Local News for Thursday 12th January 2016

Winter wuthers on
We’re into the second day of an extended period of freezing, blustery weather, which yesterday brought transport to a standstill and left some without power. 208 homes in Lochs were cut off yesterday morning – SSEPD isolated the fault and had the area back on supply by 1pm. Sailings on all island ferry routes were cancelled yesterday, and last night’s freight run between Stornoway and Ullapool was also cancelled. CalMac hope today to run an amended service between Uig, Tarbert and Lochmaddy and to get two return runs between Stornoway and Ullapool, weather permitting. CalMac warns that the very severe weather could continue to impact on services for the next few days.

Some air services were also affected, the airlines contending with disruption at both ends as Scotland suffered under heavy snowfall and strong winds. Morning flights were delayed and one Benbecula service cancelled. Loganair’s offer to passengers to re-arrange their travel to a date after Friday and before Monday, without additional charges, remains open.
The Western Isles falls under a continuing series of Met Office yellow ‘be aware’ warnings up until Saturday afternoon, when the last warning is lifted from the far northern area of Lewis. Sleet, snow, strong squally winds and lightning remain likely throughout this period.
Trump connection for Songs of Praise
The popular praise programme Songs of Praise is using world events to make a connection to Lewis, bringing their outside broadcast unit to the island to follow the story of President-elect Donald Trump’s island connection. The programme, presented by Sally Magnusson, features Stornoway High Church and explores the spiritual revival of the 20th century. The episode airs on BBC1 at 4.30pm on Sunday.

New series pictures island stories
A new series starting tonight on BBC Alba features island personalities as the art of potraiture is linked with story-telling skill. Islay-born artist Heather Dewar draws the portraits of ordinary Gaels with extraordinary life stories, and meets three Western islanders on her travels. She meets Ena Macdonald in North Uist, where Ena has been breeding Highland cattle for decades – her services to crofting even earned her an MBE.  On South Uist, Heather meets Don MacPhee, the diver and fisherman who helped search the wreck of the SS Politician, bringing to the surface precious bottles of whisky that hadn't made it onto Eriskay's shores, and in Eriskay itself, Catriona MacAskill tells Heather about the BEM (British Empire Medal) she was recently awarded for her services to Gaelic. Heather's Portraits, a six-part series produced by Caledonia TV for BBC ALBA, starts tonight at 8.30pm and for five subsequent Thursdays at 8.30 - 9pm.