Local filmmakers based in Skye and Lochalsh are invited to submit their films for the ATLAS short film submissions.

The theme this year is Food and The Environment.

Films should be broadly based on either or both of these areas.  Films should be no longer than 30 minutes in duration and can be in either Gaelic (subtitled) or English.

A maximum of six films will be selected and filmmakers will be invited to take part in an informal question and answer session at the screening on Wednesday the 21st of June. 

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is appealing to anyone who knows someone living with dementia to get in touch as part of Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Awareness Week.

The awareness week, which runs from Monday, May 29 until Sunday, June 4, is being held to empower people to feel more confident dealing with dementia.

A total of 90,000 people in Scotland live with some form of dementia, a condition which can cause memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.

The majority of those living with dementia are elderly people - although over 3,000 people are under the age of 65.

It is important that those with dementia are offered maximum protection from fire.

The Glenelg to Skye ferry will be out of action following recent wheelhouse work.

The ferry will be out of service on Tuesday May 30 and Wednesday May 31.

MV Glenachulish will return to normal service on Thursday June 1.

The keynote speakers have been announced for the Skye tourism meeting on Friday 9 June at the Aros Centre in Portree.

The meeting will be the first in a series organised by constituency MSP Kate Forbes to identify and find solutions to the pressures caused by increases in tourism on the island.  

Two of the driving forces behind a boom in tourism in Argyll and Bute and Inverness and Loch Ness will share their collective wisdom as they address next month’s discussion on Skye.

Carron Tobin, development manager for Argyll & The Isles Tourism Cooperative, will explain how visitor pressures were addressed in and around Loch Lomond, whilst Graeme Ambrose, chief executive of VisitInvernessLochNess (VILN), will touch on the need for collaboration locally. 

Both of the guest speakers represent organisations that were commended by Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, whom Ms Forbes met with to discuss Skye tourism earlier this year.

 Carron Tobin of AITC said: “We have adopted a model which has worked for Argyll and we are keen to share our experiences. 

Voters are being reminded to make sure they are ready to take part in the UK Parliamentary general election taking place on Thursday 8 June.

Returning Officer for the three Highland constituencies, Steve Barron, CEX of The Highland Council said: “With just over two weeks to go until polling day I want to make sure that everyone knows how they can cast their vote on Thursday 8 June.

“On the day of the election Highland polling places will be open from 7am to 10pm. Voters should mark their ballot paper with one cross in the box next to their preferred candidate. Detailed information on how to complete your ballot paper will be available at every polling station and trained polling staff will be on hand to answer any questions.”

Each year, the villages of Poolewe and Aultbea provide the picturesque settings for a gruelling endurance event for charity: The Great Wilderness Challenge.

This year, Crossroads Care Skye and Lochalsh will be entering a team in the challenge, which is set to take place on Saturday 12 August.  

With a choice of three routes, the event has something to suit most levels.

To join the Crossroads Care team, get in touch on 01478 612399.  

 

Crime writer, Ian Rankin, has confirmed that he is will be attending the Skye Book Festival.

In the same week as he announced Detective John Rebus will return to television screens after a 10-year absence, the Fife-born author stated he is "delighted and honoured" to read from some of his work at the Book Festival in Portree on 1st September.

Festival Chairman and Aros Director, Donald Macdonald, said, on getting the news this week: “Skye Book Festival has gone from strength to strength over the six years of its existence but we little imagined that we could attract one of the country’s best-known writers when he is at the peak of his success with the work underway for more Rebus on TV.  It is fantastic news and will ensure our festival will be busier than ever this year.”

The Skye Book Festival has rapidly carved a niche for itself nationally with past attractions including Val McDermid, Donald S Murray, Sally Magnusson, Peter May, Roger Hutchinson, Lady Claire Macdonald and the launch of both volumes of the best-selling Great Book of Skye.  It also features a Poetry Walk each year as part of the regular programme. 

Fifteen candidates have been confirmed for the General Election 2017.

The election takes place on Thursday 8 June for three Highland UK Parliamentary General Election constituencies.

Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency has attracted 6 candidates; with Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross attracting four; and Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey attracting five.

Anyone heading to or driving in Inverness are advised that temporary road restrictions will be in place in the Lochardil area of the city from Monday 15 May.

The temporary restrictions are necessary to allow for traffic calming measures to be installed.  Work includes siting a raised junction where Balnakyle and Laggan road meets and another one at the junction of Ashie Road and Green Drive. A new coloured surface will also be installed along Burn Road and Lodge Road to define a clear footway on these narrow roads. There will also be a raised junction table on both Burn Road and Lodge Road.

Once all the works are in place, the Council plans to extend the nearby 20mph zone to include this area, improving the safety for all users, in particular pupils walking to Inverness Royal Academy.

The work starts on Monday 15 May and is expected to run until Friday 16 June.

Cloud 9 Skye boutique is set to close down later this year.

Based in Broadford Market Square, the shop stocks bags, shoes and accessories - all of which are now reduced in a closing down sale.

The shop will close its doors for the last time at the end of June.  

Bus operator, Stagecoach, have announced the early introduction of the summer bus service 52 connecting Armadale to Portree via Broadford.

Following feedback from the local community and Sleat Transport Forum, Stagecoach have been able to introduce part of the summer timetable early to bridge the gap in service left after the end of service 601 (not operated by Stagecoach) on 24th April. From Monday 15th May a bus service will be reinstated to allow connections between Portree and the ferry at Armadale. The timetable is available online now at stagecoachbus.com.  

The full summer timetable will operate from 5th June and will allow customers to travel the Grand Tour between Inverness, Fort William, Mallaig, Armadale and Kyle. A new service between Kyle and Portree has also been introduced providing connections to trains to/from Inverness. An enhanced service 57 from Portree to the north end of the island will also be introduced for the summer period allowing more connections to visit attractions such as the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing and the Museum of Island Life. The full summer timetable will be available from Monday 15th May.  

All NHS Highland nurses are invited to submit their photographs for inclusion in a collage.

International Nurse's Day takes place on Friday 12 May.  

All nurses, past or present, are asked to submit photographs of when they graduated, regardless of if they were in uniform or not.  The photographs will be included on social media and NHSH Highlights magazine.

Email your photographs to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 12pm tomorrow (Thursday 11 May.)

A Plockton mum will be aiming high when she undertakes a skydive in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Natasha Macneil told The Skye Times: "I want to do my part for the charity, as well as my six year old son, Keiran."

Keiran was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy in August 2016.  Natasha says: "Keiran has always been a happy, healthy boy.  One weekend in May 2016, he was really lethargic.  When he went to nursery, he had really sore legs so I took him to the doctor's and they sent him to Raigmore.  In August, when I had a meeting with the specialist, she told me Keiran has either Becker or Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  I was and still am truly heartbroken.  Knowing he will deteriorate in time is very sad.

Staffin will be in the spotlight when Gaelic researchers visit later this month.

Staffin, which was the Gaelic Community of the Year in 2010, will be the location for one of a series of public meetings on how the local communities view the current state of Gaelic in their respective localities.

The Soillse research team at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig will be conducting the meetings.  Soillse is a research collaboration between the University of the Highlands and Islands, Aberdeen University, Edinburgh University and the University of Glasgow, and was established to provide research to inform public policy towards the maintenance and revitalisation of Gaelic language and culture.

People wearing the huge sculptural head of a unicorn have become one of the most surreal images to be seen at this year’s 15th Venice Architectural Biennale. 
Part of the Prospect North exhibition at the Scottish Pavilion, which is jointly produced by Dualchas Architects from Sleat; Lateral North from Glasgow, and Soluis, a design-visualisation studio also from Glasgow, using the heads of the unicorn, moose and polar bear allows you to enter an immersive virtual reality world of the Highlands past, present and future. 

Fifteen groups from Skye have grabbed a share of a £15,000 community pot.

It was local people themselves who decided just who should get the cash during a public voting session staged at Portree’s Fingal Centre over the week-end.

The money, put forward through a Highland Council backed “Your Island, Your Cash, Your Choice” initiative will now go towards funding everything from the Isle of Skye Pipe Band to an after school club focussing on Gaelic singing, drama and music, gymnastics coaching and therapy through gardening.

An impromptu Dashing White Sergeant on the streets of Venice followed the opening of the Scottish Pavilion at the 15th Venice International Architectural Biennale.
Accompanied by the swirl of the pipes, bemused locals joined in with members of the Scottish creative team who had been celebrating the opening of the Prospect North exhibition, in which a major Skye architectural practice is involved.

Sleat Transport Forum are demanding an urgent meeting with Scotland’s new Minister for Transport and Islands, Humza Yousaf MSP on the continuing “shambles” surrounding the Mallaig/Armadale ferry service

The Forum now want to bring together the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and CalMac to resolve the continuing issues which they say are now only effecting the ferry company’s own customers but the economic prosperity of the communities that are dependent on this popular and profitable west coast ferry service.

However, in a separate development, Calmac Managing Director, Martin Dorchester, has been in touch with Sleat Community Council following contact from a local resident  and claims that after close monitoring of the route amendments have been made to the timetable which will increase reliability.

He said: “We fully understand the frustration being felt locally with the teething issues we have had with this new timetable.

Less than a day and half after it closed the former Skye Farm shop was once again open for business.

With a new name – The Trading Post – and new staff, the community owned café was ready for business at 9am.

The shop, which is owned by Sleat Community Trust, is currently looking for additional staff members.

 

Hotel staff on Skye were involved with the dramatic rescue to save two men after they ended up in the water off Isleornsay

The incident happened during the early hours of Sunday 29 May after the pair had earlier been drinking at the Hotel Eilean Iarmain and then set off in a dinghy to return to their yacht anchored in the bay.

  Hotel Eilean Iarmain

Shouts are said to have been heard around 1am and two of the hotel staff immediately launched a boat to try and rescue them. In the end though the pair were pulled out of the water by an RNLI lifeboat and crew.

Plans to try and ease congestion and improve the experience for visitors and locals alike at the Storr on Skye are moving on.  With visitor and vehicle numbers noticeably soaring during the recent good weather, Staffin Community Trust (SCT) are spearheading the new initiative to try and solve many of the problems now surrounding one of the island’s most iconic landmarks.

Already the Trust have secured the funding required for an Options Appraisal of the roadside site owned by the local authority and in addition no less than three bids have lodged by tenderers looking to carry out the hugely important contract.  This will review all the options at the location, the estimated costs and community and economic benefit for each one investigated.

Martin (on left) receiving one of the Skye Farm Shop's many awards.

Saturday 28 May will be remembered in Sleat for the departure of the man who played such a big part in a fairytale national retail success story.

For today marks the end of award-winning Martin MacLure’s involvement with the Skye Farm Shop in Ardvasar which saw the tiny business take on some of Scotland’s biggest commercial concerns..and beat them hands down.

Against the odds Martin and his small team on Sleat, who only started up in December 2013, found themselves less than three months later winning a Scottish Variety Award for 'Best New Scottish Company/Product' in association with Capital FM. At the end of June 2014, it was also announced the shop was shortlisted for two further awards, in association with the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards in the categories of ' New Business Award' and 'Independent Food & Drink Retailer of the Year Award'.  They were delighted to have won an Award for 'Independent Food & Drink Retailer of the Year 2014'.  

Ferry passengers are sitting pretty as they wait to cross the waters to Skye.

For thanks to handy Calmac port assistant Colin Fisher, they now have a very bespoke bench to rest on while they take in the views to the island from Mallaig.

Made in his own time from discarded pallets, Colin’s beautifully painted bench has echoes of the golden age of steam and makes a welcome resting area for passengers travelling not just to Skye but also the Small Isles and South Uist.

Meticulously painted in CalMac colours and featuring the famous crest, as well as stencilled lettering, Colin was inspired to make the bench to use up the unwanted timber.

“We had quite a few pallets at the port from various freight deliveries,” said Colin. “And I just thought this would be a nice thing to do with some of them.

Looks like out-going Premier League manager Manuel Pellegrini has been relaxing away from the game…on Skye.  The 62 year old who has just said goodbye to Manchester City but is now linked with the hot seat at Everton, was a  surprise visitor at the island’s popular Dunvegan Castle when he called in to have a look around.

 

 

 

 

Campaigners hoping for regular flight links to be reintroduced to and from Skye were disappointed when the Inverness City-Region deal was announced.

The deal will see over £315 million pledged over a period of 10 years for the purpose of boosting economics of Inverness and the Highlands.  However, these funds will not be used to assist in redeveloping the airstrip at Ashaig.

It was claimed that a Skye airport would not bring wide benefits on a regional basis.  The council's director of development and infrastructure, Stuart Black, says he made a "strong case" for the Skye airport to be included in the Inverness City-Region deal.

However, it was ultimately deemed that other improvements, such as a major roads project to connect the A9 and A82, investments in the University of the Highlands and Islands and the ambition to make the Highlands "the most digitally connected rural region in Europe" would bring wider benefits to the area than those offered by a Skye airport.

Campaign group, Fly Skye, state on their Facebook page that they will "not give up the fight to have the choice of travel to and from Skye and Lochalsh."

Legal agreement changes could bring a big boost for young crofters on Skye looking to build their own homes.

Crofting Commission chiefs have welcomed the decision made by the Highland Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee to remove the use of legal agreements under section 75 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 when issuing planning permission on croft land in the Hinterland.

Crofting Commission Chief Executive, Catriona Maclean, commented: “This is good news for many crofters in the Hinterland. 

 

Two thousand passengers aboard the 'MS Zuiderdam' were arriving in Portree this morning .

 The ship, one of the great Vista class vessels of Holland America Line, has a crew of 800 and has sailed to Skye from Greenock.

 

A national petition launched on change.org to call for action to restore services on the Armadale-Mallaig ferry route has now got more than 1300 signatures.

The petitioners say: "The loss of the MV Coruisk from the Armadale-Mallaig crossing on the Isle of Skye and the failure to provide fit for purpose replacement vessels has led to a serious threat to the social and economic future of Skye, Lochaber and the Western Isles.

"The economic prosperity of the communities that are heavily dependent on the benefits that this popular and profitable service gives is now under severe threat."

The petition was launched by Jan Wallwork-Clarke, who is chief executive of the Clan Donald Skye centre at Armadale.

UPDATE: within 12 hours of appearing on www.theskyetimes.co.uk, the number of signatures had risen to 1,539

 

 

Walk right in to a brand new business with at least 60,000 would-be customers passing your door every year.   That’s the enticing prospect being offered by Skye community company, Carbost Pier Ltd, as they seek a tenant for a brand new building being constructed on a water front site just yards away from the Talisker Distillery Visitor centre.

This year’s gruelling 17 mile long Trotternish Ridge Race takes place on Saturday 4th June.  Final arrangements for the event, which starts at Flodigarry and finishes at Storr Lochs, are being put in place by Skye and Lochalsh Running Club whose members will help marshal, sweep the route and feed the runners.

Last year’s weather conditions were so poor that the route was cut to 12 miles with some 45 runners who braved the conditions finishing in Glenhinnisdal.

As in previous years the race this time will have a limit of 75 places. Great spots to watch the event include at the Quaraing road and for those who are fit enough on The Storr.

 

Sleat-based business, the Skye Farm Shop, is set to change hands at the end of May. 

The Skye Farm Shop was first opened in December 2013 by Martin MacLure, who aimed to sell and promote Highland produce.  Since then, it has received multiple awards and has been a valued local service.  Mr MacLure will close the doors of his shop for the last time on May 28.

The space will be taken over by Sleat Community Trust, which aims to support developments in the Sleat peninsula.  The premises will be home to a shop and café called "Biadh & Blether" and are expected to re-open on May 30.  

 

Twelve months on and Skye businesses are celebrating after news that the island has retained its Fairtrade status.  Originally it took a dedicated band four years to receive the certification and at the time Eynort-based Martin Bird, chairman of the Skye committee, said :

Disabled people on Skye can have their say on transport issues at an event to be held at Broadford Hotel.

Hosted by the Scottish Disability Forum the Transport Engagement event will run from 11am – 3pm on June 7 and is one of then similar sessions being held across Scotland. Places are free and can be booked by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Air gun owners on Skye face a lengthy trip if they want to hand in their unwanted weapons at specifically designated police stations.

For during a three week long surrender scheme which begins on Monday 23 May the closest police office manned by officers with specialist training are in either Dingwall or Inverness, a near six hour round trip. 

But obviously accepting that many would not be prepared to travel so far, a spokesperson for Police Scotland said that while the force would prefer members of the public to use the designated offices with specially trained officers present,no police station would turn away individuals wanting to hand in their guns.

However, they added: “It would perhaps be a good idea to go into the station prior to handing over the weapons to make your intentions known to officers or support staff rather than just appearing with a gun.”

Sleat Transport Forum have welcomed the announcement that CalMac Ferries Ltd has been awarded the £900m contract to run the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services for the next eight years.

However, they have made it clear that they are still in close dialogue with the Company to try and reach a successful conclusion in respect of the operational disruption that has taken place on the Mallaig-Armadale route since the beginning of the summer season on 25th March.

Portree Primary youngsters have made it to footballing finals.

The local youngsters will take on counterparts from five other schools from across Scotland in this year’s Cuach na Cloinne competition which will take place on June 7.

Poll cards may already have gone out to Skye’s voters in the forthcoming EU Referendum but it’s not too late to make your mark by post.

Those who can’t make it to their local Polling Station on the day, Thursday 23 June, still have time to make sure their vote is not wasted

Until Wednesday 8 June, Highland Council will be accepting applications for postal votes. For those living on the island they need to apply in writing to the Electoral Registration Officer at Robertson House, Greenhill Street, Dingwall, IV15 9QR

Meanwhile details on deadlines for new applications to vote by proxy; requests for changes to emergency proxy on the grounds of disability or for work/service reasons are detailed on the notice of referendum at www.highland.gov.uk/eureferendum

Portree will tomorrow (Wednesday 18 May) see the arrival of the cruise ship MS Astor bringing upwards of 400 people to the village.

The ship with a crew of 287, is currently taking a west coast of Scotland cruise after leaving Dublin and is set to anchor in the bay between 1400 and 2000.

Built in 1987 and once owned by the Soviet Union’s Black Sea shipping company, the vessel is run by Cruise and Maritime Voyages and operates in Europe, South Africa and Australia.

Five motorcyclist travelling at speeds in excess of 100mph have been caught on roads near Skye.

As part of Police Scotland’s on-going “Operation Zenith2 to drive down speed, the bikers were pulled over on the A890 between Lochcarron and Achnasheen as they travelled way in excess of the 60mph limit.

With hundreds of motorcyclists making their way to Skye every year the new national initiative by the police is intended to have a real impact and stop those driving at inappropriate speeds.

Skye roads have become notorious for their pot holes and here at The Skye Times we’ll put the spotlight on them if you send us a picture.

However, things may be moving in the right direction if the Highland Council’s latest state of the art road repair vehicle lives up to expectation.

In recent months the authority has been trying out the specialist machine which uses a spray injection patching process, operated by a single operator and can fill a pothole in about 5 minutes.

Now the Council have placed an order for their own and until it’s delivered later this year they will be hiring two of the machines to target the backlog of repairs in what is considered to be the most efficient means of doing so and at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.

Police Scotland have appealed for help after a fatal traffic accident on Skye.

Twenty four years old Kirsty Johnson from Portree died after a collision occurred around 10.10am on Friday 13 May. The hotel worker was said driving a red Ford Fiesta at the time when the incident happened on the A87 just north of Broadford.

Now investigating officers are appealing to anyone who saw the vehicle in the area at around 10am last Friday to get in touch via the force’s 101 telephone line.

After the accident there were long delays while emergency services attended the scene and dealt with the fatality.

The Grand old lady of the sea - Waverley – will be celebrating her 70th birthday off the coast of Skye.

Described as one of the world’s greatest historic ships – the last sea-going paddle steamer in existence – the magnificently restored vessel was named after Sir Walter Scott’s first novel.

Waverley was originally intended to sail only between Craigendoran & Arrochar in West Scotland however she now sails right round Britain offering regular trips on the Clyde, the Thames, South Coast of England and the Bristol Channel with calls at Liverpool & Llandudno.

Skye’s starring role in the world of astronomy is further enhanced next week.

Recognised as one of the best places in Europe to view the dark skies, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Professor John Brown will be on the island on Tuesday 24th May to give not one but two talks as an easy to follow introduction.

The event takes place at Sleat’s Sabhal Mor Ostaig with a discussion entitled “Gobsmacking Facts About our Universe” taking place at 2pm. This will be followed in the evening, at 8pm, by “Comets – as harbringers of life and death”

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Both events are suitable for 8 year olds and over and are free as part of the Plasma Conference being run by the Institute of Physics at SMO.