District News: Butt to Barra 01-05-14

Reader Jenny Morrison sent us this lovely calm image. She said: "I just loved the cloud formation on this beautiful day in Uig."
Reader Jenny Morrison sent us this lovely calm image. She said: "I just loved the cloud formation on this beautiful day in Uig."


Death in Cross Skigersta - On Wednesday, April 23rd a large assembly of mourners gathered at the Free Presbyterian Church in Lionel for the funeral of Mary Finlayson, nee Morrison (Mairi a’ Ghladston), of 33 Cross Skigersta Road, who, as noted in this column last week, passed away in the Western Isles Hospital on Sunday, April 20th.

Mary, who was aged 79 years, had latterly been resident and attended to in Dun Berisay Care Home in Stornoway. A professing member of the church, whose walk and conversation witnessed her desire for a better country that is an Heavenly. She was predeceased by her husband James on April 21st, 2012.

After a well attended wake worship on the evening of Tuesday, the funeral service on Wednesday was taken by Rev. James Tallach, Free Presbyterian Church, Stornoway.

Singing of praise in Gaelic was led by Angus Graham, Elder, Barvas, who is from South Dell, and the singing in English was led by Rev. Greg MacDonald, Ness Free Church Continuing. Rev MacColl officiated at the graveside on Habost machair.

In their bereavement we share and extend our thoughts in sympathy with daughters Dolina, and we are glad to note that daughter Christina was able to be with them from Australia on this sad occasion, their sons Donald, Neil and Calum, the grandchildren, and we remember at this time her sisters Joan, Dolina, Flora and Nora, her brothers, Norman, Donald, John and Donald Finlay, and others in the near and extended family circle who mourn at this time.

Church Service - At the morning service in Cross Free Church on Sunday, April 27th, four young children were presented by their parents for the solemn sacrament of baptism, administered by Rev. Roderick John Campbell, North Tolsta, who is presently interim Moderator of the Cross congregation.

North Uist

RNLI Fundraiser - ‘Latha na Mara’ will take place on Saturday, May 17th at Lochmaddy Hall.

Look out for full details of events in a Programme available shortly from local outlets. Further information available from Barbara Jameson (01876 500849) or Stella Evans (01876 500306).

Lochmaddy mart - On April, 25th the mart sold 106 store cattle, 5 adult head breeding cattle and 18 OTM cattle.

Bullocks (48) averaged 223.3p and sold to 264.7p per kg for a 340kg Limousin cross from Hastain, Bayhead, and £1080 gross twice for 445kg Limousin crosses from No 1 Clachan Farm, Lochmaddy & for a 460kg Limousin cross from 9 Clachan Sands, Lochmaddy.

Heifers (58) averaged 204.6p and sold to 233.3p per kg for 360kg Limousin crosses from Hastain and £1000 gross for 483kg Simmental crosses also from Hastain.

Breeding cattle (5) sold to £1550 gross for a Shorthorn cow with a male calf at foot from 1 & 2 Gramsdale, Isle of Benbecula.

OTM cattle (18) averaged 116.3p and sold to 142.0p per kg and £1200 gross for an 845kg Limousin cross from 8 Balranald, Tigharry.

“A mixed show of weathered cattle sold well with quality kinds short of requirements.”

Other leading prices per head and per kg

Bullocks 201-250kg – 3 Hougharry, Lochmaddy, £510, 231.8p; 251-300kg – No 1 Clachan Farm, £720, 3 Hougharry, 243.9p; 301-350kg – Hastain, £900, 12 Sollas, Lochmaddy, 248.4p; 351-400kg – Ardmhor, Carinish, £1000, 263.2p; 401-450kg – 8 Balranald, £1000, No 1 Clachan Farm, 242.7p; 451-500kg – 3 Hosta, Tigharry, £1060, 9 Clachan Sands, 234.8p.

Heifers 201-250kg – 2 & 3 Clachan Sands, Lochmaddy,£490, 196.0p; 251-300kg – 3 Hougharry, £650, 224.1p; 301-350kg – 9 Illeray, Lochmaddy, £800, 2 & 3 Clachan Sands, 232.8p; 351-400kg – Dunskellar, Sollas, £840, 8 Balranald, 227.8p; 401-450kg – Dunskellar, £920, 7 Sollas, Lochmaddy, 219.8p; 451-500kg – 7 Middlequarter, Sollas, £880, Hastain, 207.0p.

Breeding cattle: In calf cows sold to £850 gross for a Limousin cross from 2 Dunganichy, Benbecula.

OTM cattle: 7 Tigharry, Lochmaddy, (SimX), £920; 15 Liniclate, Benbecula, (LimX), £860.

Other leading prices per kg

OTM cattle: 7 Tigharry, (SimX), 141.5p; 15 Liniclate (LimX), 132.3p.


Volunteer Awards 2014 - This is your opportunity to reward a friend, colleague or organisation for the work they do in the Western isles

Everyone appreciates feeling valued, that their efforts have not gone unnoticed and undervalued.

Show your appreciation by nominating an individual or organisation for one of the following Awards:

The Volunteer of the Year Award - Will go to a special individual whose dedication and commitment to assisting other people, or an organisation, makes them worthy of special recognition.

We all know, admire and appreciate someone like this, please take the time to reward this person with a nomination.

Young Volunteer of the Year Award - For committed individuals under the age of 25, who have demonstrated selfless work and effort.

Whether they assist in fundraising, youth clubs or help the elderly, take this opportunity to nominate them for their volunteering role.

Organisation of the Year Award - Are you aware of voluntary groups or organisations that are doing exemplary work in our community?

If you have volunteered with, or been supported by, an organisation that you feel deserves recognition, nominate them for this award.

Take a moment to complete a nomination, our community has such a strong voluntary sector, it’s time to acknowledge it and those involved!

Nomination forms are available from V.C. offices in North Lewis, Stornoway, Harris, Uist and Barra

The closing date for nominations is Friday, May 2nd.

You can post, fax, email or deliver forms to your local office or Kathryn in the V.C. Stornoway office.

A judging panel will meet shortly after to decide the winners and runners up.

Those shortlisted will be invited to our Volunteer Awards Ceremony in Lews Castle College during Volunteers Week, on Wednesday, June 4th where the prize winners will be revealed.

We have some amazing volunteers in the Western Isles please help us collectively to show our appreciation.

Open - The Community Centre Cafe opened on Monday, 21st for the 2014 summer season, offering an attractive range of baking and snacks which have been highly appreciated by visitors and locals alike during previous seasons. The Cafe has proved to be a very useful amenity over the years it’s been running and it’s good to see it up and going once again.

The Museum opened on the same day, also for the whole season and also staffed, once again, by a rota of willing local volunteers.

There have been Easter visitors about recently with cars and motor caravans on the roads and holiday people walking and cycling. The weather has improved greatly; the lambing season is now well under way with crofters reporting few problems.

War Memorial Fundraising – the sale held on the 18th was a huge success, the proceeds at time of going to press stand at £3,573, with donations still coming in. The community’s response to the appeal for funding to refurbish the memorial was magnificent and the total raised is an incredible achievement for a place which has lost so many of its stalwarts in recent years.

On the night, the Bring and Buy tables were laden with good quality items very reasonably priced with prices reduced by half again towards the end; raffle tickets sold quickly due to the generous prizes donated by local businesses and Cllr. Norman A. Macdonald conducted the drawing of tickets in well practised style.

The highlight of the event was undoubtedly the auction, with more than 40 donated items disposed of amid great hilarity by a witty and able auctioneer, Cllr ‘Cuidig’ Macleod, Callanish.

Tea with a spread of home baking was capably dispensed by community ladies and the evening concluded with a slide presentation of First World War Battlefields in Flanders. War Memorial Committee Chairman, Kenny A Mackay and committee members wish to express a heart felt thank you to everyone who contributed, in any way, to the success of the event.

Ionad Hiort – The second AGM of the Ionad Hiort Company was held on April 9th in the Community Centre and was attended by a good number of members. Three retiring directors, [the longest serving] Iain Buchanan, Janet Macleod and Angus McCormack were re-elected. The Annual Report was presented by Board Chairman, Iain Buchanan and the 2012 -2013 Accounts were presented by Treasurer, Tony Inglefinch.

The board and members now look forward to a year of sustained progress with the imminent appointment of consultants, funded by HIE, to develop the most effective methods of interactive technology to enable visitors to the planned “Ionad” at the Geo Sgoilt to connect with Hiort, and to cost and develop what’s actually going to be in the building, so that it will pay its way and deliver significant economic benefit to both Uig and the wider island community.

The final steps in the land acquisition and de-crofting of the site are also expected to be completed soon. The aim of this project is to create a visitor destination to attract global interest for the iconic UNESCO Double World Heritage Site, visible - in clear weather conditions – at any time of year, from a long stretch of our coastline from Gallan Head to Breanish.

A project on such huge scale has never been envisioned before and the whole community and visitors are urged to show their continuing support for it by filling in a membership form with no obligation involved apart from supporting the project. Forms are available in the Community Centre lobby.

Sponsored Swim – Colin Macleod, of Newmarket, a participant in the big Minch Swim and well known island swimming champion and charity fund-raiser, did a solo sponsored swim on April 24th, eight miles from Hushinish, Harris, to Breanish. He covered the distance in less than four hours, and was supported by Seatrek. His swim was in aid of the Men’s Cancer Support Group. He plans a Harris to St Kilda swim this summer.

Taigh nan Cailleachan Dubha – the news that this ancient and iconic ruin of ours at Mealastadh has been painted – on an inside wall – in perfectly executed and meticulous white stripes is now spreading through the area and the question everyone’s asking is, “Who dun it?” But we are collectively not amused.

This is, after all, a scheduled ancient monument [despite past generations turning it into a sheep fank] recorded by the RCAHMS as long ago as 1914, and an outstanding land mark, traditionally referred to as a measure of the length of the west coast of Lewis, “bho Taigh nan Cailleachan Dubha an Uig gu Taigh Mholuidh an Nis.”

Very little folklore about the site has survived, but that the “Cailleachan Dubha” looked after the sick and were connected to the Eye Church in Point.

This mysterious episode underlines the need for heritage sites, such as this one, to be well marked in case anyone should come along with an idle paint brush and a tin of white paint, pleading ignorance. It’s good to hear that there are now plans afoot to erect signs at Mealastadh, an area boasting several historic sites worthy of recognition.