Local News for Wednesday 13th September 2017

Harris contract brings Gaelforce home
A firm which grew from a one-man operation in Stornoway is to return to the Western Isles with an installation contract at Tarbert Marina this month. Inverness-based Gael Force Engineering will be installing their unique floating concrete breakwater at the new marina development in Tarbert, nearly 25 years after the firm was founded by MD Stewart Graham in Stornoway. Two SeaHaven breakwaters have been manufactured for the installation, together with 100 metres of pontoons, designed to last 30 years in all sea conditions. Gael Force was founded in 1983 as a maker of fishing creels and pots, and now has bases in Inverness, Forres, Stornoway, Glasgow, and Plymouth, from where they supply customers all over the world.

Bring Crown Estate to islands – MSP
The Crown Estate should be moved out of Edinburgh and relocated to one of the Scottish islands, according to Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart. Mr Stewart wants the Scottish Government to decentralise the organisation and move it to one of the Scottish islands. He said: “This Government is known for its centralising policies so it would be a bold move if it promised to relocate jobs to one of our islands. I know that the Orkney Islands are already keen on the idea of there being a base there and no doubt the Western Isles and Shetland would also welcome the relocation of such jobs and services. As the organisation deals with so much foreshore it would seem like a logical move.”

Lamb sale today
Today’s sale of lambs at Lewis and Harris Auction Mart will see over 3,800 beasts go under the hammer from 9.30am. The sale is conducted by Dingwall and Highland Marts and follows the season’s first sale on August 23rd, when top and average prices remained steady, with small to medium lambs meeting good demand. At that sale 3,493 store lambs and sheep were sold and, although, the top price achieved was £4 down on last year, average prices saw a second year of increase with a gain of £2.25.

Surf board and kayak theft
Police in the Western Isles have been notified of the theft of a kayak and surfboard from outside a house in Luskentyre, where they were taken from the doorstep of the home. The purple kayak and Bic 7ft 9” surfboard, which was in a white cover, were both taken at the same time. Anyone who has seen either should contact Stornoway Police or call 101.

Harris Mountain Festival
Harris Mountain Festival begins today, with a week-long programme of talks, walks, climbs and social events marking the event’s seventh year. This year the festival runs alongside the Hebridean International Film Festival, and is sharing some events and speakers. Among highlights are talks by travellers and authors James Ogilvie, Sarah Outen and Cameron McNeish, surfing, sea kayaking and sea fishing lessons and boat trips including to the Shiants. The festival closes on Saturday with a sold-out concert at Tarbert community centre by Tide Lines. More information comes from the link on our Facebook page. http://www.iohmf.co.uk

Lifesaving training on offer
Bays Community Centre in Harris is looking for people to take part in lifesaving training today, alongside installation of a new defibrillator which has been gifted to the centre. The centre urgently needs people to be trained to use the defibrillator today, with the training time to be confirmed once there are enough attenders. A spokesman for the centre said: “We are very fortunate to have been given this defib, its ready to go once we have enough trained people. So if you can spare the time on Wednesday, please get in touch.”

Cruise ship in Stornoway
The 800-passenger cruise vessel Black Watch is expected in Stornoway Harbour today, as the season draws to a close. Still to come at the end of the month is the Hanseatic, and one more visit from the Hebridean Princess.

Chess at Lews Castle
Lews Castle is holding a chess tournament for school pupils this Friday, from 2pm, open to primary and secondary school students. The tournament will be held in the peaceful surroundings of the Castle library, and light refreshments will be provided. Contestants should be at the castle dining room by 2pm.