Hundreds gathered in Somerled Square today (Saturday 28 October) for a day of action regarding island health care.

The crowd heard from Councillors John Gordon, Ronald MacDonald and John Finlayson, as well as Kate Forbes MSP and Ian Blackford MP - all of whom marched through Wentworth Street carrying a "Save Portree Hospital" banner.

NHS Highland stated on Friday 27 October that the Scottish government has approved a request for an external view to look at the arrangements for north Skye in terms of urgent care, minor injury and access to A&E services.

Councillor John Gordon told The Skye Times: "It was good seeing so much support from the day of action in Portree.

"Yet again our communities gathered to send a clear message to NHSH and the Scottish Government that we will not accept decisions about health care as a result of mismanagement and incompetency.

"NHSH are out of touch with reality and what is going on in our communities and its time they listened and acted.

A female rock climber, reported to be in her early 20's, was rescued from Neist Point.

Dramatic rescue footage of an injured fallen rock climber has been released by the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Stornoway.

The female fell about 2 metres directly underneath Neist Point Lighthouse on the Isle of Skye.

HM Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public just after 1pm on Friday 27 October, reporting that a climber had sustained a lower leg injury after falling and needed medical assistance.

Portree, Dunvegan and Kyle Coastguard Rescue Teams, Leverburgh All Weather Lifeboat and the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter were all sent to the scene.

The young climber was winched into the helicopter and taken to Stornoway Airport where she was met by the Scottish Ambulance Service for onward transfer to the Western Isles Hospital. 

The footage can be viewed here.

Scorrybreac path has reopened, following extensive repairs after a rock fall.

An abseil team worked to clear the rock, which had been left in a precarious position.

The path will need further work, but is easily passable with care.

 

An external view will be commissioned to look at arrangements for urgent care, minor injury and access to A&E services in North Skye.

NHS Highland confirmed today (Friday 27 October) that the Scottish Government has approved the request for an external view.

Commenting on the announcement David Alston, chair of NHS Highland said: “Despite all our efforts to date, A&E services, emergency planning, and access to 24/7 medical cover, particularly in the north of Skye, continues to be a source of both concern and some confusion.

“I heard this again when I met with representatives of north Skye in August and ongoing also through discussions with others. This is why I made an offer to involve local clinicians and relevant consultants to meet with community representatives. I am in the process of arranging this and I am confident it will take place in early December.

“I would also like to take this a step further and link this into some external opinions of our current arrangements.

“Once this work is completed we would take the findings to the wider public and set up a local forum to oversee any actions.”

Businesses in the Highlands and Islands are urged to be on their guard.

The police have issued a warning following reports of a telephone scam involving people claiming to represent the force.

The attempted fraud involved a business in the Highlands being contacted by an individual claiming to represent Police Scotland seeking advertising sponsorship in relation to an upcoming road safety campaign.

The business which had been contacted terminated the call and contacted Police Scotland on 101 to establish whether the contact was genuine or not.

No money was handed over.

Police Scotland is now urging other businesses to be vigilant against such an approach and offer reassurance that in no circumstances would such contact be made using a "cold calling" approach.

Anyone who receives a similar call should end the contact and then phone Police Scotland on 101 to verify the call and report any concerns.

Enquiries are ongoing into the recent incident and any further information can be passed to officers by calling 101, quoting reference NN27485/17, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Dunvegan Primary School received a very special visit on Tuesday 24 October.

Pudsey the bear, the BBC Children in Need mascot, headed for Dunvegan as part of the Pudsey Schools Roadshows.

Dunvegan Primary School was one of just 20 schools nationwide to win the Pudsey Schools Roadshow visit, having been one of the first to sign up for a free Big Spotacular charity fundraising kit.

The Big Spotacular is a schools fundraising campaign, organised by Lloyds Bank and BBC Children in Need.

Ahead of Pudsey’s visit Dunvegan Primary School was provided with a celebration kit, including lots of Pudsey goodies, to help welcome the BBC Children in Need mascot and turn their school truly spotty.

Pudsey entertained the children with games and music, and encouraged them to come up with the most imaginative ways that they can raise money in advance of Appeal Week. The children even received the rare opportunity to pose for photographs with the BBC Children in Need mascot.

Tanya Rabin, BBC Children in Need Partnership Lead at Lloyds Banking Group said: “Our partnership with BBC Children in Need continues to produce fantastic results, and we have been so inspired by the brilliant fundraising happening in schools across the country. The Pudsey Schools Roadshow is our way of giving a little back to the schools and children that have contributed so much to this fundraising success.

“Through our unique role as exclusive schools partner we are thrilled to be able to make a huge difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people. The partnership has played an important part of the Group’s Helping Britain Prosper Plan, helping tackle disadvantage and improving young people’s lives for the better.”

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive, BBC Children in Need, added: “This year’s The Big Spotacular schools campaign has been sensational, we have been blown away by the UK’s schools fundraising efforts so far. Everyone’s efforts will make a huge difference to young lives across the UK so join the fun, get involved and together we can help raise more money than ever before for children and young people who need a little help.”

Those interested in finding out more about the Big Spotacular, requesting a free fundraising kit and downloading a host of free resources can visit the website here.

A drafting and submission of a Harbour Revision Order affecting Uig Harbour has been approved.

This follows the decision by Transport Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) and CalMac to provide a larger vessel for the Uig/Tarbert/Lochmaddy Triangle lifeline ferry service to the Western Isles.

Work is in place in order to develop the three ports in preparation for the larger vessel and the potential for additional passengers and vehicle traffic.

Highland Council state that the funding for the works will be recovered through increased harbour dues, levied on CalMac ferries.  The increase in harbour dues will also cover the additional routine revenue operations. The harbour dues for Uig Ferry Terminal will increase from October 2017, to cover the capital borrowing for the detailed design works which are ongoing.

Work outlined in the report includes land reclamation, berthing structure strengthening and widening, new fendering, dredging, new gangway, linkspan refurbishment or replacement, passenger walkway shelter on the approachway and widening, the demolition and rebuilding of the existing old pier head, and relocation of harbourmaster’s office.

Ferry operator CalMac has finalised its winter maintenance programme.

Including inter island services, CalMac runs a total of 50 routes served by 32 vessels each of which is required to undergo a period of annual dry dock maintenance.

This presents the company with a complex logistical problem to keep all of its lifeline services running with minimal disruption.

"This is always a challenging time of year for us. The communities we serve all have different service requirements, continuing to meet these over the winter months when weather also becomes a factor is a real test for our staff," said CalMac's Director of Community and Stakeholder Engagement, Brian Fulton.

"We know the attachment communities form with their own vessel and that having it taken away is an inconvenience, we appreciate people's patience and understanding during this short maintenance period."

The schedule may change depending on operational priorities, but currently the arrangements are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 15 metre section of the road on the Knoydart Peninsula collapsed on Tuesday 24 October. 

This 4.8 mile single track road between Scottas and Airor is a lifeline road for the communities beyond the slip which include Airor, Doune and Sandaig.

The Highland Council's Roads Inspector has been on site on Wednesday 25 October and carried out an initial inspection.

A full engineering assessment is planned for Thursday 26 October.

Preliminary plans have already been made for the transfer of staff and materials to the area and contact has been made with a local landing craft operator.

Due to the geographical and physical constraints it is anticipated that the repair will take several weeks depending on the availability of specialist equipment and materials.

In the meantime the local community have set up a “road shuttle” arrangement with a vehicle on either side of the landslip.

Funding is being sought for a new post in the Broadford Youth Club.

The position of Youth Worker would be dedicated to running sessions for girls.

Broadford Youth Club has identified a need for expansion to what it currently offers for females in the south of Skye.  

The Club stated: "We hope to receive funding for a part-time (five hours) Youth Worker post so the Club can create a Girls Group project - Arts & Crafts, textile workshops and small leadership awards."

The Club revealed that the aim of the Girls Group is to increase their skills, their ability to work as a team and to enable them to receive the same opportunities as the Boys Session.

They have said: "In order to achieve this we will recruit a new youth worker with specific experience in running activities for teenage girls.

"Funding would enable a single-sexed programme for girls to be increased, which would in-turn attract more girls to the club."

To vote for the Broadford Youth Club Girls Project in the Aviva Community Fund Competition, visit the website here.