Local News for Wednesday 11th April 2018

First steps to bringing Leverburgh Lifeboat home
Leverburgh’s volunteer RNLI crew have set out on the first stage of bringing their new Shannon Class Lifeboat, 13-25 Stella and Humfrey Berkeley, home to Harris.This week some of the crew headed to Poole to undertake a few days training first, then to begin a sea journey broken at various places along the way. The formal arrival and welcome ceremony of the new vessel is at Leverburgh on April 21st.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 11th April 2018

Local News for Tuesday 10th April 2018

Comhairle urges tourism ideas
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is urging local organisations to work up ideas which can be submitted to the Scottish Government's new £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF), which was launched last week. The fund will support projects that improve the visitor experience in rural areas and reduce pressure on local infrastructure from visitor numbers. The types of projects which can be supported include parking and scenic lay-bys, camping facilities, disposal points and toilets. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar intends to submit an Outer Hebrides-wide application on behalf of the tourism sector. The timescale for the initial expression of interest is tight - 27 April 2018. Full applications are to be submitted by 27 July 2018. Cllr. Donald Crichton, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee said: "This is an excellent opportunity to improve the experience for our visitors and alleviate some of the problems we encountered last summer. The Comhairle is looking for community input to highlight the most severe pressure points and areas which have suffered a negative impact. We also need input as to what the solutions might be. The fund is limited - with a maximum award of £300k - so we need to think creatively and work together across the tourism, public and private sectors."

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 10th April 2018

Local News for Monday 9th April 2018

One ton target for beach clean
A one ton target weight has been set for islanders and visitors wanting to contribute to this week’s big spring beach clean. Clean Coast Outer Hebrides has set the target for the week up until April 15th, as part of a growing movement to stem the tide of plastic in and around our seas. Recent Beach Cleans across the Outer Hebrides have included a massive effort at Sandwick Bay on 31st March, when over 220kg of plastic was removed from the environment by more than 50 volunteers including pupils from Stornoway Primary School. People are now being encouraged to set out on their own mini beach-clean this week, and to weigh and even photograph the litter they collect, in a bid to hit the target of a ton of rubbish cleared from our beaches in a week. You can send in your totals and pictures to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or post it at the group’s Facebook page – there’s a link on the Isles FM page. By weighing rubbish collected on the beach with bathroom or luggage scales participants will contribute to the running grand total. Organisers said: “Every piece of rubbish and plastic collected will help reduce this massive pollution problem threatening our islands, and by working together we can make a huge difference.” https://www.facebook.com/CleanCoastOH/
Meanwhile the upcoming Leverburgh community clean-up will get under way at the end of the week, with a skip due to be delivered to the pier on Thursday. Organisers are inviting people to clear rubbish from road verges, ditches and gardens as well as from the shoreline and to use the skip, which will be open from 10am on Saturday.

Read more: Local News for Monday 9th April 2018

Local News for Friday 6th April 2018

New York adventure for school band
Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band will be marching down Sixth Avenue in New York tomorrow, participating in the city’s annual Tartan Week for the first time. The band travelled on Wednesday to arrive in the Big Apple in good time for the programme of events celebrating 20 years of Tartan Week, and they’ll also perform for Gaelic-speaking audiences within and beyond New York, and learn more about emigration from the Hebrides to the USA. The Tartan Day parade tomorrow will be led off by KT Tunstall, this year’s Grand Marshal, and features mass pipe bands playing tunes including Scotland the Brave and The Bluebells of Scotland. Sgoil Lionacleit band consists of 24 pipers and drummers aged between 12 asand 17, together with Highland dancers. They raised £40,000 through crowdfunding and local events to pay for travel for themselves and their adult escorts. The band said: “Our plan is to travel to the USA as youth ambassadors for Gaelic Culture, the Outer Hebrides and Scotland. This will be the first time any pipe band (youth or adult) has represented the Hebrides at Tartan week - a great achievement for a bunch of island kids! Our main objective while there will be to share our pipe music and dance, Hebridean and Gaelic culture with a huge international audience.” The band will also perform their tribute to piper Eilidh Macleod, who died one year ago at the Manchester Arena bombing. In her honour, the tune Fair Maid of Barra will be played.

Read more: Local News for Friday 6th April 2018

Local News for Thursday 5th April 2018

Big guns called for cash machine crisis
Western Isles MP has called on the Payment System Regulator to break through ‘a wall of silence’ in the continuing cashpoint crisis in Tarbert. The ATM at the bus station in Tarbert was once again out of order over Easter weekend, just as the first wave of visitors arrived for the summer break. Mr MacNeil, councillors and representatives of North Harris Community Council have been in contact with Cardtronics, the company who have responsibility for this ATM on numerous occasions to report disruptions. Mr MacNeil said: “Once again, the ATM in Tarbert is out of action and Cardtronics continue to ignore the pleas from the local community. Despite assurances that they wanted the Isle of Harris to receive an improved and more consistent level of service - they appear to have washed their hands of this ATM. A wall of silence continues from Cardtronics. Therefore, I am today contacting the Payments System Regulator to ask that they investigate the catalogue of complaints with this ATM.”

Read more: Local News for Thursday 5th April 2018