Local News for Tuesday 1st August 2017
Divers named after Castlebay tragedy
Police Scotland have confirmed the names of two divers who died in shallow waters in Castlebay, Barra on Saturday. They were local man Iain Ruairidh Macdougall and his friend Ryan McGuckin, who was from Falkirk and living in London. Both men were 39 yearsold. Inspector Jane Nicolson of Stornoway Police said: "Our thoughts are with the families and friends of both Mr Macdougall and Mr McGuckin at this very difficult time, as well as with the tight-knit community on Barra which has been deeply affected by this tragedy. I would once again like to take the opportunity to thank members of the public who assisted the emergency services on Saturday. Our enquiries are continuing but there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances. A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal as is standard in these cases."
Museum closed due to alarm problem
Museum nan Eilean will be closed to the public today, and possibly tomorrow, due to an issue with the fire alarm system. Although the faulty system is being repaired it’s not certain when the issue can be resolved. Meanwhile all other facilities within Lews Castle, including the hotel accommodation, remain open.
Loch Seaforth joins whale spotters network
The Stornoway Ullapool ferry Loch Seaforth and Barra ferry Isle of Lewis are to join in a CalMac operation helping to spot whales and dolphins during ferry passages. Ferry operator CalMac is taking part for the third year in this week's professional mariners' survey organised by the charity ORCA. The ferries Lord of the Isles, Clansman and Lochnevis already take part in the annual survey, which uses the daily experience of mariners across their own waters to improve sighting information. This year they will be joined by MV Loch Seaforth on the Stornoway-Ullapool route, MV Isle of Lewis on the Oban to Barra route and MV Hebridean Isles, which normally serves Islay. In June this year ORCA ran survey trials on the MV Loch Seaforth and on MV Clansman. They are now running a Marine Mammal Surveyor course allowing members of the public to sign up and help with the CalMac surveys planned for 2018 and beyond. CalMac's environmental manager Klare Chamberlain said: "There has been great enthusiasm and commitment from our crews and we hope that the sightings reported from CalMac vessels will become a valuable addition to cetacean monitoring right across Scotland's west coast.
Plans to ease ferry congestion
Plans to ease ferry traffic congestion in Stornoway are being developed by Stornoway Port Authority, CalMac and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – but getting people to check in for ferries ahead of time is a key part of the planning. The different bodies are looking at ways to reduce congestion on Shell Street at the entrance to Stornoway ferry terminal, which has built up since the Loch Seaforth began serving the Stornoway Ullapool route. Tailbacks caused by late-arriving vehicles have become a particular issue during the early morning and lunchtime check in period. Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of the Comhairle's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said: "We are, of course, very pleased that more people want to travel to, from and within the Outer Hebrides. However, this additional traffic has created a number of consequences, so we are reviewing road-markings and signage and are working with CalMac and the Port Authority on operational management and marshalling arrangements to provide a more efficient check-in process. We have agreed interim measures with CalMac and reiterate their request that people give themselves more time prior to the check-in deadline for the rest of this summer period."