Local News for Monday 16th October 2017

Ophelia storm impact plans
The effects of ex-hurricane Ophelia are due to be felt in the Western Isles later today, although the Met Office yesterday removed the north-west of Scotland from the area covered by severe weather warnings.

Transport providers have made advance arrangements to reduce any impact on travellers in the next couple of days. Loganair is offering a free change of date to anyone scheduled to fly between Stornoway and Inverness or Benbecula, and between Barra or Benbecula and Glasgow. They said: “If you hold a confirmed reservation on any of the routes on Monday or Tuesday, you can change your reservation to any available Loganair flight within the next seven days without charge. If you’re booked to travel out on Monday or Tuesday, your return flight can also be changed.” CalMac has warned of possible disruption on several routes, especially those serving the southern isles, between today and Thursday this week.

Power network SSEN said that contractors were already on standby in the islands due to planned maintenance works, but that extra linesmen had been sent to Barra in advance of the weather, and that contractor Omexon would be available in case of any emergency in Uist.

Mòd competitions begin
Competitions in the Lochaber Royal National Mòd have begun, after a weekend of celebratory opening events in Fort William. Opening concerts featured the Gaelic folk group Na h-Òganaich, with John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach describing the programme of performance, sport and Celtic praise as ‘a flying start’. He said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming a record number of participants to Lochaber this year. It’s a joy to be back here after ten long years, and we thank the local community for such a warm welcome.”
Saturday’s opening competitions were for pipers, fiddlers and accordion players, with early successes for Graham Maclennan of Stornoway, who won gold in the open accordion contest and silver for a Gaelic waltz set. Tom Davis of Shawbost won gold on the piano in the under-13 instrumental, Kieran MacCormick of Sgoil Lionacleit won a bronze badge in the under-13s accordion instrumental, Calum Craib of Benbecula won a silver badge on the pipes in the under-19 piobaireachd, and Mairi Macdonald of North Uist won bronze in the under-13 instrumental on the chanter. Today sees the turn of young folk groups, choirs and singers, with poetry, drama and conversation classes also being judged.

New appeal for road crash info
Police in the Western Isles are making a renewed appeal for information after a road accident that injured an island motorcyclist in August. The collision happened about 9.30pm on Friday, August 25th on the Stornoway to Tarbert road, near the Halfway Garage. The incident involved a Triumph motorcycle and a car and resulted in the motorcyclist suffering an injury, for which he is still receiving treatment. The man’s family said: “We have reason to believe the vehicle was a small, silver hatchback and the occupants, two women and a man, were visitors to the island, and had Scottish accents. The accident happened as traffic was coming from the 8pm ferry and this may be significant.” Both vehicles were travelling south at the time. Western Isles Police would like to appeal to anyone who witnessed the incident, and in particular a group of tourists, possibly from the Edinburgh area. Those who have already come forward are thanked for their information. Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.

Lewis and Harris footballers in final
Lewis and Harris Football Club are through to the final of the Football Times cup, after they beat St Duthus in Tain on Saturday. The team, which is composed of players from Ness, Point, Westside, Lochs and Carloway, won the match by two goals to one, Angus Macdonald of Point and Angus Grant of Carloway the scorers. The team thanked St Duthus FC and the Royal Hotel in Tain for a great welcome and hospitality during their trip away. The final’s to be played against Orkney at a date and venue to be announced later this week.

Creditable result for SY rugby
There was a mighty clash between Stornoway Rugby Club and Moray RFC at Bayhead on Saturday, and the home team fought hard to be rewarded with a creditable scoreline despite losing to their Elgin rivals 14-39. The defence was described as ‘pretty awesome’ and there were two excellent second half tries from Manu Demoisy and Rick Henderson. Next week’s planned match against Highland second XV has been rescheduled to November 4th by mutual agreement, so Stornoway will next be in action away to Abderdeen University Medics on October 28th.