Local News for Friday 18th March 2016

St Kilda Swimmers team of the year!
The St Kilda Swim Team were crowned 'Team of the Year' at the National Adventure Awards ceremony, in Glasgow this week. Swim team captain Colin S Macleod and swimmer John Dyer were presented with the award as part of the National Adventure Awards, celebrating the most adventurous across the UK. The team were among seven shortlisted in the category , after their epic swim from St Kilda to Harris last August. The team took only 35 hours to finish a swim that had been postponed three times, due to bad weather, and became the first to swim the 60 miles of North Atlantic. Seven swimmers, three kayakers and a support boat crew made the charity challenge a huge fundraising success too, with donations to four charities after the event. John Dyer said: “I am so proud of all the St Kilda Swim Team and a big shout out to all our friends and families for the support and encouragement.”

Boat launch
Staran Boat project will be putting a new island boat in the water on Saturday, with the official launch of the St Ayles Skiff Blue Moon. Due to be launched at Cuddy Point at 12 noon tomorrow, the Blue Moon has taken nine months to build and was completed with funding from NHS Alcohol and Drugs Partnership. Those who took part in the building project now plan to form the Blue Moon rowing club, which will be open to all – there’s an open invitation to Cuddy Point for the launch tomorrow, too. Tonight, boatbuilder John Murdo Macleod of Ness is to give a public talk following the construction of traditional craft ‘From tree to sea’. The talk is at the Old Beer Store on Inaclete Road, next to William Wilsons, where historic sailing boats including Sgoth Nis and St Ayles skiffs will also be on display. The talk starts at 7pm tonight.
Twitchers’ heaven in Western Isles
In a week when a visiting bird-watcher described a ‘knee-trembling’ moment of excitement encountering a rare gyrfalcon in South Uist, Outer Hebrides Tourism and RSPB Scotland have launched the Outer Hebrides Bird of Prey Trail. Both organisations wish to underline the abundance of birds of prey in the islands, with the sight of a golden eagle often the highlight of a Hebridean holiday. A Greenland gyrfalcon has been resident in Uist for several months, leaving spotters breathless as she hunts. But RSPB Scotland’s Robin Reid said, “The Outer Hebrides is a stronghold for several of Scotland’s most iconic predators including both golden eagles and sea eagles. The Outer Hebrides Bird of Prey Trail links the best places to watch birds of prey throughout the islands and aims to attract more visitors to enjoy these spectacular birds.”
Stornoway Rugby Club have home advantage tomorrow afternoon as they welcome last week’s winning team Ross Sutherland for a re-match, postponed from November. The island side are hoping to take full points in this penulatimate match of the season. Kick-off is at 11.30am at the Bayhead pitch on Stornoway.
Lewis Camanachd are away to Lochcarron this Saturday, hoping to get points under their belt and the season fully underway. As part of their youth shinty development programme, they’re hoping to repeat the success of the Sgoil an Rubh/Bunsgoil Steornabhagh development days with a similiar session for the primary schools in Lochs on the 29th March at Sgoil nan Loch. It runs from 10am until 11.30am.