Local News for Friday 26th October 2018

NHS Western Isles’ Health Promotion Department was delighted to accept an invitation to attend the ‘Cairdean Cordail Ceann a Loch’ older people’s group in Balallan recently.

Karen Peteranna, Health Practitioner at NHSWI, discussed the UK physical activity guidelines for adult and older adults and the many benefits of physical activity such as improved sleep, helping to maintain a healthy weight, managing stress, and improving quality of life.

Walking was promoted with the group as a simple way to increase physical activity; most people can join in, there is no cost to taking part and you don’t need special equipment. Undertaking exercises that improve your strength and balance on two days each week can help older adults stay active and independent in everyday life and reduce the risk of falls. A Health Walk is a free, short, social, local, low-level, led walk which can be anything from 10 minutes to 60 minutes long – depending on the ability of the group.

Read more: Local News for Friday 26th October 2018

Local News for Thursday 25th October 2018

The Highlands and islands have been named one of the top regions in the World for travellers in 2019. The region receives the accolade in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019 publication.

The islands earned their place as a must-see destination for 2019 thanks, in part, to the whisky boom, which has seen new distilleries open in the region. They offer “a great introduction to one of the wildest, least inhabited and most scenic parts of Europe”. The area’s “innovative and fast-developing” accommodation sector is also highlighted, from purpose-built campervan parking spots to designer cottages modelled on ancient buildings; which make visiting remote areas “easier than ever”.

Unmissable experiences in the region recommended by Lonely Planet’s experts include:
Climbing the iconic peak of Suilven following the repair and upgrade of its footpath
Savouring the region’s sought-after seafood at one of the Highlands and islands’ restaurants such like Skye’s Oyster Shed or Lewis’s Scallop Shack, joining a nature-watching trip to discover the wealth of wildlife, from red deer, golden eagles and otters to whales, dolphins and basking sharks.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 25th October 2018

Local News for Wednesday 24th October 2018

The major economic impact of the Hebridean Celtic Festival and its key role in bringing visitors to the islands is again underlined in a new report by MKA Economics.

The 2018 HebCelt had all four nights sold out and overall attendances reached nearly 18,000 over the four days of the event, its highest ever number, with an estimated total in excess of 7,500 paying festival goers.

56 per cent of the audience came from outside Lewis and Harris, including five per cent from outwith the UK. In all, 66 per cent of visitors from outside Scotland said HebCelt was the sole or main reason for travelling to Lewis and 70 per cent said they were likely to return.

97 per cent of the audience said their overall experience at the event had been excellent or good.

Overall, the festival directly generated net economic effect of £2.1 million, which has helped safeguard 38 tourism-related jobs.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 24th October 2018

Local News for Tuesday 23rd October 2018

In news that came as a surprise to many, CalMac has been named ‘Ferry Operator of the Year 2018’ at the National Transport Awards.

The award is open to ferry operators running services from ports in the UK and Ireland. Entries needed to demonstrate how they have improved services and facilities over the year. This included results that have been achieved across performance and reliability, passenger growth, and customer satisfaction.

CalMac managing director, Robbie Drummond said;

‘This is an award for all our staff in recognition that no matter what challenges we face, whether it be extreme weather conditions or vessel availability, they will always provide the best possible service for our customers,’

CalMac operates a fleet of 33 vessels across 26 routes serving island and remote mainland locations across the west coast. Last year they carried more than 5.3 million passengers, an increase of 300,000, and nearly 1.4 million vehicles.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 23rd October 2018

Local News for Monday 22nd October 2018

The Labour Party in the Western Isles has called for SNP Ministers to “come clean” on the terms of the PFI deal under which the ‘Loch Seaforth’ is sub-leased by Caldonian MacBrayne.
Labour Candidate Alison MacCorquodale said: ‘Secrecy can no longer be tolerated. The people and businesses who depend on a reliable service from the Loch Seaforth need to know the full story.’
She added: ‘As far as we know, the Stornoway-Ullapool route is now hostage for decades to come to the performance of a vessel which is showing alarming signs of unreliability at a very early stage in its life. I ask the MP and MSP for the Western Isles to join me in calling for Scottish Ministers to permit total transparency around the terms of the Lloyds Bank deal and to provide a statement on their contingency plans if the current uncertainty – and associated chaos – continues.’

Read more: Local News for Monday 22nd October 2018