Local News for Tuesday 19th February 2019


KT Tunstall and award-wining duo The Shires are the latest headliners to be announced for the Hebridean Celtic Festival this summer.

KT Tunstall will top the bill on the Friday of HebCelt week, which runs from 17-20 July in Lewis and Harris. The Shires will headline the Saturday programme of the event, which is being held for the 24th consecutive year.

HebCelt also confirmed eleven other acts, including Newton Faulkner, one of the UK’s most successful singer songwriters. They join the previously announced Tide Lines, Talisk and FARA in a strong and diverse line-up that showcases the vibrant Scottish traditional and contemporary music scene.
Weekend tickets for this year’s festival are available from www.hebceltfest.com

KT, who is currently on tour said: ‘I can’t wait to come back and play HebCelt. It’s an excellent festival with a great vibe. A real diamond of the summer.’

The Shires said: ‘We are both so excited to be playing the festival. Looks like a magical place to play, and Scottish audiences are always amazing.’

Festival director Caroline Maclennan commentated: ‘KT Tunstall is one of our greatest singer songwriters and a brilliant live performer. Many HebCelt fans will remember her wonderful show here in 2011 and we are very excited that she will be back in Stornoway this summer.
We are also thrilled that The Shires have joined our line-up. They are outstanding artists who have rightly won acclaim, both here and in the US, and we look forward to seeing them on the HebCelt stage.’

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 19th February 2019

Local News for Monday 18th February 2019


Work is set to start next month on a major project to restore and regenerate the historic Lews Castle Grounds in Stornoway. A partnership involving the Stornoway Trust, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the National Lottery and Historic Environment Scotland, will oversee investment of over £5 million over the next few years.
Building and civil works contracts with a total value of over £3.6 million have been awarded to two island based contractors by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in partnership the Stornoway Trust.
Neil Mackay & Co will undertake comprehensive repairs to the Porters Lodge, the Category A-listed Boatman’s House and the adjacent Seawall. Other important features, including the Castle’s bastion wall, steps and terrace path will also be repaired and restored to their original form.
Breedon Hebrides will be doing drainage works in the former private gardens and the Castle Green, extensive renovation of paths in the core area of the grounds and environmental improvements in key areas. The Woodlands Centre will get new outdoor terrace and children’s play area. The works are scheduled for completion by summer 2020. Following on from the construction works an extensive programme of landscape planting and restoration will be undertaken by the Stornoway Trust under the direction of a Head Gardener
Roddie Mackay, Comhairle Leader said: The Castle Grounds are a hugely important asset for our community and this project will deliver significant and much needed improvements that will complement the restored Lews Castle. The Comhairle and the Trust have very worked closely with our funding partners to reach this point and I’m sure the community will be delighted to see work finally starting.’

Read more: Local News for Monday 18th February 2019

Local News for Friday 15th February 2019


Bethesda Hospice has received another £30,000 from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust (PST). PST has a 25-year commitment to support Bethesda with a total of £55,000 every year for the lifetime of its turbines at Beinn Ghrideag. The grant brings its support for Bethesda to £110,000 over the past two years.

The money is the biggest pledge that Bethesda has ever received and is the biggest grant given regularly by PST. It was pledged to Bethesda six years before the PST wind farm became a reality, with the signing of a memorandum. Carol Somerville, Bethesda general manager, said the money from PST was “a massive boost” – as it could be counted on at the start of every financial year.

PST board member Rhoda Mackenzie said all organisations with funds available for community projects should “keep Bethesda uppermost” in their minds, especially given the hospice’s difficulties with funding.

She added: “It’s absolutely essential that the facility is here for the community. For people that have used it, they could never repay the service that they get from Bethesda.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 15th February 2019

Local News for Thursday 14th February 2019


In conjunction with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are offering an opportunity to students with Gaelic skills to be employed for ten weeks during summer 2019 in the Western Isles with organisations which use Gaelic in the workplace every day. These ten weeks can take place anytime over the summer, but the placement must be completed by 31 August, 2019.
This Scheme has been running for many years, and has been very successful in terms of developing the Gaelic skills of students, and giving them valuable experience of a professional work environment. From the point of view of the organisations, the Scheme can give them an opportunity to hire students to work on specific projects, work which would not be possible to do without the assistance of these students.
If you are a student with Gaelic skills, who will be in the Western Isles over summer, 2019, and you wish to apply for the Scheme, can you can find more details on the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar website.
The closing date for applications is 29 March, 2019.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 14th February 2019

Local News for Wednesday 13th February 2019


The Scaladale Outdoor Activity Centre is offering mountain biking holidays for families and groups to help fund its programme of mountain bike outreach for young people in Lewis and Harris.
Four weeks are available this Spring. They are: March 2nd to 9th and April 8th-14th, 15th-21st and 22nd-28th. Weeks will also available in October and November and each holiday includes five days of guided mountain biking and coaching, with sessions tailored to ability and aimed at improving skills.
All bikes are provided free as part of the holiday as the centre was able to buy a fleet of 12 Whyte hardtail mountain bikes thanks to LEADER funding. The bikes are in a range of sizes and other equipment, such as helmets and safety glasses, is available as well, at no extra cost.
Accommodation is provided in the hostel on a self-catering basis. The holidays are aimed at people of any age, from 10 upwards, who want to improve their mountain biking – or just enjoy it in a beautiful location.
For more information, visit the website at https://www.scaladale-centre.co.uk/mtb-hols or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 13th February 2019