Local News for Monday 11th June 2018

Emergency services out in force for John
Emergency service vehicles lined Goathill Road on Saturday evening with sirens wailing and blue lights flashing – but there was no emergency. Instead the fire engines and support vehicles had turned out to honour Stornoway Fire Station manager John Campbell as he retired after over 40 years’ service. Later the new fire station was packed with former and present colleagues, friends and well-wishers, sharing memories of John’s time both as a fire officer and in his former post at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Calum is Scotland’s hero
Benbecula cricketer Calum Macleod became a national hero on Sunday, when he scored a massive 140 runs not out, taking Scotland’s cricket team to a historic win over England, the world’s number one team, in a one-day international match at the Grange in Edinburgh. Scotland declared at 371 for 5 on Sunday afternoon, and there was a tense wait as England batted before the final result stunned the cricketing world, England all out for 365 and Scotland the winners by just six runs. 29-year-old Calum, who admits that Benbecula and Uist offer few opportunities to develop cricketing skills, said it was ‘a great day in Scottish cricketing history’ and one of the best games he’d ever played in. This morning Derbyshire Cricket Club signed him for a place in their T20 Blast squad, with Scotland coach Grant Bradburn joining him in the team.

Lifeboat rescue
Stornoway RNLI lifeboat Tom Sanderson was out late on Friday night to rescue two people who had abandoned their craft due to technical issues, and were stranded on the Shiant Islands. The crew launched at 10.15pm and located the two casualties, who were transferred from the island to the lifeboat using the Y-boat, before the Lifeboat then returned to Stornoway, landing them to the care of the Scottish Ambulance Services and Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team.

Clansman back in service
The MV Clansman returned to service on Saturday, allowing the Lord of the Isles to get back to her route between Lochboisdale and Mallaig. It brings to an end the frustrating disruption faced by travellers from Uist and Barra, who have faced cancellations and loss of service at the height of the busy summer season. CalMac managing director Robbie Drummond said: “We appreciate the understanding of passengers who have been disrupted by this unavoidable repair. We are fully aware of the impact this has had on communities affected and would like to thank them for their patience during this period. I would also like to thank the staff who have worked so hard to continue to provide lifeline services throughout the disruption we have had to manage over the past weeks. With one major vessel out of action and no replacement it has been a difficult time for everyone and we can now all look forward to normal service being resumed again.” CalMac warned earlier this year of a ‘summer of disruption’ as vessels serving some island routes pick up the strain despite some of the vessels already being well beyond their expected service lifespan.

Cruise ship Berlin in port
The small cruise ship Berlin is in Stornoway this afternoon, bringing a group of just over 400, mostly German passengers to the islands. She’ll be on pier no 3 until about 7pm, before heading off to Oban. Later in the week Fred Olsen’s Black Watch is due in the outer anchorage on Thursday, and there will be two regular visitors on Saturday as Hebridean Princess and Sermissima line up at piers no 1 and 3.

The second leg first round matches in the Eilean an Fhraoich cup are being played tonight at Barvas between Carloway and Westside, Point v Back at Ionad Stoodie and between Harris and Ness – all kick-offs are at 7pm. Wednesday night sees a league match between Westside and Ness at Barvas.