Butt to Barra: 11.9.14

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Comunn Eacdraidh - On the evening of Thursday 4th September, Murdo Beaton (Murchadh Peatan), from Struan, Isle of Skye, along with another Skye man, Bill, were in Comunn Eachdraidh Nis.

Murdo is well known to all, through his knowledge of local history and culture, and also his knowledge and interest in the history of the two World Wars, especially the war cemeteries and their many solemn aspects related to those who went away an did not return.

Although we were sad that only a small number of people attended, after an introductory address by Iain Gordon Macdonald, Murdo gave an interesting and informative address with slides related to his own visits to the war cemeteries and the solemn and sad aspects arising from these visits.

We hope Murdo and Bill enjoyed their short visit to Ness, and that we will have the pleasure of meeting with them again soon.

Guga hunters return - On the evening of Friday 4th September we were glad to learn that the hunters had returned safe and well from the rock.

Due to adverse weather conditions this year they had to bring back with them some birds which they were unable to process as usual on the rock, giving us landlubbers the opportunity of watching the men on the breakwater at Port of Ness plucking, singeing and salting these birds ready for the pot before they could start selling them to the waiting and ready market on the Monday morning.

Sympathy from Ness - relatives and friends in Ness were sad to learn of the recent passing away in Fort Augustus of Margaret Mackay, nee Thomson.

Margaret, who was aged 64 years, was a daughter of the late Donald Thomson, (Dolaidh Kate), formerly of 20 Lionel and 2 Skigersta, later well known in Gaelic circles as head of Oban High School.

The funeral of Margaret was expected to be in Fort Augustus on Monday 8th September.

From Ness we extend our sympathy to her two sons, her sister Catherine, brother Donald, and the close relatives who mourn at this time.

The unveiling of the Ness Fishery Memorial took place on Saturday, August 30.

Central to the Memorial design and structure are four inscribed plaques: Dedication, Harbour Construction, Longline Fishing, Drowning Accidents.

A full-size framed copy of each will be included in a Comunn Eachdraidh display at Sgoil Chrois.

The Committee is indebted to John Murdo Macleod for designing the Memorial and for valuable information pertaining to the history of Port of Ness, its harbour and fishing activities and also to Anne Macleod at the Comunn Eachdraidh whose scholarly research informed the plaque dedicated to boat losses.

The Comunn Eachdraidh now plans to proceed towards implementation of the last phase of the Ness Fishery project by publishing a booklet which will draw on the wealth of relevant information contained in its extensive archive.The Committee wishes to acknowledge strong and encouraging community support for the Memorial project and in partcular a most generous level of financial backing which amounted to a total sum of £14,821 from organisations, business concerns and individuals.

Each and every contribution has been greatly appreciated.


Sympathy: We send our sincere condolences to the daughters of the late Anna Macdonald, Habost, who recently passed away at home in Habost, following a period of illness.

Sadly we have only recorded the death of her husband Alasdair (Alasdair Neall) only a few months ago and together they were a lovely couple with an open door and kind word for all who called. They will both be greatly missed and to their daughters Ishbel and Kathleen and the extended family we send our sincere condolences at this sore sad time in their lives.

Condolences: To the nieces and nephews and the extended family of the late Finlay Macinnes (Fhionlaidh Ian ex Glen Gravir) we send condolences.

Finlay made his marital home in Strathpeffer until the demise of his wife and then he moved to Fodderty Care Home where he spent the last few years.

Finlay was well known and had spent many years working on job creation and with the roads squad before he moved to the mainland.


The Great War Exhibition organised by Kinloch Historical Society in the Old School Balallan was opened by a Service of Remembrance on Friday 29th August conducted by the Rev Iain Murdo Campbell.

In this, the first of three exhibitions planned for the Great War centenary period 2014 -2018, a capacity attendance saw details of those lost from the community of Kinloch, along with trench maps, war diary pages and outline information of the other exhibition subjects; those who served in 1914-18 and in the last, the Iolaire disaster. Twenty two uniforms and military artefacts provided by Ken Earle-Mitchell, Gravir, completed the exhibition.

The exhibition continues to be open for the month of September on Wednesdays from 1pm to 3pm and on Saturdays from 11am to 4pm. It will also be open for a series of events planned for the period up to the end of the year. A quiz night is to be held on the 3rd October and further details on this event will be on our Facebook page. An evening with a quest speaker showing photographs of his visit to War Cemeteries, a film night showing plays performed by the pupils of Balallan and Sgoil nan Loch schools, a panel night and in December a dinner/auction night completes the programme.

western isles

Stornoway RNLI’s Ladies Lifeboat Guild invite all to join for an Afternoon Tea on Saturday, September 20th.

The Afternoon Tea, which takes place from 2pm to 4pm at the Retirement Centre, Bayhead, Stornoway, will have a World War I theme and Stornoway Historical Society’s Malcolm MacDonald will present a talk on WWI and the islands.

All are welcome for a cuppa and some delicious home baking.

The unique landscapes and colours of the Hebrides are evident in the Exhibition currently on display at the Doubtfire Gallery in South East Circus Place Edinburgh.

The four artists are all based on the Island of Lewis including Anne Campbell who was born and brought up in Bragar.

Anne’s paintings are based on her close study and observation of shores, seas, and wildlife with which she is so familiar.

David Grenfell has the talent of being a close observer of his surroundings and the ability to translate that on to emotive pictures of landscapes far removed from his place of origin on Merseyside.

David’s wife Ruth O’Dell is an honours graduate from Winchester School of Art and the family moved to Lewis in 1991. Her resulting work can be seen as a personal diary of pictures from peats to pastures.

From the North East of England Simon Rivett came to Lewis and has been a painting artist for over twenty six years. In his work is reflected his own observation and interpretation of the ever changing moods and colours of the Hebrides.

The Exhibition title is “Land and a Cow” taken from what was once regarded as the basic requirement for sustaining the life of Crofting. Admission is free of charge.

The Lewis and Harris Coaching Conference 2014 will take place on Saturday 27th September in Stornoway.

This is a great opportunity for local coaches to attend workshops on the island that will help with developing their existing coaching knowledge and offer them new ideas.

The conference booking form can be found by visiting http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/lhsc/index.htm

We look forward to seeing you at the 2014 Coaching Conference.

Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) have announced a further one off round of their successful small community grant programme. Community groups and voluntary organisations can apply for up to £1,000 if their annual income is under £25,000. VAF expect to make around 40 grant awards.

The grant is aimed at Scotland’s small and often volunteer-led groups that make a vital difference to their communities. Their activities provide essential local services that keep communities vibrant and contribute to the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s people.

Priority will be given to groups that work: with health or disability issues; for the benefit of people protected under the 2010 Equality Act (Age; Disability; Race; Faith; Sex or Sexual orientation etc.); with families and young people; With older people.

VAF is also particularly keen to fund activities that will help build and develop strong organisations, for example; training for committee members and volunteers; visits to other organisations and conferences or professional support and consultancy.

Applications for the Community Grant Programme should be received by email by 14 November 2014. The application form and guidance notes can be downloaded from the VAF website at www.vaf.org.uk. For further information contact the Community Grants Team at the Voluntary Action Fund by telephone on 01383 620780 or you can e-mail the team at communitygrant@vaf.org.uk


FilmG, MG ALBA’s highly successful national Gaelic short film competition, has today (Friday 5th September) been launched for a seventh year – with Team Scotland athlete Kerry MacPhee on hand to announce this year’s theme.

The competition was launched at Sgoil Lionacleit on the Isle of Benbecula, where Kerry, a former pupil at the school and the first person from the Western Isles to compete in the Commonwealth Games, met pupils and teachers.

This year’s theme ‘Gealladh’, (Promise, Vow or Wager) is something that Kerry herself can relate to having vowed to be the best she can be to get herself to the top of her sport. Kerry used her meeting with the pupils at Sgoil Lionacleit to encourage young people of all ages to pursue their dreams so they too can make it to the top, no matter the discipline.

Kerry said: “When I left Uist to study at University I did not think for a minute I had the talent to pursue my dream as an athlete. I therefore want to try and instil confidence in young people so they believe in themselves and follow their dreams.

“I’d like to thank FilmG for inviting me, it’s great to be part of an exciting Gaelic project for young people and I really enjoyed being a model for one of this year’s theme posters – I wish all the participants in this year’s competition the best of luck.”