It is imperative that we get a decent number of experienced crofters to stand for the election of Crofting Commissioners”, said Russell Smith, Chair of the SCF. “So we are encouraging people to stand. We want a range of candidates for crofters to choose from, including women and young people, with contested elections in all constituencies so that the best people get in. We are convinced that the only way to get the Commission back to good health is to get the right people on to the Commission board.

“Gender balance in government has been topical in the press lately and it is no less important in crofting regulation. We need a fair representation of women on the board of the Crofting Commission.

Skye MP Ian Blackford looks set to continue his campaign to ensure one of the island's main ferry services stops being a "farce."

Days after the new summer timetable for the Mallaig - Armadale route was announced the local representative made clear his feelings.

He said: "This is nothing short of a shambles, with reduced or delayed sailings as a result of predicted low tides. How can anyone be expected to plan journeys around services which may or may not run?

Braes Community Hall

 

Braes Community Hall looks set to earn a reprieve after locals campaigned to keep it as an election polling station.

There was anger after residents realised that they might have to travel to a school in Portree to vote under proposals being cosidered by Highland Council designed to save money.

As reported in The Skye Times there were also fears that those without access to transport would be unable to take part in elections and concerns about lost funding for the hall.

Police have confirmed that four men are to be reported to the Procurator Fiscal in connection with the alleged distribution of counterfeit banknotes in the Highlands.

Officers from Divisional Road Policing Unit alongside local officers stopped a vehicle on the A9 in Ross-shire yesterday (Monday 16th January 2017) and detained the four men; aged 25, 23, 20 and 16.

Police Scotland are reminding the public, particularly those who are employed in shops or who regularly handle cash, to be aware of counterfeit banknotes and to report any suspicious incidents to Police.

The Food Standards Agency have put out an advisory notice that Tesco is recalling two batch codes of its Tesco Takeaway Butter Chicken.

This is because the sauce used contains nuts (cashew), which is not mentioned on the label and means the product is a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy to nuts.

Off with the old...

One of Skye's old favourites, the Glenelg to Kylerhea ferry, is spending the winter months having a bit of a face lift.

Emergency culvert replacement works are taking  place along the A86 and will affect early evening and late night travellers especially.

The works are required to repair two culverts which have partially collapsed. Temporary traffic management has been installed at both locations to make the area safe and protect road users until the repairs can be completed.

The repairs are expected to take five nights to complete. Works will be split into two phases, with the first phase repairing the culvert at Lochan Uvie, close to the village of Laggan, and the second phase taking place at Gorstean, one mile south of Laggan.

Due to the nature of the culvert repairs, a full road closure is required between 7pm and 7am, starting on Monday 16 January, to protect roadworkers as well as motorists during the works.

Ward 2C at Raigmore Hospital has been closed to new admissions following a number of patients being diagnosed with flu.

Three patients have tested positive for flu and as a precaution the ward has been closed.
Relatives and friends are being asked to avoid visiting Ward 2C if at all possible and should telephone the nurse in charge before travelling to the hospital.

The Ward can be reached by calling the Raigmore Hospital Switchboard on 01463 704 000.


It sounds like a dream job. Live in one of the best places in the UK, wonderful scenery, chance to travel, access to Michelin star restaurant, great education for children and plenty of opportunity to wildlife spot.

Where is it? Well south Skye of course. For those are just some of the incentives being put forward by NHS Highland to attract a new part-time GP to the island.

Here's what health chiefs have to say about the position.

Waternish Community Hall Committee have become the latest on Skye to hit out at new election polling station plans from Highland Council.

Following on from complaints made by Braes, the Waternish group have also voiced their serious concerns about the scheme to switch polling stations from their traditional Village Hall sites to local schools.

Highland Council claim the move would save cash but local people believe it could result in many, particularly those without transport, missing out on their right to vote.

Urging anyone else with similar views to email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Waternish Community Hall (SCIO) Committee member, Judith Hodgkin said: “ I have only just heard about this proposal and find that your consultation timetable happened over Christmas and New Year when our local committee was busy organising local events.  Clearly we have missed the deadline to respond and I wish to express my concern about this.


Glendale is very quickly becoming the centre of the universe, at least when it comes to seeing the Northern Lights.

For now thanks to local man, Andy Stables and his obsession with the sky high show, up to a 1,000 people a night are logging on to an app he has created which accurately predicts just when the fantastic light show can be seen.

A part-time crofter and also working as a web developer, Andy set up home on Skye with his wife Alison ten years ago and since then his love of the stars, and particularly the Northern Lights has just grown and grown.

Andy

He said: "I got into star gazing by accident as there’s so much space and dark skies here you can’t help but look up at the stars. I’d seen the auroras a few times without fully realising what I was seeing, then during strong displays I’d see distinct columns and try to capture these on camera.

If police on Skye suceed in their latest mission it will be a hard one to cap.

For local officers have launched a new online campaign to make sure that one larger than life character gets safely back home.....the Gruffalo!


Skye Camanachd have confirmed their pre-season programme.

New Skye Camanachd first team co-managers Willie Cowie and Peter Gordon have set their side a testing month with three games against Marine Harvest Premiership opposition.

The Skye players took part in the John MacKinnon Memorial Shinty Sixes at the turn of the year and training is now in full swing.

Skye’s pre-season schedule will see them play Lovat at Pairc nan Laoch, Portree on Saturday 11 February 2017. The match will also contest the Annual George Michie Memorial Cup.

Sleat Community Trust have announced the departure of manager, Sharon Campbell, after five years in the post.

However, according to the Board members she will not be immediately replaced. This is what they had to say:

Following the first stage of the public consultation on the Review of Polling places in Highland, the Returning Officer has published proposals and further responses are now invited.

According to Highland Council the aim of the review is to ensure that every elector in the area has reasonable facilities for voting and that the polling places are accessible for all electors including those who are disabled.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has lashed out at the response she has received regarding the future of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

She said she was both "astonished and angered" by the comments coming from the Scottish Government on HIE decision making powers when a new overarching Scotland-wide board is established.

The MSP asked, in a Parliamentary Question, if Highlands and Islands Enterprise will continue to decide the strategic priorities for its investment and social development in the Highlands and Islands following the establishment of the single Scotland-wide board for enterprise and skills.

NHS Highland is seeking to recruit public members to two of the board’s advisory committees and one of their advisory groups.

The committees are the Asset Management Group and the Area Clinical Forum. The advisory group is the NHS Highland and NHS Western Isles Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme Steering Group.

Volunteers from local communities are being asked to join board members, senior clinicians and managers to help oversee the board’s work in a number of key management and clinical areas.

 

SEALL - Skye Events for All - will be staging their A.G.M. followed by an open session on Monday 16 January.

The event runs from 7pm-9pm at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Seòmar Cruinneachaidh and all members and supporters are invited along.

According to the organisers: "Business will be short and to the point and last less than 30 minutes. We already have one new Board Member nominated and are always looking to extend our skills. Contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Launch of HITRANS Thistle Assistance Card for Public Transport at Kyleakin – Pictured are Charlene Macleod manager of Kyleakin Connections, HITRANS Board Member Councillor Audrey Sinclair and Stagecoach Area Manager, Iain Beaton, with members of the Day Care centre at Kyleakin

 

Kyleakin has helped kickstarted a new region-wide scheme to provide a quick and easy way for those with a disability to get help when using public transport, particularly buses.

HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, has introduced a new Thistle Assistance Card which the holder can use to advise the bus driver/public transport operator of any special help that is required.

The scheme was publicly launched in Kyleakin, Skye, by Councillor Audrey Sinclair, who is Highland Councillor for Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh and a member of the HITRANS Board.

A new online safety training programme designed to prevent young people from being at risk of cyber bullying and digital misuse is to be rolled out across Scotland.

Designed in conjunction with global cyber security giant, Trend Micro, the online safety programme, “Be Smart”, addresses the core vulnerabilities facing young people of cyber bullying, sexual content and their online profile.

“ Be Smart” - as part of the Choices for Life programme, which is delivered by Police Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government - aims to create a team of young people (including senior school pupils), youth workers and parent groups who will be equipped with the tools to ‘start the conversation’ with young people about online safety.

Do you know a young person who would benefit from this opportunity? This training programme will also help local communities to build capacity and make the most of their community centres.

GET IN is a free and fun project which brings young people together from across the Highlands and Islands to learn to promote events and ultimately organise a tour of a live performance to their communities.

The Touring Network’s year-long Youth Promoter project provides young people aged between 16-26, who live in the Highlands & Islands, with the training, knowledge and expertise required to programme the live events they want to see in their communities. 

Trotternish Ridge

 Skye and Lochalsh Running Club have announced entries are now open for this year's Trotternish Ridge Race but have already warned: "It's filling up fast."

The event, which this year for the first time is a Scottish Championship counter, takes place on Saturday 3rd June covering 17 miles with 6000ft ascent approx.

The course is unmarked apart from the first two miles through the Quiraing and there are few paths.


The Glendale Trust is to hold a housing open day on the Saturday 21st January between 1-4pm at the Community Hall.

Local Development Officer, Elizabeth MacLeod said: “We look forward to seeing you at the open day and hearing your views.  There will also be the opportunity to register your interest in the various affordable housing options that the trust may consider.

Fiona and her portrait

 

Staffin born Fiona Cruickshank finds herself featured in a new tv series involving artist Heather Dewar.

To be screened on BBC Alba, Fiona, now living in Portree spent a number of years travelling before returning to her favourite place of all – her native isle.

And with her connection to the far north of the island remaining so strong as a surprise for Fiona, Heather incorporates the Old Man of Storr into the background of her portrait.

Islay-born artist Heather Dewar combines two of her passions – people and art – in the new series on BBC ALBA Dealbhan Fraoich which begins on Thursday 19 January.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) is warning anyone planning to travel by ferry tomorrow and into Thursday that strong winds are forecast in many parts of its network leading to possible disruption of ferry services.

Operations Director Drew Collier said: “Weather forecasts for across the west of Scotland are predicting a windy and cold run up to the weekend. We will review sailings on a case by case basis but would advise anyone planning to travel by ferry to take this into account when planning journeys in the next few days."

Rhoda meeting young carers last summer

 

Skye's New Year Honours list recipient, Marjory Jagger, is the latest local to get a mention in the Scottish Parliament.

Just days after lodging a motion to commend local police for their tweeting success, Labour MSP the Highlands and Islands, Rhoda Grant, has done it again, this time to mark the long-serving manager of Skye and Lochalsh Young Carers achievement in receiving the British Empire Medal.

The MSP said: "I visited Ms Jagger and the group in the summer and chatted to some of the young people that it helps. It was obvious that the youngsters, from a wide age range, received tremendous support, not only from those running the project but from other young carers who were in the same position.

Ian Blackford "disappointed"


Skye MP Ian Blackford and his MSP counterpart Kate Forbes are amongst the first to express their "disappointment" at Calmac's 2017 plans for the Mallaig - Armadale service.

Meanwhile Sleat Transport Forum have also made clear their dissatisfaction and their views on the matter can be seen below.

Mr Blackford said: "I have jointly written to Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf expressing disappointment that newly introduced Caledonian MacBrayne Summer timetable has once again failed to properly serve the Mallaig – Armadale route and to call for a meeting with him to discuss options.

 

As police pursuits go they are hardly going to make headline news but for Lochaber and Skye officers out on patrol their latest late night encounters were certainly worth capturing on camera!

As they put it in their now famous tweeting style: "2 pursuits in 2 days in #Duntulm and #Kishorn following reports of someone #haring around but fortunately they #stag out like a sore thumb"

MV Coruisk

Calmac have announced their summer timetable and plans which, they hope, will solve issues surrounding ferry cancellations on the Mallaig-Armadale route.

The main timetable change of note is the company’s intention to deploy two vessels on the Skye crossing to allow the MV Coruisk to provide much needed additional capacity on the very busy Oban-Craignure route. This despite strong calls to bring the Coruisk back to Skye

Operations Director Drew Collier said: “The MV Lord of the Isles and MV Loch Fyne will serve the Mallaig-Armadale route providing the additional capacity, frequency and improved reliability requested by the Sleat community.

The Crofting Commission has issued the third Crofting Census.  Crofters are legally obliged to inform the Commission, on an annual basis, whether or not they are complying with their crofting duties.  The Census form must be completed and returned to the Commission before the 31 March 2017.

The annual Crofting Census allows the Commission to gather an evidence base which is being built on year by year.  There has been a high rate of return over the last two years with the 2015 Crofting Census resulting in over 4,000 changes being made to the Crofting Commission’s Register of Crofts.

Scottish film, tv and stage actor David Hayman comes to Portree next month with the play "The Cause of Thunder".

Performed by David Hayman, written by Chris Dolan, directed by David Hayman Jr., and produced by Fair Pley the show can be seen at the Aros on Friday 3 February.

 

Braes Community Hall

 

Folk in Braes have become the first, although possibly not the last, on Skye to hit out at plans to move election polling stations from community halls to schools.

As reported in The Skye Times, Highland Council say the plan will bring real cash savings how locals in the Braes area believe that it could mean some will miss out on their rights to vote.

Chris (right) with Gareth


Chris James continued his winning ways in the Skye and Lochalsh Running Club's Winter series with another first place this time at the Glenmore 10k

And, in a mirror finish of the series' last race at Braes, Gareth Craft finished runner up with just eight seconds spliting the top two places.

The Running Club said: "The Glenmore Races attracted a good turnout of runners for the first Winter Race Series event of 2017, possibly helped by the particularly benign weather conditions.  The day started off with the 2-mile fun run which was won, again, by Ross MacLeod, closely followed by Jamie Mackinnon.  First girl back was Tabitha Jones and in second place was Kirsty Murray.  The Secondary prizes were won by Tom Rees and Rachel Shaw.

Seven competitors took part in the 4-mile ‘extra’ fun run.  In first place was Erica Fowler (32.30) and in second place was Emily Matheson (33.00).  First male home was Dylan Hughes (40.44).

The 10k proved to be very competitive with both the male and female winners being pushed right to the line.  First home was Chris James in a time of 41 minutes and nine seconds.  He was closely followed by Gareth Craft in 41 minutes and 17 seconds.  Third male back was Ali Gunn (43.36).  In the ladies race, Rosanna Macdonald led right up to the finish straight where she was overtaken by Carolyn Hare to win in a time of 54 minutes and 44 seconds, with Rosanna finishing in 54 minutes 49 seconds.  Third lady home was Clara Connell (55.32). 

The full list of results is as follows:

Calmac have announced that due to forecast high winds today's (January 9) 16.00 sailing Tarbert to Uig & 18.00 Uig to Lochmaddy are cancelled


The lastest planning matters lodged with Highland Council include a series of retrospective and full applications by Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association in regard to the installation of external heat pump units.

The house affected are at:

9 Fraser Crescent, Portree, IV51 9DS,
11 Fraser Crescent, Portree, IV51 9DS,
6 Ionad Ronaidh, Portree, IV51 9TB,
5 Ionad Ronaidh, Portree, IV51 9TB,
4 Ionad Ronaidh, Portree, IV51 9TB,
1 Cearn Roghail, Staffin, Portree, IV51 9QE,

 Other applications are as follows:


Police in the Highlands are re-issuing advice and a reminder to the public to be vigilant following a spate of telephone scams.

A number of people have been targeted by fraudsters over the festive season following different scams used over the telephone.

In the majority of cases the criminals phone individuals claiming to be a representative from their bank and advise them that their bank account has been compromised. The victim is then encouraged to transfer their money into an account provided by the fraudster.

This type of fraud is commonly known as 'vishing' and while incidents are most commonly known to occur on the phone. This advice also applies to Internet security, where fraudsters will ask for an individual's details, purporting to represent a computer company because they have a virus on their home computer

Rhoda Grant MSP

They are already famous in the fast moving world of tweets now Lochaber and Skye Police have found themselves praised in no lesser place than the Scottish Parliament.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant was so proud of the success of the local cops that she decided to make sure everyone in Parliament was aware of what they have been doing.

She said: "I have tabled a motion in Parliament congratulating our 'top tweeters' from Lochaber and Skye Police on winning the Best Tweeting Corporate Police Account in the UK!

"Fantastic work, getting serious community safety and policing messages out there whilst maintaining good humour and encouraging public engagement.

The John MacKinnon Memorial Sixes take place at the Portree High School Astro pitch on Saturday 7 January 2017.

The tournament is held in memory of Skye Camanachd stalwart John MacKinnon and eight teams are expected to take part in the tournament which starts at 10am.

Missing man captured on CCTV

 

The search for missing Dutch national Cornelius Van Der Wetering looks to have ended tragically.

Police say that around 3.30pm on Thursday (December 5) emergency services were alerted by a member of the public to a man’s body in a wooded area near the village of Tomich, Inverness-shire.

Officers attended and located the body of a man in his fifties. There are no suspicious circumstances and as with all sudden deaths a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

The Food Standards agency have announced another food product recall.

This time Pepsico is recalling some batches of Doritos Lightly Salted Corn Chips because they contain soya and wheat (gluten) which are not mentioned on the label.

This means the product is a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to wheat or gluten, and/or an allergy to soya.

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone announced on 6 December 2016 is to be extended until 28 February 2017, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

The Prevention Zone applies to all poultry and captive birds in Scotland, and requires keepers to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds. There is also a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

All bird keepers must also take extra steps to ensure good biosecurity on their premises and minimise the risk of infection and further spread of Avian Influenza. Extra steps include:

•making sure that your birds’ feed and water can’t be accessed by wild birds
•avoiding transfer of contamination between premises by cleansing and disinfecting equipment, vehicles and footwear
•reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept
•implementing effective vermin control around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept
•providing wash facilities or dips containing approved disinfectant (at the right concentration) at key points such as farm entrances and entrances to bird houses

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing said: “We have decided to extend the original Prevention Zone to 28 February as a precautionary measure to protect Scotland’s valuable poultry industry.

Laggan Swing Bridge

 

Work on three bridges along the A82 begins next week (January 9) meaning likely delays for travellers through until Spring time.

An investment of £1.2M from Transport Scotland has been awarded for improvements to the A82 Laggan Swing Bridge, Aberchalder Swing Bridge and Invergarry Bridge. All are set for upgrades which will help strengthen and prolong the resilience of each bridge, ensuring they remain in a safe working condition for years to come.

Laggan Swing Bridge and Aberchalder Swing Bridge will be painted with a specialist protective layer to help prevent the steelwork from deteriorating. Specialist contractors will apply a new protective coating system which is designed to last for a minimum of 25 years. This work is similar to previous schemes that were completed on the Banavie and Fort Augustus Swing Bridges in March 2016.

An election is being held to elect Crofting Commissioners from the six crofting constituencies:

• Shetland
• Orkney and Caithness
• East Highlands (East Sutherland, Easter Ross, East Inverness and Moray)
• Western Isles
• West Highlands (West Sutherland, Wester Ross. Skye and Lochalsh)
• South West Highlands (Lochaber, Argyll and Bute, Arran and Cumbrae, Small Isles

Police are appealing to anyone in the Kyle of Lochalsh or Tomich/Glen Affric areas to assist them in establishing the whereabouts of Cornelius Hendrick Van Der Wetering.

Mr Van Der Wetering, aged 54, is a Dutch national, believed to be walking in the Glen Affric area.  He was last seen in the Tomich area on Wednesday 28th December 2016, having previously stayed in guest house accommodation in Inverness.  It is understood that he planned to walk from Tomich towards Kyle of Lochalsh via Glen Affric.


Dinosaur lovers can breathe a sign of relief after confirmation that no lasting damage has been caused to Staffin beach’s famous footprints.

There was a major outcry over the New Year after police begin investigating alleged damage to the 165 million year old dinosaur prints.

However, following a thorough investigation Police Scotland have confirmed that they have managed to trace the person who was said to be responsible and the matter is to be taken no further.

A spokesperson said: “Initially we receive several calls from concerned members of the public that permanent damage might have been caused to the prints, possibly with cement being poured into them.

“However, that has proved not to be the case and after full investigation we can say that there was no criminality in this matter and no lasting damage caused to the prints. Reports of damage were made to Police Scotland and we had a duty to follow this up."

In fact according to Dugald Ross who runs the Staffin Dinosaur Museum having checked out the footprints he has not been able to see any real damage and said: “"Someone was seen taking a plaster cast of one of them. He was quite open in his intentions and this wasn’t done with malicious intent

Dugald Ross

“He obviously did it in broad daylight and somebody reported him to the police and used the word damaged. It really blew the whole thing out of proportion.

The Skye Mountain Rescue Team have sadly announced the death of one of their teams, Search and Rescue Dog, Cuillin.

Cuillin, handled by Skye MRT member Tony Hanly, suffered a short illness and passed away.

 

Community hub nearly complete

 

Ten years of planning will finally become a reality for Sleat locals this spring.

For early in the New Year the doors are set to open on the brand new community hub, 'An Crùbh' .

Situated on the main A851 road through Sleat at Duisdalebeag, near to the road junction to Isle Ornsay the facility has in fact taken less than a year to build.

Ian Blackford

 

A local MP is attempting to come up with a compromise deal which could bring an end to the current war of words over the future of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Ian Blackford who represents Ross, Skye and Lochaber believes that his new initiative would bring a “win-win” situation for the development agency.

He has written to Economy Secretary Keith Brown proposing that the controversial new national board goes ahead, but that HIE retains its own management or advisory board as well.

Mr Blackford said: “I fully endorse the establishment of an over-arching board which in my view will create an essential focus of collaboration and best practice that will allow agencies such as HIE to continue to be an engine for economic and community advancement in the Highlands and islands.

Police in Portree have confirmed that a 33 year old local man has been charged with a serious assault

The arrest follows an incident in the Home Farm Road area on Monday (Jan2)

Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, joined local MP Ian Blackford to get an insight into policing on Skye.

The leading politican was able to chat with local officers and learn more about issues effecting the island and how officers operate.

Scotland has been listed as one of the top 10 countries to visit this year.

It came second on the Rough Guides' list of must see countries.

The travel company praised Scotland for its "wildlife, whisky and a wonderfully warm welcome," as well as its "rapidly evolving" food and drink scene.  

Saturday (January 7) will see not one but three Glenmore runs setting off from Skye Camanachd Club in Portree.

Organised by Skye and Lochalsh Running Club the Glenmore 10K is the latest in their wintyer series and will get underway at noon.

However, also planned are a shorter 2 mile fun run at 11am and a new introduction, also at noon, the  4 mile Glenmore "Extra" Fun Run.

 

Sheepdogs, the ever-popular BBC ALBA series, returns this January and once again showcases the best competition from national and international sheepdog trials across the UK and Ireland.

Across eight programmes, Donald MacSween and Catriona MacPhee will present the very best action from the trialling scene.

In programmes one and two, Donald and Catriona visit local trials at Harelaw and Blairgowrie. At Harelaw, a rough terrain doesn’t appear to affect the quality of runs from David Kinloch and Nell, Jock Welsh and Cree and Stuart Davidson and Queen. At Blairgowrie, meanwhile, the big handlers compete, with Ian Brownlie, Neil Campbell, John McKillop and Jock Welsh all aiming to chalk up some season points.  Everyone performs well but it’s Rook who runs an almost perfect run for handler Andy Carnegie.

 

Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) have launched their Gaelic Language Plans spanning the coming five years.

The documents set out how the police service and the police authority will develop their contributions to creating a sustainable future for Gaelic in Scotland and integrating Gaelic within Police Scotland services across the country.
Gaelic has been visual within Police Scotland, and its legacy forces, for many years and although the majority of Gaelic-speaking communities are in the Highlands and Islands region, they exist throughout Scotland and all are served by the national force.

From 2017 the Police Scotland corporate logo will be rendered bilingual as standard across the service and in its branded material, demonstrating equal respect for Gaelic and English. Enhanced opportunities for the public to communicate with Police Scotland and the SPA in Gaelic, and receive responses in Gaelic, are also being explored, along with producing an increased number of corporate publications in Gaelic.


The revolutionary new 12-sided £1 coin will enter circulation on 28 March, the government has said, starting a six-month countdown to the abolition of the familiar circular £1 coin.
The round £1 will be legal tender alongside the new, more-secure coin until 15 October.
The public are being urged to use their current £1 coins or bank them before they lose their legal tender status.
All businesses which handle cash will need to prepare for the introduction of the new £1 coin, especially the period when the new £1 coin and the old £1 coin are in circulation at the same time; and finally demonetisation, when the current £1 coin is no longer legal tender, after October 15.