From The Butt to Barra

Stornoway harbour from the Castle Grounds.
Stornoway harbour from the Castle Grounds.

Your district news for The Stornoway Gazette, edition October 8, 2015.

Lewis and Harris

Name Change - The highly successful Lewis and Harris Breast Cancer Support Group have decided at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 17th September 2015 to a name and constitution change.

At the meeting the group voted unanimously for those changes.

The group, initially formed in 1998 by its present Convener, Mary MacLeod, has been concerned for some time at the lack of support for women suffering from cancer other than breast cancer.

Following discussion with various organisations, the group became aware over a considerable period of the demand for such support.

With that in mind, the initiative was taken to consult members about the possibility of opening up and facilitating the changes needed to implement support for women with other cancers.

Members of the Breast Cancer Support Group responded positively to this initiative with a unanimous vote for change.

The new name for the group will be : Lewis and Harris Women’s Cancer Support Group.

Following application for permission and authorisation from the Scottish Charity Regulator, OSCR, these changes are being formalised and women suffering from any cancer (including their family and friends) are welcome to join and participate in the group going forward.

The group members would encourage anyone wishing to be involved or needing further information to call the following telephone numbers: 01851 704138 and 01851 850296.


‘Beetle Drive’ - The fundraising ladies of Stornoway Ladies Lifeboat Guild are pleased to invite all to come and enjoy a Beetle Drive with a difference on Friday October 9th.

Being held at Stornoway Golf Club and starting at 6.30pm, the Beetle Drive will be played with a Lifeboat Man instead of a Beetle.
And as well as all the Lifeboatman Drive fun, there will be the chance to win some fantastic prizes in the evening’s Raffle.


Soup and Sandwick lunch - The Hebridean Men’s Cancer Group are to hold a fundraising Soup and Sandwich lunch in aid of the Acuvein Appeal, in Uig Community Centre Cafeteria, on Saturday October 17th from 12 pm onwards.

They have already raised over £30,000 in support of the initiative started by the late Cllr. Iain Morrison, Barvas, to supply an Acuvein machine to every surgery in the island.

This is the first fund raising for this appeal in Uig and the local community are expected to give it their full support.


Tribute - We are saddened by the recent passing, this past August, of a Uist musical tradition-bearer, Angus Alick MacDonald From Baleshare in North Uist.

Angus Alick was a great button accordion player who had a very Hebridean, unique style of playing that we may never hear again on this Island.

He had an incredible repertoire of material from the many songs from the Gaelic tradition to the most intricate pipe and fiddle tunes.

He had a deep understanding of the piping tradition in particular and was a piper himself as a young man. Like many of his generation, most of his repertoire was learnt by ear, but what was remarkable about Angus Alick was, that he learnt the tunes very accurately and this was especially evident in his piping repertoire in the way that he followed the ornamentation and embellishments of the piping fingering so precisely.

When he was a young man of about 10 years old and into his early teens he would visit his neighbour next door where he knew there was a 2-row melodeon. Since then he was hooked on the button box and he never looked back. He became one of the regular dance musicians in North Uist. He performed all over Scotland and represented Uist when he travelled to South Korea to play the accordion.

Ceòlas were honoured and excited that Aonghas Ailig had agreed to teach on our Button Accordion and Fiddle tuition project ‘Buttons and Bows’. He was enjoying teaching all the young budding button accordion players and they were all very fond of Aonghas Ailig’s friendly and gentle style of teaching.

They were all upset at the sad news. Niall, one of his students, on hearing of his passing promptly took out the box and said.” I have to play a tune for Aonghas Ailig”.

At his funeral service in Clachan church, many people remarked on the beautiful service with music provided by Pàdruig Morrison on accordion amongst others. There was a collection taken at the service, which the family generously donated to Ceòlas on behalf of Aonghas Ailig. Ceòlas very much appreciates this gesture from the family.

This money will be used to help pay for instruments to keep this project going and to make sure Aonghas Ailig’s legacy lives on.

Upcoming projects - After a successful Ceòlas summer school 2015 we are now looking forward to the upcoming projects including the ‘Sgoil Chullaig’ that will see out 2015 for us. More info below.

Our AGM will be on the 20th of November. The public are most welcome to come along to hear what our plans are for the future.

On the 21st of November we are launching the book : Generation to Generation - Songs of the Campbells of South Lochboisdale - ‘Bho Ghinealach gu Ginealach: Taghadh de na h-Òrain aig Caimbeulaich Taobh a Deas Loch Baghasdail’.

Great Bernera

Marriage - Belated best wishes go to Calum John Macleod from Crulivig on his recent marriage to Evelyn in Inverness.

We wish them every happiness in their future together as they make their home in Newmarket.

Graduation - Angela Macdonald from Lundale recently graduated from teacher training and is now teaching home economics at a school in Ayrshire. We wish Angela every success with her career.

Moving - The community is very pleased to welcome our local Minister Hugh Stewart and his family to our island as they have now moved to Tobson and we hope they very much enjoy living here.

Recently also moved were Anne and Dave Williamson who have sold their house in Valasay but luckily they are still living on the island. We wish them well for the future and hope they decide to stay in Bernera.

Congratulations - To Jonathon Macdonald who has now passed his driving test and with his brother Stuart they are leaving our island to live in Stornoway.

Stuart will also be leaving the local fire service and we wish them both the very best and hope they often come back to visit.

Election - At the recent community council elections all current members were re-elected and there were no new applications. The first meeting of the new committee was on 7 October.

Trust - The Community Trust Group had a recent meeting with HIE to discuss the various options available regarding the buyout of the Estate.

There is no further progress to date and options will be discussed at the next meeting of the committee.

Cafe - The Café is now only open two days per week and the winter opening, fuel pumps and hall improvements were on the agenda for the meeting of 7 October.

Information will be available after this date and on the facebook page.


Walk - There will be a moorland walk, weather permitting, from Laxay to Achmore this Saturday 10th October.

If you are interested in joining the Comann Eachdraidh Ceann a Tuath nan Loch ramblers, we will meet at Cameron Terrace at 9am for car-sharing.

Soup and Pudding lunch - Saturday 24th At the Community Centre in Leurbost in aid of Lewis Pipe Band.

From midday till 2pm, there will be lots of lovely homemade soups, puddings and baking, tombola and raffle.

The entertainment will be provided by the Lewis Pipe Band, as well as the local ceilidh band Faram and the Sharron Mackinnon School of Highland Dancers.

Halloween Party - In Kinloch at the Lochs Show ground on Saturday 31st October between 4 and 6pm.

This party is free but children have to be accompanied by an adult.

Angus Macleod Memorial Lecture - This year’s prestigious Angus Macleod Memorial Lecture will take place at the Old School, Balallan, at 7.30pm on Thursday 22nd October. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

The lecture will be given this year by John Norgrove of Uig, Lewis, on the subject ‘Afghanistan, and how it changed our family’.

John will use slides to illustrate his lecture looking beyond his family’s story and focusing on Afghanistan: its geography and environment, its diverse peoples, cultural wealth and rich history.

John will explore what shaped Afghanistan into the country it is today. By taking the audience on a journey through Afghanistan’s long and eventful history John hopes to explain why it is such a difficult country to simplify or make assumptions about.

John will finish by explaining a little about how life on Lewis shaped his daughter Linda, how she was drawn to the ravaged, but still highly cultured Afghanistan, and will recount the experiences of the family throughout Linda’s kidnapping, subsequent death and why they started the Linda Norgrove Foundation.

Admission is free and all are welcome to attend. Refreshments and home baking will be provided.

Well done - To the volunteers at the Lochside Arena for having staged the Scottish Final of Team Quest the week of September, 28th.

Congratulations to the local teams who will be representing the Western Isles. The joint winners in the open competition were the local Neigh Chance team and in the youth section the winners were the Stornoway Legends who will compete at national level.

Committee Meeting - The next meeting of the North Lochs Historical Society will be on Wednesday 21st October at the Community Centre, Leurbost.

The committee meeting, open to anybody interested in local history, will be confirming the winter activities, programme of speakers and community events.

Any contributions for the next Dusgadh, The Historical Society quarterly newsletter, will be warmly received by Margaret MacInnes:

Flannan Isles

Memorial proposal - The proposed memorial to the three Flannan Isle lighthouse keepers has progressed from an idea into a reality with the design by James Crawford finalised and costed, and initial funding received from the Comhairle’s Challenge Fund.

The Northern Lighthouse Board have granted permission to use the Stevenson Lighthouse Plans for both the lighthouse itself and also the keepers’ house Cnoc Mor, Breasclete for the exhibition which will be based in the community centre.

We now need your help in gathering information relating to any of the lighthouse keepers and their families who lived in Cnoc Mor – do you remember them, do you know where they are? Do you have any memorabilia that relates to the Flannan Isles or to the lighthouse keepers?

If you have anything you are willing to share with us, especially photos that we can scan and return to you, please come to Breasclete Community Centre on Saturday 17th October between 11am and 2pm when we will be pleased to show you our plans for the memorial and exhibition.

Contact Noreen on 01851 621295 or