Butt to Barra: 11-12-14

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Praise for Lochs Choir - Lochs Gaelic Choir were praised at their AGM this week on their achievements at the Royal National Mod in Inverness where they swept the boards in the Puirt competition, winning all three trophies, plus the baton for the top conductor Ronnie Murray.

Mr Murray also praised the choir for their performances in the Lorn Shield and the Ladies competitions. He thanked members for their attendances at practices throughout the year and expressed his gratitude to Gaelic adviser Ann Macleod who made sure the choir’s Gaelic was of a high standard.

President Donnie Macinnes outlined the events and functions they had attended in the past year and praised Ronnie for his dedication to the choir.

He hoped that members would attend practices throughout the year, starting in January.

Donnie also thanked his fellow office-bearers and the Committee for all their work during the past year.

Treasurer Marilyn Hanlon outlined the financial position of the choir, and it was agreed to hold a number of fund-raising events.

Office-bearers elected were: Conductor – Ronnie Murray; Deputy Conductor – Iain Begg; President – Donnie Macinnes; Vice-President – Jane Ann Macarthur; Treasurer – Marilyn Hanlon; Asst Treasurer – Seonag Matheson; Mod Secretary – Christine Morrison; Secretary – Murdina Mackenzie; Assistant Secretary – Christine Morrison; Independent Examiner – Lorna Eller; Gaelic Adviser – Ann Macleod; Committee members – Iain Begg, Fiona Begg: Mary McDowall, Margaret Graham, Mary Mackay and Ricky Hannaway.

Fundraising buffet- At Balallan Old School on Friday 12th December at 7.30pm. a buffet will be held and local archive film clips shown, along with an auction, this evening is in aid of the community facility run by Kinloch Historical Society.

The local Blythswood/ Kinloch HS charity shop will also be distributing the year’s profits to charities during the event .

Carol Singing - At the North Lochs Community Centre, Leurbost on Monday 15th December at 7pm there will be carols and readings, followed by refreshments.

Dioghlum- The Kinloch Historical Society latest Dioghlum is available in local outlets. It includes an article by Alastair MacIntosh (Mac an Dotair) formerly of Glenmore, Leurbost and his thoughts on what makes a community, an article by Murdo Morrison of Keose Angling Association and the story of four youngsters evacuated from Glasgow to Valtos, Lochs in 1939, which was contributed by Marie Barrie, plus lots of other historical articles.

The magazine costs £3 from local outlets and is available by post from Treasurer Sandra MacDonald, Kinloch HS, Balallan Old School, HS2 9PK.

Arctic Challenge - Laura Aird, who has Lochs connections, is also bidding for a place in the Fjällräven Polar Challenge. This is a unique adventure through the wild Arctic tundra, from the Norweigan shores of the Arctic Ocean to the mountain tops of Sweden on a dogsled.

Laura from Tarbert is a vetinary nurse and co-ordinator of Sled Dog Rescue for Scotland. Her grandparents are Calum and Elma Morrison who live in Laxay.

To vote for Laura visit: www.fjallravenpolar.com

Funeral - The funeral of Kate Macmillan (Ceit a Bhard) aged 93, formerly of 4 Keose Glebe was held on Wednesday 3rd December at Maryhill Crematorium, Glasgow. Sincere condolences to the family.

Nollaig Chridheil ’s Bliadhna Mhath Ur nuair a thig i.

great bernera

Island purchase meeting - There is to be a meeting in Community Centre on Monday 15th December at 7pm with the Consultants who have prepared the report regarding the purchase of the Island. More details should be available in a letter being distributed to households in Bernera. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

Community Centre – The Community Association annual Christmas dinner for senior citizens is to be held in January, date and details to be confirmed.

Christmas bingo - This will be held on Friday 12th December at 7.30 at the Community Centre. This is to raise funds for festive events, so please come along for an enjoyable evening and support this event and donations will be most welcome.

Knitting and Sewing - A knitting/sewing night is held in the Community hall on Mondays at 7pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Soup and sandwich club - This is held every second Saturday for the over 60’s at 1pm.

The next club meeting is on December 20th. New members will be most welcome at any time.

Zumba - Zumba classes are held on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Bowls - There is a bowls club in the Centre on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and new members are welcome. Please contact any member of the bowls club.

Cafe - The Community Café is open on Tuesday and Thursday 1-3pm.

School News - A reminder that there will be festive singing in Gaelic and English on Wednesday 17th December at 7.30pm.

Church of Scotland - The Church is also hosting a Carol and readings evening in the Community Centre on 23rd December at 7pm. Everyone is welcome.

Sunday School is held on Sundays during morning service at 10.30 am. All children are welcome . Teas are also served after the morning service each Sunday.

There is hoped to be a meeting in the near future regarding the future of the Manse and the effect that this will have on the congregation and community. No further details at present.

The Bernera Church also has a facebook page which is regularly updated with news and events.

If you have any news or events please contact CJ for including in Bernera News.


Habost funeral - The funeral of John Drummond of 48 Habost and 20 Fivepenny, who, as noted in this column last week, passed away in the Bethesda Hospice on Wednesday 26th November, aged 64 years, was held on Monday 1st December.

The funeral service in Ness Church of Scotland was taken by Rev. Iain Murdo MacDonald, assisted in paryer by Rev. Alan MacColl, Ness Free Presbyterian Church.

Singing of praise was led by John Hebditch, Elder, Cross Skigersta Road, and Chris Barrowman, Deacon, Eorodale. At the graveside on Habost machair, Rev. MacDonald officiated with words suited to the solemnity of the occasion.

We again share our sympathy with his wife Sheila, his daughters Kirstin, Gail and Karen with her son Ryan, his son Iain, and all the close family relatives and friends who mourn at this time.

Fun run - Although the weather was not too favourable at times, a large number of old and young fit and able runners gathered at Spors Nis for the annual 10k, 5k and fun run round the Ness roads.

An Cogadh Mor - On the afternoon of Saturday 6th December, there was standing room only in Comunn Eachdraidh Nis, for the unique and solemn occasion when the book, ‘ Dol Fodha na Greine’ -’At the Going Down of the Sun’, written by Donald Alasdair Morrison (Domhnall Alasdair), Cross Skigersta Road, and published by Acair and Comunn Nis, was launched and introduced to the gathering in which the Lieutenancy of the Isles were represented.

After an introductory address by Annie MacSween, our own Deputy Lieutenant, she called on Sandy Matheson, well known former Provost of Stornoway, to launch and present the book to the gathering.

After short addresses to Domhnall Alasdair, Agnes Rennie on behalf of Acair, and various other associated items, including a delightful rendering of song by Joan Morrison, ex Schoolhouse, Knock, who has Ness connections, Norman Smith of Back and South Dell reading moving letters related to the occasion.

Iain Gordon MacDonald thanked all who were present and all who helped to arrange this solemn occasion, reminding us of the First World War and its aftermath in all the villages in the north end of Lewis.

After Angus Murray, Elder, South Dell, led the gathering in the singing of Psalm 23, and grace said by Iain MacKay, Elder, South Dell, everyone shared in the refreshments prepared.

We are indebted and thank all who took part in the memorable occasion in Comunn Eachdraidh Nis.


New Homes - To add to a recent column, Cal Max Construction Ltd are the main contractors, who, using local sub-contractors MacAulay Askernish and Michael MacIsacc from West Kilbride, South Uist, in the construction of the two two-bedroom and two one-bedroom houses planned for the area by May, at Winfield in Balivanich.

The squad is making steady progress with completion expected next May.

Southern Isles Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP) Area Manager, John A. MacQuarrie said: “I am very pleased to see this development progressing. There is good demand for social housing in Balivanich, and this will help to reduce our waiting list.

“When HHP was formed in 2006, there was a committment given that this organisation would aim to build 275 new houses within the next ten years. This target has already been achieved.

“It is good for this local community that high standard, affordable housing is being built to help sustain our communities.”


Harris poetry - Two new books of Gaelic poetry from the Isle of Harris, have been published by Harris Development Ltd.

Bàrd Chliuthair researched by Lachie MacAulay, is a comprehensive collection of the work of Alastair Ferguson (1869-1947) of Cluer.

Alastair Ferguson chronicled the community by writing: satire, war poetry, humour, eulogies and hardships in his district.

In Bliadhna na Moine Fhluich, the bàrd writes of 1921, a year of extremely wet weather.

As a result the peats had not dried in the early summer. Peat being their only source of fuel and warmth, this left the islanders in dire straits during the winter months.

The second book Bàrdachd na Hearadh is an anthology of one hundred poems from over forty bardic composers.

The poems in Bàrdachd na Hearadh, written over the last 150 years, paint a picture of sea voyages, cianalas, love and longing, tragedy, and events which affected the wellbeing of the neighbourhood.

Neil Morrison Bàrd Phabaigh composed Oran a Bhunata in 1846, a year of extreme potato blight. The 40 stanzas describe the starvation of the islanders. The lack of the staple diet of potato that year, hastened the emigration of families to Canada in subsequent years.

James Mackenzie of Urgha who also wrote Eilidh, one of the favourite songs of contemporary GaeIdom, composed a heart rending account of the men in the fishing tragedy of 1893.

Five men from the little hamlet of Noistir near Rhenigidale, lost their lives in a storm, their boat later washed up in Kinlochbervie.

The two poetry books relate an account of community life by the people of Harris over the last century, and they will be complemented by the Scalpay bàrdachd collection, collated by Morag Macleod, which will be available in 2015

Both Bàrd Cliuthair and Bàrdachd na Hearadh cost £12.00 and are available from local outlets Brownies, North Harris Trust Offices , Baltic Book Shop and An Lanntair.