Gazette Letters 24.10.13

Morris Macleod sent in this stunning seasonal image of Autumn reflections taken at the River Creed. Send your Beautiful Island images to:
Morris Macleod sent in this stunning seasonal image of Autumn reflections taken at the River Creed. Send your Beautiful Island images to:


John Macdonald clearly misunderstands the point that I was making about our MP and MSP, so I will put it in simple terms for him, because the truth is simple, and simple is best.

I was not talking about the MP and MSP attending formal meetings of the Committees or the Comhairle. I was talking about them attending any kind of meeting with the Comhairle. Other MPs and MSPs regularly meet with their local authority to discuss issues of common interest. Ours don’t.

As to my attendance at meetings I’m not sure how Mr Macdonald has worked out the figures, or where he got the information from, as there have not been 31 meetings of the Comhairle since May 2012! Most people know that the Comhairle meets on average six times a year.

However, if it’s possible to keep Mr Macdonald happy, I can assure him that I attend the vast majority of meetings of the Comhairle and Committees that I am a Member of.

In addition I attend various other meetings, speaking to Comhairle officers about matters affecting the people who live in my ward.

I am however, a “doer” rather than a “talker and a tweeter”, and would far rather be ‘doing’ than sitting in a Committee talking about matters which may have little relevance to the people of Harris and South Lochs.

I don’t expect Mr Macdonald to understand this as he represents a party, an MSP and an MP, that do nothing for the people of the Western Isles except feed us the party line dictated from Edinburgh.

Councillor DJ MacRae

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar offices, Stornoway


I have been visiting my friends on these beautiful islands since the early 1970s and hope to continue to do so for as long as possible.

The problem that makes me very sad and annoyed about is that of litter. Of course, this problem is now world wide which I observe frequently during my extensive travels around UK and overseas.

For example, one of the worst areas of rubbish accumulation is a small shore near us where the prevailing winds and tides have swept enormous amounts of marine detritus onto the stones. I am attempting, along with my friend, to clear as much as we can, but it will be a long, and at times, difficult undertaking.

Most of this rubbish seems to be from mussel and fish farms. Do these farms have any responsibility to clear what is apparently theirs?

The vast amount of synthetic ropes and cord, black plastic peg objects and often those huge black container things that come off the mussel farms will likely be around for decades to come. I think it is a shameful disgrace on the beautiful coastline.

I visit little Bernera, Reef beach, Ardroil beach and others when I can and I’m very relieved that these magnificent beaches are on the leeward coastlines and no not usually get this awful amount of rubbish.

(Miss) Frances A Graham, Gt. Bernera


It may come as something of a surprise to pedestrians, that we motorists really do NOT want to scrape them off the front of our cars as we drive along the islands roads.

May I ask that when walking at night, even if you are just taking the dog for a walk, please wear something that makes you easily visible in the dark.

Hi-visibility waistcoats are available in several outlets in town and cost about a fiver, so much cheaper than a funeral, not to mention the cost of repairing the damage to our cars, so when walking at night, wear something bright.

Carey Lye, Point


I am currently the representative of the Scottish Secular Society(SSS) in Aberdeen and am originally from the Islands.

The SSS is looking to set up a branch in Stornoway and is interested in hearing from those interested in secular activism in the Islands.

If you are for Church State Separation, no religious interference within our state institutions, equality of belief and non-belief in Scotland and protecting faith from political interference within the law then feel free to contact me and we can give secularists in the Island a unified voice.

Callum MacDonald, Aberdeen AB11 8DQ


National Fundraising Manager for the Mission to Seafarers Scotland, the largest international marine charity.

The work of the mission takes place in and around Scottish ports and largely goes unnoticed by the local community.

But yet, we provide welfare services, practical and emotional support for seafarers in need at a time of crisis, regardless of rank, nationality or religious beliefs – very often, we are their only lifeline.

Over 90% of all goods we own in Scotland are delivered by seafarers, three of whom tragically die at sea each week.

As a small island nation, Scotland has a strong history and empathy for seafarers, and have an understanding of the perils faced on long sea journeys.

In order to continue our work in Scotland, we must raise funds to support seafarer’s welfare.

We are currently recruiting for interested volunteers to help with a range of fundraising activities across Scotland.

We are appealing to local schools, workplaces, community groups, churches and all types of clubs and associations to come forward and volunteer their time, be that a few hours, a day, or a week.

If you can spare some time to help us raise funds to continue to provide essential services at your local port, we would love to hear from you.

If you or your group are interested in helping the Mission to Seafarers Scotland, please contact Laura Brown on 07799 901 868 or email for further information.

Laura Brown

National Fundraising Manager

Mission to Seafarers, Scotland


We have two different takes on green projects in this week’s paper.

First is the potential of the wave farm project which will be sited off Fivepenny, Borve and its ability to create jobs and impact the local economy positively.

The other less obvious ‘green’ project is the new petrol pump facility at Ravenspoint, South Lochs. At first glance this may not seem to be a green project but in fact this new facility will mean drivers don’t need to make a 50 mile round trip to refuel, resulting in a practical environmental benefit.

This project also means the rejuvenation of the southern Lochs area. Already there has been more footfall at the Ravenspoint shop due to the facility that means stability for this amenity and the people who work there.

It’s projects like this in the more rural parts of the islands that will keep our communities sustainable in the long term.

If you would like to comment, or write a letter about this topic or any other please contact me at: