Open day for art degree course at Lochmaddy

 

From September 2017 all four years of the BA Fine Art are being delivered at Lews Castle College UHI, Taigh Chearsabhagh campus in Lochmaddy, North Uist - and on Tuesday April 18th, there is an Open Day from 11am-2pm to show off this and other courses..
The provision of opportunities to study art on Uist have evolved over 20 years, instigated by local demand. 
Driven by this enthusiasm for learning opportunities the National Certificate and the first two years of the BA course were established. 
A strong and committed cohort of current students have successfully driven UHI approval for Lews Castle College to deliver the full BA course.

New bus links for Lochboisdale-Mallaig ferry passengers

A connecting bus service will be available for ferry passengers arriving in Mallaig from Lochboisdale, it has been confirmed.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus B MacNeil had been contacted by several constituents regarding the lack of scheduled connections from Mallaig to Fort William and beyond with the start of the summer ferry timetable.

Island club is shooting for the skies

By Mike Briggs

Steve Mortimore shooting at HGC


Steve Mortimore gazed out at the idyllic scenery stretching away into the distance: trees, streams, lochs and heathery moorland; ravens doing their aerobatics in a crisp, blue sky and the occasional eagle turning on a rising thermal.
“I love it here,” he said.  Then he picked up a gun and shot the first thing to fly past.
Shocking? Not at all.  That airborne victim was merely a bright orange clay disc and Steve was making the most of another glorious day down at Harris Gun Club.
And what a club this now is.  In just a couple of years it has gone from not much more than a clearing in the woods at Aline to one of the best clay shooting facilities in the UK.  There are now all-weather covered shooting stands, floodlights and equipment which offers six of the sport’s disciplines to the highest level possible short of Olympic competition.  And even that has been catered for in the long-term plans.
If you know anything about clay shooting, then feast your eyes on this: on offer are Down the Line, (known as DTL), Automatic Ball Trap, (ABT), Double Rise, Double Trap, Universal Trench, (UT), and Skeet.  To the layman these are all meaningless; to the shooter they mean clay target paradise, with the bonus of being set in arguably the most picturesque gun club setting in the kingdom.
Then there is the technology.
Steve’s clay had been launched by his shout of “Pull!”, but no human hand was involved in the enterprise.  His command was picked up by a microphone set into the ground by his feet, fed down a cable to a multi-thousand pound computer and relayed to a state-of-the-art trap which threw the disc out into space.  Steve had no idea where the clay would soar as the trap automatically varied both height and angle to give a truly random, bird-like flight.
Well, almost truly random.  There’s a clever trick hidden up its sleeve.  “In a normal set-up,” says Steve, “you get a person operating the trap.  With several shooters in a competition, taking it in turn, the trap operator just chucks the clays out willy-nilly and each shooter gets whatever comes next.  The problem is that you can end up getting a whole string of tough shots while the next chap gets easy ones.  Not with this equipment.  The computer remembers what each shooter has had and gives a fair mix of easy and difficult.  No complaints.  Perfect!”
And that perfection has been hard won through a combination of grants, donations, begging and borrowing and, most of all, sheer hard work by HGC volunteers.  The clay traps, voice activators and computers, for instance, cost £60,000, and the shelters and two skeet towers between them are worth £50,000.  Then there’s the £10,000 generator and £12,500 worth of buildings.
But the biggest contribution has come in the time given by club members whose numbers are swelling all the time.  From just a dozen or so a few years ago numbers are now up to 49 including five new juniors.  Among those juniors are brothers Andrew, aged 12, and John Hughson, 14, of Stornoway.  They are aiming for places in the Scottish junior teams and will use this year to try each discipline and register their scores with the Scottish Clay Target Association (SCTA) for consideration and placing on the league tables.  They wouldn’t have been able to do this without the club’s comprehensive facilities.
Another club member with national ambitions is Stuart Macleod from Aird, Point, who has been selected for the Western Isles shooting team at the Island Games in Jersey this coming July.  Stuart, 31, has also been put forward by the SCTA for the fast-track squad which trains and competes alongside the High Performance Squad and is designed to swiftly progress less experienced shooters through to the Great Britain teams.
Stuart was hooked by the clay shooting bug when he and some mates had a go at a stall run by HGC at a local show.  “I enjoyed it so much I joined up and regularly made the trip all the way down to Urgha near Tarbert where the club used to be.  That was six years ago and what we have now is a world away from those days,” says Stuart, who took part in the Scottish Championships last year.
This year, thanks to the quality of the facilities at Aline, he can take part in major national competitions without leaving the island as the HGC has been chosen to host the ABT North Area Championships in July and the UT Scottish Championships in August.
“This is quite a feather in our cap,” says club treasurer Fiona Knape.  “Plus, for the first time in the club’s 100 year history, we will be holding Scottish team Selection shoots throughout the season.  This will reduce the inequality of local shooters as they won’t have to travel off island to register all their scores for consideration to shoot nationally for Scotland.”

An Cogadh Mòr: Remembering the Great War in Skye and Lochalsh

There’s a new exhibition at Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre in Portree telling the story of the First World War from a local perspective. 

It is open during during the usual hours, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm until further notice.

The Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre is also organising a day conference on the subject of the First World War.  This will be held at Aros, Portree, on Friday 15 May 2015, with a varied programme of speakers.

 

International appeal of new music event

On the 3rd and 4th of April, The Lump in Portree will be alive with the catchy sound of dance beats and traditional Scottish music.  Skye Live, a brand new music festival, is attracting music-lovers from all over the UK, as well as America and Europe!

Skye Live has been in the minds of organizers and local DJs, Niall Munro and Ali MacIsaac, for quite a few years now.  “We felt there has been a demand for a musical festival since the Skye Festival finished in 2007,” explains Ali. 

Both Niall and Ali have had years of hands-on experience in the music business.  Ali was previously involved in the Skye Festival and has been working as a DJ for many years.  Niall has a background in traditional music - not surprising since he is the son of Donnie Munro, the former Run-Rig singer!  Niall spent four years in Glasgow studying the music business, which dovetailed beautifully with his work as a DJ.  Since returning home, he and Ali have been working together organising various festivals on a smaller scale. 

Describing the vibe of the music as “upbeat and traditional,” Ali says: “Most of the acts have a dance beat through their music, so it will be a very up-tempo festival.”  Artists on Friday include Hot Chip (Felix Martin), Andrew Weatherall & Sean Johnston (a Love From Skye set), Jasper James, Ali McFly, Munroso, Ali Maclennan.  Saturday’s line-up includes Peatbog Faeries, Donnie Munro, Shooglenifty, Niteworks, Fat Suit, Amy Baillie, Sinks Ships, Doc Livingstone, Brendan Martin and Skyefall.  The afterparty on Saturday night will feature Optimi - Espacio. 

Although open to over-16’s only, the level of enthusiasm for the festival has surprised Ali and Niall.  “We didn’t quite anticipate how popular it would be,” grins Niall.  “It’s a great feeling - being able to create something that is generating excitement in the community and out-with.”  Ali agrees: “We both have a real passion for what we do, and to see the positive reaction locally and online has made us really excited.” 

Niall and Ali are aiming to create a relaxed but traditional atmosphere.  “We want people to feel it’s a fun, friendly, upbeat festival,” Ali says.  “People are coming a long way, and part of the attraction of Skye Live is that it is on Skye.  We want them to enjoy the island ambiance and the views, so they don’t have to be sealed to the festival - they can have a wander and get to know the village and feel free to come and go.” 

Utilising the dramatic, iconic location that is The Lump was a major factor in Ali and Niall’s decision to base the festival there.  “It’s a beautiful place and we think it’s very under-used,” states Niall.  “We’re going to have a lot going on.  As you walk up, we are aiming to have screens tied to the trees with visuals projected onto them, showing images of the Highland Clearances.  Visitors will be able to experience Skye’s history through the photographs and the music.”

As insurance against rain, the main stage will be under cover of a marquee.  “The Lump is quite sheltered and the amphitheatre is usually fine,” Niall says, reassuringly.  “If it was open air, it would be more risky, but since we have the cover of the marquee, it might just be a case of muddy feet!” 

So do you fancy a fun, foot-tapping experience?  If so tickets are £65.00 for the whole weekend, £30.00 for Friday and £45.00 for Saturday.  They can be ordered online at www.skyelive.scot