A Skye tourism summit meeting was hosted today (Friday 3 November) by Kate Forbes MSP.

The meeting, held at Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Sleat, provided an opportunity for those who attended to share their experience of tourism.  

Kate Forbes stated that three key things were needed to alleviate tourism pressure: a strategic plan; a strategic group to deliver the plan and funding.

Ms Forbes invited Cabinet Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, to address the audience.  The Cabinet Secretary mentioned the tourism taskforce that had been announced earlier today.  

Earlier today (Friday 3 November) Kate Forbes MSP joined the Cabinet Secretary for Culture in opening a new office on Skye for the largest rural touring arts organisation in the Highlands.

SEALL - Skye Events for All - promotes around 80 high quality touring events each year, such as the Skye Festival in July and August, and the Skye Swing Jazz Festival in late October.

They recently moved into a new office in the old courtyard of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, which SEALL are developing as a cultural hub for south Skye.

Chairperson Eileen Armstrong and artistic director Duncan MacInnes welcomed Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop and Skye's constituency MSP Kate Forbes to officially open the new office.

Since being established in 1991, SEALL have been responsible for putting on 1,800 events.

The Isle of Skye will soon have its own tourism taskforce similar to that of the North Coast 500, the Scottish Government have announced.

At today's (Friday 3 November) tourism summit arranged by Skye's constituency MSP Kate Forbes, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Fiona Hyslop will tell 130 delegates that the new strategic group will aim to secure a "successful and sustainable future" for the industry.

It is understood that the tourism taskforce will be led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise representatives, and will also include officials from Visit Scotland and Police Scotland as well as from local businesses and communities in the area.

The need for a co-ordinated approach to tourism management has become increasingly evident this summer, with some of the roads and facilities around the island's major attractions coming under significant strain with a six-fold increase in the population during peak months.

Kate Forbes MSP, who invited Fiona Hyslop to visit the island on a fact-finding mission, welcomed the news.

The constituency MSP for Skye said: "Following months of meetings and extensive consultation with residents, businesses and key strategic partners, it's clear that Skye needs a co-ordinated plan to help improve tourism infrastructure across the island.

Plans to help alleviate congestion at one of Scotland's most iconic tourist attractions have moved a step closer after the Scottish Government announced the community asset transfer request at the Fairy Pools will proceed on favourable terms.

The Minginish Community Halls Association has secured the land from Forestry Enterprise Scotland for £2,500, a discount of £27,5000 on the market value, in a move which was been warmly welcomed by Skye's constituency MSP Kate Forbes.

With well over 108,000 visitors last year, the existing 35-space car park has been struggling to cope during the peak season – but under its proposals the community hopes to accommodate 137 cars and approximately 20 mini-buses and camper vans.

Earlier today (Friday 3 November), Ms Forbes went to see the Fairy Pools site along with Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Fiona Hyslop – who is visiting Skye on a fact-finding mission.

Skye MSP Kate Forbes said: "I am absolutely delighted to see us move one step closer to a vastly improved car park for the Fairy Pools - and it's a testament to all the time and effort that the project group have put into this.

Police in Skye and Lochalsh have warned residents in remote and rural areas that geography will not not protect them if they choose to become involved in the trade in illegal drugs.

The message follows the recovery of class A and B drugs in the Applecross area on Monday 30 October.

Local officers acting on intelligence seized quantites of cocaine and cannabis and a mid four-figure sum of money during a search of a property yesterday.

A 29-year-old man has been charged in connection with the recovery and has been reported to Procurator Fiscal.

Lochcarron-based Constable Craig Allan, who led this operation, said "This action taken today should serve as a reminder to anyone in the Skye, Lochalsh and Applecross area that the remoteness of the area will not prevent local officers taking action against those intent on supplying controlled drugs and anyone involved in this activity can expect to receive a visit from us in the future.

"I ask anyone who has information about drugs in this area to contact 101 to speak to a local officer or if they wish to remain anonymous they can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Kate Forbes is in the running for the Rising Star award at the Scottish Politician of the Year awards.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch is one of four Holyrood backbenchers in the running for the award.

Kate Forbes MSP, who is serving her first-term as a politician after the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, is a finalist in the ‘One to Watch’ category – which organisers say is “an award that recognises the MSP demonstrating the most potential to rise through the ranks of their party and/or in Parliament”.

She is the only Highland politician from any party to be nominated for an award at the annual ceremony, which takes place in Edinburgh on 17 November.

Raasay Community Stores will be closing half an hour earlier with their new winter opening hours.

The winter hours commence today (Monday 30 October) and mean that the shop will close at 5:30pm instead of 6pm over the next few months.

Ian Blackford MP and Kate Forbes MSP are welcoming the NHS Highland announcement that an external review is to take place of urgent care, minor injuries and A&E provision for North Skye.

Whilst both Ian and Kate are firmly behind plans for a new hospital in Broadford, they have also long campaigned for the retention of A&E facilities as well as beds in Portree to compliment the new hospital.

They each spoke in support of the review at last Saturday’s rally in Portree attended by several hundred concerned islanders, demonstrating the level of worry and demand for the retention of A&E services amongst the local population.

Ian Blackford said: “There are legitimate local concerns as to the future of A&E provision and I am delighted that these will be addressed through the establishment of an external review of the arrangements of urgent care, minor injuries and access to A&E.

A search was made last night (Saturday 28 October) for a female walker, who had found herself disorientated on Kinloch Coast.

Kyle Lifeboat was launched at 9pm at the request of the UK Coastguard.  The crew arrived on the scene at 9:20pm and put a crew member ashore.

The dense vegetation made the search more difficult.  However, the crew member was able to reach the casualty and confirm that she was uninjured.  

The female was then handed over the UK Coastguard and Police Scotland at 10:10pm.

The Skeabost 5k was won by Dean MacLeod with a time of 18 minutes and 14 seconds.

The race was held on Saturday 28 October.

Sam Crowe was the first lady across the finish line, with a time of 23 minutes and 2 seconds.

The full results are below: