Local News for Friday 9th March 2018

CalMac woes continue
Ferry disruption will continue next week as CalMac struggles to shift traffic with vessels out of service. A revised timetable on the Tarbert Uig route is to operate from Monday 12th until Thursday 29th May, in an effort to keep passengers moving. Services across the Sound of Barra, from Lochboisdale to Mallaig and possibly from Castlebay to Oban are all affected by the ‘operational difficulties’ which have arisen from planned dry dock and emergency repairs to vessels in the CalMac fleet. CalMac is trying to work out routes to get passengers from the Uists to the mainland while the technical problems are being dealt with.

Poignant message in a pink bottle
A young girl who wanted to travel the world, but who died aged just 24, has been remembered in Scalpay with the discovery of a message in a bottle. The Inverness Press and Journal reported the discovery this week of a pink plastic bottle containing cremated remains and a note, which told finder John Macleod that the ashes were of Cambridgeshire girl Laura Newman, who died in 2016 having been bedbound for years. John contacted Laura’s parents, who were overwhelmed to find that the message they cast into the sea in Cornwall last year had travelled so far. Following her death, they decided to scatter her ashes all over the world, to make up for a long illness during which she had been unable to leave her home. 44-year-old John Macleod, a fisherman, said: “I threw the bottle back into the sea to let it continue its journey. Everyone I’ve told has been amazed about it. I think it’s a beautiful story.”

Island writer is crime winner
Local writer Tristan ap Rheinallt has won a national competition, judged by best-selling crime writer, Sophie Hannah. The competition, to write a crime story in 50 words, was part of a special promotion for Ruth Rendell's latest collection of short stories, A Spot of Folly (Profile Books). One of Rendell's stories in the collection is a chilling 50-word ghost story and Tristan's story was best in the UK after the nationwide competition.Tristan said: "I've always been a great fan of Ruth Rendell and I'd never tried my hand at a 50-word story of any kind. The last thing I expected was to find that I'd written the winning entry." Tristan is a member of Stornoway Writers' Circle, meets every Tuesday evening at An Lanntair.  For more information visit www.stornowaywriterscircle.uk