Local News for Monday 4th September 2017

Four check-ins at Stornoway airport
The start of regular flights by Loganair, carrying its own livery as an independent operator, was marked on Friday at Stornoway airport. Most noticeable to travellers will be the fact that four check-in desks are now open at the airport - two serving Loganair passengers and two Flybe. It’s the first time all four desks have been in operation since the new airport opened. Loganair have taken over services on all routes in the highlands and islands, but since their decision to go it alone, Flybe has decided to compete on the lucrative Stornoway Glasgow route, working with Eastern Airways, who also serve Aberdeen passengers. The competition has seen fares slashed and increased traffic from the airport. Passengers need to book tickets, passenger assistance and check-in via the airline of their choice on one of the two airline websites.

Merchant Navy Day
The Red Ensign flew in Stornoway on Saturday as the town marked Merchant Navy Day with a flag-raising ceremony in Perceval Square. The first British losses of World War II were suffered on the very first day that war was declared (3rd of Sep 1939) by the the Merchant Navy, when the SS Athenia was sunk by U-30 south of Rockall with the loss of 19 crew (mostly engine crew) and 98 passengers (including 28 neutral Americans). She was carrying over 500 Jews trying to escape Europe and Hitler. Merchant Navy crew members past and present turned out to mark the occasion at the weekend.

Ness Gala Day
The postponed Ness Gala Day was finally blessed with bright, breezy and dry weather on Saturday afternoon as crowds turned out to get together for what became the last show of the summer. The Gala was originally planned for late June, but was cancelled then due to the strong winds and rain which marked the start of the summer.

Livestock sales
Booking closes on Wednesday for the busiest livestock sale of the year at the Steinish Mart of Lewis and Harris Auctions, but organisers say the sale is already nearing capacity and urge crofters to get their bookings in now. The committee said “Online and telephone booking for our next sale on Wednesday 13th September closes on 6th September. This is traditionally the busiest sale of the year and is nearing capacity. Please book soon to guarantee a place.” www.lewisandharrisauctionmart.co.uk

Last home shinty match
Lewis Camanachd welcomed Lochcarron to Shawbost on Saturday for the final home game of the season. As usual there was a strong wind blowing down the pitch and Lewis secured the wind in their favour for the first half. Half time arrived with the score level at one-all, Will Church the home scorer at 30 minutes, but Lochcarron with the wind at their backs proved a tougher proposition in the second half and, despite some good home team play, the visitors comfortably held out to secure a 1-3 win. Three away games remain for Lewis this season. First up is a trip to Strathpeffer to play high-flying Caberfeidh on Saturday 9th.