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!

 

Showcase weeks for Uist artists

By Iain A MacSween

A special exhibition lasting for three weeks will again showcase the best of Uist art this summer.

‘Art on the Map’ is an annual event, run by the Uist Arts Association. Held at Taigh Chearsabhagh arts centre, in Lochmaddy, the exhibition officially opens on the evening of Friday June 17, and is on until Saturday July 9. Alongside the exhibition at Taigh Chearsabhagh are special studio events, with participating artists opening their doors to anyone who is interested.

Read more: Showcase weeks for Uist artists

Landscape and light inspire Anthony

 

By Eilidh Whiteford

After 22 years in the Western Isles, artist Anthony Barber is still inspired daily by his adopted home.

And with works previously exhibited at the National Gallery for Scotland with the RSW (Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour) and the RSA (Royal Scottish Academy); as well as at the Mall Galleries in London through the RSMA (Royal Society of Marine Artists) and Discerning Eye exhibitions, Anthony is delighted to showcase what he finds so fascinating about island landscapes to a wider audience.

Born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1962, Anthony studied architecture and design in West Yorkshire, pursuing his joy of sketching and painting both in Yorkshire and whilst holidaying in Scotland’s various west coast islands.

His love of islands took over in 1994 with a move to the Isle of Lewis, where he and his wife settled at Port of Ness.

Read more: Landscape and light inspire Anthony

Keeping Beauty as a wonderful memory…

Suzan Visser-Offereins has been painting portraits of people for more than 30 years. She says that from the start at home in The Netherlands: “It was amazing how people opened up and told the story of who they were. Their faces lightened up when telling about their work and lives, their family, what they have loved so much.

“To me it is always a challenge and an honour to try to capture the being of that person.”

Read more: Keeping Beauty as a wonderful memory…

Linking the islands by sea

The ‘bridge over the Atlantic’ between Lewis and Great Bernera

By Fred Silver

Despite having lived on the Isle of Lewis for almost 25 years, I still have done relatively few boat trips…yet travelling by boat makes the Islands understandable in a way that little else can.

The old way of life on the Isle of Eriskay was once recalled for me by the late Father Calum Maclellan, parish priest there for many years. Then the constant availability of boats, and the limited quality of roads, meant the island was very close to its neighbours on South Uist but the modern era of fixed ferries and safety regulations, prior to the building of the causeway, left it almost isolated. Equally, the Outer Hebrides were linked throughout history to the other islands like Skye and to the mainland, so a family connection between northern Barra and Arisaig, which I came across in a story about the origin of Long John Silver, was quite normal. 

But governed as we are now by roads, when I went out to the Island of Taransay, I was baffled that we set out from Ardhasaig in Harris. Surely Taransay was just off the coast of Luskentyre much further south. Well it is, but it is almost as close to North Harris as well – the road to Leverburgh loops a long way to the east on its way south.

Similarly when I went on one of the regular sea tours offered by Seatrek from the pier at Miavaig in Uig, west Lewis, I was surprised to find us quickly passing under the pioneering Great Bernera bridge – again the road distance between Bernera and Uig is quite misleading as the route loops away from the coast.

Equally, the coast can appear quite different from what you might expect – the Point area of Lewis seems quite flat and relatively low-lying if you drive across it by car, but if you were to take a trip with Sea Lewis or Stornoway Seafari along its Minch coastline out of Stornoway, a dramatic coastline of cliffs, caves and craggy bays can be seen.

Unexpectedly, if you want organised boat trips to unusual islands, it is the Islands Book Trust that could be your first port of call. For instance, they are running a boat trip to the Shiant Isles in June, 2016. It’s on Saturday 18th, 09.30–17.30 at a cost of £75 per person. Places must be booked in advance through Eventbrite only – either through the book trust website or at www.eventbrite.co.uk

I have been on excellent Island Boat Trust trips to Ensay in the Sound of Harris and to Scarp, off north Harris. For both occasions the boat transport was provided by Seatrek, who deal with one-off hires as well as regular trips. For Scarp in summer 2015, with around 80 people to transport back and forth across from Hushinish, they effectively set up a ferry service for the day.

Seatrek offers a range of boat trips around the Uig coast, and as far as St Kilda. There are wildlife trips, special charters and family trips. I went on one popular trip which leaves the jetty at Miavaig, in Uig, most days throughout the summer (with the exception of Sunday) weather permitting. Heading out into Loch Roag and past the village of Reef, you may see sea eagles and otters, then you head for the sweeping length of Traigh na Berie towards the island of Siaram, then on to Pabbay Mor, slowing down to explore the amazing depths of the sea-caves, before going round the north end of Pabbay to see its impressive natural arch and spectacular lagoon surrounded by sandy beaches.

On your return journey, you stop off to see the seals and lift a couple of lobster pots to check the day’s catch, a highlight of the trip, especially for younger passengers. I have also been out to Pabbay by canoe and that is also spectacular.

Everyone talks about St Kilda– Seatrek can take you there, too – and I have been there twice with Kilda Cruises. Hirta is a really special place…but if you want to go to a less publicised island with an abandoned village around a sandy bay, one with vast cliffs on the other side of the island, one which the population left a century ago, then try Mingulay…a little more than an hours trip from Castlebay, Isle of Barra. Mingulay – occasional summer home of the artist Julie Brook – is an overlooked gem.

But for city dwellers, the two inter-island CalMac ferries on the Sound of Harris and the Sound of Barra can be quite amazing, particularly the last ferry of the day across from Eriskay to Ard Mhor on Barra. On a sunny, summer’s evening, lingering on a seat out on deck can sweep you away to oceanic imaginings of the past sea roads of the Isles.

 

Gordon takes to the waves with new boat service

By Iain A MacSween

A new boat charter service operating out of Stornoway offers passengers a unique look at the stunning wildlife of the Hebrides.

Stornoway Seafari is the brainchild of Gordon Maclean, who admits to having the sea in his blood, having been brought up with a love of the local coastline and all the exciting things it has hidden within its waters.

“I worked offshore up until four months ago, when I was paid off due to the slump in oil prices,” said Gordon. “I have two skipper licences, and for years I had wanted to set up a boat charter company, so I decided that the time was right to just go for it.”

Read more: Gordon takes to the waves with new boat service