Local News for Tuesday 12th September 2017

Twitchers’ Barra excitement
A tiny bird blown off course by winds over the Atlantic has got bird-watchers in a state of excitement, and generated a mini tourism boom in Barra. The American Redstart was spotted on Wednesday last week in sycamore trees behind the church at Eoligarry, and was still there yesterday, to the delight of over 100 twitchers from all over the world, who descended on the island at the weekend. Barra airport café posted pictures of Traigh Mhor crowded with five privately chartered planes, although other spotters took the slow route by ferry to see the small bird, which was first identified by Barra islander Bruce Taylor. It’s only the sixth time the bird has ever been seen in the UK.

St Valery remembered
A talk and display at the Drill Hall in Stornoway today commemorates the Lewis men who were killed or captured at St Valery on September 11th 1944, while serving in the Territorial Army as part of the Ross Mountain Battery and 51st Highland Division. St Valery Memories is an exhibition originally collated by Maggie Smith in 2010, which will be on display at the Drill Hall from noon until 4pm today. At 7pm Ian MacNeish, whose father spent five years as a prisoner of war after being captured, will be the speaker from Stornoway Historical Society, hosted by the Hebrides Platoon of 7 Scots. All are welcome.

Film Festival starts tomorrow
The fourth Hebridean International Film Festival starts tomorrow at 11am, bringing a range of documentaries, feature films and workshop activities to screens around the islands. The four-day festival is on the theme of islands, the environment and remote communities, and will this year be screening shows at An Lanntair in Stornoway, as well as at community venues in Ness, Carloway, Bernera, Barra, Carinish and Lionacleit. Among highlights is the 2016 film The Eagle Huntress, a true story set in Mongolia, and a drama from Canada about a blood feud in Newfoundland called Riverhead. The full programme can be found by following the link on our Facebook page. www.hebfilmfestival.org

SRAC invitational athletics
Last weekend’s Track and Field invitational event in Stornoway, organised by Stornoway Running and Athletics Club, has been hailed a great success, with about 200 athletes from the islands and from invited mainland clubs taking part in running, jumping and throwing events. Top team after the tournament was Giffnock North, followed by Stornoway, Livingstone, Central and Uist Select. An SRAC spokesman described it as: “an excellent weekend and a great end to the season”. The SRAC juniors - and the coaches - are now on a four-week break and will be back for winter training and the start of the cross-country season on Saturday 7th October.