We at HEB Magazine do our best to let the world know exactly what our islands have to offer, and where exactly to find what you're interested in.  HEB is printed once a year and thousands of copies are distributed across the Islands.

And the on-line edition - below! - is updated throughout the year with new reports, photographs and information from all across the Islands.

So, just click the download button, or go to our page-turning version, and enjoy learning about the beautiful Scottish Hebrides, and, if you aren’t here already, make sure to plan a visit sometime soon!

 

Tiny but power-packed…the Hebridean Tea Store 

By Elly Welch 

“Thanks for the lovely smells!” calls the gentleman just leaving.  He’s not being ironic.  It smells delicious in the Hebridean Tea Store.  Like Christmas, and candy, with a whiff of continental sophistication swirled in.   

“He was having a sniff of my new Machair tea,” explains owner Sabine Weiten, balancing precariously on a chair to replace it.  “Its my own blend, heather and cornflowers.”  She swirls the caddy under her own nose.  “Magical,” she breathes. 

It would be wrong to apply the ‘Tardis’ cliché to this tiny specialist tea emporium, for The Hebridean Tea Store, which raises a cup to three years trading this month, looks wee and really is.   

But big character Sabine, from near Cologne in Germany, has somehow turned its few square metres into a vortex of choice and flavours.  She’s even managed to fit in a table and chairs - part of the window display, nestled amongst the teapots. 

Read more: Tiny but power-packed…the Hebridean Tea Store 

Hands-on chance to feel life on croft 

By Katie Macleod 

Visitors to the Hebrides looking for a real taste of island life need look no further than Ness in Lewis, the location of Donald ‘Sweeny’ Macsween’s croft tourism venture, Air an Lot. 

Air an Lot – Gaelic for ‘on the croft’ – offers tourists and locals alike the chance to experience the day-to-day happenings on an island croft, from feeding the animals to cutting peats.  “It just depends how hands on people want to get,” says Donald of the activities available.   

“Generally people will come and have a wee tour.  If you want to just look at the animals and don’t go near them, that’s fine, but if you want to get stuck in and spend a bit more time, you can muck out the hen house, help feed the sheep, stuff like that.”  By next year, visitors looking for a real taste of the islands will even able to stay on a nearby croft in the Port of Ness, where Donald is currently renovating a self-catering ‘Air an Lot’ holiday cottage for tourists. 

Through Air an Lot, Donald also sells fresh eggs, meat boxes, and sausages, and is starting to branch out into areas such as sheepskin rugs and wool, too.  “I enjoy working with animals on a daily basis, and I think it’s important that they’re valued as well.  If that animal has had to die to produce food, then it’s only right that we make the most use possible out of that animal.” 

Read more: Hands-on chance to feel life on croft 

From life in Carloway to the US world of whisky... 

By Katie Macleod  

It was January 2016 when Gemma Paterson received the phone call that would change her life as she knew it. 

Gemma, who moved to Carloway with her family as a child, was working as a senior distillery guide for William Grant & Sons in Speyside when she was asked if she would be interested in applying to be a US Ambassador for Balvenie. Five months later, she was living in New York City. 

“I’d never thought about moving to the US, but it’s not an opportunity anyone’s going to turn down,” remembers Gemma. “I went home in a daze and sat down and was like, ‘Is this real? Is this actually happening?’” 

In her first six months as the Balvenie Ambassador for the east coast of America, Gemma has already travelled to twenty states – some more than four times – and is set to clock up even more miles this year as she promotes what she describes as “the most hand-crafted single malt whisky.”

Read more: From life in Carloway to the US world of whisky... 

European links boom for Harris Tweed firm

We have friends all over Europe…that could be the motto for the Harris Tweed industry and for the largest producer, Harris Tweed Hebrides in Shawbost in particular. 

In April this year the company featured in a glittering showcase of British and Italian fashion, held in Florence under royal patronage.   

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall toured the event, which was organised by the British Embassy in Rome and the Campaign for Wool.  Prince Charles is patron of the campaign and all the garments featured were, like Harris Tweed, made from pure wool.   

An elite selection of leading British and Italian brands were invited to exhibit at the event, which was held in the Sala Bianca of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, described as 'the birthplace of Italian fashion', catwalk shows held there in the 1950s having set the tone for classic Italian brands to flourish. 

Read more: European links boom for Harris Tweed firm

Glen House…restored

By Eilidh Whiteford

Believed to be one of the older buildings surviving in Stornoway, Glen House has, at long last, been saved from ruin, repaired and refurbished.

A solid two-storey, stone built structure, Glen House has stood within the boundaries of Lews Castle Grounds, on Willowglen Road, for around 160 years.

The origins of Glen House are unclear – although local planners suggest there has been a house on the site since as far back as 1785, there is no indication of a structure on a 1821 Stornoway Town Plan, nor any mention of the house in the first census of 1841.  However, the Admiralty Chart of Stornoway Harbour for 1846 does indicate a small buildings at the site of Glen House, marked 'school'.

The first Ordnance Survey map of Stornoway was completed in 1849, with the first edition of the map showing a large building at the Glen House site.  This was marked as 'Mill Glen' when recorded in the 1951 census records a few years later.

In 1857, however, speculation ends, as the property became home to Henry Caunter, a man of science and close friend of landlord Sir James Matheson – and some of the most interesting times of Glen House began!

Read more: Glen House…restored