Local News for Wednesday 20th September 2017

Labour tries to push forward interconnector
Scottish Labour is putting pressure on the UK Government to put more effort into an interconnector for the Western Isles, to help build a future for renewable energy in the islands. Lesley Laird MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, has written to the Scottish Secretary urging the UK government to bring forward plans to build the interconnector. Ms Laird has argued that, given there is widespread agreement on the benefits of the proposal, the Conservative government should begin the construction process immediately. She said: “On my visit to the Western Isles last month, I heard first-hand the benefits this interconnector could bring to the community. It would bring huge economic and environmental benefits to the people of the Western Isles, with independent experts estimating it would add over £400 million to the local economy. It is vital that the Tories stick to their manifesto commitment, and they must begin construction of the interconnector as soon as possible.”

Swimmers mentioned in Parliament
Stornoway endurance swimmer Colin Macleod has been mentioned in The Scottish Parliament, as Gail Ross MSP tabled a motion encouraging Colin and his swimming partner Norman Todd on their plan to raise finds for an environmental education group with a 14-mile open water swim next month. Ms Ross’s motion asked ‘That the Parliament congratulates Norman Todd and Colin MacLeod on their plans to swim from Achiltibuie to Ullapool to raise funds for the Living Seas Project …notes that the swimmers intend to swim 14 miles in water that will be around 11 degrees Celsius … and wishes both swimmers the very best of luck for their endeavour on 7th October 2017.” The pair’s £800 funding target has been reached and exceeded, and they’re now hoping for good conditions to set out on October 7th.

Lottery grants on their way.
Three more winners were created by the fifth draw of the Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery at the weekend, bringing the total in prize money shared so far to £1,245. Organisers plan to make the first round of community improvement grants in two weeks’ time, estimating that £4,500 will be distributed. There are extra bolt-on prizes on offer for every ticket bought between now and 14th October, with Lewis Builders giving a £250 cash bonus and Barra Atlantic Gin a three-pack of their own newly launched product.

New Police Scotland logo dual language
Police Scotland yesterday launched a new logo featuring both English and Gaelic, which is to be carried on signage, stationery and vehicles as each item comes to be replaced. Police Scotland and Poileas Alba will also be given equal prominence on the website and intranet as part of the force’s commitment to its Gaelic Language Plan.

Far North photography show
Friday sees the launch of a new exhibition at An Lanntair, which accompanies the upcoming literature festival Faclan, with its theme of Ultima Thule. Three acclaimed photographers from Iceland, Scotland and England will explore a theme which has fascinated people since the 18th century philosopher John Toland identified 'Hyperborea' as the Isle of Lewis. The display features stark black and white images by Ragnar Axelsson, better known as RAX, showing vast landscapes, remote communities, and people making a living in the harshest of environments. The photographer Alex Boyd is best known for his brooding landscapes using antique processes, and he will show new work made in the Hebrides and on the Cuillin Ridge of Skye. Chris Friel uses digital techniques and his work is a moving response to the loss of his son Joe, who took his own life in December 2016. It was made over the course of a single day, in the landscapes of Lewis and Harris and features text by singer, songwriter and author Nick Cave.

Barra ferry disruption
CalMac has warned of disruption to services to and from Barra today, due to essential maintenance. The 7:15am sailing from Oban and the 2:30 pm from Castlebay are cancelled and there will be an additional sailing from Oban to Lochboisdale and return – see the CalMac website for more details.