Local News for Tuesday 24th April 2018

Submarines in the Minch
Submarines will be active in the Minch and west of the Hebrides from today, as part of the current NATO exercise Joint Warrior. The annual wargames are led by the UK but also involve warships and minesweepers from countries including Belgium, Germany, France and Norway. There’ll be live firing from today at Cape Wrath and the Hebrides Range. Submarine activity begins today and will continue until May 3rd, with minesweeping activity also taking place around Loch Broom and the Shiants, among other locations. GPS denial is planned today and tomorrow between 7 and 8am and between 6.30 and 7.30pm from Loch Ewe, and predicted interference includes to parts of Point and Lochs. Mariners have been advised that, in case of any difficulty, they should call the Fishermen’s Hotline number, 01923 956366. This line is permanently manned. In case of any emergency, unexploded ordnance or other maritime emergency, you should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

‘Momentous’ arrival of new lifeboat
Leverburgh RNLI welcomed its brand-new Shannon class lifeboat, which cost £2.1 million to build, on Saturday, with a crowd of Harris islanders cheering her in to her new home. The new vessel is the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making her the RNLI’s most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet. She’s also almost 50% faster than Leverburgh’s current Mersey Class Lifeboat, RNLB The Royal Thames, with a top speed of 25 knots – a crucial factor when lives are at risk. Chris Ross, Leverburgh Lifeboat Operations Manager said: “The arrival of the Shannon in Leverburgh is a momentous occasion in the history of our station and indeed our village. It has taken a lot of effort get to this stage but in many ways the hard work has only just begun. All crew members will now undertake an intensive period of training. While this training is happening, our Mersey class boat, RNLB The Royal Thames, will remain on station, ready for any operational duties.” The new lifeboat is to be formally named in honour of a generous donation from the estate of Humfrey Berkeley and his wife Stella, who were joint governors of the RNLI and asked that a new lifeboat stationed in Scotland be named after them. A further donation from the estate of the late Mary Aida (Maida) MacLeod MacAskill, formerly of Berneray, Harris, will go towards the construction of a new fixed pontoon. The RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley will be officially named at a ceremony at Leverburgh Pier on Saturday 14th July.

Musicians invited to Stornoway, Quebec
Three Isle of Lewis musicians are among those invited to Quebec this summer for a series of concerts celebrating the links between Canada’s Eastern Townships and Scotland. The municipality of Milan has a new museum dedicated to nineteenth-century Lewis emigrant Donald Morrison, who became known as ‘the Megantic Outlaw’ after going on the run from the law in 1888. He had shot and killed a man as he tried to protect his parents’ farm from being taken from them. His story was told in music in 2007 on an album by Lewis songwriter Calum Martin, from Coll. Calum is now to travel to Quebec together with singer Calum Alex Macmillan of Point, fiddler Alasdair White of Back and Capercaillie accordion player Donald Shaw,. The four musicians will play at Stornoway, a cross-roads town in the Megantic region of Quebec, on July 6th during a festival of music from Scotland and Quebec. Bernard Grenier, chairman of Milan, visited Lewis in 2016 to invite Calum Martin as guest of honour at the three-day summer celebration, which also features dancers, pipers and other musicians.

Four out of five Lewis football teams went through to the first round of the Highland Amateur Cup on Saturday, after the island preliminary rounds. Point was awarded the result without a ball being kicked, as Iochdar Saints were unable to field a team, but Aths v Back on Friday evening went to penalties after 120 minutes on the Goathill pitch left them at stalemate, nil-nil. Aths won out 5-4 after the penalties and will go forward to meet United in the first round. Lochs beat Southend 2-3 at Daliburgh on Saturday morning, and Carloway also secured an away win, 1-4 against North Uist at Paible. Tomorrow evening Aths meet Westside in the semi-final of the ABC cup, kick-off 6.30pm.

In other sport, Crisdean MacRae scored Lewis Camanachd’s only goal in a 7-1 away defeat at Lochaber, the shinty team are away again next week to Lovat.

In the Rugby, Stornoway gave Mackie Academy a memorable weekend trip to the Isle of Lewis and the points, with the visiting team winning 12-35 in a hard-fought clash. Next Saturday Stornoway are at home again, this time for the match against Aberdeen Grammar re-scheduled from 30th September last year, due to Aberdeen Grammar being unable to field a team. Aberdeen Grammar were given a three-point deduction in addition to the two points they lost after failing to fulfil their fixture on 26th Aug 2017. The match will now be played as a double header at Stornoway, together with the deferred fixture from 17th February this year.