Local News for Friday 10th November 2017

Island Trad nominees need votes!
The annual Scots Traditional Music awards shortlist has been announced, and the nominees include island musicians. The Trads, organised by Hands Up for Trad and sponsored by MG Alba, are a public vote award, and people have until November 24th to vote for one, or all of the categories. Among islanders nominated are Josie Duncan, who is in the shortlist for best folk band with her singing partner Pablo Lafuente, and who is also nominated as part of best up and coming band Inyal. The lively band Hò-Ro, featuring Stornoway musicians Keith Morrison and DC Macmillan, has also been nominated for best up and coming band and Skipinnish, with lead singer Norrie Tago Maciver from Carloway, is in the running as live act of the year. Nominated as venue of the year for its support of traditional music is An Lanntair. You can place your votes using the link on the Isles FM Facebook page. Winners in all categories will be announced at Na Trads in Paisley on December 2nd.

Read more: Local News for Friday 10th November 2017

Local News for Thursday 9th November 2017

Loch Seaforth returns to service
The Stornoway Ullapool ferry, MV Loch Seaforth, is returning to service after her annual refit at Leith, where she was held back for a couple of days while sea trials were carried out. She was due to start back on the service on Tuesday, but will now be back on the route from today. Services between Castlebay and Oban have meanwhile been disrupted both by weather conditions and by technical problems with the replacement vessel MV Isle of Arran, which stood in for Isle of Lewis while she was serving the Stornoway route. The next island service to be affected during the annual dry dock schedule will be the Sound of Barra route, with MV Loch Alainn being replaced by MV Loch Bhrusda from December 4th for two weeks.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 9th November 2017

Local News for Wednesday 8th November 2017

Living wage call backed by builders
Lewis Builders have become the latest Western Isles company to sign up for the Scottish living wage rate of £8.75 per hour. They were visited this week by Isles MSP Alasdair Allan, who congratulated them on their commitment to the living wage. The Scottish Living Wage, calculated to meet the cost of living, is reviewed every year based on living standards. Dr Allan said: “I would like to thank Lewis Builders and their staff for today’s very informative visit, as well as their commitment to fair pay and showing leadership on this issue within the local business community. I would encourage all organisations in the Isles, regardless of size or sector to recognise the benefits of paying ensuring all staff receive a fair level of pay.” Ewen MacLean from Lewis Builders commented: “It was great having Dr Allan in to our office today. He took a very keen interest in what we had to say and the commitment we are making to our staff.”

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 8th November 2017

Local News for Tuesday 8th November 2017

VisitScotland ‘has given up’ on islands
VisitScotland has been accused of 'relinquishing its responsibilities to rural areas' following the announcement that tourist information offices in Lochmaddy and Castlebay are to close. The closures follow last year's closure of the Lochboisdale office and will mean no national tourism authority presence in the 70-mile stretch of tourist heaven between Vatersay and Berneray. Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil said: "I am very disappointed at VisitScotland's decision to close the tourist information centres in Lochmaddy, Isle of North Uist and Castlebay, Isle of Barra. At a time when tourism is increasing and the season extending, this seems a strange decision and suggests that VisitScotland are relinquishing responsibility to rural areas. I wrote to Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, and asked her to intervene following closure of the Lochboisdale office. I have again written to her, following the latest closures, seeking her intervention to change this decision.” A year-round visitor information centre remains in Stornoway with a seasonal office in Tarbert but Mr MacNeil expressed concern for the future of these offices also, given the closures elsewhere.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 8th November 2017

Local News for Monday 6th November 2017

Honour for Harris Distillers
The Isle of Harris Distillery in Tarbert has been awarded an honour from islanders, to islanders, as the 'Cuach Comunn Leodhais agus Na Hearadh Ghlaschu' was presented on Friday by the Glasgow Lewis and Harris Association. The Cuach is a trophy presented each year to someone from Lewis and Harris who has brought honour to themselves or to the islands. The committee said: "We have been extremely impressed by the Social Distillery concept and the level of positive publicity which the Isle of Harris Distillers have generated over the last year, not just for Harris gin itself, but by extension for the Isle of Harris in general." Director Ron MacEachran, who has family connections with Scalpay, was presented with the trophy at the 130th annual gathering in Glasgow, which also featured entertainment from Joan Morrison, Kathleen Macinnes, Robert Robertson, Ronnie Murray, Rebecca and Rhianna Boyle and the Glasgow Islay Junior Choir, the night rounded off by a ceilidh with Beinn Lee.

Read more: Local News for Monday 6th November 2017