Local News for Thursday 20th July 2017

HebCelt main arena shows begin
The main arena on Lews Castle Green opens its gates this evening on HebCelt 2017, with Lewis Pipe Band leading the crowds to the door, and island singer songwriter Eleanor Nicolson the first performer to take the stage. Eleanor will perform at 7pm on the Lewis Wind Power Islands Stage, just a day after her 4th EP was released. She’s followed by quality performances from Tide Lines, national icon Dougie Maclean and high octane Celtic dance band the Peatbog Faeries ending the night. Meanwhile at An Lanntair, the first island performance of Willie Campbell’s Gaelic album Dalma provides a treat for festival-goers. In Harris, the community performance by Canadian fiddlers The Lumber Jills has been moved to the Bays Community Centre following a bereavement at Seallam, where the band were scheduled to appear.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 20th July 2017

Local News for Wednesday 19th July 2017

HebCelt opens tonight
The opening concert of Hebridean Celtic Festival 2017 is this evening at 7.30pm, as three fiddlers from across Scotland’s island bring their unique collaboration to the stage at An Lanntair. Between Islands is the second phase of a project produced by An Lanntair, which began in 2015 with a collaboration between singer/songwriters from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. Now Lewis fiddler Jane Hepburn is joined by Shetland’s Maggie Adamson and Orkney’s Louise Bichan to explore the similarities and differences in island tunes, traditions and playing styles. Also tonight is the community concert at Breasclete with Tidelines, a concert that has been sold out for some weeks.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 19th July 2017

Local News for Monday 17th July 2017

Columbus on his travels again
Columbus the celebrity cat from the Leverburgh pier feral colony has been on his travels once again, this time on a fishing trip to the Monach Isles. Columbus hit headlines last summer when he stowed away at Leverburgh on a visiting yacht and was put ashore at Oban, needing combined efforts from Argyll Animal Aid and island visitors to repatriate him to his Isle of Harris home. This time he joined the fishing vessel Valhalla and spent a few days with them off the shore of North Uist and the Monach Islands, returning with the crew when they landed back at Harris. He’s been described by locals as ‘the Steve McQueen of the feline world’ and is an important part of the Leverburgh fishing community – keeping rats and mice down around the pier area – but he obviously also has a taste for fresh fish.

Read more: Local News for Monday 17th July 2017

Local News for Tuesday 18th July 2017

Royal opening for Harris Tweed
The new extension for Harris Tweed Hebrides is to be formally opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, on Friday July 28th. The Princess Royal is patron of the UK Fashion and Textiles Association and has been a regular visitor to the Western Isles since her childhood, when she came to the lighthouse at Tiumpanhead with her family, a visit which sparked a lifelong love of lighthouses. She’ll unveil a plaque at the major new extension to the Harris Tweed Hebrides production facility at Shawbost Mill, and will also tour the mill and speak to employees.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 18th July 2017

Local News for Friday 14th July 2017

Man’s body found in Barra
Western Isles Police yesterday made an appeal for information after the body of a 32-year-old man was recovered from the shoreline at Traigh a' Ghoirtein in Barra. The man had been reported missing at 10pm on Wednesday, and his body was recovered by a Coastguard helicopter at 7am yesterday as emergency services were searching for him. Police said there were not believed to be any suspicious circumstances and the man's next of kin have been informed, but that they wanted to establish the man's movements and were keen to speak to anyone who saw him walking from Castlebay towards Vatersay any time from 2pm onwards on Wednesday. He is described as 5ft 10in and, when last see,n he was wearing a green top and brightly coloured trainers. Detective Sergeant Iain Morrison said: "Our thoughts are with the gentleman's family and friends at this difficult time. I would ask anyone with information which could help establish his final movements to make contact with Police on the non-emergency number, 101."

Parliamentary notice for HebCelt
Hebridean Celtic Festival has been recognised for its economic and tourism impact in a motion to the Scottish Parliament, presented by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant. Mrs Grant has asked the Parliament, currently in recess, to congratulate and commend the organisers and volunteers who run the not-for-profit event. The motion recognises that HebCelt is “firmly rooted in the community and is almost entirely managed and produced by voluntary effort”. It also praises the record-breaking 2016 festival which generated £2.2 million and helped safeguard 40 tourism-related jobs, while highlighting the event has been worth £20 million to the islands’ economy over the last two decades. HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “Planning and running the festival takes a lot of time and hard work by a great many people, so it is very rewarding when that is recognised.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 14th July 2017