Local News for Monday 3rd July 2017

Heroes return from Games
An elated party of Western Isles athletes landed at Stornoway airport on Saturday afternoon, to a heroes’ welcome from family, friends and supporters. Lewis Pipe Band turned out in full to serenade the returning champions, with joyous and sometimes chaotic scenes as last team pictures were taken. The Western Isles squad had their best-ever games for gold medals, with 10 between swimmer Kara Hanlon, cycling sisters Kerry and Kirsty MacPhee, Kathryn Offer in the pool and Heather Mackinnon in the triple jump. Eve Carrington’s silver in the shot put, with two more silvers for Kirsty MacPhee and a bronze for Kathryn Offer, made up the total of 14 medals, putting the Western Isles at seventh place out of 23 competing islands. Kerry MacPhee, who has now won 10 gold medals in successive island games, left early to participate in a World Cup mountain-biking event in Andorra, while Kara Hanlon also departed before the end of the games, heading to Aberdeen for the Scottish Championships, a Commonwealth Games trial ahead of Gold Coast 2018. She placed 2nd in her 100 metre breaststroke event there.
Team coach Iain GG Campbell said: “There were lots of personal bests for our young swimmers, but arguably the highlight of the week was Heather’s gold in the triple jump. A fantastic series of PB jumps, an inspiration to other youngsters watching and lovely that her family were there to witness it. Eve Carrington has also been an incredible all-round athlete over seven games. Gotland have been fantastic hosts - very friendly and accommodating. It’s a beautiful island, which I am sure some of us will re-visit in the future.”

Coastguard volunteer off baby duty
A Stornoway coastguard volunteer left the bedside of his wife and new baby on Saturday to answer an emergency call-out at the hospital. Members of the Coastguard volunteer team were tasked to man the helicopter landing site just after 5pm, when rescue helicopter R948 was inbound with three casualties. The three men had fallen from a fishing boat into a loch on the Scaliscro estate, near Uig and, despite making their own way out of the water, called for emergency help. The helicopter was sent to recover them to Western Isles Hospital, where they were checked for hypothermia and the effects of immersion. Coastguard volunteers then went to Scaliscro to search for the party’s dog, a spaniel called Breagha, which is still missing after coming out of the water. Anyone who sees the dog in the area is asked to contact the estate or Stornoway Coastguard. The new father returned to parent duty immediately after the call.

Barra concedes cup in timing row
A row between Barra Football Club and the Uist and Barra Football Association at the weekend led to Barra conceding a coveted cup without kicking a ball. UBFA refused a request for a delayed kick-off, or new date, for the summer cup final between Barra and Iochdar Saints, requested by Barra because the date clashed with Saturday’s annual Barrathon, a popular community event. The cup final had already been rescheduled because of the tragic events in Manchester, which affected so many on the Isle of Barra. On Saturday Barra FC told their fans: “Over the last seven days Barra FC have made repeated representation to the UBFA for a delayed kick-off time, or change of day. In light of UBFA ruling against our request Barra FC has taken the difficult decision not to field a team for the 14.00 kick-off. Therefore, the UBFA have ruled that the Summer Cup must be conceded. All at Barra FC would like to apologise to all our dedicated fans.” UBFA commented: “The UBFA have tried to be accommodating within the rules of the constitution in regards to this situation but the final could not be moved to accommodate one team over another.”

Postcard memories for Trust residents
Postcard memories from this summer’s holidays could help create new memories for residents of Trust Housing - 29 supported living flats at Matheson Road in Stornoway. Manager Carol Ferguson is asking for postcard messages from people heading off on holiday for the ‘Old and New’ project, due to start this week. On Tuesday afternoons historical pictures, film and stories from around the islands will bring back memories for the elderly residents, and anyone who can come in and speak on historical themes is invited to get in touch. Thursday afternoon is dedicated to creating new memories, and Carol asks anyone who is going on holiday to send a postcard from abroad, UK or even elsewhere in the Western Isles. Carol said: “Once we receive the postcards we will use them to learn about new places, their traditions, cultures, languages and ways of life. Many of the tenants are born and bred islanders and have never left the island so this will be a whole new world for them.” The address for postcards is: All Residents, Trust Housing, Matheson Road, Stornoway, HS1 2LA.

Expansion success for Callanish firm
A new warehouse was officially opened at BASF Pharma (Callanish) Ltd based in Breasclete on Friday, with islands MP Angus Brendan MacNeil performing the opening ceremony. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) invested £2.8m in the expansion project to add to the company’s own resources. The company, which produces Omega 3 fatty acids, is continuing to expand, and has a workforce of 73. After the opening Mr MacNeil said: “It is heartening to see the continued growth of this company, which is a valuable employer and a world leader with breakthroughs actually made at the factory at Breasclete - something the workforce can be very proud of. We in the wider communities can be proud of them too, as it shows when the islands are involved and try, they are as good as anywhere, if not better. I applaud the staff at BASF Pharma (Callanish) Ltd for the important work they do and I wish them every success for the future.”

Harris Gin back to land of juniper
The Isle of Harris distillery took their gin back to the the land that invented the drink, with a gourmet event in Amsterdam last week. The people of the Netherlands first invented Jenever, their juniper-based national drink and a spiritual predecessor to the dry gin made in Harris today. Distillery managing director Simon Erlanger joined Dutch friends of the distillery Merel Biesta and Dirk Saltzherr at a gourmet meal, where Harris Gin was served alongside scallops, lamb and in peppercorn-laced gin and tonic drinks. Simon said: “Each course was surpassed by the next, and all were absolutely delicious. It was a rare privilege to tell our island and distillery story in person, to many who had not even heard of the Isle of Harris.”