District News: Butt to Barra 08-05-14

The beautiful image of Horgabost beach in Harris was captured recently by reader Angus Graham, and reminds us that summer will soon be here
The beautiful image of Horgabost beach in Harris was captured recently by reader Angus Graham, and reminds us that summer will soon be here


Radio signals from Decca again - Last week we had, along with others, (see local paper Fios of May 2nd), the opportunity of meeting the group of 13 radio enthusiasts from Cambridge, England - 12 men and a lady, who were at Decca for a week, engaged in a two-way communication project with other radio amateurs throughout the world.

This brought back memories of the former Decca navigator transmissions of earlier years from Lionel machair.

Although the array of aerials in the back garden of Decca last week had no comparison with the 165 foot high former Decca masts, a lot of interest was aroused locally with this group’s activities.

We hope they enjoyed their visit to Ness, and took with them pleasant and lasting memories of their week at Decca, where Pete and Louise ensured that all their accommodation needs were capably attended to.

Correction - We regret that in this column last week, the names of Rev. Alan MacColl and Rev. John MacLeod were omitted from the paragraph relating to the funeral service of the late Mary Finlayson.

This should have read: the funeral service on Wednesday, was taken by Rev. Alan MacColl, he was assisted in prayer by Rev. John MacLeod, retired Free Church Continuing, Shawbost, and Rev. James Tallach, Free Presbyterian Church, Stornoway.

Death in Port-of-Ness - On the evening of Sunday, May 4th we were sad to learn that Mary MacFarlane (Mairi Sheonaidh Chaluim) had passed away at her home at 21 Port.

Carloway Community Association are hoping to hold their AGM at Carloway Community Centre on May 27th at 7.30pm.

Any members of the community wishing to hear about the work of the association are welcome to attend.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at: carlowayhall@hotmail.co.uk.


Apprenticeship week - May 19th to 23rd is Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014 and Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar’s Accredited Training and Skills staff will be holding two drop in events in Stornoway Town Hall from 2pm to 5pm on Wednesday, May 21st and from 2pm to 5pm on Friday, May 23rd.

If you are an employer, parent or interested in becoming a Modern Apprentice, come along for an informal chat on the options available for you.

Supply to the Council - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is holding a number of events to support and encourage local businesses to apply for Comhairle contracts.

Sessions will be held on a number of different topics such as Capital Programme Contracts, Grounds Maintenance and Public Transport. There will also be representatives or information about supplying to Lews Castle College, Hebridean Housing Partnership and NHS Western Isles at the events.

There are four events scheduled at:

Stornoway Town Hall, Monday, May 26th, 1pm - 3pm

Castlebay Hall, Wednesday, May 28th, 1pm - 2pm

Balivanich Hall, Thursday, May 29th, 1pm - 3pm

Tarbert Council offices, Thursday, May 29th, 12:45pm - 2pm

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar was recently highlighted by Audit Scotland for good practice in its procurement procedures. In 2012/13 the Comhairle spent over £14m on goods, services and works with suppliers based throughout the Western Isles.

Birdsong in the Castle Grounds - Most people like to hear the songs and calls of our woodland birds – but how many of us can tell one call from another? Can you tell the song of a blue tit from that of a robin? Or a song thrush from a blackbird?

On Saturday morning visitors to the Castle Grounds will have the chance to add a whole new dimension to their woodland visits by taking an early morning walk and learning the songs and calls of some of our common birds.

Organised by Curracag, the Western Isles Natural History Society, guidance will be on hand from local experts who will help you identify the many different birds you will hear on this gentle ramble around the Castle Grounds.

The walk takes place this Saturday 10th May and starts at 8am at the Creed Lodge car park, just before Arnish turn off.

The walk will last approximately 2 hours, and costs £2 for Curracag members, £4 for non-members.

For further information please contact Mick Blunt on 07724 150015.

Ceilidh - Balallan Hall Committee are arranging a ceilidh with a large cast of singers, dancers and musicians this Friday, May 9th.

The entertainment begins at 7.30pm and taking the stage will be: Shonaidh Beag MacMillan, Alice MacMillan, Iain Begg and family, Lochs Gaelic Choir and Ronnie Murray, Maggie Smith, Mairi MacLennan, Billy Campbell, Jim Sawyers, Molly, Ciorstaidh and Mairi (Highland Dancers), Ewan Ferguson, Sgoil nan Loch Folk group and John A MacIver. There will be tea and home baking at the break. Admission is £5 for adults and £2 for children.

Those performers are giving of their time, to support the committee in providing a community facility for old and young in Kinloch. So do come along and support those keeping the Gaelic ceilidh tradition alive.

World War One - The centenary of the beginning of the First World War is to be commemorated in North Lochs in August.

The Comann Eachdraidh are compiling an exhibition to mark the service of those North Lochs men who gave their lives, serving their country during 1914-1918.

To make this collection as comprehensive as possible and to archive aspects of personal and family life in this era, we need your contributions now.

It is envisaged that the collection will include pictures, accounts, letters, medals and memorabilia, so this is the time to hunt out your contribution, for the tribute to those selfless men.

North Lochs Historical Society will host an open evening at the North Lochs Community Centre, Leurbost at 7.30pm on Thursday, May 15th.

To share, plan and accept offers of any kind of help, to ensure that as much information as possible is available during the exhibition the first week in August.

Sympathy - The whole community were shocked and saddened recently to hear of the sad death of Colin Maclennan who drowned while working on a fishing boat in Ireland.

Colin spent his early years with a love of working with cars, but decided on a career in the fishing industry, a job he loved and was dedicated to.

A lovely young individual, with a pleasant word for all who came in contact with him, and this was obvious by the large attendance at his funeral held in the Park Free Church, with interment taking place in the Garyvard cemetery.

To Margaret and Angus we send our sincere condolences on the sudden sad loss of their beloved son, sister Leona and family, grandparents Murdo and Bellag, and the extended family we think of them in their sad sore loss.

“Often times God demonstrates his faithfulness in adversity by providing for us what we need to survive, he does not change our painful circumstances , he sustains us through them.”


Services - In the absence of the minister, who was assisting at the Point Communions, services in Scalpay Free Church (Continuing) on April 27th were conducted by Calum Smith, Divinity student, Stornoway.

Last Sunday the morning service in Scalpay Free Church was conducted by Joe MacPhee, Elder, Stornoway and the evening one by John Binnie of the Slavic Gospel Association.

New jobs - Lauren MacSween, 40 Scalpay, is now employed with GSH at Sunnyhill and Jezz wheeler, 30 Scalpay, has started work with Scottish Salmon, and as they begin their new jobs we wish both of them every success.

Condolences - the deepest sympathies of the community are extended to the widow and family of Billy Macleod, Stornoway, who passed away recently.

Billy, who was a school classmate of mine, was well-known to many here through his work as an accountant and also as supply to the Free Church congregation on several occasions.

As we mourn the passing of our gracious and gifted friend our prayer is God would uphold the bereaved as He alone can and that others would be raised up to take the place of those being taken into the Lord’s eternal service from our communities.


Only just over a week to go now for the ‘Latha na Mara’ RNLI Fundraising Day on Saturday, May 17th in Lochmaddy Hall. There will be stalls (including home baking, hand-made goods and RNLI merchandise); face painting; competitions, including a children’s fancy dress (sea theme) – ages 2-5, 6-8, 9-11; and refreshments.

Visitors to the event will be entertained throughout the day by a variety of talented local singers, dancers and musicians.

The Lionacleit School Pipe Band will start off proceedings by leading a procession from the main pier, Lochmaddy, to the hall, where doors will open at 11am.

In addition to the main raffle, there will be a separate special raffle for a radio-controlled 1:20 scale model of a Severn Class Lifeboat.

Currently, there are 12 exciting lots for the silent auction, a full list of which can be found in the programme of events available now in local shops and outlets.

The programme also contains details of the day’s entertainment.

Shetland ponies from the Uist Community Riding School will be on the green outside the hall between 2pm and 4pm and the Leverburgh Lifeboat ‘The Royal Thames’ will be at the main pier, Lochmaddy (operational commitments permitting).

Keep an eye out, too, for RNLI Mascot Stormy Stan.

RNLI Coastal Safety will be present and will do free safety checks on life jackets for anyone who brings them along.

For further information or to make bids before the Day itself, contact: Stella Evans (01876 500306) or Barbara Jameson (01876 500849).

Any contributions for the stalls, main raffle or silent auction will be greatly appreciated, thank you.