Local News for Wednesday 13th April 2016

Volunteers aim to find missing fisherman
A volunteer team headed by the Barra RNLI lifeboat volunteers aim to set out tomorrow on an inch by inch search of the coastline and waters around Mingulay, in an effort to recover the fisherman missing since the FV Louisa sank in the early hours of Saturday morning. The names of the crew have now been formally released by Police Scotland. Martin Johnstone, aged 29, from Halkirk in Caithness and 27-year-old Chris Morrison, from Leverburgh in the Isle of Harris were both sadly confirmed deceased during the incident. Still missing is skipper Paul Alliston (formerly MacMillan) aged 42, from Lochs in the Isle of Lewis. The survivor, Lachlan Armstrong of Stornoway, has spoken candidly to media about his decision to swim for safety towards the Mingulay shore, rather than staying with the life-raft.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 13th April 2016

Local News for Tuesday 12th April 2016

Tartan cyclist reaches islands
Tartan Explorer Josh Quigley will cycle through Stornoway today as he rides 1500 miles around the edge of Scotland to raise awareness of mental health issues. Josh Quigley is being supported in his adventure by the charity See Me, and will be welcomed to Stornoway by their community champion Murdo Macleod, who has arranged a visit to the Western Isles Association for Mental Health, before heading to the Callanish Stones. Murdo said: “I think it is important to support Josh as the cycle journey he is undertaking is a metaphor for the recovery journey that we are on following major mental health trauma and breakdown.” Eleanor Ogilvie, See Me community manager, said: “The most recent statistics showed the suicide rate for men was more than two and a half times that for women. Men can find it hard to speak out about how they are feeling, often for fear of the reaction they will face due to the stigma that still surrounds having a mental health condition. Everyone needs to know it is okay not to be okay, and it is important to speak about mental health, as Josh is showing”.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 12th April 2016

Local News for Monday 11th April 2016

Islands mourn fishermen lost at sea
The islands are in mourning today after tragedy at sea claimed the lives of two men, with a third still missing. The UK Coastguard received a distress alert just before 3:45am on Saturday, when the emergency positioning beacon (EPIRB) of the Stornoway-registered FV Louisa was activated near Mingulay. Stornoway Coastguard search and rescue helicopter and Barra lifeboat were sent to the scene, and one man was recovered and taken immediately to hospital. Two other men were later recovered from the water but were sadly deceased. A fourth crew member remains unaccounted for. The fishing vessel had sunk at the scene. Searches for the missing fisherman continued for most of the weekend, with the rescue helicopter from Prestwick, coastguard volunteers from  Uist and Barra and other fishing vessels also joining the search, which included the coastline of Mingulay. Stornoway Coastguard volunteers provided back-up in Uist, and the Police Scotland Air Support Unit operated from Benbecula airport, which was opened to provide support.
Chief Inspector Alastair Garrow said: “All of the partners are determined to do everything they can to help the family and the commmunity deal with this tragedy. The next of kin of all the men have been informed. Police Scotland have an enquiry team working alongside other agencies and the known circumstances will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. There will be further investigations necessary to fully establish what has happened.” Coastguard officials said an investigation would be carried out together with Police Scotland and the Marine Accident and Investigation Branch (MAIB). Mark Rodaway, National Maritime Operations Commander for UK Coastguard said: : "This has been a tragic incident which will impact on the local community. Our thoughts are with the families affected."

Read more: Local News for Monday 11th April 2016

Local News for Friday 8th April 2016

Football season starts
The highly anticipated 2016 island football season kicks off tonight with the Tech Mobile-sponsored Acres Boys Club Cup. The only first round fixture to be played will be Back V Westside
, kicking off at 6.30pm, the Stornoway United V Carloway match postponed as the Goathill pitch is unplayable.
That match has been rearranged for next Wednesday, 13th April, with the Westside v Carloway league match scheduled for that night moving to Monday 25th  April.

Read more: Local News for Friday 8th April 2016

Local News for Thursday 7th April 2016

CalMac changes travel alerts
Ferry operator CalMac is changing the way it alerts customers to disrupted services following feedback from passengers. An additional ‘yellow’ service status is being added to the existing green, amber and red to give passengers clearer information about potential disruption. "We asked the public what we could do to make their journey easier in the face of weather disruption and the overwhelming response was that they wanted more information," said CalMac's director of operations, Drew Collier. “The existing amber alert covered too broad a range of situations and caused confusion”. The yellow alert will tell customers to check for updates before travelling, as there is a possibility of disruption. Amber alerts will now inform customers that one or more sailings are disrupted. The red alert will continue to be used to indicate when all sailings on a route are cancelled for the remainder of the day. The new alert system will go live from Monday April 11th.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 7th April 2016