Local News for Friday 15th June 2018

Pilot confirmed dead in helicopter crash
The 58-year-old pilot of a helicopter which crashed into a loch in North Uist on Wednesday has been confirmed as the only casualty of the accident. The man sadly died at the scene. Police said yesterday that his next of kin had been informed and that no other people were on board the helicopter at the time. The pilot was working at a fish farm in a loch south of Lochmaddy when the small AS350 Squirrel helicopter went into the loch. Despite an intensive rescue operation involving coastguard teams and other emergency services he did not survive the crash. Chief Inspector Ian Graham, Area Commander for the Western Isles said: "Firstly, our thoughts are with the man's family and the local community at this difficult time. Our enquiries into this are ongoing and we are liaising with other agencies, including the Air Accidents Investigation Bureau, in order to establish the full circumstances.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 15th June 2018

Local News for Wednesday 13th June 2018

Exceptional dry weather comes to an end
The exceptional spell of dry weather in Lewis has come to an end with the first ‘measurable precipitation’ for over three weeks falling today. Increasingly wet and windy weather is now moving in, after a record number of dry days in May and June. Exact measurements aren’t helped by the fact that the Met Office radar at Druim a Starraig is currently under repair and awaiting parts, but weather expert Eddy Graham said there had been 22 consecutive days when not even a tenth of a millimetre of rain had been detected. The Met Office has issued a warning for strong winds in the Western Isles, effective from 3am to 3pm tomorrow, during which time gusts up to 60mph are likely.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 13th June 2018

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.

Read more: Local News for Monday 11th June 2018

Local News for Monday 4th June 2018

Iolaire group slams errors in press
A working party set up to commemorate the centenary of the Iolaire tragedy in the islands has expressed anger and dismay at inaccurate reporting of stories connected with the anniversary. It will be 100 years on January 1st 2019 since the yacht Iolaire sank off Holm, while bringing island men- mostly Royal Naval Reservists, home on leave after the Great War ended. Recent reports have mis-stated the figures of those who died, and incorrectly described the men as soldiers. In a public statement the group wrote: “The Iolaire Working Group is very disappointed to note that the Press & Journal newspaper contains errors regarding the Iolaire. We wrote to the editor of the paper (and) made it clear that the most up to date research shows that it was 201 men who died on that night, with 80 survivors. The paper uses “174 sailors drowned” and then in the very same article states the figure as being “around 200”. When describing the worst maritime peacetime disaster in British waters, it is important that the correct information is used and that each and every man who was lost is remembered in the appropriate manner.”

Read more: Local News for Monday 4th June 2018

Local News for Thursday 31st May 2018

Endurance athletes swarm in Harris
700 endurance athletes are expected in Harris today ahead of one of the most prestigious events in the athletic calendar. The Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon will see 700 competitors running through the hills of North Harris from tomorrow morning, with the competitors heading into the hills early on. Most will be camping out in the wilds on Friday night before returning to Tarbert on Saturday afternoon. A large number of the competitors are expected to leave on the Saturday evening ferry. most travelling as foot passengers. The LAMM raises money for charity each year and will this year contribute to an activities week at Sir E Scott school as well as making donations to the Mountain Rescue teams and Cancer Research. It will be a busy time in Tarbert with many local businesses benefiting from the extra visitors. Adam Johnson of Sir E Scott school, which is supporting the event, said: “Although this particular type of adventure endurance sport is not quite mainstream, receiving very little media attention, the field of competitors that will be assembled in Harris will comprise some of the UK’s and Europe’s finest athletes, and, who will no doubt demonstrate with ease their ability to traverse Harris’s rugged landscape over the course of two days.”

Read more: Local News for Thursday 31st May 2018