Anyone driving over the north of Skye is advised to do so cautiously.

The road between Staffin and Kilmuir will require extra care due to loose chippings.  

A post on the Staffin, Isle of Skye, Scotland Facebook page drew attention to the potential hazard, describing the road as being "as bad as driving on ice."  The group have advised drivers to allow plenty of time for their journey.

There was no rest yesterday (Wednesday 8 August) for the Portree RNLI crew.

After manning the annual barbecue stall at the Skye Highland Games, they received a call out to assist a disabled yacht just south-west of Rona.

The lifeboat was launched at 8:50pm, following what had been, in the crew's own words, a "hectic" shift.  

The crew towed the yacht to safety and it was later safely moored in Portree.

 

A man has died following a road traffic collision on the A87 between Portree and Broadford, police say.

The incident happened approximately a mile north of Sligachan and was reported to police at 8.49am on Wednesday, August 8.

The 54-year-old man was the driver of a white Ford van involved in the collision. His next-of-kin have been made aware.

A serious accident has taken place on the A87.

Police have said that the road is currently closed just north of Sligachan Hotel, following a five-vehicle collision.    

They have asked drivers to avoid the area for the time being.

Reports suggest it may be several hours before the road is reopened.  A road user told The Skye Times that the tailback ends at the Sconser sign.

Drivers are encouraged to stick to double track roads as an alternative, as it is understood that Struan Road is now grid-locked.

A man has died after an incident in the Loch Shieldaig area.

Portree and Kyle Lifeboat were called to the scene yesterday (Tuesday 7 August) following reports of a person in the water.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland told The Skye Times: "Police Scotland can confirm that a 63-year-old man has died after an incident at a fish farm on Loch Shieldaig in Wester Ross.

"The incident was reported to police shortly before 9am on Tuesday, August 7.
 
"The man's body was recovered from the water and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
 
"Enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances, although the death is not believed to be suspicious.
 
"His next of kin are aware and a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal in due course."

 

A case will be made for CalMac services to remain in public ownership.

A leader of the Transport Salaried Staff's Association (TSS) will be visiting staff in CalMac's port offices in Uig and Armadale on Wednesday 8 August.  

Manuel will be visiting Skye as part of a tour of the Hebrides.

Manuel Cortes stated: "There must be no future tendering of CalMac services. Last time around over £8million pounds of taxpayer's money was wasted on the franchise process."

A fishing vessel rescued two people in a small boat earlier in the month.

The 10ft dinghy had suffered a mechanical failure and was adrift near Broadford on Saturday 4 August.

Kyle Lifeboat were called to the scene at around 12:33pm.  By the time they arrived, the dinghy had been taken under tow by a fishing vessel.

A new Hebridean Whisky Trail has been designed to take whisky wanderers on a tour of four different distilleries.

Raasay, Torabhaig and Talisker Distilleries are all featuring on the new 115-mile-long trail, along with the Isle of Harris Distillery.

Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, will launch the trail on 15 August at an official opening ceremony taking place at Raasay Distillery. Alasdair Day, co-founder of Raasay Distillery, comments: “The Hebridean Whisky Trail offers an opportunity for visitors to experience the rich culture, provenance and landscape of three of the Scotland's Hebridean Islands; Harris, Raasay and Skye while visiting four very different Scotch Whisky distilleries.”

A collection tin has been stolen from Plockton.

Police say the theft took place at the Gardens on Thursday 2 August at 01:20am.  

Police also they suspect a male of around 5'9", who they describe as blond, with "a pot belly and a distinctive large nose."

They say the male had an East-European accent and was wearing a red zipper jumper and red shorts.

Anyone with information is asked to phone Kyle Police station on 101.

 

Uig will today (Friday August 3) see a lot more ferry activity than usual - as ferry firm CalMac diverts its Isle of Lewis ferry from the Castlebay-Oban route to travel via Skye

This is a result of "a technical issue" with a linkspan in Oban that CMAL are working with their suppliers to fix.

And this will mean significantly more traffic along the main road to Kyle of Lochalsh and beyond

So today's Minch excursion for travellers from Barra started with…

The business community in Skye is protesting against national media articles claiming Skye is "overrun."

They say the tourism industry has been "transformative to the economic fortunes of the area" and claim "sensationalist stories in the National press" could jeopardise the jobs, businesses and income of local people.  

A 15-mile-long walk in the south of Skye will be undertaken to raise money for MND Scotland.

Rhona Campbell will walk from Torabhaig Distillery to Sabhal Mor Ostaig to raise money for the charity.  She stated: "I feel motivated to do this because MND Scotland is a most worthy cause.  It provides care, information and research-funding for all people affected by MND living in Scotland.  I'm sure many of you know or have known family and/or friends affected by this illness. Personally, a friend of mine here on Skye, Kathryn Cameron has recently been diagnosed with MND."

Kathryn is hoping to attend the walk in her wheelchair at a point near Ord.  Kathryn told The Skye Times: "Some other friends from a different walking group are going to make a picnic/BBQ for anyone who arrives at Ord too and will be putting a bucket there for any cash donations."

The walk will take place on Sunday 5 August.  

Rhona continued: "I'd be so grateful for your support towards this walk. All donations, big or small, whatever is appropriate, gratefully appreciated. Many thanks. Mòran taing."

Rhona's JustGiving page can be found here.

Photo: Top right: Kathryn Cameron.  Bottom left: Rhona Campbell.  Bottom right: Mary Macdonald, who will be joining Rhona on the walk.

A group of five youngsters from Skye are scaling hills in a fundraising effort for their youth group.

All the youngsters are part of Youth Vestry, based at Kilmore Church.

Whilst looking into fundraising opportunities for the group, group leader Nicola Thomson stumbled across the Everest Anywhere Challenge.  Created by outdoors magazine Trail, the challenge asks people to climb Everest’s towering 8,848m wherever they are in the world.

Nicola said: “Archie, one of the Sunday School team leaders, is an avid climber and saw the challenge being advertised in a climbing magazine. We suggested it to the group and they were really keen. And so the idea was born.

“We wanted to make it something quite rewarding for them too and, having been to Abernethy myself on a women’s weekend, I suggested we attend the Year of Young People weekend at Abernethy Centre in October.

“I think they will get a lot out of it and I remember myself from camps when I was younger - it was during these sessions in the mornings and evenings that I really started to think about my own faith in depth.

“So, that is the plan and we are hoping to raise £1,000 to cover the costs of attending, with some left over to help refurbish the Sunday School room and do something exciting with them too.”

The group of three girls and two boys started their challenge in June and hope to successfully ‘conquer Everest’ by October.

Skippers and vessel owners are asked to have their say on the fishing industry.

The 13th annual economic survey of the UK fishing fleet is gathering data on fishing and vessel costs to provide an overview of the financial performance of the fishing industry.

With the UK preparing to exit the European Union, it is vital fishers provide accurate data to paint a clear picture of the performance of the industry for policy makers.

Researchers will be visiting fishing ports between Lochalsh and Uig from 6-9 August.

2017 was a mixed year for the fishing fleet, with operating profit seeing a 4% decrease, but total fishing income rising by £38 million to reach £984 million. Many skippers raised the uncertain political and trade landscape, the availability of fish, oil and fuel price and quota as some of their main concerns. The 2018 survey is a chance for the industry to give up to date information on their successes and upcoming challenges, helping their voices be heard.

A local organisation has received recognition for their work in cleaning up Skye.

I Love Skye has won the Clean Up Hero award for their community clear up effort with Skinadin lay-by.  

Judges from Keep Scotland Beautiful noted that they were impressed by the community spirit that removed an estimated 5 tonnes of rubbish from the site.

Formed by local businessman, Matt Harrison, the I Love Skye campaign is proactively keeping Skye clean.

The prize of £250 vouchers for clean-up equipment will be invaluable for the group.  

Above: the volunteers at Skinadin layby.

The Highland Council’s third Gaelic Language Plan that will direct the council’s corporate aims and ambitions for Gaelic over the next 3 years was approved today (Wednesday 30 August) by Members of the Council’s Corporate Resources Committee.

The ‘Gaelic Language Plan 3’ received cross-party support and Members thanked the public for submitting their comments while the Plan was out for public consultation. They also highlighted that Gaelic Language Plan 3 does not replace the current Plan and expressed the importance of increasing the numbers of pupils entering Gaelic Education and learning the language during the life time of the Plan.

Chair of the Council’s Corporate Resources Committee Cllr Alister Mackinnon said: “I am delighted that Gaelic has now become part of the Corporate Resources Committee. I believe this is an opportunity for Highland Council to play a leading role, nationally, in developing Gaelic in both educational and cultural events including Feisean and National Mòds. The corporate priority being given to Gaelic emphasises that the Council will want to continue to hear the view of Gaelic speakers, learners and Gaelic bodies through our Gaelic Strategy Improvement Group in order to take the Gaelic Language Plan 3 forward.”

He added: “Today by fully adopting the draft Gaelic Language Plan 3 we have reaffirmed our commitment to Gaelic and in doing so we recognise that Gaelic is an integral part of life in the Highlands.

“To meet the Council’s statutory obligations we followed guidance issued by Bòrd na Gàidhlig on the development of Gaelic Language Plans during the formation of our third Plan.

“There are 6 themes in the Plan, all of which contribute to language usage as we must increase the opportunities available for people to use and encounter the language, whether by offering language learning classes, extending the visibility of Gaelic as this continues to enhance the status of the language.”

Director of Care and Learning Bill Alexander added: “The 2017-22 plan sets out the Council’s aims and ambitions for Gaelic over the next five years and details how these will be achieved.  This Plan does not replace the Gaelic Language Plan 2, but builds on the Council’s on-going successes and achievements in growing Gaelic, especially as we now have a Gaelic Medium Primary School in Caol, Fort William and early next year we will be opening a new Gaelic School in Portree, on the Isle of Skye."

He added: “Partnership working with the key agencies in relation to Gaelic and Cultural development is crucial especially as we move forward in Council redesign, rationalisation and ever decreasing resources. We need to continue to maximise on technologies, shared resources and genuine partnership co-operation. We are hugely encouraged by the number of young people learning and taking an interest in the language and its associated culture and believe this Plan will go along way to both encourage and support this.”

The 6 themes of the Gaelic Language Plan 3 are: Home and Early Years, Education, Community, Workplace, Arts, Culture & Heritage and Economy these were set out in high level aims by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The Highland Council organised 2 cross party Gaelic Strategy group meetings and constructive comments from the meetings have been incorporated into the Plan.

A 6 weeks public consultation period took place on-line, and 4 public meetings were also arranged in Portree, Fort William, Dingwall, and Thurso, feedback from this process has been included within the Plan.

Gaelic Language Plan 3 will now be submitted to Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

For further information please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Motorists are advised to expect around a 2 week delay to the completion of road repairs on the A832 which was damaged following flooding last Friday 25 August. The road was flooded between Corriemoille and Lochluichart.

Highland Council is pleased to confirm that repairs to the section of road at Corriemollie have now been completed and all traffic management and traffic lights have been removed from this section. 

Completion of repairs to the section of road at Lochluichart will take longer than initially anticipated. The Council apologises for any delay, however this is due to the extent of the clear up required which has now become fully apparent.

Traffic lights will be in operation at Lochluichart for an expected further 14 days with effect from today.

SkyeConnect, the new Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Skye and Raasay, is delighted announce that funding for a full-time project officer has now been approved following its application for assistance from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Formed in 2017 the organisation brings together the business and tourism industry in the islands, working with key stakeholders including the Highland Council, the Elected Members, Visit Scotland, the Scottish Government, Business Gateway and HIE together with community bodies and residents.

SkyeConnect welcomes the support of Kate Forbes MSP who has been a driving force to highlight the challenges and opportunities for tourism in Skye and Raasay, the second most popular visitor destination in Scotland after Edinburgh.  SkyeConnect has been collaborating with other DMOs across the Highlands and Islands which included presentations at the first of a series of tourism forums held in June.

In the next few weeks an extensive recruitment process will commence to seek a high-calibre candidate to join SkyeConnect and its interim board to map the way forward to establish the company as an effective tourism and business hub representing the communities of Skye and Raasay.

Shirley Spear, interim chair SkyeConnect, added: SkyeConnect has been working hard with many partner organisations and community groups to create an organisation that aims to ensure a sustainable future for tourism in Skye and Raasay, in a continuing climate where ‘tourism is everyone’s business’. We are grateful to Highlands and Islands Enterprise for their financial support and to Faye MacLeod of Campbell, Stewart and Maclennan and Co. for her great work recently supporting SkyeConnect achieve this key milestone in its first year.

Councillor John Gordon, Elected Member for Eilean a' Cheò said: "SkyeConnect has worked hard to get to this place and we congratulate everyone involved, this is excellent news for our area and an important development in having a more strategic approach for Eilean a' Cheò.

"SkyeConnect and the Highland Council, along with other stakeholders work collaboratively to drive economic growth because of the vibrant tourism industry, to maintain sustainability and to ensure our infrastructure and visitor experience meets the needs of our expanding tourism, businesses and population."

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, added: “After a busy summer, it’s great to see some progress on the tourism front. I commend HIE for the funding of a project manager and SkyeConnect for pulling together a plan of action. There is huge potential here and I’ll be supporting the new project officer and the SkyeConnect team.

"I’ve long said that what is lacking on Skye is a strategic plan for the future, and I have high hopes that this new project officer will be just the person to do it. This summer is evidence that we need a plan in place to make the most of tourism”.

Alison Gainsford, account manager at HIE, said: “SkyeConnect will assist in developing the tourism sector in Skye and bringing businesses and community groups together for the success of this vitally important sector of our economy. We are delighted to support the project officer post and we look forward to working with the group in the future.”

Skye needs a "shared transport system for time-poor tourists" in order to help alleviate pressure on the island's creaking roads infrastructure, the constituency MSP has said. 

Kate Forbes MSP added that she has also been exploring the possibility of "protected status" for the island to ensure the tourist hotspot remained as "unspoiled" as possible. 

Over the past few months the Skye MSP has been discussing the issue extensively with tourism groups such as SkyeConnect as well as other local businesses and residents – and she recently spent a week on the island as part of her summer constituency tour. 

Media reports have said that the island's 10,000 population has increased at least six-fold during the height of the summer season, which has exacerbated problems with basic amenities, such as toilets, parking and litter.  

Kate Forbes MSP wrote: "We need a map that recognises that it is TripAdvisor which is setting the agenda. 

"That means we need to help visitors travel to hotspots in another way – not in hundreds of cars, or mega-size coaches, but with some sort of shared transport system. 

"It is already happening to some extent, but needs to grow. 

"It is a broad generalisation, but tourists are time poor; they want to visit key sites, take a selfie and then move on. 

"Let's help them do that – and at the same time take traffic off the road."

The Skye MSP also said: "The question is not whether there are too many tourists, but about whether it creates a sustainable future for Skye – permanent jobs, higher incomes and opportunities for entrepreneurs. 

"The State has a role to play; we need to protect the land, and alleviate pressure at the pinch points. 

"It is difficult to legislate for common courtesy – don't litter, don't light damaging camp fires and don't leave unpleasant presents for someone else to step on. 

"The sheer numbers walking to the Fairy Pools, or leaving bits and pieces at the Fairy Glen undermines the marketing man's definition of Skye as 'unspoiled'. 

"That's why I've been exploring the possibility of some kind of protected status for Skye, which would recognise the incredible geological, natural wealth of Skye."

Before the summer Kate Forbes MSP organised the first of a series of meetings as part of an ongoing process led by the Skye MSP to identify and find solutions to the pressures on the island caused by increases in tourism. 

It is hoped that the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fiona Hyslop MSP, will address a gathering of community representatives, local businesses and public bodies at the second of this series of meetings later in the year.  

A date has yet to be finalised, but will be announced in due course.

An inspection was carried out at Scorrybreac on Tuesday 29 August.

The inspection followed the recent rock slide.  

A spokesperson told The Skye Times: "We found that the two very large rocks that worried about have now also fallen and and are now situated on the shoreline below where the path once was.

"This still leaves an area of overhanging turf on the ridge and also a large crack in the rock face where the boulders came loose.

"We would ask all members of the public to not go past the signs and fencing that now blocks the path, as the area is still very unstable.

"We expect a contractor to be back on site early next week.

"After this we’ll have an idea of timescale for making the area safe and reopening the path."

Police Scotland is appealing for information and offering security advice after a series of thefts in rural areas.

A number of garden tools were stolen after entry was forced to a shed in Morar some time between 11pm on Saturday, August 26 and 9.30am the following morning.

The equipment included a green and white petrol lawnmower, a yellow petrol chainsaw and a Stihl branded petrol strimmer.

Another separate incident occurred in the Lochinver area where entry was forced to a shed at a commercial property and a quantity of cash stolen.

Police have previously appealed for information after reports of thefts around the Wester Ross, Lochaber and Sutherland areas - including in Poolewe and Glenfinnan - and officers are encouraging residents and businesses to take steps to make sure their property is secure.

Sergeant Kay MacRae said: "I would like to take the opportunity to remind householders in rural areas to take precautions to make sure they do not become victims of crime.

"Isolated areas allow opportunistic thieves the opportunity to operate undisturbed so it is sensible to take steps to make sure your property is secured.

"Make sure you store your valuable items securely and out of sight from outside the building.

"It is also good practice to take a note of serial numbers or give your property a unique mark.

"If any doubt about suspicious activity, report it giving as much detail as possible to help us.

"Anyone with concerns or information information can contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Skye's stunt cyclist, Danny MacAskill, is set to feature in a show that celebrates Celtic Connections' 25th anniversary.

The production, set to be staged at The SSE Hydro on Saturday 27 January 2018, will feature the world premiere of the orchestration of Martyn Bennett’s second album Bothy Culture by violinist and composer Greg Lawson.  

It will include a section featuring professional street trials rider Danny MacAskill as inspired by his short film The Ridge, in which he returns home to Skye for an action packed ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridge, set to the soundtrack of Martyn Bennett’s Blackbird. 

The GRIT Orchestra performed one of the most memorable and moving opening nights of Celtic Connections’ entire 25 year history when they performed GRIT, Martyn Bennett’s final album, in 2015 to mark the 10th anniversary of his death.

Tickets for the GRIT Orchestra's performance of Bothy Culture will go on sale on Thursday 31 August at 10:00.

The full programme for Celtic Connections 2018 will be announced on Tuesday 24 October.

Essential repairs at Lochmaddy will result in amendments to the Uig to Lochmaddy ferry services.

Repairst to the linkspan at North Uist will result in changes from Monday 13 November to Saturday 18 November.

The work requires the port to be closed.  This may also affect the sailings between Uig and Tarbert.

An amended timetable will follow and sailings will be operated between Lochboisdale and Uig.  

By carrying out the work at that time the company hope to minimise disruption to passengers and commercial users.

Further information can be found here.

 

Ward 7A at Raigmore Hospital remains closed due to diarrhoea and vomiting. The ward, which is a medical ward, was closed on Wednesday 23 August after two patients displayed symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting. 

Testing has confirmed norovirus and a further two patients are affected bringing the total to four.

Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, spreads in the air where someone has had diarrhoea or vomited and is extremely infectious. It is important that everyone plays their part in reducing outbreak risks.

Dr Jonty Mills, consultant microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: “By restricting visiting to the affected area it helps hospital staff protect the health, privacy and dignity of our patients.

“We would stress that people do not come to the hospital/s to visit if they have, or live with someone who has, had any vomiting or diarrhoea within the previous 48hrs. To further help us limit the spread we would also ask that bringing children in to visit wards within the hospital is restricted as much as possible.”

If you feel that visiting is essential please contact the ward first by phone before coming to the hospital. Please do not visit the affected ward unless by prior arrangement with the nurse in charge. 

Motorists are being advised that repairs are being made to the A832 throughout this week - estimated until Friday 1 September (weather permitting).

Following flooding over the weekend which started on Friday 25 August the A832 was closed just west (2.6 miles) of Gorstan junction between Corriemoille and Lochluichart. The road was closed from 18:30 on Friday 25 August until 12:06 on Saturday 26 August.

Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue staff assisted Highland Council with a temporary road closure, as a 20m section of road had been washed away. A further mile up the road a landslip resulted in tonne’s of debris being washed onto a 70m section of the road and estate land below; the road was impassable.

Police Scotland assisted with the road closure at the Gorstan junction turning traffic away, and road closure signs were put in place to prevent further traffic from the Gorstan end,  Highland Council staff erected diversion and road closure signage at Gairloch, Kinlochewe, Achnasheen roundabout and Braemore Junction.

A 20m section of double track road has been damaged at Corriemoille and 70 m at Lochluichart. Both sections require some resurfacing after the clear up. The road repairs are estimated to take around one week including repairs to culverts.

The first section was made safe on Saturday and should be complete by Tuesday afternoon. Traffic Lights are currently in operation at this site and should be operational until Wednesday morning. The second section nearer Lochluichart will begin on Wednesday and should be completed by Friday (resources and weather permitting).

Ten Highland Council staff were involved in the road closure incident at the weekend.

Skye Mountain Rescue team was involved in two rescues within three days.

Saturday 26 August saw the team come to the assistance of a walker in Glenbrittle, who had suffered a leg injury.

On the evening of Monday 28 August, the team rescued a female who was cragfast on Marsco.   

Glendale Community Hall will be "out of action for quite a while," according to the committee.

A spokesperson told The Skye TImes: "We have been advised that the hall will be out of action for quite a while due to the extensive damage."  

The Hall suffered damage during the recent floods earlier this month.

The Craft Market in the Hall has been suspended until further notice.  However, some craft stall holders may take to the car park with the Farmer's Market stalls.  There will also be a Refreshment Stall in the grounds.  However, there will be no access to the toilets in the Hall.

Further details can be found on the Hall's Facebook page.

The Skye and Lochalsh Running and Athletics Club are in the process of organising their winter race series.

A meeting will be held on Wednesday 30 August at 7:30pm in order to discuss and organise the races.

All are welcome to attend - however the Club stated that anyone who cannot attend but wants to be involved should message them on their Facebook page.

 

Plans for two overspill car parks at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness have been put on hold.

NHS Highland cite financial pressure across the organisation as the reason for the hold.

Planning permission has already been granted for the two areas identified but with no available funding this year the work will have to be revisited in the next financial year.

Katherine Sutton, deputy director of operations for Raigmore Hospital, expressed regret that the work will not be happening in the near future as intended.  She said: “We know the car park at Raigmore is not big enough for the amount of traffic that comes onto site each week and we are disappointed that we will not be able to take forward this piece of work this year.

“I have personally heard about the extra stress that is placed upon patients and visitors when they are trying to find a space and I am sorry that we are not able to take this forward but given the current financial climate it is just not possible. We will continue to manage car parking on the site as best as we can.

“Part of this work includes what is already happening in outpatients which involves patients having appointments via video conferencing or using tele-consultation. By doing this it is hoped the number of people having to travel some distance for an outpatient appointment will reduce.

“We would also like to remind people that the car park is only to be used by those who have business at the hospital. We do monitor the site where possible but would ask that if anyone witnesses abuse of the car park they alert our security staff so we can take appropriate action.”

"Celebrate Glendale" events were brought to a close on Saturday 19 August with the "Festival of the Sea."

The festival included the Glendale Fishing competition and a Sea Food BBQ.

Conditions were worse than expected for the fishing competition with only the hardiest of anglers tempted to compete for the variety of trophies on offer.

Ronnie Macleod offered hospitality and shelter in the historic and atmospheric Pier Store where the weigh in took place. It was no surprise that the winners were two local father and son teams who split the prizes between shore and boat.

The A887 will be closed for several days in September.

The stretch of single track road past the Cluanie dam will be closed for resurfacing.  

The closure will commence on Monday 4 September from 7am to 6pm until Tuesday 12 September.  

Further information on the road closure can be found here.

People who live in Sleat or want to live in Sleat are encouraged to take part in a community-led housing survey.

Someone who has a housing need, a young person wanting to move out, an older person requiring different housing options or someone wanting to move to Sleat would all be eligible to take part.

Only one person should complete the survey on behalf of each household.

This survey will not collect e-mail addresses, and the results will be anonymised, all responses will be treated in the strictest confidence.

The survey can be taken here.

The survey is open to responses until 25 September.

The removal of the some of the scaffolding around Raasay Distillery meant that viewers were treated to a first look at the new distillery.

The barley harvest began yesterday (Friday 25 August). 

In September, an official opening of the Distillery will take place.  

Land at the Old Man of Storr could be purchased by the Staffin Community Trust (SCT), if approval is given from the Highland Council.

SCT will find out within the next fortnight if its bid to buy roadside ground at the Storr will be approved by the Council.

Part of the SCT's plans include building a new off-road car park, public toilets and  interpretation/local business information at the site.

Local residents have voiced concerns about road safety and sanitation at the site for some time as visitor numbers have soared in recent years.

There were 150,000 visitors to the Storr last year. Back in 2005, only 37,000 visitors were recorded.

SCT submitted an Asset Transfer Request (ATR) to the council in March – the first in the Highlands under new Community Empowerment legislation, which became law in January – and will find out if it has been accepted by Wednesday, September 6.

A fee for using the car park would be charged, a proposal which was supported by local residents. Almost 86% of respondents to a major consultation in Staffin supported SCT’s direct involvement at the site.

The council’s planning, development and infrastructure committee agreed in Inverness last November to set aside £400,000 of development funding for car park improvements at the site. In a report to councilors, SCT’s project was described as “exciting” and had “the potential to deliver significantly” on the authority’s priorities.

Committee members heard of the dangers of widespread verge parking for drivers and pedestrians and that the £400,000 would help SCT deliver the development, including urgently needed public toilets. This encouraged SCT to develop its site plan. The local authority has stated it has no intention of providing toilets.

If the ATR is granted, SCT will seek match funding from a variety of sources to deliver the proposed site capital works, which are currently estimated at up to £900,000. Following the SCT community consultation in January 2016, the consultant team carried out an options appraisal on the 82-hectare site, which includes a felled commercial forest and was purchased by the local authority in the mid-1990s. 

SCT is grateful to have received funding from the council’s Eilean a’ Cheò’s Ward Discretionary Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Land Fund for the Storr Project options appraisal and business plan.  It has also received excellent support and guidance from HIE’s community assets team and the Community Ownership Support Service.

Jen Shanks, Staffin Community Council Chairwoman, said it was in full support of the development. “The issue of parking and road safety at the Storr has long been a concern for the people of Staffin,” she said. “A sensitively designed larger main car park would significantly improve the current dangerous situation. Building toilets is vital to ensure one of our most valued tourist attractions remains as such. Furthermore, the inclusion of an information/interpretation shelter at the site, which would entice visitors further north, would be greatly welcomed by the community and provide an economic boost to the area."

 

 

The A832 has reopened after being partially washed away during a flood.

The road was shut between Achnasheen and Gorstan on Friday after "significant flooding" in the Loch Luichart area.

There has also been flood damage on the railway line in the Garve area.

The road reopened at about midday today (Saturday 26 August), though police warned traffic lights were now in place around the affected area.

Skye Mountain Rescue took to Twitter to issue a safety reminder.

They stated: "We would remind those heading to the hills to ensure they are adequately equipped with waterproof clothing and maps. #beprepared."

The warning comes after three incidents in one week for the Skye Mountain Rescue Team.  

On Thursday 24 August, the team rescued two males from Blà Bheinn where they had become stuck on steep terrain in poor weather.

Earlier in the month, they rescued three males, lost in poor weather conditions North-West of Sgurr Dearg.

A missing Edinburgh woman has been found on the Isle of Skye.

Detectives had been searching for 41-year-old Fiona McMaster since she disappeared outside a Marks and Spencers shop almost three weeks ago.

Fiona McMaster was reported missing on Tuesday 8 August.  

On Thursday 24 August, local police stated that the missing woman was thought to have been in Portree at 10:30am.  

On Friday 25 August, it was stated that she had been traced "safe and well" in Portree.  

Inspectors praised the public saying their information helped to trace her down.

Police Scotland advise that the A832 between Gorstan and Achnasheen is likely to remain closed until lunchtime today (Saturday 26 August.)

Heavy rain and flooding caused a portion of the road to be washed away.

Trains are currently unable to run between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh because flooding has damaged the track at Garve.

ScotRail said in a Tweet: "Flooding is above track level and has caused some damage. Roads in area are closed too so we can't operate buses."

Members of the public are requested to avoid the area and travel via Drumnadrochit. 

Glenurquhart Highland Games are also scheduled to take place later today - thus planning extra travel time would be advisable. 

 

 

Four people were rescued at Glendale earlier this week.

Dunvegan and Portree Coastguard Rescue Teams were tasked to assist four people trapped in a campervan in flood water.

The campers were located at the graveyard car park.  

The casualties were rescued prior to the team’s arrival and taken into ambulance care.

Glendale Community Hall also suffered flooding during the heavy rains earlier this week.

The photographs, from the Glendale Community Hall Facebook page, were taken after the water levels had fallen by a foot.

The nearby river was at its highest around 5am on Wednesday 23 August.

A survey on possible uses for the Plock is avaible now.

Kyle and Lochalsh Community Trust is working to finalise transfer of the Plock ownership from Hamilton Park Trustees.  

They are keen to hear ideas from the community regarding what should be the priorities for the Plock.  The results will help to direct the Trust's efforts.  

Each idea will take only a small portion of the Plock, with the majority of the area being something for everyone to enjoy.  Additional car park spaces and improved disabled access will be incorporated into the main income generator ideas.

You can collect and submit it at the Kyle Library and the Kyle Village Hall or request it by email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The deadline is Friday 1 September 2017.

The survey is for those who live in the Trust's catchment area.  That includes postcode areas: IV52, IV53, IV40 (excluding Raasay) & IV41 8PG.

A suitcase has been stolen whilst its owner was sight-seeing.

The theft took place at the Skye Bridge at an estimated time of 2pm to 4pm on Wednesday 23 August.

The suitcase is blue/black in colour.

Anyone with any information is to contact 101 PC MacDonald.

 

An additional Calmac ferry sailing has been added for the school term.

The additional return sailing will take place on Fridays transport school pupils at Sconser.

It will departing Raasay at 13:30 and depart Sconser at 14:00.

These sailings will operate on the below dates (during term time only and will not operate when there are no schools open.)

Sailings will be open to all passengers and are not limited to students. 

These sailings will operate for the remainder of this current Summer timetable and for Winter 2017-2018.

August Friday 18th, 25th

September Friday 1st, 8th 15th 22nd 29th

October Friday 6th, 27th 

November Friday 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th

December Friday 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd 

January 2018 Friday 12th, 19th, 26th

February 2018 Friday 2nd, 9th, 16th 23rd

March 2018 Friday 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd 

These sailings will be subject to disruptions as any other service might be and may not be able to operate if there are weather/technical or unforeseen circumstances.  Normal terms, conditions and fares will apply. 

Further details on the timetable can be found here.

A cyclist who is heading for the Isle of Skye after travelling on the NC500 has issued a message regarding litter.

Rodrigo Salvatierra Arraño, a mechanical engineer from Santago in Chile, is half way on his seven month tour of Europe, having started in Spain in May.

Rodrigo met with Councillor Trish Robertson, Vice Chair of the Council’s Places Committee, at Inverness Castle, the start and end point of the NC500 route, on 23 August.  

He said: “The Highlands are beautiful and remind me of the scenery in Patagonia.  It is a shame that it is spoilt in places by litter.

“Whilst cycling on the beautiful Highland roads I noticed some plastic bottles at the side of the road. I picked these up and then I saw some cans and more things. I had cycled for about 5km and by this time I had filled all my panniers with litter."

“I also noticed that a lot of people are leaving rubbish beside the bins instead of inside of them, especially when they are full.  The cities and bigger towns are probably cleaner than the cities in Chile, but in the countryside the contrast is more noticeable – the beautiful scenery and the waste!”

 

A ward in Raigmore Hospital has been closed.

Visitors have been asked to refrain from visiting Ward 7A, a medical Ward.

The closure comes as a precaution after one patient has tested positive for Norovirus and another patient has symptoms.

Visitors are encouraged not to visit unless absolutely necessary.  If you, or anyone you live with has had symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting please do not come into the hospital until you are clear for 48 hours.

The ward will be reviewed daily.

Highland Council is to seek the views of local communities on a proposal to establish Gaelic Medium catchment areas for the primary schools serving Portree High School. 

The change is being proposed in line with Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Medium Education. 

Members of the People Committee have agreed to undertake a public consultation on the proposal. The consultation will take place under procedures set down in The Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010. 

The views of parents, the local community and others will be sought over a period extending from 28 August to 25 October 2017. 

Public meetings will be held in Portree on 13 September; Broadford on 14 September and Dunvegan on 4 October.

The proposal paper and associated documentation will be available on the Highland Council website from 28 August at:  www.highland.gov.uk/schoolconsultations.  

Similar exercises will be rolled out across the Highland Council area.

The Isle of Skye has once again proved to be an inspiration.

The Scotland: Craft & Design Pavilion 2017 edition will feature ceramics by Patricia Shone, inspired by the landscape of the island.

Patricia Shone was born in Scotland but grew up in South Devon.  After studying ceramics in London, finances and a love of food led her into working as a chef both there and in Italy.  Eventually the cooking took her to Skye where she returned to potting and where she has remained for twenty years.

“My work has developed over the years in response to the powerful landscape around me on the Isle of Skye.  Also to a feeling of connection with the passage across the land of its past inhabitants.  I make mostly functional forms, boxes, bowls, jars, rather direct representation of the landscape, because they are innately human vessels of containment.

"The surfaces of the land are eroded by forces of climate and human intervention, but the substance of it remains constant and immutable. Traces of the past are scratched all over the hills, and remain in ruined form, as fading monuments to the communities who worked the land.”

“I want the natural forms, colours and textures of the work to engage the viewer with a landscape beyond daily experience. As we advance, technologically, the surfaces we touch become increasingly synthetic and machine finished. I feel that what challenges us now is the reality of nature – wild, uncomfortable, dirty, unpackaged, visceral experience.”

Police in Lochaber are offering security advice to local businesses after a series of recent thefts from commercial premises in the area.

Officers have received reports of break-in incidents affecting rural properties in Glenfinnan, Ardgour and Fort William areas in the last few days

Items stolen have included small amounts of cash and foodstuffs.

Enquiries are ongoing locally and officers working in Preventions and Interventions are now urging other businesses to be on their guard and to take precautions.

Constable Keri Jones said: "All of these recent incidents have occurred in quiet rural areas, which are unfortunately not safe from crime.

"Isolated areas allow opportunistic thieves ideal conditions to operate undisturbed and unnoticed so it is vitally important that basic security steps are followed to keep properties and their contents safe.

"Businesses are reminded to secure their properties, ensuring money kept within is correctly stored.

"Try to avoid storing anything of any value somewhere it can be seen from outside the building.

"The addition of security lights around your property can also help to deter criminal activity.

"If any doubt about suspicious activity, report it giving as much detail as possible to help us.

"Enquiries are ongoing into the most recent incidents and if you any information relating to any suspicious behaviour call us on 101 as soon as you can."

 

An otter has been spotted in Japan for the first time in almost four decades, according a Scottish charity assisting Japanese conservationists.

The Skye-based International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) has been helping prepare a reintroduction of otters.  

The last confirmed sighting of an otter was 38 years ago and the animals were declared extinct on the Japanese islands in 2012.  It said a Japanese scientist spotted the otter.

The sighting was made on the island of Tsushima in the Nagasaki prefecture, which is located between the Korean peninsula and Japan.

IOSF said it had still be confirmed if it was a Japanese otter, which is believed to be a subspecies of the Eurasian otter, or an animal from Korea.

 

Volunteers are sought for a pilot befriending project, entitled Skye and Lochalsh Neighbours and Friends.  

The project aims to reduce loneliness and isolation experienced by people in the areas of Skye and Lochalsh.  

The project will be run by Skye and Lochalsh Council for Voluntary Organisation and the Highland Hospice.  

Anyone with two or three hours spare per fortnight is invited to get in touch.

Volunteers will be required to attend a two day training session on 12 September from 10:30am to 3:30pm and on 26 September from 10:30am to 4:00pm at the SLCVO office in Portree.

For more information, contact Samantha-Jo McArthur on 01478612921 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A rock fall at Scorrybreac has resulted in walkers being advised to stay away from the path.

The fall took place on Saturday 19 August, north of the Black Rock on the Scorrybreac headland.  

A low level inspection was carried out, resulting in the path's closure and appropriate signage put in place.  An inspection then took place at the top of the ridge.  

The headland is managed by the Clan MacNicol Trust, who stated: "We cannot stress enough how unstable this area of rock is and would strongly urge all walkers who are using the path not to pass the signs or fencing, as the area is extremely dangerous.

"In the coming days we’ll seek expert advice on how to make the area safe and hopefully open the path as soon as possible."

 

Portree RNLI assisted with two incidents on Sunday 20 August.

Earlier in the day, the Lifeboat was tasked by Stornoway Coastguard to assist in a medical evacuation from Rona.

The casualty was conveyed to Portree and were then handed over to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The second incident took place when the Lifeboat crew were tasked to assist with a medical evacuation from the Isle of Raasay.

 

A Met Office yellow Be Aware warning has been issued for Skye and Lochalsh this evening (Tuesday 22 August.)

Heavy rain will spread across southwest Scotland and the Hebrides on Tuesday evening, and then affect other western and central areas overnight and into Wednesday morning. Some intense downpours, perhaps thundery, will lead to localised flooding of roads. Some travel disruption should be expected through into the morning commute.

The rain will clear away eastwards during Wednesday morning.

The Chief Forecaster's assessment states that outbreaks of rain will develop during Tuesday afternoon and evening, lasting overnight and into Wednesday morning.

Some of the rain will become heavy and perhaps thundery with locally torrential downpours possible.

15 to 25 mm of rain may fall locally in an hour with as much of 30 to 50 mm falling by morning. Isolated totals of 70 mm of rain could fall across higher ground within the warning area.

The warning starts from 8pm on Tuesday 22 August and will last until 9pm on Wednesday 23 August.

More information can be found here.

Staffin and Trotternish residents are encouraged to share their views on a proposed new designation to help protect fossils.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has proposed that a “Nature Conservation Order” (NCO) to protect fossils finds is introduced.

SNH’s Colin MacFadyen said the conservation agency was keen to do all it could to protect important finds in Staffin, but stressed the proposed designation would not restrict access for local people or holidaymakers.  

“Fossil remains of dinosaurs, and other vertebrates, dating from the Middle Jurassic (175-160 million years ago), are globally rare,” he said.

“Some coastal beaches and cliffs locations in Skye have been identified where such remains occur notably in the north-east of the island in Staffin and north of Elgol, in the south. These fossils are therefore of major international significance. Natural erosion reveals the fossils which become exposed and may be found in the exposed bedrock and in water-washed beach deposits.

“In recent years there have been incidents in Skye where dinosaur fossil remains have been hammered and fragmented by amateur collecting, or perhaps even damaged intentionally. As each and every dinosaur fossil could provide vital information on the evolution of these animals, vertebrates generally and Skye’s Middle Jurassic ecosystems, it is important to try and safeguard them. 

“A Nature Conservation Order is proposed to protect ‘vertebrate ‘trace’ fossils (tracks and/or individual footprints) and associated vertebrate ‘body’ fossils (such as bones and teeth’. However, given that fossil material is continually coming to light, and scientific research is ongoing, a mechanism is being sought ensure that dinosaur fossil material will continue to be collected for research and public exhibition. This would be consented collecting operated by means of a permit system.”

The NCO will not affect land management and public access to the areas affected. Its only manifestation on the ground may be signage located at established access points to stretches of coastline. SNH will prepare the case for the NCO, under the provisions in the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, with the Order being made, hopefully as soon as it can be managed, by the Scottish Government.

SNH would like to hear the views and concerns of those who consider they may be affected by the proposed NCO.

For further information, contact Mr MacFadyen by 5pm on Thursday 7 September by emailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phoning: 0131 316 2616.

Procedural guidance, derived from the Scottish Fossil Code, has been prepared for amateur fossil enthusiasts/collectors and the general public and can be read via the SNH website at http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/safeguarding-geodiversity/protecting/skye-fossils

Various NHS Highland sites face temporary admission restrictions due to staffing pressures.

A ward at Lawson Memorial Hospital in Golspie is the latest to go under temporary restriction, with similar measures being carried out at Portree on Skye and New Craigs Hospital in Inverness.

Extreme staffing concerns have meant restricting in-patients admissions as a temporary measure to ensure staff can deliver a safe level of care.

The board is pushing forward with major service change programmes underway in Badenoch & Strathspey, Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross, Lochaber and now Caithness in order to provide a safe, sustainable service in the future.

While these wide-ranging reviews are a step in the right direction the board is preparing to carry out a hospital bed strategy across Highland.

Senior charge nurse, Joanne Gemmill, said: “Despite being fragile, we have been actively managing the staffing situation over recent weeks to ensure all shifts were safely covered.  Unfortunately, more essential staff have gone on sick leave this week and we have exhausted all options to cover these additional shifts.

 

The Quiraing 10k was held as part of the Uig Gala on Saturday 19 August.

The winner was Andrew Grieve with an excellent time of 34 minutes and 37 seconds - also his personal best.

The full results are below:

The rain may have forced Kyle Gala-goers into the community hall, but it certainly didn't prevent the Clan Stunt Show from wowing their audience.

Cyclists, Ross and Danny, braved the wet weather to perform at the Gala.  

Three males were lost in poor weather conditions on Friday 18 August.

Skye Mountain Rescue Team rescued the three men, who were lost north-west of Sgurr Dearg.

 

Members of Scottish Mountain Rescue (SMR) were involved in 436 incidents last year, according to the national body's latest statistics - with August being the busiest month of the year.

A call has been issued for anyone looking to take part in a new BBC series.

The series will follow the lives of people who live in the UK but plan to spend the winter abroad.

Friel Kean Films are looking for anyone who is tired of UK winters and plans to escape for the first time this year.  Whether it's fulfilling a retirement dream or taking work overseas, they want to hear from you.  

For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0141 331 0318.

Kyle and Lochalsh Community Trust needs a new logo - and they've launched a children's competition in order to find one.

The Trust are looking for a logo idea that best represents the extensive area they cover.  

In order to help give the children some ideas and inspirations for drawing, the Trust are asking what makes Kyle and Lochalsh unique and special for people that live here?

They have invited anyone to post to their Facebook page names of places, wildlife and people; traditions; poems; videos - anything that reminds you of our area and what you would like to see on a logo!

There will be an opportunity for the kids to draw logos at the Kyle Gala on Saturday 19 August.  

However, the Trust will be accepting drawings until Monday 11 September.

All drawings will be then displayed at the local Co-op for about a couple of weeks.

Members of the Trust will be choosing the best logo idea at the next AGM, planned at the end of September/beginning of October.

Portree RNLI Open Day successfully raised over £6000 - all of which will go towards keeping the Portree RNLI operational.

The RNLI requires donations in order to function and the Open Day, held on Saturday 12 August, enabled the Portree crew to raise funds - as well as showing the public round their lifeboat.  

The Portree crew have extended their thanks to local businesses, individual supporters and the community for their help in making the day a success.

The Highlife Highland Fit+ Class is set to return on Saturdays at 2:30pm.  

The class is ideal for those easing into exercise or recovering from injury - and the classes include tea and biscuits!

The class is free to Highlife Members or costs £5.80 for adults and £2.90 for concessions.  

A visit to an ancestor's island home will precede the release of a book about that ancestor.

Liz MacRae Shaw told The Skye Times: "Alan and Barbara Squires from Australia are travelling to Rona on Sunday 20 August with some of their distant MacRae relatives from Portree.

"All of them are descended from Janet MacKenzie.

"She lived on a house on the shore at Big Harbour.  Her husband was drowned in a shipwreck off Rona in 1822.  For many years afterwards she kept a lamp in her window to help vessels in the Sound of Raasay.

"Captain Otter, the commander of a naval survey vessel, met her and wrote to Alan Stevenson, engineer to the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses.  Captain Otter recommended that the 'philanthropic widow' be paid for her efforts.

"In 1857 the Stevensons built a lighthouse on Rona and her light was no longer needed.  She emigrated to Australia with her son and there is now a large MacKenzie clan there."

The visit will precede the Skye Book Festival where Liz will be talking about her latest historical novel, No Safe Anchorage.  Liz, another of Janet's descendents, has written about janet and a young Robert Louis Stevenson. 

 

 

 

The Stromeferry Bypass will see more work taking place in Spring 2018.

The closure is intended to allow for work to remove unstable rocks.

Colin Howell the Head of Infrastructure at Highland Council stated that a significant rock removal had been identified, costing around £1M.  He continued that the work will require significant traffic management.  As yet, the Highland Council cannot be definitive about what traffic implications will be.  As yet, a road closure has not been confirmed.  

"With regard to the longer term solution the targeted STAG stage 2 will be submitted to Transport Scotland in the very near future, and the work that HITRANS have commissioned to review the viability of a long term road and rail sharing operation – which is currently ruled out by Network Rail, will be finalised late summer – this will inform whether this option can be reconsidered with regard to its viability."

It was closed by 10 significant rock falls between 1990 and 2012.  After a landslide in December 2011 the bypass was shut for four months.

The Highland Council is also looking at a long-term solution to the problems at the 1960's-built bypass.  Solutions to the problem include re-routing the road at an estimated cost of £85m, a bridge costing about £100m and a tunnel costing about £171m.

Concrete pouring for an EE mast took place today (Thursday 17 August) above Minginish Community Hall.

The helicopter braved windy conditions.

EE applied for planning permission for a new mast on the hill above Minginish Hall in 2016. 

Photograph by Nick Duffill.  

A project aiming to improve the car park at the Fairy Pools has today (Wednesday 16 August) received £100k of funding.

Highland Councillors approved the funding.

The existing 30 space car park is a step closer to accommodating the planned 137 cars and approximately 20 mini-buses and camper vans.  

Last year, the Fairy Pools attracted over 108,000 visitors.  

 

Sleat Community Trust has been awarded £20,000 by players of People’s Postcode Lottery for the Tormore Forest Renewal Project.

Tormore Forest is being felled in carefully controlled stages under local ownership by Sleat Community Trust.  

With funding from Postcode Local Trust, volunteers will soon be able to grow new tree stock for the forest in their own tree nursery.  

A path network for walking and cycling is also planned.

Research into the history, archaeology and environment of the forest is set to create information and interpretive boards for all to enjoy. 

Henrik Micski, Chair of Sleat Renewables Limited said: “This exciting project will provide native hardwood saplings for local people to replant thereby sustaining our community wood fuel supply and provide a forest for future generations to enjoy."

The foundations of the project will be delivered over the next 12 months by community volunteers advised and assisted by local expertise including educational institutions, health care providers, forestry experts and land managers to ensure that the very best can be made of the grant funding.

The tree nursery will provide the opportunity to learn new horticultural skills and we are looking forward to working with our local community, schools and colleges, mental health support groups and young carers.  In addition, improving and extending the path networks will provide greater recreational opportunities increasing the well-being of all involved.

Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

 

Portree could be one of the locations for a free open public Wi-Fi system.

Members are to be asked to approve proposals to expand the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal funded free open public Wi-Fi system to 14 towns across Highland.

Town centres recommended for the free Wi-Fi programme are Alness, Aviemore, Dingwall, Dornoch, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Invergordon, Nairn, Portree, Tain, Thurso, Ullapool and Wick.

 A report will go to the Highland Council’s Places Committee on 16 August detailing the plans for approval.

The City Wi-Fi project, led by the Council and funded by the Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal, aims to create a free open public Wi-Fi system across the Highlands for visitors and residents. By being available 24/7, 365 days per year, it aims to stimulate economic growth and increase digital inclusion.

Increasingly such digital connectivity is seen as essential if the Highlands are to be innovative and keep their competitive place in the tourism market. The project also offers the opportunity to gather data about local users and tourist activity, and the creation of a wireless infrastructure in a town centre allows other innovative technology, such as smart traffic management technology to be utilised.

The first phase of the Inverness City Wi-Fi project, branded Ness Wi-Fi, is providing fast internet coverage in a pilot area including the Victorian Market, Falcon Square and surrounding streets. The system is providing reliable fast internet usage to users, whilst being family friendly and content filtered with average daily user number of between 300 – 500 users. Users also have language choices when logging into the system (with Gaelic coming on-line).

Phase 2 of the project is currently being installed to roll out the coverage across the city centre and along the river to Eden Court, the Northern Meeting Park and Ardross Street Coach Drop off.

Fourteen other towns have now been identified for funding for free Wi-Fi on the basis of the anticipated benefits to tourism and local economy.

Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of the Places Committee said: “It has always been an ambition since the start of the City Wi-Fi project to extend free Wi-Fi across Highland. I am sure that people across the Highlands will whole-heartedly welcome this plan which is designed to bring a fantastic boost to these areas and help to regenerate town centres.”

A list of potential ideas for the Plock has been released.

Ideas, gathered from suggestions during the Kyle Conversation, Facebook posts and individual proposals, include a campsite, a golf course, dog exercise area and wildlife hide.

Kyle and Lochalsh Community Trust will explore the feasibility of the ideas as soon as the Plock ownership transfer is finalised.  

These ideas will be available on a form to fill out either during the Kyle Gala event or in the Kyle Library or the Trust's office.

The Trust are keen to hear from younger generations.

Lochalsh Junior Pipe Band and Ross and Cromarty Pipes & Drums School became World Pipe Band Champions in their respective grades at the weekends competition in Glasgow.  .

Highland Council Piping Instructors Niall Matheson and Niall Stewart, and drumming Instructor Drew Caldwell, with their bands 'Ross and Cromarty Pipes & Drums School' (Novice A) and 'Lochalsh Junior Pipe Band' (Novice B) achieved the ultimate accolade.

They were warmly congratulated and thanked for all the additional time they spend working with these groups by the Councils Music Development Officer, Norman Bolton, at a meeting of all Music Instructors on Monday.

Norman said: “Winning a competition at this level is a huge achievement, not only from a playing perspective but also in overcoming the immense additional difficulties associated with living in the Highlands,  while competing in a largely central belt based activity.  The bands success is also testament to the support of local communities, parents and the pupils who choose to participate in addition to their weekly lessons.” 

Two sisters, reported as missing, have been found in Northern Ireland.

The search for the girls took place in Skye and Fort William, where the girls had previously been known to camp with their father.

Grace McKinney, eight, and Kara McKinney, five, were thought to have travelled to Northern Ireland on Thursday.

 

Officers had appealed for information and said their priority was to establish the two girls' well-being.

At about 22:00 on Monday, Tayside Police said: "We can confirm Grace and Kara McKinney, who were missing from Perthshire have been traced safe and well in Northern Ireland."

 

A team of veterans affected by military operations on a round-Britain sailing expedition are due to at the Isle of Skye. 

The Turn to Starboard Round Britain Challenge set sail from Falmouth harbour on Saturday, August 5 with seventeen crew members – many with little or no sailing experience – working together to circumnavigate Britain on board a 92-foot tall ship. 

The 2000-mile expedition has been organised by Turn to Starboard, a charity based at Falmouth which helps hundreds of military personnel suffering with physical injuries or mental trauma by providing sailing courses and family sailing trips. The aim of the voyage is to help participants re-engage, reintegrate and gain new skills to help start new careers. 

The crew are sailing in a clockwise direction, visiting places such as Liverpool, Oban, Isle of Skye, Newcastle and Ipswich. The Isle of Skye follows stops in Liverpool and the Isle of Man and depending on weather conditions, the crew are expected to sail on the island between Wednesday 23 and Friday 25 August. 

Turn to Starboard was set up four years ago by former RAF leader and CEO, Shaun Pascoe who was the leader of a helicopter medical emergency response team in the RAF, yet after finding it difficult to adjust to normal life outside of the forces he embarked on a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Yachtmaster course and within two weeks of sailing he felt in a better place. He now invests his time in helping others to feel the same and skippered the vessel on a similar expedition last year. 

Shaun said: “Following the success of last year’s Round Britain Challenge, we are excited that The Endeavour Fund has agreed to support a second expedition to sail a group of veterans affected by military operations around the British Isles. Once again the aim of the challenge is to help participants re-engage, reintegrate and gain new skills while raising awareness of the challenges veterans can face after leaving Service life.

A man, reported missing from his home in Staffin, has been in phone contact with his family.

40 year-old DJ Macleod has told his family that he is safe.  

Local police enquiries continue.

 

The Celebrate Glendale festivities are set to continue at the community owned Meanish Pier on Saturday 19th August, the famous Glendale shore and boat fishing competition for adults and children is taking place from 10am to 4pm will be followed Sea Food BBQ cooked by Three Chimneys Head Chef Scott Davies.

Having been forced to reschedule due to poor weather from the very successful Orbost Farm, Wild Boar Roast and community celebration held in July, the newly dubbed “Festival by the Sea” is set to build on celebrating Glendale as a place and its association with top quality local food and produce.

The Glendale Trust secured funds from the National Lottery which have been used to support a huge voluntary effort in organising, cooking and preparing for the festivities and activities. Almost all the businesses in the area as well as the many of the local producers have contributed to making the series of events such a success.

Two girls, aged 8 and 5, have been reported missing.

The girls have previously been known to camp with their father in the West coast area, Skye and Fort William.

Grace Elizabeth McKinney (8) and Kara McKinney (5) are thought to be travelling with their father Michael McKinney, his girlfriend Martina and Woody (3). They are travelling in a cream coloured Eldis Autoquest Motorhome H36 PBO.

Officers are eager to trace Grace and Kara in order to confirm their wellbeing.

Grace and Kara were last known to be in the Aylth area.

Grace is described as 4’10” slim with red/auburn hair and Kara is 4’0” with red/auburn hair.

If you have any information which may assist Police in tracing Grace and Kara please contact Police Scotland on 101 and quote incident number 3165 11/08/17 or approach any police Scotland Officer.

Concerns have been raised for the wellbeing of missing man.

40 year-old Donald John Macleod, known as DJ, has been reported as missing from his home in Staffin.

Local police have asked anyone with information to call 101.

A man was rescued from the water - but it was only a demonstration during Portree Lifeboat Open Day today (Saturday 12 August.)

The Open Day, held at Portree Harbour, enabled members of the public to venture aboard and explore the lifeboat.  

Getting to meet the crew, seeing the bottle stall and throwing wet sponges were all part of the day's entertainment.  

In 2016, it cost £177.3 million to run the RNLI - money is raised by help and donations from the general public. 

 

 

An isolated outbreak of Bovine TB is a cause for concern for crofting and farming communities in the area says Angus MacNeil MP, SNP Shadow Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Mr MacNeil said: "This is a developing situation and while a cause for concern Scotland has an excellent record in dealing with such isolated outbreaks. Scotland has been officially 'TB free' since 2009 and it is important to all in the industry that we keep this valuable status.

 

"I am certain that the Scottish Government is doing everything in its power to contain the risk and will support any crofters or farmers affected through what must be a worrying and difficult time."

The Scottish Government confirmed the outbreak and said its source was unknown.

A government spokesman said: “An outbreak of bovine TB has been confirmed in a herd of cattle on Skye.

“The infected herd is currently under restriction whilst further testing is undertaken.

“The source of the infection is under investigation.”

The full results for the Isle of Skye Highland Games 2017 can be found below.

The Games were held on Wednesday 9 August.

A walker was rescued near Peinachorrain yesterday evening (Thursday 10 August.)

The female walker had been unprepared for the weather and was stuck on a rock.

Local police, Skye Mountain Rescue and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency were in the Braes area, with the helicopter overhead, in order to assist the walker.  

The casualty required no onward assistance and was handed over to the care of Police Scotland.

 

 

Kate Forbes MSP has said she is encouraged by the progress of plans for tourism on Skye, after a meeting with tourism group SkyeConnect and local councillors. 

Speaking after a meeting in Portree on Monday 7 August with SkyeConnect and Highland Councillors, the constituency MSP added that it was encouraging that stakeholders involved in tourism were working together for the good of the island. 

In June, SkyeConnect chair Shirley Spear was one of the guest speakers at the first of a series meetings organised by Kate Forbes MSP, which was the beginning of a process to identify and find solutions to the pressures on the island caused by increases in tourism.

Kate Forbes MSP said: “Skye is facing big challenges – and opportunities – right now, and I'm very thankful to the team behind SkyeConnect and our Highland Councillors for their work thus far. 

“I share people’s frustrations over the summer months but the key is uniting as a group with a plan for the island. 

“I was pleased to meet again with SkyeConnect and local Councillors, and hear about the progress we are making. I can assure everybody that we are working extremely hard to make progress so that there are significant changes for next summer. 

“This work is running parallel to other initiatives, particularly those led by local groups like Staffin Community Trust, and I also have sought the help of Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fiona Hyslop. 

“If we can each do our bit and work together for a common purpose of relieving the pressures on Skye then we will be successful.”

The meeting was also attended by Skye’s local councillors. 

Three vehicles were damaged on the Isle of Skye last month.

The vehicles were parked at the ferry terminal in Uig between Saturday 29 July and Sunday 30 July when the damage was caused.

Local police have requested that anyone with information call 101.

A petition to reconsider the location for an abattoir in Portree has been formed.

In March 2016, the Highland Council approved plans for the abattoir and incinerator at 3 Leasgeary Road and stated that: "The proposals accord with the provisions of the Development Plan and there are no materials considerations which would warrant refusal of the application."

However, concerns have been raised by members of the public regarding the intended location.

Whilst recognising the need for an abattoir, the petition states that the intended site is close to residential housing and near a busy route for school children and dog walkers.  

An environmental noise assessment was undertaken to assess the potential impact of noise emissions from the proposed micro abattoir.  Atmos Consulting Team produced a noise propagation model to predict the noise immission levels at identified assessment locations attributable to the associated heat pumps and heat recovery system.  At all receptor locations, the rating level was predicted to be lower than the background sound level during both the daytime and night-time period.

The petition has 270 signatures at the time of writing on Thursday 10 August.  It can be viewed here.  The full application for the micro abattoir can be viewed at the Highland Council Planning website here.

 

 

New homes on Skye have won a top award in a national crime prevention scheme.

A development of new homes in Portree has gained the highest award given by Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative.

The award was given for incorporating crime prevention techniques into the layout and landscaping and the physical security of buildings.

The SBD Gold Award was presented to Lochalsh & Skye Housing Association for their development at Pat Gordon Place, Portree.

An SBD trained Designing Out Crime Officer worked with the architects, Reynolds Architecture, and the developers, O’Brien Properties, both of Dingwall, near Inverness, from the planning stages through to construction to incorporate SBD crime prevention techniques and security.

These measures included the built environment, such as creating natural surveillance from the properties over parking areas and access routes, through to the doors, windows and locks which meet Police Preferred Specification standards. These measures combine to make the properties more robust and less attractive to opportunist criminals.

 

Stuart Ward, Police Scotland National Designing Out Crime Manager, explained: “These properties designed to SBD specifications offer a higher standard of security compared to most residential properties. Combined with our crime prevention measures into the overall layout of the homes, the site will reduce significantly the risk of crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Twiddlemuffs, fairy cakes, beadwork and knitting - just some of the prize winning entrants in the Skye Show's Cookery and Craft competition.

The Show, which took place on Saturday 5 August, had competition to include all ages.

The full list of winners can be found below:

There was something to entertain everybody at the Isle of Skye Highland Games today (Wednesday 9 August.)

Whether it was taking part in the exciting tug of war, watching the Highland dancing or tapping a foot to the sound of the pipes, all of the spectators were involved.  

A superb crowd gathered on The Lump in Portree to watch the proceedings - and even get involved in some of the events.  

The Isle of Skye’s busy summer tourist season shows no sign of slackening as another group of visitors is set to descend for the Skye Book Festival at the end of the month. 

One of the headlining events at the Festival brings to the island yet another special and unique treat. Graeme Macrae Burnet, winner of Author of the Year 2017 Sunday Herald Culture Awards and author of His Bloody Project, has told organisers that it is “particularly exciting” for him “to speak at an event so close to the setting of His Bloody Project as I expect the conditions under which the crofters live in the book will be of particular interest to the audience there.”

The story of a 17-year-old Highland boy named Roddy Macrae who committed a triple homicide around 1869 brings modern literature close to home for a Skye audience as the scene is set in Culduie, Applecross. 

Graeme Macrae Burnet was born and brought up in Kilmarnock but his mother was from Lochcarron, just across the water from Skye.  His Bloody Project was short-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize in October last year and has now sold more copies than any of the other books nominated.

The first week in August saw local Coastguard Rescue Teams assist two children.

Dunvegan and Portree Coastguard rescued the children, who swam to an offshore island and had been cut off by the tide.  

A local fish farm boat recovered the casualties.

Dunvegan Coastguard Rescue Team assisted them once they had landed ashore.

In a separate incident, the Dunvegan Team was also tasked with cordoning off a para flare found in Eynort shore.  The flare has now been recovered and taken to Portree CRE for disposal.  An Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit will dispose of it.

The 2017 Skye Agricultural Show brought together family and friends for a glorious day out on Saturday 5 August.

The event was held under glorious blue skies - punctuated with occasional rain showers!  

The event included a cooking and crafts tent, sheep-shearing, a dog show, a horse show and a display of tractors.  

The poultry section was not in place this year, but it is hoped that it will return for the 2018 Show.  

The Isle of Skye will once again take a starring role in an upcoming feature film.

A call for extras has been issued.

Anyone wishing to apply must be free from 25 September to 29 September.  Desirable, but not essential, skills include rowing, fishing, singing and net making.

The film will tell the story of how 14th century king, Robert the Bruce, used cunning and bravery to repel the English army.

Those wishing to take part can visit the website here.

A charity cafe raised £711.13 for Tormore forest improvements.

The charity cafe in aid of Tormore: Explore! was held on Thursday 3 August.

The money will go towards improved paths and facilities in the community forest.

Various classes will be running at Staffin Gym.

The classes are open to residents and visitors.

They include:

Monday Beginners dance cardio 7 x 8 pm

Tuesday Club Hiit 6 x 6-30 pm 

Abs 6-30 x 7pm

Wednesday Early bird circuits 7 x 7-30 am

Thursday Fatburn Extreme 7 x 7-30 pm

Saturday Boxing/bootcamp 9 x 9-30 am

Abs 9-30 x 10 am

Beginners Dance Cardio-

Dance your way to fitness with Anna’s dance class

Club Hiit

30 minute class combining the experience of a night out with High Intensity interval training.

Abs-30 mins class aimed at strengthening abs to support body posture and to provide toning to the tummy area £3.50

Fatburn Extreme-20 mins of bodyweight exercises, arms, tummy and legs-short but tough £3.50

Boxing boot camp-

30 min Sparring session to tone arms, legs and core £3.50

The Skye Games will take on an international flavour as a French Pipe Band comes to entertain.

The Piperade Pipe Band was formed in 2010 when a piper settled in the south west of France and met two musicians, attracted by the sound of his pipes.

The number of students grew and included drummers, all keen to learn the Scottish techniques.  Currently, the band now has 30 members.

Many performances have been made since then, including concerts with local orchestras, piping festivals and an appearance at the Bressuire Highland Games in central France.

Every year a part of the band plays for the D Day commemorations in Normandy on the graves of the allied soldiers perpetuating the memory of their sacrifice.

The 2017 Dunvegan Show was held on Saturday 29 July.

As usual, the Show was a celebration of the community skills and included livestock, piping, archery and spinning.

This year's main attraction was the Drakes of Hazard, a superb sheepdog and duck display.  Mark Wylie, with his dog and duck display team, enthralled the crowds with his skills.  

Mark got his first collie during his early teens and soon started entering local trials.  His duck herding demonstrations have been seen in Lewis, Harris, York and Ireland.  

 

A patient missing from the Dr Mackinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford was recovered.

The patient went missing on Sunday 30 July.

Dunvegan, Kyle of Lochalsh and Portree Coastguard Rescue Teams, along with Kyle RNLI Lifeboat and the Coastguard Helicopter were tasked to assist Police Scotland in the search.

The Kyle Coastguard Rescue Team located the casualty safe and well.  He was returned to hospital care.

 

 

Two adults and a child on board a small dinghy were rescued after they found themselves in difficulty.

The dinghy was drifting offshore in the Gairloch area.

Portree lifeboat was launched at 2:22pm on Wednesday 2 August after Stornoway Coastguard raised the alarm.

The lifeboat crew stated that: "Other local vessels responded allowing for a quick resolution to a potentially serious incident.  Portree Lifeboat was stood down and returned to station about 1500 hours where it was made ready for service."

 

 

A collection tin has been stolen from a caravan park.

The collection tin was for the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and was located in a caravan park in Corpach.

The theft took place between Friday 21 July and Sunday 23 July.

Anyone with any information is asked to call 101, and cite the reference NP6421/17.

Police in the Highlands are urging businesses to be on their guard against vishing and spoofing fraud after a number of businesses were recently defrauded out of almost £2.5million.

The incidents against a number of businesses occurred between 19 July and 30 July 2017 and happened after companies received calls from individuals claiming to work for their bank using genuine-looking communications. They operate by stating that their account has been compromised and persuade victims to transfer money to a 'safe account' in a number of transactions.

The fraudsters often use spoof numbers, making the call appear as though it is coming from a genuine bank number. It is for this reason police advise that if you call your bank back, you should use a different phone to the one the initial call was received on.

Detective Inspector Iain McPhail from the Economic Crime and Financial Investigation Unit said: "These fraudsters are very convincing and have managed to obtain a significant amount of money from local businesses. We have launched a thorough investigation into these incidents and are working with the companies' relevant banks. Some of the money that companies have lost has been recovered and work is ongoing to try and recover as much money as possible.

"These incidents are devastating for the people that fall victim to the scams. We are urging the public to be on their guard against unsolicited calls and be suspicious if someone reporting to be from your bank requests any of your bank or personal details as they should already have them.

"Always double check numbers you're given to call back on or call through the main customer care number for the organisation and ask to be put through. If you decide to ring back and verify the call it is advisable to do so on a different phone line like another landline or your mobile. If you are still unsure, consider visiting your local branch instead of speaking to someone over the phone."

The Skye and Stornoway NFU Mutual Agencies, as well as SAC Consulting in Portree, will be undertaking a very special challenge this month.

The Great Glen Challenge takes place on 25 August and the companies will be entering two teams.

The companies say: "We are delighted to be participating in this event to raise money for RSABI, a unique charity supporting Scottish Agriculture."

The companies have formed two teams, Team Won and Team Too, and their fundraising page can be viewed here.

Donations placed via this website will be processed by Virgin Money Giving and passed straight to RSABI along with any Gift Aid that may be payable. 

 

 

A Skye businessman has suggested the introduction of a tourist tax as a way of funding more facilities for visitors to the island.

Roger Booth owns a food van at the Quiraing and regularly tidies away litter left there.  He suggested that a charge as small as £1 would help pay for facilities such as public toilets and more car parks.

The Highland Council, said a change in law would be needed for a new tax.

A new Rural Watch service covering Skye, Lochalsh and Lochcarron will be launched on Saturday 5 August.

Police Scotland and NFU Scotland will be launching the service at the Agricultural Show.

Jake Sayles, NFU Senior Agent and Group Secretary, told The Skye Times: "Basically, it'll be a service people can sign up to, so they receive info on rural issues in area. Things like theft/vandalism happening, vehicles acting suspiciously, tips/advice and warnings for anyone in area with property/land/livestock etc."

More information can be obtained from the NFU stand at the Agricultural Show at the King George V Playing Field in Portree. 

 

 

 

On Scottish exam results day, 8th August, no matter the outcome of your exams, you'll have a lot of fantastic options to help you move forward.

Whether you got the results you had always dreamed of, or you didn’t get the results you had hoped for, it’s not the end of the world.

Along with other regional DYW groups, Developing the Young Workforce West Highland, are following Glasgow’s brainchild of promoting the message that there are many people in interesting job roles across Scotland that may not have taken a straight, obvious or traditional path to get there. 

It will be natural to have mixed emotions about your exam results, so to celebrate the range and diversity of career paths that are followed leaving school.

We are encouraging people from a variety of sectors and professions to share a snippet of their story – what they did when they left school and where they are now.

You may be surprised to see where people were and what they have achieved to date. We want to convey a positive message that there are a range of ways to achieve success into a variety of career roles – and that there is #nowrongpath.

To share your path:

Struan's bookshop and cafe is set to reopen after undergoing a change of name and ownership.

Mòr Books and the Windrush Cafe Studio has become Bog Myrtle Skye, owned by Renee Mason, Shaun Stridgeon and their daughter, Matilda.

Renee told The Skye Times the story behind the name, saying: "My paternal Great Grandmother was a Myrtle Macdonald and, as the family history goes, she had a Skye connection.

"I wanted to use the name Myrtle because of the Scottish connection (and because Nanna Myrtle was a character).

"While researching I stumbled across the Bog Myrtle plant. I love the combination of the name (rough and ladylike), and, as it happens, bog myrtle has amazing properties - midge repellant, antibacterial, and was once used as a camphor rub by crofters with a touch of the cold. Eventually we'd like to stock a range of bog myrtle related products.

We have taken on all the books and most of the textiles, but the focus until the end of this season will be developing the cafe."

The family's previous homes include Australia, New Zealand, Spain and China - all of which will influence the direction their menu will take.

Police are urgently trying to trace a 48-year-old man, who is missing from his home in Germany.

Information suggests he may have travelled to the Western isles on Friday 28 July 2017 and may be in the Isle of Lewis, Isle of Harris, the Uists or the Isle of Skye.

Torsten Raimund Kulke is described as being 6 ft 3 inches with a medium build and light brown hair.  

Those with any information can contact officers at Stornoway Police station on 101, quoting incident number NH/2952/17.  Alternatively, information can be anonymously given to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Parents and carers of primary and secondary school children who are eligible to claim for assistance with school clothing for their children are to benefit from an 11% increase in the grant being made available by The Highland Council.

Members of the Highland Council’s Resources Committee have agreed to increase the amount of school clothing grant per pupil to £90 for all applications received from 1 April 2016 for the 2016/17 academic year. Last session (2015/16) the Highland Council paid the joint fourth highest rate (£81) in Scotland.

Tributes have been paid to a man with strong connections -and commitments - to Sleat and Raasay.

The latest edition of Am Bratech, Raasay’s community newspaper, has announced the recent death of 65 years old David Dickson.

Writing in the paper, Donnie Oliphant said: “We are very sad to learn that David Dickson, who divided his time between Sleat and Edinburgh, died in August after a short illness.

The A82 has now re-opened after two separate road accidents involving motorcycles.

The first occurred around 11.15am and closed the road south of Drumnadrochit following a motorcycle and car collision earlier today

The male motorcyclist was airlifted to Raigmore Hospital by the UK Coastguard helicopter. His injuries, at the time, were said to be life threatening.

Scottish Fire and Rescue said: "When firefighters arrived they discovered the motorcyclist had ended up down an embankment. Using ropes and utilising their working at height skills the crews reached the casualty and extricated them to safety.

"Police, Ambulance and the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter were also present. The motorcyclist was placed in the care of the coastguard helicopter crew before being airlifted to hospital.

"Crews made the scene safe and assisted with the clean-up operation. The last appliance left the scene at 1.37pm."

The second accident closed the A82 just south of Invermoriston following a single motorcyle RTC.

Traffic Scotland have issued a high winds warning on the Skye Bridge from midday today (Aug 31)

Earlier this month Skye Times reported how Portree RNLI were called in to ferry ambulance staff to an emergency on Raasay.

The incident was said to have once again highlighted the lack of out of hours medical cover on the island. Now here’s one resident’s take on the incident and its aftermath as related on social media.

"When the paramedics are called out to Raasay these days they are usually brought across by the fantastic RNLI crew. At the same time one of our local volunteers is contacted to drive the (very old) ambulance that is kept on the island down to the ferry terminal to collect the paramedic and take them to the patient. That volunteer then waits whilst the patient is assessed and eventually takes the paramedics (and patient if evacuation is required) back to the waiting lifeboat.

Walkers are being warned that, weather permitting, helicopter lifts will take in place in Glen Sligachan on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd September as part of the John Muir Trust’s ongoing programme of path repairs.

Following the first phase of restoration work on the Druim Hain path that was carried out last winter, phase two starts in September.

It includes further work on the Druim Hain path from Glen Sligachan to Loch Coruisk, plus pre-emptive work on Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach where the steep path is in danger of becoming badly eroded.

The helicopter lift will bring stone into the two sites which will be used to build steps and drainage features.

The Highland Council Waste Team are encouraging people to give quality unwanted items a new home by donating to a good cause.  Passing your stuff on to be used by someone else is a great way to help out family and friends or support a local charity. It’s also great for the environment as it keeps things out of landfill.

There are many re-use and charity stores across the region that sell donated items to support a good cause in the local area, and many of them also help people back into work.

The sort of things to donate include quality clothing, shoes (pairs), books, furniture, soft furnishings (with fire tags) bikes, prams (with fire tags), toys and homeware.  They are also a great place to pick up amazing bargains and in turn support local charities.

Fearless Danny MacAskill, Skye’s own top cycle stunt rider, may not go Youtube viral with his latest offering but it could become a best seller.

For the local lad made good is about to have a book about his life and exploits published by Penguin and as you can see you can pre-order it now.

Entitled "At the Edge" the book will be out from the end of September

 

 

Specialist booksellers from all over the UK and Ireland, including from the Isle of Skye itself, will be crowding into the Aros Centre for the PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair this week.

There is free entry for people interested in browsing the antiquarian; second-hand; collectable and rare books; and other printed material offered for sale at the centre coinciding with Skye Book Festival.

The event is open on Thursday 12noon–5.30pm; Friday 9.00am – 5.30pm; and Saturday 9.00am–4.30pm.

One island-based specialist who will be at the fair is Gilleasbuig Ferguson Rare Books based at Taigh na Mara, Skeabost Bridge, on the drive which leads to the Skeabost Hotel.  This is run by Gilleasbuig Ferguson (pictured)  whose specialisms include Early Scottish books, Highlands, Hebrides and Scottish Gaelic; Geology; Darwin; natural history; evolutionary science; and fine bindings.

Another islands-based bookseller is Kenny Macleod, of Hebridean Books, Eoropie, Ness, Isle of Lewis, who deals with secondhand Scottish, Highlands and Islands, Gaelic, Football and Sport books.

Kenny said he thought there were many benefits in having a fair of this kind in the island.  “It gives the dealers an opportunity to get out and about and see a beautiful part of the country, meet new dealers, make new contacts but, above all, sell books.  I feel the fair is getting busier as more and more people find out about it.”

Maybe not quite blowing her own trumpet, but Sarah Watts latest musical course is certain to be sweet music to some ears.

Sarah said: "I am preparing for my Autumn Isle of Raasay Clarinet Course (17th - 21st October). There are still a couple of places left if you want to visit one of the most beautiful islands in Scotland (yes I am biased!) for a week of clarinet playing.

Seven people were brought to safety during two different mountain rescues on Skye.

The incidents happened virtually simultaneously yesterday (Aug 29) with the local Mountain Rescue team managing to cope with both.

The alert was first raised at around 2.30pm when a party of three, one male and two females, found themselves lost and disorientated in thick mist and poor weather conditions on the Cuillin.

Tragedy mum Natalia Spencer has been making her way around Skye determined that her daughter’s memory will live on.

In December last year five year old Elizabeth collapsed the day after showing flu-like symptoms. It was just 18 days later that she died, a victim of Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis, a cold-like virus which triggered an extremely rare auto immune condition that sent her body into overdrive to fight off the original virus

The condition, caused her body to go into septic shock, shutting down her major organs and cutting off the blood supply to her limbs.

Elizabeth was put on life support at Bristol Children's Hospital but tragically died.

Now, Natalia is fighting her grief to raise money and awareness by walking the entire coast of Britain - because the seaside was Elizabeth's favourite place.

Ruth (left)

Dog loving Ruth Winterbourne is about to take "walkies" to a whole new level.

For while most folk might take their canine companion out for a short stroll each day this week Ruth intends to lead the way by covering nearly 50 miles from Dunvegan Castle right through to the Skye Bridge.

After four months of training Ruth is planning to set off at 6am on Thursday (Sept 1) and will walk 26 miles to the Moll Road end. Then, sore feet permitting, she will resume her charity challenge completing the 23 miles over the bridge to Kyle.

Ruth said: "Training over the last 4 months has gone really well so I am now going to do the walk in 2 days instead of the original planned 3 days.

"The main reason is to raise money for two charities very close to my heart, the first, Scottish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue and the second will be Three Counties Dog Rescue .

A series of summits to drive forward the rural economy; discuss investment and consider Scotland’s role in the EU will be hosted by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

The first summit, to be held next week, will focus on the farmed shellfish industry, followed by events tailored to industries including forestry, agriculture and other sectors within food and drink.

The discussions will bring together industry representatives; recommend action to boost investment and consider how to best protect our interests and relationship with the EU.

Engineers from Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) have presented Portree RNLI with a cheque for £5,000 in recognition of the assistance given restoring power to customers in Raasay after Storms Gertrude and Henry battered the Highlands and Islands in close succession earlier this year.

The lifeboat crew twice came to the assistance of SHEPD’s local team, initially taking linesmen to the island on the evening of 29 January to get the lights back on while Gertrude unleashed winds gusting up to 94mph and then again on 1 February when lightning associated with Storm Henry inflicted fresh damage. The severe conditions meant that the Raasay ferry was unable to sail, leaving engineers facing an uncertain wait to bring help to island customers.

SHEPD Team Manager Neil Macdonald, who was one of the engineers transported to the island, said: “The assistance we received from the RNLI was given freely by highly skilled volunteers who are used to saving lives at sea in atrocious conditions. The value of their work for our communities - and on this occasion for our customers who were without power - goes well beyond money. We hope our donation is a small recognition of the unique service they made available to us and the difference it made.

CalMac Ferries Ltd has gone public for the first time with its plans to transform west coast ferry services in a new contract beginning on 1 October for up to eight years.

The company, which was announced as the successful bidder for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services tender in May, signed the contract with Transport Scotland on August 22 following the finalisation of legal agreements.

Scottish Ministers and Transport Scotland place great value on the contribution that the Clyde and Hebrides Service can make to the social, cultural and economic vitality of Scotland, and in particular in the Island and Coastal communities. 

Managing Director, Martin Dorchester, said that CalMac’s winning bid was rooted in ambitious plans to drive improvements which will transform the experience of ferry travellers, exemplify customer focus, and show the company’s determination to make a positive difference to the communities.

Skye Ladies missed out on a Valerie Fraser Camanachd Cup victory after going down to a 4-2 defeat to rivals Lochaber.

However, at least there was the consolation of being presented with the Ladies 1st Division trophy after a season long fight for the title.

Glendale Trust want to get the go ahead to bring the local Pooltiel Pier and slipway back into full use.

They are seeking planning permission which, if successful, would see essential repairs and an extension to the low water mark carried out. The extended slipway would then provide safe access to the water at all times.

Steven Fraser in action

Skye and Lochalsh Club stage their annual Skeabost Rally Time Trial next month.

The event, won in 2015 by Steven Fraser, will take place on Saturday 17th September, with spectators, as always, welcome to come along and enjoy the high speed actions.

One hundred and twenty rides cycled their way around Skye this week as the annual Sportive event was staged on the island.

In the 95 miles Skye Mor some 70 riders set off with all but one managing to completed the tough course around the north of Skye before heading for Dunvegan and back via Sligachan.

First male place went to Alan Cope with a time of 4.47.03 while first female home was Marie Meldrum in 5.08.51.

Cuillin Wheel members James Stephenson was 30th in a time of 5.50.32 followed by Simon Hammond in 52nd place at 6.52.30

In the 48 mile Skye Beag there were 50 competitiors and the winner time was Jonathan Bell’s 2.24.42 while first female was 17 years old Ella Conelly in 2.34.00. Cuillin Wheeler, Wheldon Houlsby did a time of 3.53.43 for 40th.

Full results



 

With the launch of the Second Volume of The Great Book of Skye due to take place on Thursday September 1 on the first day of The Skye Book Festival, The Skye Times asked the book’s creators – Cailean Maclean and Norman Macdonald – some questions about the book and its predecessor.

The original Great Book of Skye – launched at the Skye Book Festival in Aros on 2014 – has 598 packed pages of biographies, images, background and bibliographical guidance and sources and featured 563 Skye people.

The new volume, timed exclusively for this year’s festival, brings to notice a further 275 women and men who have left their mark on the island. Compiled from local and national resources, oral and written, its medley of themes makes it of interest to the scholar as well as to the person who wishes to find out about the ordinary – and the not-so-ordinary – people of Skye and their kin.  Once again, the book has been exclusively created on Skye, published under the Great Book Publishing imprint in Aird Bernisdale, and designed by Luke Slater of Pelican Design in Portree.

Q: I guess from the imprint on the original Great Book of Skye (Great Book Publishing, Portree) that you set up your own publishing company to produce the book - was this the idea from the outset?

A: Yes, we felt that if we got an already established publisher involved, they would dictate the size, shape of the book, number of pictures etc.  We did not want that.

Gina at the oath ceremony

 

Skye now has a new Special Constable after Gina Mills was officially sworn in.

She travelled to Police Scotland’s training centre at Tulliallan Castle in Kincardine, Fife, for the special occasion.

Set in 90 acres of parkland the 19th century built facility castle lies at the heart of the force’s main training facility.
Since opening for police training in 1954, Tulliallan has also been Scotland’s central recruit training base for over 50 years.

Roger and Andrea


A tweed worn by the rich and famous is the inspiration for Glendale weavers Roger and Andrea Holden.

In the past the Glenurquhart Check, probably one of the world’s most famous tweeds, has been worn by the likes of former US president, Ronald Reagan, actor Cary Grant and figured in the creations of designer Ralph Lauren.

Created in the mid-19th century it now comes in a huge variety of related patterns, known as Glen Checks.

Now though this October, to mark Wool Week, a celebration of all things woollen, Roger and Andrea who run Skye Weavers, are setting out to design their very own special variation of this pattern, the Glendale Check.

The work of Lucky2bhere, the Skye-based life-saving charity received a massive boost from the emergency services in Stornoway recently when it received a cheque for £7311,79 arising from the annual soccer match between 999 service personnel and a fundraising evening event.

In the hard-fought game on Saturday August 13 at the Stornoway Running Track pitch, the police took a 2-0 lead, but the fire service came back with a 3-2 victory to take the cup home for another year.  The police team included members of the ambulance, paramedical and Coastguard services.

Roddy Macdonald and Angus Morrison of Lucky2bhere on the Western Isles received the cheque on behalf of the charity and Angus talked of the huge progress made by Lucky2bhere during 2016.

Portree & Braes Community Trust have landed extra cash to help cover the cost of the local helipad.

Inverness based PDG Helicopters have donated £300 which will be used locally to maintain the pad which helps ensure that it remains available for emergency use for residents of Portree and north Skye

Scotland's most successful rural arts and events promotion group, Skye based SEALL, celebrated its own big birthday bash in style.

The 25th anniversary of its foundation, Skye Events for All, marked the big moment  with a concert held in Sleat by Blazin' Fiddles, who wowed the appreciative audience with some fine fiddle playing.

Experience and expertise honed on Skye is go behind the Bamboo Curtain to help the world’s mostly highly populated country protect its own wildlife.

Despite the incredible difference in population – Skye with just over 10,000 compared to the 1,322,000,000 that China has – still lessons learnt in the North West of Scotland are to be used to establish a whole new conservation network and programme there.

Next month, from September 5-10, Dr Paul Yoxan and his wife, Grace, who are responsible for the International Otter Survival Fund’s (IOSF) Broadford sanctuary on Skye, will travel to Zhuhai in China to stage a five day workshop, the first of its kind to be held there.

There are three species of otter in China, all of which are seriously declining in number.  This is largely due to overharvesting, habitat destruction, water pollution, and lack of prey availability. 

Dr Yoxon, Head of Operations at IOSF said: “2016 is the Year of the Otter and the aim is to draw attention to the plight of the world’s otters and to raise funds for their conservation. 

Dr Paul Yoxon

Police Scotland are hoping to attract Skye businesses to a special "Meet the Buyer" event to be staged next month.

The Preliminary Supplier Engagement,one of a series being held across a few geographical areas in Scotland, is part of their research into deciding the best way forward for a new, upcoming tender for joinery and locksmith services in relation to boarding up premises in the Highlands and Islands.

Skye MP Ian Blackford, has called for high level talks to tackle growing concerns over public facilities and road networks during the tourist season. 

Already a Facebook group with over 250 members has been created, dedicated to protecting and maintaining the natural beauty of the Isle of Skye.  The group serves as a way to report any damage or desecration.  Areas that see heavy footfall are of particular concern, such as the Fairy Pools car park, photographed this morning (Friday August 26) by group member Peter Shepherdson.  

Mr Blackford MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said: "I have written to The Highland Council calling for a summit meeting of everyone involved in tourism on Skye to address weaknesses in infrastructure which have led to problems throughout the holiday period.

"The island is enjoying an amazing season with a huge influx of visitors, but which is also stretching public facilities and road networks to breaking point in some areas.  Particular concerns have been raised over the Fairy Pools at Glenbrittle, where roads are regularly being blocked by an overwhelming number of visitors.  I know this is happening in other areas too.

Scotland’s Transport and Islands Minister Humza Yousaf has been finding out first hand about life on Raasay.

This week (Aug 25) the government minister traveled over to the island. After visiting and seeing for himself the work that is going on to create a new distillery, which will bring extra jobs for locals he carried on to meet staff at Raasay House.

Later there was a meeting with members of the local community to hear their concerns about heathcare cover on the island and what can be done to resolve the issue.

A public meeting to discuss concerns over Bank of Scotland closures has been scheduled for Wednesday September 7 at 7pm in Broadford Village Hall.  Invitations have been given to HBOS representatives, local Councillors and MSPs.  

Would be ferry service users are being warned to double check their travel arrangements to or from Skye in September

Sleat perfectly Sleat have highlighted potential problems. On social media they say: “If are you are booked or planning to travel on the Mallaig-Armadale ferry service in September there are a numbers of days and times where the schedule has been changed due to tidal conditions.

“Check your date at the link below or contact CalMac for further information. Please note that this period is now in the late summer 'shoulder' season so overall there are less sailings than in the recent peak months.

To find out more follow the link here

 

 

Schools on Skye could be amongst those across the Highlands who next summer receive new tablet devices for every pupil.

The roll out of the devices is part of a new contract that Highland Council are keen to get up and running. As part of that process its Resources Committee has agreed to select WIPRO Holdings UK Ltd as its Preferred Bidder for the future delivery of its ICT Core Services.

 However, the Council is still in a commercially confidential procurement process and an announcement of a formal award of contract will not be made until around 12 September following the required legal “standstill period”.

 The Council’s requirement is that a new Contract will deliver improvements within the Council and all Highland Schools with a significant investment in ICT to provide improved learning and to enable improvements in service delivery across all Services. This would include the roll-out of some 20,000 new tablet devices to pupils, commencing next summer.

Portree RNLI were called to assist ambulance personnel after a medical emergency on Raasay.

As if to emphasis the need for nursing cover on the island, as reported in the Skye Times, the lifeboat crew launched shortly after 6.30pm last night (August 24) in order to transport Scottish Ambulance Service staff to the island to attend to the call. It was 8.30pm before the boat was back to base and made ready for the next shout.

 

 

Be part of island life

 

Raasay has resorted to social media to try and resolve the long running discontent over lack of nursing cover for the island.

The disillusionment of islanders over the failure to find someone to fill the vacant post was made clear during a recent meeting with NHS Highland when locals made their views known and called for action to resolve the issue.

Now it seems they have decided not to just sit and wait. Via the Raasay's Facebook page they have put out a call to help bring the much need medical cover to the island.

Under a title of "Please share with any nurses or paramedics you know" the island community look to have started their own recruitment campaign with just days left before the closing date for the post.

In an open appeal they say: "Have you ever fancied living and working on a Scottish island?

Supporters of the campaign to bring scheduled air flights back to Skye – or even those just interested – are invited along to a new photo exhibition next week.

Flyskye, the independent campaign group with the single objective of seeing the re-introduction of air links to the island from the Central Belt of Scotland, is hopeful that the event, “The Value of Small Airports”, will add further momentum to their cause.

Close to 3,000 ewes and lambs went under the hammer at Portree this week with prices up on last year.

The average was £44.90 which was up £2.84 on 2015 figures.

The top price at Portree was an excellent £62.50 for a pen of Texel X lambs sold by Donald Alec Ross, Marrishadder. Stewart Clark, of Strathmore, Stenscholl, was close behind sold with his Texel crosses selling for £62.

In the Cheviot, Steve Poole, of 1/2 6 Brogaig, fetched £61 for his lambs and Iain MacLeod, of 28 Stenscholl, got £57.50 for his Suffolk X lambs.

Education chiefs have begun sifting through some 300 applicants keen to take up the head teacher’s post on the tiny isle of Muck.

On Monday (Aug 22) applications official closed for the position which carries a salary of up to £35,000 to run the local island school off Skye which has a population of about 40 and just seven children.

Originally Highland Council bosses failed to find any suitable applicants but a social media campaign by locals led to interest coming in from around the world.

 

Thirty five runners took part in this year’s Quiraing 10K with the weather, for once, being kind.

The race was part of Uig Gala Day which itself attracted locals and visitors alike to enjoy the stalls, sideshows and the sunshine.

For full results and photos of the running event follow the link here

 

 

Film crews, actors and horses were spotted on the Trotternish as cameras came to Skye this week.

Yesterday and again this mornings part of the ridge were transformed into a movie set as scenes were shot for the latest of what Hollywood will be hoping will be another blockbuster, this time “Transformers: The Last Knight”

Over the two days Highland Council exempted land,  between 6am and 10.30am, from the access rights which would otherwise be exercisable.

That allowed the camera crews to move out and shoot what is believed to have been a number of action scenes involving horses and stunt riders.

Skye Camanachd marked the passing of highly respected local mum, Morag Grant, with a minute’s silence during their latest fixture

Morag, from Portree, was a well known local in Portree for many years and was a well-known figure within her own community and further afield until her death last week when she passed away peacefully aged 85 years.

 

Out on the open water

 

They spent nearly 12 hours in open boats but now five sailing club team mates hope they have done enough to support Skye teenager and friend, Sacha MacInnes, to head out to Africa to help others.

Over the week-end Corrina Coll, Murphy Henderson, Kenneth Nicolson, Chloe Urquhart and Chris Whatley were joined by 17 year old Sasha to sail their dinghies non-stop around Raasay.

The aim was not only to complete the challenge but help Sasha raise the £2,000 she needs to cover her costs on travelling to Kenya and covering her costs while there.

The memory of Staffin’s fallen heroes is not being allowed to simply fade away.

Concerns about the condition of the local war memorials prompted the community to step in and now the names of those who died protecting their country are once again there to be clearly seen by all.  

For a specialist power wash and the re-lettering of the fallen soldiers’ names on Staffin’s two war memorials – by the Kilmartin River and at Valtos – has been carried restoring them to a pristine condition and ensuring that the names of those who fell, live on

Stewart Bain and Ronnie Sutherland of Dingwall-based monumental sculptors John Hood & Son were in Staffin to carry out the work at the memorials, which remember the local men who never returned to the district following the Boer, First and Second World Wars. 

Prior to last year’s Remembrance Sunday services, there was a community clean-up of the area around the Staffin War Memorial, which saw trees cut back so the structure could be viewed more easily from the main road.

 

People submitting building standards applications to The Highland Council will benefit from a major new improvement to the Council’s digital services that will be on offer from Wednesday 24 August.

The eBuilding Standards Service will allow customers to submit all Building Standards applications to Highland Council electronically in the same way customers can already make planning applications electronically using ePlanning.

CalMac Ferries Ltd (CalMac) has signed the formal contracts with Transport Scotland and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) to operate ferries and harbours on the west coast of Scotland.

In May CalMac was announced by Transport Scotland as the successful bidder for the Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services contract and it also won a separate, but linked contract to deliver harbour operations at 24 ports on behalf of CMAL. This is the first time that ferry and harbour operations have been split in this way.

Managing Director Martin Dorchester said: “Now that the contracts have been signed we can start to share information with staff and customers about our ambitious plans to transform the experience of ferry travellers during the lifetime of the contract.”

This year’s Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI Student of the Year award goes to a retired headmaster and Gaelic learner.  Originally hailing from Dumfries but now living on Skye, John Howieson has been an enthusiastic learner and supporter of the Gaelic language for a number of years and developed his language skills through attending Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Summer School programme.
John was actively involved in developing Gaelic-medium secondary education in his former role as Head-teacher of Portree High School from 1998 to 2007 and he began a full-time Gaelic-medium course at SMO in 2013.  Since then, he has completed year 3 of the University of the Highlands and Islands’ BA (Hons) Language and Culture degree and will commence his final year in September.  As part of the Honours year, students on the Gaelic and Related Studies Scheme have the opportunity to undertake an overseas students exchange in either Ireland or Canada and John has elected to undertake his student placement at Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia where he will spend 4 months studying courses on Cape Breton history and culture.

The Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre has finally reopened to the public following major restoration work to the building.

The work, part of a massive upgrade of the Elgin Hostel, meant that staff had to operate out of the adjoining community library.

Now though from today (Monday 22 August) the centre is once again open with all the collections returned and access, as before, will be via the round room

Six cycling friends have set themselves the incredible target of riding non-stop 410 miles in less than 24 hours with Skye being their finally destination

The big event takes place on Friday 26th August from Newcastle and this will be no relay but each member of the team – who have now been in training for months –will complete the full distance.

The riders will start from the centre of Newcastle at 9am, and hope to finish at 9am the following morning. The route takes the riders through the Northumbrian countryside to Carter Bar, the border between England and Scotland. It's then – sort of – downhill to Edinburgh.


Skye could be set to get its very first hand crafted gin distillery and it would be based virtually in the heart of Portree

Brothers Thomas and Alistair Wilson have come up with the ambitious plan which would see the creation of their very own micro distillery sited on land owned by the family at Hillfoot on Viewfield Road.

If planning permission is given the new gin production unit, to be run by the brothers’ Isle of Skye Distillers Ltd, would likely see building work on the new premises begin almost immediately with the first production taking place by the end of the year.

In their submission to Highland Council, the Wilsons say: “The craft gin market has grown dramatically in recent years within the UK particularly in the Highlands. Gin is the 4th most popular spirit in the UK with 70% being produced in Scotland. Edinburgh drinks more gin per head of population than any other UK city.

The Kyle RNLI crew in action

 

There's been another busy 24 hours for the Kyle RNLI crew with yet more call outs

The lifeboat launched at 6:30pm on Saturday at the request of Stornoway Coastguard, after a mother & her son on holiday from Holland got stuck on a small island between Ashaig and Broadford.

While the crew made best speed towards the scene and began a search of the many small islands and rocks along that stretch of coastline, the Coastguard unit from Broadford then located the casualties and updated the crew with their position.

However due to the difficult and rocky nature of the shallow waters in that area, it took the lifeboat a while to reach the 2 people. The crew assessed the condition of the casualties who were cold but otherwise uninjured, before taking them onboard the lifeboat and transferring them to the Coastguard unit at Broadford pier. The lifeboat then returned to Kyle and was refuelled and ready for service again at 7.50pm.

Then at 9:20am this morning the lifeboat crew were back in action for the sixth time in as many days, after reports were received of a dinghy adrift in Scalpay bay. The lifeboat arrived on scene and took the small vessel, which was in a state of disrepair, under tow back to Kyle.

Hugh MacLeod


Clan chief Hugh MacLeod will next month be more concerned about tyres rather than tartan as he heads out to help a cause a long way from his Dunvegan seat.

For the 30th chief of the clan MacLeod is taking to two wheels in September  riding a mountain bike 250km off road in 5 days for The European Nature Trust's Transylvanian Bike Ride in aid of the ‘Regatul Salbatic’ or ‘Wild Kingdom’ initiative.

Hugh said: “This programme provides tens of thousands of children each year with a unique and exciting environmental education – a critical component of global conservation to help save one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across Europe.”

A teenager reported missing on Skye has been found safe and well over 100 miles away from home.

Police officers both on the island and the mainland began enquires after the 16 year old’s disappearance was reported and there was relief when the youngster was located in the Inverness area on Saturday evening (Aug 20).

No further details are available yet about the incident.

Kyle lifeboat was launched after three adults got into difficulty on a late night canoeing expedition.

Initially, at around 10.15pm yesterday the crew were told that two adults and a child were struggling to cope with strong tidal currents in the Kylerhea area.

The crew were paged the request of Stornoway Coastguard, after a member of the public reported seeing the people get into a canoe and leave the shore in Glenelg a short while before getting into difficulty. They launched just 10 minutes later.

The Trotternish Ridge is set to be transformed next week and this time it has got nothing to do with the weather.

Instead movie magic comes to the popular Skye landscape with filming due to take place on Monday and Tuesday (Aug 22 and 23) as yet another Hollywood blockbuster is set in the island scenery.

This time it will be the action packed “Transformers: The Last Knight” which is being filmed, the fifth in the series.
Highland Council have exempted land from the access rights which would otherwise be exercisable between 6am and 10.30am on both days.

In an open letter to Skye residents Three Chimneys founder and director of Destination Skye and Lochalsh, Shirley Spear OBE, has called for a new local drive to tackle tourism related problems.

She said: “From my experience of business in Skye for the past 31 summers, I know that this time of year has always brought an influx of visitors to the island which is almost overwhelming for the resident community. This is nothing new, particularly in July and August.

“However, recent years have seen many noticeable changes in the type of tourists who have been coming to the island, particularly those travelling via the high number of tour buses from the Central Belt, plus the increase in the use of camper vans. More people have their own cars than ever before. People no longer buy postcards to send home to family and friends, but instantly exchange photographs of the places they visit (providing they can get a Broadband or mobile signal, of course!)

“The well-known beauty spots have become widely publicised on social media and as a result, they have been over-run and abused. There is no doubt about this, but as a community we have done very little indeed to come together to plan any sort of strategy to cope with the situation we are faced with now, nor for the future. We have no suitable organisation through which we can speak as one voice on behalf of the island and our vitally important industry, namely Tourism and Hospitality.

Overflowing bins at Neist Point - photo Brian Smith

 


NHS Highland are looking to recruit a full time out of hours GP for Skye.

The post, which carries a salary in the £86,000 - £104,000 bracket, would be based at MacKinnon Memorial Hospital however there would also be duties in Accident and Emergency role covering both the Broadford unit and ortree Hospital in conjunction with GP colleagues and nursing staff.

In their advert NHS Highland say: “As a member of our Rural Practitioner team, you will be based on the Isle of Skye in MacKinnon Memorial Hospital. MacKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford, is 8 miles from the Skye Bridge.

“Your work will be an exciting amalgamation of all your previous experience but in a magnificent rural setting. You will be involved in running a unique Community Hospital providing Intermediate Care to admissions from colleagues across Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has unveiled its winter timetable except for the troubled Mallaig – Armadale route.

In a press release the company have given plenty of detail about new routes being launched and other amendments to their service for the coming months.

However as far as the Skye route is concerned their own comment in the statement was: “Ongoing discussions with the Sleat Transport Forum mean winter sailings on the Mallaig Armadale route have still to be finalised.”

Fiona Mandeville

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the intervention of rural affairs secretary Fergus Ewing in his letter to Colin Kennedy, Crofting Commission convener.

“We are pleased that the Scottish Government has finally endorsed what we and others have been saying for months, that the actions of the Commission convener, and the decisions he appears to have forced through, have been divisive, unacceptable and not in line with crofting law,” commented SCF chair Fiona Mandeville from Skye.

Calmac are warning that there is a heightened possibility of disruption to some sailings on Friday 18 August on the Mallaig to Armadale route due to strong easterly winds.

Skye Festival brings something completely different this week-end.

For on Saturday (August 20) there will be a Singing Workshop with Bruce Ncube, a drum, music, dance and mbira teacher from Bulawayo, who returns to the UK for the summer to lead workshops teaching us dance and traditional songs from Zimbabwe.

After his visit to Kyle last year, Festival organisers are delighted to invite Bruce onto Skye. His singing workshops are inclusive, emotionally charged and uplifting. Every participant is invited to open their hearts and lungs wide, and enjoy singing beautiful, traditional songs in Zimbabwean languages, such as Shona and Ndebele. Suitable for everyone who just loves singing in groups.

Rhoda Grant MSP, Elgar Finlay (Project Manager- middle) and Geoff Semler (Chairman North Skye Broadband) right


Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has pledge to champion the fight to bring better, faster broadband to Skye.

After a meeting with North Skye Broadband, Ms Grant, the party’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Spokesperson confirmed she would be raising the island’ problems with senior Scottish Government officials next month.

A vocal campaigner to get superfast broadband to all parts of the Highlands and Islands, she was keen to learn details of the local project and its progress when she visited Skye.

Geoff Semler, of North Skye Broadband said: “It is great that our project is being recognised by public representatives. We welcome engagement with all who share our ambition of delivering futureproof robust broadband to Skye.

Work is continuing this month on the upgrade to Raigmore Hospital which equates to the single biggest investment the Inverness hospital has had since it was built.

Approval and funding to upgrade the hospitals critical care service was given by the Scottish Government in March this year with an investment of £28m over the next three years.

Last month Graham Construction, who will be completing the project, carried out invasive drilling surveys to test noise and vibration levels and this month saw Ward GC, which looks after oncology patients, move to a newly refurbished ward on the fifth floor.

Portree Lifeboat Day will take place on Saturday 27 August in Somerled Square, Portree from 11am until 4pm.

Why not pop along have some fun and help them raise money for our local Lifeboat. Stormy Stan will be there and so will the crew cooking their famous burgers . As previously reported in the Skye Times the crew rely on local support to ensure they are their to help save lives.

A young baby otter has made his way over the sea to Skye…by ferry.

Found in Glenelg hiding in a garden after its mother is believed to have been knocked down and killed by a vehicle, the 12 week old youngster was loaded on board the local ferry, MV Glenachulish, to make its way across the water to a new home.

Finder, Lizzie Sanders from Glenelg, quickly phoned the International Otter Survival Fund who have a specialist otter hospital on the island, and she and her husband, Nick, took the boat to Skye.

The ferry run by the Skye Ferry Company (http://skyeferry.co.uk/) crosses to the mainland following the old drove roads and they are well used to seeing a variety of wildlife.  But even they wanted to take a peek at their unusual passenger.

Now the young orphan will be looked after by the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) at its sanctuary in Broadford.

A female walker was hoisted to safety by helicopter during a rescue mission on Skye.

Local mountain rescue members, like their counterparts in the RNLI, found themselves in big demand this week during a series of call outs culminating in an incident at the Quiraing, when the Coastguard were also involved.

Ready for the big adventure

 

They've made it!

Skye rally pair Anne MacAskill and Kay Simpson have crossed the finishing line after the adventure of a lifetime in the 10,000 mile long Mongol Rally.

Since leaving home in early July the pair and their 20 year old van, have driven across England, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and finally into Russia.

Writing on social media yesterday Anne said: "We reached the finishing line this morning at about 9am!"

Kyle RNLI were kept busy with a spate of callouts this week requiring no less than three launches in one day.

The incidents all occurred on Tuesday (August 16) with the crew paged at 12:45pm after reports of a rib with 5 persons and 1 dog on board, having lost power between Kyle and Kyleakin and drifting towards the rocks.

By the time the lifeboat launched, the rib had drifted towards the pontoons in Kyle, and a moored yacht had managed to get them alongside. The lifeboat took the rib under tow back to the slip where it was taken out of the water.

Over 100 riders will be on the roads of Skye later this month taking part in the island’s now annual Cyclosportive event.

Split into two distances, the 95 mile Skye Mor, which has attracted 81 riders and the shorter, but still tough, Skye Beag at 48 miles and with 31 competitors the riders will all be hoping for better weather than 2015 when high winds made for difficult conditions.

Both events take place on Saturday 27 August beginning at Portree High School.

So far Cuillin Wheel cycle club members from Skye, Simon Hammond and James Stephenson have put in entries for the 95 mile ride.

Castle's 100,000th visitors

 

Dunvegan Castle and grounds continues to retain its status as one of Skye’s most popular attractions.

With several months of the season still to go it has just welcomed its 100,000th visitor this week.

The group from France and Belgium were offered free entrance and a goodie bag to mark the occasion.

Portree’s popular Cuillin Hills Hotel is looking to provide further accommodation for guests.

The Scorrybreac Road premises has applied for planning permission to have a two storey extension on the east side of the existing hotel. If given the go ahead the addition will replace part of the existing dining area and form six additional bedrooms.

Road and rail links between Mallaig – Fort William have now been restored.

After a massive landslide late last week which brought 100 tonnes of mud and stones onto the roadway and rail lines normal travel is now possible.

Over the week-end traffic controls allowed vehicles to pass the affected section of the A830 but it was only today that rail services became fully operational.

Police are warning locals to beware of bogus calls from the Bank.

The warning comes after residents in Kyle were contacted by scam callers. The advice is “don't engage & report anything suspicious to 101.”

The wedding dress found under a rock

 

It looks like there isn’t going to be any fairy tale reunion between a bride and her wedding gown but there might still be a happy ending!

Earlier this month The Skye Times reported how Orbost local Rachael Jackson had bizarrely discovered the dress under a rock in a peat bog on Skye.

Since then despite being widely reported on social media and through news outlets the true owner has not turned up.
Rachael said: “It’s a real shame because it is a beautiful dress and I would very much have liked to be able to give it back to the original wearer.”

Sasha

Teenager Sacha MacInnes really is set to put her back into helping those in need in Africa.

For the 17 year old is planning to head off to Kenya next year to help improve the lives of local people there but first she needs to raise the cash to cover her costs.

So on Saturday (August 20) she will be joining forces with a group of other Skye Sailing Club Cadets who have all committed to the sponsored challenge of sailing dinghies around the island of Raasay, in what will be their first open-water dinghy sailing challenge and a significant achievement in its own right for each of them.

A member of Skye Sailing Club, Sacha needs to raise £2,000 before the planned trip in June 2017

Saturday was definitely salmon day down on the River Snizort. Pictured is just one of dozen fish pulled from the fast running waters in the north of Skye. One Skye Ghillie will certainly be pleased!

The annual Skye Agricultural Show today (Saturday 13 August) featured livestock, tractors and exciting competitions.  

The King George V Field in Portree was buzzing with activity.  This year's Skye Agricultural Show was sponsored by NFU Mutual and featured a host of animals and activities.  

The A830 east of Lochailort has reopened under traffic signal control after teams from BEAR Scotland worked to clear debris from the carriageway.

The traffic signals will remain in place over the weekend to allow teams to safely clear the remaining debris from the culverts and ditches next to the route.

The landslip occurred on Thursday evening and approximately 100 tonnes of material is estimated to have washed onto the railway and A830 carriageway due to heavy rain.  Network Rail teams are working to address the railway line. 

Real-time journey information is available from Traffic Scotland on www.trafficscotland.org or twitter @trafficscotland.

Meanwhile ScotRail say that they anticipate disruption on the Mallaig-Fort William line to continue through until Monday.

The web based 38 Degrees site is the centre of a new campaign to see big changes in Skye.

Under the banner, “Bring Isle of Skye into 21st century tourism” an online petition has begun on the site which was established to, in its own words, “ promote democracy, peace, human rights, equality and sustainability

Addressed to the Scottish Minister of Tourism, the campaign says:

“The Isle of Skye is currently seeing a massive increase in tourist visitor numbers. Meanwhile the experience of these visitors is severely hampered by a lack of investment in road maintenance, car parking spaces for main attractions and very poor signage. I would like to see central and local government combine to produce extra money to give the hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to the island an improved experience.

Road and rail links have been badly affected on the main Mallaig - Fort William route after a major landslip.

Police are advising motorists that the A830 between Lochailort and Drumsallie junction is reduced to one lane and ScotRail say it will be later on Saturday before their service is likely to be back to normally.  

Bear Scotland said teams cleared away material from the road on Thursday evening, but further debris was washed onto the carriageway due to the heavy rains. The conditions hampered the clear-up operations, resulting in the road remaining closed overnight.

Police in Portree are appealing for information after damage was caused to a house in Mathieson Place.

The incident is said to have occurred between 8pm on Wednesday (August 10) and 9.30 am on Thursday (August 11). If you can help either call in at Portree Police Station or telephone 101

A decision has been made to allow restricted visiting to most of the wards at Raigmore Hospital this afternoon following a reassessment of the visiting suspension announced yesterday.

Visitors had been asked to stay away in order to prevent further outbreaks of norovirus within the Inverness hospital.

However Wards 7C, at the centre of the outbreak, remains closed and visitors are being asked to not visit these wards unless by prior arrangement with the nurse in charge. Testing has confirmed norovirus on three patients in this ward.

Dr Jonty Mills, consultant microbiologist for NHS Highland, explained that even though ward 7C remains closed due to norovirus and, therefore, closed to visitors, restricted visiting will be now allowed on the rest of the hospital wards.

David (second right) with members of the Scottish squad earlier this year

A freak accident has ruined Portree power lifter David Hearn’s chances of gaining even more world titles

At the age of 76, David was already a European champion and held three world records in power lifting before, in June of this year, taking part in World Drug-Free Power Lifting Federation’s Single Lift Championship where he became world champion in his age bracket in the squat and dead lift events.

However, any hopes he had of taking another title at the World Championships to be staged in Italy in November have been dashed by an incident closer to home.

David said: “I was felling a tree and just didn’t get it quite right so it caught me a glancing blow as it came down and I then fell heavily onto a tree stump.”

Portree RNLI crew

 

Portree RNLI are hoping local folk will swing into action to help them carry on their life-saving work.

Later this month the crew are holding their annual Open Day and in advance are hoping to get some voluntary donations.

On their Facebook page they say: We are very grateful and often touched by your messages of support throughout the year when the pagers go off. Amazingly we are still able to do what we do thanks to being entirely funded by voluntary donations from the public.

Artist Pam Carter sees the peak of her 25th anniversary celebrations next week at An Talla Dearg in Sleat.

Pam explained earlier in the year: “This year is my 25th year exhibiting at Isle Ornsay. 

"As always I'll be painting in the Gallery.  I've arranged a few fun events.” These include a Landscape Painting Competition for young people, an Oil Painting demonstration and a Fundraising Raffle in aid of the local Camuscross & Duisdale Initiative.

DCC Ruaraidh Nicolson

 

One of Police Scotland’s top law enforcers, Ruaraidh Nicolson, who has strong family connections to Skye, is to leave the force

The Deputy Chief Constable who originally joined Strathclyde Police in 1983, will officially retire from the service later this year.

During his time in the police he served in a number of specialist roles including the Serious Crime Squad and Head of the Force Fraud Squad, rising through the ranks. 

In 2001, he was seconded to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for three months as part of an exchange programme to develop and exchange ‘best practice’ amongst forces and 2002 was promoted to area Detective Superintendent and then to Deputy Head of Crime Division (Operations).

Starsky's Paint Store, previously located at Lisigarry Place in Portree, will soon be moving to brand new premises.  From August 26, you can expect to find the paint store located behind Portree Community Centre.  

Since the business was formed in 1993, it has grown to provide painting and decorating services as well as supplying paint.  

With the move, will come new developments for the company - including their own range of paint with a colour scheme chosen to reflect the shades of the Skye landscape.

August 26 will also see the company hold an open day to welcome customers to their new location and reveal details of their brand new paint range.  

 

A unique new cruising business for the waters off Skye and the West Highlands has been set up by experienced worldwide sailors Scott Atkinson and Mary Waller… called Red Moon Cruises.

Now couples, families or groups of up to four people can book to stay on the motor-sailing boat Red Moon - and travel around local waters to their own itinerary.

Scott and Mary are operating from the pontoons at Kyle of Lochalsh.  Trips can vary as preferred by customers - maybe a crossing of the Highlands via the Caledonian Canal or a stop-wherever-you-want trip to the Small isles.

Following on from Met Office warnings. ferry company Calmac, have announced that the possibility of high winds, some gusting to over 40 mph, may bring disruption to the Armadale- Mallaig service. This covers both August 11 and 12.

Travellers are urged to check with Calmac.

 

Just days after their last Yellow Weather warning the Met Office have issued another – this time for heavy rain – affecting Skye and the North West Highlands.

The warning covers the period from 0005 on Thursday 11 Aug to 1800 Friday12 Aug.

The Met Office say:

The existing fish farm in Portree waters

 

Scottish Salmon Company are seeking planning permission to site a new fish farm in the waters off Portree.

Comprising a total of ten 38 metre cages to hold Atlantic salmon, the new facility is to be sited just south of the existing Portree farm owned by the company.

According to Scottish Salmon Company the farm will mean full time work for 3-4 staff with the cages situated in Loch Portree and the Sound Of Raasay

Skye really is the limit for those taking part in a sporting spectacular later this year.

Once again Highland Hospice, working with Sport Ecosse, are to stage their duathlon fund raiser amongst some of the most impressive scenery the Highlands have to offer.

On September 17, competitors will set off from the Sligachan Hotel to run and bike their way to the finish, a total of just under 40 miles as part of “Skye’s the Limit” event.

Polaris is coming to Portree…no, not the former nuclear missile system but the ATV and quad-bike brand.  This is the latest innovation for Jan's, the vehicle-hire, D-I-Y to storage company based in Portree's main industrial estate.
Jan's is becoming the local agent for Polaris, a US-based company established more than 60 years ago which built its initial success on the invention of the snowmobile and has now got a well-established market in the ATV (all-terrain vehicle) sector and also for producing quad bikes.
Jan's will cover the Isle of Skye, the west coast of the Highlands and the Outer Hebrides, which have previously been without a local service base, the nearest being in Dingwall.

This week brings the final build up for the annual Skye Agricultural Show.

Saturday 13 August will once again see the King George V Park in Portree transformed with a packed programme ranging from four legs to two wheels.

The main attraction of the year – besides the stock competitions – will be Scotland’s premier cycle stunt team, The Clan. Performing since 2008 they have amazed over 500,000 people live and enthralled a TV audience of over 10 million people, from BBC Children in Need and prime-time ITV shows, to performing at the Olympics and small community galas across the UK.

The Clan in action

Livestock judging begins at 10am with this year’s Horse Section followed by the Cattle and Sheep starting at 1-0.45am. The Poultry judging will be at 1.45pm.

Other events will be;

A medical ward at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness has been closed to new admissions and visitors are being asked to stay away while staff deal with several cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.

Ward 7C, which was closed today, has three confirmed cases of norvirus and four patients currently affected with symptoms. The Infection Prevention and Control Team are monitoring the situation and infection control measures are in place.

The virus, which causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, spreads in the air where someone has had diarrhoea or vomited and is extremely infectious. It is important that everyone plays their part in reducing outbreak risks.

Dr Adam Brown, Consultant Microbiologist for NHS Highland, said: “It is disappointing that we have had to close the ward so soon after it was reopened but we know there is significant norovirus in the community and we do believe that this is an infection that has been brought into the ward and has affected new patients.”

Gleaming and fully-restored at the recent Wheel Nuts event at Portree High School was a 1938 Albion flatbed lorry.  This was a project for John 'Jan' Nicolson of Jan's in Portree.

His father was a driver with the Co-operative organisation and drove a vehicle exactly like this one.  Jan had heard of this surviving example in a place near Eaglesham not far from East Kilbride and the owner agreed to sell it to him after his own collection grew too large. 

Jan says the Albion was virtually the same as the one his father used to drive and which he remembers sitting in as a child.  When he brought it back to Skye, he decided - with the permission of the family concerned - to restore it in the colours of Ewen Macrae, the original transport pioneer in Skye and whose lorry firm originally ran the Crossal premises which Jan's now owns. The flatbed lorries from Crossal were also used for transporting for whisky barrels from the Talisker distillery to the mainland and Jan has restored the lorry with whisky barrels under netting as it would have been in the past. The Albion's visit to the Wheel Nut's event was its first outing since restoration was completed.

MV Coruisk

 

Two Skye politicians are backing the continuing calls to see MV Coruisk return to the island on a permanent basis and now want Scotland’s Transport Minister to intervene.

The comments from Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber and MSP Kate Forbes follow on from the recent statement issued by Sleat Transport Forum.

Mr Blackford said: “I fully commend Sleat Transport Forum in the way they have represented the community interest in speaking out for a reliable ferry service between Mallaig and Armadale.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the opportunities that should have come from the Road Equivalent Tariff scheme would have seen a dramatic increase on traffic on the route and yet this has been undermined by the failure to deliver a reliable service.

"It is not acceptable that CalMac has yet to respond to the failure to provide suitable vessels for the service over the summer period.

Skye doctor Jonathan Hanson  (right) is obviously finding time to meet a famous face or two during his stay in Rio.

As reported in The Skye Times the 43 year old is just one of two NHS Highland doctors who is at the Olympic Games in Brazil. With him is Culloden based Dr Derick Macleod and the pair have been chosen to serve as medical officers for the Performance Services Team.

 

Bad weather forced the cancellation of the week-end's planned Round Raasay event.

Skye Sailing Club decided that with winds expected to freshen to a level that would not be suitable for many of the smaller boats hoping to take part coupled with the difficulty for visiting crew to return home after the event meant that the race officer believed it in the best interest of the race, and those hoping to take part, to postpone.

The Dutch cruising Tall Ship, the Thalassa, was in port ar Carbost yesterday as part of one of its regular whisky tours which set out from Invergordon.  

Ferry disruption over the weekend is giving an unusual look to ferry services from Uig today (Monday 8th August)

Because of a forecast of high winds in Mallaig, an amended timetable will operate as follows for the Lord of the Isles ferry in the Calmac fleet, connecting Uig directly with Lochboisdale in South Uist as well as with Lochmaddy in North Uist. And travellers to/from South Uist expecting to depart from Mallaig - or arrive there - will face an additional journey across Skye.

Some of the other rally competitors

 

 You thought Skye's roads were bad for potholes? Well apparently they are not a patch on Kazakhstan!

That's the latest news from the island's own adverture rally pair Anne MacAskill and Kay Simpson as they continue on their way in the 10,000 mile long Mongol Rally.

As previously reported in The Skye Times already they have passed through England, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and into Kazakhstan.

The pair are hoping to raise cash for charity on the way so if you want to help out follow the link here

For the latest news from Anne and her rally partner.

The directors at Carbost Pier Ltd. have announced they have a tenant for their latest development at Carbost Waterfront.  

Jamie Fletcher of Portnalong will be tenant of the new retail unit.  Set to open in March 2017, the takeaway will specialise in coffee, home baking and other refreshments.  

Jamie will also be responsible for caretaking duties at the adjoining public toilet and shower facilities, currently being constructed opposite the Talisker Distillery.  It is hoped that the toilets and showers will be open to the public at some time in September.  It is intended that they will be open from 8am to 10pm every day, including Sundays.

The sound of revving engines was an unmistakable clue that something exciting was happening at Portree High School.  Skye Wheel Nuts, a forum for vehicle enthusiasts, have had their show for a number of years since the group was formed six years ago.

One of the best pipers of his generation, Roddy MacLeod MBE, has taken his seventh victory in the prestigious Silver Chanter competition.

Highly regarded as a teacher, recitalist and adjudicator, uniquely, he is a Grade 1 Championship winning Pipe Major and a four time Glenfiddich World Solo Piping Champion and in 2012 was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Awards Hall of Fame.

Staged at Dunvegan Castle the Silver Chanter event, now I its 50th year, honours tunes written by the Chief's personal pipers, the MacCrimmons. Roddy played “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon”

MV Coruisk

 

Sleat Transport Forum is to continue the fight to ensure Skye is properly served by the Mallaig-Armdale ferry service.

Officials for the group say they will strive for a high quality, robust, reliable and efficient service on the route for the summer of 2017 and beyond.

And they are adamant that it was a “flawed decision” to re-deploy the ‘MV Coruisk’ designed specifically for the route, to the Oban-Mull service this summer, which has seen the service on the Sound of Sleat since March has descend into what they described as “chaos”.

Following a meeting with Transport Scotland officials attended by Ian Blackford MP and Kate Forbes MSP, together with Councillor Allan Henderson, (Caol and Mallaig) the Forum expressed disappointment at the inability of the officials to give any indication about the future quality or level of service on the grounds that the new contract awarded in May had not yet been signed between CalMac Ferries Limited and Transport Scotland.

 

Crofters in some of Scotland’s rural and remote communities, including Skye, will benefit from better housing through funding under the Croft House Grant.

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, confirmed 21 crofters will share over £705,000 from the scheme. The funding allows crofters to build or improve homes, helping to retain and attract people to rural communities.

Since the start of 2007, over £15 million of grant payments have been awarded. From 1 April 2016, changes made to the grant support mechanism include a significant increase in individual grants, with some crofters now eligible for £38,000 of funding.

Bank of Scotland have given more information about the closure of the Broadford and Lochcarron branches which will take place in November.

They have confirmed that customers’ accounts for Broadford will be transferred to the Kyle branch, located 9 miles away, adding that there are five free ATMs within an 8 mile radius.

For the Lochcarron branch, customer accounts will also be transferred to the Kyle branch, located 22 miles away and while there are also free ATMs in the area the bank intend to provide a new mobile branch service in Lochcarron and continue to provide a mobile branch service in Broadford.

A spokesman said: "Once routes and timetables have been finalised, we will update customers and colleagues. We are also working with the Post Office to increase the services that Bank of Scotland customers can access through its network. There is a Post Office in both Broadford and Lochcarron.

Commenting on the decision, Ian Blackford MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said: "Banks play an important role in many small communities for both local people who may not have the luxury of broadband for internet banking, or indeed the desire to use it and for local businesses who make transactions in cash and need somewhere secure to deposit it.

A period of strong winds is expected to develop across Scotland - including the Isle of Skye, and the Outer Hebrides - and northern England from late Saturday, most likely to peak on Sunday morning, before easing through Sunday afternoon.

Whilst the expected gusts (widespread 45-50 mph and isolated 60 mph) are not exceptional for these areas of the country, increased outdoor activity at this time of year will lead to a greater likelihood of disruption.

Would you leave your wedding dress in a peat bog? Well that’s what’s happened on Skye.

Now Orbost local Rachael Jackson is trying to reunite the gown with its true owner after she discovered it in the Dunvegan area.

On Facebook Rachael wrote: “: "FOUND!!!! A complete wedding dress left on the side of the road UNDER A ROCK!!!!! I have bought it home out of the rain to prevent damage, but also was concerned the sheep might take up residence in the netting as a midge hood!

“If anyone knows whose it is I have it here safely if they decide they want it back. If however it was left for the faeries, I do apologize, but it was far to beautiful and precious to leave in the mud and rain! IDEAS ANYONE????!!!!"

Skye residents and visitors brought out their raincoats and umbrellas at the Highland Games.  Despite the wet weather, the crowd of around 2,000 spectators were treated to a celebration of sport, a piping display... and a visit from a celebrity!

Set for closure

 

Broadford is to see its Bank of Scotland branch close.

The shock news comes as the bank confirm that 23 branches are to shut across Scotland as part of a planned series of closures.

The announcement comes as part of a "strategic review" and the move is said to be as a result of, amongst other factors, falling customer demand

Also affected by the closure announcement will be the branch in Lochcarron.

Repairs out on the road

 

Nine days without the internet but Skye adventure pair Anne MacAskill and Kay Simpson are still going strong.

Now 1700 kms from the Russian border and the eventual finish line of the 10,000 mile long Mongol Rally their journey so far has taken them and their 20 year old van across England, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and into Kazakhstan.

The last time they were in contact was the night before trying to cross into Iran with fears that they might have to pay as much as $3,000 dollars to gain entry.

The pair are hoping to raise cash for charity on the way so if you want to help out follow they link here

If you want to know what’s been going on in the meantime then read on from Anne’s diary to date, their adventures, the places they have been to and their ups and downs.

FORTY Staffin residents gave their views on the Old Man of Storr site at a special community drop-in event.

A project team is carrying out an options appraisal of the site Staffin Community Trust (SCT) and held a consultation event in Staffin Hall to gauge local views and listen to what the community had to say.

Richard Heggie of Urban Animation and Sam Foster Architects and SCT representatives discussed the project with attendees, highlighted the issues which were highlighted in the community consultation carried out in November last year and invited people to plot a revised layout using a model of the site. The people who attended the key consultation were positive about SCT’s involvement at the site and keen to see improvements.

 

Europa 2

 

Adding to the crowds in Portree for today’s Skye Highland Games are some 500 plus passengers on board the luxury liner Europa 2

Described as "the ritziest ship in the industry." And built in France the vessel. with its seven decks, has the greatest space per passenger of any cruise ship.. Also the art collection onboard  Europa 2 is one of the largest at sea, with 890 originals commissioned exclusively for the vessel. The collection's focus is on contemporary pieces; it includes works works by Ólafur Elíasson, David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Adam Fuss and Hans Hartung.

Euan and Harris

 

A proud father has described how his two young sons played their part in preventing a tragedy.

Paramedic Danny Kerr and his family were on holiday on Skye when they found themselves caught up in not only a dramatic rescue but in helping to ensure accident victim Angus MacDonald from Portree stayed safe until help arrived.

Danny together with his wife Allison and boys Euan, 14 and 10 years old Harris had descended into Bearreraig Bay to go fossil hunting but ended up instead saving a life.

Unknown to them 19 hours earlier Angus had fallen heavily around a dozen feet on to sharp rocks and been knocked unconscious. Badly injured he lay out overnight and although he had attempted to crawl his way to safety he had made little headway.

Danny from East Kilbride said; “We come to Skye every year I love the place and had gone down to the bay to collect fossils however, the river was quite high so we decided to just mess around on the rocks.”

However, as Danny and the boys moved across the bay they heard noises.

He added: “We honestly thought it was seals at first and couldn’t believe it when we discovered Angus. He was able to talk us and give me his name and we discovered he lives with his daughter in Crauachan Place, Portree but he was obviously suffering from having been injured and outside for so long.”

As the training kicked in Danny examined the injured man. He said: “I was fairly certain he had significant chest injuries, certainly fractured ribs and possibly a punctured lung as well as a break to his left arm.”

Danny and the boys then faced a real dilemma about how to raise the alarm.

Portree’s wonder dog, border collie Blaze, is once again hoping to sniff out cash for a worthy local cause.

Together with owner Steve Miller, the pooch with a passion for high places, has during his four and half years managed to climb in excess of 80 Munros making him, without doubt, a real top dog..

So it seems only appropriate that in 2017 the pair, through the annual calendar Steve produces, hope to raise at least £3,000 which will go to Skye Mountain Rescue team.

Once again the all colour calendar shows Blaze on some of the most scenic mountains Scotland as to offer.

Sachin Tendulkar at Raasay House

 So if you are a world renowned cricketer with millions of fans in your own country where do you go for a holiday…well, Raasay of course!

Over the last couple of week Sachin Tendulkar, hailed by many as one of the best batsmen of all time, has been staying on the island with his family.

The Tendulkars have been at Raasay House and while there Tendulkar has been letting his 11 million followers on Twitter know just how much he is enjoying his Highland surroundings.

Co-op shoppers in Portree, Broadford and Kyle are being put on alert over a mislabelling issue.

The retailer is asking all those who have purchased one of their Simply Cheese and Tomato Pasta to retain them to the store that they were bought in. The recall comes because the product contains chicken and mustard which are not mentioned on the label leaving those with an allergy or intolerance to mustard possibly suffering an adverse reaction.