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.

HebCelt is the top festival
Hebridean Celtic Festival has received a further accolade, once again named as best cultural event or festival at the Highlands and Islands Tourism awards 2017. The awards were presented at a gala event in Inverness on Friday night. Also a winner was the Skye-based adventure tourism company Go to St Kilda, which won best outdoor adventure experience.

Ferry changes for next summer
CalMac has announce timetable changes for next summer, some of which are aimed at helping with public transport connections for travellers. The Lochboisdale Mallaig service has been tweaked to leave Lochboisdale on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6.20am, to allow connection with the 10.10 train to Fort William. Meanwhile the Stornoway Ullapool service sees extension of the double Sunday service to the full summer timetable, and on the Uig - Tarbert – Lochmaddy triangle the peak summer timetable has been extended from 10 to 18 weeks. CalMac's Director of Service Delivery, Robbie Drummond said: “These changes are a direct result of us promising to work more closely with the communities we serve, to shape services that best meet their needs. I'm especially pleased that we are now able to provide an earlier service from Lochboisdale to Mallaig on weekends that will enable people to connect with the train to Fort William, and that the extended Sunday service to Stornoway will significantly improve capacity during the busy summer season.”

Meanwhile there’s a warning that all ferries on the Castlebay Oban route have been cancelled today due to forecast bad weather, and sailings on the Stornoway Ullapool route are on standby for possible disruption. The MV Loch Seaforth is due to return to the route tomorrow from dry dock in Leith.

Be on your guard for oil theft
Police in the Highlands and Islands are people to be vigilant against oil theft over the winter months, with several instances last winter of properties in the islands finding that heating oil had been taken from homes. Thefts of oil from tanks can be an issue, particularly in rural areas during the winter. Sergeant Richard Ross from the Preventions and Interventions Unit said: "Heating oil thefts are an unnecessary crime, which cause considerable expense and inconvenience for victims. Criminals will always pick on an easy target, so taking some time to make sure your oil tanks are secure will often be enough to deter potential thieves. It is a good idea to make sure your filler cap is lockable and has a security valve fitted to prevent fuel being drained from the supply pipe. Security lights which detect movement are an effective deterrent, while it is always worth fitting an alarm. Be vigilant to any suspicious behaviour around your property and report concerns to Police Scotland on 101 as soon as you can."

Football awards distributed
The island’s top football players were named on Friday at the Lewis and Harris Football Association awards, held in Carloway. Player of the Year was Micheil Smith of Ness, with under-21 player of the year Angus Grant of Carloway. The year’s best goalkeeper was Jack Maclennan of Stornoway United, while West Side’s Innes Iain Morrison was confirmed as the top goalscorer of the year.