Harris Tweed festival contest launched

competition launched at the start of April to give people the chance to win a once-in-a -lifetime trip to the Outer Hebrides to attend the Festival of Harris Tweed at An Lanntair in August.
The Harris Tweed Festival Day, or Latha Feis Clo Mor, will be on Saturday 13th August.  The event will celebrate the industry’s innovations through the years to present day, and also its future. 
The day will feature a Tweed Ride, live music, archive film and materials, anecdote and testimony from professionals, mill workers and weavers at the production end - including demonstrations on looms - through to high-end artisans and designers who take the product to its next level and deliver it to its increasingly diverse, discerning and affluent customers.

Awards to young businesspeople

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained," as the popular saying goes - and the award ceremony that took place at Ormicleit, South Uist on April 14 was in celebration of six young people who had ventured to enter Enterprise On The Edge's Inspiring New Business Competition.
Cothrom, the Community and Development organisation based in South Uist, launched Enterprise On The Edge, funded by RBS Inspiring Youth Enterprise, to help young people in the Outer Hebrides enter the business world.  The Inspiring New Business Competition was organised as a way of reaching young people with ideas and to help them develop their idea to the point where they were ready to submit an application for funding to get their business going. 
Judges Richard Tarves, Business Growth Advisor for Business Gateway, Stornoway; Theona Morrison, Skills and Enterprise Team CNES based in the Uists; Sarah MacLean from Hebridean Living, Barra; and David Bryan of Social Enterprise Academy, Inverness analysed the business plans presented by each entrant and selected four talented young entrepreneurs as winners and commended another two entrants.
First prize of £500.00 went to Gemma Campbell of South Uist for her business, Hebridean Gin - a micro-distillery producing small batches of gin, flavoured with classic and local botanicals to give it a truly Hebridean flavour.  The £500.00 will contribute towards some of the key distilling equipment.
Three prizes of £250.00 went to Barra and Vatersay based Adam Bari and Oran Boyd for Barra Paintballing; Charlotte Hughes from South Uist for Barking Mad, an environmentally-friendly cat and dog home set to be located in Howmore, South Uist; Isle of Scalpay based Lauren MacSween for Odyssey Audio Tours, providing a series of commentaries to help visitors explore the Western Isles.  Sarah MacLean, one of the judges, distributed the awards and each winner gave a short presentation about their business. 
The two entrants commended by the judges were Rose Blaney of South Uist for her Rare and Indigenous Breeds Riding School and Kieran Henshall from Lewis for his Pub & Brewery, an online independent news website and community forum for the brewing and pub industry. 
Thomas Fisher, who leads the Community Economic Development team at Cothrom, gave a speech at the event about mentoring and coaching.  Speaking to EVENTS, Thomas says: "Mentoring and coaching is very important to help young people identify and progress their business ideas.  There are young people out there who have little or no contact with agencies, but who have good ideas.  With a little bit of support, they can really develop those."  So, if you have a business idea you've always dreamed about, why not visit  http://www.cothrom.net/
and take the first step in making your business dreams come true?

Flodigarry hotel shows off new look

The distinctive sound of the pipes carrying through the air was a clue that something special was happening at the Flodigarry Hotel on April 18. 

The hotel, owned by Paul and Bette Temming, was officially opening its doors so that visitors could experience the re-launch of the Hotel and its High Tide Restaurant.

Small groups received tours round the newly decorated rooms, seeing for themselves the luxurious bedrooms, comfortable lounge area and stylish hallway.

At 7.15pm, the guests gathered in the High Tide Restaurant and Skye Bar area where they enjoyed an eclectic and delicious menu from chef, Mark Greaves, with the series of starters including salmon served on slate slabs and scallop and hake in a nest woven of straw. 

The main courses featured beef and seafood dishes.  For dessert, guests enjoyed a Scottish mess, delicious walnut ice cream and a selection of cheeses.

After the meal, local singers and musicians performed a range of varied traditional and modern songs, inviting anyone in the audience who felt like it to join in singing!

Paul and Bette have poured themselves into their work at Flodigarry, and this is evidenced not just by the overall changes, but by their attention to detail that ensures all who visit the hotel, bar and restaurant come away with an unforgettable experience to cherish.

Photos by Roz Skinner

Pam’s eye on the Isles…

By Roz Skinner

The lure of the Outer Hebrides has summoned artists, writers and dreamers from all four corners of the earth.  One of those artists is Pam Carter, who finds inspiration in the individuality of the Hebridean islands.  Through her paintings, Pam takes us on a journey.


Lewis
The most northern island in the Outer Hebrides - famed for its intriguing Callanish Standing Stones.  In her painting, Early Snow At The Stones, Pam highlights the permanence of stones contrasted against the fragile dwellings in the background.  “The historic monuments have witnessed a lifetime of changes, but now they sit happily in the modern community,” remarks Pam.

Harris
Surf, rhythmically breaking on the rocks - you can almost hear the sound of it when you look at Pam’s painting, Niabost Surge.  “Whenever I go to Harris, I seek out the beaches,” she says.  “I love the mountains in the distance, as well as the wet sand and retreating seas.”

The Uists
The Machair - frenzied with the buzz of ever-busy bees and vibrant with nodding flowers.  “The Uists absolutely thrill me because of the machair,” Pam says.  “In Island Cluster And Machair, I love the cottages and buildings clustered in an array of flowers.”

And in the Inner Hebrides…

Tiree
On Pam’s initial visit to Tiree, the first sight that met her eyes was tiny houses, sparkling like sunlit jewels on a strip of land.  She has immortalized those dwellings in Small Holding By The Shore.  Describing Tiree as “a life-size museum to the architecture of Scotland,” Pam says: “The thatches and the rusty red roofs of the cottages are all very important to preserve and remember,” she says. 

Rum
Imagine walking along the road and suddenly seeing a friend in the distance.  This is how Pam feels every time she sees the Isle of Rum!  “I just love the headland,” she explains.  “I get very excited when I go to another island and I can see Rum.”  In Back To Rum, Pam’s sweeping brushstrokes conjure up the picture of a beautiful summer’s day, where the blue of the sky is reflected on the wet sands. 

Diamond Slates And Machair
A burnt-orange rusty roof, the curving shape of a small caravan and the distinctive swirls of dancing flowers in the foreground combine to make up Diamond Slates And Machair.  “This is one of the first cottages I saw on Skye,” Pam says.  “I love the little features in it, especially the diamond slates and the saggy, red roof of the barn.”

High Seas Elgol
Crash!  In High Seas Elgol, Pam has captured the motion of the water breaking across the jagged rocks against the proud backdrop of the Cuillins.  “This is my favourite view in the world,” says Pam.  “I make a pilgrimage to Elgol every year to see that view - I love the shore in the foreground and the Jurassic sandstone overhanging rock, pitted like a Crunchie bar.” 

Lighthouse Reflections   
Light bounces on the water, reflecting warmly on the Isle Ornsay lighthouse in Lighthouse Reflections.  Pam chuckles as she relates the story behind her painting: “My work is featured on Dunoon Pottery and I have put together a series for their new mugs,” she explains.  “You don’t think about what goes into producing a mug until you do it - the image gets wrapped round the mug ensuring that there is a feature for the right handed drinker to view - hence the lighthouse.  However the left handed drinker ought to have a feature too - they have the boat!”


Pam is available for commissions and she regularly exhibits at An Talla Dearg, Isle of Skye and in the Morvern Gallery in Barvas, Isle of Lewis.  For more information on her calendar of exhibitions, C.V. or the availability of paintings and prints, you can visit www.pamcarter.co.uk, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07715015752 to speak to Pam. 

Pam’s eye on the Isles…

By Roz Skinner

The lure of the Outer Hebrides has summoned artists, writers and dreamers from all four corners of the earth.  One of those artists is Pam Carter, who finds inspiration in the individuality of the Hebridean islands.  Through her paintings, Pam takes us on a journey.


Lewis
The most northern island in the Outer Hebrides - famed for its intriguing Callanish Standing Stones.  In her painting, Early Snow At The Stones, Pam highlights the permanence of stones contrasted against the fragile dwellings in the background.  “The historic monuments have witnessed a lifetime of changes, but now they sit happily in the modern community,” remarks Pam.

Harris
Surf, rhythmically breaking on the rocks - you can almost hear the sound of it when you look at Pam’s painting, Niabost Surge.  “Whenever I go to Harris, I seek out the beaches,” she says.  “I love the mountains in the distance, as well as the wet sand and retreating seas.”

The Uists
The Machair - frenzied with the buzz of ever-busy bees and vibrant with nodding flowers.  “The Uists absolutely thrill me because of the machair,” Pam says.  “In Island Cluster And Machair, I love the cottages and buildings clustered in an array of flowers.”

And in the Inner Hebrides…

Tiree
On Pam’s initial visit to Tiree, the first sight that met her eyes was tiny houses, sparkling like sunlit jewels on a strip of land.  She has immortalized those dwellings in Small Holding By The Shore.  Describing Tiree as “a life-size museum to the architecture of Scotland,” Pam says: “The thatches and the rusty red roofs of the cottages are all very important to preserve and remember,” she says. 

Rum
Imagine walking along the road and suddenly seeing a friend in the distance.  This is how Pam feels every time she sees the Isle of Rum!  “I just love the headland,” she explains.  “I get very excited when I go to another island and I can see Rum.”  In Back To Rum, Pam’s sweeping brushstrokes conjure up the picture of a beautiful summer’s day, where the blue of the sky is reflected on the wet sands. 

Diamond Slates And Machair
A burnt-orange rusty roof, the curving shape of a small caravan and the distinctive swirls of dancing flowers in the foreground combine to make up Diamond Slates And Machair.  “This is one of the first cottages I saw on Skye,” Pam says.  “I love the little features in it, especially the diamond slates and the saggy, red roof of the barn.”

High Seas Elgol
Crash!  In High Seas Elgol, Pam has captured the motion of the water breaking across the jagged rocks against the proud backdrop of the Cuillins.  “This is my favourite view in the world,” says Pam.  “I make a pilgrimage to Elgol every year to see that view - I love the shore in the foreground and the Jurassic sandstone overhanging rock, pitted like a Crunchie bar.” 

Lighthouse Reflections   
Light bounces on the water, reflecting warmly on the Isle Ornsay lighthouse in Lighthouse Reflections.  Pam chuckles as she relates the story behind her painting: “My work is featured on Dunoon Pottery and I have put together a series for their new mugs,” she explains.  “You don’t think about what goes into producing a mug until you do it - the image gets wrapped round the mug ensuring that there is a feature for the right handed drinker to view - hence the lighthouse.  However the left handed drinker ought to have a feature too - they have the boat!”


Pam is available for commissions and she regularly exhibits at An Talla Dearg, Isle of Skye and in the Morvern Gallery in Barvas, Isle of Lewis.  For more information on her calendar of exhibitions, C.V. or the availability of paintings and prints, you can visit www.pamcarter.co.uk, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07715015752 to speak to Pam. 

Skeabost hotel sold to local group

April 1 saw the birth of a new era at Skeabost House Hotel, just outside Portree.  Skeabost is the latest to be included in the Sonas Hotel Group, set up by Anne Gracie and Ken Gunn, who took over their first hotel on Skye over 11 years ago.
 
Also part of their Sonas Hotel Group are the Duisdale Hotel and Toravaig Hotel in Sleat; The Captain's Folly, a self-catering flat in the centre of Oban; and Solus a Chuain, their luxury yacht providing sailing adventures for the hotel guests.

Anne is brimming with enthusiasm and plans for Skeabost, saying: "We can now offer activity holidays involving fishing on what is arguably the best salmon river on Skye and golfing on Skeabost's own course.  We will be introducing an à la carte menu, showcasing fresh local produce. Call in for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, drinks or snacks."
 
Refurbishment is intended to commence on April 18 with the aim of being completed by the middle of May.  Anne says:  "We will keep the character of the hotel, but bring in a lot of refinements to make it a comfortable, elegant base, where residents and non-residents can enjoy the surroundings."

Whisky and Gaelic… essential themes for new play

By Roz Skinner
Who can resist a free glass of whisky integrated with riveting Gaelic theatre? 
Novelist and playwright, Iain Finlay MacLeod, has penned an adaptation of Whisky Galore that combines the two - adult members of the audience will receive a small dram courtesy of Skye-based Pràban na Linne (The Gaelic Whiskies) during the interval of the play - which, as Iain Finlay says, "just makes sense!"
Whisky Galore will be touring across Scotland from April 10 to May 15 and will be coming to an Lanntair on Thursday April 30.  Locations such as Oran Mor, Glasgow; Eriskay Community Hall; Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye; and Eden Court, Inverness will also feature talks from Raasay-based writer Roger Hutchinson, author of Polly: The True Story Behind Whisky Galore.
The idea to write the stage adaptation was presented to Iain Finlay by the National Theatre of Scotland.  Iain Finlay, who is the National Theatre of Scotland's Associate Artist (Gaelic), says: "They have always tried to look at ways to find interesting source material and create fascinating work.  They are doing a season of Scottish classic novels and adapting them for the stage.  We thought this was a good fit, as it's a well-loved story."
Set in the present day, in a pub called The Cabinet Minister, the opening scene depicts a dull, listless week-night - suddenly punctuated by the arrival of a stranger!  "The story is then retold by the characters that appear in the pub," Iain Finlay explains.  "This gave me more leeway to write about topics relevant to today, rather than just a straight retelling." 
The play will be performed by five actors, including M.J.  Deans, Julie Hale, Roseanne Lynch, Calum MacDonald and Iain Macrae.  Harris-born Iain Macrae was delighted to be asked by the National Theatre of Scotland to take part in a story that he had grown up with.  Mr Macrae says: "Whisky Galore remains one of my top favourite films of all time, and so I was very excited to be asked to act in the play!" 
Mr Macrae has worked at an Lanntair many times - including acting in the first play ever put on at the venue.  Coincidentally, that play, I Was A Beautiful Day, was also penned by Iain Finlay Macleod.  Mr Macrae says: "I am thrilled to be coming back to a venue that holds a very special place in my heart."   
Iain Finlay admits before he started rewriting the play, he had never read Compton Mackenzie's novel.  "I'd only seen the film," he explains.  "It was interesting to compare the two and see what differences there were.  The novel is very charming, but the ship runs aground halfway through.  It's much more about the community and lots of related stories and character vignettes.  I went back to the novel and I took out of it what I thought was interesting." 
As Iain Finlay says, "You would never believe the story unless you knew it had actually happened!  A ship full of whisky running aground over the West Coast...  It was interesting to get into the actuality of the story as well as Compton Mackenzie's version."
Whisky Galore will be the first play produced by recently-launched, Lewis-based Gaelic theatre company, Robhanis.  Explains Iain Finlay: "There was a need for a professional theatre company in the language.  It's important to tell our stories from our own point of view in our own language."  The production is performed almost entirely in Gaelic, with English subtitles.  
So if you fancy a modern twist on Compton Mackenzie's classic story (and a delicious dram!), why not come to an Lanntair on Thursday, 30th April?  To find out more, visit the an Lanntair website -
www.lanntair.com/content/view/1218/95/ 
You can also see Whisky Galore at Castlebay Community Hall, Barra on Friday 24th, Eriskay Community Hall on Saturday 25th, Carinish Village Hall, North Uist on Monday 27th and Leverburgh Village Hall, Isle of Harris on Wednesday 29th, as well as other locations throughout Scotland.  To find out more, go to
www.ticketweb.co.uk/whiskygalore