Butt to Barra District News 25.12.14


Bernera Buyout - A public meeting was held on Monday 15th to discuss the feasibility study on the purchase of Bernera.

The Consultants appointed to prepare the report held a very informative meeting and were looking for opinions and ideas from residents on projects and activities that could be done in Bernera.

There was also a progress talk from Tom Macdonald on the work the Development Group had done. David Cameron, Chair of Community Land Scotland, spoke about the work which had been carried out in other areas and their role in a buyout.

With only a minority of residents in attendance the Consultants still need to hear from others who could not attend.

Anyone with ideas for developments in Bernera and opinions on the purchase, please therefore contact the feasibility study team asap, and their contact details are available on the leaflet which was distributed to households.

The feasibility study is to look at projects that may be achievable in Bernera and what developments and activities will sustain and grow the community.

They will also look therefore at what finance is available for different ventures.

The final report will state whether it is feasible for the community to purchase the Island and more importantly, run it in a sustainable manner.

If it is concluded that the purchase of Bernera would be in the best interests of the Community then a postal ballot will take place which will be sent to residents on the electoral role.

This vote will determine whether the Community will then try and purchase the Island. If the result of this is yes, then a Trust group of nominated and elected members will try to achieve this and progress with any developments.

The final report should hopefully be available in early January.

School News - The school nativity and community singing took place on 17th December which was well attended and enjoyed by all.

The children put on an excellent performance and the Parent Council raised over £400 which we believe they are donating to the local food bank in Stornoway.

The school also had their Christmas party on 18th December and Santa was there to give presents to all the local children.

We hope that all the children from Bernera enjoyed their recent Social Events at the Nicolson, especially the four senior girls who attended the Sixth year Ball and were dazzling.

Festive Season - Hogmanay Party on 31st December at 9pm in the Community Centre. Tosh and Tonkan will be providing entertainment and a few snacks will also be available. Cost £5 per person. Please bring along donations for the raffle if you can.

The Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner is to be held this year on 17th January 2015.

We wish all our readers and their families a Merry Christmas.


Eoligarry Primary School News - Pupils enjoyed their Christmas Party in Northbay Hall on Wednesday the 17th of December where they were joined by pre-school pupils for an afternoon of dancing and games.

A generous visitor, Santa Claus, arrived to distribute his presents to all pupils and to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Two other kind visitors, PC McHardy and Katie MacNeil, came along on behalf of the Barrathon to give each pupil a high-visibility vest.

Christmas Jumper Day - Pupils came to school wearing their beautiful Christmas Jumpers on Friday the 12th of December.

A donation of £50 has been sent to Save the Children from Eoligarry School.

Christmas Lunch - Pupils ate their Christmas Lunch on Monday the 15th of December and enjoyed the delicious meal that Sarah prepared for everyone; we thank Sarah for her hard work and excellent cooking.

We were pleased to have Flòrag join us for lunch and look forward to her return some time in 2015.

Young Writers Competition - We wish our P4-6 pupils the best of luck with their 100-word mini sagas which were submitted to the Young Writers Competition.

We hope to hear of news that their pieces have been selected for publication in the next term.

Nativity - We are incredibly proud of our pupils’ efforts and enthusiasm in preparing for and performing this year’s nativity, ‘Nativity… It Takes a Village’.

The rescheduled performance was well-attended by family, friends and the community, where pupils entertained them with many songs and a rhyming story of the birth of Christ.

Well done to all pupils, and a thank you to staff, parents, and volunteers who helped children learn their lines and songs and who helped prepare costumes and props for the successful evening it was.

Mass - Pupils attended Morning Mass with Father John Paul in St Vincent de Paul’s, Eoligarry, and led the First Reading, the Psalm and the Bidding Prayers, as well as the carols and hymns.

Thanks - We would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude and thank Staff and Parents for all their hard work and support over such a busy term.

A heartfelt thank you also goes to everyone in the community who has helped and supported us over the past year; your kindness and generosity is gratefully appreciated.

We wish you a relaxing and enjoyable holiday, a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year for 2015.


Croft history - Eight years of intensive work has been carried out by members of Comann Eachdraidh an Taobh Siar to collect and document the croft history of the areas Arnol, Bragar, Shawbost and Dalbeg, along with the genealogy of the families who worked those crofts, as far back as the early 1800’s and in some cases the late 1700’s to the present time has now reached its cut off point.

This is in order that all the information gathered be published and offered in book form to all interested parties within our community and elsewhere.

To officially introduce this extremely interesting and fascinating publication an afternoon of celebration to launch the croft history books took place on Saturday 20th December at Ionad na Seann Sgoil, Shawbost.


A wonderful and highly successful ‘Christmas Starts Here’ function was held under the auspices of Benbecula North Community Company during December, with organiser Martine Goss and Health and safety’s Dave Goss presiding on a memorable day.

A tent was erected inside the right hand corner of the hall, and within the realms of the kitchen people were busy with tea and coffee urns on the go and piles of mince, cake and chocolate biscuits up for grabs.

Around 100 children, their parents and indeed grandparents too, formed an erstwhile queue to get in!

Balivanich Primary School Choir sang several Christmas carols, including Silent Night and Once in Royal David’s City, much to teh appreciation of one and all.

The children were taken outside Balivanich Hall to view the Christmas tree there, after which the Christmas lights were switched on much to their delight.

Inside, mulled wine was available for adults, with the children served a choice of fruit juices.

Before Father Christmas arrived, members of the Uist Pipe Band played traditional Scottish Music and another group of people also rendered songs.

When he arrived, Father Christmas took his place inside his ‘Grotto’ whereupon droves of children entered one at a time, each receiving a gift, again much to their happiness and delight.

We sympathise with Dave and Martina who set off to travel to London to visit relatives, but who met with an accident at Rannoch Moor - their car was a complete wreck, so the correspondent is told - and they were forced to return home.

Benbecula North Community Company member, Medical Research scientist Dr Brian Chandler-Lorenz remarked: “It was a lovely occasion and full marks must go tio the children on their good and indeed impeccable behaviour on the day.

The Uist Community Riding School of East Camp in Balivanich held a couple of well-attended and quite memorable events under the direction of the Yard Manager Sue MacDonald and helpers at the Indoor Riding Arena, to celebrate Christmas.

On Friday, December 19th, eight horses and riders jogged around the Arena to open proceedings, to the strains of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’.

Mulled wine, fruit punch, mince pies and sausage rolls were on offer and entertainment afterwards included ’Meet the 3 Shetland Kings and Mr and Mrs Santa (Webster and Ceilidh).

Six very young handlers managed their animals excellently and were congratulated by Sue MacDonald at the end as they lined up for photos.

On Saturday, December 20th, the annual ‘Santa Dash’ was held, with a procession of horses and riders setting out from the stables at East Camp to proceed along the roads around Balivanich to astonishment from passing motors and the occasional donation.

Later, a barbeque was held at the Indoor riding Arena with mulled wine, fruit juices, crisps and the usual available and nice not to have a gale to contend with!

Sue said, “We have battled to organise this event over Christmas for three years now, and to find a slot of good weather over this period.”

Sue proposes that the 2014/15 Musical display be held next mid-summer.

A special mention for Jennie MacVicar and horse ‘Jinty’, aged 22, so I am told, who graced the event.

Maclennans Supermarket, revamped during 2013 with new premises, has been thanked by MacMillan Cancer Support for raising £385.34 during 2014 towards their cause.

Such a donation may not seem a great deal, but it is amazing how much of a difference it can make amongst the rest at the end of the day.


Sympathy from Ness - On the morning of Sunday 13th December, friends in Ness were saddened with the news from Harris that, after a short illness, Francis Maclean had passed away at his home at Heather Hill, Leverburgh.

Francis, who was aged 47 years, was the husband of Fiona, nee Taylor, who, in earlier years, was resident at the Decca Station on Lionel machair, where her father Hamish was working.

Francis was in the fishing industry working his own boat, until recently, out of Leverburgh.

On the evening of Monday, friends from Ness attended wake worship in Leverburgh Free Church, where Francis was an Elder, and on Tuesday 16th December, Ness friends were again among those who filled the church to capacity for the funeral service taken by Rev. Andrew Coghill, Scalpay, who is Interim Moderator of Leverburgh.

He was assisted in prayer by Rev. Roddy Morrison, retired, formerly of Stornoway, and Rev Malcolm Macdonald, Callanish. Singing of praise was led by Kenny Campbell, Elder, Leverburgh in Gaelic, and by Rev. Kenneth Ferguson, retired, in English. Rev, Coghill officiated at the graveside in the cemetery at Borve.

From Ness, we share and extend our thoughts in sympathy with his wife Fiona, their daughters Catriona and Karen and we remember at this time his mother Georgie, his brother William, and all other close relatives and friends, who mourn in sad bereavement.

Old folks dinner - On the afternoon of Thursday, 18th December, a large number of our older generation assembled at Comunn Eachdraidh Nis for the annual Old Folks dinner, provided and given this year by Carthanas Nis, Ness charity.

After a delightful rendering of song by children of Lionel School, Annie MacSween introduced Rev. Ewan Matheson, newly inducted to the Cross Free Church congregation, who conducted a short act of worship and said Grace, followed by a feast of good things prepared and served by a willing band of ladies.

We thank all who helped to make this a pleasant afternoon’s gathering, brought to an end with prayer by Rev. Iain Murdo Macdonald, Ness Church of Scotland.

Weather topics - On the late evening of Thursday, 18th December, in the hail storm which accompanied a local thunderstorm, we note that the force and large size of the hail stones in Ness, caused a lot of damage, with barn and outhouse rood windows, and the rear window of a car in Habost being broken at this time.