Local News for Wednesday 25th April 2018

ANZAC day commemoration in Stornoway
ANZAC day is to be commemorated in Lewis today, as members of 816 Squadron, the Royal Australian Air Force, honour servicemen in the wars. ANZAC day, held on April 25th each year, is a national day of remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. It was originally devised to honour those who fought and died at Gallipoli during the First World War. The Royal Australian Air Force has four sea hawk helicopters at Stornoway airport this week, as they participate in the NATO operation Joint Warrior. Their crews are to assemble at the Melbost war memorial at 11.30am today, where Pipe Major Peter Mackay of Lewis Pipe Band will play a lament. Also based at Stornoway airport this week is the Royal Navy Air squadron 820, with Merlin helicopters. Crews are being made welcome at the Army Reserve Centre on Church Street in Stornoway by 7 Scots regiment, who hold their own Gallipoli commemoration event this Friday at the Ross Mountain Battery memorial. The service at 7.30pm on Friday will be followed by open house at the drill hall for refreshments.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 25th April 2018

Local News for Tuesday 24th April 2018

Submarines in the Minch
Submarines will be active in the Minch and west of the Hebrides from today, as part of the current NATO exercise Joint Warrior. The annual wargames are led by the UK but also involve warships and minesweepers from countries including Belgium, Germany, France and Norway. There’ll be live firing from today at Cape Wrath and the Hebrides Range. Submarine activity begins today and will continue until May 3rd, with minesweeping activity also taking place around Loch Broom and the Shiants, among other locations. GPS denial is planned today and tomorrow between 7 and 8am and between 6.30 and 7.30pm from Loch Ewe, and predicted interference includes to parts of Point and Lochs. Mariners have been advised that, in case of any difficulty, they should call the Fishermen’s Hotline number, 01923 956366. This line is permanently manned. In case of any emergency, unexploded ordnance or other maritime emergency, you should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 24th April 2018

Local News for Monday 23rd April 2018

Joint Warrior jamming starts tomorrow
The UK-led NATO exercise Joint Warrior begins today, with GPS signal jamming due from tomorrow as part of the operation. The inter-service ‘wargames’ exercise includes activity in the Minch and west of the Hebrides, and this year includes ships from Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany and the US as well as British minesweepers and other vessels. GPS signal jamming from Loch Ewe will happen for two periods of one hour per day, from tomorrow until Thursday, and will cover an area which touches on the Lochs coast and Point. Stornoway Coastguard will broadcast information about the activity to mariners as they are informed, and are able to stop the signal jamming if needed during any incident at sea.

Read more: Local News for Monday 23rd April 2018

Local News for Friday 20th April 2018

Cycling sisters will be at Royal Wedding
Cycling sisters Kerry and Kirsty MacPhee are to represent the Western Isles at the wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle on Saturday 19th May. Kerry and Kirsty, from South Uist, were nominated for the honour by Western Isles Lord Lieutenant Donald Martin, who said they would be ‘excellent ambassadors’ for the islands. Both sisters have represented the islands as competitive cyclists, with Kerry cycling at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, as well as numerous Scottish, British and European championships. Her sister Kirsty followed her lead into cycling and joined her in the NatWest Island Games, where the sisters were both medallists. Kerry said “Kirsty and I are extremely proud to come from the Western Isles and we very much look forward to the opportunity to once again represent our beautiful islands at the forthcoming Royal Wedding.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 20th April 2018

Local News for Thursday 19th April 2018

New hope for Arnish
There’s new hope for jobs to return to the Arnish yard in Stornoway, with the Scottish Government’s announcement that they have brokered an agreement between Canadian company JV Driver, through its subsidiary DF Barnes, and Bifab to re-start marine, renewables and energy fabrication. After the announcement this week, islands MSP Alasdair Allan said: “When BiFab got into difficulty last year, the Scottish Government made a commitment to work to secure a long term future for jobs and that is exactly what has happened. I would like to pay tribute to my Scottish Government colleagues Keith Brown MSP and Paul Wheelhouse MSP, who have done a tremendous amount of work to ensure these yards have a future. The workforce at Arnish have demonstrated great resolve and determination in the face of this ordeal, and the unions have worked hard to achieve a positive outcome. Were it not for the combined efforts of the community and the Scottish Government, it is questionable what the state of play would be today.” The news was also welcomed by MP Angus MacNeil and by the Comhairle. Mr MacNeil said: "This is a good step forward, with investment coming in from the Scottish Government through HIE and Scottish Enterprise. The Scottish Government will be encouraging and helping in the gaining of orders. Arnish already have a great track record of producing , fabricating and delivering and we wish them every success going forward." For Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the chairman of the sustainable development committee, Cllr Donald Crichton, said: "The Comhairle warmly welcomes this announcement and the potential it offers for a more sustainable future for the Arnish Yard manufacturing facility. I appreciate there is a lot of hard work ahead, but this is a hugely positive step.”

Read more: Local News for Thursday 19th April 2018