£1,360 for maritime heritage

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Local charity Falmadair has raised £1,360 from a raffle to fund equipment and running costs for four traditional wooden sailing boats based in Stornoway.

Local businesses generously donated fantastic prizes. Natural Retreats gave the first prize: a night at Lews Castle. Seafari contributed trip for two to the Shiant Islands and Digby Chick’s provide a £40 meal voucher.

Local couple Mairi and Colin Maciver won the first prize, after Colin’s brother Ruairi bought tickets and gave them to his brother and sister-in-law as a wedding anniversary present. Mairi said: “I can’t wait to spend a night at the Castle; I want to go as soon as possible.” Colin will notice quite a change from the last time that was in the upper floors of the castle: his last visit (an undisclosed number of years ago!) was as a labourer for a local building contractor when he had to carry materials up one of the towers.

Colin and Mairi met Natural Retreats’ General Manager for Lews Castle (also called Colin Maciver!) last week to make arrangements for their stay. They are pictured in the castle courtyard where Callicvol, one of Falmadair’s three Sgoth Niseach (Ness Skiffs), is on display. Falmadair Treasurer, Alasdair Macleod, was also on hand to mark the occasion.

Falmadair is keen to attract new members; no sailing experience is necessary to come sailing or to help with maintenance of the boats. Details of membership are on our website: www.falmadair.org. We are working with other local organisations such as Comman Eachdraich Nis, Museum nan Eilean, Stornoway Port Authority and the Lewis and Harris Sports Council to plan our next series of activities. Details of our sailing trips and other events are posted on the Falmdair Facebook page.

Falmadair has teamed up with Museum nan Eilean and the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association to run two sailing skills workshops: Knots on 22nd February and Basic Chart Skills on 22nd March. These will take place in the Museum’s Community Room at Lews Castle, starting at 7.30pm. Entry is by donation.