Local News for Monday 18th June 2018

German yacht towed to port
Stornoway Lifeboat crew were out late last night after a call to the Coastguard at 8.40am from a German yacht in difficulties at Cellar Head, north of Tolsta. The sail training vessel Seeadler, with seven people aboard, had taken sails down due to rough weather on their passage from Iceland back to Germany, and then had engine problems, which left them at the mercy of gusty winds with up to gale force 8 expected. The RNLI lifeboat crew launched from Stornoway and took the yacht in tow, bringing her into Stornoway around midnight, when a Coastguard volunteer crew helped them to berth. All were safe and well on board.

Solo rower rescued mid-Atlantic
Solo rower Niall Iain Macdonald was once again taken aboard a rescue vessel on Friday, abandoning both his NY2SY row and his vessel, after the boat, Alba, became swamped and unsafe during extremely rough weather. Niall Iain had passed 800 miles, a quarter of the way through his renewed attempt to reach Stornoway from New York single-handed, using just oars, when he was forced to take to his liferaft as his vessel filled with water. An international Mayday call brought a Dutch cargo ship to his aid and he was taken on board safely, now heading for Canada, where he’s expecting to arrive tomorrow. He will then take stock and review his options. His many supporters have sent good wishes on social media, telling him they are simply happy he is safe. Niall Iain was attempting to raise money for the Scottish Association for Mental Health through his epic endeavour.

Midge Biters out in force
Over 110 motorbikes, trikes and even a quad bike rode out from the Porters’ Lodge in Stornoway as part of the annual Midge Biters’ Rally at the weekend. The squad headed off to the Temple Café at Northton and back, with island riders joining those from much further afield – including other parts of the UK and even one rider from Australia. Joining the event was celebrity George Lamb, who was in Lewis filming for his new series of Britain by Bike, made together with his father, Eastenders actor Larry Lamb. John’s film unit from Channel 5 also filmed Lewis Pipe Band during a rain-soaked parade in Perceval Square on Saturday morning

Success for young athletes
There was an excellent weekend of competition for young athletes from the Western Isles, with youngsters from Stornoway, North and South Uist and Eriskay among the Island Select under 13s, under 15 and under 17 teams in the UK Athletics Youth Development league match 3 event who qualified for the national Scottish finals in July. The winning team from that final progresses to the UK national final. Together with Orkney and Shetland athletes, the young competitors will travel to Grangemouth on July 29th, with the under 17 team defending last year’s title as the Scottish Athletics U17 Challenge Trophy winners. All three age groups came top of the competition yesterday, the Island Select team above Aberdeen at under 17, and above Inverness Harriers at U13 and U15. Meanwhile a team of under 12s were in Perth for a superteams event, with lots of excellent results, personal bests and one commentator asking “What are they feeding them up in Stornoway?” as the 75 metre sprint competitors won their heats.

Barra, Westside, Lochs and Back are through to the Co-op cup semi finals on July 7th after the weekend’s quarter final matches delivered goals and tension in equal measure. Barra inflicted a 6-nil defeat on Carloway to secure their spot, and the goal difference between Westside and United was almost as wide – Westside winning 4-nil. But Lochs had just one goal to climb above their quarter-final opponents Ness and the game between Point and Back, which was switched to Coll, ended goal-less, Back securing the win 5-4 on penalties. There are league matches tonight between Aths and Point, and Lochs v United, kick-offs 7pm.