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!

 

Visiting Shiants, the seabird isles!

 

By Eilidh Whiteford

In winter they are an interesting place, but when the seabirds arrive, the Shiants come to life,” says Joe Engebretsen who, along with his father Charles, has been taking visitors by boat to explore the small island site through long-standing family business Sea Lewis.

Trained as a commercial diver in the early 1990s, Joe spent nine years in the Royal Marines, working primarily on fast boats and landing craft, before returning home with his family in 2001 to work as a diver, boat operator and fire-fighter, as well as running Engebret Ltd filling station in Stornoway.

He joined his father Charles, a commercial diver in the 1970s who has taken visitors diving and on boat-trips around Lewis since 1990, and between Joe and Charles, visitors can be sure they are in safe hands and will have an enjoyable experience.

Offering short fishing trips – perfect for families with young children who may not wish to go far from shore – as well as a two-hour sightseeing journey down the east coast of Lewis to Marvig and the Witches Pool, the speciality of Sea Lewis is the spectacular Shiant Islands trip.

Read more: Visiting Shiants, the seabird isles!

Music students forging many exciting paths 

The music courses have been in existence now for 16 years at the Benbecula campus of Lews Castle College UHI.   

As programme leaders for the University of the Highlands and Islands BA (Hons) Applied Music degree Lews Castle College UHI had their first cohort of graduates  in 2016.  They also offer a masters degree - MA Music and the Environment. 

They are educational leaders in the use of blended learning to teach – allowing students flexibility to build their music studies around their lives – enabling them to study from home or indeed to move to a beautiful and culturally rich location such as Uist to study.  The degree is multi-genre and develops skills in a range of areas relative to music and the creative industries.  Uist attracts students with an interest in traditional and Gaelic music. 

The 16 years of music courses have been celebrated in a new composition ‘Suite Uist’ by Anna-Wendy Stevenson, recorded by the Far Flung Collective and released at Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow in January this year. 

Read more: Music students forging many exciting paths 

Scarista House…unforgettable charm by golden beach 

By Elly Welch 

I worry about the homogenization of our hospitality industry - the box ticking, star-ratings-led craze is knocking the quirky corners off everything.  Of course, standards should be good but the creeping absence of difference is cutting out the chance of happy surprises. 

Praise be, then, for Scarista House, sweet hotel and welcomer of souls.  There’s not a beige carpet, spa-bath or scatter pillow in sight at this Georgian Manse turned island-getaway in windswept west Harris.  The wifi is come and go, there’s no TV in the bedrooms and chips aren’t on the menu.  What there is, though, is unforgettable charm and personality.  

I get a skip of excitement approaching its steep, whitewashed walls set proud between the green Harris hills and the golden arc of Scarista beach.   

Read more: Scarista House…unforgettable charm by golden beach 

Full Fine Art Degree launched on North Uist

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.

The provision of opportunities to study art on Uist has evolved over 20 years, instigated by local demand.  

Buoyed 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.

Students on the course are delighted with the news.

Holly Moffat-Hardy said: “To put it very simply; I love it.  Utilising local knowledge and integrating with such an artistic community, despite the small size, has huge benefits…there is something incredibly unique about having the opportunity to study here, that can really only be understood and enjoyed by those who get the chance to do so.”

Read more: Full Fine Art Degree launched on North Uist

Inside the history of tweed in Harris

There’s a special Harris Tweed exhibition in the village of Drinishader in Harris; where once the village school played host to hundreds of pupils, it now has a display detailing the life and tweeds of the legendary Marion Campbell.

Born in 1909, Marion is remembered as an icon of Harris Tweed weaving.  She first sat at a loom aged 14.  Before turning 21, she had won a Harris Tweed Association design competition, beating off older, more experienced weavers to pick up first prize and a handsome reward of 20 guineas.

What made Marion’s tweeds so special was the fact that she oversaw and conducted the entire process herself, from raising the sheep that provided the wool, spinning and dyeing the yarn for her loom, right through to the finished tweed length.  The one thing that was outwith her personal control was the stamping of her tweeds with the world-famous Orb Mark.  This was done by the Harris Tweed Association inspector.

Read more: Inside the history of tweed in Harris