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!

 

Gallery 5… entering a joyous still-life 

Stepping into Gallery 5 is like entering a joyous still-life - a vivid lime-green chaise longue, sunshine on a pine floor, the smell of oil paint.  Artwork lines the long, smooth sides of this unique light-filled studio. 

Converted from the remains of a blackhouse, Gallery 5 is just a short hop off the West Lewis visitor route, in the crofting township of Tolsta Chaolais.  Home spun yarns spiral down a wall, art books jostle on a high shelf, daubs of paint shine like sweets, waiting to be tried.  

Featured in the gallery are Margaret Stevenson’s stunning oil and watercolour paintings.  Working entirely from sketches and studies, she looks for shape, line and pattern to give an impression of her subject and then paints from these studies to capture the mood of the islands, its forms and life, its ever-changing light. 

“When I need a break I head out with my sketchbook and draw,” she says, waving towards the heathery hills rolling down to Loch Roag, dotted with working crofts and drystane walls - a source of endless inspiration.   

Read more: Gallery 5… entering a joyous still-life 

Community strength supports local shop

An Clachan – the community shop run by Co-Chomunn na Hearadh – has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

Chris Ross, who chairs the board of Co-Chomunn na Hearadh, said that first he would like to thank the management and staff for their input in achieving another successful year in spite of the constant threat from online home delivery shopping super giants Tesco and Amazon.   The shop achieved annual sales as high as £1.3m and has remained in profit since 2013.

“We are fortunate to enjoy good support from local customer together with great participation from an ever increasing tourist trade, the latter being absolutely vital to the long term viability and survival of CCnH.  

“Today, An Clachan is one of the few community shops to, not only, survive but to flourish.  Speaking of the tourism, we are uniquely and strategically placed at the southern gateway of the Island, being the first and last shop to purchase groceries and fuel for arrivals and departures gives us a great advantage.  

Read more: Community strength supports local shop

Challengers in the black pudding race…

By Eilidh Whiteford

It may be Willie John's that takes your fancy...or is Charley Barley's the one for you?

Perhaps the Macleod & Macleod offering is what will tempt you the most...

Or you prefer to wander further afield to Cross Stores in the north or A.D. Munro's in the south...

What are we talking about? Black Pudding of course!

World famous, Stornoway Black Pudding hit the headlines around ten years ago when it came under threat of imposters – puddings labelled as Stornoway but made outside the Western Isles.

Coming together, Stornoway's long-standing family butchers – including W.J MacDonald, Charles MacLeod Ltd, and Macleod & Macleod – applied to the EU in 2009 in a bid to gain Protected Geographical Indicator of Origin (PGI) status for the traditional Stornoway product.

Read more: Challengers in the black pudding race…

Sue’s pottery and garden…growing creations

By Eilidh Whiteford

Pull off the main road in the north Lewis village of Borve and down a small wooded valley with a gently trickling stream, a small slice of near paradise can be found at Borgh Pottery.

The recently refurbished Borgh Pottery is owned and run by potter Sue Blair and offers not only a vast selection of unique, hand-crafted, high-fired stoneware, but also a chance for refreshments with teas and coffees in the pottery's well-established gardens.

Sue moved to Lewis from Lancashire with her husband Alex in 1973, first setting up Stornoway Pottery just outside the main town, before moving to the current premises in Borve in 1978.

Over the following years, the pair saw their pottery business grow, supported from the off by friends, family and the local communities.

Read more: Sue’s pottery and garden…growing creations

Bundles of books from islands…wrapped with baler twine!

 

By Eilidh Whiteford

There are 101 uses for baler twine – and wrapping up a bale of hay is number 101!

A 'must have' for country dwellers, and a 'recipe book of possibilities' for the first time user, the small, quirky, delightful and chuckle-inducing book by Frank Rennie helps illustrate the diversity and scope of island-based publishers Acair Books, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Lost the drawstring from your hoodie-top – no problem, use some baler twine.  Hinges broken on the gate and need a quick fix – baler twine; need to tie your long hair back but have no bobble – baler twine; lost your spectacles chain – baler twine; starter chord on the lawn mower broken – baler twine...

There really are 101, and it appears many more beside, uses for baler twine, as Frank Rennie says in his introduction: “This book began as a joke, well, a wind-up really.  I started to tease my daughters every time I saw a piece of baler-twine being utilised around the croft.  'Look! See how useful it is? That's another use for baler-twine!'.”

Read more: Bundles of books from islands…wrapped with baler twine!