Local News for Monday 24th July 2017

Crowds come out on sunny Saturday
Blue skies, sunshine and crowds of people created a memorable weekend for shows and events in Stornoway and beyond on Saturday. With temperatures up to 22 degrees the streets of Stornoway sizzled with life and excitement, street circus and buskers. A second day of sunshine for Hebridean Celtic Festival brought the crowds out into the open at the Castle Green, with performances enjoyed not just within the tents, but outside on rugs and deckchairs too. One dedicated fan of the band Tidelines, who played on the LWP Islands Stage on Thursday evening, got a treat at the weekend when she was visited in hospital by Robert Robertson and Alasdair Turner, who had heard that she wouldn’t be able to make the gig after being taken ill. Dougie Maclean also made Friday his chance to mingle with the crowds in the circus tent and around the festival arena, and Lucy Spraggan celebrated her birthday on Friday backstage, with a cake especially supplied by HebCelt organisers.

On Saturday at Stornoway Harbour the RNLI funday got underway at 11am as runners set off for the Family 5k. Winners of the Round Table trophy for most family members across the finishing line were the MacIver/Murrays with 12 runners, walkers and toddlers. Later the annual emergency services tug-of-war saw the Coastguard team soundly beaten by the Fire Brigade, who in turn lost against Stornoway RNLI. The lifeboat crew triumphantly retained the Sportsworld Emergency Services Tug O'War trophy for another year, but there was a cheer for the fire brigarde too as their pagers sounded as soon as they dropped the rope, and they sped off along the pier with lights flashing.

There was a tremendous turnout, too, at Lochs Show, where tractor rides, stunts, highland dancing and Lewis Pipe Band were among many attractions in a show acclaimed as the best yet. The blue Vauxhall Viva car was won by the show’s youngest winner yet, who may have to wait several years until she can get her licence and enjoy her prize!

Tribute to former councillor
The Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has paid tribute to former Councillor Donald Maclean, who has passed away at the age of 85. Cllr Maclean represented North Uist from 1994 to 2007. He also served on the Northern Joint Police and Fire Boards and as Chair of the Licensing Board. Before becoming a Councillor, he served with the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders before joining the Police in 1961 where he rose to the rank of Superintendent. Donald is survived by his wife Mary and his three children. Comhairle Convener Norman A. Macdonald, said: "Donald was a fiercely determined representative for the Uists and for the Western Isles, renowned for his oratory and debating skills. He served our community well and was also known as a character and for his sharpness and wit, particularly in chairing meetings. Our thoughts are with Donald's family and his many friends at this sad time." The Comhairle flag is flying at half-mast in Balivanich and Stornoway.

Road accident at Laxay
The road was blocked at Laxay for a time on Friday evening following a road accident, with police, fire and ambulances in attendance

200-year-old diary a publishing hit
A diary written in the Western Isles 200 years ago is proving a new hit for lovers of literature and nature, after Stornoway publishing company Acair re-issued the historic title. ‘William MacGillivray - A Hebridean Naturalist’s Journal 1817-1818’has been re-published by Acair as part of their 40th anniversary programme. It was first published in 1996, and gives MacGillivray’s account of his time in Northton, Harris, visiting friends and relatives, and observing and collecting wild birds and plants. James MacDonald Lockhart, author of ‘Raptor’ (Fourth Estate, 2016), wrote a new introduction for this edition and said: “The journal provides a fascinating overview of life in the Outer Hebrides in the early nineteenth century. There is much detail on agriculture and other aspects of the economy, from kelp manufacturing to fishing.” The new edition is available to buy online at www.acairbooks.com

HebCelt cup to Lewis again
The Hebridean Celtic Festival cup went to Lewis Camanachd for the fifth year in a row after an entertaining shinty match at Bayhead on Saturday afternoon. The final score was Lewis 4, Uist 2 – David Cleary, Dougie Shaw and Paul Duke the scorers for Lewis. There was a great turnout of supporters and onlookers at the game in Saturday’s blazing sunshine.

Carloway have won back the top spot in the Lewis and Harris Football League, beating Westside 4-2 in Friday night’s match. The game between Ness and Aths was postponed due to a bereavement. Lochs and Point drew 2-2 and Stornoway United were beaten at home by Back 3-2. Tonight there are Moldova Lewis Cup first round matches involving all the Lewis teams at Barvas, Goathill, Lochs and Garrabost.