Members of the City of Inverness Area Committee have given their backing for the introduction on a year-long trial offering 15 minutes of free parking within the city centre in On-street pay & display bays.

The pilot project will allow drivers to park for up to 15 minutes in on-street pay and display spaces without charge if they use the ticketing machines to print out and display a free ticket. It will not apply to pay and display car parks.

The Committee will review the scheme in 12 months and if it is adopted permanently, the Highland capital will be following in the footsteps of Perth, where a similar one-year trial was recently made permanent.

The Committee also approved to go out to public consultation on a plan to introduce 17 new short-stay pay and display parking bays across the city centre which will allow drivers to park for an hour for a charge of £1. Formal consultation will take place and any objections that cannot be resolved will come back to Committee for their consideration.

Provost Councillor Helen Carmichael said: “We have listened to requests from retailers and members of Inverness Bid to offer free parking periods so I am delighted this trial got the support of the Committee. Over the next 12 months the council will be closely monitoring how the pilot is going before coming to any decision about making the trial more permanent. It’s about striking a balance between making our city centres as accessible and shopper friendly as possible and managing congestion and the environmental impact traffic has within Inverness.

“In the future I would like us to explore having electric hop on and hop off transport within the city centre as part of the mix.”

The new parking arrangements will come into operation within the next few weeks once the pay and display machines are re-adjusted.

The excitment in the Raasay air was palpable - as was the lingering smell of whisky.

Crowds flocked to attend R&B Distillers' official ceremony today (Saturday 16 September.)

The Distillery will open its doors to the public next month.  Work is still to take place on the Distillery, but it was more than ready to receive its many visitors for the ribbon cutting today.  

NHS Highland can confirm that the Urgent Care Centre in Portree will reopen from 6pm this evening.

The health board stated that they were left with no option but to provide the out-of-hours service for Skye and Lochalsh from Broadford only for two nights this week (12 and 13 September) due to a staffing shortage.

However, the temporary suspension has been lifted and services will resume as normal this evening.

NHS Highland’s district manager for Skye, Lochalsh and West Ross, Kate Earnshaw, said: “We are pleased to confirm that we are in a position to reopen the Urgent Care Centre in Portree from 6pm this evening (Thursday, 14 September 2017).

“NHS Highland would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary suspension of the service.”

Ian Blackford MP expressed "deep displeasure" stating: "As things stand, I have been assured that the urgent care centre in Portree shall re-open Thursday at 6pm and NHS Highland shall put out a statement later today further explaining the situation. If for whatever reason, urgent care provision does not resume at Portree by 6pm I will take this up in the strongest possible terms with NHS Highland Chair David Alston.

Kate Forbes MSP has encouraged bus users across the Highlands to get involved in two new public consultations that will help shape the future of bus services and smart ticketing in Scotland.

Transport Scotland will conduct a number of events and stakeholder workshops to encourage participation in these consultations before they close on 5 December. 

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “Although the number of bus users is falling, millions still use buses across Scotland every day – and this obviously includes people right across my own constituency.

“Transport Scotland’s two new consultations offer the public and stakeholders in the Highlands an important opportunity to have their say on how best to improve Scotland’s bus services.

“In order to develop an effective, joint up, Scotland-wide smart ticketing and payment service, it is important that as many transport operators, public bodies and users as possible are consulted.”

More information can be found here.

 

A new group has been formed in Trotternish.

Trotternish Queen Bees are an independent group that aims to provide social, educational and cultural opportunities for women in the local area.

Claire Irons, secretary, told The Skye Times: "We used to be Trotternish Women's Institute but left the organisation in the summer.  We've now re-formed as an independent group, meeting once a month - on the second Monday of the month at 1.30pm in Kilmuir Hall.

"We are trying to get more members, especially those who tried the WI and found it wasn't for them as they might like the Trotternish Queen Bees.

"Our next meeting on Monday 9 October is a new members meeting when anyone interesting in joining can come along."

Anyone wishing to find out more information is welcome to attend or visit the group's Facebook page here.

 

Three youngsters have been awarded for their volunteer contributions to the community.

Skye & Lochalsh CVO (SLCVO) was delighted to award James MacRae, Cailean and Aodhan Stephenson the Little Star award for their help with the setting up, taking down tents and helping clear up the rubbish at the annual Skye Agricultural Show.

SLCVO told The Skye Times: "If you are holding an event or have young people doing regular volunteering with a project/group they can benefit from different volunteering awards.

"Young volunteers under 12 years old can receive the Little Star certificates for their volunteering.  Any young person aged 12 - 25 can receive up to 500 hours Saltire Awards, which is a recognised Scottish Government young person's volunteering award.

"The Saltire Awards also have Young Scot points for those who receive their different hour awards to claim prizes as another way of awarding young people's amazing volunteering efforts. 

"If you would like information on volunteering awards or opportunities, please contact Samantha-Jo McArthur on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01478 612921."

Another defibrillator has been installed in Portree.

The latest defibrillator will be housed in the Cuillin Hills Hotel, making a total of 19 Portree defibrillators.

The defibrillator will be located in the foyer of the hotel and will be accessible at all hours.

Lucky2BHere's Jeanne Wells, Neil Campbell and Davie Urquhart delivered a training session which was attended by hotel staff and local residents.

Above: Jeanne Wells from Lucky2BHere handing defibrillator over to hotel manager, Edward Wickman.

Cash has been stolen from two Portree restaurants, say local police.

The cash was stolen from two restaurants on Quay Street.

Entry was forced to The Chippy and Taste of India on Quay Street in the town overnight between 9pm on Monday September 11 and 9am on Tuesday September 12.

Quantities of cash were stolen from both businesses.

One of the businesses is estimated to have had a low four figure sum removed, while the other business also had a quantity of cash stolen which is yet to be calculated.

Detective Constable Shonagh Laing said: "These are unusual incidents for Portree and we are appealing to anyone who was in the area overnight who saw anything they believe to be suspicious to contact us.

"If you have information which could help with our enquiries, please call 101, quoting reference NP8269/17, or to pass information anonymously please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

SNP MSP John Mason has questioned whether Skye is a "real island" because it has a bridge to the mainland.

The Glasgow Shettleston representative made the claim while Holyrood's rural economy committee was examining the Islands Bill.

He questioned why Skye should be included as it does not have transport issues which "real islands" do.

Responding to comments made by John Mason MSP at this morning's Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, Skye MSP Kate Forbes stated:

"I am sure that John knows that Skye is a real island, just as Glasgow is a real city. I certainly cross water to get there. Otherwise we would have to rewrite the Skye Boat Song.

"Ferry and transport problems are the tip of the iceberg, and there is a huge amount of work to do on the roads infrastructure for tourism, not to mention affordable housing and connectivity.

"That's why I'm so pleased the Scottish Government is bringing forward the Islands Bill, as it will make a huge difference to places like Skye.

 

"If anything, the conversation needs to focus more on rural-proofing remote rural areas on the mainland, such as the Ardnamurchan peninsula."

Police Scotland have confirmed at a man died following a road traffic collision on the A82 near Altnafeadh in Glencoe.

The incident happened about 12.02pm on Tuesday September 12 and involved a Fiat campervan and a male pedestrian, who died at the scene.

The occupants of the campervan were uninjured.

The man's next of kin have been informed and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in due course.

The road has been closed to allow for a collison investigation to take place, with a diversion in place via the A85 and the A828

Sergeant Gregor Hay said: "Our thoughts at this time are with everyone affected by this tragic incident.

"Our enquiries are ongoing and I would appeal to anyone who witnessed the collision to contact us as soon as possible.

"Please call police in the road policing unit in Fort William on 101, quoting reference R050438, with any information you may have."