Local News for Wednesday 2nd August 2017

More Saturday sailings on Stornoway route
CalMac is to run extra late-night sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool on Saturdays August 5th, 12th, and 19th, to help address what they call ‘unprecedented demand’ on the route. Robbie Drummond, Director of Service Delivery at CalMac, said there was a significant and unprecedented increase in ferry traffic across all of our network leading the company to look at ways to ease the pressure on key routes. He said: "In many places our fleet is working to the limits of its capabilities but, in the case of the Stornoway-Ullapool route, we have identified an opportunity to introduce, on a pilot basis, an extra return sailing late on Saturday nights for three of the busiest weekends in August." The late Saturday sailing will set out at 10pm each Saturday, with a return sailing at a quarter to one. Catering service will be minimal and there will be no bus services meeting the ferries. The sailings will be available for online booking shortly and will be monitored to assess its success.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 2nd August 2017

Local News for Tuesday 1st August 2017

Divers named after Castlebay tragedy
Police Scotland have confirmed the names of two divers who died in shallow waters in Castlebay, Barra on Saturday. They were local man Iain Ruairidh Macdougall and his friend Ryan McGuckin, who was from Falkirk and living in London. Both men were 39 yearsold. Inspector Jane Nicolson of Stornoway Police said: "Our thoughts are with the families and friends of both Mr Macdougall and Mr McGuckin at this very difficult time, as well as with the tight-knit community on Barra which has been deeply affected by this tragedy. I would once again like to take the opportunity to thank members of the public who assisted the emergency services on Saturday. Our enquiries are continuing but there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances. A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal as is standard in these cases."

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 1st August 2017

Local News for Monday 31st July 2017

Two die in diving incident
The Isle of Barra was rocked by a new tragedy on Saturday, when two men died while diving for shellfish in the harbour at Castlebay. Stornoway Coastguard were alerted at 11.20am, when the skipper of the small ferry between Castlebay and Kisimul Castle, the Bata-Fada Beag, reported that he had seen two divers enter the water in the harbour, and that they had not resurfaced. Barra RNLI lifeboat and Stornoway SAR Helicopter R948 were launched, and Coastguard volunteers also went to the scene. The lifeboat crew recovered the two men, one of whom is reportedly local to the island, and they were taken to Barra Hospital, where they were sadly confirmed to have died. Police said on Saturday that enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing, and that next of kin have been notified.

Read more: Local News for Monday 31st July 2017

Local News for Tuesday 25th July 2017

Corbyn visit indicates ‘winnable’ seat
A visit to the Western Isles in August by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn indicates that Na h-Eileanan an Iar is one of the seats considered winnable by Scottish Labour. The Western Isles constituency party told followers at the weekend that they were delighted and looking forward to welcoming Mr Corbyn, and that his visit to the islands highlights commitment to reaching out as Labour seeks to promote an alternative to the Conservative Government in Westminster. Media reported a Labour supporter backlash during the recent General Election campaign, after Labour spokesmen in several constituencies suggested traditional Labour voters should tactically vote Conservative to keep the SNP out of seats. In the Western Isles, support for the successful SNP candidate, Angus MacNeil fell, and votes for Labour increased, but there was also an increase in Conservative support. Mr Corbyn is to tour Scotland in August, with the Western Isles just one of the constituencies now described as ‘marginal’ by Scottish Labour.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 25th July 2017

Local News for Monday 24th July 2017

Crowds come out on sunny Saturday
Blue skies, sunshine and crowds of people created a memorable weekend for shows and events in Stornoway and beyond on Saturday. With temperatures up to 22 degrees the streets of Stornoway sizzled with life and excitement, street circus and buskers. A second day of sunshine for Hebridean Celtic Festival brought the crowds out into the open at the Castle Green, with performances enjoyed not just within the tents, but outside on rugs and deckchairs too. One dedicated fan of the band Tidelines, who played on the LWP Islands Stage on Thursday evening, got a treat at the weekend when she was visited in hospital by Robert Robertson and Alasdair Turner, who had heard that she wouldn’t be able to make the gig after being taken ill. Dougie Maclean also made Friday his chance to mingle with the crowds in the circus tent and around the festival arena, and Lucy Spraggan celebrated her birthday on Friday backstage, with a cake especially supplied by HebCelt organisers.

On Saturday at Stornoway Harbour the RNLI funday got underway at 11am as runners set off for the Family 5k. Winners of the Round Table trophy for most family members across the finishing line were the MacIver/Murrays with 12 runners, walkers and toddlers. Later the annual emergency services tug-of-war saw the Coastguard team soundly beaten by the Fire Brigade, who in turn lost against Stornoway RNLI. The lifeboat crew triumphantly retained the Sportsworld Emergency Services Tug O'War trophy for another year, but there was a cheer for the fire brigarde too as their pagers sounded as soon as they dropped the rope, and they sped off along the pier with lights flashing.

Read more: Local News for Monday 24th July 2017